10 Most Criminally Underrated Blockbusters Since 2000
5. Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Director Jon Favreau, flying high after two hugely successful Iron Man films, came crashing back down to Earth after Cowboys & Aliens, despite a generally positive critical reception, disappointed at the box office, making less than a third of the totals of his Iron Man films. Considering the movie starred James Bond and Han Solo, it seemed like a slam dunk. What happened? The first notable thing to point out is that it was released slap-bang in the middle of an extremely competitive summer season. Amongst others, it was up against Thor, Transformers 3 and Fast Five. Something had to give in that overly saturated few months, and Cowboys & Aliens suffered. It also seemed that audience's just didn't understand the teaming up of western and sci-fi elements, and weren't able to reconcile the trailers (which depicted a fairly straight, serious adventure) with the seemingly comedic title. Robert Downey Jr. was initially attached to play Daniel Craig's role, and it's tempting to wonder whether his presence would've attracted more of an audience. It's hard to say, really. It did seem to prove that audience's liked Craig as Bond, and weren't overly interested in him as a gunslinger, and Harrison Ford's days as a box-office draw were well behind him. It's all too bad, because the movie is really good and the stone-faced, straight up tone works perfectly. The aliens are intimidating and wonderfully realised and the movie feels more substantial than the title would suggest.