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The Dark Knight: Heath Ledger's Joker leaves an indelible print on cinema villainy as Christopher Nolan demonstrates (not for the first, or last, time) that summer entertainment doesn't have to be dumb. A landmark for proving just how good sequels/blockbusters/comic-book movies can be, The Dark Knight hit the ground running after Batman Begins' perfect set-up.
Iron Man: At the opposite end of the superhero spectrum in 2008, Marvel's continued persistence in picking atypical blockbuster directors and stars was vindicated in Iron Man, where fun is the primary objective. Robert Downey Jr brought his sarcastic charm to the mainstream and became one of Hollywood's most bankable stars in the process.
WALL•E: One of Pixar's finest efforts to date, the astounding, near-wordless first half showcases the greatest tech in the movies being used for the simplest effect. The fact that a love story between a trash-compacting robot and plant-seeking droid became the most moving of the year says it all really.
Kung Fu Panda: While this may not match WALL•E for profundity, it was the first of many signs that DreamWorks Animation was stepping up its game. With chopsocky action sequences to rival serious cult fare, this was colourful enough for kids and smart enough for parents.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army: Having set up the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Denfense in the first outing, Guillermo del Toro's sequel was able to run with a deeper mythology, bigger action set-pieces and richer characterisation, without scrimping on the wonderful creature designs and pleasingly non-commercial tone.
As Suggested By: Fuwad Abrar, Alejandro D Orengo Colon, Dani Walsh, Stephen Sheehy, Jeremy Hickman, Delfin Solomon, Jacob McLaughlin, Greg Breen, Evelyn Anandam