It seems that most movies now fall into one of two categories: they're either the best thing ever, or the worst. There's a need for an instant reaction, which can often lead to things being overblown, and it also means that while some movies get all of the hype, others pass by under the radar and don't get the attention they really deserve. This decade, especially, has seen that happen on a number of occasions to many a brilliant movie.
The term underrated is one that's usually loosely defined, but various factors taken into account here include the Rotten Tomatoes rating (not JUST the percentage), and the same for IMDb, Metacritic, box-office, awards recognition (or lack thereof), and a rather more ineffable sense of its place in or out of the cultural consciousness and conversation.
These films all deserved to be acclaimed box-office hits that people still talk about but, for one reason another, have ended up being underrated.
It's widely spoken that Duncan Jones peaked with his very first movie, Moon, and that every subsequent release has marked a decline in quality. And while it's true that Warcraft was a poor film and Mute an outright bad one, the notion unfortunately overlooks his superior sophomore effort, Source Code.
The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a U.S Army captain who is sent into a computer reality to find a bomber on a train, a mission for which he must become a different person and play out the same eight minutes time and time again until he succeeds.
It was a reasonable box-office success, but critics tended to like rather than love it - the movie holds 7.5/10 on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, and 74/100 on Metacritic, suggesting a solid movie but not quite matching the acclaim poured upon Moon. And that only doubles when it's seemingly been so forgotten in the collective consciousness.
Source Code, though, is a brilliantly smart, entertaining, and slick sci-fi thriller that is more than its 'Groundhog Day meets X' reputation suggests (not that being compared to Groundhog Day is a bad thing). It remains one of Gyllenhaal's best performances, and helped kick-start his own superb run of form (including Prisoners and Nightcrawler), and is superbly directed by Jones, whose ingenious plot never feels too convoluted nor loses its emotional core. History paints this as a drop in quality, but Jones' handling of a high-concept sci-fi is a real step up.