Top 10 movies of 2021 is a unique list


Photo courtesy of Javierblas

The Wadi Rum desert in Jordan served as one of many filming locations for the science fiction film, “Dune,” which is ranked among the top 10 films of 2021 by staff writer Hallie Chong.

One of the major aspects of life that COVID-19 has taken away from us is the joy of watching newly released movie with a big tub of freshly buttered popcorn and even a Coca-Cola, if you will. Although there were some setbacks, several movies failed to disappoint.

Here is my insight on the top ten movies of 2021.

“Black Widow”

“Black Widow” was enjoyable even though I watched it in Korea with a Korean dub. Frankly, you don’t need to know much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), to understand what’s going on. Featuring Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh, the film was released in July 2021, receiving both positive and negative reviews. Some say Marvel did Black Widow’s backstory dirty by making it too mellow, while others say the plot was a perfect fit for the MCU. I think I was able to enjoy the film more since the screens in Korean theaters are bigger and I understood a lot of the references of the MCU made throughout the movie. 


Disney and Pixar came together to create the fun animated film, “Luca” set along the coast of Italy.. Starring Jacob Tremblay as Luca and Jack Dylan Grazer as Alberto, these two sea monsters just want to have their own adventure on land, starting with a Vespa and ending with following their own dreams. The film was enjoyable, especially watching it with my younger brother. Although my brother and I have two different tastes in movies, we can both agree that “Luca” was an entertaining film for all ages. The characters were lovable and the film was easy to follow. 


“Dune” presented cinematography that was beautiful and there were many alluring scenes with huge detail. It seemed as though every grain of sand was hand-placed into its spot until the sandworms came to mess it up. Dune has officially surpassed $300 million in box office sales after a month of its release. Although the film was very pleasing to look at, I thought the plot was a bit confusing and complicated. The characters and their backstories were also a little hard to follow. Overall, I thought the movie was complicated and hard to understand, especially if you didn’t read the book, and there certainly was not enough Zendaya.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”

Shang Chi, the son of famous MCU villain, The Mandarin, finally gets his spotlight in theatres with the immensely positive feedback the film has received. The movie was barely advertised by Marvel but nonetheless brought in more than $431.6 million in the box office. The action-packed scenes between many different characters created a highly interactive movie. I think the beginning of the movie was the better portion and toward the end the content got slightly unrealistic and out of place.


“Eternals” was definitely a rollercoaster of a film. Some call it the worst movie in the MCU, while others loved it. There is really no in-between. Starring Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden (and even Harry Styles), “Eternals” received a lot of hype and recognition. Many people were excited for its release, only to be disappointed with the overly complicated plot and lackluster character development. Although I haven’t watched the movie, many of my friends have told me that Eternal was rather disappointing and that it was not worth their time. 


Released in early 2021, “Minari” is a low-key type of movie, totally different from Marvel type action movies. The film follows a family that moves to a farm in Arkansas in order to follow the father’s dream of raising his family on a farm. The film was definitely not my type of movie. It has weird plot twists that seem to come out of nowhere. The ending was the most disappointing as it was too anti-climatic. Nonetheless, “Minari” earned six Oscar nominations and was pretty popular, especially since Korean-American Steven Yeun stars as the main character. 

“The Red Notice”

Starring Dwyane Johnson, Ryan Renolds and Gal Gadot, “The Red Notice” follows an Interpol agent attempting to capture an art thief. I first saw the trailer in the theater with a friend and we were both excited for the release, and even made plans to watch the film together. Well, the plan fell through, but I still watched the movie on my own. The movie got the title of most viewed on Netflix despite getting 36 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. I would say that I agree with Rotten Tomatoes. The movie was so bad that it was good. I honestly don’t know what the movie was really trying to portray, but it was a great excuse to not do my homework. 

“In the Heights”

This musical drama produced by Lin-Manuel Miranda tells a story about a neighborhood in New York called Washington Heights. This was a movie adaption of his first musical prior to the massively popular “Hamilton”. Contrary to the other movies on this list, this film is more on the inspirational side with a great soundtrack too. The main focus of the movie is the score, which carries the story along quite well. I personally would watch this movie as a fan of musicals. 

“Free Guy”

After having its release postponed three times, “Free Guy” finally came out in August. The Disney film features Ryan Reynolds as Guy in a video game world. I found the movie to be kind of similar to the 2015 movie “Pixels”. The plot is somewhat similar except for a different point of view. The movie seems fun and enjoyable to watch with a friend or sibling. 


This marks the second Disney movie of 2021, released on Thanksgiving day. Although I haven’t heard much about it, the film got 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. “Encanto” was advertised anywhere that it could, from cable television to Spotify. The plot seems interesting enough as a Disney movie and would probably be a lot of fun to watch as a kid. The overall review for this movie was very positive. The film stars Stephanie Beatriz from the popular show, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” as Mirabel. It will be finally available to stream on Disney+ on Dec. 24. 

Despite the pandemic, many big movies were able to be released onto streaming platforms for people to watch in the comfort of their homes. But now since theaters are starting to open back up again, we can wait upon all the new movies 2022 has to give.