I don't know about you, but I had a blast in 2012. As I'm going through the process of rehashing the best movies and aspects of the year in film, I've finally come to this list of the best movie scenes and moments of 2012. These were my jaw-dropping, stand-up-and-cheer, hit my wife next to me, and squeal-like-a-kid moments from 2012's movies.
1. The last five minutes of The Dark Knight Rises-- As I said in my full review, I agree with critic Richard Roeper that the last five minutes concluding this trilogy are arguably the most satisfying five minutes you'll see in a movie all year. Yes, true-blue fanboys, it wasn't a "canon" ending by any means, but that was never the goal. You've got to love the showmanship of Christopher Nolan to deliver his final note to Batman in his own special way. (my full review)
2. When the Hulk shows up for the final battle of The Avengers-- The biggest hit of 2012 is filled with many geek-out little moments, but, without a doubt, Mark Ruffalo and his big green alter ego stole the $600 million blockbuster show. When he shows up at the end battle of The Avengers, riding that crappy moped at first, business picks up. From the necessary perfect group hero shot to his punch of Thor and the rag doll beating of Loki, the Hulk makes it all happen and gets the best moments. (my full review)
3. The plane crash sequence in Flight-- The crash scene in Flight will take your breath away. Anchored by a powerhouse performance by Denzel Washington, it was easily the most challenging and pulse-racing scene of the year. If shivers and tears could hit you at the same time, they would during these ten minutes. You might even have a hard time getting back on a passenger jet in the near future. (my full review)
4. When James Bond goes and gets an old car out of storage in Skyfall-- As a Bond fan, nothing gets better than the showmanship that comes from 007 (Daniel Craig) retrieving an old beater from his secret garage. That classic Aston Martin DB5 reveal is a jaw-dropper followed by a smile from ear to ear. It was the perfect spot for a little nostalgia and nod to the where the series has been before Daniel Craig got there. (my full review)
5. The big dance during the final act of Silver Linings Playbook-- I feared going into this movie that this whole ballroom dancing angle to the story was going to be a cheap plot point to appeal to the Dancing with the Stars crowd. It couldn't be more opposite and acted as an outstanding peak to so many little dramas that were being built up throughout David O. Russell's excellent film. For a romantic drama/comedy, this was edge-of-your-seat anticipation right up there with the action movies. (my full review)
6. The SEAL Team 6 raid of Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in Zero Dark Thirty-- After the tense build-up and planning, the key scene of Zero Dark Thirty delivers with new definitions for "pins and needles" when it comes to edge-of-your seat suspense. Director Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) nails the needed intensity with a quiet score, POV angles, and night vision views to amp up the "like you're really there" feeling. (my full review)
7. The famed riddle sequence in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey-- Though the book is being stretched into three long movies, this was the most critical scene Peter Jackson had to nail. He hit the ball out of the ballpark Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins and Andy Serkis's performance-captured Gollum put the orc-hunting and dwarf-chasing on hold for a riveting ten minute sequence of perfect tone and foreshadowing. (my full review)
8. The final chest-bursting turn of events to finish Prometheus-- Long during the pre-release buzz cycle, we always suspected that Ridley Scott's return to science-fiction with Prometheus was going to end up tying into his famed Alien original. While Prometheus still posed more questions than it solved (thanks to Lost writer Damon Lindelof), the final Xenomorph payoff is what people came to see. (my full review)
9. The no-holds-barred, knockdown-drag-out battle to tear up Seattle and end Chronicle-- Shot for just $12 million (which is pittance in today's day and age of blockbusters), the special effects, camerawork, and realistic take on super-powers in Chronicle were dazzling. Fun little moments built up to a final wild battle that rivals anything from a comic book movie with ten-times their budget. (my full review)
10. The final alpha wolf vs. Liam Neeson showdown to end The Grey-- After the great previews and trailers, this was the moment you were waiting for all movie. An exhausted and cornered Liam Neeson accepts his final fate and prepares for one last effort to fight his way out as the last survivor. This would rank higher expect for the quickness by which director Joe Carnahan hits the credits button, stealing this scene. Stay after the credits for a little bit of "what if" to finish the scene. (my full review)
11. The final two gunfights of Django Unchained-- Plenty of bad guys get what's coming to them in a pair of ending shootouts orchestrated by Jamie Foxx's title character. Blood goes everywhere and so do the bullets. (my full review)
12. Chuck Norris delivering one of his own "Chuck Norris Fact" jokes in The Expendables 2-- It was a perfect line and perfect moment that made The Expendables 2 all worth the immense cheese factor. A close backup from the same movie comes from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger stealing each other trademark lines. (my full review)
HONORABLE MENTION FOR EVERYONE: Discovering where Johnny Depp's cameo was going to be in 21 Jump Street and its clever turnout.
HONORABLE MENTION FOR JUST THE GUYS: Being dragged by your wife or girlfriend to see Magic Mike and being thankful (and inspired) that most of the nudity in Magic Mike comes from women instead of men. Thank you, Olivia Munn!
HONORABLE MENTION FOR JUST THE LADIES: Any scene with shirtless men, particularly Channing Tatum or Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike. Let's just say Ginuwine's "My Pony" just got itself back on every female iPod in America for the first time since 1996.