Thursday, January 7, 2016

Most Anticipated Films of 2016

Welcome to 2016 everyone! There are a TON of exciting movies coming out this year, and not nearly enough spaces on my top 10 list to accommodate them all. Keep in mind, this is not a list of what films I think are going to be the best, just which ones I'm looking forward to the most. It's always interesting at the end of the year to compare my most anticipated list with my best films list to see which ones panned out. I wasn't very accurate last year, so (to avoid further embarrassment) I truly hope all of these films end up being amazing. To name just a few films I'm excited for but that didn't make my honorable mentions include: Ghostbusters (a reboot of the 1984 film with an all female cast), Zootopia (a Disney animated film featuring a world of anthropomorphic animals living in a human-like society), Star Trek: Beyond (a sequel to 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness), and Warcraft (a live-action adaptation of the most popular online RPG out there). So with those out of the way, let's get into my honorable mentions and then my most anticipated films of 2016!

Honorable Mentions

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

I just know I'm going to get a lot of flack for this, especially after I really didn't care for the latest incarnation of the Ninja Turtles back in 2014... but I have to admit, this trailer hit my sweet spot! I have vivid memories of playing with TMNT toys as a kid, and it looks like they're finally embracing their cartoonish origins, complete with nostalgic 1990's music. Plus, we get Casey Jones played by fan-favorite Stephen Amell (who looks awesome in the role). Throw in Bebop and Rocksteady and there's no way I can't be excited for Out of the Shadows! I'm probably setting myself up for disappointment, but I think this could be a really fun movie for younger viewers and for us old fans of the turtles.

Zoolander 2

Again, this is sort of a guilty pleasure selection since comedy sequels haven't exactly had a great track record lately (though I kind of enjoyed Anchorman 2 for what it was). But come on, we've been waiting for a sequel to Zoolander for such a long time, and this trailer is freaking hilarious! Yes, it looks dumb, but that's the point of Zoolander! It looks like it could be a worthy follow-up, and Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller's chemistry appears to be as strong as ever. Let's hope it ends up being half as good as this trailer makes it look.

Independence Day: Resurgence

Yet again... this movie could be total garbage. Heaven knows that Roland Emerich has been on a crap streak of late. But don't underestimate my love of the original Independence Day, a love that is clearly being taken advantage of with the use of Bill Pullman's epic speech from the first film in this trailer. The premise is a little corny, but the action looks spectacular, and I'm willing to go with whatever the filmmakers are planning. It probably won't end up on my best films of 2016 list next year, but it looks so fun and exciting that I was seriously tempted to bump it to #10 of this list!

Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2016

#10   The Jungle Book

This movie was barely on my radar before D23 (the Disney expo), when the buzz began to bequeath The Jungle Book as the most technologically advanced movie ever made. After seeing the trailer and realizing that it was all filmed on a studio lot, I can't help but be impressed with the digital technology on display with this film. While everyone is pushing the use of practical effects (which I whole-heartedly support), this movie may make a legitimate case for the all-encompassing possibilities that digital technology can offer. Plus, the voice cast is stellar: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanson, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken... the list literally goes on and on.

#9   Finding Dory

I am putting this movie on my list with a caveat... Pixar isn't always the best with sequels. True, the Toy Story series is the obvious exception to this rule, but I am a bit nervous that Finding Dory will go the same way as Monsters University. However, hopefully Pixar has learned from its missteps and will work tirelessly to give us the sequel to Finding Nemo that we deserve. Dory is a great character, so focusing on her past is a very interesting place to explore. I can only hope that we don't get overexposed to Dory's shtick as we make this long-awaited journey. Having said that, the teaser looks great, and I'm sure the film will be a lot of fun regardless of how it measures up to the original.

#8   Doctor Strange

The next character to roll out from the Marvel machine is Doctor Strange, the sorcerer supreme. Having had almost zero exposure to this character, it's a little surprising to me that I've put the movie so high on this list. Perhaps it's the uniqueness of the character, or maybe it's the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the titular doctor, but I think Doctor Strange is going to be unlike any Marvel movie we've ever seen. The decision to put Scott Derrickson behind the camera (who is more well-known for horror films) makes me instantly intrigued for what we might get, and the recent photos of Cumberbatch in the costume (shown above) gets me even more excited to see what they've cooked up.

#7   Suicide Squad

Speaking of unusual tones for a superhero movie, Suicide Squad is almost the antithesis to what Marvel did with The Avengers. They're a group of villains who are strong-armed into working for the secret government organization known as A.R.G.U.S. Packed with great established actors as well as promising up-and-comers, Suicide Squad looks to darken the D.C. universe even further while introducing perhaps a more supernatural element than we haven't seen before. We still know very little about this film, but I was instantly intrigued after seeing the trailer. Plus, Jared Leto's Joker looks all kinds of creepy.

#6   Untitled Borne Film

It's a little weird that we don't have a title for this film yet, but just knowing what Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are going to bring to this movie is enough to put it this high up on the list. While I enjoyed The Bourne Legacy, there was an obvious dip in quality from the fantastic trilogy that came to a close with The Bourne Ultimatum. The reason we didn't get a movie sooner was apparently a lack of inspiration, as plenty of talented writers have tried and failed to come up with a viable story to carry on the franchise in a way that satisfied Damon and Greengrass. Whatever they came up with here, I cannot wait to see what is going on with Jason Bourne after almost ten years.

#5   Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Part of me knows this was only implemented to cash in on the Harry Potter phenomenon... but I don't care! The fact that J.K. Rowling herself came back to write the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them gives me a ton of confidence that I would not otherwise have. Eddie Redmayne is a wonderful actor, and I think he'll bring a fresh take to this movie as its seemingly eccentric lead. The story sounds really fascinating as well, even if it won't quite have the same stakes as the Harry Potter series. I really like that it's removed from that story not only by being a prequel, but also geographically, taking place in 1926 New York instead of England. I can't wait to go back to the Wizarding World!

#4   X-Men: Apocalypse

Some of the early photos of Apocalypse have been a bit jarring for some, but I think most concerns have been assuaged by the epic-looking trailer that recently dropped. Oscar Isaac is a great actor, so I have no doubt that he'll nail the performance of the world's first and most powerful mutant. Bryan Singer knocked it out of the park with Days of Future Past, so as long as he's on his game this movie has as much potential as its lead villain has power. Not only that, but we finally get a glimpse of James McAvoy playing Professor X with the bald head! All of the best actors from the last two films are also back, and we get younger versions of old favorites to fill out the rest of the cast. Though it probably won't make as much money, X-Men: Apocalypse could surprise us all and be the best comic book movie of the summer.

#3   Rogue One - A Star Wars Story

For those who don't know, I'm a HUGE fan of Star Wars. So why didn't I put this on the top of my most anticipated list? Well, partially because it's a spin-off to the Star Wars saga films. If this was Episode VIII, I wouldn't hesitate to promote it to #1... but Rogue One isn't quite as exciting for me. Of course, this could all change once the first official teaser for the film is released, but until then I have to remain cautiously optimistic rather than giddy with excitement. The idea that we could get Darth Vader back in this movie and potentially even a cameo from Ewan McGreggor as Obi-Wan Kenobi (How else would Princess Leia even know who he is in A New Hope?) heightens my anticipation, but the premise of going back to before Episode IV just isn't as interesting to me as moving forward. Still, I can't wait to see how Disney follows up the massive success of The Force Awakens.

#2   Captain America: Civil War

These last three spots on this list were really tough for me to decide, since they could all end up being amazing. Captain America: Civil War gets the slight edge over Rogue One simply because I know what I'm getting into. The Russo brothers surprised us all with their incredible work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it looks like they could potentially outdo themselves with Civil War. The emotional stakes of heroes turning against each other is a heart-breaking idea, and the trailer puts the gravity of their dissonance into perspective. I do have a theory about what causes the unbreachable division between Captain America and Iron Man, but I'll hold off on divulging it in case it does turn out to be true. Suffice it to say, I think we'll be able to understand both sides of the war and be perhaps as torn as the middle-ground dwellers (presumably Black Panther and Spider-Man... that's right, Spider-Man is in this movie!).  

#1   Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Okay, a lot of people are complaining about that last trailer, but I contend that it didn't show us anything we didn't already know was going to happen. Regardless, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will still have plenty of surprises along the way as the two superheros duke it out and eventually establish the Justice League. Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill look fantastic playing off each other, and I can't wait to see how they evolve as characters. Though we don't know much about the story itself, I love how it appears to address the destruction of Metropolis from Man of Steel. Chris Terrio is an Oscar-winner for a reason, and the fact that he came on board to write the script makes me feel very confident it will have much more depth than it appears. There are so many interesting things about this production that I can't possibly mention them all, but let me wrap up by saying that this is the first time Batman and Superman have shared the big screen EVER! That alone is enough to get me excited, and I think it'll launch the D.C. movie universe in epic fashion. Only two more months to go!

That's it! Like I said at the beginning of this post, there are SO MANY films coming out this year that I'm looking forward to that I could easily write a Top 20 list instead... but it makes more sense to keep it at 10. Anyway, what movies are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments! Whether we agree on our lists or not, I think everyone can have something to get excited about this year.