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12 Movies From 2017 That Exceeded Expectations

12 Movies From 2017 That Exceeded Expectations


Don’t you just love it when you have really low expectations of something and then you’re pleasantly surprised? That is what happened with a lot of films in 2017. Perhaps some of these movies weren’t anticipated with a whole lot of excitement and weren’t really hyped up, but they sure delivered. Some had to deal with a lot of drama behind the scenes as well, and when the director is changed on multiple occasions, usually you can be sure that the final product will be one big fat mess. As it turned out, this wasn’t the case last year.


The movies that managed to surprise us with their awesomeness weren’t limited to a certain genre. Some of them were blockbusters, some were sleeper indie films, and others were cartoons. They were just really good, even if no-one thought they would be. Check out these 12 movies that exceeded expectations in 2017, courtesy of Ranker. You won’t be disappointed!

1. Wonder Woman


Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

There has been sort of a pattern regarding DC movies in recent years: very high expectations and very disappointing results. Taking that into account, along with the fact that these movies haven’t really had a lot of strong and major female characters, you might say that when Wonder Woman was announced, people hoped it would do well, but not many expected it to.

But then the film achieved enormous success at the box office and received positive reviews from both viewers and critics. Probably the last time a movie based on a DC comic was this well received was nine years ago with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. But Wonder Woman delivered on all accounts: it stayed true to its titular character, it brought something new to the genre, and it was enjoyable to watch.

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis

Released: June 2017

Directed by: Patty Jenkins

2. Split


Photo: Universal Pictures

In the movie industry, M. Night Shyamalan’s name is almost synonymous with twist endings. But his most successful movies, such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village came over a decade ago. Since then, the filmmaker hasn’t produced anything noteworthy: his work since 2004 has been relatively poorly received and financially unsuccessful.

So it was a welcome surprise when Shyamalan came back in 2017 with another hit movie. Split was different from the rest of his recent projects because things were kept simple. The budget was only $9 million, the cast was small, and the story was more psychological and more tightly wound. And of course, there was the signature insane twist as well!

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley

Released: January 2017

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

3. Logan


Photo: 20th Century Fox

Most people were very skeptical when it came to Logan. While Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine, the adamantium claw-wielding anti-hero, has been beloved by most, if not all, superhero movie fans, it has to be said that the previous two stand-alone Wolverine movies weren’t that good. So expectations were already low for Logan when the director, James Mangold, described the upcoming film as both serious and Western. Coupled with the insistence by cast and crew that this movie was “the real deal”, it was enough to further fuel the skeptics’ disbelief.

And then they were proven wrong. Far from a good superhero movie, Logan has since been described as a good movie, that just happens to have a superhero in it. The swansong of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine delivered a gore-filled, ultra-violent, and heart-breaking end to the franchise.

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant

Released: March 2017

Directed by: James Mangold

4. It


Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The process of making It was a bit of a bumpy ride. The original director, Cary Fukunaga, quit after working on the movie for years, and Andy Muschietti took the mantle. But a change of that magnitude was taken to mean that the movie was bound to be a disaster, so hopes went considerably down when this news was revealed. The new director continued making changes: he replaced all the cast picked out by Fukunaga, save for one actor, and he made significant changes to the script, adding more famous scenes from Stephen King’s novel on which the film is based. It got King’s seal off approval, as well as the positive feedback from the audience who were appropriately terrified (in a good way). And it was a box office success.

Starring:  Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard

Released: September 2017

Directed by:  Andy Muschietti

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming


Photo: Disney

Spider-Man: Homecoming could have been a complete failure. Considering that the three previous films featuring the superhero, Spider-Man 3 with Tobey Maguire as weird, emo Peter Parker, and then the reinvention of the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man and the sequel, starring Andrew Garfield in the title role, weren’t what you’d call film classics.

And, of course, there was another obstacle in the making of this latest Spider-Man film: Disney didn’t own the rights to the character. In fact, they are the property of Sony, because many moons ago when comic book-based movies weren’t all the rage in Hollywood, Marvel had sold the rights to some of its characters, including the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Deadpool and Spider-Man. Long story short, Marvel and Sony signed a deal, and Marvel got major creative control over the character, which according to Marvel Studios’ president, Kevin Feige, was a great thing, because otherwise, the movie wouldn’t have been as good as it was. In fact, Spider-Man: Homecoming has made the most money out of all the superhero movies released in 2017.

Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton,  Marisa Tomei

Released: July 2017

Directed by: Jon Watts

6. Blade Runner 2049


Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Why would a film studio suddenly decide to make the sequel to a movie that had been gathering dust for the last 30 years? Is it because they’re running out of good original ideas? Or is it actually a stroke of genius? It turns out it’s the latter, at least in this case. Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, came out in 1982. It didn’t perform very well at the box office, but it was beloved by sci-fi fans: it gained the status of a cult film, and is now considered to be one of the best science-fiction movies of all time.

The sequel, Blade Runner 2049, fared similarly: it didn’t earn a lot of money, but fans of the genre enjoyed the dystopian world offering a vision of the future, with loads of fantastic special effects and wonderful cinematography.

Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Sylvia Hoeks

Released: October 2017

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

7. Murder On The Orient Express


Photo: 20th Century Fox

Agatha Christie’s novel, Murder on the Orient Express, came out in 1934 and has had several film and television adaptations. However, the fact that the story is rather familiar to most everyone didn’t stop the movie-goers from flocking to the theaters and enjoying Kenneth Branagh’s new take on the murder-mystery. This movie was reminiscent of the ’70s, those golden days when every character in a film was played by a superstar actor. But not only is Murder on the Orient Express full of famous people, it also features beautiful scenery and unexpected plot twists guaranteed to keep an audience engaged. It’s a fresh take on an often-told story and it managed to bring it up to date sufficiently so it could be enjoyed by the newer generations as well.

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, + more

Released: November 2017

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

8. Atomic Blonde


Photo: Focus Features

This movie would’ve been pretty cool even if it wasn’t anything more than Charlize Theron starring as the female version of John Wick and kicking butt. But it was actually much more than a simple “shoot all the bad guys dead” a la Mad Max: Fury Road. This movie had an intriguing storyline that saw Theron’s character overcome various physical and emotional challenges.

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan

Released: July 2017

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Directed by: David Leitch

9. Happy Death Day


Photo: Universal Pictures

When it comes to pleasing audiences, horror movies usually have an easy job. Fans of horror aren’t very picky, and they’re likely to give anything a shot, regardless of the actors that star in it, the story, and the reviews. Happy Death Day had a budget of only $5 million and the premise is pretty straightforward, but these factors meant nothing to the horror fans.

While it was expected that the film wouldn’t do too badly, no-one could’ve foreseen the magnitude of its success. It made $100 million more than it cost to make, and was enjoyed both by fans and non-fans of the genre. Happy Death Day is sort of Groundhog Day meets a slasher film and it surprised by delivering a masterful combination of fun and fright.

Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine

Released: October 2017

Directed by: Christopher B. Landon

10. The Blackcoat’s Daughter


Photo: A24

There were many things that suggested The Blackcoat’s Daughter would be a bad movie. First of all, no-one could pinpoint an accurate description of it. Was it a psychological horror? No. An occult horror? Nope. How about a regular old horror? Not really. Then, there was the fact that its first screening was back in 2015 at the Toronto International Film Festival under the title February. The fact that its wide release was delayed for two years didn’t bode well.

In the end, The Blackcoat’s Daughter turned out to be one of the creepiest horror movies in recent history. Unlike many films of the genre, this one manages to sustain its tone and suspense from beginning to end. This movie is a must-see – it will keep you guessing all the way through.

Starring: Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, Kiernan Shipka, James Remar, Lauren Holly

Released: February 2017

Directed by: Oz Perkins

11. Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie


Photo: 20th Century Fox

Captain Underpants is a children’s novel written by Dav Pilkey in 1997. It’s the story of two kids and the high-school principal who is actually a superhero. At first glance, this movie was only intended as a shameless money grab, not unlike Jem and the Holograms and The Emoji Movie. But then the reviews came in and it turns out people didn’t actually hate it. While it’s dumb and silly, viewers and critics alike appreciate that the movie knows that it’s dumb and silly and doesn’t try to pretend to be anything more. Also, it was penned by the writer of The Muppets and Zoolander 2, so that’s another plus.

Actors: Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele

Released: June 2017

Directed by: Rob Letterman

12. XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage


Photo: Paramount Pictures

Coming twelve years after the second installment of the xXx franchise, this movie wasn’t really expected to be anything but dumb. But it turned out to be more of a roller coaster ride than expected. Even if you can clearly see that Diesel doesn’t do his own stunts, the movie had some awesome set pieces – who wouldn’t want a motorbike that is also a jet ski? – some funny dialogue and amazing martial arts sequences. Donnie Yen more than makes up for Diesel’s under par performance.

Starring: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev

Released: January 2017

Directed by: D. J. Caruso

Source: ranker

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