Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s journey in film began at a young age, and even in his formative years, his talent in acting was undeniable. Over the past decade, Aaron Taylor-Johnson has established himself as an actor who is unafraid to take on unique and diverse roles while also collaborating with some of the entertainment industry’s most popular directors.
With his career spanning from indie films and blockbuster hits, Taylor-Johnson has continually captivated audiences and critics with his talent and performance in the films that he is in. Let’s take a closer look at his movies by ranking them from best to worst.
Nowhere Boy (2009)
In Sam Taylor-Johnson’s fictionalized biopic, Aaron steps in and portrays the young John Lennon, a band member of the famous English rock band, The Beatles. The film explores Lennon’s complex relationship with his mother, Julia, and the struggle he faced during his adolescence in Liverpool. Aaron Taylor-Johnson delivers a captivating portrayal of Lennon, while Thomas Brodie-Sangster, known for his role in The Queen’s Gambit, excels as a young Paul McCartney, one of Lennon’s future bandmates.
Unlike contemporary biopic musicals, such as Bohemian Rhapsody or Rocketman, this film is more similar to the ’60s British kitchen sink dramas. Additionally, the film marks the beginning of Aaron’s creative collaboration with his future wife, Sam, and stands out as their finest work together as a power couple.
In the action-comedy film, Aaron takes on the role of Dave Lizewski, a nerdy teenager who becomes the unconventional superhero under the name Kick-Ass. Teaming up with Nicolas Cage’s Big Daddy and Chloe Grace-Moretz’s Hit-Girl, they embark on a hilariously chaotic adventure of fighting crime.
A satirical take on the superhero genre, Kick-Ass remains entertaining even after two decades since the film’s release. Thanks to its groundbreaking action sequences and its comic book aesthetics, this film highlights Taylor-Johnson’s filmography and his diverse acting ability.
In this reboot of the iconic monster movie, Taylor-Johnson plays Ford Brody, a bomb disposal expert caught in the chaos unleashed by Godzilla. While the film boasts its breathtaking set pieces, including the memorable skydiving scene, critics found the movie’s character development undercooked and lacks the payoff it wanted to portray. Nevertheless, Godzilla delivers an impressive performance and portrays the iconic monster as a true destructive force.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
The film delves into two narratives: one involving an art gallery owner receiving a disturbing manuscript from her ex-husband and the other delving into the plot of a novel.
Taylor-Johnson’s portrayal of the sadistic Ray Marcus in the novel’s storyline is particularly alarming and frightening, earning a Golden Globe for his supporting role in this psychological thriller directed by Tom Ford. The film’s depiction of the heart-wrenching sequence where a character discovers his family’s tragic fate showcases Taylor-Johnson’s flexibility and talent as an actor, earning him well-deserved awards for his amazing performance.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
As Quicksilver in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Taylor-Johnson joined the Avengers to fight against their enemy, Ultron. While the film was praised for its spectacle, some critics felt it was overstuffed with characters and plotlines, making it challenging to fully unpack the film’s story and themes.
Unlike Evan Peters’ Quicksilver from X-Men: Days of Future Past, Taylor-Johnson’s portrayal of Pietro was not meant to be a scene-stealer with a constant barrage of witty one-liners. Instead, he brought a more subdued and grounded approach to the character.
Unfortunately, Pietro’s journey in the MCU was tragically short-lived. His death remains a significant burden for Wanda, adding depth to her character’s development in the story, as explored in the TV series WandaVision. While it’s uncertain whether Taylor-Johnson will return to the MCU, the concept of the multiverse has opened doors to endless possibilities.
The Illusionist (2006)
Next on our list is The Illusionist. Taylor-Johnson takes on the role of a young version of Edward Norton’s character, Eisenheim, during flashback scenes. Taylor-Johnson masterfully conveys his character’s essence as a wide-eyed young boy who’s on a journey to learn the art of illusion from a mysterious magician, played by David Forest.
As the story progresses, Eisenheim falls in love with a young duchess named Sophie. But both are separated because of the strict social norms of the late 19th century. The film focuses on a tale of forbidden love, mystery, and magic in Vienna, as Eisenheim’s illusions captivate both audiences and the authorities.
While The Illusionist is a film full of mystery and intrigue, from the moment Taylor-Johnson appears on screen, it’s obvious that he possesses a natural ability to convey complex emotions without the need for words.
Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging (2008)
Taylor-Johnson appeared in this coming-of-age comedy as Robbie, a teenage heartthrob who becomes the object of affection for Georgia Nicolson, an awkward teenager who overcomes teenage angst.
The film combines the spirit of ’80s John Hughes classics, offering witty teenage humor that is similar to the movie Clueless. Critics found the film’s portrayal of teenage angst relatable and praised the characters for resembling and acting like real teenagers.
In Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending thriller, Taylor-Johnson plays Ives, a man who takes part in a team tasked with preventing a third world war. He plays a serious military man, devoid of the humor and vulnerability seen in many of Taylor-Johnson’s previous roles in movies.
The film’s exploration of time traveling made it very confusing to watch, and the dialogue feels too jumbled to understand by most audiences and even by critics.
Shanghai Knights (2003)
One of the least favorite films by fans and critics in Taylor-Johnson’s filmography, Shanghai Knights, focuses mainly on actors Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson.
The film takes the trio from the Wild West to Victorian-era London, where they encounter a series of comedic misadventures.
Unfortunately, Taylor-Johnson’s character serves as little more than an annoying kid sidekick, making it a less notable entry in his filmography. But if you love action and comedy, this might be the one for you.
The Wall (2017)
In this war film, Allen Isaac, played by Taylor-Johnson, and Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews, played by John Cena, are soldiers trapped by an Iraqi sniper behind a crumbling wall.
While the film explores familiar themes of war, it doesn’t fully exploit its intriguing premise, making the ending of this film fall flat and underwhelming. The film fails to reach the heights of director Doug Liman’s previous works, such as The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. Making this the least interesting movie in Taylor-Johnson’s career.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s career has been marked by a diverse range of roles, showcasing his flexibility and talent as an actor. From his breakthrough in Kick-Ass to his award-winning performance in Nocturnal Animals, Taylor-Johnson’s filmography is evident in his ability to bring depth to a variety of characters in different genres. As he continues to evolve as an actor, audiences can eagerly anticipate his future projects and the amazing performances they are sure to bring.