My personal film of the year was Captain America: The First Avenger. As I said in my review, it was the most satisfying film I saw all year. Among the other movies I looked forward to seeing this year, many failed to live up to expectations, even while been perfectly acceptable in their own right. The full list is here, and a breakdown will be forthcoming, but for now, you get to know that Captain America was my favorite film of 2011.
While Captain America fulfilled my expectations, X-Men: First Class actually surpassed them. Matthew Vaughn's take on the early days of the X-Men cast Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy as a pre-evil Magneto and a pre-bald, pre-wheelchair Xavier. I was initially suspicious of this film, with its rushed shooting schedule, but the first trailer helped change that, and the movie didn't back down. It featured a submarine being lifted through the air. Also, Kevin Bacon.
The movie sitting just under First Class on the list of anticipated films was Cowboys & Aliens. However, while the X-Men film ended up moving to #2 for the year, Jon Favreau's awesomely titled film ended up at a lowly #21.
The coolest rumor of the year was Warner Bros. plans for an Avengers-style Justice League film, supposedly coupled with a Batman reboot. Of course, the abject failure of Green Lantern has quite possibly killed this, but if Zach Synder's Superman and Nolan's Dark Knight Rises break records, then it'll probably go back on the table.
This award was close and goes to the second trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Unlike the trailers for The Avengers and The Hobbit, Nolan's bat-trailer takes the award for promising of a great film. Really, all the trailers for The Avengers and The Hobbit do is tell us what the promo photos have showed, that the two movies will have a cast of characters we can't wait to see (Marvel's super team-up and thirteen dwarves). This trailer shows us Bane, Catwoman, and a Gotham gone to hell. Also, it has inspired a collection of amazing mash-ups.