2017 was a kick-punching, gun-blazing, lightsaber-dueling year for action film junkies. Fans of the genre are rarely blessed with this many good entries in a decade, let alone in one year. So here are 2017's 12 best action flicks that made you fist-pump or brought you to the edge of your theater seat.
'John Wick: Chapter 2'
The year started off strong with the release of this "John Wick" sequel. While it didn't have quite the novelty factor of the original film, "Chapter 2" gave us a non-stop dose of stylish gunplay and martial arts goodness. Best of all, the stage is set for an even more violent finish to this action movie trilogy.
It's probably just as well we only got one new X-Men movie in 2017, because "Logan" set the bar impossibly high. This film marked the final outing for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier. It played its R-rating to the fullest in a series of grisly action scenes, but it also never skimped on the emotion, as Logan confronted the twilight of his long life with one hell of a bloody redemption arc.
'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'
As much as this "Guardians" sequel focused on keeping moviegoers rolling in their seats with laughter, it also delivered some of the finest action sequences we've seen in a Marvel movie. Between the opening credits battle and Yondu's one-man war on the Ravagers, it's clear director James Gunn knows his way around a superhero movie.
If nothing else, 2017 is the year that proved there's hope for the DC Extended Universe yet. "Wonder Woman" is everything its predecessors aren't -- a colorful, joyous look at a hero venturing into the world in hopes of making it a better place. The triumphant "No Man's Land" trench sequence easily ranks among the best superhero action scenes ever filmed, which alone makes up for the film's more formulaic climax.
We never had any doubt that director Edgar Wright would deliver one of the best and most inventive action movies of the year. "Baby Driver" succeeds not just because of the gunplay and high-speed chases, but because all of the action is presented in such an inventive manner and set to the beat of a catchy soundtrack.
It only took 13 years after the release of "Spider-Man 2," but we finally got another great Spider-Man movie this year. "Homecoming" is the first to truly take advantage of a high school-age Peter Parker and all the chaos that comes with trying to balance school and a superhero career. "Homecoming" also really delivered on the action front, making excellent use of the various gadgets crammed into Spidey's Tony Stark-designed suit.
'War for the Planet of the Apes'
2017 gave us a worthy conclusion to the rebooted "Planet of the Apes" series. Never have Caesar and his fellow apes seemed so stunningly lifelike. And with the beleaguered ape leader mounting a desperate assault on an enemy determined to reclaim the planet at all costs, there was a scale and a violence to this sequel unlike any other.
"Dunkirk" is a very different beast compared to most of director Christopher Nolan's work. It's very stripped down and laser-focused on the immediacy of this desperate WWII operation. "Dunkirk" draws the viewer into the conflict and cleverly toys with time in order to continuously ramp up the dread and intensity. It's the sort of action movie that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.
As if a "John Wick" sequel weren't enough, 2017 also gave us this gorgeous action movie from original "John Wick" director David Leitch. The unnecessarily-convoluted plot got in the way of the movie being great, but Charlize Theron again reminded us that she's one of the butt-kicking-est leading ladies ever.
'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'
Director Matthew Vaughn managed to top himself in terms of zany, over-the-top action scenes here. Any movie that opens with a high-octane car chase set to the tune of a Prince song is A-okay in our book.
While "Thor: Ragnarok" never got as dark or dramatic as we expected given the subject matter, it certainly worked as a fun romp across the Marvel Universe. The fact that it featured so many super-strong powerhouses didn't hurt, either. Thor's brutal battle with Hulk in the Sakaar arena is easily the highlight as far as the action goes, but there's never a dull moment here.
'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Impressive (most impressive) battles -- both in space and involving lightsabers -- mixed with solid and surprising character work elevate this "Star Wars" film from the rest.