Just when it looked like things were going back to normal with theatres reopening in most of the country, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic struck and the country was once again put under lockdown.
As we bid half of 2021 goodbye, it is time to take stock of all the good films that came out this year, whether in theatres or streaming services. Despite everything, you will see that so far 2021 has been a fairly good year for Hollywood films.
Here are our picks for best Hollywood movies of 2021 so far. The list is ordered from best to worst.
1. The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Netflix’s animated movie featured a distinctive visual style, a fun, cleverly written story, and lots of heart. Produced by the dream team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, one of the most creative writer-directors in Hollywood today, The Mitchells vs. the Machines is the best non-Pixar animated movies in the last couple of years.
In the short window when theatres were open in India, Godzilla Vs Kong reminded moviegoers what a supreme big-screen movie-viewing experience could be. The best part was it did not require a lot of brain power to enjoy. It was the classic popcorn-munching blockbuster a lot of people were hankering for.
Pixar’s latest was not the animation studio’s best, but it came close. A heartwarming story about two friends and their secret identities (that many assumed was a metaphor for a homosexual relationship) set in a picturesque small town on the Italian Riviera, the film was both meaningful and fun to watch in true Pixar style.
Written and directed by Corinna Faith in her feature debut, The Power is a rare horror film that is both entertaining and also offers social commentary, albeit in a subtle way. The first night in the job for Rose Williams’ Val turns out to be full of terrifying ordeal as she confronts a supernatural spirit as well as the more quotidian evil of misogyny.
This French thriller, which released on Netflix, was more than the sci-fi remake of Ryan Reynolds’ Buried as it first seemed. It was a fast-paced thriller which, like its unfortunate protagonist, doled out pieces of information bit by bit, each more significant than the lost. The result was a compulsive watch.
People have extreme opinions about Zack Snyder and his filmmaking. But most agree that his version of the 2017 DC team-up movie Justice League is infinitely superior. Leastways, it does not have the infamous moustache-gate. It is hardly perfect but it is a visually astounding experience with a much bigger scale and, to seal the deal, Darkseid in all his glory.
This HBO movie recounts the back-channel negotiations preceding the the first of Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestine and their immediate aftermath. While it is based on one of the biggest global conflicts of our times, the movie is not interested in the politics per se, it rather focuses on the warmth of human relationships and their role in international relations.
Even though it was the first half of a story, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One was a pretty solid film. It told a grim story adroitly with a suitably gloomy atmosphere and a dash of wry humour to boot. The voice-cast was excellent, particularly Jensen Ackles in the titular role.
9. Raya and the Last Dragon
This Disney animated film was set in a fantasy world in which evil has turned up again after hundreds of years, and it is only a dragon, the last remaining dragon, which can stop it. It falls on the shoulders of Raya, a warrior, to find the dragon and save humanity. The film, billed as a mid-tier product (unlike Frozen) had some lovely visuals, great world-building, humour and an overall enjoyable story.
Warner Bros’ video-game adaptation often bordered on the silly, but for the fans it was a godsend. Due to its source material, it had an abundance of richly designed and performed action scenes, and was a visual treat, but was let down by a serviceable story.