What Is the Best Summer Blockbuster of the Last 10 Years?

Pirates, wizards, and superheroes do battle!

This summer, we’ve seen everything from dinosaurs to little yellow minions on the big screen. It’s been a surprisingly rich blockbuster season—mostly thanks to Amy Schumer and her unsung brilliance. (Sorry for the shameless Trainwreck plug, but we’re obsessed.)

The epic success of Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, and this season’s other smashes got us thinking about the summer blockbusters of yesterday. Sure, we go hard for Chris Pratt battling a genetically enhanced dinosaur, but is that the best summer film in recent memory? Let’s see!

We pulled the top-grossing film of each summer since 2005 and ranked them on sheer badassery. Which came out on top? Flip through the gallery and find out. (And, if you disagree, let us know what you think in the comments below. Please don’t kill us, Harry Potter stans!)

  • 1 10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
    Paramount Pictures
    Unfortunately, lightning didn’t strike twice with this franchise. The Transformers sequel is everything you expect a dumb summer blockbuster to be. It’s loud, messy, and lacks any kind of plot focus. Not even a likable, non-crazy Shia LaBeouf or Megan Fox’s breast supporting acting can save this film from gaudy oblivion.

  • 2 9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
    Buena Vista
    Dead Man’s Chest employs the same humor as The Curse of the Black Pearl, which makes the sequel feel redundant. There is one silver lining to all the similarity: Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom are still sexy as hell.

  • 3 8. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
    Marvel Studios
    The internal battle Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has is interesting enough, but Spider-Man 3 muddles through clunky dialogue and a running time that feels 10 minutes too long. And, let’s be real, none of Tobey and Kirsten Dunst’s Spidey films hold a torch to the Andrew Garfield reboots.

  • 4 7. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
    Sometimes, you have to give it up for the special effects. Nothing beats the eye-popping aesthetics of a Star Wars flick, and Revenge of the Sith is the franchise’s Picasso. Plus, Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, and Natalie Portman kill it, as always sometimes is the case (we’re talking Hayden Christensen here).

  • 5 6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
    Marvel
    Interestingly enough, Iron Man 3 is lightyears better than the film’s first 2010 sequel. Perhaps it’s the movie’s razor-sharp script or serious thematic elements, but Iron Man 3 is arguably one of the richest superhero movies from recent memory.

  • 6 5. The Avengers (2012)
    Marvel
    The Avengers breaks the “subpar acting, but awesome action” mold of most superhero movies. The Joss Whedon-directed film packs a powerful visual punch and the ensemble cast—including Chris Hemsworth/Thor and his bulging biceps—is top-notch.

  • 7 4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
    Marvel
    Guardians was neck-in-neck with The Avengers, but we ultimately ranked Groot and the gang just a little bit higher. The reason? Chris Pratt. Everyone’s favorite hottie shines with likable goofiness as Star-Lord. Not to mention the chemistry between the four lead characters is off the charts—and impressive because two are animated. Brownie points for casting life-giving queen Zoe Saldana.

  • 8 3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
    Warner Bros.
    Harry Potter’s eight-film saga comes to a bravura ending in Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Potter and Lord Voldemort’s final battle is more satisfying than KFC after a day with no food. And that’s saying something.

  • 9 2. Toy Story 3 (2010)
    Pixar
    All the FEELS. Toy Story 3 is, hands down, the franchise’s most heartfelt installment. Maybe it’s the nostalgia (Andy’s going to college!) or the fact the toys almost—ya know—die, but this movie sticks with you long after the credits. It’s magical—even more magical than Potter.

  • 10 1. The Dark Knight (2008)
    Warner Bros.
    This isn’t your average summer blockbuster. It’s dark, which makes it thrilling to watch. The late Heath Ledger gives a searing—even disturbing—performance as the Joker, and Christian Bale is in ripe, throaty Batman form. The Dark Knight extends beyond flashy superhero fare: It’s a complex commentary about crime and falling from grace.