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The Most Underrated Chris Evans Movie

These days, Chris Evans is one of the most recognizable movie stars on the planet, and pretty much has his pick of Hollywood projects. That's the result, of course, of the almost ten years Evans has spent portraying Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Evans portrayed the virtuous Cap a total of 11 times (counting cameos and post-credit scenes) in his MCU run before finally passing the shield to his stalwart pal, Falcon (Anthonie Mackie), in the waning moments of 2019's epic MCU crossover, Avengers: Endgame

Given the general trajectory of Evans' career pre- and post-2011's Captain America: The First Avenger, one might be inclined to think the actor was more of an overnight success story than most. That logic would, however, be deeply flawed. The truth is, Evans had been kicking around Hollywood for a full decade before joining Team Marvel, and Captain America wasn't even his first super hero flick. It actually wasn't his first Marvel movie, either, lest we forget his mostly fantastic work as Johnny Storm in those less than marvelous Fantastic Four movies.

Even if those Fantastic Four flicks didn't quite work out the way anyone had hoped, Evans still put together an impressive résumé in his first decade in the movie biz, delivering memorable turns in teen flicks (Not Another Teen MovieThe Perfect Score) and more adult fare (Cellular, Push, Street Kings), alike. He even delivered arguably the best evil ex-boyfriend cameo in Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. While each of those films are worth discovering, or re-discovering in their own right, there's one film in Evans' pre-Cap oeuvre that was criminally ignored upon release.

That film is Danny Boyle's little-seen sci-fi opusSunshine, and it's easily the most underrated Chris Evans movie out there.

Sunshine is an egregiously overlooked sci-fi gem in Chris Evans' filmography

If you're wondering why Sunshine is worthy of that "underrated" tag, it's because the film retains an impressive 76% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, has become a bit of a cult hit in recent years, and we're pretty sure most of you still haven't seen it. While it's too late to give Sunshine the blockbuster reception it was egregiously denied upon release, there's still time for sci-fi cineastes to lift the film beyond the level cult classic, because it's a legit stunner worthy of mention alongside the best of the 21st Century.  

That being said, it's not entirely fair to call Sunshinpurely a Chris Evans movie. In truth, the film — directed with epic zeal by Boyle, and penned by his frequent collaborator-slash-burgeoning sci-fi auteur Alex Garland (Ex MachinaAnnihilationDevs) — is far more of an ensemble piece. As such, Evans' character is largely relegated to secondary status among Sunshine's impressive cast (fronted by Boyle's 28 Days Later star, Cillian Murphy). For those who haven't seen it, Sunshine unfolds in a near-distant future in which the sun is burning out, threatening to doom Earth to an icy demise. As is often the case in such movies, a crack team of elite scientists and astronauts are sent into the far reaches of space to save mankind, this time by jump-starting the sun with a nuclear fission bomb.

Things, of course, do not go according to plan. As Sunshine's sweeping, slow-burning narrative plays out, it does so as equal parts sci-fi head trip and full-on survival thriller. It also finds the heroic mission thrown perilously off course by the sort of tragically human miscalculations rarely glimpsed in such stories. The result is a brainy, beautifully bleak sci-fi thrill ride with space-bound spectacle to burn. It also happens to feature one of Chris Evans' finest performances to-date.