10. Puss in Boots (2011)
While definitely not of the extremely high quality of the first couple of “Shrek” films, “Puss in Boots” is a solid flick that appeals to both kids and adults. The protagonist is extremely cute and cunning at the same time.
9. Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones (2002)
Ok, ok…”Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones” is definitely not in the class of the original Star Wars trilogy. That being said, this film is not THAT bad. In fact, it’s a pretty enjoyable watch. The battle scenes are phenomenal, even in the CGI era.
8. Red Dragon (2002)
“Red Dragon” is actually a remake of “Manhunter,” which actually was the first film in the series. With that confusion out of the way, “Dragon” is a very good film, but is not better than “Manhunter.” Anthony Hopkins is outstanding as always as Hannibal Lecter. Edward Norton is also very good.
7. Batman Begins (2005)
After a couple of lackluster installments, Batman was in desperate need of a reboot. It got the one it needed…and deserved in the form of auteur Christopher Nolan. Honestly, the first of Nolan’s Batman films was the best, as it was not nearly as pedantic as the other two.
6. The Hobbit (2012)
While this author has never been a huge fan of the “Lord of the Rings” films, “The Hobbit” is a major step up. It just is much more intimate and less pedantic than the previous three films. This makes for more compelling viewing.
5. Casino Royale (2006)
I was never too critical of Pierce Brosnan as Bond, but the movies got progressively cheesier. When Daniel Craig was brought in to be his replacement, most thought he didn’t fit the role. What we got though, was a tough and rugged Bond. This was essentially refreshing and completely resurrected a struggling franchise.
4. Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Most were extremely disappointed with the second trilogy of Star Wars films. The third installment, “Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith” was easily the best of the three, and this author would argue that it’s even better than “Return of the Jedi.” The story of Darth Vader’s descent is fascinating viewing.
3. Star Trek (2009)
Many (this author included) thought that J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek film franchise would be an unmitigated disaster. That turned out to be far from reality, as the 2009 film was easily one of the best two or three in the entire series. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto were also surprisingly excellent.
2. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)
This one was actually the third installment in Sergio Leone’s “Man with No Name” trilogy, but took place before the other two. In total, it’s a stylistic marvel, paving the way for much of Scorsese and Tarantino’s work, as well as a bizarre song by the band Primus.
1. The Godfather Part II (1974)
This one will probably be the most controversial on this countdown, given the cinematic significance of “The Godfather.” That movie is unbelievable and a top-10 all-time film. That being said, “The Godfather: Part II” is just ever-so-slightly better. What it comes down to for me, is the parallel storytelling that just makes this one pop a bit more, as well as the transformation of Michael Corleone.