By: Joel Bryant
After a great year in film, fans are already looking ahead to what’s next. Luckily, 2016 is home to the release of many promising films. Without further adieu, here are our most anticipated movies of 2016.
Honorable Mentions: X-Men: Apocalypse, Gambit, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Free State of Jones, Assassin’s Creed, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Star Trek: Beyond, Independence Day: Resurgence, The BFG, Midnight Special
Just Missed It:
- Suicide Squad
- The Nice Guys
- Hail, Caesar!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Warner Bros. looks to build off the success of 2013’s Man of Steel with Batman v Superman, a film that brings two beloved comic book characters to the same screen for the first time in history. While Man of Steel focused on introducing Zack Snyder’s new vision of Superman, Dawn of Justice looks to propel the character to new heights as several other DC heroes are thrown into the mix. Among them, most notably, will Ben Affleck’s (Argo, Gone Girl) take on the Batman. From the title, we can infer that the film will revolve around a clash between the God of Krypton and the Dark Knight of Gotham, but some questionable marketing tactics have revealed that the story goes much further than that. The two will end up putting aside their differences and team up with Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious), to take down Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and his monstrous creation Doomsday.
The Jungle Book
Jon Favreau’s live action adaptation of the classic story is immensely intriguing. The Iron Man director has been in the Disney fold for years, and now the company has tapped him to bring the classic story of Mowgli and his friends to the big screen once again. Unlike the original 1967 film, 2016’s version will not be animated. The movie will mix both live action and motion-captured characters, the same kind of style seen in modern day blockbusters such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Early trailers have shown off some stunning visuals and indicate that Favreau’s version will stay true to the original.
Renowned actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, The Imitation Game) leads the way in Marvel Studios’ risky dive into fantasy, Doctor Strange. The story follows a pretty oddball concept, so it’s probably best that I don’t try to explain it here. Just let it be known: this is very much a superhero movie. Also let it be known that Doctor Strange has the best cast you’ll ever find in such a film, with Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, Snowpiercer), Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Martian), and Rachel McAdams, who will be nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Spotlight.
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, The Hunger Games) and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) – arguably the two biggest stars in Hollywood – team up for a Sci-Fi adventure/romance, Passengers. Directed by Morten Tyldum, the man responsible for the stunning film The Imitation Game, the December film has stirred up some serious Oscar buzz. On the project, Lawrence said “The script is perfection. It was so good that I thought I can’t not do this movie. It’s just too good.”
Captain America: Civil War
This is the most important movie Marvel has ever put out. Based off the wildly popular and successful Civil War comic book narrative, Captain America: Civil War is a movie that fans have been awaiting for a long time. For those who don’t know, Marvel’s Civil War pits the company’s two most popular characters – Iron Man and Captain America – against each other. Sound familiar? Well, unlike Batman v Superman, the heroic conflict that surrounds Marvel’s thirteenth film has a much more political edge to it and therefore carries unique weight and consequences. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo (who also brought audiences Captain America: The Winter Soldier) are taking the film as an opportunity to further build and solidify Captain America as a character, focusing on how the conflict personally impacts the world’s oldest hero. The film will also serve as the long-awaited cinematic introduction to Black Panther, played by 42 star Chadwick Boseman.
After waiting 13 years, Disney and Pixar are finally releasing a sequel to their hit film Finding Nemo. Except, it won’t be all about Nemo and his overbearing father Marlin. Instead, it will be about Dory, the Blue Tang with severe memory loss issues. Finding Dory asks the question, “What if Dory had a whole other life that she just forgot about?”. The entire team behind Finding Nemo is back, including director Andrew Stanton and stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks. Pixar has also added Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy to play Dory’s parents as well as the likes of Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), Idris Elba (Luther), Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny), and Ty Burrell (Modern Family) to play supporting characters. There is NO WAY this movie can be bad.
Sony and Columbia Pictures’ Ghostbusters reboot will land in theaters this year, and all signs point to it being even better than the original incarnation. This version flips the concept of the original film, making the team entirely female. Director Paul Feig and the studio absolutely nailed the casting. Ghostbusters stars four of the funniest women in the business: Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig, and Kate Mckinnon. In particular, Jones’ casting has me most excited about this movie. Anyone who has watched Saturday Night Live recently knows that she is the by far one of the most hilarious people on the planet. The story doesn’t really matter, it’s going to be a treat regardless.
Without a doubt, director Tim Miller and star Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool will be the most envelop-pushing superhero/action film in recent history. A favorite comic book character of many, the mutant-turned-mercenary Deadpool is notorious for having an extremely dirty sense of humor and for his profound cursing. Beyond his talkative nature, Deadpool’s stories are known for it’s exuberant use of hard action and gory visuals. Thankfully, 20th Century Fox gave Miller and Reynolds the green light to develop and execute the film with intention of receiving a R-rating from the MPAA. How did it turn out? Well, let’s just say this movie is not for kids. Watch the most recent trailer to see what I mean.
Finally, Matt Damon (The Martian, Saving Private Ryan) returns as Jason Bourne in the latest edition of one of the top action series of all time. Paul Greengrass and Damon have teamed up once again to bring audiences another installment of the Bourne series. Currently without a name, the mere existence of the fifth movie in the Bourne series is unknown to casual movie fans across the country. Many pundits have taken the lack of a title as a bad sign for the picture’s chances. However, the film is still scheduled to come out this year and Bourne fans are still very excited about it. Recent interviews have fans confident that Greengrass and Damon will get back to the roots of the series and wash out the sour taste that Jeremy Renner’s The Bourne Legacy left in the fans’ mouths.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
That’s right: there’s another Star Wars movie coming out. However, it is not the sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Disney and Lucasfilm are releasing Star Wars anthology films in addition to the new sequel trilogy. These anthologies, called “Star Wars Stories” are an attempt to emphasize aspects of the galaxy far, far away that are normally brushed over and to provide fans something to watch in the years between each major episode. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a movie within the Star Wars universe that aims to bridge the gap between Episodes III and IV. Rogue One tells the story of the Rebel squadron that stole the plans to the original Death Star, something that made Luke Skywalker’s adventure possible in the first place. Unfortunately, audiences have to wait until December to take in director Gareth Edwards’ (Godzilla) passion project.