5 Fantasy Movies That Are Surprisingly Better Than Anyone Expected

Most of these fantasy movies originally looked like they never had a chance… but fortunately, we were wrong.

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There are some movies where as soon as you see the trailer, you know it’s going to be good. At the very least, you’ll have a strong suspicion that you’ll enjoy the movie, even if other people don’t. That’s often far from the case though.

Some movies don’t have good trailers, while others have predecessors that didn’t do so well. A movie may seem to ambitious, or not ambitious enough. There are plenty of reasons movies can go bad, which is exactly why it’s such an interesting thing when a movie that looks like it should be bad actually turns out to be good.

1. The Great Wall

I, like many people, saw the initial trailer for The Great Wall, complete with what seemed to be a very out of place Matt Damon, and thought “oh, great, another one of these.” Then I promptly forget the movie existed and moved on with my life.

By some chance, I got a few 4K Blu-ray discs lumped in with a used game console purchase and this happened to be one. Seeing as I had it, I watched it one night and came away impressed. Director Zhang Yimou steers this in the same direction as Mad Max: Fury Road, only much more colorful and in a very different setting. Once it starts, it doesn’t let up until the end.

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2. Krull

Krull isn’t the best movie ever made and it knows it. Still, it’s far better than the premise and strange poster art would have you thing. This is a strange blend of sword and sorcery with straight-up space opera.

While it was a bomb at the box office, it has become a cult hit of sorts over the years. If you’re looking for a fun time with a type of movie you don’t often see anymore, give this one a watch.

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3. Thor

The Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t the massive franchise it is now when Thor was first released, only the fourth film in the series. As Thor has always been one of the more hit or miss characters in the comics, it was far from a sure thing that this one would work well.

Thanks to its sense of humor, this was the first indication that there would be plenty of variety in the MCU. This isn’t as good as Thor: Ragnarok, but it’s far better than Thor: The Dark World.

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4. Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island is a follow-up to the 2005 version of King Kong, 12 years after the fact. While King Kong played things safe at nearly every turn and proved to be a modest success, it doesn’t hold up well. The effects in particular haven’t help up well at all.

Kong: Skull Island, on the other hand, knows exactly how ridiculous it is, making it one of the more fun monster movies in recent years. If you had to capture the movie in just one scene, it’s the scene where Samuel L. Jackson stares down a 100 foot tall ape and comes across as the clear winner of the exchange.

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5. The Fellowship of the Ring

Yes, we all know now that the Lord of the Rings franchise turned out to be good. Before they came out though, this seemed like a risky idea. All we had to go on was Ralph Bakshi’s animated take on the series to go on which was… well, it was weird.

Peter Jackson made good and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring ended up one of the most impressive fantasy movies in a good long time, but it sure could have gone wrong. Let’s just be glad that it didn’t.

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Surprisingly Good Sci-Fi Movies

Fantasy is a pretty broad term. Rather than use it as a term to refer to anything with an element of the fantastical here, I stuck to a generally high fantasy meaning, just to keep the article on the simpler side. Of course, that means that it’s somewhat limited.

If you’re looking for a movie to watch but aren’t interested in any of the pictures we’ve gathered here, don’t worry, we’ve got more. For an example, check out our accompanying article that focuses on sci-fi movies that turned out better than they had any right to be.

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