Though hidden under a lot of prosthetics, Karen Gillan managed to become a star thanks to her complex performance as Nebula in the MCU. After debuting in Guardians of the Galaxy, Nebula has continued to grow as a character and even joined the Avengers in Avengers: Endgame.
Gillan had a busy and successful career before her days as Nebula and continues to find other notable projects outside of the world of the MCU. From smaller independent movies to other big blockbusters, Gillan has proved to critics she is much more than just the MCU’s Nebula.
10 Call Of The Wild (2020) – 62%
Based on the classic novel of the same name, The Call of the Wild tells the story of a dog named Buck who is kidnapped from his home and sold to become a sled dog in the Yukon. The journey follows him from different masters as Buck learns to live in the wild. Gillan plays a spoiled rich woman who becomes one of Buck’s owners.
With a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie was only a moderate hit with critics. Many complained about the distracting CGI that helped bring the dog to life. But it was also applauded for being a heartwarming take that does the classic story justice.
9 Jumanji: The Next Level (2019) – 71%
The MCU is not the only massive franchise that Gillan is a part of, as she is one of the highlights of the new Jumanji movies as well. This sequel follows the same group of heroes as well as a few fun new characters as they are sucked back into the titular video game and face new dangers.
Though it scored slightly lower than its predecessor, Jumanji: The Next Level still earned a respectable 71% with critics. The sequel hit the right notes again for most viewers, not reinventing the series but adding enough new aspects to still make it fun.
8 All Creatures Here Below (2018) – 71%
Though Gillan has certainly appeared in a lot of big projects throughout her career, there are also a number of smaller ones that are equally interesting. For example, there was the indie movie All Creatures Here Below, which follows a young desperate couple on the run from their problems.
Though a quaint movie, it was met with a respectable reception from critics with 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some found the story too melodramatic, but others saw it as an interesting and intense drama.
7 Oculus (2013) – 74%
Gillan has appeared in a few horror movies in her career, with this under-the-radar thriller being the best. Oculus stars Gillan as a woman who is trying to clear her brother’s name of murder and address their shared childhood trauma. This leads her to believe there are supernatural forces at work.
Oculus scored 74% with critics which is a fairly solid score for a horror movie. Critics seemed to appreciate the movie’s reliance on overwhelming dread rather than the predictable gore to scare audiences. They also pointed out the movie sets itself up as an interesting new horror movie series.
6 Spies In Disguise (2019) – 76%
Gillan joined Will Smith and fellow MCU actor Tom Holland to voice characters in the animated spy adventure. Smith plays the world’s greatest spy who is transformed into a pigeon during his latest mission. He then must seek the help of a nerdy tech officer, played by Holland, to save the day.
Gillan provides a funny supporting role as a specialist working in the spy agency. With a 76% score with critics, Spies in Disguise was not seen as an animated classic by any means, but rather a fun and family-friendly adventure that serves its purpose well.
5 Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017) – 76%
Though the original Jumanji movie starring Robin Williams dealt with a board game, the new movie upgrades things to a video game that sucks four teens into it. The fun of the movie is seeing the kids get their own game avatars played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Gillan.
Critics felt the movie did a fine job living up to the original Jumanji, helping it score a solid 76%. The cast was given a lot of credit for helping to elevate the simple story into a charming and fun adventure.
4 In A Valley Of Violence (2016) – 77%
In a Valley of Violence is a Western action movie sporting a pretty solid cast. It stars Ethan Hawke as a mysterious traveler who unleashes vengeful wrath on the town filled with villainous characters. Gillan plays the fiancé of the town deputy.
Though it doesn’t quite rank among the best Westerns of the 21st century, In a Valley of Violence still managed to earn a 77% score from critics. That pointed to the unexpected humor, fun action, and solid performances as the highlights of the movie.
3 The Party’s Just Beginning (2018) – 78%
In a testament to Gillan’s incredible talent, she wrote, directed, and starred in The Party’s Just Beginning. Gillan plays a young woman dealing with the aftermath of losing her best friend and spiraling out of control in her aimless life.
Despite having a lot of jobs to juggle in this movie, most critics agreed that Gillan pulled it off impressively. The movie scored 78% on Rotten Tomatoes and was praised for its boldness which Gillan herself was championed as a promising new filmmaker.
2 7 Days In Hell (2015) – 86%
With Gillan’s darker role as Nebula, some fans might not be as familiar with her comedic side. She was able to embrace that in the extremely silly mockumentary from the hilarious Andy Samberg about a rivalry between two tennis stars that results in a week-long game.
With an all-star cast of people playing appropriately outlandish characters, 7 Days in Hell was a wild comedy that critics seemed to love. At 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, it was praised for its outlandishness as well as its parodying of self-serious documentaries.
1 The Big Short (2015) – 89%
Adam McKay stepped away from the world of broad comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers to make this Oscar-winning satirical movie. The Big Short looks at several different stories and characters of people who bet against the mortgage market during the 2005 housing crisis. Gillan has a small and funny role as an FCC investigator looking to make the move to big banks.
The movie earned an impressive 89% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics were mostly impressed with how the movie was able to approach a complex and serious subject like this and present it in an entertaining way.
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