Directors like Guillermo del Toro and George Lucas aren’t just obsessed with fantasy. Pan’s Labyrinth, Star Wars, and others comment on the real world.

The fantasy genre is a great vehicle for social commentary. The otherworldly existence of dragons and fairies and the timely relevance of socially conscious storytelling are a match made in heaven. It doesn’t always work: Sparkly it had a great premise for driving social commentary through fantasy, with a cop-buddy dynamic in a world where humans and mythical creatures coexist, but its script said nothing of substance about society.

RELATED: Guillermo Del Toro: 5 Reasons Pan’s Labyrinth Is His Best Fantasy Movie (And 5 Why Shape Of Water Is A Close Second)

Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning masterpiece The Pan’s Labyrinth is an excellent example of a fantasy movie with sharp social commentary. It is essentially a fairy tale, but it takes place in the context of political turmoil in Franco’s Spain.

10 Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

The Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth

most of The Pan’s Labyrinth takes place in a fantasy world, but against the very real terror of Franco’s Spain. Follow Ofelia, a young woman who meets a mysterious faun in an abandoned labyrinth. Ofelia’s escapist adventures are contrasted with the war crimes of her ruthless stepfather, Falangist Captain Vidal.

Del Toro’s magnificent fantasy kingdom comes to life thanks to Guillermo Navarro’s Oscar-winning cinematography and Eugenio Caballero’s Oscar-winning art direction.

9 Wonder Woman (2017)

Diana entering no man's land in Wonder Woman

The opening scenes of Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman establish Themyscira, a kingdom filled with superpowered Amazonian women that is closed to the rest of the world. When a World War I pilot crashes off their shores, they are drawn into the rest of the world.

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Gal Gadot’s titular heroine joins her quest to end the ongoing conflict and has to fight the very concept of war. Throughout the film, Diana clashes with generals who make decisions that cost human lives from the safety of a government building while her own military leaders join their soldiers at the front lines.

8 Eduardo Scissorhands (1990)

The jewel of Tim Burton’s romantic gothic fantasy Eduardo scissorhands starring Johnny Depp as a quirky lonely man with scissors instead of fingers and Winona Ryder as the girl who falls in love with him.

Thematically Eduardo scissorhands deals with loneliness and introspection. The story has parallels with Beauty and the Beast, while the ending with the angry crowd can be compared to that of James Whale Frankenstein.

7 Donnie Darko (2001)

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in Richard Kelly’s fantastic psychological thriller Donnie darko as a melancholic and lonely teenager who sees a premonition of the end of the world and finds himself committing crimes under the influence of a rabbit man named Frank.

This film is about many lofty and ambitious concepts, such as the power to make sacrifices and whether or not there is destiny.

6 The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

Elijah Wood in Lord of the Rings

Like the pioneering work by JRR Tolkien on which it is based, that of Peter Jackson The Lord of the rings The trilogy deals with important topics like the difference between good and evil and the balance of destiny and free will.

The story also features three open figures of Christ, each representing a different facet of Jesus: Gandalf is a prophet, Frodo Baggins is a priest (sort of), and Aragorn is a king.

5 Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The formulative approach of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its feather-light storytelling generally prevent its films from exploring deeper social issues. But Taika Waititi Thor: Ragnarok It has some subtle social commentary under the surface of all the quirky humor.

RELATED: Thor: 5 Ways The Franchise Was Disappointing Before Ragnarok (And 5 Ways Ragnarok Made It Better)

The Grand Master’s rule over Sakaar and the whitewashing of Odin from Asgard’s violent history can be read as a satirical indictment of colonialism. The Grand Master prohibits the use of “the S word” and instead demands that his staff refer to his slaves as “prisoners with work”.

4 King Kong (1933)

The original King Kong from 1933

Although the filmmakers denied it was intentional, King kong It has been widely read as a metaphor for American slavery. An American film crew travels to Skull Island, discovers a giant ape worshiped by a local tribe, and takes it back to New York to parade as a commercial attraction.

In the film’s iconic ending, of course, Kong escapes captivity and climbs the Empire State Building with his beloved Ann Darrow, where he is shot by fighter pilots.

3 Star Wars (1977)

Luke Skywalker blows up the Death Star

On the surface Star Wars is a space fairy tale about a bright-eyed farmer who leaves his humble life behind to become an intergalactic hero. However, there is a lot of political and sociological depth to this movie and the rest of the series.

RELATED: Star Wars (1977): The 5 Best Action Scenes (& 5 Best Character Moments)

George Lucas initially conceived of the conflict between the Rebellion and the Empire as an allegory for the Vietnam War, which was fresh in everyone’s memory at the time.

two Superman (1978)

Richard Donner Initial Superman The 1978 film is the definitive cinematic description of the Superman myth. It’s a perfect telling of the character’s origin story, but it also has a clear insight into the biblical allusions in the story.

In its center, Superman is a love story that shows Supes’s relationship with Lois Lane. The movie’s exploration of an alien falling in love with a human is fascinating.

one The Shape of Water (2017)

Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones in The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro returned to The Pan’s Labyrinthsocially conscious fantasy brand in 2017 with its Oscar-winning sci-fi romance The shape of water. Sally Hawkins plays a mute janitor in a secret Cold War government facility who encounters a kindred spirit with a man-fish captured in the Amazon.

Doug Jones, Del Toro’s favorite actor whenever a monster costume has to be worn, plays the fishman. The film is a comprehensive study of prejudice, and the love story is surprisingly resonant considering that it involves a Creature from the Black Lagoonstyle sea monster.

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