2021 featured many surprises on the movie front; however, there are also numerous films that ended up being less than what they should’ve been. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean these films were particularly bad, in fact, the lowest-rated movie on here actually sports a decent 54% on rotten tomatoes, but these movies didn’t exactly wow either. As always, movies are subjective, so if you greatly enjoyed these films then I’m happy that you found some entertainment in them; however, here’s the five movies released in 2021 that turned out to be a huge disappointment.
Probably the most controversial pick on the list as Dune sports a healthy 83% on rotten tomatoes. The audience score is actually better, with 90% greatly enjoying the sci-fi/adaptation. Here’s the key issue with Dune, it’s a visual spectacle that’s just boring. More importantly, the fact that Dune doesn’t stand alone as one feature is another momentum killer. I get that Denis Villeneuve was looking to make a two-part film series; however, many of the scenes don’t play a big role in the first film, which really drags down this movie. It’s not impossible to make a multiple-part series work as a standalone feature. Harry Potter is pretty much a master at this. Lord of The Rings is also pretty strong at this element too. There’s nothing wrong with throwing in Easter eggs here and there, but Dune feels like a long set-up for part two. Barely anything happens until the end and some of the source material translated ends up being confusing. It’s great that the film will get a chance to finish what it started, but it would’ve been even better if Villeneuve focused on making this a strong standalone that left enough reasoning for a sequel to exist.
Mortal Kombat turned out better than the trailer said it would be, but that doesn’t mean it’s still a great movie. The first 13 minutes of Mortal Kombat are fantastic! It showcases that the filmmakers understand the source material and why the rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero is legendary. Speaking of which, both characters shine whenever they’re onscreen, especially Sub-Zero. Kano is also a great element that stands out in the cast. The fights are solid, but the biggest issue is Cole Young. He’s not a compelling protagonist and making him Scorpion’s son doesn’t elevate him as a character. It’s baffling that the filmmakers didn’t just use Johnny Cage if they wanted a family element apart of the live action movie. Hell, Jax could’ve also filled the lead role as he also has a family in the video games as well. Since Young is such a bland protagonist, his journey often drags down the entire film. His story is simply basic and there’s nothing about him that stands out in a cast full of strong and colorful characters. 2021 Mortal Kombat is the best MK adaptation to date and there’s joy to be had here, but it needed one more draft before the start of production.
Army of Thieves
Not a bad film by any means, just a formulaic one. What doesn’t help is that Army of Thieves came directly after Army of the Dead. Since we know the fate of Dieter in the Zack Synder film, his journey lacks any tension because we know he’ll get out any sticky situation that he finds himself in. The random zombie references actually distract from Thieves and is often confusing since no one else by Dieter acknowledges that the zombie apocalypse is happening in Las Vegas. Still, Matthias Schweighofer is a fun presence onscreen, and the cast of characters help elevate this from being a generic heist thriller. Like everything else on this list, there’s fun to be had here, but don’t expect Army of Thieves to reinvent the wheel.
House of Gucci
Arguably the biggest disappointment on the list. When the first trailer dropped, the buzz for House of Gucci was insane because it was really strong. However, all that hype came crashing down when the movie officially arrived in theaters. Lady Gaga proves once again why she’s a commanding force onscreen as she’s fantastic as Patrizia Reggiani, but the film makes the baffling decision to switch perspectives midway. The story about the assassination ultimately feels rushed because Patrizia had been the prime focus on House of Gucci and suddenly we’re focusing on the family affair in the last act of the film. However, the biggest crime that House of Gucci commits is that it’s a slog for a good portion of the film. House of Gucci seemed destined as a big mainstream awards contender, but unfortunately, it turned out to be a muddled mess.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
One of the biggest issues with Venom: Let There Be Carnage is that it doesn’t embrace its comic book roots too much. Venom is an anti-hero, yet it feels that he would be better suited in the style of Deadpool or The Suicide Squad. Instead, the film tries to take a more grounded approach and while that works for Spider-Man, Venom’s character is just a bit too cartoonish for realism. The bromance between Eddie Brock and Venom gets tiresome because it’s the same stuff that happened in the first movie. Even worse, Carnage doesn’t really get a chance to shine here, which is disappointing considering the talents of Woody Harrelson. No one was expecting this to be a masterpiece, but these Venom solo films don’t truly know what do without Spider-Man present.