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10 Best Action Movies of the 2020s So Far, Ranked

December 9, 202313 Mins Read

Action movies have proven themselves to be some of the most popular and exhilarating genres of movies in cinematic history, with some of the most beloved and successful movies of all time being action movies. Films like The Dark Knight, Kill Bill, and The Matrix have stood the test of time as some of the most impactful and iconic stories of all time, still enthralling audiences to this day. This testament still holds true with modern-day films, as the 2020s have already proven themselves to be a groundbreaking decade for action films as a whole.

Action movies have come in a wide variety throughout the decade, whether they are continuing films in all-time classic action franchises, or original action movies that evolve and build upon the trends of modern action films to create highly memorable experiences. While there will surely be even more iconic and unforgettable action films to be released throughout the decade, the amazing great start that the decade has had for action puts the rest of the decade in great hands.

10 ‘The Northman’ (2022)

Director: Robert Eggers

Alexander Skarsgård in 'The Northman'
Image via Focus Features

The Northman is a historical Viking epic that follows the story of Prince Amleth, who was on the verge of becoming a man before his uncle betrayed his family, murdering his father and kidnapping his mother. This betrayal puts Amleth on a path of revenge, as he has been training and becoming a powerful Viking for the past 20 years, patiently waiting for his opportunity to strike. He now finds himself on a mission to rescue his mother, avenge his father, and kill his uncle.

While revenge stories have been a staple of action films for a long time, the undeniable filmmaking chops on display by director Robert Eggers help make The Northman an exceptional epic to watch unfold. The film makes expert use of every aspect of its budget in crafting a highly engaging and powerful story of wrath, glory, and honor, complete with numerous mesmerizing action sequences. While the film sadly underperformed at the box office, it didn’t stop it from receiving great amounts of praise and respect from critics and audiences.

The Northman Movie Poster

The Northman

Release Date
April 22, 2022

Robert Eggers

137 Minutes

Watch on Peacock

9 ‘Prey’ (2022)

Director: Dan Trachtenberg

Image via 20th Century

A complete reinvention of the iconic Predator franchise, Prey is a prequel that takes place on the Great Plains in 1719 and follows Naru, a fierce and highly skilled Comanche warrior. When a mysterious new creature threatens her tribe, it forces Naru to go on the hunt in order to protect her people. However, it soon becomes apparent that the prey that Naru is stalking is a highly evolved alien predator with a technologically advanced arsenal.

While the Predator franchise as a whole has been middling to forgettable after the first stand-out film, Prey is the first film since the original to recreate the thrill and energy that the first one provided. The film makes great use of simply going back to the basics of the franchise and having one spectacularly talented warrior going one-on-one with the alien apex predator. Part of why the film works so well can also be attributed to the character of Naru, played by Amber Midthunder, who has tremendous screen presence and brutality throughout the film.

Prey 2022 Film Poster


Naru, a skilled warrior of the Comanche Nation, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

Release Date
August 5, 2022

Dan Trachtenberg

100 minutes

Watch on Hulu

8 ‘No Time to Die’ (2021)

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

Daniel Craig in No Time to Die
Image via MGM

The final installment of the Daniel Craig run of James Bond films, No Time to Die sees Bond having left the Secret Service to enjoy a peaceful retirement in Jamaica. However, he soon finds himself thrown back into action when an old friend returns requesting his help on a mission where the entire world is at stake once again. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist proves itself to be much more treacherous than previously expected, as Bond goes face to face with a new villain armed with a dangerous new technology.

While far from the peak of the Bond films starring Craig in the leading role, No Time to Die was able to deliver an exceptional final chapter to one of the longest and most beloved renditions of the character. The film features a great deal of finality, bringing in aspects and characters from throughout the Craig run of films to make for an exceptional end to the story and character of Bond. The action is also quite top-notch throughout the film, making use of a number of inventive and creative gadgets, as well as mesmerizing stunts to help make the finale a highly memorable one.


No Time to Die

Release Date
September 29, 2021

Cary Fukunaga


Watch on Prime Video

7 ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ (2021)

Director: Jon Watts

Spider-Man getting ready to attack in 'Spider-Man - No Way Home'
Image via Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group

The third film in the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy, Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Peter Parker no longer having to separate his normal life from his superhero life, following his secret identity being revealed. After enlisting the help of Doctor Strange to make everyone forget about his secret identity, he accidentally brings in a number of villains from across the multiverse to hunt him down. Now, with an entire array of villains hunting him down, Peter must figure out a way to return these villains to their original dimensions.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was one of the biggest and most successful superhero movies of the 2020s, bringing together multiple generations of Spider-Man characters together for one big adventure. The film acted as both a continuation of the MCU’s version of the character and a love letter and send-off to versions of the character that never got their desired finale. This is all on top of the always exceptional action that comes from Spider-Man as a character, bringing a number of great action sequences from an array of classic characters once again to the big screen.

Spider-Man: No Way Home poster

Spider-Man: No Way Home

With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.

Release Date
December 17, 2021

148 minutes

Watch on Starz

6 ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ (2023)

Director: Chad StahelskiKeanu Reeves in John Wick Chapter 4

John Wick: Chapter 4 continues the ongoing story of highly trained and highly dangerous assassin John Wick, with an ever-increasing price on his head and continuing to run from The High Table. Having uncovered a path to finally defeating The High Table, John embarks on a journey to truly earn his freedom but must face off against a new enemy with a number of powerful alliances. John must face off against a number of enemies across the globe, from new dangerous assassins to old friends turned into foes, in order to finally reach the freedom he’s been searching for.

The John Wick films have always been able to deliver high-octane action and stunts, building upon each subsequent entry in style, stakes, and action. Chapter 4 only further continues this trend as it features some of the most exciting action and best setpieces in the entire series. This is especially true when the film enters the final act, with John fighting off enemies across the entire city of Paris, and features one of the greatest individual action sequences in recent memory. While this entry appears to be the end of the franchise, for now, it ends John’s story with exuberance and grace.

John Wick Chapter 4 Poster

John Wick: Chapter 4

With the price on his head ever increasing, legendary hit man John Wick takes his fight against the High Table global as he seeks out the most powerful players in the underworld, from New York to Paris to Japan to Berlin.

Release Date
March 24, 2023

169 minutes

Watch on Starz

5 ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ (2022)

Director: James Cameron

Zoe Saldana as Neytiri and Sam Worthington as Jake in Avatar: The Way of Water
Image Via 20th Century Fox

The long-awaited followup to the highest-grossing movie of all time, Avatar: The Way of Water continues the story of Jake and Neytiri, now fostering a new family over a decade after the events of the first film. However, trouble always finds itself back to the Sully family, and now that the notorious Colonel Miles Quaritch has returned, the entire family must leave their home for the sake of the entire village’s safety. Now finding refuge in the village of the water Na’vi, Jake and his family begin to learn the ways of this other tribe, preparing for if Quaritch ever returns.

Audiences waited over a decade for the second installment in James Cameron‘s incredible sci-fi adventure, and just as the first film did in 2009, The Way of Water is a technical marvel in every sense of the word. The film is filled with countless beautiful set pieces, whether they be the otherworldly underwater sequences or the top-notch action surrounding the destroyed ship in the final act. The Way of Water proved that the Avatar franchise still had what it takes to enthrall and mystify audiences well after a number of people had given up on it.

Avatar The Way of Water Movie Poster

Avatar: The Way of Water

Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their home.

Release Date
December 16, 2022

James Cameron

192 minutes

Watch on Disney+

4 ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (2022)

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
Image via Paramount Pictures

A long-awaited sequel over 35 years in the making, Top Gun: Maverick continues the story of Cpt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, having spent his time as one of the Navy’s top aviators and dodging the advancement in rank that would keep him grounded. As the perfect man for the job, he soon finds himself returning to Top Gun in order to train a new group of the best young pilots for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is forced to teach his expertise to the new generation to prepare them.

It’s rare for a legacy action movie sequel to be able to live up to the legacy and strength of the original, and it’s frankly unheard of for one to surpass the original, yet Top Gun: Maverick defies these conventions. The film features a high number of jaw-dropping action sequences using real fighter jets to create a high-octane and action-packed experience around every corner. This is all on top of the story’s pacing, which while simplistic in nature, hits its story beats with such precision and mastery that it’s impossible not to get amped up in the excitement and thrills of the mission.


Top Gun: Maverick

After thirty years, Maverick is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

Release Date
May 27, 2022

Joseph Kosinski


Watch on Prime Video

3 ‘Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One’ (2023)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Mission Impossible Dead Reckoning Part One - 2023
Image via Paramount Pictures

The seventh film in the all-star Mission: Impossible franchise, Dead Reckoning Part One sees Ethan Hunt and his IMF team embarking on their most dangerous and terrifying mission yet. A terrifying AI weapon has been shown to threaten all of humanity if it falls into the wrong hands, so with control of the future and the fate of the world at stake, Ethan must find this mysterious and hidden weapon. However, a deadly powerful force from Ethan’s past is also in search of the weapon, making the stakes even higher and the mission even more dangerous.

The Mission: Impossible franchise has always been a cornerstone for incredible stuntwork and enthralling action sequences from beginning to end, a trend that continues with Dead Reckoning Part One. Even with over 2 and a half hours of runtime, the film is consistently engaging and enthralling at every second, with each subsequent action sequence being more exciting and engaging than the last. While the film’s box office was sadly overshadowed by the release of Barbenheimer, the film still delivered all the spectacular action that fans of the franchise love.

Rent on Prime Video

2 ‘RRR’ (2022)

Director: S. S. Rajamouli

A man rides a horse while his friend rides a motorcycle next to him.
Image via Netflix

RRR is an enthralling and action-packed fictional retelling of the history behind two of India’s biggest and most legendary revolutionaries, and their journey away from home before they fought for their country in the 1920s. The two are both building towards and fighting for their people in their own special way, and without even realizing it, they end up becoming secret enemies and the best of friends at the same time.

RRR is the rare action film that goes all out in nearly every way to create a masterfully engaging and always fun-to-watch viewing experience, complete with incredible visuals, characters, and action. The film makes perfect use of modern technologies and film techniques to create unbelievable action sequences and moments and always finds the opportunity to one-up itself in intensity and excitement. This is all on top of the film also featuring a number of amazing choreographed musical numbers, with one in specific even winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song.


A 2022 Indian action movie starring Jr NTR, Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, and Shriya Saran.

Release Date
March 25, 2022

S.S. Rajamouli

Ram Charan , Ajay Devgn


Watch on Netflix

1 ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ (2022)

Directors: Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan

Michelle Yeoh doing martial-arts in 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'
Image via A24

The Best Picture-winning sci-fi action masterpiece, Everything Everywhere All at Once follows the story of aging Chinese immigrant Evelyn who miraculously finds herself at the center of a multiversal struggle. She alone is supposedly the key to saving the entire multiverse, and she is soon trained in the ways of tapping into alternate-universe versions of herself to use their abilities in battle. Now with enemies from other universes tapping into her own home universe, a massive battle ensues that has the entire multiverse at stake.

Everything Everywhere All at Once has become such an iconic and immediately beloved modern-day action movie classic thanks in part to its highly creative and inventive display of action. Being able to combine highly choreographed kung fu with a high-concept sci-fi story and a great deal of quirky comedy makes for a perfect combination that deeply resonates with modern-day audiences. Even more than its excellent filmmaking techniques, the film also has a surprisingly effective emotional core, able to conjure up powerful emotions with its deeply interpersonal story and characters.

Everything Everywhere All at Once Black and White Poster

Everything Everywhere All at Once

A middle-aged Chinese immigrant is swept up into an insane adventure in which she alone can save existence by exploring other universes and connecting with the lives she could have led.

Release Date
March 25, 2022

139 minutes

Watch on Prime Video

NEXT: 30 Best Action Movies of All Time, Ranked

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