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Best Movies Of 2012

Tributes, time-travelers and titans top MTV's list of the top films of the year.

In 2012, Jennifer Lawrence entered the arena and emerged the victor, Christian Bale donned his Bat cowl one last time, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt became Bruce Willis -- expressive eyebrows and all. With memorable performances, iconic moments and infinitely quotable one-liners, this year's celluloid spoils were rich indeed.

As we reflect on the films that left an indelible mark, it's almost impossible to narrow the field down to just 10. But we are, if nothing else, ambitious, so that's what we've done. Polling the entire MTV Movies team, we've compiled our list of the Best Movies of 2012. Check out the top 10 below and leave your own favorites in the comments section.

10. "The Hunger Games"

Never mind the fact that all the performances in this movie are killer, the casting, set and costume design superb, or the film's very impressive haul at the box office; "The Hunger Games" is great because it is about something: survival. Also, it's a story that finally revolves around a female protagonist worth celebrating. Katniss Everdeen has real problems and imperfections, she struggles with overwhelming responsibility, second-guesses her actions, self-defensively pushes away her emotions, and yet she is strong, resilient and intelligent. And we've only scratched the surface of her self-discovery and what it might mean for making real change for everyone living under the desolate, ominous rule of the Capitol. -- Kara Warner

9. "The Hobbit"

Feelings on frame-rate aside, the first part of "The Hobbit" trilogy is, for my money, as good as Peter Jackson's Middle-earth movies have ever been. Sure, the stakes are not as high as they were in "Lord of the Rings," and yes, there is a sad lacking of Viggo Mortensen. But what it misses in doomsday scenarios and Aragorn, it more than makes up for in humor, heart, heroes and one hell of a score. Seriously, try getting Howard Shore's "Misty Mountains" theme out of your brain. Not. Possible. -- Josh Wigler

8. "Silver Linings Playbook"

Who knew Bradley Cooper had it in 'im? The pretty boy who once brought us gems like "All About Steve" turned in a shockingly beautiful performance in "Silver Linings Playbook" as Pat, a bipolar wreck of a man, fresh from a court-mandated stint in a mental-health facility. Despite the grim circumstances -- his female lead is Jennifer Lawrence as a brittle, short-fused young widow -- the movie is hopeful, funny, uplifting. It's a silver lining, if you will. -- Brooke Tarnoff

7. "The Cabin in the Woods"

Simply calling this "Joss Whedon's other 2012 movie" doesn't do it justice. Produced and co-written by Whedon and directed and co-written by "Buffy" and "Angel" vet Drew Goddard, this hilarious horror flick has something for everyone, including beautiful young victims, ancient evil gods, a giant bong/ coffee mug/ weapon, a merman, Sigourney Weaver, a nefarious unicorn and zombies -- rather, a zombie redneck torture family. "The Cabin in the Woods" features Whedonverse faves like Fran Kranz and Amy Acker (plus the Australian dude who plays Thor), and the brilliant dialogue is classic Whedon all the way. -- Tami Katzoff

6. "Skyfall"

A reinvention of the Bond brand (it openly mocks itself!), an origin story and a standalone ass-kicking action film all in one, "Skyfall" is a movie that bristles with intensity. It's slick, stylish, loud and sexy. "Casino Royale" was a pleasantly surprising yay-fest, "Quantum of Solace" a relative disappointment, but "Skyfall" is not only the best Blond Bond movie yet, it's one of the best Bond. Movies. Ever. And while we're getting all hyperbolic, it also boasts perhaps the greatest Bond villain of all time in Javier Bardem's genius, bi-curious sleazeball. Give this man another Oscar nomination. -- Kevin Polowy

5. "The Avengers"

There is no question that Marvel's superhero epic is one of Earth's mightiest comic book adaptations, but that wasn't always a sure thing. Early trailers left many fans nervous, as did the sheer size of the film's cast. Chalk it up to any number of factors -- the writing/directing of Joss Whedon, the master-class performances by Tom Hiddleston and others -- but for my money, the success of "The Avengers" really boils down to four little words: It had a Hulk. What more do you need to know? -- Josh Wigler

4. "Zero Dark Thirty"

Spoiler alert: bin Laden dies at the end! But you already knew that, and it doesn't matter because Kathryn Bigelow's thriller about the hunt for the al-Qaeda founder reanimates the recent past so that CIA paper-pushing somehow becomes seat-gripping drama and the realities of terrorism and torture reveal themselves as freshly gruesome. Jessica Chastain's monomaniacal intelligence analyst, Maya, may not be as flashy as James Bond nor have the leisure-suit swagger (and [article id="1695267"]Justin Bieber[/article] hair) of Ben Affleck in "Argo," but the success of her impossible mission promises a far bigger payoff for audiences: We're all safer because the bad guy dies. -- Eric Ditzian

3. "Looper"

What do you call a movie that's about time travel, makes you theorize about the possible alternate timelines, but then directly tells you not to worry about it? You could call it "exciting," "innovative" and "outrageously entertaining," but mostly, I just refer to it as "Looper." The western-sci-fi hybrid from writer/director/genius Rian Johnson pits Bruce Willis against a version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt that looks a hell of a lot like Bruce Willis, and I loved every second of it. -- Kevin P. Sullivan

2. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

Literary adaptations can be as complicated as an AP calculus assignment -- take one too many liberties with the source material and you'll have a legion of literature lovers passing you dirty notes in class. Perhaps, then, much of the magic of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is owing to author Stephen Chbosky, who took on the dual role of screenwriter and director for this coming-of-age tale. Add in stellar performances by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and, in particular, Ezra Miller, and this high school saga has earned a rightful seat in the cafeteria next to classics like "The Breakfast Club" and "Dead Poets Society." -- Amy Wilkinson

1. "The Dark Knight Rises"

How do you follow up one of the best comic book-inspired films of all time anchored by an immediately iconic performance? You go bigger. You raise the stakes. And you put an exclamation point on the end of it. That's what Christopher Nolan did to close out his awe-inspiring take on the legend of Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises," and it's why it's our favorite film of 2012. From Tom Hardy's hypnotic take on Bane (a character generally dismissed as second-tier in the Batman canon) to Anne Hathaway somehow living up to and perhaps exceeding Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal in "Batman Returns," Nolan made brilliant choice after brilliant choice. And then there are the final 20 minutes, a skillfully edited sequence of escalating action and emotion that gave us all goose bumps. Bruce Wayne's story is over. But the Batman will live forever, and so will this film. -- Josh Horowitz

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