In 2019, the box-office behemoths of Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home hit paydirt for Marvel, but brought disdain from director Martin Scorsese who denied their relevance as “real cinema.” And yet: the year’s best movies stand as living, breathing definitions of what film can do when creative energy is let off the leash. From old masters like Scorsese (The Irishman) to young firebrands like the Safdie brothers (Uncut Gems), the year fairly burst with energy. Netflix followed its success last year with Roma with two more artistic triumphs (The Irishman and Marriage Story). Two dynamite women directors, Greta Gerwig (Little Women) and Lulu Wang (The Farewell), served notice to the film industry’s old boys’ club. Quentin Tarantino took on Tinseltown itself with Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. South Korean powerhouse Bong Joon Ho reminded us that talent knows no borders with his masterpiece Parasite. And then there was a little movie called Joker. Here are 10 movies that did cinema proud.