The Outerhaven’s Top Movies of 2021

Check out The Outerhaven’s Top Movies of 2021.

What a year for movies! Well, sort of. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging on, most people didn’t end up going to movie theaters, with films heading for release on streaming platforms to get more eyes on them as soon as possible. But that doesn’t mean films weren’t seen and enjoyed by the many talented writers on The Outerhaven! So if you someone’s going “What should I watch?” or looking for some “Hopeful oscar winners”, we got some flicks you should check out.

If you can, that is. We know it’s not completely safe out there. So please, don’t risk your health just to check out these movies. 

Now, on to our favorite movies of 2021!

1) Spider-Man: No Way Home

Read our Outerhaven review!

This was far and away everyone’s favorite movie, and who can blame them? This third film in the trilogy does a beautiful job not only wrapping up the MCU’s narrative of the web-slinger, but also all of the Spidey films that have come before. Truly, this was a star too bright to tamp out. 

“To prepare for Spider-Man: No Way Home, I binged the first two Marvel Spider-Man movies, which I hadn’t seen prior. I thought they were alright but totally worth watching for the absolute glory of No Way Home. While the other two Jon Watts Spider-Man movies serve up serviceable superhero fairs that we know and enjoy, No Way Home takes the formula and shreds it up. Peter Parker isn’t trying to fight the bad guys this time around, rather he’s trying to save them, after accidentally bringing them in from the two other live-action Spider-Man universes. No Way Home sometimes buckles under its own weight, but that’s understandable for a superhero film that both breaks with tradition and effectively serves as a coda for three different sagas.” – Andrew Agress 

Spider-Man: No Way Home shouldn’t work. It has so much going against it, so many elements that shouldn’t coalesce, and yet somehow they do. The mission statement of the film was to bring together three different eras of Spider-Man and it manages that with the utmost success. By this point, you’re acutely aware of spoilers but I’ll avoid them by saying that this is the poignant tale for Spider-Man that you’ve been begging for ever since he joined the MCU.” – Ryan Easby

2) Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Read our Outerhaven review!

Another Marvel film punching its way up into a top slot! Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was both a new venture for Marvel (a kung-fu film that features an almost-all Asian cast) and a tried-and-true formula (dads in the MCU, am I right?). Masterfully put together, it captured the attention of critics and audiences alike and helped start the MCU’s post-Thanos cinematic endeavors on a strong foot.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may not be the most inventive or surprising Marvel movie. However, by drawing from old martial arts films and fully committing to its action, it manages to reinvigorate the formula even if it doesn’t reinvent it. Simu Liu makes a name for himself as Shang-Chi, who battles with his warlord father played by veteran actor Tony Leung, who brings his name to American audiences. And boy do they battle. Choreographer Andy Cheng draws from several fighting styles to create thrilling action scenes that are worth the price of admission alone.” – Andrew Agress 

3) The Mitchells vs. the Machines

This one was a surprise, especially given that Disney put out several animated offerings, but none seemed to capture our collective attention and admiration like The Mitchells vs. the Machines. Good on Sony Animations Studios for knocking another one out of the park! But also please hurry up on the new Spiderverse movie!

The Mitchells vs. the Machines is the kind of movie you can tell was made by kids who grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s. Full of meme humor that may-or-may-not age well, it touches on a lot of familiar topics of family, sacrifice, and what it means to be connected. A lot of heart, a lot of laughs, and a good heaping helping of dog that looks like either a pig or a loaf of bread.” – Sara Roncero-Menendez

4) Last Night in Soho / The Suicide Squad / The Snyder Cut

Read our Outerhaven review for: Last Night in Soho / The Suicide Squad / The Snyder Cut

A three-way tie! Two of DC’s latest offerings, James Gunn’s take on the villainous team-up The Suicide Squad and the director’s cut of Justice League, better known as The Snyder Cut. But don’t count out Director Edgar Wright, who crafted a dark time-traveling mystery thriller with Last Night in Soho.

“The very beginning of the trailer for Last Night in Soho intrigued me when I first saw it. A fun time travel romp through 1960s London directed by Edgar Wright? Sign me up. But then the trailer took a turn, offering a glimpse at horror scenes to come. At that point, I knew I had to see the film, but I had trepidation. Could Wright pull off jumping from one distinct genre to another and yet another? Telling the story of a young woman who moves to the big city, the movie explores her getting overwhelmed by a new place, then a new time, and finally a new realm, namely that of the supernatural. It all dovetails almost effortlessly, backed up by a swinging soundtrack, electrifying design elements, and a cast of old and new faces at the height of their game. Last Night in Soho shouldn’t work as well as it does.” – Andrew Agress 

The Suicide Squad, ironically enough, gives this story about villains getting a second chance another shot at succeeding. With James Gunn at the helm, the movie manages to maintain a high-energy style while still working in some good emotional beats and unforgettable characters. I really did not expect to love Rat Catcher 2 as much as I did, but here we are!” – Sara Roncero-Menendez

Zack Snyder’s Justice League was a dream-given form. Fans knew it was something special, and the Snyder Cut was just that. It was a totally different movie from the theatrical cut, and the detail and effort put into the characters, action, and world of DC Comics is something everyone should behold and enjoy.” – Todd Black

5) Venom: Let There Be Carnage / Free Guy

Read our Outerhaven review for: Venom: Let There Be Carnage 

Venom 2 is one of those films that follows up on the best bits of the first film and does what it can to push the limits of its constricting film rating while delivering one of the best examples of Anti-Heroes and psychotic villains on film in recent times. Who knew the guy who was in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ could pull off one of the best versions Cletus Kasady to be done in a visual medium.” – Karl Smart

Free Guy is a movie that is very engaging with a strong emotion of hope being the central focus. It doesn’t always have the most sensical elements to the main antagonist but the payoff is incredible.” – Scott Adams

Honorable Mentions

These movies were good, but not quite good enough to make it into the top 5 slots. That doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy them! Take a peek at what just missing making the cut.