Three more days! I hated writing my most disappointing movies of the year (which you can read by clicking on this sentence). Those are the movies that just shattered by heart. These movies, however...these movies shattered my expectations. These are the films that I didn't expect to like or love, and I did. The trailers may not have been good. The concept sounded bad. But these movies actually turned out to be good. Some, even great. So, without further ado, here are the five most surprising movies of 2021.
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NO SPOILERS FOR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING FILMS!!
5. Raya and the Last Dragon
I wasn’t going to watch Raya. Disney princess movies aren’t really my thing anymore, so I just thought I’d skip out on this. And, boy, am I glad that I didn’t. I hadn’t dug the trailers and I thought the plot sounded like generic Disney, but this movie was unique, fun, fast-paced, and had one of the most complex characters I’ve ever seen in an animated movie in Namaari. It was one of the most fun and cool Disney films I’ve seen in a while. I think that this was the sleeper hit of 2021, and I am rooting for it to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars.
4. Mortal Kombat
Another movie I wasn’t going to watch. I am not a fan of video game movies, nor had I actually played the Mortal Kombat video games. I caught myself up on the mythology and history of Mortal Kombat and decided I’d watch the new movie, even though it looked terrible. While it sure was not great, I had a lot of fun with it. Of course, it’s a guilty pleasure, but it has all of the gory fights you want while also delivering a great rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero. My main complaint of the movie was that we didn’t get more of them. I absolutely want a sequel to this movie, because I think there is so much more to explore in this universe, and, hopefully we will get that sequel and it will even improve on this movie.
3. A Quiet Place Part II
Probably my favorite movie on this list, A Quiet Place Part II looked okay, but I hadn’t seen the original, so this wasn’t a movie I was over the moon about. I saw it a few weeks after its initial theatrical release and fell in love. I thought it’d be a good, shlocky horror movie. Instead, this is a very intense, very exciting, and very dark sci-fi thriller that benefits from great direction by John Krasinski. I didn’t think I was going to hate this movie. But I didn’t think I was going to love it. And I did.
I had been looking forward to Cruella, because Emma Stone was in the lead and Emma Thompson had been cast as the villain, so that seemed fun. I also loved One Hundred and One Dalmatians, so that added to my anticipation. But when the trailer came out, all of that excitement vanished. It looked like Disney had meshed Joker and One Hundred and One Dalmatians together, which does not work at all. I hated the trailer, and I started to dread watching this movie. However, when reviews came out, they were decent. And I honestly think this movie is underrated. It’s a really fun, funny, and heartfelt exploration of one of Disney’s classic characters. The real magic lies in both Emma Stone and Emma Thompson, both of whom were just incredible. Cruellawas very good, and I am relieved that they didn’t screw it up.
1. The Boss Baby: Family Business
I didn’t even really know that they were releasing this movie in theaters. I may have seen an ad for it on TV somewhere, but it’s not like I rushed out to the theater, thinking “OMG! Gotta go see The Boss Baby 2!”. I took my 8-year-old cousin to go see it, and, instead of the potty humor-drenched mess I thought it was going to be, The Boss Baby: Family Business delivered solid family friendly entertainment that was shockingly funny for both mature and younger audiences. I was absolutely blown away by how much I liked this movie. DreamWorks isn’t very consistent when it comes to their movies, but Boss Baby 2 was actually a solid film.