Critically hated movies of 2017 you should watch anyway

Not all movies get the love they deserve. Heck, some movies barely get any love at all. Try to ignore their bad reputations, however, and you'll see that sometimes, these films have some serious redeeming qualities—and you'd be silly not to go against the grain and give them a shot. After all, just because the critics didn't like them doesn't mean you won't.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

While critics dunked on Valerian's scattered plot and shallow storytelling and declared the film a general waste of time, we're here to offer a more positive view. Yeah, it's a little scattered. Sure, it's a bit shallow. By no means, however, is it a waste of time. This movie is a visual tour de force, an extraterrestrial sightseeing extravaganza that brims with enough imaginative sci-fi to make George Lucas blush. 

With Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, director Luc Besson crafted one of the most sensorily captivating films of the decade. One second, a character is shooting projectiles at his feet to use as levitating platforms; the next, he's wearing gloves that allow his hands to access a different dimension. Crazy stuff like this is flung at you every other minute in Valerian, all drenched in an exuberant day-glo color palette. Really, there's nothing quite like this movie, and that alone makes it worth a watch. Beyond that, however, it also manages to tell a fun and simple story held together by solid (and criminally underrated) performances from Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne and, in a surprising twist, Rihanna.

Power Rangers

Hell hath no fury like a critic's scorn, a sentiment that rang painfully true for the Power Rangers movie. In rotten (tomatoes) times like these, however, it's important to remember that critics are just that: critical. So ignore the snobs at the top of the movie cynics' club and enjoy Power Rangers for what it is: an insanely fun homage to the original show. Even if it is an absurd movie, as critics vehemently complained, that's one of the defining characteristics of the movie's source material. And though the film does eschew its more successful subdued tone in favor of inappropriate CGI bombast towards the final act, a weak and tonally inconsistent finale isn't enough to erase the hour-and-a-half's worth of fun that came before. Power Rangers is definitely worth a watch, both for fans of the series as well as those who like good character-driven adventure films—which we assume is most of you.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

There's no denying it, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a farcical adventure that takes all the madness of the Kingsman franchise and dials it up to 11. But while plenty of critics saw this as a downside, the reality is that it's just a little more icing on Matthew Vaughn's already far-too-sweet cake. In that sense, the movie works on every level. Sure, the humor is more crass in The Golden Circle than it was in The Secret Service. Yes, the action is more over the top and utterly absurd in this sequel. Heck, no one's even denying that the villain is an overly-campy parody of spy-flick bad guys. However, if you go in knowing that The Golden Circle isn't trying to win an Oscar for nuanced storytelling, you might just get what Vaughn intended: an electrifying, irreverently fun time. It's a Bond spoof to top all Bond spoofs.

Ghost in the Shell

Here's the fact of the matter: there aren't a lot of good blockbuster Hollywood cyberpunk movies, so when one comes along, you have to cherish it for what it is. Ghost in the Shell is one such movie. Regardless of critics' legitimate issues with the narrative's lack of thematic depth and general shallowness, the reality is that the film still manages to be one of the coolest visual journeys of 2017. It welcomes western audiences to a complex and visually stunning world that previously only existed within the confines of Japanese anime, serving as a great entry point for newcomers to the franchise. 

Beyond that, it also serves as a neon-drenched, slick and sexy look at a future that sports an aesthetic to rival Blade Runner 2049's, so check it out if you want some of the year's most impressive cinematic eye candy. And let's not sell the story short, either: though it may be shallow from a thematic perspective, it features a narrative that gives life to some very well-written characters. In this regard, the first villain of Ghost in the Shell remains a character fit to stand alongside 2017's best cinematic antagonists.

Justice League

Where does one even begin when talking about Justice League's painful battle with the critics? Yes, we all know the CGI wasn't the best. Yes, we're all aware the tone feels like a bad split between Whedon's Avengers and Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (because it was). Yes, we're all aware it wasn't a perfect movie.

With that said, the film was still a monumental occasion for comic book fans: it was the first live-action assembly of the Justice League. It was the first time in cinematic history that we got to see a Flash with a visual effects budget to match his superpower (sorry, CW Flash TV show). It featured a near-perfect depiction of both Superman's personality and unrivaled power. Basically, the movie got a lot of things right, things that most critics haven't put enough emphasis on. There's something to be said for a movie that managed to introduce three new DCEU heroes (Cyborg, Flash, Aquaman) and create likable characters out of all of them in under two hours. In that sense, Justice League is totally worth a watch if you want to see DC Comics' most prestigious characters done justice on the big screen.

The Belko Experiment

Critics were not kind to The Belko Experiment, writing it off as a mindless gorefest. And that's true, honestly: it never expands on the handful of highbrow themes it tiptoes near. That's isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. Seriously, just because the movie was written by James Gunn doesn't mean it has to be a subversive genre twister like Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn let off some steam with this story and wrote something that's messy for the sake of being messy, serving as nothing more or less than a frightening(ly fun) B-movie. The characters are likable, the conflict is gritty and unsettling, and the movie more or less achieves everything it sets out to. In conclusion: check it out if you wish The Hunger Games movies had had the (literal) guts to utilize an R rating. It's a fun time.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie directed a very intense medieval video game with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and even if that's not what the critics wanted, it doesn't change the fact that the movie is awesome, albeit constructed for the wrong medium. With its fast-paced CGI monster fights, oodles of deep lore and generically charming protagonist, all tied together via Ritchie's high-octane directing style, it could've made for a stunning triple-A action-adventure game. In that sense, it's obvious why critics couldn't stand it: it's got too much plot going on, not enough character development, a lot of visual flair and minimal substance. With that said, if you crave some badass Arthurian action and want to know what The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim would've looked like with Guy Ritchie as the creative director, this is the movie for you.

The Great Wall

Derided for its dull acting and under-utilization of its concept, The Great Wall failed to project the illusion of greatness onto film critics. Though its Rotten Tomatoes score is a fair indicator of the film's overall quality, this movie still deserves a watch primarily due to its employment of Chinese talent. It's rare to see a primarily Chinese production get a budget this big, which makes this a fun excuse to witness the directorial style of Zhang Yimou, a talented director whose name should carry far more weight in the west. Say what you will about Yimou's direction of the actors, but his command of the action and aesthetics of the film is second to none. The movie's army factions are color-coded for maximum visual vibrancy, the screen is always lit with rich hues and filled by incredible objects, and there's nary a bad moment when the movie's main antagonists (the lizard creatures) are throwing down with Matt Damon and company. As long as you go into it expecting nothing more than some killer action, it's definitely worth a watch.

Murder on the Orient Express

Critics weren't having a fun time with Murder on the Orient Express, likely a symptom of their overbearing nostalgia toward the original 1974 film of the same name. Ignore them, however, as Kenneth Branagh's 2017 adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie novel is a rich and enjoyable experience in its own right. Featuring intoxicatingly decadent set design, a stellar A-list cast and a pleasant pace that invites you to sit back, relax and enjoy the mystery, the 2017 iteration of Orient Express is a lavish affair that's sure to entertain. Seriously, this movie is worth a watch if for nothing else than Branagh's show-stealing performance as the quirky but brilliant detective Hercule Poirot.

Suburbicon

Suburbicon received an absolute walloping from critics, with complaints attacking the movie's scattered tone, under-baked second half, and even its handling of black characters. Yet for all the movie's shortcomings and imperfections, one thing is pretty obviously in its favor: the strong performances. Say whatever you want about Suburbicon, but it features Matt Damon, Oscar Isaac and Julianne Moore at the top of their game, nailing line deliveries so hard that the dialogue alone would make even the worst film watchable. And this is far from the worst film, mind you, so definitely check it out if only to enjoy Damon and the rest of the quirky cast.