It doesn’t seem so long ago that the 10 best summer movies of 2008 had everyone getting excited for the season to begin. 2008 was expected to be the summer of the superhero with two competing billionaire superheroes duking it out for first place. However, 2008 was also the year for the occasional surprisingly hit and a little historical drama as well. Here are some of the best of the summer season.

  1. “Iron Man”. Robert Downey Jr. did to the character of Tony Stark/Iron Man what Johnny Depp did to Captain Jack Sparrow; made it his own. When fans and critics were done with the film, they were as effusive about his take on the role as they were about the movie’s impressive special effects. It’s no wonder it quickly became one of the best summer movies of 2008.

  2. “The Dark Knight”. There aren’t many sequels that outpace the original, but this summer movie of 2008 is in a class by itself. Not only did it feature Batman’s arch nemesis, The Joker (a role made iconic by Jack Nicholson), but it was also the last completed film by Heath Ledger, who posthumously won an Oscar for his take on the mysteriously madman.

  3. “The Incredible Hulk”. Set as a sort-of-but-not-really sequel to the 2003 film, this summer movie of 2008 takes on the anger-based character and comes up with a completely new cast. This time it stars Edward Norton as the doomed scientist Bruce Banner, and introduces a new villain, The Abomination (played by Tim Roth).

  4. You Don't Mess with the Zohan. Would you believe Adam Sandler as a top-secret Israeli super-spy with an odd fascination for hummus who wants to secretly be a hairdresser? It’s certainly an odd premise for one of the best summer movies of 2008, but it was a successful one for Sandler.

  5. “Wanted”. Fans just can’t get enough of seeing Angelina Jolie in action movies, so that’s exactly what this summer movie of 2008 did. The story, adapted from a graphic novel, centers on a dissatisfied office drone (played by James McAvoy) who discovers that he is really the son of a super-assassin who is being called into duty to by Fate itself.

  6. “Hancock”. This summer movie of 2008 is one of the most interesting takes on the superhero genre. Will Smith plays a super powered being who, despite his better intentions, has a horrible image with the general public. Seeking to change that, he seeks out the advice of a public relations consultant with somewhat comical results.

  7. “Tropic Thunder”. This was the second big movie hit for Robert Downey Jr. in the summer of 2008 as well as a surprise hit for Tom Cruise in a cameo role. It tells the story of a series of washed-up actors filming a movie about the Vietnam War who actually get trapped in North Vietnam without realizing they are no longer being filmed.

  8. “Son of Rambow”. This film spent nearly a year on the international film festival circuit before it found a studio willing to release it in the United States. From there it became one of the best summer movies of 2008. The movie tells the story of a sheltered young boy who befriends and assists a child who is filming his own version of “First Blood”.

  9. “War, Inc.”. Fans initially thought this summer movie of 2008 was to be the promised sequel to John Cusack’s independent hit “Gross Pointe Blank”, but discovered only later that although the film utilizes many of the same cast members as GPB, that the film is an entirely different story of a fictional Middle Eastern country that is occupied and run by a corporation.

  10. “Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan”. It’s unusual for a historical biography to rank on a list as one of the best summer movies of 2008, but that’s exactly what this Russian production did. Chronicling the early years of the great Mongolian conqueror as he encounters childhood tragedy, starvation and slavery, it shows how he rose above it to become the legend he is now known for.

-Mark Dodson