Every year there are a slew of tent-pole releases, movies that production companies throw out in the hopes of making a butt-load of money. Some of these movies fell flat on their floppy faces - some rightfully (Battleship, Total Recall), some less so (John Carter, Dredd) - while others still were huge successes when they probably didn't deserve to be (Breaking Dawn Part 2, Men In Black 3). But the following list of ten movies represents the best of the biggest hits of the year, loved by both audiences and critics alike.
To a lot of people out there, Prometheus represents the biggest singular cinematic disappoint of the year. A sorta-prequel to Alien, director Ridley Scott returns to the sci-fi genre with a fantastic cast and a hidden agenda - to make you think. This is not the pure horror of Alien, or the all-out action-thriller of Aliens, this is something else. Prometheus has lofty intentions, bringing a science vs religion debate while running away from explosions and parasitic snakes. Not for everyone, but never anything less than interesting.
When you think of blockbusters, you probably wouldn't associate them with a foul-mouthed teddy-bear movie. But that's exactly what Ted is, this year's version of The Hangover and a runaway smash hit of a comedy aimed squarely at adults. Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane brings the laughs along with Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, with worldwide box office takings to the tune of half a billion dollars!
8. The Bourne Legacy
Like Prometheus, The Bourne Legacy is a movie that is not for everyone, and for those who loved the previous entries in the franchise, it may be a slight disappointment. Director Tony Gilroy is no Paul Greengrass, and Matt Damon replacement Jeremy Renner doesn't quite have his predecessor's charm. But the movie still packs a hell of a punch, with some killer actions sequences and a genuinely engaging story which intelligently expands upon the Bourne universe.
7. The Amazing Spiderman
It hasn't been a particularly long time since Tobey Maguire hung up his spandex suit (less than five years, in fact), but Spiderman has already been rebooted with Andrew Garfield as the new webslinger, and Emma Stone as his love interest Gwen Stacey. The plot involving villain Dr. Curt Connors / The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) is fine, but the main reason this movies soars is Garfield and Stone's relationship. Think of a superhero version of 500 Days Of Summer and you're on the right track.
After Cars 2 became Pixar's first proper critical miss, many began to write off Brave before even seeing it. But while it doesn't quite match some of Pixar's perfect output like The Incredibles, Wall-E or Finding Nemo, it was a certainly a step in the right direction. And even though it made less in the box office than Cars 2, Brave showed that when it comes to magical storytelling and astounding visuals, Pixar are still without equal.
5. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
A late entry for the year, but Peter Jackson's return to Tolkien's world defied many expectations by being surprisingly great! The return of key cast members - including the amazing Andy Serkis as Gollum - as well as one of the greatest choreographed action sequences of the year (the dwarves escape from the troll caves) make this a must see. Plus, its the first movie to be shown in Dublin's new IMAX screen! Go see it now!
4. The Hunger Games
Written off by many as a sci-fi Twilight, The Hunger Games is far from just another group of moody teenagers staring lovingly/creepily at each other. Jennifer Lawrence enters a death arena (24 enter, only 1 leaves) to protect her family, but while in there falls in love with a boy she's known all of her life played by Josh Hutcherson. A hugely impressive cast delivering great performances, some awe-inspiring visuals of a dystopian future and quite a bit of violence for a 12A movie, all set us up beautifully for next year's sequel, Catching Fire.
3. The Dark Knight Rises
The sequel to 2010's best movie, and the trilogy closer for Christopher Nolan's interpretation of Batman, there was a lot of pressure on this film to deliver perfection. But while it never quite reaches the giddy heights of The Dark Knight - probably due to the fact that Tom Hardy's Bane is not of the same calibre as Heath Ledger's Joker - The Dark Knight Rises still brings a sense of epicness to this real-world superhero. One thing is for certain, all eyes are on Nolan to see what he does next now that he's finished with Mr. Wayne's alter-ego.
2. Marvel Avengers Assemble
One of the year's biggest box office hits ($1.51 billion), but nobody saw it coming. Yes, we all assumed it would do rather well, bringing together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk, but we never could've guessed just how well it would fare. It helps that the movie is a hell of a lot of fun, and written and directed to perfection by comic book fan boy Joss Whedon. 2013 sees them all go their separate ways for Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World, followed swiftly by Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014, but it shouldn't be too long before these guys get reunited once again.
After Quantum Of Solace, everyone thought that Casino Royale was a fluke. After Bond-rights owners MGM went broke, everyone thought all hope was lost. But then good things started to happen; Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes signed on, Oscar-nominated writer John Logan came on board, a fantastic cast got involved and together they brought about one of the best Bond movies of all time. A huge box office success ($918 million and counting), as well as a revitalizing shot in the arm that the franchise needed, Bond is very much back!