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11 Best Action Movies of 2021
We came into 2021 to do two things: Chew bubblegum and watch action movies. And we’re all out of bubblegum.
With the possibility of the end to quarantine on the horizon, we might soon be returning to the theater to see big stunts, big action, and big muscly people on the big screen. While you can probably get away with watching a prestige drama on your home TV, there’s nothing like getting the full in-your-face experience of an action movie in the cinema.
And if everything goes according to plan, we might just get to do that this year.
In 2021, the slate of action movies is more stacked than ever before. That’s partly because there’s so much overflow from tentpole movies being shelved in 2020, but there are also some incredible pictures that were originally planned to be released this year. So here’s your rundown of everything good on the table for the coming year: a touch of Bond, an influx of Phase Four Marvel films, and a little vintage video game fodder you might know as… Mortal Kombat.
Morbius (March 19)
Everyone loves an origin story. When Dr. Michael Morris (Jared Leto) botches an experiment and ends up with vampiric powers, all hell breaks loose. But in classic modern-day superhero style, things aren’t black and white. The delayed film following the antihero will debut in March.
No Time to Die (April 2)
After a number of delays, Daniel Craig’s final Bond installment was moved to this spring, where we’ll see him lose from the 007 title and lounging down in Jamaica… but you can be certain that won’t last for too long. The long, long anticipated film also stars Léa Seydoux and Lashana Lynch.
Mortal Kombat (April 16)
The HBO Max and Warner Bros. decision to release their films in theaters and on streaming may be controversial, but it means that in a few short months, we’ll get Mortal Kombat at our fingertips. The reboot, based on the classic video game, will take us inside the most infamous and dangerous martial arts competition, making you scream out in nostalgia, “FINISH HIM!”
Black Widow (May 7)
One last run for Scarlett before she officially abdicates the role of Black Widow. The ill-fated superhero is finally getting her own standalone movie, taking us back to her home where we meet a slew of new characters that will likely pop up throughout Phase Four. Also… Florence Pugh in the MCU? Yes please, right now.
Fast & Furious 9 (May 28)
Vin Diesel’s done it again. The ninth installment of the high-speed-franchise-turned practically superhero movie will follow Dominic Toretto et al, as they face off with Dominic’s brother, Jakob, played by John Cena. Oh, did we forget to mention he’s an assassin?
Top Gun: Maverick (July 2)
The need for speed is back. Originally planned for a 2020 release, this summer is going to dredge up some major ‘80s vibes as Tom Cruise plops back into the pilot seat for the long awaited sequel to the original Top Gun.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 9)
More Marvel! Not only will Shang-Chi take us into a whole new phase of Marvel films, but it will also mark the first time that a Marvel film has been fronted solely by an Asian character.
The Suicide Squad (August 6)
Ok, yes. We know your opinion on the original, but in this revamp, we’re going to give it another shot. The Suicide Squad is a technical follow up to the first, somewhat lukewarmly received film, about a group of pseudo-reformed villains with one last lease on life: doing good in the name of getting out of being bad.
Dune (October 15)
Denis Villeneuve’s epic has been moved time and time again, but Dune is hopefully getting its 2021 release, with Tmothée Chalamet and Zendaya leading the charge. The story, if you’re unaware or dipped out after seeing the book is a million pages long, is about a giant battle to control the planet Arrakis and its valuable resource Spice.
The Eternals (November 5)
To top off your Marvel cup this year, The Eternals will drop, putting a new team of immortal superheroes on your radar. The premise is interesting, but it turns up about a thousand notches when you see that Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harrington, Richard Madden, and Angelina Jolie are just a few of the big names in the film.
The Matrix 4
You might have thought the series was over, but the immortal Keanu Reeves ain’t going anywhere. Almost 20 years after the last installment, Neo is resurrected on the big screen with a fourth Matrix movie. Lana Wachowski returns to helm the film with most of the cast from the original trilogy.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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