Top 10 Worst Films of 2021


Shot from Space Jam: A New Legacy.

2021 is almost over, and unlike last year, we actually got to see some films this year, and some of us even went back to the theaters. Some of the films released this past year have been absolute gems, films that will stick with audiences for a long time. On the other hand, there have also been a number of films that were entirely mediocre, if not completely terrible, and that is what I am here to cover today.

Just to get one thing clear: I did not see every single film that was released this year, and some of them were definitely by choice. Case in point, films like Dear Evan Hansen, The Tomorrow War, and the Amazon Prime adaptation of Cinderella will not be on this list, even though they are widely believed to be awful. Out of the movies I have seen, these are what I determined to be the worst. 


Number Ten: Mortal Kombat

After the less than stellar adaptation by Paul W.S. Anderson in 1995, which was then followed by the notoriously bad Mortal Kombat: Annihilation two years later, Hollywood finally decided to give the hyper-violent fighting game another chance at a big-screen adaptation, and the results were… mixed.

Mortal Kombat has a lot going against it, but it also has a few things going for it as well. On the one hand, it has a paper-thin and cliched plot, spotty editing, fairly blatant CGI, and one of the most boring and generic protagonists to be seen in cinema as of late. But on the other hand, a decent amount of the acting, especially Josh Lawson as Kano and Joe Taslim as Sub-Zero, was pretty decent. The music is genuinely good, and if you are just looking for a really dumb, mindless action film, Mortal Kombat will definitely deliver on that front.


Number Nine: Malignant

After making Warner Brothers a billion dollars with Aquaman, James Wan was given free rein to basically do whatever he wanted in the form of Malignant. However, if you have read my review from a few months back, you would know that I really was not the biggest fan of this film.

Malignant is still kind of a weird film to talk about. The film has a tone that goes from Hallmark drama to Giallo horror to gory action film at ludicrous speeds. The insane story is complemented by acting that is definitely trying, in a few places, but is nowhere near enough to save it. It has decent cinematography and gore, but it is evened out by bland editing and a completely forgettable and generic score. All in all, Malignant is just a true mixed bag, and I honestly think that is the most I can really say about it.


Number Eight: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

When I first saw the fabled “Snyder Cut” back in March, I confidently said that it was a massive improvement over the disastrous theatrical edit from 2017. While it was no masterpiece, I surprisingly really enjoyed it. But as time has gone on, as the dust has settled and I have had the chance to reevaluate it, I have sadly realized that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is just as incredibly flawed as the 2017 film.

Do not get me wrong, there are things to enjoy here. The additions made to Cyborg as a character are really good, the cinematography is stellar, and the score by Tom Holkenborg is amazing. But sadly, a lot of the story does not make sense if you look at it beyond the surface. The other characters such as Aquaman and Darkseid still have barely any development, the effects are incredibly hit or miss, and a lot of the added content just feels self-indulgent to the worst degree. There are worse films out there, but as someone who actually enjoyed the film when it came out, it kind of hurts to realize that it is not that good.


Number Seven: Army of the Dead

What better way to follow one Snyder film than with another Snyder film? Yes, Army of the Dead is another Zack Snyder film that I enjoyed when it came out, but I have come to realize it is incredibly flawed and really bad. If I were to say anything positive about it, it would be that Dave Bautista and Matthis Schweighöfer do a fine job with what they are given, and the score by Holkenborg is decent.

Sadly, this film has even less to praise than the Snyder Cut. The plot, which could be a simple and fun zombie heist film, is bloated, miserable, and sets up a ton of weird elements that are left to be explained by spin-offs and sequels. Many characters are forgettable, including Tig Notaro’s pilot character Peters, who is almost completely sidelined to account for the behind-the-scenes firing of Chris D’Elia. The cinematography is completely bland and is not even properly focused most of the time, and the film as a whole is just not enjoyable. For a film that had so much potential and promise, Army of the Dead falls completely flat.


Number Six: Raya and the Last Dragon

I am not always the biggest fan of Disney’s films, nor am I the biggest fan of Disney as a conglomerate. Raya and the Last Dragon perfectly displays why I am not a fan of a lot of their work. It has its merits, to be sure, with pretty good voice acting all-around, great animation, and a really good score by the legendary James Newton Howard.

The problems with Raya far outweigh the positives. The story is a mess, with a very conflicting message about putting blind trust into everyone. The ending left me scratching my head with several abandoned important details. Additionally, I am just not the biggest fan of Awkwafina’s performance, and her style of comedy is not that effective, at least to me. Add on some really forgettable shots and editing, and Raya and the Last Dragon is not a film I found myself enjoying.


Number Five: Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

After two failed G.I. Joe films in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Paramount decided to try and restart the franchise with a spin-off about one of the most popular characters of the series: Snake Eyes. As expected by many, this new adaptation is forgettable at best, and really bad at worst.

Henry Golding gives a decent enough performance in the leading role, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the soundtrack, but everything else about the film screams mediocrity. The bland and lackluster direction clearly shows a lack of care and effort. The rest of the actors try the tiniest amount with what little they are given. The action scenes are rendered unwatchable thanks to the god-awful cinematography and editing. Not to mention the fact that Snake Eyes himself is incredibly morally questionable for one of the more heroic characters in the franchise. Snake Eyes is definitely a mess in a lot of areas, and it seems that we will probably never get the G.I. Joe film that the fans have been begging for.


Number Four: The Little Things

If there is one thing that is easily the cardinal sin of The Little Things it is that it is forgettable. Nothing is particularly great about the film, with Denzel Washington and Rami Malek giving performances that are only alright. The score by Thomas Newman is nice, but it is not particularly great by any means. The other technical elements are not particularly great, but other films definitely use them far worse.

The biggest offenses of this film easily have to be the story, which just feels generic and fairly predictable. The film is not particularly helped by some really terrible dialogue, and Jared Leto’s performance, where he just comes across as a freak the entire time, just like in almost every single other performance he has ever done. The Little Things is honestly just kind of a mess, and while it is not the worst film out there, it is definitely not a good one, either.


Number Three: House of Gucci

Films such as Robin Hood and Exodus: Gods and Kings showed that Ridley Scott was losing his way. Prometheus and Alien Covenant proved that he was definitely out of shape, even with his most beloved franchise. But even after a win with The Martian, the incredibly divisive The Last Duel knocked him right back down again. Now, at long last, I believe that House of Gucci proves that Ridley Scott has truly lost his way, and he is no longer the beloved director we once knew him to be.

To put it simply and honestly, House of Gucci is an overly long, fairly obnoxious mess. While the acting from Lady Gaga and Adam Driver is not the worst, Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino are completely wasted on a long, boring, unfunny, entirely self-indulgent script that does not warrant its nearly three-hour length. Jared Leto is an unfunny, kind of creepy in the bad way disaster in this film. While he is absolutely the worst part, he is not the only thing that is terrible about it. The film feels incredibly desaturated, the score is completely forgettable, the editing is pedantic and sloppy in places, and while the cinematography, costumes, and production design are impressive, they are nowhere near enough to salvage the film. At the end of the day, House of Gucci is completely forgettable, and I can only hope that Scott has anything better to offer us in the future.


Number Two: Black Widow

Well, this is it. This is the film that finally killed all my joy, excitement, and interest for the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. I was hoping for this film to succeed despite its outdated feel from the day it was announced. I am someone who has loved the MCU and been to almost every film opening night since watching Captain America: Civil War. I am someone who paid good money to see this film premiere night in IMAX, with the slightest modicum of hope that it would be enjoyable at the very least. And after all of that, Black Widow left me baffled, tired, depressed, and utterly furious.

The plot of the film is a disaster, relying on impossible amounts of contrivances, conveniences, plot armor, and other awful writing techniques to get the desired results. These are pointless since we all know that Natasha is six feet under since they could not release this film before Endgame. Scarlett Johansson is completely boring as Natasha, feeling like a side character in her own film. David Harbour is an absolute joke who could have some heartfelt moments if the other characters took him seriously for a second. The great Rachel Weisz is wasted on a completely awful script, and Ray Winstone’s Dreykov is so clearly an (admittedly justified) dig at Harvey Weinstein that it borders on parody.

The cinematography is forgettable; the movie can never stop for a moment to take itself seriously and undercuts every single dramatic moment with terrible and forced jokes. The editing makes the action scenes an indecipherable nightmare. The cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit that plays over the opening credits is a genuine embarrassment and an affront to Kurt Cobain and the music industry. The visuals consist of the same tired CGI that Marvel always resorts to and overuses to no end. Florence Pugh’s performance and Lorne Balfe’s score, while having one or two shining moments, simply are not enough to carry this film. The film just feels like a pathetic way to say goodbye to Natasha Romanoff. Black Widow, more than anything else, just saddens me, both as a fan of the film medium and even more as a former fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I feel sad to say that I am done with what was once my favorite franchise, but just like Star Wars before it, Disney has just worn me out, and I have honestly had enough.


Now, before I move on to the worst film of the year, I would like to go over a few honorable mentions:

Bad Trip: A decent enough comedy from Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery, but just nothing too particularly noteworthy.

F9: Another incredibly stupid installment in an incredibly stupid franchise, but it is still a fun and mindless watch, regardless.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage: An ironic masterpiece, but an unironic mess. It is better than the first film, but that is honestly not saying much.

Godzilla vs. Kong: A really dumb action film where giant CGI monsters punch each other and humans run around spouting terrible dialogue. Not much else to say.

Free Guy: An incredibly commercial film. It has a couple of moments but is really nothing special at all.


Number One: Space Jam: A New Legacy

The plot is a generic and predictable disaster that tries and fails to be heartfelt and emotional at multiple points. Lebron James is as terrible of an actor as Michael Jordan. Lebron is completely unlikeable towards his son and the Looney Toons until the script forces them to make up towards the end. Don Cheadle is hamming it up and failing at it, and the voice actors just cannot do anything close to entertaining, much less salvageable. The two-dimensional animation is completely unappealing, akin to cheap flash animation, and cannot even get the lip sync correct half the time. The CGI animation ranges from uncanny to pure nightmare fuel. Let us ignore the fact that the sequel to a film called SPACE JAM has a terrible and generic soundtrack that belongs in a basic family film and they do not even play the SPACE JAM THEME SONG a single time. This film not only shoves in shameless product placement like the original but also floods the screen with fanservice and brand integration to brainwash the audience into subscribing to HBO Max.

With every last one of those things aside, the reason why Space Jam: A New Legacy is the worst film of 2021 is simple: it has no reason to exist. As cheesy and terrible as it was, the original Space Jam was a perfect encapsulation of the 1990s and affected the culture at the time in a big way. Space Jam: A New Legacy has no purpose. It is not affecting today’s culture by any means, it did not change films in any way, it did not do anything other than rake in HBO Max subscriptions for Warner Brothers. Even the other films on this very list have some reason to exist or even the slightest amount of care behind it, but this film does not, and that is why Space Jam: A New Legacy is, without question, the worst film of 2021.


Click here to see Noah’s Top 10 Best Movies of 2021!