2008 was a monumental year for blockbuster films. During the summer blockbuster season, two movies came out within months of each other that both have both had enormous impacts on the film industry: one was Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and the other was Marvel’s Iron Man, both of which have spawned countless imitators.
The Dark Knight marked the beginning of a grittier, darker period of Hollywood blockbusters while Iron Man offered a different approach, building around a charismatic star and focusing more on combining humor and adventure with compelling drama. Iron Man has led to an unprecedented cinematic universe that has resulted in multiple Marvel superhero movies being released every year. Almost every blockbuster released since 2008 has been somewhat influenced by one of those two movies and so it seems to make sense to make 2008 the cut-off date for eligible blockbusters.
The word “blockbuster” is a bit difficult to define but the main ingredients are the cost of making the movie, the amount of money it pulls in, the size and scope of the movie, and whether or not it appeals to a wide audience. Generally, a blockbuster is explicitly designed from the outset to make massive amounts of money, but every once in a while a smaller movie will come out of nowhere and make enough money to qualify for the term. Although more often than not, blockbusters crumble under their own weight and become bloated, empty mediocrities, every year there are a few that are genuinely good examples of filmmaking.
Although the current Hollywood model is severly flawed, it’s not absolutely incapable of making good movies as the following fifteen movies perfectly portray…
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