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13 Best Action Movies of the Last 10 Years, Ranked According to Rotten Tomatoes

April 8, 202410 Mins Read

The action movie genre has certainly seen its fair share of ups and downs over the year. Since 2014, however, it has arguably been in one of its best eras, one full of thrilling masterpieces that offer worldwide audiences suspenseful set pieces, creatively filmed death-defying stunts, and gripping stories holding it all together.

Over the course of the last decade, many action films have earned the favor of critics on the review-aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes. From a box office-breaking cultural phenomenon like Top Gun: Maverick to a smaller, much more underrated film like ’71, these highly acclaimed action flicks prove the genre is at the top of its game nowadays.

13 ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 95%

Miles Morales Spidey fighting Spot in a colorful background in 'Across the Spider-Verse'
Image via Sony Pictures

2023 saw the release of more outstanding films than the average movie fan can count, including some of the best action movies of the last 10 years. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is one of them, an adventure moving at breakneck speed where Miles Morales travels throughout the multiverse facing a growingly powerful villain.

Critics had extremely few negative things to say about this introduction to an exciting two-parter. They celebrated the dazzling animation, striking use of color, and mature, exciting story, calling for more superhero movies to have so much charm and heart and for more animated films to be so passionate about what the medium is able to achieve.

12 ‘Riders of Justice’ (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 96%

Image via Magnet

Mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent scarcity of new films, 2020 wasn’t the best year for action cinema — with some noteworthy exceptions. One of them was Riders of Justice, a Danish dramedy about a military man whose wife died in a tragic accident. What at first seemed like simple bad luck may turn out to be a carefully planned assassination.

One can never go wrong with Mads Mikkelsen as a movie’s leading man. This darkly amusing, terrifically fun revenge thriller offers plenty of proof of that. On Rotten Tomatoes, critics praised the clever balance between violent action and smart character work, thanks to the incredibly creative and lively direction of Anders Thomas Jensen.

Riders of Justice

Release Date
November 19, 2020

Anders Thomas Jensen

Mads Mikkelsen , Nikolaj Lie Kaas , Andrea Heick Gadeberg , Lars Brygmann , Nicolas Bro , Gustav Lindh


11 ”71′ (2014)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 96%

You don’t hear many people talk about it much these days, but the British war drama ’71 is highly praised as one of the best action movies in the last 10 years for a reason. It’s the tense, gritty story of a young soldier caught behind enemy lines after his unit accidentally leaves him following a violent conflict in Belfast.

’71 is one of the best movies ever made about The Troubles in Northern Ireland, with a mesmerizing lead performance by Jack O’Connell and masterfully crafted action scenes. Critics were particularly impressed by how it struck a balance between showing respect for historical events and being an enthralling action thriller, something that’s not often seen in the modern movie landscape.

Watch on Tubi

10 ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (2022)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 96%

The sun sweeps in as veteran fighter pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell stands before his aircraft in 'Top Gun: Maverick'.
Image via Paramount Pictures

Praised as the movie that saved the box office and resurrected the theater-going experience post-pandemic, Top Gun: Maverick exceeded all expectations when it came out. Set nearly four decades after Top Gun, this outstanding legacy sequel sees Maverick return to TOPGUN to confront his past while training a group of young pilots.

Nearly all critics evidently jumped in on the hype train for Maverick. They agreed that it far surpassed its predecessor in every way that mattered, delivering a fun and even slightly meta action film that made great use of nostalgia while standing on its own merits. Action films that are intelligently written without forgetting to be fun are few and far between, and this is certainly one of them.

9 ‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One’ (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 96%

Tom Cruise jumping a motorcycle off a cliff in 'Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One'
Image via Paramount Pictures

The bar was set extremely high for Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One, the latest installment in one of the best modern action franchises, where practically every new movie is better than the last. In Ethan Hunt’s most recent mission, he and his team must retrieve a new weapon that could threaten all of humanity if it fell into the wrong hands.

Dead Reckoning, Part One met critics’ high expectations and then some. They called its potentially catastrophic stakes incredibly engaging, its epic set pieces some of the most impressive and nail-biting of the whole franchise, and the story fully engaging. Even if the film didn’t perform particularly well at the box office, it definitely won over critics and audiences’ hearts.

Watch on Paramount+

8 ‘Black Panther’ (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 96%

Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)
Image via Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has had its fair share of critically acclaimed action adventures, but Black Panther remains the franchise’s highest-rated entry on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), heir to the throne of Wakanda, who is trying to guide his country to a new future while facing an enemy from his country’s past.

With a thematically powerful and emotionally resonant story, an ensemble of memorable performances, and some of the most fun action sequences in the entire MCU, Black Panther makes it clear why critics and audiences alike love it so much. Ryan Coogler‘s direction is vibrant and makes Wakanda feel rich and lived-in, resulting in a story that’s genuinely spellbinding and an awful lot of fun.

Black Panther

Release Date
February 16, 2018

Ryan Coogler

134 minutes

7 ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 97%

Wallpaper of Kubo holding "the Sword Unbreakable" from 'Kubo and the Two Strings'
Image via Focus Features

Laika has placed itself at the forefront of modern American stop-motion animation thanks to magical movies like Kubo and the Two Strings. This criminally underrated action-adventure film is about a boy named Kubo, who must find his late father’s magic armor to defeat a vengeful spirit.

Visually striking and thoroughly engaging thanks to its fun story and interesting characters, Kubo stands out as a family film so absorbing and beautifully made that absolutely anyone can enjoy it, no matter their age. Critics called it ambitious and visually stunning, also praising its melancholy story and delightful character building.

6 ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ (2021)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 97%

Image via Netflix

Sony Pictures Animation has slowly been proving that it’s a force to be reckoned with in modern animation, thanks to movies like The Mitchells vs. the Machines. This hilariously over-the-top family comedy is about a quirky and dysfunctional family, whose road trip is interrupted by no less than the robot apocalypse.

The Mitchells is one of the most visually stunning animated movies of all time, as well as having great sound design and music. The film’s main strength, however, comes from its funny feel-good story about family relationships and humanity’s dependence on technology. With its incredibly dynamic and colorful set pieces, it’s one of the best action movies of the last 5 years.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Release Date
April 23, 2021

Michael Rianda , Jeff Rowe

1 hr 54 min

5 ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 97%

The different versions of Spider-Man in 'Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse'
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

Hardly anyone would have expected Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse to become the massive pop culture sensation that it did, but the world is all the better for it. It follows Miles Morales, a teenager who becomes his universe’s Spider-Man and must join a group of Spider-People to face a reality-threatening enemy.

Into the Spider-Verse gave fans around the world faith that animation is better than it has ever been and that the Wall-Crawler has an infinity of stories to tell. Rotten Tomatoes-approved critics were beyond impressed by the film, lauding its incredible animation, deeply enjoyable story, and abundance of humor and heart.

Watch on Fubo

4 ‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’ (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 97%

Henry Cavill, Tom Cruise, and Rebecca Ferguson as Walker, Hunt, and Ilsa looking down at something off-camera in Mission Impossible - Fallout
Image via Paramount Pictures

For those who love globe-trotting action movies full of twists and grand set pieces, Mission: Impossible — Fallout is an obligatory watch. The sixth installment in the Mission: Impossible franchise sees Ethan and his allies on a race against the clock to retrieve three plutonium cores after a mission goes awry.

Most critics on Rotten Tomatoes were surprised by just how exciting and fun Fallout was, expressing absolute delight at the story full of turns, the biggest action set pieces in the franchise’s history, and the endless entertainment value of the film. With a fun villain and a third act that’s absolutely dripping suspense, Fallout proved that the franchise still had plenty of gas left in the tank.

3 ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 97%

A War Boy leaps from car to car in Mad Max: Fury Road
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

It had been 30 years since the release of the last Mad Max movie by the time Fury Road came out and took the world by storm. A reboot of the quintessential low-budget Australian action franchise, it follows a ragtag group of characters as they escape a tyrannical ruler through a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Less is more, indeed, as Fury Road manages to take a shockingly simple story and turn it into a high-octane action spectacle with relentless pacing, outstanding production qualities, and a story bound to keep viewers’ eyes glued to the screen from beginning to end. Critics were astounded by what Miller and company achieved, and it isn’t hard to see why.

Watch on Max

2 ‘Godzilla Minus One’ (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 98%

Godzilla emerging from smoke with glowing eyes in Godzilla Minus One
Image via Toho

Not since the original Godzilla in 1954 had the franchise delivered a film as genuinely incredible as Godzilla Minus One, which some would even dare to call better than the first. It finds post-WWII Japan at its lowest point when a new crisis emerges in the form of a giant monster spawned by the horrific power of the atomic bomb. A disgraced kamikaze pilot becomes the country’s last chance at survival.

Minus One takes everything that cinema’s most iconic monster had come to represent up to that point, from the terror of nuclear power to the menace of political bureaucracy, and distills it into an epic period piece full of thrilling set pieces and fascinating characters. According to critics, it’s films like this one that remind audiences of what kaiju movies are truly capable of, making it abundantly easy to call this one of the best action movies of this decade.

Godzilla Minus One

Release Date
December 1, 2023

Takashi Yamazaki

Ryûnosuke Kamiki , Minami Hamabe , Yûki Yamada , Sakura Andō

124 Minutes

Watch in Cinemas

1 ‘WolfWalkers’ (2020)

Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score: 99%

Image via Apple TV+

Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon has cemented its place as one of the most exciting teams in the industry today, and Apple TV+ wanted in. Together, they made WolfWalkers, the touching story of a young apprentice hunter and her father helping to wipe out Ireland’s last wolf pack. Everything changes, however, when the girl befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves at night.

One of the best Apple TV+ original movies and one of the best action movies of the decade thus far, WolfWalkers is fantasy, animation, and children’s action all at the peak of their emotional and narrative power. There are plenty of good reasons why this has nearly a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes: Critics were mesmerized by its profound story and themes, beautiful depiction of Celtic folklore, and stellar action sequences.


Release Date
October 26, 2020

Tomm Moore , Ross Stewart


NEXT:The Best Action Movies of All Time, Ranked

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