Hello and welcome to the year 2031! The 40th Spider-Man movie is a hit. Timothee Chalamet still hasn’t cut his hair. Taylor Swift just released an hour-long song about her summer with that Kennedy cousin. People are still in awe of that gorgeous and surprisingly poignant West Side Story remake.
And nobody is talking about, let alone vividly recalls, the Hollywood studios’ ever-fluctuating theatrical versus streaming strategies in the wake of a global health pandemic.
My point: There was a lot of breathless talk and analysis devoted to the new-normal movie-going experience in 2021. (Read: Yeah, maybe the high-profile Dune and that prequel to The Sopranos shouldn’t have been available to watch on HBO Max for free the same day they also arrived on big screens). But ultimately, only the movies themselves will stand the test of the time.
And this year’s offerings deserve to be a part of the long-term pop culture fabric. For starters? Ghostbusters, Suicide Squad, Cruella and Dune were all reborn to surprising success, while a certain A Star Is Born leading lady proved she was no one-hit wonder.
Black Widow said farewell to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the all-powerful hero Shang-Chi kicked his way in (and proved himself an excellent karaoke singer, to boot!). But 10 marvelous movies truly stood out from the crowded field. Here’s this year’s honor roll.
P.S. Another Spider-Man is coming in 2022.