I know we are all recovering from a killer film year in 2015, but you guys, 2016 might be bigger – especially if you’re a comic book fan. In the New Year, fans will be besieged by films that will appeal to the comic nerd in all of us. It seems like just about every month, some kind of comic friendly property is coming to the big screen, so join us as we journey into the New Year and find some of the choice cinematic morsels for the comic book fan in us all.
Just like Kingsmen: The Secret Service last year, the comic book goodness kicks off the New Year in a comedic manner with the long awaited Deadpool. Now, the trailers for Deadpool have been spot-on perfect so it looks like after three tries, Ryan Reynolds may have finally found his comic book franchise. This film features Colossus amongst other X-Men goodies and seems to be a perfect balance between superhero adventure and ultra-violent, Bugs Bunny style chaos. In other words, it looks exactly like what people want from a Deadpool story. The film will be directed by Tim Miller, and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers that penned Zombieland (YAY!) and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (not YAY!). So grab your chimichangas mother f&^%$s, because Deadpool hits February 12th.
The Witch- 2/26/2016
We got to have some horror up in here, and The Witch has some potential. We’re always up for a good, old fashioned witch story and this bad boy won some awards at Sundance, so color us ready for some frights. The Witch is a colonial America period piece that focuses on the disappearance of a young boy and the suspected witchcraft employed by his sister. Horror lovers that have already braved this intriguing film have heaped much love on its innovation and daring, so hopefully we’ll have a real toe curler when The Witch hits on February 26th.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice- 3/25/2016
It seems like ages ago that DC and Warner Brothers announced Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the first cinematic team-up between DC’s two greatest icons is almost here. This one just has to be good as WB is planning to follow this film with a huge heap of DC-related film projects. If Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fails to meet expectations, it could spell trouble for a veritable universe of films. This film has the daunting task of introducing a new Batman, Lex Luthor, Alfred, and pretty much every major DC character, like, ever. And in between all that, director Zack Snyder is going to have to make Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice a standalone meeting between two of comics’ greatest characters. This film event could cause DC films to implode or it could set the standard for superhero cinema moving forward. Whatever happens, we will all witness it on pins and needles on March 25h.
The Jungle Book- 4/15/2016
Over the past few years, Disney has garnered some tremendous bank by turning some of its beloved animated classics into live action extravaganzas. The Jungle Book seems the most ambitious Disney live action morphing to date and admittedly, the trailer was rather breathtaking. The Jungle Book will be brought to fans by director Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) and feature a true cast of genre luminaries such as Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Christopher Walken as King Louie, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa. Wait, Christopher Walker as King Louie? Jeez, take my twelve bucks now! Supposedly, Favreau has somehow managed to incorporate some of the classic songs from the 1967 animated film, so this adaptation could be something very different come April 15th.
Captain America: Civil War- 5/6/2016
Marvel’s huge entry for 2016, Captain America: Civil War, will be the linchpin film of Marvel’s phase three. This film must not only play the role of the third Captain America film, it must also feature the next story stage of every Avengers mainstay except Thor and Hulk, and serve as the introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man to the Marvel Universe. Yes, Spider-Man; how’s that for big? Let’s stop and think about that. There was time not too long ago when Spidey was the biggest cinematic superhero of all time, and now, Marvel’s favorite son has come home! Not only that, this film will be the first pit stop for Ant-Man before his next sequel and will introduce the villainy of one Baron Zemo. The Russo Brothers crafted a fantastic personal tale in the huge cinematic event that was Captain America: Winter Soldier, but Civil War is even bigger with just about every major Marvel player front and center including Robert Downey’s Iron Man. Marvel is going to want a mega return for this daring installment of the Marvel Cinematic saga when Captain America: Civil War lands on May 6th.
X-Men: Apocalypse- 5/25/2016
Wait, before we analyze, let’s do the cast. Deep breath- James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Mystique, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp as Storm, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler, Oscar Isaacs (POE!) as Apocalypse, Evan Peters as Quicksilver and Olivia Munn as Psylocke. Wow, that’s loaded – one might say too loaded. But, from X-Men: Days of Future Past, we know that Bryan Singer can juggle an immense cast and still deliver a character driven action film worthy of the name X-Men. This film seems to have something for every X-fan and by the time the dust settles, Fox’s X-faithful should have a good idea where comics’ first film franchise is headed as we approach the post-Hugh Jackman era. X is gonna’ give to ya’ on May 25th.
I must admit I know nothing about Warcraft but I do know that an effects-laden Duncan Jones (Moon) film starring Travis Fimmel, Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, and Clancy Brown sounds pretty damn compelling to me. The only question is, will Warcraft fans stop playing Warcraft long enough to see the film version of their beloved game? The book looks ambitious and daring so hopefully Warcraft will break the video game adaptation curse. Warcraft will arrive in theaters June 10th.
Finding Dory- 6/17/2016
Get ready for the feels – all of them – because Pixar’s underwater world is back with Finding Dory. Finding Nemo remains one of Pixar’s most beloved films and a return to the breathtaking world of Nemo’s ocean is a most welcome event – especially if the film centers on the hilarious and hapless amnesiac Dory. The entire voice cast reprises their roles and original Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton is back to take fans deep under the sea. Get your diving gear on because Finding Dory hits June 17th.
Independence Day: Resurgence- 6/24/2016
Independence Day was a big deal once. For anyone under 30, the film was about a huge alien invasion force laying waste to Earth until Jeff Goldblum defeated the armada with a computer virus or something. Well, the aliens of Independence Day are back in the ultimate indulgence of 90s nostalgia. Resurgence will be directed by original alien wrangler Roland Emmerich and star the aforementioned Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Joey King. Fox had better hope that generations other than 30-somethings have a sense of Independence Day or else this one will crash land when it arrives on Earth June 24th.
The BFG- 7/1/2016
Steven Spielberg adapting a classic Roald Dahl story? Yeah, we’re there. For those not in the know, The BFG is about a giant who brings good dreams to little children. When a little girl follows this gentle giant back to his land, the giant must keep his cannibalistic brethren from devouring her. This one should have all those ET emotions as Spielberg returns to his wheelhouse of childhood fiction. I already have my tissues ready. The BFG will touch all our hearts on July 1st.
Star Trek: Beyond- 7/8/2016
Yeah, yeah Star Trek, we love you, too. ‘Trek’ fans are clamoring for a kick-ass installment of the original sci-fi franchise, not a, “Hey that was kind of cool installment,” or a “Did I really just sit through ‘Wrath of Kahn’ again,” kind of installment. Nope, they’re looking for an eye popping, thoughtful, warp nine kind of installment. While the latest trailer for Star Trek: Beyond didn’t seem very ‘Trek’, the fact that talented ‘Trek’ devotee Simon Pegg co-penned the script gives all ‘Trek’ fans hope. Justin Linn, the dude that directed most of the good Fast and Furious films, is on board to direct as fans are hopeful that this new Star Trek sends the franchise boldly going in the right direction. Star Trek: Beyond takes off July 8th with Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Karl Urban as McCoy, John Cho as Sulu, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, Simon Pegg as Scotty and the great Idris Elba as the latest ‘Trek’ villain.
Man, something about the latest Ghostbusters just seems to bring out the worst in some fans. I mean, when it was announced the new film would be made up of an all female cast, the outcry was louder than the outcry met by most modern atrocities. But when one isn’t a raging sexist, one can see the comedic talent in the film’s stars. Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy, and Leslie Jones could carry any film, and director Paul Feig (Bridesmaid) excels at female led comedies. Industry insiders have poured love on the advance script and all the surviving Ghostbusters cast members are set to appear. So while angry misogynists type angry messages on Twitter, the rest of us can try and keep an open mind when Ghostbusters hits on July 15th.
Suicide Squad- 8/15/2016
DC’s second salvo for 2016, Suicide Squad, looks like one of the most daringly different comic adaptations to date. First off, this is the first non-Zack Snyder flick to hit the DC Cinematic Universe so fans should get a good idea of the feeling the rest of the DCU could have. Second, it looks like DC is going the Guardians of the Galaxy route by having some of its secondary characters take the spotlight in a big budget action fest. This film will introduce a new Joker to the DCU and also feature an appearance by Ben Affleck’s Batman. There just seems to be a really cool Dirty Dozen feel to this David Ayer directed film and we take our hats off to Warner Brothers for trying something different in the very crowded superhero film scene. The cast of Suicide Squad is X-Men-esque in scope as the film features such luminaries as Jared Leto as Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flagg, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, and Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc. But is it’s Margot Robbie that is set (DC hopes) to steal the show and chew the scenery as Harley Quinn. Take aim at the Suicide Squad and find out where the DCU is headed next on August 5th.
This one may be pushed back to the even more loaded 2017 because Gambit hasn’t found a director yet. But if it does, this will be the third X-Men film of 2016. Gambit is set to star Channing Tatum as the titular card throwing thief and is reported to be a rollicking heist film. In Tatum, the “X” franchise might have found a marketable star to take the sting off of Hugh Jackman’s inevitable departure so I’m sure Fox wants to make Gambit impactful. So if a director rises from the bayou, Gambit hits October 7th.
Doctor Strange- 11/4/2016
Now, come on comic fans, did you ever really think you had a chance to see a big budget, tent pole Doctor Strange film? Well, here it is and a film starring the perfect Stephen Strange no less. If Benedict Cumberbatch brings half the acerbic charm to Doctor Strange that he does to Sherlock Holmes, Marvel might very well have a franchise to rival Iron Man.Director Scott Derrickson is no stranger to darker films and Kevin Feige and the rest of Marvel’s brain-trust have taken their time with the script to make sure that Doctor Strange is as magical on film as he was in the pages of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s Strange Tales. The film will also star Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo. To comic fans this is a dream come true, to mainstream audiences it’s an adult Harry Potter as a superhero, so this one should be huge. Doctor Strange conjures its spell on November 4th.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them- 11/18/2016
Speaking of Harry Potter we have a return to the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film is based on a cute little textbook Rowling wrote about all the mythical creatures in her world of witchcraft and wizardry. Well, I guess Warners found a way to expand Rowling’s work as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set for a three picture deal. The story centers on Newt Salamander (played by Eddie Reymayne) and we will see if Newt can conjure up a fraction of the fan love heaped upon Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I’m sure legions of fans will be eager to return to Rowling’s world when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrives in theaters on November 18th.
Hey, Disney’s last animated musical did pretty well, huh? Well, Moana might change climates from Frozen but this South Pacific legend should prove to be just as magical. The movie centers on Moana, a sea loving teen and her adventures with a demi-god named Maui (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). It’s nice to see Disney mining a non-European culture for some inspiration as this film plans to explore a whole new world of myth and legends. Speaking of A Whole New World, Moana is brought to us by Ron Clements and John Musker, the animation geniuses behind The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. So get ready to set sail with Moana and company on November, 24th.
Rouge One: A Star Wars Story- 12/16/2016
If you still have your Force Awakens hangover, well, get over it because the hype is about to begin again. Rouge One: A Star Wars Story is a grand experiment on behalf of Lucasfilm and Disney. It is the first stand alone Star Wars installment and it will kick off a huge slate of ‘Star Wars Story’ films where the story potential is as limitless as the Force itself. This next installment of the bank breaking Star Wars saga will be directed by the man who brought Godzilla back to the big screen in 2014, Gareth Edwards, and feature an all star cast that consists of Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk. The film will focus on a rag tag band of pirates and pilots out to steal the plans to the original Death Star – so basically, this whole thing is a high stakes heist set in the Star Wars universe. This really could be the perfect aperitif to The Force Awakens. You guys, I’m not sure this has sunk in yet, but by 2020, the number of Star Wars films will have doubled and this next installment hits on Dec 16th.