2. The Avengers
Marvel’s magic trick, its signature crossover. You know the guy who wrote the previous entry and said “the mere fact that [Guardians of the Galaxy] exists counts as a victory?” Screw that guy, that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This is the real existence=victory article. Joss Whedon descended like a geeky Nick Fury to unite the disparate elements of the nascent MCU at its most volatile moment and arguably changed modern blockbusters doing so.
Here’s just a few things Whedon juggled successfully: the Hulk recasting and rebranding, Cap’s entry into modern society, Loki’s evolution into grand villain, Black Widow and Hawkeye, Iron Man’s big hero moment, the epic Battle of New York (which he was mandated to write). The list goes on. Whedon worked the Marvel machine as best he could to produce the best work he could and the meeting of the minds here pays huge dividends. It is full of Whedon’s signature witty repartee plus a few genuinely excellent gags. This film was the moment the MCU self-actualized.