7 Best Zendaya Movies, Ranked

With over 100 million Instagram followers and two Emmys at the age of 26, Zendaya is undoubtedly one of the world’s most well-known celebrities, and she’s only getting started. The multi-talented actress has already portrayed many iconic roles that have solidified her reputation as a major star. Zendaya is one of the most sought-after young actors working today, thanks to her roles as Lola Bunny in the “Space Jam” sequel and as one of the most prominent “Spider-Man” characters. But which are the best Zendaya movies to date? Let’s find out!

Born Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California, she began her career as a child model and dancer. Her breakthrough role came in 2010 when she starred as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom “Shake It Up.” She then went on to star in Disney’s “K.C. Undercover” from 2015 to 2018. Since then, she has taken the film industry by storm, appearing in many major pictures that slam box offices each and every time. We combed through eight expert film reviews to uncover the best Zendaya movies that were mentioned most across the board. Did we miss your favorite flick? We would love to hear from you in the comments below. Now, onto the list! 

Zendaya at the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards in 2020
Zendaya at the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards in 2020 (Photo by DFree on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Zendaya Movies, According to Fans

1. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (2019)

Zendaya’s character, MJ, in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” took on a more prominent role as she departed from the conventional “girl next door” persona and instead presented an unabashedly strange and perceptive persona. Fandango claims “her chemistry with co-star Tom Holland in the second film earned Zendaya high praise, giving life to one of the most cherished relationships in pop culture and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

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In the Spider-Man trilogy’s second chapter, Zendaya’s character is promoted from a supporting role to a major role. Starring Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Samuel L. Jackson, the movie follows Peter and his classmates as they take a school trip to Europe. The Richest explains that despite the lowest rating in the franchise, you can’t deny the chemistry between MJ and Peter Parker, likely due to the superb acting of both parties.

This MJ is a vibrantly new take on the cliché of the superhero love interest. Slash Film likes how “Zendaya infuses the character with nuance and complexity, revealing more layers in every scene.”

2. “The Greatest Showman” (2017)

Stepping away from the superhero genre, Zendaya’s flexibility was taken to new heights in “The Greatest Showman,” literally. Zendaya portrays Anne Wheeler in the musical drama, a gifted trapeze artist who also finds herself in an engrossing love affair. Fandango says it was during the scene in the hospital when Zendaya’s character has an emotional visit with Zac Efron’s character, Phillip, that her dramatic talent truly shines through.

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In this musical drama, Zendaya is co-starring with Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, and Zac Efron, which chronicles the rise of P.T. Barnum and his circus. The Richest points out that although Zendaya’s performance was positively regarded, the film received some negative reviews for “its erroneous historical depiction.”

The film went on to become the fifth highest-grossing live-action musical film of all time, where it was the best showcase of Zendaya’s talents at the time and solidified her status as a triple threat. Slash Film boasts that Zendaya and Efron perform a sophisticated and breathtakingly spectacular trapeze act in “Rewrite the Stars,” one of the movie’s most memorable musical numbers, in which they soar through the air while singing.

3. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (2021)

Zendaya reprises her role as MJ in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the most recent live-action Spider-Man movie, further solidifying her character’s relevance in the franchise. In this movie, MJ continuously checks on Peter during challenging moments, leading Fandango to applaud her empathetic performance throughout every scene.

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The film is riddled with thematic depth and potent emotional beats that complement the thrilling action scenes. This combination of excellence won over critics with open arms. The Richest even says that Zendaya provides her best performance of the trilogy in this film.

Reviewers and spectators praise the movie, which ended up becoming the highest-grossing film of 2021 and the sixth-highest-grossing film of all time. Slash Film points out Zendaya’s most dramatic moment, when MJ must say goodbye to Peter at the end.

4. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017)

Zendaya’s first big movie role was in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” MJ has a great sense of humor, was well-read, and was observant and reserved. Fandango claims that her performance made a big impression despite having little on screen time. She was commended for adding a realistic yet refreshing flavor to the movie.

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With a $175 million budget, the movie was a commercial success, making over $800 million worldwide and establishing Zendaya as a formidable force. Her ability to give her characters nuance was showcased in her depiction of MJ, which opened the door for her further involvement in the franchise. The Richest says the movie “was burdened with a great deal of expectation yet blossomed into its own unique universe.”

During the last scenes of “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Michelle lets Peter know that he can call her “MJ,” indicating that she is actually this incarnation’s Mary Jane Watson, one of Spider-Man’s two most well-known teammates. Slash Film says she “manages to make her version of Peter Parker’s love interest totally separate from Kirsten Dunst’s beloved take.” She stays true to the storyline while adding her own unique flair.

5. “Dune” (2021)

Zendaya’s star power was apparent in Denis Villeneuve’s first “Dune” movie. Even though she had little on-screen time, she made a big impression as the young lady who manifests in Paul Atreides’ visions, Chani. Fandango says she is now gaining even more praise for her role in the second movie.

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Zendaya captivates the audience, especially when Chani and Paul ultimately unite outside of his visions. This demonstrates Zendaya’s capacity to leave an impact no matter how much time she spends on screen. The Richest agrees that for those who haven’t seen the second film, her reprisal of the part is highly anticipated.

In the sequel, Zendaya will have a more prominent role. Many people were drawn to Zendaya’s role in the science fiction film, including Pedro Almodovar, the filmmaker, who hopes to work with her again in the future. Slash Film says that “fans of the book know that Chani’s role in the series expands significantly.”

6. “Smallfoot” (2018)

With her amazing voice, Zendaya brought the character Meechee to life in the animated film “Smallfoot.” Her portrayal gave the character more nuance and improved the movie’s overall narrative. According to Fandango, Zendaya’s versatility and success in a variety of roles was evident in the star-studded film, which also included the talents of Channing Tatum, James Corden, and LeBron James.

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“Smallfoot” is thought to be Zendaya’s most successful animated movie to date. The animated musical comedy tells the story of a little Yeti hamlet who, after years of believing humans to be myths, stumbles into “Smallfoot.” The Richest says the chart-topping soundtrack album features two songs by Zendaya.

The film’s strong message, memorable songs, and intricate plot made it well-received. Despite an initial budget of $80 million, the film’s director hinted at the possibility of a sequel when the film made an astounding $214 million. Slash Film explains that Zendaya’s Meechee has ended up being a popular meme on Twitter.

7. “Space Jam: A New Legacy” (2021)

Zendaya gave a voice to Lola Bunny in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” Her participation in the film was motivated solely by inspiration, empathy, and respect for her craft. Fandango shares that, “even though the film received mixed reviews, Zendaya’s depiction of Lola Bunny showcased her exceptional voice-acting talent.”

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Malcolm D. Lee’s animated/live-action film was the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the 1996 movie “Space Jam.” It was finally released in 2021. Zendaya claims that watching the original movie as a child prepared her for the job. Among the all-star cast of the movie are Michael B. Jordan, Don Cheadle, and Lebron James, according to The Richest.

Against a $150 million budget, it brought in $163.7 million and was one of four successful blockbusters starring Zendaya that were released in 2021. Slash Film explains the plot: “After LeBron gets sucked into the metaverse, the basketball legend must win a game against AI forces to save his son, and he enlists the Looney Tunes squad as his team members.”

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