Well here we are, another year has started and with it, a brand new batch of exciting upcoming films. So let's take a look back at the films that came out in 2021. Were there any good ones? Were there any bad ones? Good news is there were plenty of both!
Compiled here is a list of Brett's Flix's favorite films of the year. Please take note that this is not a list of the year's BEST, but my personal favorite films of 2021. Films such as The Last Duel or The French Dispatch might be better made from a technical standpoint than some of the films listed here, but I didn't enjoy them nearly as much. So while I do consider every film on this list to be of good quality, personal taste is also a big influence. Let's begin.
10. Evangelion 3.0+1.01: Thrice Upon a Time
The final film in the Rebuild of Evangleion tetralogy promised an action-packed, psychological, and philosophical ending to the story on an epic scale. And it did not disappoint. Was it a bit of a head scratcher? Yes. But the beauty of Evangelion is its thematic complexity. And while this film certainly requires multiple viewings to fully grasp what it's doing, that means you have plenty of meat to chew on. This is a film that throws you into the middle of things right from the start and never lets you fully catch up. It demands your full attention at all times. All-in-all, this finale is jam packed with stunning animation, jaw dropping action, and gonzo mind-fucks; and it should be fully celebrated for those facts.
09. Zack Snyder's Justice League
After years, the cries of millions of fans were finally heard and Justice League was resurrected from the dead; with more life than ever. And I am so thankful for that. This is the better version of the story, hands down. It gives both Batman and Superman fully completed character arcs (that were one or two films in the making). Zack Snyder's Justice League is a super hero epic on the grandest of scales. One filled with grittier action, alternate timelines, stunning imagery, far better music and special effects, completed characters arcs... and best of all, DARKSEID! It's a DC comics fan's dream come true! One only wonders where the DCEU would be now if this version had been the original release. Check out Holy Goof's full review for the film here!
08. Godzilla vs. Kong
The film that brought the people back to the theaters! And the film that brought the two biggest movie stars ever together for the first time in over 50 years. This is the brawl of the year, with earth-shattering action and stunning visual effects. And while it certainly does not feature the best script of the year, it delivers so solidly on it's promise that it singlehandedly became the highest grossing film in the MonsterVerse franchise to date, saved many theaters from completely shutting down during the pandemic, and opened the door for multiple new upcoming Godzilla and King Kong projects. As a life long fan of kaiju and monster films, this gave me pretty much everything I wanted. Check out our full review here!
07. Spider-Man: No Way Home
The third film in the MCU Spider-Man films, No Way Home is the most spectacular of any of Spidey's films to date! But it doubles down as a wonderful and loving "thank you" to all the fans of ALL of Spider-Man's live action film adaptations. With triple the Spider-Men, you have triple the good time. It's got emotion, spectacular action, and seriously cheer worthy moments. And it is the rare third film that happens to be the best of the trilogy! When was the last time you saw that?! Check out Holy Goof's ranking of all of Spidey's films here!
06. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
The more I think about this film, the more I love it. Afterlife may follow the pattern of the original film while also using the same central villain, but Jason Reitman (son of original Ghostbusters director, Ivan Reitman) imbues his film with such heart that the familiarity of some elements falls by the wayside. This is a film about family. A film filled with emotion and sentimentality that tugs on your heartstrings while also making you laugh and gasp. The cast is perfect, the directing is personal, and the emotions are very real. The ending of this one makes this Holy Goof tear up every time. Don't sleep on this hauntingly good sequel. And check out our Brett's Flix: Fast Forward video review here!
05. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Want to laugh until it hurts? Then throw on your culottes, grab a piña colada, and pop in the funniest film of 2021. Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo knock it out of the park as two middle-aged furniture store workers who get caught up in the craziest tropical vacation ever. Musical numbers! Mosquitos! Hotdog soup! Trish! This movie has it all; and it makes me laugh until I cry. Give this film a watch and check out our Brett's Flix: Fast Forward video review here!
04. The Suicide Squad
James Gunn's The Suicide Squad nails what the 2016 film couldn't accomplish; it gives us a wild, wacky, and blood-soaked ride with the worst heroes ever. James fully delivers on his trademark sleazy sense of humor and musically infused action scenes. And he perverts and subverts every super hero trope along the way. Everyone gives great performances from Margot Robbie's Harly Quinn to John Cena's Peacemaker. And while we can't mention this film without the scene-stealing turn by Sylvester Stallone as King Shark, my favorite character had to be David Dastmalchain's Polka-Dot Man; he was both heartbreaking and hilarious. Add it all up and you have DC's best superhero film in years. Check out our full review here!
03. Dune: Part One
Finally, one of the greatest science fiction stories ever told has an adaptation worthy of it's legacy. Well, we have PART ONE of the adaptation. This film is utterly jaw dropping. Hans Zimmer's score is beyond words. Denis Villeneuve's directing and imagery are iconic, and capture the spirit of Frank Herbert's words with a beauty and savagery that feels effortless. Every performance feels lived-in and true. And Stellan Skarsgard's Baron Harkonnen will probably go down as one of the best villains of modern cinema. The only reason this film is not at the very top of this list is the fact that it is only half of the story. It's pretty much like watching The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and cutting to black once Elrond announces the formation of the fellowship, then saying "you have to wait two years for the rest of the movie". I NEED IT NOW!
02. The Matrix Resurrections
The Matrix Resurrections was one of the most divisive films of 2021. And a film that I personally believe to be one of the smartest blockbusters in years. Many may bemoan the similar structure, but Lana Wachowski has delivered a giant meta middle finger to internet culture and the Hollywood system. This is a different type of sci-fi story than Dune. This film is a discussion piece about topics such as feelings vs. fact, modern culture's obsessions with nostalgia, and the true meaning of freedom; all wrapped up in a mean satirical sense of humor. It is a very timely action film that gets better each time you watch it. Which sort of makes it the most Matrix film of the franchise. Check out Holy Goof's full review here!
01. No Time to Die
I grew up watching James Bond films with my father. They hold an extremely special place in my heart. And while not all of them can be considered great films, they are all extremely entertaining. But what makes No Time to Die so damn special is that it not only is this one of the most entertaining films in the franchise, but it is also an impeccably well made film on its own. I am sadden by the fact that Daniel Craig's time as Bond is over, but I'll be damned if he didn't go out on a high note. No Time to Die is stunning to look at, features fantastic directing, a wonderful script, breathtaking action, and honest performances. But most importantly, it ends Craig's run on a shockingly emotional and cathartic note. It is so obvious that everyone involved (from director Cary FJoji Fukunaga to set dresser Rupert Hancock ) took incredible care to make sure that this film delivered in every regard. And their work paid off. Big time. I cannot praise this film enough. It is the ultimate James Bond film.
05. Venom: Let There Be Carnage
The first Venom film was a paint-by-numbers superhero flick with Venom stuck inside like a noun in a game of Mad Libs. The second film decides to fully embrace the cornball tone of the first film, to disastrous effect. This is a far cry from the monster Todd McFarlane gave us in the pages of the comics. Carnage looks cool and Woody Harrelson is a great choice for Cletus Kasady... 10 years ago. But he's too old for the role now, and is unable save the horrendous dialogue he's been given. The script is the main culprit. It's a shame, because everyone involved here has talent (including director Andy Serkis). But the script prevents them from finding any kind of substance at all to latch onto. And I've seen better digital effects in films from the early 2000s! First they made Lizard look like a Goomba, now Carnage gets a shitty film. If Sony messes up Scorpion, they will have ruined my top 3 favorite Spider-Man villains. Are you doing it on purpose?
04. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
The first time I saw this film, it was so dark I couldn't even tell the difference between the mansion and the police station. The second time I watched it, I regretted being able to see the mansion and the police station. The set designs are bland, the directing is amateurish, and the acting and dialogue are even worse. But this films's biggest crime is making the most boring choice at every single turn. Everything is told to us instead of shown. The outbreak of the virus? Happened before the film started. The team that went into the mansion to discover what happened? Dead before the start of the film. Even the zombie scenes lack any sort of tension or sense of urgency. Exposition is heavy and cameos are aplenty, but utterly meaningless. In fact, several additions from later game installments will simply confuse everyone but hardcore fans. The original film from 2002 wasn't high art, but at least it was entertaining.
03. Space Jam: A New Legacy
The original Space Jam may not be an Oscar winner, but for many (including this Holy Goof) it is a classic chlidhood film... Which most certainly DID NOT need a sequel. The Tunes are in fine form here, with some sequences harkening back to the golden years of animated slapstick. But they are sadly smothered in a commercial for every other product and franchise Warner Bros. owns, and Lebon James' ego. Michael Jordan may not be a good actor, but he projected a humility that Lebron is sorely lacking. I found myself quite upset by the "cash cow" of a film this turned out to be. Check out Holy Goof's scathing full review here! Or, read our glowing review of the original film here!
02. Black Friday
This film hurt me in a way I did not expect. I am a gigantic fan of Bruce Campbell. And I love my fair share of 'B' movies. But this is like a 'Z' movie. The script is really rough, but what utterly killed this film was the directing and editing. The edits are extremely jarring, bordering on confusing. And director Casey Tebo somehow finds a way to get the worst performance out of everyone. He smothers Bruce and doesn't let his natural charm shine. Bruce Campbell is a 'B' movie legend! He knows what he's doing; let him do his thing! Same goes for Micahel Jai White and Ryan Lee, both of whom I typically enjoy. It's a shame because this film could have been a delightful "so bad it's good" experience. But as it stands, Black Friday is so bad, it's just AWFUL. I'm so sad I have to put this film on this list, but from a technical standpoint, this is hands down the worst film I saw in 2021.
01. Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Tom & Jerry may be better than Black Friday from a technical standpoint, but this is the most soulless thing I've ever seen and THAT is why this film sits at the very bottom of 2021's films. Every choice in this film is the wrong one. From the rapping birds at the beginning, to the shockingly complicated plot, it all feels off. Worst of all, these detours culminate in a complete LACK of classic Tom and Jerry antics: the very thing we came to see. Space Jam: A New Legacy had more Looney Tunes gags. Chloe Grace Moretz is a wonderful actor, but I did not come here to see her, I came to see Tom and Jerry fight and there is hardly any of that. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the combined screen time of Tom & Jerry shenanigans equals no more than roughly 15 minutes. Did I mention that this film's runtime is 100 minutes? Which means that even small kids will more than likely find themselves bored. I myself only audibly laughed one time during this film. One solitary laugh. It was one of the most joyless movies I've ever seen.