Steve takes a retrospective look back at the biggest hits of 2021 to share his top 10 movies of the year!
Another year has come and gone. Sadly, 2021 was largely familiar with the previous year. With no end to the pandemic in sight, despite some restrictions having been relaxed or even eliminated in some cases and vaccinations becoming more widespread, 2021 was more of the same. Although we have not yet completely finished riding out this storm, there were some bright spots in the year of cinema. Lots of sci-fi and superhero movie content to keep us busy. So, without further ado, let’s jump into my 10 favorite movies of 2021.
10. Mortal Kombat
This Simon McQuoid directed martial arts film was released in April. It is a reboot of the film series based on the popular video game franchise. Starring pretty much unknowns, at least to me, this movie was much better than its predecessor films. The action was great and had some amazing fight scenes. The one thing I found lacking from the story was the tournament but I suppose that they might be saving that for a possible sequel.
9. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Based in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi is probably the film of the franchise that felt the least like a Marvel movie. As a Marvel movie, it didn’t really grab me the way most of them did. That being said, the fight choreography was outstanding and I’m looking forward to seeing what the MCU has in store for relative newcomer Simu Liu in the future.
8. Godzilla vs Kong
I actually don’t watch a lot of the “monster” movies but early last year, I caught Kong: Skull Island on one of the various streaming services and found it enjoyable so when this one was released in March I decided to give it a shot. It was a lot of fun. I mean, honestly, what can be more fun than a giant lizard and a giant ape fighting each other? It got me even more interested in the rest of the series. I really enjoyed the team up at the end.
7. Venom: Let There Be Carnage
I had really been looking forward to this one. I enjoyed the first film in the series and I was interested in seeing what director Andy Serkis was going to do with this one. Although I felt like the movie overall was a bit rushed, much like the first one I really liked the dynamic and banter between Eddie Brock and Venom. The costume design/special effects of Carnage himself was great and Harrelson’s portrayal of Cletus Kassidy was excellent.
This second entry on my list from the MCU was actually one of this year’s films I was the least excited for. First of all, even being a big comic book nerd, I felt like this was a relatively obscure superhero team to turn into a movie. It felt a little slow on the pacing but I felt like director Chloe Zhao did a good job introducing and developing the characters. Like the aforementioned Shang-Chi, Eternals was not a typical MCU movie in the grand scheme of things but the story about not only the characters themselves but also the larger entities in play such as the Celestials made the movie more interesting.
5. The Matrix Resurrections
I actually did not watch this one until New Year’s Day but because it was released in December, it counts as a 2021 movie. And, I have to admit that I had some reservations about watching this one based on a lot of the feedback I was seeing out on social media about it. I am glad that I decided to watch it and form my own opinion about it despite the negative reviews. I thought this movie was great! However, I would’nt say that I liked it more than the original but it was better than Reloaded and Revolutions. It wasn’t nearly as action-packed as the 1999 film that started the franchise but the story that Wachowskis told was exciting. I loved the way that the story, for lack of a better term, justified the need for another film was brilliant.
4. Black Widow
Here is another MCU entry into this year’s favorites. It was a little odd watching a film about a character whose fate was determined before this movie’s release. It seems like this movie should have been released before Endgame. Despite the bizarre timing of this movie, it was a lot of fun to watch. The characters were well developed and a joy to know and the story was exciting, everywhere from the origins of Natasha and the Red Room down to the dynamics between her family. Also, the lack of other characters from the MCU notwithstanding, this movie felt like a Marvel movie.
This Denis Villeneuve-directed science fiction film was epic. Released (finally) in October, this film based on the popular Frank Herbert novel, was a thrill from start to finish. The characters development was excellent. The visuals were of the utmost quality and really drew me into the story. I am glad that I saw this one in the theater instead of watching it at home because the audio, especially the score, was exceptional. The score of this film complemented the action and narrative so well. This new adaptation was superior to the 1984 David Lynch film in every way and I am definitely looking forward to part two of the series.
2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
This follow-up to the 1980s era originals was directed by Jason Reitman, the son of original director Ivan. The film was in development purgatory for years and after the unfortunate death of actor and co-writer Harold Ramis, the film went further into the abyss. This one is set 32 years after the events of the 1989 sequel and takes place in Oklahoma, where Egon had relocated at some point after those events. It takes on a new cast of characters, who just so happen to be related to Mr. Spengler, and details his grandchildren picking up where he left off in his quest for saving the world against evil spirits. While the story is told from the perspective of new characters, it was great seeing the old cast join the fight. Simply an amazing and nostalgic movie.
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
I can only begin to try and describe how much I enjoyed this movie. Much like the aforementioned Ghostbusters Afterlife, this one was full of nostalgia and incredibly well put together. Jon Watts, who also directed the first two movies of this franchise, has done an amazing job with his iteration of the web-slinger. Everything about this film was absolutely phenomenal. From the banter between Peter and Dr. Strange (call me Stephen) to the bittersweet ending, this movie was well worth the wait. It did all of the things a movie should make you do: laugh, cry, shout for joy, and even sometimes make you a little angry. Everything that makes this version of Spider-Man the best Spider-Man (his adolescent naivety, his constant mistakes, his uncorrupted worldview, his innocence, etc..) culminated in this cinematic masterpiece.
What are your best movies of 2021? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you.
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