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‘Best Movies of the Decade’ podcast: Action Movies

Superhero movies and action movies grounded in reality brought cinematic achievements to the 2010s. Richard Roeper and Roe Conn talk about the action-packed favorites of the 2010s on ‘Best Movies of the Decade’: Episode 3.

Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot plays the title role in “Wonder Woman.” 
Warner Bros.

Lights, camera, action! Action movies continue to dominate the box office, domestically and theatrically—and some of those films rise above the usual car chase/shootout/outer space formula and should be considered as truly great and lasting works of cinema. (Sorry, but not sorry, Mr. Scorsese.)

Our “Action Movie” category encompasses everything from superhero films to the “Mission: Impossible” and Bond franchises, to gritty crime thrillers and heist movies.

“Avengers: Endgame”

Roeper’s review — April 2019

They saved maybe the best for the end.

I’m not prepared to instantly label “Avengers: Endgame” as the best of the 23 Marvel Universe movies to date, but it’s a serious contender for the crown and it’s the undisputed champion when it comes to emotional punch.

If you don’t feel the tears welling up multiple times during this screen-filling, eye-popping, time-hopping, pulse-pounding, beautifully filmed superhero adventure for the ages, check for a pulse — because you might be dead.

Avengers: Endgame
Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner, from left), War Machine/James Rhodey (Don Cheadle), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) team up again in “Avengers: Endgame.”
Marvel Studios

“Baby Driver”

Roeper’s review — June 2017

It’s wall-to-wall pure pop heaven, crackling with originality and dark humor, teeming with action sequences so perfectly timed and executed you almost want to run out of the theater on the spot so you can call a friend and rave about it — but you wouldn’t dare leave your seat because you wouldn’t want to miss a frame of this brilliant, pulse-quickening gem.

Baby Driver
Baby (Ansel Elgort) brings Debora (Lily James) along for the ride in “Baby Driver.”
TriStar

Recognitions at the 2018 Academy Awards

  • Best Sound Mixing, Nominated
  • Best Sound Editing, Nominated
  • Best Film Editing, Nominated

“Black Panther”

Roeper’s Review — February 2018

Even if you’re not normally into this genre, consider this. If you appreciate finely honed storytelling with a Shakespearean core; winning performances from an enormously talented ensemble; provocative premises touching on isolationism, revolution and cultures of oppression, and oh yeah, tons of whiz-bang action sequences and good humor — then you should see “Black Panther.”

It’s one of the best times I’ve had at the movies this decade.

Black Panther
Lupita Nyong’o (left) plays T’Challa’s ex, with Letitia Wright as his little sister, in “Black Panther.”
Marvel Studios-Disney

Recognitions at the 2019 Academy Awards

  • Best Original Music Score, Winner
  • Best Costume Design, Winner
  • Best Production Design, Winner
  • Best Picture, Nominated
  • Best Sound Mixing, Nominated
  • Best Sound Editing, Nominated

“Dark Knight Rises”

“Drive”

Recognitions at the 2012 Academy Awards

  • Best Sound Editing, Nominated

“The Grey”

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

Roeper’s review — May 2015

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a stunningly effective post-apocalyptic fable, a chilling and yet exhilarating daytime nightmare pitting blindly loyal and bloodthirsty half-humans against implausibly beautiful people clinging to their sense of morality while doing whatever they can to stay alive.

In an action movie world dominated by cartoonishly over-the-top CGI effects and rapid-fire quick cuts, it’s exhilarating to see so many set pieces and battle sequences filmed in unbroken tracking shots, some breathtaking wide angle views and visceral, gritty close-ups.

Recognitions at the 2012 Academy Awards

  • Best Sound Mixing, Winner
  • Best Production Design, Winner
  • Best Costume Design, Winner
  • Best Sound Editing, Winner
  • Best Film Editing, Winner
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling, WInner
  • Best Picture, Nominated
  • Best Director, Nominated
  • Best Cinematography, Nominated
  • Best Visual Effects, Nominated

“Sicario”

Roeper’s review — September 2015

Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario” is an extreme, brutal, complex and sometimes sickeningly violent story of its time, one of the best movies about the dominance of drugs in our culture since Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” (2000). It’s an unusual mix of big-picture issues, grindhouse pulp and pure, rough entertainment, bolstered by one of the better ensemble casts of the year. This movie is not, um, fussing around.

Benicio del Toro won best supporting actor for “Traffic” and it was a well-deserved honor, but I admire his work in “Sicario” even more. It’s maybe the most memorable turn of its kind since Javier Bardem’s work in “No Country For Old Men.”

“The Town”

Recognitions at the 2011 Academy Awards

  • Best Supporting Actor, Jeremy Renner, Nominated

“Wonder Woman”

Roeper’s review — May 2017

Gal Gadot shines in the title role. Diana is sweet and sexy and clever and intense, and she moves with the grace and power of a superhero gymnast (among other skills). Steve and his buddies are suitably amazed at what she can do, but they quickly shift from being shocked to saying without hesitation:

I’m with her.