Godzilla (2014, dir. Gareth Edwards)

Earth is threatened by MUTOs (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms), awoken by human nuclear activity. Superior monster mayhem anchored by a fabulous visual sensibility, and by a genuine feeling of otherness between the creatures and us. Story-light, and a touch serious, but properly spectacular, nevertheless. Sequels ensued.

Matrix Revolutions [AKA The Matrix: Revolutions] (2003, dir. The Wachowskis)

Neo’s battle against Smith and The Machines comes to a head. Third and final part of the Matrix trilogy (a part four is on its way). For series completists only by this stage, though the finale delivers in terms of slightly-humourless comic-book spectacle and epic battles aplenty.

Paradise Now (2005, dir. Hany Abu-Assad)

Two Palestinian friends are recruited for a next-day suicide mission into Tel Aviv. Intelligent drama with a few darkly comic touches; everyone has their reasons. The film works hard not to moralise, focusing on depiction and explanation, without asserting wider truth-value to its characters’ actions and beliefs.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, dir. Jonathan Mostow)

John Connor, now a troubled young adult, is again pursued (and protected) by machines from the future. A slightly tongue-in-cheek threequel – apart from the pleasantly downbeat ending – which is heavy on chase-based action, though light on violence and plot. It’s entertaining enough, if a step down from its predecessors.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019, dir. Robert Rodriguez)

In a post-apocalyptic world, a reactivated cyborg finds she has advanced military capabilities. Generally solid though straightforward action-adventure, with manga and cyberpunk influences. Slightly hobbled by an excess of backstory and by awkward reliance on green screen, but well-designed, with some genuine imagination on display.

Gladiator (2000, dir. Ridley Scott)

A famed general, condemned to death in a coup, seeks revenge on Roman emperor Commodus for the murder of his family. Vivid and muscular historical drama, with excellent performances, solid action, and a keen visual sense. A Hollywood history; the inspirations are less actual events than the epics of the 1950s and early 1960s.

The Iron Giant (1999, dir. Brad Bird)

A boy befriends a massive alien robot. Smart, affecting and upbeat Cold War-era animation, varying the ET template enough to make this adaptation of Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man¬†successful in its own right. A good job done all around, with a positive message carefully dramatised.