I could level it off at one of those numbers that people like, such as "top 5!" or "top 10!" but I don't want to put limits, so I'm putting whatever number comes to mind. I also won't go too deep into a discussion (I tend to ramble a lot on topics that interest me). In short, I don't generally like blockbuster films, but every year or two one comes along that I actually enjoy quite a lot. But all the Batmans, Star Warses, Avengers/Heroes, big disaster flicks, etc... tend not to appeal to me.
Sorry to ramble, but originality is kind of like why I love the current horror genre, there's a lot more originality in it than any other genre - I don't get horror fans that think the 80s and 90s were the best years for horror because those were the most creatively devoid years of the genre where everything was a formulaic slasher flick. The stuff after 2000 (and particularly after about 2011's Insidious) and before the mid-80s had a lot more uniqueness and was significantly better, IMO.
But anyway! This is about blockbusters, not horror. It's not in any particular order, because they're all kind of different, and are difficult to compare for the most part - I'd like different films more at different times of the year and such. Anyway, enough rambling.
All of these are going to be from 2000 onward, I grew up in the 80s and 90s and have a bias toward those films because of my childhood and teenage naivety.
Some of these are relatively formulaic (in having a producer determined pacing and producer determined plot progression), but at least a few of them aren't; so not everyone is going to like these picks, because generally speaking, most filmgoers tend to more positively receive films that are made for large-scale audiences. Some of these received weird anti-popularity backlash; I tend to ignore that kind of bandwagoning in music as well as film: if I like it, I like it. Something like Blade Runner 2049 is more of a niche film, it's like an arthouse flick on steroids. But people who are more into the art-form of "cinema" are going to appreciate these ones a lot more than say Avengers Universe film #235. Overall, I think there's something for everyone here, especially if you're looking for a more diverse range of cinematic style on the blockbuster budget level.
I'll start the list with X-Men: First Class - this film is an origin story for the X-Men franchise, and IMO, was much more interesting than the original trilogy (I know some fans will hate hearing that, but X-Men 1-3 didn't really interest me a great deal, despite Ian Mckellan and Patrick Stewart starring). There was a certain style and coolness to it that other comic films tend to lack. In other words, while it had comicbook characters, the film didn't feel much like a comicbook superhero film. I like how they shift the languages in this scene, and it's simply badass. Magneto saying "Let's just say I'm Frankenstein's Monster, and I'm looking for my creator" is the perfect way to set up this film, Frankenstein is a story about an ambitious scientist who was trying to build a race of superior people, but it didn't quite turn out - the monster then went hunting down his creator (Dr. Frankenstein) to get revenge. (damn, already breaking my rules!)
Blade Runner 2049 - it's unbelievable how difficult it is to find an appropriate scene in this film that doesn't violate the forum rules. Most of this film has frontal nudity, even parts that you wouldn't suspect. There are also several prequel shorts that are really good.
Avatar - Perhaps the most visually impressive film I have ever seen. When I first saw this, I really wasn't ready for it. It blew my mind. The details in this film are insane, and I think it's on the level that only a blockbuster director like James Cameron could achieve, or perhaps Spielberg at his very best. Cameron is like the Scorsese of blockbusters.
Logan - it was a darker, grittier, and ultimately more visceral feeling version of superhero films. I wish I could find a clip of this entire scene including the earlier part because it is a brilliant piece of build-up, suspense, and action. Losing the context of its place in the film really doesn't do the scene justice. But this, another X-Men related film, is one of the few superhero films I enjoyed. The first two acts of this three act film were perhaps the best two acts of any superhero film, ever.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy - I picked this scene because it was a battle of two Maiar spirits (they're like minor gods in the classic Indo-European belief systems), one working for the Valar, the other a former servant of Morgoth. I wrote a much more in-depth post of this one earlier this afternoon, here: https://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9204358
Rogue One had a visceral and organic feel that is uncharacteristic of the franchise which is more known for its highly contrived storytelling. The sort of "wild-west" feeling is probably what appeals the most to me in this, as well as the ridiculous attention to detail which is not just rare in Star Wars (at least outside of the original "Star Wars" film from 1977) but rare in blockbusters in general. The first act is about dropping characters into the hysteria of what's going on, the second act is trying to figure out what to do about the situation including the formulation, execution, and preparation of a plan, and the third act is how it all carries through - and, IMO, one of the best third acts of any blockbuster film ever made. I'd compare it to something like Terminator 2 in terms of how much fun it is. I mentioned the ridiculous attention to detail, if you've been in the military, a lot of the scenes that are shown are a bit familiar - including how the troops sit around waiting; it's like they got actual people from the military just to write background micro-scenes (or whatever you'd call them); this film feels like it has many more people in it than any of the other Star Wars flicks. There's a much greater view into the Empire and its culture than ever before - only the original Star Wars film compares... and obviously, that original Star Wars film is where most of the inspiration for this one comes - so it makes sense that it is comparable. To me, this is one of the best prequels/sequels to a film ever because it actually enhances the original (or at least, I found it did). It made me finally care about the rebel alliance. Anyway, for Rogue One, I went with an action clip that ISN'T in the third act.
Interstellar - this is, in my opinion, Christopher Nolan's masterpiece and one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. Like most of the blockbusters on my list, it doesn't adhere to pacing and plotting conventions and instead focuses on creating an artistic vision that feels different than everything else that's out there. This is something I appreciate, as lowest common denominator flicks are mostly what studios want - Christopher Nolan joins Ridley Scott in being one of the few directors that's able to sell a studio on a less conventional sort of blockbuster. It almost feels like a film from the 1970s updated with today's technology.
Gonna rush through the next bunch as I've been breaking my "no rambling" rule.
Deadpool series - What can I say? It's fun - this scene is kind of like Archer with super heroes (Archer is a very underrated animated film franchise). Also, LOVE the Indiana Jones homage in this scene.
That's not even the best action scene from the first film, this is:
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon - Ang Lee's undisputed masterpiece. This fight is a classic superior skill vs superior weapon battle:
And lastly, three spy thrillers.
Mission Impossible 3 (though I like this whole franchise) I think Philip Seymour Hoffman made one of the greatest villains in the history of the genre. He did Goldfinger better than Goldfinger. The third film in the franchise is VERY dark compared to the others, and as a result, was not as well liked... except by sick sadistic people like me. In my opinion, the most intense scene in the whole fucking genre is this one:
Casino Royale - and speaking of great villains of the genre, just when you thought Sean Bean couldn't be topped, along comes Mads. Again, a similar scene to MI3, with our hero tied to a chair facing impossible circumstances...
Kingsmen, if you haven't seen this film, watch it. It's brilliant. An evil church ending to a lil of the ol' ultraviolence =P
I describe myself as a little dose of toxic masculinity.