The 10 most controversial films of the 2010s

Controversies surrounding films are nothing new. Since some films are products intended for mass consumption, it is inevitable that they do injustice to certain sections of society. Hollywood is not only aware of this fact, but has recently weaponized it by directly attacking online trolls and toxic fans in their stories. The 2010s were no different with films released amidst great controversy. These controversies have had a variety of reasons and a range of reactions, ranging from the desire to ban a film to the literal threat of nuclear war upon its release. Let’s take a look at some of the most controversial films the 2010s gave us.

10 fifty shades of gray

Fifty Shades of Gray franchise poster
Universal images

When fifty shades of gray With its release in 2015, it marked the arrival of a worrying new trend in Hollywood. See, the book the movie was based on was originally a fanfiction novel based on the blockbuster series dusk. The fact that such fanfiction was not only considered legitimate source material by Hollywood but also broke box office records changed the way film adaptations worked and made online novels a new source of inspiration for the film industry.

Aside from the copyright issues, fifty shades of gray also caused considerable controversy due to its central plot revolving around the little-known world of BDSM. Not only several conservative groups, but even some BDSM groups were up in arms over the explicit nature of the film’s plot dissatisfied with the way the themes of bondage and consent are handled were portrayed.

9 joker

Joker Todd Phillips
Warner Bros. Pictures

Few people would have thought that an originally small-budget film about a comic book character would become one of the most controversial films of the new millennium. But filmmaker Todd Phillips’ 2019 retelling of the origins of the Clown Prince of Crime in joker sent shockwaves around the world before it even hit theaters. The film follows Arthur Fleck, a stand-up comedian who struggles with mental health issues and a callous world.

A series of harrowing incidents force Arthur to become the Joker, a murderous vigilante and unexpected symbol of resistance against the rich and corrupt. The guardians of pop culture were in an uproar, claim that joker could inspire copycat cases of violence in the real world. Of course, nothing like that happened, but that didn’t stop many reviewers from trashing the film supposedly promoting toxic masculinity.

8th The interview

The interview
Release of Sony images

In 2014, Seth Rogen and James Franco teamed up for another comedy film: The interview. This time the comedy was about the two television journalists Dave and Aaron, who manage to get an interview with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Soon after, Dave and Aaron are contacted by the CIA to help them assassinate the dictator during the meeting.

RELATED: 12 Movies That Will Prepare You for Nuclear War with North Korea

This time the controversy was sparked not in America but in North Korea. As soon as the nature of the film became known, the North Korean government threatened action against the United States The interview was allowed to be released. The topic became so heated that US government officials had to interveneand the studio decided to release the film online instead of opting for the traditional wide-scale theatrical release.

7 A Serbian film

A Serbian film Milo, shirtless and covered in blood, stares at a woman
Unearthed Films / Contra

Each generation brings with it a group of filmmakers committed to pushing the boundaries of the amount of violence that can be depicted on screen. Srđan Spasojević was one of these filmmakers who took up the challenge with his debut film in 2010 A Serbian film. The film tells the story of a retired male porn star who is manipulated into filming a series of horribly graphic sequences for an insane filmmaker.

Almost immediately after release A Serbian film caused controversy because of its many disgusting scenes of sexual assault. While some people defended the artistic nature of the feature, A Serbian film was quickly banned in several countries around the world. To this day, the film frequently appears on lists of the most disturbing films of all time, requiring an audience with a strong stomach to endure the film’s events.

6 The hunt

Betty Gilpin. The Hunt-1
Universal images

The 2010s were a time of intense political division in the United States, and much of that sentiment naturally spilled over into popular culture. The hunt was a 2020 action-horror film that managed to throw itself into the thick of things by tackling the existing political divide within the country in a very controversial way. As mentioned in the title, The hunt tells the story of a group of people who are hunted in a macabre game of cat and mouse.

At the time of the film’s release, its story and message were met with backlash from conservative pundits The President of the United States himself waded in the controversy. Similar to jokerThat’s what critics feared The hunt would lead to violence in the real world, but that fear proved unfounded. At the end, The hunt The book was published to mediocre reviews and was largely forgotten by critics and audiences a few months later.

5 Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four
20th Century Fox

Superheroes are some of the most popular characters around, so much so that many of them had huge fan bases long before Hollywood ever thought of making films about them. The Fantastic Four are one of those groups of heroes that are already very popular, which is why Hollywood keeps trying to make films about them. One such attempt was made in 2015 by filmmaker Josh Trank.

Unfortunately, due to its troubled production, the film was more in the news from the start than what was seen on screen. Trank battled critics who were upset that one of the characters had been racially swapped, so much so that Trank feared for his life and slept with a gun by his bed. Trank also had to constantly argue with the studio over the direction of the film. The resulting film was so poorly received that Drank rejected the project completelyand 2015 Fantastic Four went down in history as one of the biggest failures in the superhero genre.

4 Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell Scarlett Johansson
Paramount Pictures

Hollywood has never shied away from using stories from other cultures, nor has it ever shied away from whitewashing those stories to appeal to Western audiences. Something similar happened with the live-action adaptation of the legendary Japanese manga series Ghost in the Shellwhich cast Scarlett Johansson in the lead role as Motoko Kusanagi.

There was immediate uproar as fans of the manga series protested against casting a Caucasian person in the role that should have gone to a Japanese actress. Johansson remained silent about the controversy at the time of the film’s release, but later commented on the matter“As an actor, I should be allowed to play any person, tree or animal because that is my job and the demands of my job.” This only further fueled the controversy surrounding the film.

3 Justice League

Henry Cavill's Superman and Ezra Miller's The Flash in 2017's Justice League
Warner Bros. Pictures

Superhero films are among the biggest moneymakers in Hollywood history. A lot of money tends to be spent on these types of films, and no more so than the 2017 films Justice League. The film was highly anticipated as it marked the first live-action portrayal of comic book world’s most popular superhero team. Unfortunately, the studio was reportedly unhappy with filmmaker Zack Snyder’s vision for the film.

RELATED: Zack Snyder’s Original Darker Script for Justice League Has Been Lightened at Studio’s Request

When Snyder had to drop out of the project due to a personal tragedy, the studio immediately brought in Joss Whedon to “spice up” the film and make it more light-hearted and fun. The resulting feature plays like a strange Frakenstein monster version of Snyder’s vision and Whedon’s input, ultimately satisfying no one. The process of making the film proved so controversial that it launched a wild three-year campaign so that Snyder could come back and make the film the way he always envisioned it.

2 Padmaavat

Bhansali Productions

It is not often that the release of a film is accompanied by rallies against it, where the film’s makers are threatened with physical violence and their effigies are hung in broad daylight. along with a human corpse. But that’s exactly what happened to Indian films Padmaaavat. The film is a retelling of an epic poem that tells the story of Queen Padmavati.

The film was protested from the start by local groups who claimed this Padmaavat distorted history and reflected poorly on Rajput culture. This led to an incident where a group of protesters invaded the sets of the film attacked director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Protesters also held rallies on streets and vandalized public vehicles. However, many political parties demanded a ban on the film Padmaavat was released in cinemas in January 2018 and became a box office hit.

1 Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters post-credits scene

Hollywood has fully embraced fans’ nostalgia by continually digging up old IP addresses. One such example occurred in 2016 with a reboot of Ghostbusters with an all-female cast. This decision sparked hatred online, and the film became the subject of massive trolling online and in the real world, with the most prominent being critics Donald Trump himself.

Using tactics like harassing the leading actresses on social media and bombarding the film with reviews, the trolls tirelessly tried to undo the 2016 success Ghostbusters. After the film received mediocre reviews and a poor box office performance, the studio rushed to reboot the franchise once again, this time with a male lead and as a sequel to the original 1980s films.

Lindsay Lowe

Lindsay Lowe is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Lindsay Lowe joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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