EJ Moreno ranks the 7 best superhero movies of 2021…
7. Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Yes, this sequel isn’t as beloved as the first entry, but it works enough on every level to find a place on this list. It’s as humorous as the first one, possibly even more with Venom and Eddie having a hilarious break-up plot. But the film doesn’t shy away from its more campy superhero stylings as well, with Woody Harrelson getting just enough screen time to chew as the titular Carnage.
6. Batman: The Long Halloween
The two-part film series, released over the summer oddly enough given the title, was a smash hit for DC Animation. The studio has been in a bit of a stir after their interesting hard reset from Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, and this felt like the first real step in the right direction. Strong voice acting and a compelling story helped gloss over any less-than-stellar animation moments.
Probably the most controversial placement on this list, especially over Black Widow – which did not rank here. But Eternals is the first real “arthouse” Marvel attempt, and they deserve some credit for it. Chloe Zhao brings her subtle filmmaking sensibilities and tries to change up the MCU formula. While that didn’t work for everyone, I found it breathtaking and an actual unique film in the homogenous Marvel brand. Maybe it’s Zhao’s subtle stylings, but you can’t think of a more reflective and emotion-driven Marvel film than this.
4. The Suicide Squad
What of the batshit crazy superhero movies ever, and that’s saying something with what the genre is pumping out these days. James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad feels like everything you’d want from the titular superhero group and somehow even exceeds those expectations. Not only is it a massive improvement over the 2016 film, but it stands up on its own as one of DC’s most thrilling and fun films ever. This was an excellent example of darkness can be fun for the brand that is constantly critiqued for its darker themes.
3. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Marvel has a formula, and we all know that. But two of their films tried to shake things up and offer something new. The previously mentioned Eternals was one, and the other is Shang Chi. While the finale feels MCU and the comedy is the usual cringe stuff, the film feels unique and refreshing. Our lead hero is complex yet still relatable. He’s a bad-ass that doesn’t need suits or alien powers to prove it. And the villain is one of the most well-acted out of any Marvel movie. Shang Chi is exactly where Marvel should be pushing towards in the future.
2. Zack Snyder’s Justice League
The movie many never thought would happen, myself included. Admittedly, I am a massive fan of Zack Snyder and his work in the DC Universe, but the movie goes beyond fanboy love. This was an enormous moment in Hollywood, for Warner Bros, and Snyder himself. We saw the drama around Release The Snyder Cut; we heard the horror stories of Joss Whedon’s production, so the release of this film earlier in the year felt like the end of a long battle. Everything wrong about the 2017 version was washed away, and you got a complete film epic on par with no other superhero entry.
1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
An experience like no other. Maybe Avengers: Endgame had this level of insanity, but the circumstances around the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home somehow felt larger than anything. It wasn’t just the inclusion of multiverse characters; it wasn’t just the first massive blockbuster on this scale in quite some time; it was all of that and then some. This was one of the first great MCU Spider-Man films, and the positivity around that proves it.
What are you favourite superhero movies of 2021? Let us know on our social channels @FlickeringMyth, and be sure to check out the video version of this post here…