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2012 Year in Review: The top movies of 2012


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Yahoo! Canada takes a look back at some of the top movies of 2012, as determined by their popularity on Yahoo! Canada search. As chosen by you, these are some of your favourite movies of the past year.

"The Hunger Games"
Author Suzanne Collins' critically acclaimed young adult novel of the same name successfully made the leap to the big screen earlier this year, much to the relief of her legions of diehard fans. Fresh off of her Oscar-nominated turn in "Winter's Bone," "Hunger Games" star and Hollywood "It" girl Jennifer Lawrence also proved she could be a box office draw. With rave reviews and nearly $700 million in box office receipts, the success of "The Hunger Games' has helped pave the way for three sequels, the first of which is due out in 2013.

"The Dark Knight Rises"
The highly anticipated conclusion to Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy had the unenviable task of following 2008's much beloved "The Dark Knight" — a film so lauded by its fans that the sequel couldn't possibly hope to live up to the hype. Much like its predecessor, the villain in "The Dark Knight Rises"' nearly steals the show. Tom Hardy's Bane injects the otherwise longwinded proceedings with some much-needed unpredictability and Bat-breaking.  Sadly, for everything "The Dark Knight Rises" has going for it, the film will likely be most remembered for the tragic opening night shooting in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 people dead and dozens wounded.

"The Amazing Spider-Man"
With comic book movies like "The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Avengers" stealing the spotlight, Sony's "too soon" reboot of the wall-crawling Marvel Comics franchise was definitely the underdog coming into this year's summer superhero season. But despite the fact that it was yet another retelling of Peter Parker's origin story, "The Amazing Spider-Man" surprised many industry watchers with positive reviews and a strong showing at the box office worldwide.

"The Avengers"
The culmination of years of comic book movie groundwork, Marvel's "The Avengers" takes the cake as the biggest movie of 2012 — both in terms of raw spectacle and box office numbers. Uniting superheroes Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, and Black Widow for the first time on screen, the Joss Whedon directed film delivered the funny and thrilling superhero ensemble that fans had been hoping for.

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2"
It's over!" cried both fans and haters of the "Twilight Saga" when "Breaking Dawn — Part 2" finally hit theatres in November. Love it or hate it, the final "Twilight" movie was arguably the best of the five-part movie saga — though is that really saying that much? Featuring a sprawling cast and more action than the four previous films combined, "Breaking Dawn — Part 2" delivers the bittersweet conclusion that Twi-hards have been dreading and the long overdue ending the rest of us have been waiting for. With "Twilight" finally behind them, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart can now get on with their very promising acting careers and maybe stay out of the tabloids for a few weeks.

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
After a nearly nine year absence in the real world, audiences will return to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth this December, in a story set 60 years prior to the events of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Split into three films, director Peter Jackson's long-in-production prequels will bridge the gap between the events of much shorter "Hobbit" novel and his adaptation of "Lord of the Rings" books, following the adventures of hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, and a band of dwarves. Will "An Unexpected Journey" be an Oscar contender like the Best Picture winning "Return of the King?" Does a troll s--- in the Mirkwood?

"Magic Mike"
This crowd-pleasing, semi-biographical dramedy about male strippers sure was an odd beast. Directed by genre hopping auteur Steven Soderbergh ("Ocean's Eleven," "Contagion") and starring loveable meathead/sexiest man alive Channing Tatum, "Magic Mike" is perhaps the only movie that will appeal to cinephiles and bachelorette parties in equal measure. Loosely based on Tatum's own experiences as a real-life male stripper, this passion project was a real star turn for the "21 Jump Street" actor, who once again proved that not only can he can dance but also that he could act.

Bond was back in a big way in 2012. After the disappointing misfire that was 2007's "Quantum of Solace," Daniel Craig returned as the British super spy in the Sam Mendes directed "Skyfall." In the film, 007 faced his most dangerous foe ever: his own mid-life crisis. Far and away the best entry in the Bond franchise in years, "Skyfall" was a huge hit with both critics and audiences, earning raves and nearly $700 million at the box office so far.

"Lincoln" — Steven Spielberg's lengthy period biography of America's 16th president had Oscar bait written all over it from day one. Between the highly political subject matter, the all-star cast, and the acclaimed and chameleon-like title performance of actor Daniel Day Lewis, it's clear that Dreamworks is banking on the Spielberg pic as their Academy Awards contender this year.

"The Bourne Legacy" — Can a franchise live on without its namesake? Despite mixed reviews and a new star, apparently it can. Audiences thought to give Jeremy Renner's Aaron Cross a go at the title of the world's most deadly sleeper agent last summer, helping to power "The Bourne Legacy" to a respectable box office total where many expected it to flop. While it may have been lacking in the direction and Matt Damon departments, "Legacy" nevertheless demonstrated that there is some life in the "Bourne" movie-verse, thanks in large part to Renner and a strong supporting cast.

"Life of Pi" — Director Ang Lee ventured into 3D for the first time with the absolutely gorgeous castaway film "Life of Pi," based on author Yann Martel's award winning novel of the same name. The film follows Pi, the lone survivor of a ship wreck who finds himself adrift in a lifeboat with a tiger, a zebra, a hyena, and an orangutaun. If glowing early reviews are any indication, the Oscar winning director may be set for yet another Academy Award nomination.

"Prometheus" - Ridley Scott's mind-blowingly beautiful return to the "Alien" universe left much to be desired on the story side of things. The sci-fi prequel's visual depth was outmatched at almost every turn by the shallowness of the characters and their paper thin motivations. However, "Prometheus"' shortcomings did not prevent the $130 million film from earning back that gargantuan budget and then some. Audiences may not have known what was going on or why, but they turned out in droves (to the tune of $402 million in box office receipts) to see what Scott had cooked up.

"John Carter" - Disney's ambitious $250 million adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's seminal sci-fi pulp stories had a lot going for it: rising star Taylor Kitsch, "Wall-E" director Andrew Stanton, and impressive visual effects. But even those things couldn't save the bloated space adventure from its own confusing plot and convoluted backstory. "John Carter" was strike two for Canadian "Battleship" star Kitsch, tanking hard at the North American box office with a paltry $73 million take. Although the film eventually broke even (and actually made a little profit) thanks to respectable foreign box office totals, the damage to Kitsch's career was likely already done.

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