Ryan Reynolds' 30 best and worst movies ranked
The wait is finally over! After more than a year of delays amid the coronavirus pandemic, “Free Guy” finally blasts into theaters on Aug. 13, 2021. Ryan Reynolds stars in the sci-fi action comedy as a non-player character working as a bank teller in a violent video game loosely resembling “Grand Theft Auto.” The adventure begins when he suddenly gains awareness and decides he’s tired of living in the background. In honor of the film’s big debut, Wonderwall.com is counting down Ryan’s best and worst movies — from “Green Lantern” to “Deadpool” and everything in between!
Keep reading to see where your favorites rank…
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No. 30: “Green Lantern”
It’s widely regarded as one of the worst superhero movies of all time: 2011’s “Green Lantern.” Ryan Reynolds starred as pilot Hal Jordan in the disappointing action flick, which scored a 26% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes and has been a frequent target of self-reflective, fourth-wall-breaking “Deadpool” jokes.
RELATED: The all-time worst superhero movies ranked
No. 29 and No. 28: “Self/less” and “Criminal”
Shockingly, the films on Ryan Reynolds’ résumé that bookend “Deadpool” — 2015’s “Self/less” (pictured) and 2016’s “Criminal” — both center around a dead or dying person’s consciousness transferring into another person’s body. In “Self/less,” Ryan is the young body of mysterious origins into which a dying real estate mogul’s consciousness (Ben Kingsley) is transferred. In “Criminal,” he’s a CIA operative and family man whose consciousness is transferred into a death row inmate (Kevin Costner). Both films flopped, though “Criminal” performed slightly better with critics and at the box office.
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No. 27: “6 Underground”
If big, dumb action flicks are your thing, then boy do we have a big, dumb action flick for you! Ryan Reynolds headlined the globe-spanning, Michael Bay-directed stinker “6 Underground,” which premiered on Netflix in 2019. He starred as a billionaire philanthropist who fakes his own death and launches a squad of vigilante assassins to take down terrorists, dictators and other shady individuals who would otherwise be untouchable through proper government channels. It’s heavy on explosions and car chases but low on character development and logic — which is how it managed to score a 36% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. (Would you expect anything less from Michael Bay?)
No. 26: “Woman in Gold”
Oscar bait gone bad! Helen Mirren somehow earned a SAG Award nomination for her performance as Holocaust refugee Maria Altmann — who took the Austrian government to court over a painting of her aunt that was stolen by Nazis — in the 2015 biopic “Woman in Gold.” Ryan Reynolds portrayed her young lawyer, Randy Schoenberg, in the disappointing drama, which largely bored critics.
No. 25: “R.I.P.D.”
Perhaps the weakest of Ryan Reynolds’ buddy-cop movies is 2013’s “R.I.P.D.,” an adaptation of the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. The A-list actor starred as a recently deceased Boston cop who teams up with a Civil War-era U.S. Marshal (Jeff Bridges) to police spirits who refuse to move on to the afterlife. Critics despised the action-comedy, which has a 14% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and totally bombed at the box office.
No. 24: “The Nines”
Critics were divided over 2007’s “The Nines,” a three-part psychological thriller in which Ryan Reynolds really flexed his acting chops as three different men each slipping into madness as they become obsessed with the number nine. The indie, which scored a limited release in the United States, is super-convoluted, but Ryan is infinitely fun to watch as a troubled actor, a struggling television writer and a conflicted video game designer. Speaking of convoluted…
No. 23: “Smokin’ Aces”
Ryan Reynolds portrayed FBI Agent Richard Messner in the star-stuffed 2007 action flick “Smokin’ Aces,” which centers around a host of hitmen vying to take out Jeremy Piven’s Las Vegas-based gangster-magician Buddy “Aces” Israel. Despite an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Chris Pine, Jason Bateman, Taraji P. Henson, Ray Liotta, Common, Andy Garcia, Alicia Keys, Matthew Fox and Joel Edgerton, the convoluted crime-caper failed to impress critics, though it entertained the rest of us well enough!
No. 22: “Waiting…”
During the height of his frat-boy comedy days, Ryan Reynolds starred as Monty, a career waiter in 2005’s “Waiting…” The low-budget comedy — which actually doubled its budget on its opening weekend — centers around the staff at a chain restaurant and featured several bold-faced names before they were stars. It’s achieved a cult-like following over the years due to its realistic portrayal of life in the service industry.
No. 21: “The Amityville Horror”
Ryan Reynolds was absolutely bone-chilling (while simultaneously raising temperatures) as George Lutz — who attempts to murder his family while possessed by an evil spirit — in the 2005 horror flick “The Amityville Horror,” which was a huge hit at the box office.
No. 20: “The Change-Up”
There were as many laughs as plot holes (so, like, a lot) in 2011’s “The Change-Up,” in which Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman starred as lifelong friends who switch bodies “Freaky Friday”-style. What we loved about this comedy is that its stars played against type, with Ryan spending much of the movie as a hardworking, happily married father of three trapped inside the body of his womanizing bestie while Jason portrayed the immature party guy. It may not have won over critics, but we liked it just fine!
No. 19: “Safe House”
Ryan Reynolds starred as a young CIA agent tasked with protecting an international criminal in 2012’s “Safe House,” which was a huge hit at the box office in spite of mediocre reviews from critics. It might have ranked higher on this list if not for another film in which Ryan starred just a few years later: 2017’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” which is basically the funny (more entertaining) version of “Safe House.”
No. 18: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”
Ryan Reynolds played the bodyguard to Samuel L. Jackson’s hitman in 2017’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.” The duo traded hilarious barbs while dodging bullets in the action-comedy, which was entertaining if not groundbreaking. It performed well enough at the box office to score a sequel, the 2021 dud “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” which bombed at the box office and with critics alike, scoring a 25% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (Surprisingly, the sequel earned a 79% fresh rating with audiences, indicating Ryan fans can’t be deterred by things like vulgarity or lack of plausibility.)
No. 17: “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
One of Ryan Reynolds’ top-grossing films is also one of his lowest rated on Rotten Tomatoes: 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which is notable for introducing an early iteration of the Wade Wilson character that we know and love from “Deadpool.” (We’re so glad he decided to give it a do-over!) In the action flick, the warped version of the Merc with a Mouth is presented as a wisecracking assassin with expert sword skills who foregoes his iconic red costume — but he still brings some much-needed LOLs to the maligned “X-Men” movie.
No. 16: “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder”
It was his first big breakthrough: Ryan Reynolds starred as the titular party boy in 2002’s “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.” Critics loathed the low-budget comedy, which centers around a popular college student who’s totally terrified of graduating, but we’ll forever cherish it for introducing mainstream audiences to the Canadian cutie.
No. 15: “Blade: Trinity”
Ryan Reynolds made his action-flick debut in 2004’s “Blade: Trinity.” He starred as the wisecracking former vampire Hannibal King, who memorably flaunted his physique while cracking jokes as Parker Posey’s Danica Talos tortured him. (Maybe that’s why this B-movie holds a special place in our hearts.) The third installment in the “Blade” trilogy failed to impress critics — it scored a 25% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But that didn’t stop fans of the franchise from turning up in theaters — or from having a blast while they were there!
No. 14: “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle”
Before he made the transition from comedy star to action hero, Ryan Reynolds had a cameo as an ER nurse in 2004’s “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.” The low-budget comedy performed well with critics, made stars of Kal Penn and John Cho (who played the titular stoners) and launched two sequels. Not too shabby for a flick that centers around two dudes’ epic quest to score the perfect munchies!
No. 13: “Turbo”
Ryan Reynolds voiced the titular racing snail in 2013’s “Turbo,” a totally likeable but not especially imaginative animated film that racked up several Annie Award nominations after its debut.
No. 12: “Life”
Ryan Reynolds starred as an astronaut in the 2017 sci-fi-thriller “Life,” which was mostly forgettable aside from the fact that it also starred Jake Gyllenhaal. Two of our all-time favorite actors sharing screen-time with a murderous Martian organism? Sign us up! Sadly, critics were divided on the flick, which wasn’t a total bust but ultimately failed to make an impression at the box office.
No. 11: “Detective Pikachu”
Ryan Reynolds voiced the titular Pokémon — an amnesiac cop working to uncover the mysterious circumstances surrounding his human partner’s death — in 2019’s “Detective Pikachu.” The charmingly adorable action flick — which somehow managed to appeal to both diehard Pokémon fans and to the uninitiated — performed well at the box office and with critics, scoring a 68% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
No. 10: “The Voices”
Ryan Reynolds earned raves for his performance as Jerry, a schizophrenic factory worker, in 2015’s “The Voices.” In addition to portraying Jerry, Ryan also voiced Jerry’s good-natured dog (who represents his conscience) and his sociopathic cat (who represents his violent urges) in the exceptionally dark comedy. Despite garnering mostly positive reviews, the film, in which Anna Kendrick and Gemma Arterton co-starred as two of Jerry’s victims, failed to make an impression, earning less than $500K on an $11K budget with a limited release.
No. 9: “The Croods” and “The Croods: A New Age”
Ryan Reynolds was the voice of Guy, an evolved early human who woos a prehistoric teenage cavewoman named Eep (voiced by Emma Stone) in the 2013 animated comedy “The Croods,” which is the star’s third highest grossing film after the two “Deadpool” movies. The family flick — which also earned an Oscar nomination for best animated feature film — was such a huge hit, it scored a 2020 sequel, “The Croods: A New Age.” (Shockingly, the sequel performed even better with critics!)
No. 8: “Mississippi Grind”
Proof that good reviews don’t always translate to box office glory? “Mississippi Grind.” Ryan Reynolds starred alongside Ben Mendelsohn as two down-on-their-luck poker players on a road trip through the South in the 2015 dramedy, which scored a 91% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes — Ryan’s highest rated movie ever!
No. 7: “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
Ryan Reynolds’ involvement in “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” was kept entirely under wraps until the action flick debuted in the summer of 2019. Fans were delighted when the funnyman unexpectedly showed up as CIA Agent Victor Locke, a man from Hobbs’ past who proved his dedication to their one-sided friendship by copying the former DSS agent’s iconic chest tattoo. Locke doesn’t just send Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) on their mission, he also appears in the film’s three funniest scenes… naturally! “Hobbs & Shaw” was a huge hit at the box office and performed decently with critics, scoring a 67% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. According to some reports, Ryan will have a bigger role in the sequel, which is currently in development.
No. 6: “Buried”
How good is Ryan Reynolds? So good that he managed to keep us completely engaged in 2010’s “Buried” in spite of the fact that he’s the only actor who appears on screen. The thriller centers around a truck driver in Iraq who wakes up following an attack to find that he’s been buried alive with only a cell phone and a lighter to keep him company. The entire film takes place within a coffin but is never boring — and we have Ryan to thank for that!
No. 5: “Adventureland”
Ryan Reynolds was the guy we loved to hate — maintenance man Mike Connell, who’s cheating on his wife with Kristen Stewart’s Em — in the 2009 coming-of-age dramedy “Adventureland,” which centers around a college grad (Jesse Eisenberg) working at a late-’80s theme park. The cult indie, which earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best screenplay, scored an 89% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
No. 4: “The Proposal”
Ryan Reynolds starred as the put-upon assistant to Sandra Bullock’s pushy Canadian book publisher — who forces him to propose to her so she won’t get deported — in the predictable but extremely likable 2009 rom-com “The Proposal,” for which the A-list actress earned a Golden Globe nomination. The duo have incredible chemistry, and the scene where they accidentally bump into each other outside the bathroom while simultaneously in the buff is one of our favorite rom-com movie moments ever — for obvious reasons!
No. 3: “Definitely, Maybe”
We absolutely adored Ryan Reynolds as single dad Will Hayes in 2008’s “Definitely, Maybe,” which isn’t just a rom-com — it’s also a mystery! Borrowing from “How I Met Your Mother,” Will recounts his post-collegiate years in New York City to his young daughter, Maya (Abigail Breslin). By the end of the story, Maya has to figure out which of her dad’s three great loves — played by Isla Fisher, Elizabeth Banks and Rachel Weisz — is her mom.
No. 2: “Just Friends”
It’s one of the most criminally underrated comedies of the past 20 years: Ryan Reynolds starred in 2005’s “Just Friends” as a shallow Hollywood agent with baggage from his nerdy teen years. When he gets stranded in his hometown in suburban New Jersey with a client — a bratty pop star played to perfection by Anna Faris — he gets a second chance to woo his childhood bestie and lifelong crush (Amy Smart), who put him in the friend zone so many years ago. Though it failed to make an impression upon its initial release, the comedy has earned cult status over the years.
No. 1: “Deadpool” and “Deadpool 2”
No surprise here! “Deadpool” marked Ryan Reynolds’ return to superstardom after a string of mostly forgettable flicks. He even scored a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as the hilarious antihero in the 2016 action-comedy, which is his top-grossing film so far. Its 2018 sequel was also a hit at the box office and with critics. A third film centered around the Merc with a Mouth is currently in development.
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