Expectations are a funny thing - we're all guilty of saddling an exciting upcoming movie with hype that it can't possibly hope to live up to.
As such, it's generally smart to keep your expectations sensibly grounded for any new movie you're interested in, no matter how awesome it might look (yes, even Denis Villeneuve's Dune).
But the flip-side of this is that the more pessimistic moviegoers among us can watch a film with low-to-middling expectations only to find ourselves pleasantly surprised by a shockingly solid piece of work.
In recent times, these 10 movies most aggressively defied projections to deliver genuinely good cinema that just about nobody saw coming.
Whether the result of the director's track record, a mediocre set of trailers, or the simple limitations of the premise, it would've surprised absolutely no-one if they received mixed-to-negative reviews.
But thanks to smart filmmaking choices, great casting, and scripts which skewed much smarter than anticipated, these 10 films skirted audience skepticism to deliver some of the most entertaining genre films of the year, whether made with a colossal budget or a mere fraction of it...
10. Zack Snyder's Justice League
For several years, the so-called "Snyder Cut" of Justice League was scarcely more than a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream blathered on about by die-hard Zack Snyder fans desperate to see the director's original vision brought to life.
Snyder of course encouraged the fandom to continue banging the drum for the film, enough that Warner Bros. finally agreed to give him $70 million to complete his four-hour epic for release on HBO Max.
Fans rejoiced, though more even-handed commentators expressed concerns over both the exhausting potential of a four-hour Zack Snyder movie, and the dim likelihood that it would be much of a marked improvement upon the wretchedly dull Joss Whedon-helmed cut released to cinemas in 2017.
A truly pleasant surprise it was, then, when the Snyder Cut debuted to solidly positive reviews - touting a 71% Tomatometer compared to the original's 40% - with most critics praising its massive scope and tectonic improvements upon the "Whedon Cut."
Releasing the film direct-to-streaming was the smartest thing Snyder and Warner Bros. could've done - it allowed audiences to break the mammoth runtime up into episodic chunks, aided by the equally-genius decision to separate the film into several chapters.
While the visual effects weren't always up to snuff and it's an undeniably, inherently indulgent project, it's also a shockingly entertaining piece of work which does barnstorming justice to Snyder's operatic, ambitious original vision.
It would've surprised nobody if a filmmaker as hit-and-miss as Snyder delivered an absolutely chaotic mess of a final cut, but the end result instead vindicated the enormous effort he and his fanbase exerted to ensure it finally saw the light of day.