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10 Surprisingly Good Movies That Only Have a 50% Score on Metacritic

Common sense might tell you that a movie with a relatively mediocre average rating from critics isn’t worth watching, but common sense can be wrong sometimes. Critics’ opinions can differ, which means that while a movie’s Metacritic score might be a good indicator of a movie’s relative quality, it should never be followed too closely. There’s every chance that one of your future favorite movies has a less-than-amazing Metacritic score, or alternatively, that you might not enjoy a movie that critics did.

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To emphasize this, here are 10 movies that only have a Metascore of 50, yet are better than such a score would suggest. It’s easy to see why some of these are divisive or may not be for everyone, but their lowish scores shouldn’t discourage potential viewers who think that any of them look otherwise interesting.

‘Super’ (2010)

Rainn Wilson in Super - 2010

Before directing any Guardians of the Galaxy or Suicide Squad movies, James Gunn made a darkly funny and very violent superhero movie called Super. Calling it a superhero movie might be a stretch, as it’s more about a terrifyingly violent vigilante who thinks of himself as a superhero, but it does use some of the genre’s tropes while brutally subverting others.

It might have been too gruesome and bleak for some critics, leading to an average score of 50 on Metacritic. Those who don’t like the idea of seeing a man beat up criminals with a wrench might want to sit this one out, but those who want an entertaining and uniquely satirical look at the superhero genre might well find a lot to like here.

‘Tombstone’ (1993)

Sam Elliott and Kurt Russell standing next to each other looking around in Tombstone

It’s not exactly clear why the classic 1993 Western Tombstone has just a 50% average rating for its Metascore. It’s a movie that delivers fun characters, good action, and an overall entertaining take on the well-known story of Wyatt Earp and the shootout at the O.K. Corral, which by now is the stuff of legends.

Tombstone’s not a perfect movie, and perhaps it’s the kind of Western that would work better if it was under two hours, rather than over two hours. But at the end of the day, it’s a well-made, slick Western that features an incredible cast, including Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, and a never-better Val Kilmer, among many others. What’s not to like?

‘Clerks III’ (2022)

Image via Lionsgate

After two mostly well-received Clerks movies, Kevin Smith concluded the almost 30-year-long series with Clerks III, and its reception was certainly more divided. It’s easy to say that the critical consensus was one that was split right down the middle, because after all, it does have a 50% average from those critics selected by Metacritic.

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While it’s still a comedy, it goes to sadder and darker places than either of the first two Clerks movies, looking at middle age and the woes of getting older in surprisingly intense detail. If it seemed too jarring for some viewers and/or critics, that’s understandable, but for those willing to see the series go in a different direction and mix more drama in with the comedy, Clerks III is an interesting and often admirable movie.

‘Lifeforce’ (1985)

Lifeforce - 1985

There are a surprising number of horror movies out there that combine vampires with science-fiction, with Lifeforce being one of the most notable examples. The plot concerns vampires who are literally from space, and what happens when they come to Earth to enslave the human race by infecting them.

It’s a very sleazy and sometimes clunky movie, but it’s also easy to appreciate for being unique and ambitious when it comes to blending horror, sci-fi, action, mystery, and even romance. It’s well-liked by some and not exactly loved by others, but the range of responses to it means it’s worth a watch for fans of 1980s horror so they can see which side they fall on.

‘Labyrinth’ (1986)


David Bowie appeared in a surprising number of movies throughout his acting career, but none of his performances are as well-known as his portrayal of Jareth The Goblin King in Labyrinth. He’s the main villain of this family/fantasy movie, which focuses on a young girl who has to rescue her baby brother from a fantasy realm after he’s captured by goblins.

It’s a cult classic, but it is a bit all over the place, making it understandable why critics didn’t flock to it in quite the same way that general audiences did. Still, an average score of 50% might be a bit too harsh for something that’s this unique and imaginative, and it’s hard to hate a movie that features Bowie giving such a gloriously campy performance.

‘Young Guns’ (1988)

Image via Warner Bros.

Young Guns is a Western featuring an (unsurprisingly) young cast of 1980s icons. The film centers on a young man who wants to seek revenge against an older man who kills his mentor, and so he assembles a small squad to hunt the murderer down, with the group dishing out justice as they see fit in a lawless West.

The less-than-amazing critic score may come from the fact that most film critics (especially back in the 1980s) are older, and this is a movie that would naturally appeal to younger audiences. For those who are young adults or otherwise feel young at heart, Young Guns does deliver a good dose of action/Western excitement, and it’s fun to see so many recognizable actors – like Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, and Kiefer Sutherland – back when they were all in their early 20s.

‘Red State’ (2011)


Clerks III is far from the only divisive Kevin Smith movie, as Red State proves. Like that 2022 movie, this one also has a Metascore of 50%, which may have come about because of how unexpectedly different Red State is from most of what Smith has made before or since.

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It’s arguably the only Kevin Smith movie that completely does away with comedy, instead being a violent action/thriller movie that revolves around a dangerous fundamentalist Church and its terrifying leader. Even if you don’t enjoy it, Red State’s a hard movie to resist appreciating, meaning that its seemingly average Metascore doesn’t exactly foreshadow the kind of experience it ultimately provides.

‘Crash’ (1996)

crash 1996 image
Image via Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International

David Cronenberg is a filmmaker who’s no stranger to challenging critics and general audiences alike, with his 1996 film Crash being arguably his most challenging. It explores a group of characters who all have a strange, erotic fixation on automobile accidents, making for a movie that looks at intimate relationships in a way that few other films can claim to have done.

It’s the kind of movie where some are going to connect to or admire the controversial subject matter, whilst others might reject it entirely. It’s hard to imagine falling somewhere in between with a movie like Crash, but between the two extremes is where its Metascore ultimately lies: at 50% exactly. For brave viewers, it is worth taking a chance on, even if some will end up not liking what they experience.

‘American Ultra’ (2015)

American Ultra - 2015

American Ultra is just a fun, breezy movie. It seems like one that probably wouldn’t be anyone’s favorite of all time or anything, but it’s strange to think that someone could come away from it not enjoying anything about it… though clearly, some critics did come away disappointed, given its 50% average rating on Metacritic.

It’s a movie about a young slacker who ends up finding out he’s a sleeper agent, and has impressive physical skills he never realized he had before. He’s targeted for assassination, and ends up going on the run with his girlfriend, getting mixed up in plenty of comedic action sequences in the process. Again, it’s not a great movie, but it’s far from bad, and makes for a solid watch for anyone in the mood for something light and entertaining.

‘Blonde’ (2022)

Ana de Armas in 'Blonde'
Image via Netflix

Unpacking Marilyn Monroe’s tragic life in a way that was far from historically accurate, Blonde ended up being one of the most controversial and divisive movies of 2022. Those expecting a traditional biopic were disappointed at best and shocked or disgusted at worst, and even those who had some idea of what they were getting into might’ve found it too confronting.

Of all the movies with a Metascore of 50%, perhaps Blonde is one of the most understandable. It’s very much going to shake all those who watch it, but some will appreciate the darkness and grim story, while others will find it too distasteful. It’s a difficult movie to watch and assess, making the divided critical response understandable.

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