2. Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek had been so long in the public consciousness that it seemed impossible to truly reboot the franchise by any means, let alone in only 128 minutes. JJ Abrams somehow, however, achieved it, offering the cult classic turned pop culture phenomenon an accessibility that it had previously been lacking, thus inviting new audiences into its universe and establishing a new major blockbuster franchise for the late 2000s.
Abrams’ style was highlighted tremendously by the simplicity through which the filmmaker managed to present the complex and demanding source material in conjunction with hardcore audience expectations.
Through excellent fan service, even better use of the late-great Leonard Nimoy, and a whole load of lens flare, Abrams directed a 21st century blockbuster of the highest order and a film that is so nearly his greatest.
Recommended for you: Star Trek Movies Ranked
1. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
JJ Abrams initially refused to direct The Force Awakens for fear that he’d ruin the franchise’s magic for himself, such was his love for it, and that he’d let down the millions of expectant fans in the process. But, upon heading the advice of Steven Spielberg once again, Abrams took the role and hit the ball out of the park.
Much like he did with Star Trek, the director managed to combine the spark of his imagination and skill with the expectations of his audience and the huge pressure of delivering the best Star Wars movie in over 30 years, to create a gem of popular culture that was met with almost universal appraisal.
The story’s twists and turns delivered through convincing practical effects and outstanding CGI on rarely used traditional film stock, made for a Star Wars film that looked and felt like a member of the original trilogy. What’s more is that it became so universally accepted that it was perhaps the must-see event movie of the century thus far, and Abrams’ sensational work in the director’s chair can be largely attributed to this.
An outstanding piece of filmmaking from a director truly hitting his stride, The Force Awakens is the number one film in this director’s ever-evolving filmography.
Recommended for you: Star Wars Live-Action Movies Ranked
Updated to include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on 18th September 2020. Originally published 24th April 2017.
With a growing list of franchise mega-hits to his name, Abrams has established himself as a trustworthy hands for studios and production companies alike; but which film do you think is his best? Would you have ordered things differently? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on more articles like this one.