If you’ve logged into your Facebook in the last few weeks, then you might have noticed the “F*ck 2016” profile images splattered across the social media network. I can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. It was a horrible year in terms of the talent we lost, and yes, I understand people will keep leaving us well into the new year. But that’s besides the point. Hollywood and the rest of the World will never be the same.
But the New Year hath arrived and that means we get to look forward to a shiny new slate of blockbusters, reboots and stinkers. Today we focus on the big budget movies we are most anticipating, good or bad. I’ve listed them in order of release for obvious reasons. What are you most excited about?
The LEGO Batman Movie
The LEGO Movie was an absolute runaway hit from the directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. It combined cutting-edge animation with endearingly irreverent satire about our pop-culture obsessions, including LEGO itself. Will Arnett, committing scene larceny at every turn, surprised with his interpretation of Batman as an obtuse braggart. It was enough to earn him his own standalone film in The LEGO Batman Movie. This black “and sometimes very very dark gray” superhero will destroy that other “grey” guy come February.
Principle Cast: Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes
Official Synopsis: Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.
Release Date: February 10, 2017
Did you know we were getting a new Wolverine movie this year? Logan despite its source material and leading man, will likely languish into obscurity as March reveals bigger blockbuster hype in the form of a Disney Princess and Giant Ape. But it is the (supposedly) final farewell to Hugh Jackman as the titular hero and we just couldn’t help but include this poignant (and R-rated) approach to the mutant badass we’ve all come to love.
Principle Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Stephen Merchant
Official Synopsis: In the near future, an aging Wolverine and Professor X must protect a young female clone of Wolverine from an evil organization led by Nathanial Essex.
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Kong: Skull Island
I’m quite a sucker for giant monster movies and so Kong: Skull Island is immutably fixed within my radar. Not even John C. Reilly’s flippant one-liners can lead this film astray right? Admittedly, this is one of those flicks I’m cautiously optimistic about but the plot sounds solid (see also, familiar) and is backed by crowd pleasers Brie Larson, Sam Jackson and Tom Hiddleston.
Principle Cast: Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, Toby Kebbell, Tom Hiddleston
Official Synopsis: In the 1970s, a team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, as well as the mythic Kong, the “king” of the island.
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Beauty and the Beast
Disney continues to strike gold by mining old tailings of our beloved animated films. The live-action remakes continue with the release of Beauty and the Beast. Big D hired Emma Watson to fill the shoes of a young woman who falls for the monstrous creature holding her captive. It’s basically stockholm syndrome behind a curtain of lovable characters and memorable songwriting.
Principle Cast: Dan Stevens, Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans
Official Synopsis: An adaptation of the Disney fairy-tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love.
Release Date: March 17, 2017
The Fate of the Furious
The eighth “Fast Film” finds Dom completely abandoning his morals and family principles. Yes folks, this means the only thing that’ll be less surprising is the team jumping cars over sharks. The end is near. Honestly though, this movie will probably kick ass. The Fate of the Furious is in our hands come April. Vote with your dollars.
Principle Cast: Charlize Theron, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Scott Eastwood, Vin Diesel
Official Synopsis: When a mysterious woman seduces Dom into the world of crime and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
Release Date: April 14, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Oh yeah, I am “hooked on a feeling” that James Gunn will once again deliver a solid platinum hit with his follow-up to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. This adventure finds the galactic cruisers on a mission to explore the truth of Quill’s parentage. Kurt Russell, basically the greatest action hero of all-time, plays Daddy Star-Lord to much fan-approval. But what is Sylvester Stallone’s role in all this? We find out when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 plays in May.
Principle Cast: Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Chris Sullivan, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker, Sylvester Stallone, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana
Official Synopsis: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Follow along…Alien: Covenant is the sixth Alien installment, but is technically the sequel to the prequel of the first four movies. It can also be thought of as Ridley Scott bucking up and giving us a proper Alien sequel…err…prequel. Either way, I’m a huge fan of this science fiction horror series and pretty excited about Scott getting back to basics. The plot is all too familiar but as long as we get face hugging and bodies splitting, I’ll be a happy camper.
Principle Cast: Billy Crudup, Carmen Ejogo, Danny McBride, Guy Pearce, Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace
Official Synopsis: The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The filmmaker duo Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning have promised the fifth entry into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will take on a more Curse of the Black Pearl feel, which should delight initial fans. Unfortunately it stars an accused wife beater who at this point is just a parody of himself. But it also sees the return of dreamy Orlando Bloom who we can all assume will help Jack track down Poseidon’s trident.
Principle Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem, Johnny Depp, Kaya Scodelario, Orlando Bloom
Official Synopsis: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.
Release Date: May 26, 2017
The first DC Extended Universe film NOT universally controlled by Zack Snyder could be the beacon that corrects course. It also marks the first contemporary superhero genre film featuring a female protagonist AND female director in Patty Jenkins. It’s about time. Superhero “period” pieces typically take place during WWII, but Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman will do battle in WWI.
Principle Cast: Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Gal Gadot, Robin Wright, Saïd Taghmaoui
Official Synopsis: An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world’s greatest heroes.
Release Date: June 2, 2017
The summer blockbuster season is never complete without Tom Cruise fighting some evil-doer. The Mummy reboot has him facing off against an ancient princess in what will be the first entry in an entirely new universe featuring all the classic Universal Monsters like Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster. Each monster will have his or her own standalone film and at some point begin crossing over a la Penny Dreadful.
Principle Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Courtney B. Vance, Jake Johnson, Tom Cruise
Official Synopsis: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.
Release Date: June 9, 2017
Transformers: The Last Knight
You know why Michael Bay continues churning out robotic carnage flicks? Because kids LOVE it! And while the ballyhoo has grown lethargic, these robots in disguise keep printing money. As for Transformers: The Last Knight, Earth is so full of herself that she continues to play the most important role in the galaxy by harboring ancient robotic dinosaurs and planet-altering artifacts. If only we weren’t killing this little blue world of ours…
Principle Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Mark Wahlberg, Peter Cullen
Official Synopsis: Optimus Prime finds his home planet, Cybertron, now a dead planet, in which he comes to find he was responsible for killing. He finds a way to bring the planet back to life, but in order to do so, he needs to find an artifact, which is on Earth.
Release Date: June 23, 2017
Two short years ago, Marvel Studios and Sony did the impossible. Putting competition aside, the studios amicably struck a deal to share Spider-Man. Shortly after, the web-slinger (played by Tom Holland) joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War. His first solo film in the MCU, Spider-Man: Homecoming, will have Spidey coping with the aftermath, but more importantly, how he’s coping with his newfound abilities and high school life.
Principle Cast: Tom Holland, Donald Glover, Marisa Tomei
Official Synopsis: A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero.
Release Date: July 7, 2017
War for the Planet of the Apes
When your track record has been as exceptional as the Planet of the Apes franchise, then absolutely, War for the Planet of the Apes is ensconsed on such a listicle. Then you learn Matt Reeves is returning to the directors chair to lead the heedless Woody Harrelson into battle with those award-winning CGI primates. Enlist me now.
Principle Cast: Andy Serkis, Judy Greer, Karin Konoval, Steve Zahn, Woody Harrelson
Official Synopsis: A nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar become embroiled in a battle with an army of humans.
Release Date: July 14, 2017
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson gifted us The Fifth Element twenty years ago, and in just a few short months, he’ll gift us with his latest space opera based on a French sci-fi comic. It’s titled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and it’s about a time-traveling agent from a future Earth. Chances are it’s not yet on your radar. But it should be.
Principle Cast: Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Dane DeHaan, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, John Goodman, Kris Wu, Rihanna
Official Synopsis: Time-traveling agent Valerian is sent to investigate a galactic empire, along with his partner Laureline.
Release Date: July 21, 2017
I’m one of those few lucky people to experience 7 minutes of Nolan’s blistering Dunkirk prologue in 70mm IMAX. To say I was elated is an understatement. Forget about the sequels, prequels and reboots, the CGI characters and the massive tentpoles; Nolan gets to experiment because he wrote his own ticket. Dunkirk, which is partially filmed at the exact location of the WWII Allied evacuation of which the film is based, is filmed entirely in large-format, employs hundreds of extras and explodes everything from reconditioned warships to vintage airplanes outfitted with some of the most expensive film equipment available today…just to avoid using CGI.
Principle Cast: Cillian Murphy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy
Official Synopsis: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
Release Date: July 21, 2017
The Dark Tower
The long-awaited theatrical version of Stephen King’s popular series of novels arrives in July. At least, we hope it does. Details and marketing materials are too scarce to determine how production is proceeding, but we do know that The Dark Tower is NOT an adaption of a single novel, but is in fact, a continuation of the novels. The casting of Idris Elba as the frontiersman knight Roland Deschain has us drooling over the prospects of where this multi-genre trilogy (the last time we checked) could be headed. But seriously…can we please get a trailer…maybe even a poster?
Principle Cast: Katheryn Winnick, Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba
Official Synopsis: Gunslinger Roland Deschain roams an Old West-like landscape in search of the dark tower, in the hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world.
Release Date: July 28, 2017
Blade Runner 2049
No one, and I mean no one is under more pressure to deliver this year than director Denis Villeneuve. Blade Runner 2049 is about as controversial a sequel we’ll ever see. No fan wanted this film to happen. The director appears to understand the pressure he’s under, and luckily he has Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford by his side. Ryan Gosling is a solid choice to carry the film and the trailer is encouraging. I guess we’ll find out in October…but will we finally discover if Deckard is human or replicant?
Principle Cast: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling
Official Synopsis: Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos.
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Thor went silent on us when civil war befell the Avengers last year. There’s a great teaser from Comic-con exploring his downtime harassing some comic book movie nerds. Cate Blanchett is the newcomer to the MCU where she’ll play Thor’s adversary Hela. Idris Elba’s Heimdall will take on a much larger role in Thor: Ragnarok. There are theories floating around that one of these two characters holds the final sixth Infinity Stone that’ll bring everything together in the Avengers: Infinity War mega-crossover event.
Principle Cast: Cate Blanchett, Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Tom Hiddleston
Official Synopsis: Thor confronts the gods when Asgard is threatened with Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse.
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Attempting to upstage Marvel’s tentpole will be Zack Snyder’s final DCEU film before taking a break. DC fans were united albeit unsuccessful in removing Snyder from Justice League following the critical and financial failure of Batman V Superman. How in the hell the resolution to Bats and Supes beef hinged on their mothers having the same name is still beyond my comprehension, but it’s the catalyst for Bruce Wayne’s renewed confidence in humanity and goal of enlisting the greatest heroes into a mega super group. Whatever.
Principle Cast: Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa
Official Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
Release Date: November 17, 2017
Star Wars: Episode VIII
Can you think of a better film to round out a year full of superheroes, monsters, explorers and robots than the king of all blockbusters? I didn’t think so. The Star Wars saga continues in December when Rey seeks the tutelage of one Luke Skywalker. The Jedi and friends have quite the journey ahead to uncover Supreme Leader Snoke and dismantle his First Order army and that daddy killer scrub Kylo Ren. Here’s to hoping we have a trailer ahead of Star Wars Celebration in April.
Principle Cast: Carrie Fisher, Tom Hardy, Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver
Official Synopsis: Having taken her first steps into a larger world, Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.
Release Date: December 15, 2017