Every Shrek Movie Ranked from Worst to Best

Surprisingly, discussion of the Shrek films has been one of the most requested topics for MovieBabble to cover.  While the franchise was popular during its heyday in the mid-2000’s, Shrek has since regained popularity on the weird part of the internet with a litany of memes and videos.  If you aren’t aware of the phoenomenon to which I’m referring, quickly search “shrek is love, shrek is life” and you’ll soon understand.  But before you do that, let’s see how each film stands up to each other:

#4: Shrek the Third (2007)

Like the other films that preceeded it, there’s a ton of witty pop culture references contained in this film.  However, what’s missing here is the heart that made the original and its sequel so charming.  The film continues with the same themes behind it like the previous two films, and that’s exactly the problem.  Rather than being a subversive animated movie that speaks better to adults than children like the previous installments, Shrek the Third is largely hollow and void of charm.  Obviously, this film is the marker for the beginning of the end of the Shrek franchise.

That’s not to say there isn’t some enjoyment as the spoof of many fairytales continues, but this third film pales in comparison to Shrek and Shrek 2.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 41%

Metacritic Score: 58

MovieBabble Score: D+


image via failed critics

#3: Shrek Forever After (2010)

Unlike the third installment, Shrek Forever After attempts to move away from the template set by the initial trilogy of the franchise and deliver a different film.

But does it succeed?  Kind of.


Although it introduces a different concept with Rumpelstiltskin having the ability to alter time and space with different dimensions, the contents of the film after this event occurs are largely a rehash of the previous films.  I’d compare this film to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.  Is the film terrible?  Definintely not.  But is it memorable?  No, not really.

The film is too competently made to cast aside as an atrocity to film, but it lacks the creativity that makes Dreamworks a respectable animation studio.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 58%

Metacritic Score: 58

MovieBabble Score: C


image via BBC

#2: Shrek (2001)

The film that started it all, the original Shrek covers familiar ground from a theme perspective by being an animated representation of the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  That being said, this theme is presented in such a way that the movie is wholly entertaining from start to finish.

The obvious standouts of the film come from the voice talent involved.  Mike Myers is perfect as the title character.  Every subsequent time I watch this film makes me miss Mike Myers more and more.  Mike, we know you were hurt after everyone hated The Love Guru, but please come back to film soon.  We all miss you.

Myers and Eddie Murphy are the engine that makes this film run.  Their relationship is so funny and charming that almost every falt with the film melts away in the end.  There’s even a sweet relationship that blossoms between Shrek and Fiona.  Any way you look at it, this movie works suprisingly well.

As another note, the film was paramount to the popularity of Smash Mouth’s “I’m a Believer.”  I can’t decide whether this is a positive or negative, so I’ll leave that decision to you.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 88%

Metacritic Score: 84

MovieBabble Score: A-


image via

#1: Shrek 2 (2004)

It covers a lot of the same ground as the original, but it adds even more heart and memorable characters to the mix to create a film that might even improve on the original.

As mentioned above, there are certainly familiar themes in this film.  However, there’s a neat little twist to the formula by adding the in-laws to Shrek’s relationship with Fiona which adds more comedy and pathos to the film.

All of our favorite characters are back to give us even more yucks than the previous film, adding even more pop culture references which includes a hilarious opening homage to The Little Mermaid and a ring ceremony that resembles Lord of the Rings.

The new additions to the core characters works flawlessly.  The best of which is Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots.  Not only is he perfectly cast, those big, doughy eyes are absolutely hilarious.

Dare I say, Shrek 2 is magical.  The fairytale elements of this film are so clever and charming, creating a sequel unlike any other.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Score: 88%

Metacritic Score: 75

MovieBabble Score: A


image via

Thanks for reading!  How would you rank the Shrek movies?  How ever you may rank them, comment down below with your thoughts!

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Nick Kush

A current young professional in the greater D.C. area, Nick founded MovieBabble in October of 2016 and hasn't look back since! Nick is also a member of the Internet Film Critics Society and the Washington DC Film Critics Association. You can follow Nick on Twitter @nkush42

24 Responses

  1. Edwin Morales says:

    Loved the first 2 but on the 3rd was boring , it should of been prince charming finding a way to bring back his mother . Or not kill him on part 3 and make it a 4th that he brings his mother back for revenge. The 4th Shrek was ok but the story partly sucked. It should of been charming brings his mom back and she finds a spell that turns back time so charming is there as Shrek arrives to rescue Fiona , saves her but then Shrek has to find a way to succeed. It’s like a back to the future thing so that’s when rumplestilskin arrives and gives Shrek a deal ( FYI he’s the one gave charming a way to bring godmother back and if charming failed which he didn’t) . But shrek takes the deal cuz he wanted Fionna back and kids my opinion 3 was so so manymfunny parts and 4th not funny , I think kids didn’t like it either . My nephews and nieces didn’t like they said put 1 or 2

    • Nick Kush says:

      I hear ya! My favorites are definitely 1 and 2. After that, I really don’t plan on revisiting 3 and 4 very much

  2. Thanks for letting me know there is a Shrek 4 and not to bother to buy it. I agree with your comments and ratings of Shrek 1 – 3. I do watch 1 & 2 at least once a year just for the fun of it.

    • Nick Kush says:

      They’re just too great! Plus Shrek is on Netflix now so it’s going through a little revival.

  3. Fefe says:

    I have to rewatch all four movies right now brb

  4. Great post – this is exactly my ranking as well! I never get tired of watching Shrek 2.

  5. jimbelton says:

    Completely disagree. The first film was original. The second was good, but derivative. Third one sucked, and I haven’t and won’t see the fourth.

  6. readinaflash says:

    I agree that Shrek 2 is better. Love the first but the second is great, which is really rare for a sequel!

  7. surprised to see one of the sequels atop the list! for me, the first one remains head and shoulders above the rest. great post!

    • Nick Kush says:

      Thanks so much! I think most people waver back and forth between the first and second being their favorite!

  8. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any Shrek film. However, I did view Shrek 4-D over at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida (twice) and as it somewhat serves as Shrek 1.5, it’s entertaining for what it is.

    Also, there’s no mention of Puss In Boots’ spin-off film here. If you were to rank that entry, where would you put it?

  9. Yes yes yes! 2 has always been my fave 🙂 Most interesting thing Rupert Everett had done at the time. And Jen Saunders (who I love) singing I need a Hero….just love it…. not to mention Antonio Banderas and Julie Andrews!! <3

  10. MovieBabbleBabble says:

    By far the best review you’ve ever written. Only a true master can see that Shrek 2 is superior to all other Shrek films. Bravo! I say! Bravo!

  11. fivezero says:

    I still prefer the first to the second, but I know a lot of people agree with you on this. Otherwise, agree with the rankings!

    I actually really enjoyed the fourth, which was surprising since the third was such a turd. ? Almost didn’t watch it, glad I did.

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