The 2010s are finally over, and it's been a pretty tumultuous time for film. Netflix has transformed how we watch films (and who makes them), the Marvel Cinematic Universe went from curious experiment to box office behemoth, and Star Wars awoke from its slumber with not one but five new films in as many years.
Trying to pick out the best of the bunch is a pretty gargantuan task, but we've done our best to narrow it down to ten films for ten years. For the most part we've stuck to big blockbusters - though there are a few in here that don't fit that mold - and before you ask, these aren't ranked, they're just in chronological order.
If you're looking for more holiday viewing inspiration, we're constantly updating our picks of the best movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky Cinema, and Now TV, so check those guides for more to stream.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story bookended the decade, and while the fourth film felt a touch unjustified, Toy Story 3 was the perfect end to the toys' story, and is arguably the best of the whole lot. Beautifully animated and just as touching as ever, this is one of the rare films guaranteed to make everyone cry.
In classic Pixar fashion it cleverly riffs on another genre entirely - here the prison escape - as it asks what happens to toys when their owners grow up. It's perhaps not as ambitious as the likes of Inside Out or Coco, and making a third Toy Story was always a pretty safe move financially, but for sheer emotional oomph there's almost nothing this decade that tops Woody and co.'s not-quite-final outing.
Under the Skin (2013)
Thanks to Marvel, Scarlett Johansson was in some of the highest grossing movies ever this decade. She was also in Under the Skin, where she drove a white van round Glasgow.
Jonathan Glazer's terrifying, cryptic sci-fi takes Johansson out of her comfort zone to play an alien predator in Scotland, of all places. Driving round Glasgow to pick up her (male) prey, she offers an inversion of the sexual predator power dynamic - an inversion made all the more striking by the fact that most of the men filmed weren't actors, but simply passers-by fooled by the wig and unaware they were being filmed.
Under the Skin is certainly not easy watching - one mid-film sequence on a beach has haunted us ever since - but its score and visuals alone make it worth the effort. And you'll never look at ScarJo the same way again.
Richard Linklater attempted what anyone else would probably have considered impossible with Boyhood: a film that follows a family across their lives by actually revisiting the same actors across the same time period.
Having Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke to fill out the adult half certainly helped, but Linklater bet big on his two child stars who fortunately matured into very solid teenage actors too, and the whole cast nails the naturalistic, down-to-earth tone of Linklater's best movie outside the Before... trilogy.
With any other filmmaker the central conceit would probably overpower the film itself, but Boyhood stands tall in its own right thanks to the combined power of the script and cast.
La La Land may have had the bigger box office returns, but Whiplash remains director Damien Chazelle's crowning achievement. 'Jazz thriller' may not sound like a promising genre to make your name in, but Whiplash sells the concept with this riveting tale of an American conservatory drummer pushed to (and beyond) his limits.
Miles Teller earned his own career thanks to his performance, but it's JK Simmons who's the real star here, as the intense, demanding, and all-too-driven conductor-cum-teacher who pushes his students to excellence at all costs. Whiplash is as intense as the title suggests, but in its best moments makes you question your own sympathies and wonder if Simmons' cruel teacher has something of a point after all...
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
How a man on the verge of his '70s directed the best action movie in forever is beyond us, but George Miller found a way. The Mad Max creator returned to his baby after decades away and turned out a stunning reinvention that's as much feminist screed as non-stop high-octane chase.
The series' politics have never been more on-point, while the stunts - all in-camera, minimal CGI - are genuinely jaw-dropping. Tom Hardy proves himself a phenomenal Max, but Charlize Theron's no-nonsense Imperator Furiosa is the real star, and proof that Mad Max has life beyond Max. Oh, and if you haven't yet, go and watch the black-and-white Blood and Chrome edition, which finds new life by stripping the over-saturated colour palette right back.
Get Out (2017)
Comedians aren't meant to make horror movies this great, but no-one told Jordan Peele that. He made the leap from sketch comedy to mind-bending thriller look easy with Get Out, which cleverly keeps touch with Peele's comedic roots even as it engages in the most daring assessment of American race relations since Spike Lee.
Daniel Kaluuya rightly earned kudos for his heartbreaking lead performance, but the film works as well as it does thanks to the low-key unsettling cast around him, from the whole Armitage family to their are-they-OK exclusively black 'help'. Peele went on to direct Lupita Nyong'o in Us, which is arguably even better than Get Out, but it's his feature debut that will no doubt be recognised for decades yet as one of the defining films of this decade.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
What to do with a character like Thor? A decent debut was followed up by the dreary Dark World - down there with The Incredible Hulk as the MCU's worst yet - and yet the character remained a fan favourite in the Avengers team-ups.
It took director Taika Waititi to find the answer: cut his hair, steal his eye, break his hammer, and thrown him on a disco-tinged road trip across space with the Hulk. Obviously.
Ragnarok is the best, brightest, and funniest (sorry Guardians) Marvel movie yet, but it has real heart too, and continually finds novel ways to break both Thor and Hulk down to their bare elements, and build them back up into the best versions of themselves - all with the unenviable job of setting up the Infinity War/Endgame two-parter to boot.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Yes, this is the best new Star Wars movie. Sorry, haters.
Rian Johnson's controversial middle-part subverts audience expectations in the wake of The Force Awakens, finding unexpected answers to questions about Rey's heritage and Luke's past, challenging every characters' preconceptions about the world they're in, and asking one very big question of franchise fans: should films give them what they think they want, or what they don't yet know they do?
It won't be news to anyone that Last Jedi wasn't popular in all quarters, and plenty question Johnson's narrative choices or difficult approach to the saga - though few would question that this is the most visually stunning Star War since Empire. But Last Jedi seems all the more important in the wake of trilogy closer The Rise of Skywalker, which walks back Jedi's boldest moves and retreats into a safe space, with undeniably dull results, making Jedi look all the more important in retrospect. Like it or not, this is the film that did the most this decade to question what a blockbuster is, and what it should be, and who would have though that would come from Star Wars of all places?
Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
From one mega franchise to another, Mission: Impossible - Fallout takes a very different approach to its series' legacy than The Last Jedi. Returning director Christopher McQuarrie doesn't tear up the M:I rulebook, but instead he meticulously makes it his own by doing everything previous films have done, but better.
Tom Cruise is back, running unreasonably fast, as super spy Ethan Hunt, but this time the show is almost stolen by Henry Cavill's new rival August Walker, whose biceps are locked in constant battle with his moustache to get to be his defining character trait.
The stunts are as real as they get - culminating in throwing Cruise down from actual space - and the result is an action movie that is constantly, exhilaratingly unexpected, somehow one-upping itself again and again across its two and a half hours. Watch this on the biggest screen and loudest speakers you can, and get ready to spend the next few years wondering how on earth they'll ever top it in the next two films.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Thor: Ragnarok may be the best MCU film this decade, but it has competition from other Marvel quarters. Into the Spider-Verse isn't connected to that universe, but is all the better for it, finally justifying those endless Spidey reboots with one that feels utterly unexpected.
Not only is it animated - and strikingly, with a stereoscopic overlay and graphical glitches throughout - but it finally moves on from Peter Parker to instead focus on Miles Morales, one of Marvel's other Spider-People. Except Peter's actually here too. Along with Spider-Gwen. And Spider-Ham, Peni Parker, and Spider-Man Noir, as it delves deep into the multiverse to find out what lies at the heart of every iteration of the Spider-Man formula.
It's touching, it's funny, and it's utterly unique - well, at least until the inevitable wave of sequels and spin-offs hit - and a fitting way to close out the decade. Even in the glut of superhero fantasies that have flooded cinemas over the last ten years, there's still space to play with the formula, explore new themes, and produce a film that is utterly of the 2010s and all the better for it.
Reader poll: movie of the decade
We also asked what you thought was the best film of the past decade and here's how almost 7000 of you voted: