15 Best Action Movies Of 2021, According To IMDb

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The action movie genre always provides some of the most exciting and entertaining movies in any given year. 2021 was no different as there were countless action movies that rank among the most acclaimed, biggest hits, and most talked-about movies of the year.

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As the genre continues to grow, 2021 saw some great variety in the action movies fans were able to see. Some were inventive original ideas while others were part of huge franchises. Some were gritty and violent while others could entertain the entire family. And the top-rated action movies according to IMDb users showcase just how great the genre was in 2021.

Updated on March 31, 2022 by Colin McCormick: If fans are still looking for thrills and excitement from last year’s cinematic offerings, there are plenty more of the best action movies of 2021 to check out. The new action movies feature some of the most talked-about film moments of the year as well as some hidden gems fans still need to watch. And now with so many of these titles available on streaming services, there is no better time for fans to get caught up on the 2021 action movies that blew audiences away.

15 The Tomorrow War (6.6)

Stream On Amazon Prime

the tomorrow war first look images amazon chris pratt

Chris Pratt continued his trend as an action star with the summer blockbuster The Tomorrow War. Pratt played a man who is part of a group of recruits sent into the future to battle aliens who are taking over the world.

The movie was an interesting new twist on the time-travel genre while also mixing exciting action sequences with big sci-fi ideas. Pratt continues to be a likable lead in these types of movies and it made for a fun popcorn adventure.

14 Black Widow (6.7)

Stream On Disney+

Natasha and Yelena stand side by side and look up in Black Widow

Though she was one of the founding members of the Avengers in the MCU, it took a long time for Black Widow to get her own solo movie. Natasha Romanoff finally was able to step into the spotlight in Black Widow which found her returning to Russia and confronting her traumatic past.

Scarlett Johansson continued to be iconic in the heroic role and she was joined by some terrific new additions to the MCU, especially Florence Pugh as Yelena. The action was more brutal and grounded than other MCU projects which seemed to be refreshing for many fans. It all served as a fitting farewell to a great character.


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13 Wrath of Man (7.1)

Stream On Paramount+ & Epix

H gets ready for action

Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham reunite for the gritty action-crime movie Wrath of Man. Based on the French movie Cash Truck, Statham stars as a mysterious man who takes a job as an armored car driver. But when he thwarts an attempted robbery, it appears he has his own agenda.

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Statham fits into the silent badass character as effectively as ever and it is a lot of fun to see him working with Ritchie once again. Filled with intense sequences, oddball characters, and some interesting twists, Wrath of Man is a gripping ride.


12 Free Guy (7.2)

Stream On Disney+ & HBO Max

Free Guy Jodie Comer and Ryan Reynolds

Ryan Reynolds has perfected a type of fun action-comedy style that audiences seem to love and he continued that streak with Free Guy. Reynolds plays a background character in a video game who begins to take charge of his life.

The movie has a lot of fun with its various video game-inspired action sequences that combine spectacle and humor. Reynolds is also joined by a talented cast, including Jodie Comer who stands out as the action hero of the movie.


11 The Suicide Squad (7.2)

Stream On HBO Max

Harley Quinn wields two M16s in The Suicide Squad

Though it is set in the superhero world of the DCEU, The Suicide Squad feels more like an older war adventure like The Dirty Dozen. James Gunn’s new take on the material follows a group of supervillains tasked with a dangerous mission on a military-controlled island.

Gunn brings his typical dark and irreverent sense of humor to the movie which gives it a fun spark. There are also some very inventive and wild action moments, such as the bloody opening beach ambush and the brutal brawl between two of the teammates.


10 Raya And The Last Dragon (7.3)

Stream On Disney+

It was a big year for animated movies in 2021, but Raya and the Last Dragon stood out as offering a great action movie along with family-friendly fun. The Disney movie follows a young warrior who seeks to save her ancient civilization from monsters by finding the last remaining dragon.

As with most Disney movies, Raya and the Last Dragon does a terrific job of combining humor, heart, and a family-friendly vibe. But it also features some amazing action sequences that are a thrill to watch.


9 Old Henry (7.3)

Stream On Showtime

A prospector stands in front of his home in Old Henry.

While the Western movie genre doesn’t have a lot of offerings in 2021, Old Henry was a great new addition to the genre. Tim Blake Nelson plays a farmer who takes in an injured man who makes him the target of a dangerous posse. But as they close in on him, the man’s hidden past comes out.

RELATED: The 10 Best Westerns Of The 21st Century, Ranked According To Letterboxd

Nelson has been a stellar character actor for years so it is great to see him get to headline a movie like this. Though a small and simple story, it still offers plenty of thrills and great moments that make it one of the most underrated action movies of 2021.




8 No Time To Die (7.3)

Rent On Apple TV

James Bond at the nanobot factory in No Time to Die

As the fifth movie with Daniel Craig as James Bond, No Time to Die marks the end of the actor’s run in the series. The film interrupts Bond’s peaceful life in retirement as past secrets rise to the surface and a new dangerous threat is revealed.

Fans go to Bond movies for big action set pieces and No Time to Die delivers on that. Kicking off with an extended chase sequence, the movie manages to be the typical fun spy adventure while also exploring Bond as a character in some interesting ways.


7 Nobody (7.4)

Stream On HBO Max

Hutch hides from bad guys with gun in Nobody

Perhaps the most surprising action hero of the year was Bob Odenkirk. In Nobody, Odenkirk plays a family man living a mundane life. But after failing to stop thieves who break into his home, he reveals a side of himself that he kept hidden for a long time.

Odenkirk really shines in the role of both the overlooked everyman and the badass who can take on armies of goons. The movie delivers fight scenes and shootouts normally seen in John Wick movies, but it is made all the more entertaining with Odenkirk in the hero role.


6 The Last Duel (7.4)

Stream On HBO Max

Adam Driver and Matt Damon in The Last Duel.

Ridley Scott returns to the historical epic genre to deliver one of the year’s most underrated movies. The Last Duel tells the true story of a faceoff between two knights after one of them is accused of assaulting the wife of the other man.

The movie is a very nuanced and thought-provoking look at the various perspectives of this crime while highlighting things that are still true today. But amidst this intense drama, there are some brutal battle sequences as well as the titular climactic duel which is one of the best action sequences of the year.


5 Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (7.5)

Stream On Disney+

Simu Liu fighting on a bus in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Though a relatively unknown Marvel character, Shang-Chi made a big impression in his first MCU appearance. Simu Liu gives a star-making performance as the skilled warrior who must face his past when his powerful and dangerous father re-emerges.

The martial arts fight scenes were hailed as some of the best in the MCU and the scope of the action in the climax is as big as can be expected in these movies. It was a fun, funny, and touching MCU adventure that cements Shang-Chi as one of the MCU’s best new characters.


4 The Mitchells vs the Machines (7.7)

Stream On Netflix

Katie and the Mitchells in slo-mo with burning mall in The Mitchells vs the Machines

Though this animated family adventure was somewhat overlooked, The Mitchells vs. the Machines has been praised as one of the best movies of the year by those who have seen it. It follows the titular family making a cross-country trip when a rogue A.I. program takes over the world.

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The wild animation style immediately makes it stand out from other movies in the genre and the wacky sense of humor provides some laugh-out-loud moments. But it is the inventive action sequences that make the movie such a fun ride for the whole family.


3 Zack Snyder’s Justice League (8.1)

Stream On HBO Max

After a lot of controversy over the theatrical release and a vocal outcry from fans, Zack Snyder’s Justice League delivers the original vision for the superhero epic. The movie follows the same basic plot as DC’s greatest heroes attempt to stop Steppenwolf from leading an invasion of Earth.

However, with the expanded runtime and Snyder’s grander view of the mythology, this version is a true superhero epic that pleased fans of the DCEU and surprised many who were not as fond of Snyder’s past work.


2 Dune (8.1)

Stream On HBO Max

Dune VFX Supervisor Breaks Down Sci-Fi Epic's Ornithopter Scenes

Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the influential sci-fi novel Dune was one of the most anticipated movies of the year and many felt it lived up to expectations. The story follows an intergalactic royal family who takes control of a dangerous planet where they are soon surrounded by enemies.

Dune is much more than just an action movie as it brings viewers into a rich sci-fi world, explores a massive mythology, and sets up an epic saga. However, Villeneuve also stages some truly mind-blowing moments that fans won’t soon forget.


1 Spider-Man: No Way Home (8.5)

Buy On Vudu

Spider-Man clinging to a car roof over a bridge

Though anticipation for Spider-Man’s third MCU adventure was high as soon as it was announced, Spider-Man: No Way Home blew away all expectations with its bold and hugely entertaining story.

The movie is filled with crowd-pleasing moments and huge surprises while also delivering on the action. From fun, comedic set-pieces to brutal fights to the final battle that will have audiences cheering, Spider-Man: No Way Home is perhaps the movie-going experience of the year.

NEXT: 10 Spin-Offs That Could Follow Spider-Man: No Way Home

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