8 Must-Watch Fantasy Movies & TV Shows from the 2010s

From Amazon Studios’ The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power to Netflix’s The Sandman, the fantasy genre remains one of the enticing and enchanting genres to date. Universally inspiring and imaginative, fantasy is responsible for spawning some of the most successful and accessible media ever made.

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The 2010s proved an exciting and colorful time for fantasy media, with many films and TV shows reviving and reexamining the conventions that make the genre great. With enough magic, mystery, and monsters to satisfy anyone’s fantasy taste, the previous decade boasts several incredible movies and TV shows that every fantasy fan needs to see.


‘The Shape of Water’ (2017)

Resurrecting one of cinema’s oldest and most seminal movie monsters, The Shape of Water is one of the decade’s most beautiful and compelling romantic fantasy films. Nominated for numerous accolades at the 2017 Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and British Academy Film Awards, the film was directed by Guillermo del Torothe visionary director behind Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim.

In del Toro’s historical fantasy drama, the life of a mute laboratory janitor, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), is irreversibly changed when she encounters and develops a bond with the captured Amphibian Man.

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (2010)

How to Train Your Dragon is the DreamWorks animated film that almost single-handedly reinstated dragons’ status as the most lovable movie beasts.

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Taking place in a Viking-esque fantasy world, How to Train Your Dragon tells the story of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), a sensitive young boy who doesn’t fit in with the dragon-slaying culture of his tribe. When he finds (and refuses to slay) a rare and dangerous dragon, Hiccup forms an unlikely friendship with the beast. The bond they forge in this animated classic is the cornerstone of one of the most heartwarming fantasy film franchises of recent years.

‘Game of Thrones’ (2011 – 2019)

Based on the acclaimed fantasy series by George RR Martin, Game of Thrones is the fantasy fan’s definition of an unmissable series from the 2010s. With a cast that featured talent like Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings trilogy), Lena Headey (Dredd), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and more, Game of Thrones was an instant success when it premiered in 2011. However, the reception to the series conclusion was a mixed bag. that said, Game of Thrones‘ now-divided fanbase would be remiss to ignore the undisputed greatness of the show’s earlier seasons.

The groundbreaking HBO show is getting a spin-off series in the upcoming House of the Dragonseries. Whether they were disappointed in the show’s climactic episodes, audiences haven’t seen the last of Westeros yet.

‘Brave’ (2012)

As far as fantasy films go, Disney’s animated films are always strong additions to the genre. That fact remained true as ever in the 2010s, with the release of great films like Tangled, Frozenand, as highlighted here, 2012’s brave. With memorable music, charming characters, and a unique style of art and character design, brave earns its rightful place as one of the best animated Pixar films of all time.

Disney’s beloved animated movie highlights one of the most affecting mother-daughter relationships shown on screen. In bravePrincess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) challenges her parents and the age-old traditions of their land when she refuses to be wed, spreading political turmoil among the kingdom’s clans and wounding her already-strained familial ties.

‘Troll Hunter’ (2010)

This quirky Norwegian mockumentary might have flown under most people’s radars. Trollhunterdirected by André Øvredal (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark) and released in 2010, follows a group of university students as they investigate and document the exploits of a troll hunter named Hans (Otto Jespersen).

With its minimal budget and special effects, Trollhunter delivers a believable, dark, and compelling story about humanity’s coexistence with trolls in the modern day. Intelligent, terrifying, and unusually hilarious, Øvredal’s underrated film is an intriguing and refreshing must-see for fantasy fans worldwide.

‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)

An underrated animated fantasy movie with a surprisingly stacked cast, Kubo and the Two Strings is a stop-motion adventure film that fantasy fans should not dare to overlook. The directorial debut of Travis Knight (bumblebee), the film was produced by Laika, the animation studio behind other great stop-motion films like Coraline and The Boxtrolls.

Set in feudal Japan, Kubo and the Two Strings tells the story of twelve-year-old Kubo, a one-eyed musician hunted by his grandfather, the Moon King, and his minions for his remaining eye. Despite its darker elements and sparse moments of genuine horror, Knight’s animated movie is one of Laika’s most mythical and magical to date. It’s a movie no fantasy fan should miss.

‘The Magicians’ (2015 — 2020)

Based on Lev Grossman‘s 2009 novel of the same name, The Magicians is an American fantasy drama series premiered in 2015. Despite being set in the modern age, the series is jam-packed with whimsy, fairy tale creatures, and powerful threats from other worlds.

When grad student Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) discovers Brakebills University, a school for learning and honey magical skills, he learns that the world described by his favorite childhood books is real. Joined by a charming group of somewhat-dysfunctional friends, Quentin is unwittingly thrown into a series of life-or-death adventures to save humanity and magic alike.

‘Coco’ (2017)

Produced by Pixar and released by Disney in 2017, cocoa won over the hearts of audiences everywhere with its heartwarming tale of music, family, and ghosts. Critically and commercially successful upon release, the fantasy family film made waves with its Oscar-winning soundtrack, lovable cast, and the celebration of Mexican culture around which the movie revolves.

cocoa tells the story of twelve-year-old Miguel, who accidentally travels to the afterlife on Día de Los Muertos. A musician at heart whose passions are discouraged by his strict family, the stranded Miguel seeks out his late relatives to aid him in his return to the land of the living and help his family reignite their love for music and song.

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