2019 was such an incredible year for cinema that it’s hard to decide which movie deserves to be crowned king. From blockbusters to animated films, comedies to dramas, so many of them made our jaws drop that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin. But, just like the heroes of our favorite stories, we’ve got to make a decision somehow. So without further ado, here’s a list of the 20 best and most popular movies of 2019 (according to BoxOfficeMojo).
20. Knives Out
In this witty Cluedo-like thriller, Daniel Craig becomes Benoit Blanc, a detective hired to solve the murder of a wealthy crime novelist, investigating the alibis and personalities of his ostentatious, quirky family on their giant estate. It’s no surprise that this fun, captivating gem directed by Rian Johnson and packed with A-listers such as Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis, is not only one of the best dramas of the year, but also reminds us of a genre we didn’t even know we’d been missing!
At first sight, the story of a teenage boy who suddenly turns into an adult superhero sounds a little too cartoonish to be a live-action movie, but the DC adaptation, Shazam! manages to be altogether goofy and worthy of its Marvel cousins! The highlight is obviously Zachary Levi giving an acting masterclass as he plays an adult who is really a 14 year-old trying to be an adult… and if reading that gave you a headache, we promise this funny movie will have the opposite effect.
18. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s latest film is an ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood, exploring the fall from stardom of fictional actor, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his friendship with his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), all whilst tackling the very real lives of controversial director, Roman Polanski and his wife, Sharon Tate before the Manson Family came into their lives. Although not the highest-grossing movie of the year, OUATIH is certainly a gripping, vintage tale, that cements Tarantino as a master storyteller.
17. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
When you first heard that Ryan Reynolds would be lending his voice to the iconic Pikachu, like us, you probably freaked out a little. And understandably so, as it’s difficult to imagine a compelling Pikachu… with Deadpool’s voice. Even so, this new, incredibly original take on the Pokémon lore just works! Taking place in a world filled with the adorable and sometimes frightening creatures we know and love, a witty and weary Pikachu teams up with a young man to find out what happened to his father.
16. The Secret Life Of Pets 2
This sweet animated movie follows the same group of adorable pets as in the first opus. We get to follow their hidden lives as they navigate life behind their owners’ backs, going through the plights and joys that any pet must face in the big city. The plot may have been done before but Secret Life 2 just has an undeniable charm and wit that makes it absolutely unique – not to mention the epic voice acting by the slew of great comedians like Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish.
15. How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
This franchise has been going for almost 10 years and yet, not a single one of its movies has ever disappointed. We have its adorable characters to thank for that, because who can resist the tale of an epic friendship between a young viking and his dragon? In this third opus, the two friends have grown up and must once again face evil when the dragons of their world are threatened by a villain who isn’t exactly a fan of the fire-breathing creatures. An adventure for the whole family that will keep you on the edge of your seat regardless of your age…
14. John Wick: Chapter 3. Parabellum
The ‘Keanu Reeves’ renaissance is a real, important thing that happened in recent years, and it can’t be forgotten. In Parabellum, the Matrix actor comes back as the ass-kicking John Wick, this time to escape an organization of assassins that put a bounty on his head. Memorable fight scenes and a simple, yet thrilling plot make this top movie a ‘must-watch’.
13. Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw
In this fun spin-off of the beloved action franchise, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham play two detectives who team up to defeat a cybernetically-enhanced terrorist who’s about to destroy humanity with a virus. It’s difficult to feel anything but pure joy when watching Johnson and Statham on the same screen! Hobbs & Shaw also delivers enough action-packed moments to give us just the Fast & Furious dose we needed to end the decade.
In this tantalizing horror movie directed by the amazing Jordan Peele, a family spending their holidays by the beach realize they are being watched and targeted by a bunch of murderous individuals… who all look exactly like them. As with anything Peele does, tension is at its maximum in this riveting tale that weaves thriller and psychological drama in the best way. Who said the horror genre was dead? No one, that’s who.
11. Jumanji: The Next Level
If you thought the first opus was fun, wait until you see this comedy of the year! In The Next Level, the good old team of teenagers turned-video-game-avatars come back to the world of Jumanji only to discover that the game is now slightly broken and ready to challenge them tenfold. As always, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and the rest of the cast, make us laugh until our ribs hurt.
Want more film recommendations? Check out our list of the most popular movies of 2018!
10. It: Chapter Two
Officially positioned as the best thriller movie of 2019! 27 years ago, the Losers Club defeated the evil shape-shifting clown that terrorized their town. In Chapter Two, they come back to confront the horrifying creature once again, this time as adults who have spent their lives haunted by the terrors they saw as children. Although the actors have obviously changed, the chemistry and fun of the original team remains and every minute of this sequel is a bone-chilling delight.
In 2019, there was no escaping this fantastic, heart-wrenching Joker origin story that explored the terrifying DC villain we love to hate from a whole new angle – that of a failed comedian who turns to villainy after being disappointed and harassed by the world at large. A descent into madness that will in no doubt win many awards, especially thanks to Joaquin Phoenix’s incredible performance in the lead role. Joker was a genuinely good movie that departs from the usual tropes of superhero and DC films.
As with any Disney live-action, the news of an Aladdin remake was received with some healthy skepticism. Why remake perfection? Well, fortunately, the film wasn’t a direct copy of the original, and delivered a whole new world for a whole new generation of children. Even the new songs and characters will have our kids quoting them for years to come! And of course, a huge high-five to Will Smith for taking on the difficult role of Genie in his own way after Robin Williams made it almost untouchable.
7. Spider-Man: Far From Home
After the success of Homecoming, a great sequel was a no-brainer. And although this new opus could have relied heavily on the emotional aftermath of Avengers: Endgame without bringing anything new to the table, it did the absolute opposite of that. In Far From Home, the setting has changed from New York to… the world, and the stakes are higher than ever before. Whilst on a school trip with his friends and ignoring Nick Fury’s save-the-world requests, Peter Parker discovers a whole new threat and has no other choice but to wear his famous mask.
6. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Like Avengers: Endgame, this opus of the Star Wars franchise marked the end of an era, or the long-awaited epilogue for the Skywalker intrigue that began in 1977. The Rise of Skywalker may not be ranked as the greatest Star Wars movie out there, but it’s still ranked as one of the biggest and best movies of 2019. The farewell ride for Rey, Poe, Finn, and all the other characters we’ve grown to love since The Force Awakens is a worthy epilogue that packs emotions, action, and closure, like only the best movies can.
5. Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel was not only a top movie on its own, it also made history by being the first MCU film to center a superheroine, not to mention one that very few people had ever heard of beyond comic books fans. Brie Larson does a perfect job in the role of the uber-powerful enhanced human adopted by an extraterrestrial species who comes back on earth to lead the fight against the evil Skrulls. So much so that we’re all sitting here tapping our foot, waiting for the next opus.
4. Frozen II
It’s been almost 7 years since Frozen was released, and yet, the magic still hasn’t worn off. With this second opus, the sisters go on yet another adventure, this time to discover the hidden origins of Elsa’s powers and the meaning behind the voice she has been hearing ever since returning to Arendelle. This 2019 popular movie is a fairytale for the whole family and a worthy sequel to the beloved 2013 film.
3. Toy Story 4
After 3 formidable movies, it was difficult to imagine how Woody and his friends would manage to warm our hearts and make us cry again. But if there’s one lesson we’ve all learned from Pixar, it’s that you can’t underestimate their ability to activate our tear ducts. As the fun-sized characters go on a trip with their owner (including a brand new fork toy!), they face new challenges that once again teach them valuable lessons about life as a toy. Who said being human was the most difficult thing?
2. The Lion King
Everyone who grew up watching the famous animated film would agree that it is unmatchable, and not just in the animation category. So when Disney announced a live-action Lion King a while back, people were understandably frowning. And yet! The final product is a wonderful new take on the beloved masterpiece, making it the second most popular movie of 2019. The realistic rendition of the Disney classic blends new and old songs in a respectful, magical way – try not to sing along, we dare you.
1. Avengers: Endgame
It’s difficult not to end this list with the highest grossing, most popular movie of 2019 — perhaps even of this decade. Avengers: Endgame not only concluded the ‘Thanos’ arch, seeing all the Marvel heroes team up against him in an epic battle, it also marked the end of a whole era for the MCU, with the departure of some of its most important, beloved characters/actors. In fact, we’re not going to lie, we’re still crying about it.
There you have it – the best and most popular movies to have blessed our screens in 2019. We cried, laughed, screamed and jumped…now let’s see what this new year and this new decade has to offer…
What was your favorite movie of the year? Let us know in the comments below!