This was a hell of a decade for film. Superhero movies had a stranglehold on the box office, A24 corned the market on low budget cinema, Blumhouse made horror great again, moviegoers finally embraced foreign film (kinda) and critically acclaimed movies were being shot on cellphones. The age of the mega-blockbuster brought with it many pros and cons (Disney and their competitors essentially destroyed moderately budgeted films but independent filmmakers were given the opportunity to direct big movies, which in turn, afforded them the chance to make whatever project they wanted. Jojo Rabbit never would’ve existed without Thor Ragnarok for example) and highs and lows (so much fan service (yay!) and so much fan service (boo!).
It was a time where streaming services provided a wealth of new content (some of it great, some not so great), physical media started releasing every movie ever (right before it dies at the hands of digital) and a new generation of actors was getting ready to replace the movie stars of old. It was a controversial decade but at the end of the day, all that matters is that it provided a ton of great movie moments. This list was a collaborative effort to determine which movie moment was the best of the decade.
These are the 50 Greatest Movie Moments of the 2010s.
10. Cap is Worthy | Avengers: Endgame (2019)
It was a moment that fans had been waiting for ever since it was first teased back in 2015’s Age of Ultron. Mjolnir’s destruction in Thor: Ragnarok cast some doubt on if we would ever see the moment from the comics adapted to the big screen. However, as soon as Thor took the hammer in 2013 during the time heist everyone knew what was going to happen before the credits rolled.
And what a moment it was. A beaten Thor is slammed to the ground by Thanos, his weapons Stormbreaker and Mjolnir cast aside. But then we saw Mjolnir begin to move. The hammer hits Thanos and we watch as it flies back into the hands of Captain America! What follows is Captain America using the power of the hammer to its full capabilities and knocking Thanos down a few pegs. It was years in the making, but it was well worth every minute. (Marmaduke Karlston)
09. Years of Messages | Interstellar (2014)
Due to a disastrous mission coupled with severe gravitational time dilation, 23 years have passed by back on earth in the space of one hour for astronaut Cooper (Matthew McConaughey). When he decides to view 23 years worth of video messages from his family it’s utterly heart-wrenching as he watches his children grow old in a matter of minutes. He learns that his son now has a family of his own and when daughter Murphy appears to scolds her Father for not fulfilling his promise of returning to earth by her 35th Birthday it all gets too much. McConaughey’s display of grief and anguish is difficult to watch as he breaks down into tears. Add to this a beautiful Hans Zimmer score and you have a truly memorable cinematic moment. (Lee McCutcheon)
08. The Incinerator | Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story 3 is like the Mike Tyson of heartbreaking movies. It hits you with a one-two punch of sad finales. The Incinerator and Andy’s farewell. Although yes, the incinerator isn’t technically a finale, for a second, you thought it was. The film does such a good job of building up this moment, that for a couple of agonizing minutes (that feel like they go on forever), it really feels like Woody and the gang are going to die. The tension is excruciating, with every second feeling important. This is the end. Woody screwed up and now everyone is going to die.
And then they start holding each other’s hands. Within a handful of seconds, the other toys have skipped all the other stages of grief and are now at acceptance. They’re going to die but at least they’ll die together. The orange glow of the molten pit acts as an illuminated Carrion, ready to shepherd them into heaven (or wherever dead toys go to when they die) and just as they’re ready to depart from this earth, out of nowhere, a claw. I don’t think I’ve heard more sighs of relief from any audience in any movie ever. First, they cried, then they sighed and then they laughed. All in the span of 5 seconds. That’s cinema at its finest. (Sailor Monsoon)
07. The Hallway Fight | Inception (2010)
By far one of the best films of the decade, Inception was a smart, psychological thriller with an amazing cast and stunning visual effects. But the most memorable sequence (beyond that last shot, of course) is the dream within a dream fight scene between Arthur and a couple of subconscious baddies in the hallway of a hotel. The hallway begins to shift and tumble as another dream version of Arthur, sedated and unconscious, is involved in a dangerous high-speed chase, affecting the current hotel dream in which he is involved. Arthur must adjust and adapt to his now chaotic surroundings of what is essentially zero gravity in order to gain the upper hand on the armed villains who are there to take him out. To make it even more impressive, no CGI was used to film this scene, just expert camera work, a rotating set, five hundred crew members and some hardcore training on the part of Joseph Gordon Levitt. (Romona Comet)
06. Climbing the Burj Khalifa | Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
History states that Ghost Protocol was originally supposed to see Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) retire from IMF and Jeremy Renner’s William Brandt take over as the new lead of the franchise. That obviously didn’t happen, and the reason for that was probably because Ghost Protocol reminded audiences that, when Cruise isn’t busy jumping around on couches, he’s actually a great actor that commits to the craft.
Case in point: climbing the Burj Khalifa. Now this scene could have been easily accomplished in a sound stage with a green screen, but that’s not how Tom Cruise’s brain thinks. He wants to actually climb the Burj Khalifa. So that’s what they did. The 2010s Mission: Impossible installments are known for its insane stunts, and it all started with the Burj Khalifa climb. It’s a tense eight minutes filled with jokes, suspense, and death-defying heights. (Marmaduke Karlston)
05. No Man’s Land | Wonder Woman (2017)
I am Wonder Woman! Hear me roar! Diana Prince knew her powers, but this was the moment she understood what they could stand for by not sitting on the sideline anymore. Gal Gadot is absolutely wonderful as Wonder Woman and she commands the screen in this moment better than most other superhero actors. She is completely believable. Steve tries to reason with her to stay on mission as there is a reason this field is called No Man’s Land. We then see her emerge from the foxhole drawing the enemy’s fire, swatting bullets away like flies. The music swells and the rest of the soldiers see their chance to take the ground and that’s what they do with Wonder Woman leading the charge. I’m just glad we didn’t have the obligatory, “I am no man!” line. Just a badass taking out some enemy soldiers. (Vincent Kane)
04. The Sunken Place | Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele’s debut hit the horror genre like a ton of bricks with its social commentary that slapped everyone in the face. The illustration of racism in America was never more prevalent than when the main character, Chris, is seemingly hypnotized into “The Sunken Place”.
The terrifying trio of a teacup, spoon, and Catherine Keener helped Chris relive a traumatic childhood experience as we witness him literally sink into an oppressive state. Perfectly acted by Daniel Kaluuya and Catherine Keener as tension mounts from their exchange. This scene is a highlight in one of the best modern horror films. (Vincent Kane)
03. Processing Freddie Quell | The Master (2012)
Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman) sits Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) down and asks permission to begin his processing. Freddie takes the situation lightly, laughing, joking and even finding comedic relief through flatulence. Fast forward a few minutes and an entirely different mood has descended. Freddie is forced to revisit moments from his traumatic past as he faces an inescapable barrage of quick-fire questions in a situation that feels more like an interrogation. Philip Seymour Hoffman is mesmerising as he employs the repetitive questioning technique whilst Phoenix is intensity personified, veins bulging from his forehead. A scene that always leaves me breathless. (Lee McCutcheon)
02. The Final Drum Solo | Whiplash (2014)
Music tutor Fletcher’s (J.K. Simmons) final insult towards former student Andrew (Miles Teller) comes when he gives him incorrect sheet music in front of a prestigious Jazz festival audience. After an embarrassing few minutes, the rest of the band winds down. Andrew doesn’t. He goes into a drum solo like no other, and the conclusion of the movie plays out with practically zero dialogue. Fletcher is furious, but as Andrew continues, his mood changes as he recognises the brilliance he has been desperately seeking from his former student. He takes his jacket off, eyes full of electricity, and submits to Andrews drumming by resuming his conducting. An adrenaline-pumping scene and the final moment where Fletcher gives a nod of approval is absolute genius. (Lee McCutcheon)
01. The Snap | Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Thanos had all but one Infinity stone and he was coming for it. The entire atmosphere changed once he arrived in Wakanda as he bulldozed his way to Vision. This was an absolute emotional roller coaster. Your heart is already pounding, then you have the sadness of Visions sacrifice at the hands of Wanda just to have Thanos undo that to rip the stone straight from Vision’s head killing him. As we held our breath, we became excited as Thor delivered what we all thought was the final blow. “You should have gone for the head…” SNAP! I’m getting chills just writing about it.
We didn’t know what it all meant until we saw Bucky begin disintegrating before our very eyes. Wankandan warriors began to fall. Next was Black Panther. Groot dusting away started the knife in the stomach while Rocket looked on. Wanda. Sam. The Guardians. Doctor Strange. “Mr. Stark.” Oh, and the knife begins to twist. Peter and Tony’s moment got to me more than anything as that father and son dynamic was playing out as tragically as it could. Peter begging, Tony at a lost for words with Peter saying, “I’m sorry” as he faded away in Tony’s arms. Pure shock and confusion. This moment had every theater across the world go completely silent with the only sound being jaws hitting the floor. This is inarguably the biggest moment of the decade and rivals the biggest moment of any decade. The Snap is this generation’s “Luke, I am your Father” or Rosebud. (Vincent Kane)
What did you think of the selection? What were some of your favorite movie moments from the decade that didn’t make the list? Let us know down in the comments!