In 2021, the world saw itself rising from the worst pandemic in humanity’s history. Several creative works and ideas which were completed or under production were delayed, costs doubled, greater money was spent and financial losses incurred on movies that in normal times were sure to earn higher than expected profits. As such, with the year ending we have several Hollywood movies released, with some great, some good, some average and some just plain bad.
This is a list mentioning some of the best Hollywood movies of this year, whether they were cinematic or OTT releases.
1. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”:
Several great movies were released this year, but perhaps the most hyped movie of the year might have been ZSJL. What makes ZSJL so near perfect and absolutely amazing is the fact that it completely managed to live up to the hype surrounding it if not surpass it, as it is exponentially better than the 2017 Joss Weadon version, also pejoratively called the “Josstice League”. Almost completely different from its Joss Weadon counterpart, ZSJL totals over four hours in length with a $70 million budget. The movie takes its time and goes deep into the exploration of all the main characters, with characterization being the most important part of the story. And unlike “Josstice League” while ZSJL has its good share of humour, it is not awkward or stupid but rather minimalist and rightly placed with great action sequences, better visuals and better acting all the while essentially having the same story. Overall ZSJL is a passion driven piece of art, which while a little long is certain to please most superhero fans, especially DC fans who with their #ReleaseTheSnyderCut campaign had their wish answered; and indeed this campaign may just have given us the best film of 2021 and one of the best superhero films, if not the best one of all time.
Another top contender for movie of the year, “Dune” is a masterpiece no words needed. Directed, by Denis Villeneuve, the science fiction epic based on the first half of the Frank Herbert novel is a visually breathtaking experience — with its amazing VFX, its acting, cinematography, score and story as it immerses you into an epic journey, bringing to life the nature of the much-acclaimed novel. “Dune” might be a bit too serious and require total attention to the screen, but it sure is worth it as you are plunged into this amazing space opera of epic proportions, with all the blocks coming together and creating this piece of art which is sure to be counted in the future as one hell of a ride. Ultimately, there are few words to describe the feeling one can get when they are done with this phenomenal piece of art. Dune has set the bar tremendously high, and with Part 2 announced for release in 2023 it only remains to be seen how it’ll match with its predecessor.
3. “Spider Man: No Way Home”:
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has seen its creativity drop recently with neither “Black Widow” nor “The Eternals” being particularly good if not just outright boring. Fortunately, it would seem that MCU may have made one if its greatest movies yet with “No Way Home” being a total treat for Spidey fans. Having all the heart and soul of Spider Man, “No Way Home” is everything that one would want from a Spider Man movie. If one were to describe this movie in one term, it would be fan service for that’s what it is. This film is grandiose fan service on a platter prepared with heart and soul. When making this film, Jon Watts knew exactly what the fans would want while displaying his understanding of the web slinging red and blue superhero as a whole. The movie brings together a brilliant cast, with a great storyline, great MCU style humour sprinkled together with a lot of emotional weight, and of course, full-hearted fan service. As such, without a doubt “No Way Home” is one of the best MCU films and one of the greatest Spider Man films ever, as well as one of the best films of 2021.
“Nobody” is average middle-aged Joe living down the street with nothing interesting about him. Seemingly harmless on sight, this ‘Nobody’ has quite a few secrets and may just be the last man you want to mess with. Directed by Liya Naishuller, “Nobody” can best be described as a more realistic John Wick, with Bob Odenkirk as the main character Hutch i.e the titular ‘Nobody’. The movie has a simplistic approach but is guaranteed to fill you up with a large dose of adrenaline and make you feel like the boss who is not to be messed around with. Overall, “Nobody” is a solid piece of action which while no game changer is exactly what it needs to be — that is an absolute ‘badass’ living in sheep’s clothing, ready to come out and beat the hell out of just about anyone.
5. “Free Guy”:
Director Shawn Levy has certainly come up with an interesting concept, and one that is executed extremely well. “Free Guy”, starring Ryan Reynolds as an NPC (non-player character) called ‘Guy’ in a video game who is unaware of his own status, is certainly something unique. “Free Guy” with its simple storyline is nonetheless very effective in what it is supposed to be, a comedy action movie delving deep into the world of an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) with the Guy trying to save his friends from deletion. Without trying to do much, “Free Guy” is able to do a lot with its effective direction as it does not once deviate from its original track. This movie has little business being as high as it does on this list, but in the end it manages to accomplish very effectively what it set out to do — that is, be just great plain fun.
6. “The Suicide Squad”:
“The Suicide Squad” is a definite improvement over its 2016 counterpart. Directed and written by James Gunn, Task Force X aka “The Suicide Squad” makes its return with a big splatter of blood and a hail of bullets. Faithful to its comic book spirit, “The Suicide Squad” is what the 2016 version should have been, as the movie packs not just a greater punch, but a greater heart to boot. “The Suicide Squad” does everything the previous movie did, just much better, with a better script, direction, production, effects, and was exactly what you’d expect from a Suicide Squad adaptation. This movie is just an all-out thrill ride filled with action, violence, humour and above all passion — just all the elements coming together in a delectable manner to make up a tasteful recipe for just a great and fun superhero or rather antihero movie.
7. “The Green Knight”:
“The Green Knight” directed by David Lowery is the kind of high fantasy epic that is needed today as watching it felt like a breath of fresh air, especially since the fantasy genre has grown a bit pallid and tasteless. Starring Dev Patel as Sir Gawain, “The Green Knight” is a brilliant piece of work marked by stellar acting especially by Dev Patel, brilliant production, great writing and a beautiful score, all of which truly help to sell the movie. A factor that makes it even more remarkable is that the movie knows exactly what it is and what it wants to be: it is not “Lord Of The Rings” or “Star Wars” and nor is it trying to be. No, “The Green Knight” is a swirling tale of adventure, action, heroism, religion, just about everything a good fantasy film needs, and is certainly one of the best films of this year and a fine addition to the fantasy genre.
8. “King Richard”:
Reinaldo Green Marcus’s biographical drama “King Richard” is a beautiful movie with all the elements and nuance of a brilliant family drama. Based on the life of American tennis player Richard Williams, this biopic is an extremely pleasant journey to go through as audiences are more than likely to leave smiling by the end of this film. Will Smith has truly nailed his role in what might be counted as among his finest performances yet, which is only made more impressive with the rest of the cast performing just as admirably. All in all “King Richard” is a brilliant and engrossing family drama packed with great direction, a good score and powerful performances particularly from Will Smith.
9. “The Last Duel”:
Directed by Ridley Scott, this epic historical film is certainly a brilliant cinematic experience. Based on the 2004 book, ‘The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France’ by Eric Jager, the film is daring and grandiose in attitude, and though a bit convoluted in parts it is more than a grand experience. With great cinematography, acting and production “The Last Duel” is brutal, intelligent and powerful in the writing and acting collaboration between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Most importantly of all, there is nothing overdone in this film as is often the case with such movies where they tend to lose themselves. “The Last Duel” proceeds carefully on to the grounds and does what it sets out to do with eloquence and delivers an excellent movie people are sure to look up to fondly in the future as well.
10. “A Quiet Place 2”:
The sequel to the 2018 horror masterpiece, “A Quiet Place 2” manages to stand alongside its predecessor as an excellent horror film sure to wreck the nerves of audiences and give a good, or rather terrifying, time keeping them on the edge of their seats. John Kransinski manages to create a truly terrifying sequel to an already amazing film and show his skill as an excellent storyteller. Breaking the silence from his previous film, the approach to creating horror in the movie is far more straightforward here, though nonetheless just as effective with Kransinski able to create intense life death moments at a staggering speed. If anything, “A Quiet Place 2” may disappoint a few with its more straightforward and literal approach, though by and large it is an excellent movie and is sure to please most people, and is definitely deserving of a spot in the top ten movies of 2021.