The 21 Best Movies Released In 2021


It’s that time of the year when everyone does their lists, and in honour of 2021, we thought we would give you our top 21 movies that have come out in this rather strange year. However, this list has to come with a few caveats.

First off, we have not been able to watch every single movie that has been released this year so far. Here’s a list of some of the movies that might have made it into this list if we had watched them: Pig, The Matrix Resurrections, The Last Duel, Titane, The Card Counter, The Green Knight, Spencer, West Side Story, Licorice Pizza and The Power Of The Dog.

These are just a few of the movies that we’ve seen come up in some other outlets’ lists of the best films to be released in 2021. I have a sneaky feeling that films such as Pig, which stars Nicolas Cage and The Green Knight might have made it into those top 21 movies of 2021 list if we have seen them.

Anyway, without any further ado, here are Small Screen’s top 21 movies of 2021, ranked from 21 all the way to number 1.

Small Screen’s Top 21 movies of 2021

Read more: Here Are The Best 10 Films Of 2019

21. Raya And The Last Dragon

Raya And The Last Dragon Trailer 1

Credit: Disney

Raya And The Last Dragon is one of those animated movies that you can watch over and over again and not get bored. It’s a great movie to watch with your kids and I’ve found that children really do gravitate towards the character of Raya (voice by Kelly Marie Tran) and they also love Awkwafina’s quirky dragon.

Raya And The Last Dragon is available to watch on Disney Plus right now.

20. Cruella


Credit: Disney

Cruella features a barnstorming performance from Emma Stone, who plays a different version of the iconic Disney villain. However, much like Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, this version of the character makes sense and also offers the possibility of more films in the future. She’s a more down to Earth version of Cruella and I just love seeing Emma Thompson have loads of fun playing the film’s actual villain.

Cruella is available to watch on Disney Plus right now.

19. Black Widow


Credit: Marvel Studios

Black Widow is Scarlett Johansson swan song to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and marks the end of her time playing Black Widow – aka Natasha Romanoff. It’s a suitable ending to her time in the role and the movie – if a little silly at times – does pack a pretty hefty punch. What I will say is that I wish they hadn’t cast Ray Winstone as the film’s villain because he can’t do accents to save his life. What I will say is that Black Widow brilliant introduces Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova to the MCU and she’s great!

Black Widow is available to watch on Disney Plus right now.

18. Army Of Thieves


Credit: Netflix

OK, I know a lot of people might disagree with me on this one, but I genuinely thought that Army Of Thieves was a better movie than the film it was spinoff from, Zack Snyder’s Army Of The Dead. I know that won’t be a popular take, but I think that Matthias Schweighöfer did a great job both starring in and directing the movie, which is a great take on a heist movie set in a universe that is about to undergo a zombie apocalypse.

You can watch Army Of Thieves on Netflix right now.

17. Eternals

Marvel Eternals Rotten Tomatoes

Credit: Marvel Studios

I actually thought that Chloe Zhao did a remarkable job with Eternals. The movie has an incredible cast who are all on form and it looks fantastic. I would also say that it’s nice to see something different from the MCU for once. This movie felt a little more like what might happen should Marvel Studios try to make a DC Comics film, and I really liked it. It also introduces new characters into the MCU that I’m really looking forward to seeing more of in future films, such as Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman (aka Black Knight).

Eternals is scheduled to become available for streaming on Disney Plus on January 12, 2022

16. Parallel Mothers


Credit: Sony Pictures

I’m a real sucker for Pedro Almodóvar movies and I think that Parallel Mothers, which stars – surprise, surprise – Penélope Cruz is a real triumph, and one which I think is being overlooked. I haven’t seen the movie in many ‘Best Movies Of 2021’ lists and I think that’s a real shame. If you like Almodóvar’s previous films, and don’t mind reading subtitles (unless you already speak Spanish), then this is the movie for you. Cruz is excellent in it, as usual, and it has a really interesting and twisted plot.

Parallel Mothers is available to stream in Latin America on Netflix, but you’ll have to seek it out in theatres in all other regions.

15. Promising Young Woman


Credit: Universal Pictures

I genuinely believe that writer/director Emerald Fennell is something of a genius. Promising Young Women is easily one of the best-written movies I’ve seen in a long time and features an incredibly captivating performance from Carey Mulligan. After watching the movie, I couldn’t help think that the two of them should work on some sort of DC Comics movie together. Maybe something featuring Poison Ivy. That would be a brilliant fit.

Promising Young Woman is available to purchase or rent via video-on-demand platforms such as Apple TV Plus.

14. I Care A Lot


Credit: STX Films

I Care A Lot is one of those movies that both makes you laugh and seeth with anger at the same time. They’re very rare and I think this all has to do with Rosamund Pike’s incredible performance as the crooked legal guardian, Marla Grayson. It’s based on genuine events that happen in the United States right now, and anyone’s who familiar with the whole Britney Spears case right now will understand how terrible legal guardianships can be.

I Care A Lot is available to stream on Netflix right now.

13. Palm Springs


Credit: Neon

Palm Springs is a movie that crept up on me a bit and I ended up really falling in love with the film. I’ve watched it twice and it was just as good the second time I watched it – if not better. It stars Andy Sandberg and Cristin Milioti and they have incredible chemistry in the movie. Many people have described it as Groundhog Day-light. I think that’s actually really unfair, but I do get the comparisons with the Bill Murray movie. That said, I think that Palm Springs is even stranger than Groundhog Day.

Palm Springs is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video in Europe and Hulu in the United States.

12. The French Dispatch


Credit: Searchlight Pictures

Now, I do not think that The French Dispatch is the best film Wes Anderson’s ever made, but it’s still bloody good. Weird might be the best word to describe the movie. I would also say that it’s one of Anderson’s funniest movies he’s made in a long time. However, it’s nowhere near the heights of the likes of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums, which I consider to be his best movies. That said, there’s something very whimsical about The French Dispatch which I loved.

The French Dispatch is available to purchase via Apple TV Plus.

11. House Of Gucci


Credit: MGM Studios

Sir Ridley Scott’s House Of Gucci is actually a lot of fun – at least, I thought it was! I know there are a lot of people that really didn’t like the movie. However, I really enjoyed it and thought that the performances in the movie from Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lady Gaga ends up getting the Oscar of Best Actress.

House Of Gucci is currently available to watch in cinemas.

10. A Quiet Place Part 2


Credit: Paramount Pictures

A Quiet Place was brilliant, and its sequel is something that many sequels aren’t – a genuinely good movie. I still don’t think it’s quite as good as the first film, but I would say that it’s easily the best horror movie I’ve watched this year! Now, I will say that I have yet to watch the new Candyman movie, which I’ve heard is really good! Emily Blunt is brilliant in A Quiet Place Part 2, and I think that John Krasinski proves yet again that he’s one of the most interesting directors working in Hollywood today.

A Quiet Place Part 2 is available to rent and purchase on Amazon Prime Video.

9. No Time To Die


Credit: Universal Pictures

James Bond is the longest-running franchise in Hollywood, and I think that No Time To Die marks an interesting new direction for Bond. It’s the final Bond movie to star Daniel Craig, and I think this is the best Bond movie he made since Skyfall. Now, I do not think it’s as good as Casino Royale and Skyfall, but I really liked how it portrayed the more human side of James Bond. No Time To Die sees Bond all grown up, and yep, I liked the ending.

No Time To Die is available to purchase on video-on-demand sites such as Apple TV Plus.

8. The Suicide Squad


Credit: DC Films

James Gunn, welcome to the DC Universe! The Suicide Squad isn’t the best DC Comics movie ever made, but let me tell you something, it marks a great new direction for the DC Universe. The movie was fun, mad, rude, violent, gory and something that we’ve been waiting to see from a mainstream comic book movie for a long time. Yes, Deadpool tried to be that, but I actually think that The Suicide Squad did it better.

You can watch The Suicide Squad right now on HBO Max if you live in a place where the streaming platform is available.

7. Shang-Chi


Credit: Marvel Studios

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is just so much fun. It’s also a new venture for the MCU. It’s the first movie they’ve made that could be described as a Kung Fu movie, a bit like the ones they make in Hong Kong cinema. It’s written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and he’s onboard to make the sequel which I am really looking forward to. The film stars Simu Liu, who’s perfect as Shang-Chi. That said, I do think he’s a bit lacking when it comes to the more dramatic scenes. However, he’s great in the action sequences and also brilliant in the more comedic parts of the movie.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is available to stream on Disney Plus right now.

6. Zack Snyder’s Justice League


Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

I actually think that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is one of the most interesting and important movies to come out in a long time. The story of what happened with Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a fascinating one, and you can learn more about it in our video over on our YouTube channel. The movie is so much better than the Joss Whedon version that was released in theatres back in 2017. Snyder’s version is longer – coming in at 242 minutes long – but it’s also about ten times better than the movie that Whedon made. I’m so happy we ended up seeing it.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is available to stream on HBO Max in territories where the streaming platform is available.

5. Dune


Credit: Warner Bros/ Pictures

Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is very close to being a masterpiece. However, because it’s the first part of what will be a two-part movie, I cannot really put it any higher in this best movies of 2021 list. I loved how it looked. I loved the performances from the likes of Timothée Chalament and Jason Momoa. The movie sounded incredible! The sound design is genuinely awesome in 2021’s Dune. However, I did feel that it was a bit slow, bloated and felt overly-long. That said, I cannot wait to see the second part of Dune. I think that it might end up being a masterpiece once the two parts have been released.

Dune is available to purchase on-demand on platforms such as Apple TV Plus.

4. Copshop

copshop gerard butler best movies of 2021

Credit: STXInternational

Joe Carnahan is back and it’s brilliant. Copshop is a brilliantly tense movie that stars Gerard Butler, Frank Grillo and Alexis Louder. The movie was written by Kurt McLeod (by the way, you can check out our interview with Kurt over on our YouTube channel), and it all takes place inside a small-town police station. There have been many people – myself included – who’ve drawn similarities between Copshop and John Carpenter’s Assault On Precinct 13. However, I would argue that Copshop does a better job and defining its main characters than Carpenter’s movie was. Also, the film’s writer, McLeod, told up that he’s never actually seen the Carpenter film. It’s also got that beautiful Carnahan sheen to it and feature brilliant performances from the likes of Butler, Grillo and Louder.

Copshop is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video right now.

3. Nobody


Credit: Lionsgate

One of the best movies that came out in 2021 was easily Nobody which starred the brilliant Bob Odenkirk. It’s a pretty big departure for the actor and he really played it perfectly. At first glance, Odenkirk’s character, Hutch Mansell seems ordinary, but he’s far from that. Turns out that he used to be a government assassin who worked for the CIA. It’s a bit like John Wick, only a bit more down to Earth (if a movie about a former government assassin leaving that job to have a family and ends up killing a bunch of Eastern European guys can be down to Earth).

Nobody can be purchased right now on video-on-demand platforms such as Amazon Prime Video right now.

2. Don’t Look Up


Credit: Netflix

I loved Adam McKay’s latest movie, and I’ve seen a lot of reviews of the film that are claiming it’s not that good. Well, as far as I’m concerned, Don’t Look Up is everything that we needed right now. McKay’s movie, which is about a meteor coming to Earth which will destroy the planet is discovered by a group of scientists who proceed to try and warn the US government and people about this Earth-ending comet that is catapulting its way towards us. The movie is a metaphor for what’s going on right now with the climate crisis and a great one. It stars Leonardo Di Caprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep to name but a few of the many stars in this movie. They’re all brilliant in the film.

Don’t Look Up is available to stream on Netflix right now.

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home


Credit: Sony Pictures

I know that this pick for the best movie of 2021 might not sit well with a few people out there, but I cannot think of a movie that made me as happy and gleeful as Spider-Man: No Way Home did. It’s just one of the best comic book blockbusters I’ve seen in a long time, and there’s nothing wrong with some well-deserved fan service. Yes, Spider-Man: No Way Home is fan service, but it’s fan service in the best possible sense of the word.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently in cinemas all over the world right now.

What do you make of this feature? Are there any 2021 movies that we haven’t added to our list that you think should be there? Let us know in the comments below.


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