The 3 Best And 3 Worst Zendaya Movies (Yes, The Latter Exists)

It’s rare for an actor to achieve mainstream prominence in the streaming age, especially when Netflix produces 500,000 new series every day. It’s hard to become a star when you’re competing with 500,000 other actors. That’s why Zendaya is so special. After she landed her first major role on Disney’s Shake it Up, her onscreen magnetism helped catapult her to the vanguard of Cool New Projects, ultimately winning her the prize gig of Rue on Euphoria. Everything else is now legend: A Marvel role, a Primetime Emmy, and assless sci-fi chaps.

While we’re waiting for Zendaya’s next hit, let’s look back at this icon’s 3 best and 3 worst movies.

The Best Zendaya Movies

Dune: Part Two

Warner Bros.

Come oooon. The press tour for this movie alone will be studied in history books for years to come. In fact, when aliens visit our deserted, desolate planet in 200 years, they’ll probably already be dressed in assless sci-fi chaps, farting into plexiglass. That said, Zendaya’s performance in this movie is also unforgettable: She holds her own against Timothée, Javier, et al, and makes me long to see more scenes of her rage-riding Shai-Huluds.

Spider-Man: Far From Home 

Sony Pictures

Zendaya’s role as MJ in the Spider-Man franchise didn’t just introduce her to her future Britboy, Tom Holland. It also helped make her into a household name. You can debate amongst yourselves whether or not Tom/Zendaya is a manufactured Hollywood romance, à la Bert and Ernie, but you cannot deny Zendaya’s rizz factor in these movies. Even as an introverted, borderline-depressive weirdo, she shines. I picked Far From Home because it’s the one where MJ comes out of her shell.

Challengers

Warner Bros.

And our girl finally becomes a woman (sniff). All she needed to do was convince two straight guys to make out. Of course, she also showed her range and emotional intelligence in this movie, and proved that she can work with someone as formidable and brilliant as Luca Guadagnino (director of Call Me By Your Name). I can easily imagine her juggling roles like this alongside her tentpole Marvel and Dune outings. Expect an Oscar nomination in the near future.

The Worst Zendaya Movies

The Greatest Showman

20th Century Fox

Save it. I’ve heard it all! (“But the music!” “But the underdog story!”) La la la, I’m not listening. This movie might have catchy tunes (I could watch Keala Settle sing “This is Me” every day until my death), but that doesn’t make up for its basic, undercooked plot. The characters in this movie are one-dimensional, and Zendaya spends the whole movie looking like she wants out of her contract.

Frenemies

Disney Channel

Disney Channel movies can be hit or miss, and this one was unfortunately the latter – despite containing a Zendaya. Starring opposite her former Shake It Up co-star, Bella Thorne, Zendaya tried her best to lift this 90-minute cliché from its rusty tracks, but instead the movie just crashed. Perhaps if it hadn’t diluted its focus by dividing its story into three disparate sections, it could have soared. Also, Bella Thorne is not about to win an acting award anytime soon.

Duck, Duck Goose

Netflix

I don’t know what this movie is, and that scares me. Rotten Tomatoes, upon which it has a 40% audience score, says that it is animated. It also says that it follows a goose who adopts two ducklings and then embarks on a “beautiful and dangerous journey.” Zendaya plays one of the ducklings. I refuse to look up more because I’m afraid of what I might find.


About the author

Evan E. Lambert

Evan E. Lambert is a journalist, travel writer, and short fiction writer with bylines at Business Insider, BuzzFeed, Going, Mic, The Discoverer, Queerty, and many more. He splits his time between the U.S. and Peru and speaks fluent Spanglish.