Films To Watch Out For: 2016

It's still early enough in the year to do Most Anticipated Lists, right?   So, expect to see them for the next week or so.  We're going to kick things off with films because for me that's as easy as it gets.  Pile all the superhero films and a couple of choice comedies in and bam, that's done.   I'm skipping January because frankly it looks terrifyingly dull, so let's just start with February and go from there?


Hail, Caesar (February 5th): Can’t believe this almost passed me by. I’m a sucker for stories that are set in the past but viewed with modern eyes. Set in the classic period of Hollywood cinema, Hail Caesar is a “day in the life” story of a studio fixer and has one of the most star-studded casts you’ll see this year not in a film about superheroes. The trailer alone is pretty hilarious (though the bit could be cut by fifteen or twenty seconds and retain its intent), so if that’s any indication this might be one of the funniest films to come out this year.  

Deadpool (February 12th): If Fox can’t get this right, it’ll probably be time to get out of the superhero business.   Telling the origin of the world’s most infamous mutant, they’ve got the best possible star for the role in Ryan Reynolds, and all the trailers have actually been laugh out loud funny, providing the kind of off-beat humor and slapstick ultra-violence one would expect from a Deadpool film.   Also, Colossus is here, and he gets treated like a chump, so it’s even accurate to the comic books!   This is the first of two X-related films Fox will be doing this year, since Gambit got pushed back into 2017.   


Zootopia (March 6th): Well, this is obviously a children’s film…or at best, a movie for “families” to go to when the parents are tired of their children talking and need some quiet for ninety minutes. So what’s it doing here? Well, blame my inner child—the one that grew up on countless talking animal cartoons from Bonkers to Animaniacs….whatever the hell those guys were. Or you could blame my love of bunnies, given that the star of this film is a bunny that happens to be a cop. You could even say it’s my respect for the creators, who were also behind Wreck-It Ralph, even though it’s almost certainly the talking animals/bunny thing. Either way, there are probably worse ways to spend a Sunday. For instance…

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25th): Two years since its announcement and I’m still not certain what to make of this film. Man of Steel is still probably the greatest Dragonball Z film ever created and the worst Superman film ever made, and the guy behind that is also behind this. I want DC to win so badly but there’s really no indication that the people working on this necessarily “get” the characters involved and aren’t just trying to make a tonally “dark” film just to be counter to the light-hearted material we usually get from Marvel. They’re just randomly throwing Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman (and more) into a film to fight Doomsday (and maybe more) because Marvel’s already lapped them twice with the Avengers. I usually go on blackout because when I trust the creators, I want to be surprised and see the film myself. But in this film’s case I’ve looked for every single trailer they’ve put out in the hopes that I see something to make it worth my time. I’m still not sure if I’ve seen it yet.


Captain America: Civil War (May 6th): Civil War in the comic books took some of my favorite characters down a path that took them nearly a decade to recover from. During that time they lost what had to that point been an eternal tug-of-war to DC Comics that they only recently started to win again, after climbing out of the pit of awful characterizations that made me dislike some of my favorite characters in fiction. Despite all that, I’m still incredibly hyped for Civil War the movie—probably because it only shares the name and the base concept of heroes against one another and ditched everything else. Covering the fallout of the amazing 2014’s Winter Soldier film, Civil War will have Cap and Falcon attempting to save Bucky Barnes from a military that would see him killed for his actions from the last movie, and Iron Man and Black Widow trying to save their teammates from making enemies of all the world’s governments. With emotional beats that look just as strong as the ridiculous fight scenes we’ve seen thus far, Captain America: Civil War looks to continue the trend of Cap films being better than every other Marvel line of movies.

X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27th): Three months after Ryan Reynolds’ second attempt at being a superhero comes X-Men: Apocalypse, the sixth “main” X-Men film. Featuring one of the few X-Men villains left that don’t involve going into space or limbo, Apocalypse, the first mutant. It seems as if Fox is finally embracing all the craziness that comes with superhero films, as this is the closest that most of Marvel’s Merry Band of Mutants have looked to their comic incarnations. Though yes, Apocalypse more closely resembled Ivan Ooze than the actual En Sabah Nur everyone knows and set off all kinds of warning flags for fans everywhere, the first trailer that emerged seems to have assuaged most of their concerns, including my own. I’m more excited for this than Dawn of Justice, at least.

Warcraft (June 10th): The strangest thing about this film is that the franchise existed as multi-million dollar franchise for over a decade and somehow never got a movie until now. We’re talking about the same Hollywood that thought it’d be a good idea to make a movie about the board game Battleship. I’m assuming it sat in development hell for no less than five years. Anyway, though I’ve got no attachment to the Warcraft world, I’m an absolute sucker for high fantasy worlds—with their immaculate, elaborate armors and castles and fantasy races--when it’s done properly, I can’t ever get sick of it. The plot seems to be the orcs being forced out of their home and potentially going to war with the humans in order to fight for a new one, which is fairly simple, but there’s enough meat on the bone for me to want to go all-in on it.


Star Trek Beyond (July 22nd): I’m not sure what to make of this franchise anymore. I was never a fan of any of the television series—supposedly they were mostly very smartly written, but visually they were dull as dishwater to a kid who’d grown up shows like Exo Squad and Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers—but I gave the films a try because I have a love for space opera and soft sci-fi. The first film was excellent, but here we are at the third film with an actor from the film and writer of the script saying he had to change the latest film to make it “less Star Trek-y”, and fight the dumbing down of modern cinema. That statement is deserving of an article all by itself, honestly. Still and all, I’m confident enough in the movie’s cast and even the trailer (though it doesn’t tell us much) to finish this series out, before the franchise makes its way back to television sets in 2017.


Doctor Strange (November 4th): In November the MCU finally decides to explore the so-far unseen mystical corners of its universe with the adventures of the Sorcerer Supreme. Stephen Strange comes ready made for films too, with a high-concept origin of a surgeon who travels to a hidden monastery in hopes of finding someone who can heal his hands, only to leave with immense magical powers and role of Sorcerer Supreme, protecting the realm against what lurks outside of reality. I could be wrong, but Benedict Cumberbatch seems made for this role, and he already looks pretty darn cool in the outfit—though some actual footage is necessary to assess proper “hype” levels.


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16th):  Unsatisfied with having control over the most successful mega-franchise of all time with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the fact that the new trilogy already has one film that stands a very good chance of being the biggest film release of all time, Disney has decided to use the years in which a mainline Star Wars film isn’t being released to bring out smaller films still set in the same universe. The first one is Rogue One, a film set between just before Episode IV about a team of rebels attempting to shut down the Death Star before it can be built. Aside from the cast picture above and that basic description, little else is known about the film, which I’m hoping changes between now and December. We already know this team fails at their chosen mission, so this film is absolutely going to need a hook, beyond exploring the Star Wars universe without all the Jedi/Sith nonsense.


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