Great movies have a special way of leaving their mark — whether it's with a standout scene or unforgettable lines you just can't stop replaying in your head — and this year, the big screen seriously delivered. Wonderwall.com rounded up all of the biggest movie moments of 2019 from revamped classics and riveting sequels to hot new storylines, starting with Joaquin Phoenix's dance down the outdoor steps in "Joker." The eerily sinister scene signifies the culmination of Joaquin's character, mentally ill comedian Arthur Fleck, transforming into a murderous villain and Batman's soon-to-be arch nemeses. Watching him strut merrily along the stairs in disturbing clown garb is hard to forget. Keep reading for more of the most memorable moments in film this year — but be warned, there are spoilers ahead…
Iron Man prevails against Thanos in "Avengers: Endgame"
2019's highly anticipated blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame" was momentous in and of itself with its star-studded ensemble cast full of Marvel superheroes, including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. Fans were eager to find out how the Avengers would come back in the aftermath of Thanos's snap in 2018's "Avengers: Infinity War." After finally defeating Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) in an epic showdown, Robert's Tony Stark pays the ultimate sacrifice to save his family — including his fellow Avengers, his daughter with Pepper Potts and surrogate son Peter Parker — completing a character arc that kicked off with 2008's "Iron Man" and spanned more than 20 films. It's no wonder the movie currently stands as not only the highest grossing film of the year with a box office haul of $2.79 billion but the highest grossing movie of all time.
Brie Larson leads the way for female superheroes in "Captain Marvel"
Female superheroes finally got the spotlight they deserved in 2019! The successful Marvel franchise was built on male-driven action flicks, but the release of 2019's "Captain Marvel" was history-making big as it was the very first to feature a woman in the leading role. Brie Larson, who commanded the action movie solo as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, can stand forever tall knowing she paved the way for future female superheroes. And judging by the film's fourth-place ranking for highest grossing of the year with $1.12 billion, she's bound to leave a lasting impression. In an impactful scene, Captain Marvel unleashes the full potential of her powers by breaking free from the alien race known as the Kree, turning her perceived weaknesses into a reminder that she never gives up.
RELATED: Must-see biopics of the year
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" delivers genius alternate ending to Manson murders
By far the most memorable part of 2019's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" was director Quentin Tarantino's genius alternate ending to the true-crime story of the 1969 Manson Family murders in which pregnant starlet Sharon Tate and her house guests were brutally killed by cult followers. In the movie, the murderers decide to change their plans and go after Sharon's next-door neighbor, Hollywood actor Rick Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) after he yells at them in the street for making noise outside his hillside mansion (he does this while standing on the curb in his bathrobe sipping a frozen margarita). When they break into Rick's place, his stunt double and personal assistant, former Green Beret Cliff Booth (played by Brad Pitt), unleashes his pitbull on the intruders and fights them off one by one despite tripping on acid at the time. Rick remains totally unfazed, at least at first, as he floats around in his backyard pool with headphones on throughout the gory bloodbath of a scene, which culminates in the death of all three sadistic prowlers — including one via flamethrower.
Kristoff sings an unexpected '80s rock ballad in "Frozen II"
Disney's loveable ice queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) returns for another round of kid-friendly snow adventures in 2019's "Frozen II," but parents were also in for an extra little treat this time around. The film's jam-packed with catchy tracks for kids — like the new theme song, "Into the Unknown" — but the animated sequel slyly incorporates an '80s-style pop-rock music video-style number to entertain adult viewers. "Lost in the Woods" was clearly written as an homage to the great male power ballads of yesteryear and is perfectly suited for a handsome soon-to-be prince like Kristoff (voiced by Jonathan Groff) to sing. We can't help but feel nostalgic listening to the throwback-inspired tune even if it's being sung by a perpetual cartoon.
Queen Ingrith makes family dinner super-awkward in "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil"
Angelina Jolie reprised her role as the dark and vengeful fairy Maleficent in 2019's Disney sequel "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil." She remains a force to be reckoned with, but her tense matchup with Michelle Pfeiffer's character, Queen Ingrith, is most memorable in the film. Serious jabs are thrown during a family dinner to celebrate the engagement of Princess Aurora (played by Elle Fanning) and Ingrith's son, Prince Philip. While Maleficent raised Aurora like her own daughter, Ingrith cuts deep with a passive-aggressive comment about becoming her mother-in-law after the union, proclaiming, "Now, she will finally get the love of a real mother." The insult understandably sends Maleficent into an angry spell-casting rage, thus putting the kibosh on one of the most awkward dinners ever.
Will Smith does a rap rendition of "Prince Ali" in "Aladdin"
Will Smith had big pointy shoes to fill (literally) when he took on the role of Genie (previously played by the late Robin Williams) in 2019's live-action remake of "Aladdin." But he made the movie distinctive by putting his own sexy spin on the larger-than-life blue character, most notably in his rap rendition of the original movie's signature song, "Prince Ali." After granting Aladdin's first wish to become a prince, Genie leads the newly dubbed Prince Ali's grand introduction into Agrabah with a colorful caravan, including feather-wielding belly dancers, sword fighters and flocks of exotic animals. With Aladdin perched high on an elephant in the spectacle of a scene, Genie belts out the classic tune with a unique twist using elements of Will's rap-singing background and "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" comedy.
Halle Berry (and her German shepherds) kick butt in "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum"
Keanu Reeves returned for a third round as assassin John Wick in 2019's "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum." He continues to deliver in terms of epic, over-the-top fight scenes: He offs an assailant with a library book, throws daggers at an antique shop and goes up against masked motor-bikers while riding a horse through the streets of New York City. But the most memorable scene of all involves Halle Berry, who hasn't shown us butt-kicking moves this stealth since she played "Catwoman" circa 2004. In the role of John's former ally Sofia, she tries to help the recently excommunicated hitman locate the one person who can get the bounty on his head waived. She ends up getting into it with her informant in Casablanca after he shoots one of her German shepherd guard dogs (don't worry, he was wearing a bulletproof vest) and an all-out gun massacre ensues. Halle manages to drop kick, sucker punch and shoot more than a dozen attackers coming at her at once (with a little help from her loyal pups). She was so flipping fierce, we barely noticed Keanu was in the scene!
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino get age-defying makeover in "The Irishman"
If it ain't broke, don't fix it! When it came to casting the crime drama "The Irishman," director Martin Scorsese picked a group of Hollywood legends who'd all brilliantly played Mafiosos before — Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Ray Romano and Bobby Cannavale. With such a distinguished lineup of actors, the Netflix original delivered its fair share of organized-crime thrill and received well-deserved critical acclaim. But the most talked-about moments come from the flick's age-defying flashbacks in which many of the seasoned stars are transformed into spectacular versions of their younger selves. Bob, for example — who stars as truck driver-turned-hitman Frank Sheeran — is 75 in real life but looks almost unrecognizable in scenes recounting his gangster character's early life.
Jennifer Lopez does sexy striptease to Fiona Apple's "Criminal" in "Hustlers"
Based on a true-crime story, 2019's "Hustlers" follows a group of strippers who plot to drug and steal from their crooked Wall Street customers following the 2008 stock market crash. Jennifer Lopez shines as veteran stripper Ramona, who orchestrates the scam with a few of her dancer pals (played by Constance Wu, Cardi B and Lizzo). In a super-sexy intro scene, Jennifer takes the pole for a striptease wearing a silver G-string bodysuit that leaves little to the imagination. It's difficult to think of anything else besides her seductive moves to Fiona Apple's "Criminal" during the rest of the movie, although her closing lines likewise made an impact. Speaking with a journalist after finally getting caught by authorities, Ramona makes a bold statement about capitalism. "It's all a strip club," she says. "You have people tossing the money and people doing the dance."
Beyonce voices Nala in "The Lion King" and drops surprise movie album
2019's remake of "The Lion King" was pretty much exactly the same as the 1992 animated original, except with more realistic-looking characters. What made the movie stand out was superstar Beyonce, who voiced the role of lioness Nala (and helped it become the highest grossing animated film ever with earnings of $1.65 billion worldwide). Not only did she record an original new song, "Spirit," to include amongst the film's classic numbers like "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata," but she also dropped an entire surprise album inspired by the Disney tale. According to Bey, her surprise 27-song soundtrack, "The Lion King: The Gift," was meant to be a "love letter to Africa." Daughter Blue Ivy Carter, 7, also contributed to the project, singing on the track "Brown Skin Girl" and appearing in the music video for "Spirit."
Mysterio unleashes vicious drone attack in "Spider-Man: Far from Home"
2019's "Spider-Man: Far from Home" introduces a new villain to the mix: Quentin Beck/Mysterio (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who at first disguises himself as a superhero to get close to Peter Parker/Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland). In reality, Mysterio is a disgruntled ex-employee of Spider-Man's late mentor, Tony Stark, who uses unique holographic technology to create illusions. In a vindictive act of fury, he unleashes a hoard of destructive drones to take out Spider-Man and gain control over the E.D.I.T.H. artificial intelligence system. An epic fight scene ensues in which Spider-Man struggles to ward off the drones while Mysterio deceptively alters his surroundings with optical illusions. But the web-wielding hero prevails against all odds and squashes Mysterio's sinister plans, making for a triumphant yet problematic ending to the Marvel sequel — the first "Spider-Man" flick in the franchise to surpass a billion dollars in worldwide gross — as Spidey's true identity is revealed in the aftermath of victory.
Lupita Nyong'o has tense balletic showdown with herself in "Us"
Director Jordan Peele didn't disappoint with his follow-up to the 2017 psychological thriller "Get Out." In 2019, he released the similarly brain-twisting flick "Us," which follows a family terrorized by their zombie-like doppelgangers during summer vacation. The most pivotal scene comes at the film's climactic end when Lupita Nyong'o's character, matriarch Adelaide, goes head to head with her menacing double, Red (watching Lupita fight herself is seriously trippy). Adelaide follows Red into an underground den below the creepy funhouse she visited as a child and discovers an entire race of abandoned clones called the Tethered, who are stuck mindlessly mimicking the lives of their human counterparts beneath the surface. They begin to battle it out amidst flashbacks of a childhood ballet recital they shared, which makes their tense standoff feel like a violent dance of sorts. After Adelaide finally breaks Red's neck, the truth comes out: Adelaide was the actual doppelganger all along! She traded places with the real Adelaide after attacking her in the funhouse and forcing her underground years ago.
Daniel Craig shows off comedic chops in murder-mystery flick "Knives Out"
2019's "Knives Out" transforms average moviegoers into private investigators trying to get to the bottom of a wealthy murder-mystery author's death. The classic whodunit serves up shocking bait-and-switch moments (straight out of a game of Clue) as fingers point in every direction toward suspicion-worthy family members. And while the film boasts a star-studded ensemble cast — Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette and Michael Shannon are among its stars — it's Daniel Craig who steals the show as Detective Benoit Blanc, who's called in to lead the investigation. His quirky character is dubbed "CSI KFC" after he delivers more than one memorable monologue in a strange yet hysterical Southern accent. Offering witty comic relief throughout, Daniel's performance stands out the most as a truly successful departure from his usual serious-spy action roles (ahem, James Bond).
Hit TV series "Downton Abbey" makes big-screen debut
It's been four years since the "Downton Abbey" series finale aired, but the lushly costumed period drama's cast of regal characters aren't done telling their stories just yet. The release of this year's TV-to-film adaptation was a huge moment in and of itself. The movie picks up in 1927 (two years after the show left off) with the majority of the original cast returning, including Laura Carmichael as Lady Hexham (pictured from left), Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Grantham and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Talbot. The storyline continues as the Crawleys are visited by Britain's king and queen, though tensions rise over an assassination attempt on the monarch and a fight over a family member's inheritance. The best news of all, though, is that a sequel is already in the works!
Woody and Buzz Lightyear's goodbye in "Toy Story 4" will make you ugly cry
2019's "Toy Story 4" was just as enjoyable (and emotional) for adults as it was for kids, which could be partly why it made over a billion dollars worldwide. The animated sequel picks up after cowboy Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) gets passed down to a new child named Bonnie, who tosses him aside for a homemade utensil doll she calls Forky (voiced by Tony Hale). Watching poor Woody struggle with feelings of loneliness is heart-wrenching, but the real tear-jerker moment comes at the film's end when he decides to leave it all behind for his long-lost love, Bo Peep (voiced by Annie Potts), after reuniting during an unplanned stop on Bonnie's family road trip. Knowing the little girl will be in good hands with Forky and the rest of the toy gang, he says a painful goodbye to his space-ranger bestie, Buzz Lightyear. It's almost impossible not to ugly cry as Woody locks eyes with Buzz driving off into the distance in Bonnie's RV. Buzz begins to belt out his signature catchphrase, proclaiming, "To infinity," but this time Woody finishes for him, replying, "And beyond!" There simply aren't enough tissues in the world for this sad farewell.
Olivia Wilde makes directorial debut with coming-of-age drama "Booksmart"
2019 was a major year for Olivia Wilde! She made a seamless transition from on-screen starl to behind-the-scenes boss with her directorial debut, "Booksmart." The coming-of-age drama — hailed by critics as a modern-day "Superbad" — follows college-bound best friends Molly (played by Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (played by Kaitlyn Dever) as they embark on a last-hoorah adventure. The straight-laced introverts come out of their shells during a string of wild high school shenanigans, including one very memorable karaoke scene. Trying to impress a girl she'd secretly been crushing on, Amy's coerced into taking the mic at a party to sing Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." She wondrously loses all inhibition and belts out the song with the utmost conviction. "I wanted to create a visceral sense of her anxiety at that moment," Olivia told HuffPost. "I wanted to point out that this is a significant moment for a character who has not yet found the strength to be courageous." With a slew of both funny and uplifting moments, we'd say she succeeded.
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham star in first "Fast & Furious" spinoff, "Hobbs & Shaw"
Just when you thought there couldn't possibly be one more "Fast & Furious" movie, the adrenaline-pumping action keeps coming. This year, the mega-franchise released its first spinoff movie, "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," which follows a new storyline involving familiar characters Luke Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham). It's no surprise the flick was among the top 10 highest grossing movies of the year thanks to its equal parts death-defying action and snarky comedy, like the memorable scene in which Hobbs and Shaw go after cyber-villain Brixton Lore (played by Idris Elba) in a massive high-rise. When Brixton and his goons shoot out a window and start rappelling down the skyscraper on ropes, Hobbs daringly free-falls to catch up with them, expecting Shaw to follow suit. Instead, Shaw casually hops in an exterior glass-walled elevator and watches the insane mid-air fight with a smirk before meeting Hobbs safely at the bottom (rude!).
Brad Pitt attacked by futuristic space baboons in "Ad Astra"
The Oscar buzz for Brad Pitt's stellar performance as astronaut Roy McBride in 2019's "Ad Astra" was instant. In the futuristic sci-fi flick, his character embarks on a dangerous space mission to investigate power surges threatening the solar system and to look for his missing astronaut father. In one the film's most impactful scenes, Roy's shuttle is invaded by a ferocious new breed of intergalactic baboons, likely a product of the U.S. Space Command's past experiments gone wrong. The disturbing mayday-call scene seems to serve a deeper purpose, perhaps as a warning about the current state of our quickly deteriorating climate, but resonates either way.
Liam Hemsworth steps out of shower shirtless on repeat in "Isn't it Romantic"
In 2019's "Isn't it Romantic," Rebel Wilson's down-on-love character, Natalie, gets knocked unconscious during a subway mugging and wakes to find herself trapped in a romantic comedy. The cheeky (borderline-corny) film serves up some good laughs, but the one scene we can't get out of our heads features a very shirtless Liam Hemsworth in the role of Natalie's love interest, Blake. The hot (and extremely egocentric) billionaire falls head over heels for Natalie in her fantasy universe. She brings him home after their first date but when they start to kiss, the scene cuts to the morning after with Blake stepping out of the shower in a towel. Having completely skipped over the raunchy part like rom-coms often do, Natalie feels robbed and tries to get him into bed again and again, but he just keeps reappearing dripping wet, sans-shirt the next day.
Taron Egerton depicts Elton John writing his first hit in "Rocketman"
The 2019 biopic "Rocketman" details the exuberant life of music legend Elton John (played spectacularly by Taron Egerton) with recreations of his ostentatious costumes and concert spectacles. But the most poignant scene was actually quite intimate. The film slows down to capture a defining moment in Elton's life: when he writes his first hit, "Your Song." In the scene, he's seen in his bathrobe at home sitting by the piano to compose the now-famous tune. Mother Sheila (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), grandmother Ivy (played by Gemma Jones) and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell) stand quietly in the background observing the still-unknowing mastermind at work. The scene cuts to Elton recording the full song in the studio; when he's done, he looks up innocently at Bernie and asks, "How was that?"
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson mentally unravel in "The Lighthouse"
There is something unnervingly remarkable about watching Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson mentally unravel into a state of sheer psychosis in 2019's "The Lighthouse." The dark, twisted film noir (shot entirely in black and white) follows two adversarial lighthouse keepers stationed alone on a remote island in the 19th century. As delirium sets in, they begin to have strangely horrifying hallucinations, one of which reigns most memorable. Robert's character, Ephraim, sees a mermaid (with very human-like private parts) and proceeds to have an erotic solo encounter of sorts. It's one of those uncomfortably intimate scenes you want so desperately to look away from, but is also completely hypnotizing and we're totally here for it!
Tom Hanks brings Mister Rogers back to life in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"
With Tom Hanks in the role of late kids' TV personality Mister Rogers, 2019's "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" takes viewers down memory lane to revisit the profound impact his long-running PBS series had on people of all ages. The movie actually centers around a journalist named Lloyd (played by Matthew Rhys) who thinks the kindhearted host's wholesome nature is too good to be true. In a poignant opening scene, he finds himself captivated by Fred Rogers filming a puppet segment with warmth and sincerity (for dramatic effect, the camera pans to Lloyd's awestruck facial expression as he observes him on set). But it's Tom's spot-on portrayal of the gentle TV icon that evokes wonderful childhood memories and makes the nostalgic biopic unforgettable.
There's finally a female agent fighting alien bad guys in "Men in Black: International"
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones night have turned in their memory-erasing neuralyzers and retired from the business of fighting evil aliens, but the "Men in Black" franchise lives on with a new crop of secret agents… and one of them is finally a fierce female! 2019's "Men in Black: International" welcomes rookie Agent M (played by Tessa Thompson) and hotshot Agent H (played by Chris Hemsworth), who team up to take down shapeshifting identical-twin aliens (played by Beyonce's backup dancers, known as Les Twins). The movie itself wasn't a knockout despite being action-packed with extraterrestrial fight scenes in exotic locations like Marrakesh and Italy, but introducing the franchise's first boss-lady in the leading role makes it undeniably noteworthy.
Zachary Levi delivers much-needed comedic relief for superheroes in "Shazam!"
The release of this year's "Shazam!" was exactly what we needed in terms of getting some light-hearted comic relief for superheroes and villains (nothing against the ever-so-serious Joker). The DC Comics flick follows a troubled teen in foster care who's given the ability to transform into an adult with wizarding superpowers. His goofy yet heroic alter-ego, Shazam (played by Zachary Levi), struggles to defeat the evil Dr. Sivana (played by Mark Strong) on his own. But in a heartwarming moment toward the film's end, Shazam finally begins to feel connected to his foster brothers and sisters and, remembering that he can share his powers, bestows each of them with superhero capabilities — thus forming the unbreakable Shazam Family, who take down the crooked physicist as a united front.
Renee Zellweger makes big-screen comeback in biopic "Judy"
Renee Zellweger chose to be off the Hollywood grid for quite some time — she'd only emerged to play the lead in one big movie, "Bridget Jones's Baby," since 2009 — but she made a noteworthy comeback in this year's indie biopic "Judy." Her portrayal of the Hollywood legend in her final years received rave reviews from critics and put her right back on top of the awards season shortlist despite such a lengthy hiatus. The film follows Judy throughout her torturous final years as a performer as she struggles with exhaustion, anxiety and substance abuse before her untimely death at 47.
"Marriage Story" captures the messy emotional roller coaster of divorce
It's no wonder Netflix's "Marriage Story" got so much attention this year, as it beautifully captured the messy emotional roller coaster that comes with divorce. Nicole (played by Scarlett Johansson) and Charlie (played by Adam Driver) mutually decide to end their marriage but struggle between wanting to go for blood and still deeply caring for one another. In one the film's most raw and powerful scenes, their inner turmoil comes to a head and sparks an explosive argument during a meeting with their cutthroat lawyers. The couple get swept up in a vicious finger-pointing match (of sorts) and finally start to unpack years' worth of personal grievances they'd been suppressing. It doesn't get more emotionally charged than that!