Monday, January 30, 2017

My 20 Most-Anticipated Blockbusters For 2017

The Lego Batman Movie
February 10

I've been loving what LEGO's been doing in terms of their movies. Of course, The LEGO Movie is the main one, but they've been knocking out of the park with small-time, self-aware, sight-gag-heavy animated features on video. Will Arnett and Zach Galifianakis make for a fantastic Batman and Joker.

John Wick 2
February 10

People vastly underestimate how good Reeves can be in very specific roles. Demanding from him an accent or extreme nuance is dicey. But making him the badass in a dystopian world is way more fitting. The first one was fun, I can't see any reason the sequel won't be even better.

Kong: Skull Island
March 10

I'm not completely sure why I am as excited about this movie, but damn if I'm not intrigued by the trailers. And if this truly is leading to a remade Godzilla VS. Kong, I'm excited to the Kong that measures up to the 2014 Godzilla. At the very least, I hope this movie's more exciting than the Peter Jackson rehash of the original.

Beauty and the Beast
March 17

I am also unnecessarily excited for this movie, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the live action remakes of Disney so far. Beauty and the Beast sports an impressive cast, and from the trailers looks like a gorgeous movie. I'm looking forward to it all, and I'm incredibly excited for Emma Watson as Belle. Of course, the idea of Ian McKellen and Ewan McGregor as Cogsworth and Lumiere, though? I mean, I'm in. If Disney can make me watch and care about Cinderella and Jungle Book, two animated stories that I really don't care all that much for, I have high hopes for what they do with an animated I truly love. I hope I'm not disappointed, because I know they're going to be doing more of the ones I love very soon. Like Aladdin, for instance.

Power Rangers
March 24

Very polarizing movie. I, like some of my friends, grew up with the Rangers as heroes on TV. Many of my other friends did not, and this movie looks as stupid to them now as the TV show did to them back then. This movie adaptation's also attempting to make them very serious, which is something Power Rangers has never been able to do. They deal with serious issues, certainly. And they have characters with serious pasts. But the tonal shift to being a dramatic story about unlikely heroes from what was originally a show about five do-gooder kids is rather jarring. No one's found a good groove yet to adapting these paper-thin kids show plots into grand blockbusters with substance. Transformers sacrifices a lot of character work. Smurfs had to go slightly more adult-themed humor. The Chipmunks are as incredibly mindless as the TV show to mixed success. GI Joe turned generic action. I don't understand what Battleship was. Maybe Power Rangers is the one to do it. After all, they are the ones with previous big screen experience, though those adaptations were far more straightforward.

Ghost In The Shell
March 31

While I'm still not happy about ScarJo's casting, the anime of the same name is far too close to my heart to pass up seeing this movie. Casting aside, I do think she is a marvelous actor, and I'm excited to see the rest of the cast in place as well. Besides that, like I said, Ghost In The Shell is my favorite anime of all time. It deserves a worthy live action adaptation and now is as a good time as any to do it.

Fate of the Furious
April 14

The title suggests a finale, but who knows. I'm interested in what could possibly have driven Dom to betray the family, but who knows. The series has been absolutely mindless fun since the first film, and it has never let up on its action sequences. Fast 5 was a bit twisty with no real stakes, and people mostly hate Fast & Furious (number 4) but for the most part, it's an upward trajectory. I can't help rooting for these absolutely batshit, brilliant characters.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
May 5

I'll keep this brief, because I don't believe in a Marvel VS. DC argument, but for all the crap DC gets about being dark and color corrected... I gotta say that the Marvel movies to me look incredibly washed out. Nowhere is that more apparent than in what should be the most colorful movie: a heist film set in outer space backed by a 60s/70s greatest hits soundtrack. While I loved the movie, I couldn't shake how unbelievably drab it all looked. Well, the trailers for the second installment look to be brighter and more vibrant. The poster here looks more alive than anything I remember from the first movie. I'm not totally clear on where the sequel is going, either Star Lord is searching for his dad or they're looking for one more Infinity Gem, but I'm hopeful it also gives us an idea of how the Guardians impact the Infinity War storyline. Also, I'm damn excited for Baby Groot.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
May 12

Guy Ritchie is incredible at action comedy. So good at it in fact, that he managed to take Sherlock Holmes and completely turn him into an action star as well. But seriously, in terms of history, Ritchie's pretty irreverent. But his action sequences are quite good. I was pleasantly surprised by Man from U.N.C.L.E. and I'm rather excited he's helming the live action Aladdin. The Arthurian adaptation looks a bit mixed bag, but I love the cast, and I won't say no to a Guy Ritchie film, so this one's in the bag. And honestly, it couldn't be anything worse than Dracula Untold.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
May 26

I think everyone's grown rather weary of the Pirates franchise. On Stranger Tides was relatively lacking in excitement, and before that At World's End was overloaded and convoluted. Javier Bardem in the trailer sells it for me. It looks like it's going to a more horror-based foundation, which I'm excited for. And to tease it at least initially without Jack Sparrow I think is a refreshing change-up. The character will always be the star. It doesn't mean he has to be in ever selling point of it.

Wonder Woman
June 2

I'm going to admit something I don't like admitting. I kinda need Wonder Woman to be good, guys. Because honestly, if it isn't, I don't think I have much left in me to see how Justice League goes. I'll just give up on DC movies entirely. And I'm a huge DC fan. Grew up reading the comics, I was the perfect age for the Superman, Batman, and Justice League animateds, I loved all the initial adaptations, from Smallville to Superman Returns, from Batman to Dark Knight Rises. I also loved Man of Steel. I'm a big defender of Batman VS Superman (the extended cut), and of Suicide Squad (though you don't need to see it more than once). But I concede the movies have a lot of negatives. And while for me personally, I don't have near as many problems with them, the discussion has worn me down. I need Wonder Woman to be objectively wonderful, because not only do fans like me kinda deserve it at this point, but Wonder Woman the character herself deserves it. We've never had a big screen adaptation of her, and the trailers have looked incredibly promising. I was proud and emotional as I watched it, in a way that I haven't been for a superhero movie yet. I think it's time, and I think it's going to be amazing. Because moreso than me needing it, I think the world right now could use it too.

Transformers: The Last Knight
June 23

It feels weird to transition from that very candid and serious blurb for Wonder Woman, to this. This movie I know is going to be mostly flaming garbage. But the Transformers series has grown on me, possibly like a tumor, but at this point a friendly, benign one. I haven't the slightest idea what's going on plot-wise in the Transformers universe anymore, I assume that the other knights are dead, even though I don't know who they were in the first place. Either way, I want to see giant machines kick each other's ass, and since I have to wait til next February for the superior Pacific Rim 2, I'll settle for a Transformers in the meantime.

Spider-Man: Homecoming
July 7

Get it? Because he's coming home to Marvel, guys! He was in Avengers! While I understand Iron Man being important to getting the lesser-known Avengers over, I'm having a hard time understanding why he needs to be such a part of Spider-Man. Regardless, I always get a bit excited when Tony suits up, and Tom Holland has already won me over as the Web Head. Michael Keaton also has me intrigued for his Vulture, and the more teen-oriented focus of the trailer suggests that we're getting the Spider-Man I've always admired the most: the kid who has to grow up. I know we make a lot of jokes about Spider-Man almost in constant reboot, but I think this is the one, guys.

War For The Planet Of The Apes
July 14

I don't know what it is, but the remade Planet of the Apes series has quietly won me over. I'm obsessed with how good the acting of the humans and the apes has been, and I've been impressed with how the series has developed thus far. The all-out war that is promised looks to be devastating and breathtaking. I'm thoroughly excited.

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
July 21

Did not know about this movie until I saw its trailer before Rogue One in December. I've developed a huge crush on Cara Delevingne, so she might very well be the only reason I'm seeing this movie. But the phrase "City of a Thousand Planets" also has me intrigued, let's be honest. I don't know the comic it's based on.

Blade Runner 2049
October 6

Blade Runner occupies a curious quantum space for me. On one hand, it's a complete story. The original movie requires no follow-up. The questions it leaves unanswered do not require another movie to answer those. Deckard is likely a replicant, but it's irrelevant to his decision at the conclusion of the original movie. However, I like Gosling in action. I think Blade Runner is a deserving world to have a follow-up story in. I also think that modern filmmaking is informed and inspired by Blade Runner as a key inspiration for many modern filmmakers, so to have them circle back and address that world they were born of, is a marvelous idea. I hope thought and care goes into the story of the sequel and it's not just franchise fodder (though of course I fear every sequel, reboot, remake, or prequel is money-driven).

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
October 6

I was strangely impressed by the first Kingsman movie and the sequel promises to be at least equally good. Here's hoping it is.

Thor: Ragnarok
November 3

Dark World was mostly a disappointment. So Ragnarok also has quite a bit riding on it too. I'm excited about the idea of Banner and Thor paired up, since we didn't see as much of them as I'd hoped in Ultron and Civil War. I think in terms of the Infinity War storyline, this movie is also going to have a lot of implications for that, plus Loki will be there! I'm excited for this as well.

Justice League
November 17

As I said, depending on Wonder Woman, I'm excited for Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Ezra Miller's Flash. Barry Allen's never been my favorite Flash, though the TV show has helped that, and Ezra is so unbelievably charming that his casting has also gotten me excited for this. I'm curious as to how they bring back Superman, and I'm also excited for a lot of the movie being Diana and Bruce paired up trying to get a team together. Everything has looked really cool thus far, and I loved the shift in tone for the trailer. Hopefully, this is much more cohesive than the effort of BVS. And maybe after so many missteps, Wonder Woman and Justice League can course-correct The DC Cinematic Universe.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
December 15

I don't know about you guys, but I love that my calendar years are going to be culminating in a Star Wars film from now on. Episode VII got me excited for the rest of this trilogy and beyond. Rogue One proved that the stand-alone films have a lot of promise. While I'm not totally jazzed on a Han Solo prequel (much less a trilogy) I am incredibly jazzed for The Last Jedi. Episode VII thrust Star Wars into a more modern context. It unified the saga thus far and has us set up for any number of possibilities going forward.