10. Finding Dory
Pixar dips back into the sequel business again, this time returning to the 2003’s successful and popular Finding Nemo. Andrew Stanton is back to direct, Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres are back as voices from the original, and they’re joined by Idris Elba, Diane Keaton, Dominic West, Kaitlin Olsen, Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, and Eugene Levy. If it’s anything close to the original, this will be a huge hit this summer.
9. Suicide Squad
I know nothing about the comic books this is based on, and it seems like a cast that is almost too big. However, I am less concerned about this falling under the weight of the cinematic universe that DC is trying to create than I am for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Plus, I am much more interested in what director David Ayer does with this story than I am with seeing what Zack Snyder does with his. It’s a loaded cast too. Also interested in why Will Smith decided to sign up for this ride.
8. The Jungle Book
If I admit that I’ve never watched Disney’s animated version of this classic story does that make me a bad person? I probably should get on that. Still, the live-action adaptations of animated Disney classic continues here, and it looks like it could be another successful one. Jon Favreau (Elf, Iron Man, Chef) directs, and it also features a loaded voice cast (Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken). It’ also apparently the first of two adaptations of the Jungle Book, as another is scheduled to come out in 2017 with possibly an even more impressive cast (Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto, and directed by Andy Serkis).
Deadpool is a movie that has long been rumored and in a kind of development hell. Fans of the irreverent comic book hero were disappointed by his depiction in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. People thought Ryan Reynolds was a perfect casting choice, they just hated the decisions that were made with the character in the story. Reynolds later taking on the Green Lantern role for DC further delayed the project. Now, it’s finally going to be hitting theaters and it looks like it could be entertaining. The trailers and promotion for the movie have been promising. A February release is a concern though.
6. Doctor Strange
Arguably the weirdest Marvel adaptation to date, Doctor Strange will feature The Cumberbatch in the title role of Dr. Stephen Strange, a surgeon who discovers magic powers. Director Scott Derrickson has had some success in the horror genre in the last few years, and the skills he has acquired there could be put to good use here. Along for the ride with Cumberbatch are Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Michael Stuhlbarg. I had my doubts about Thor when it was released, given the fantastical elements of it that had not yet existed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to that date. It ended up being one of the better Marvel movies, and Doctor Strange, if done right, could follow in that vein.
5. Untitled Jason Bourne Sequel
Despite Damon saying that he was done with the Bourne franchise, he and Paul Greengrass have returned to make the fourth Jason Bourne movie and the fifth in the franchise, after The Bourne Legacy. Not much out side of the cast is known. Julia Stiles is back, and new faces to the franchise include Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassell, and Riz Ahmed.
4. Zoolander 2
One of the funniest, rewatchable comedies of recent memory is back with a sequel. Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell all reprise their previous roles as Derek Zoolander, Hansel, and Mugatu respectively, and they are joined this time by Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig and most likely a slew of celebrities. Here’s hoping that it’s at least as funny or funnier than Anchorman 2, a sequel to another popular and quotable comedy that didn’t quite match the original.
3. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The first spin-off of the Star Wars movies into an anthology series, this tells the story of the crew who set out to steal the plans for the Death Star, meaning the events in this movie will lead into the film that started it all, Star Wars (aka, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope). It’s directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla). The cast features Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, and Forrest Whitaker. Supposedly, will be the first Star Wars movie not to feature The Force or any of that stuff about “hokey religions and ancient weapons.”
2. Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War announces the arrival of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Given how bloated The Avengers: Age of Ultron ended up, I should be a little more down on this than I am, especially considering how many superheroes are rumored to be popping up in this flick, including Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man. Despite some concerns about the sheer amount of characters that could be involved, I am encouraged by the fact that both co-directors (Anthony and Joe Russo) and co-writers (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) are all back from the top-notch Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It will be a tough balancing act to maintain between telling their story as well as setting the table for all of the films to follow, but if they don’t suffer the franchise fatigue that plagued Joss Whedon on Age of Ultron, this could be the pinnacle of the superhero genre this year.
1. X-Men: Apocalypse
The superhero movie I am most looking forward to, though, is X-Men: Apocalypse. Apocalypse is perhaps the biggest baddie in the X-Men rogues gallery, and it’s surprising that they have managed to hold off on using him this long. One of my personal favorites, Oscar Isaac, will portray Apocalypse, the first mutant. Bryan Singer is back to direct. All of the main cast from X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past are back as well, and this figures to be a bit of a passing of the torch movie, as Jennifer Lawrence has essentially said she is done, and one has to wonder about McAvoy and Fassbender going forward. Hopefully, this will be a successful transitional movie.