A few days ago, Nerd Bastards posted our picks for the Top 10 non-comic book, 100 per cent original nerdy films on the docket for the year 2016. But we know that these days it’s all about the franchises, so today we’re checking out the Top 10 highly anticipated sequels, reboots, and comic book movies coming up in the next 12 months. From aliens to ghosts, good guys teaming up and bad guys teaming up, supreme sorcerers and mercs with a mouth, wars, rogues and fish, here is the brand name cinema that you should be marking your calendars for in 2016.
10) Independence Day: Resurgence
We never thought this day would come, but almost 20 years after the release of the original Independence Day, the aliens are finally coming back to finish the job! The old and new generation will once again be fighting for our freedom against annihilation, and from the looks of the trailer, the planet Earth is not the only one that up its game in the intervening two decades between alien invasions. Roland Emmerich has done almost nothing else but hone his disaster craft over the last 20 years with The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and White House Down, so when Jeff Goldblum says in the trailer, “It’s definitely bigger than the last time,” believe it! Release Date: June 24.
9) Star Trek Beyond
Many of you weren’t fans of the new Star Trek Beyond trailer either because of the Beastie Boys soundtrack or that scene featuring what looks like an alien dirt biking. But you know what wasn’t in the trailer? Any hints of a plot about Earth being in danger from a deranged revenge seeking villain, also known as the plot of the last three Star Trek movies. That trailer didn’t lend a whole lot of insight into the plot, but it did strongly imply that this was going to be a Star Trek movie with a lot of fun, adventure, and some actual boldly going. And if Justin Lin, the man behind Fast & Furious 3-6, can’t deliver those three things, there’s no hope for any of us. Release Date: July 22.
8) Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice
In what is possibly one of the most scrutinized developments in the history of film, Batman V. Superman will arrive on movie screens with a heavy weight of expectation. Warner Bros. wants this to jumpstart their own multi-film universe, simultaneously launching a new Batman, a new Wonder Woman, and the whole Justice League itself, while affirming that Henry Cavill is the Superman for a new generation. We’ve fretted over whether or not Ben Affleck can effectually be the Caped Crusader, whether Jesse Eisenberg can be intimidating enough to be Lex Luthor, and whether Gal Gadot can convince us she’s Amazonian as Wonder Woman, and in just a few short months now, we’ll have our answer to all those questions and more. Release Date: March 25.
It’s hard to think of a more controversial movie this year than Paul Feig’s gender-flipped spin on Ghostbusters, and not necessarily because the titular quartet were all recast as females. Has there been a bigger movie – except perhaps Gus Van Sant’s 1996 redo of Psycho – that’s been entered into the modern remake Olympics? The hardcore fanbase will tell you that even the original film’s sequel was not really up to snuff as compared to that first Ghostbusters, so there’s a real uphill battle on the part of Feig to let this movie stand on its own. On the other hand though, if there wasn’t a righteous enthusiasm for this project, would it have attracted the participation of all the surviving Ghostbusters in the form of cameos? Even the elusive Bill Murray? Release Date: July 15.
6) Finding Dory
Sequels have been hit and miss with Pixar, and while the Toy Story sequels continued to test medium with each subsequent chapter, the second films for both Cars and Monsters Inc are, ahem, thought of somewhat less favourably. Perhaps Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, will fit more comfortably with the former than the latter. Certainly Ellen Degeneres is enthusiastic about it, but as the voice of Dory why shouldn’t she? But given the progression of computer animated in the 13 years since Nemo, not to mention Pixar’s own advanced creative muscles, Dory could be an even greater visual feast of underwater wonders than its predecessor. Pixar proved with Inside Out that it still knows how to work the audience emotionally when it believes in a story, the question remains though if Finding Dory is a matter of inspiration more than a matter of franchising. Release Date: June 17.
5) Captain America: Civil War
Given the tremendous success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the return of the same creative team in terms of the Brothers Russo, and the added star-power of Robert Downey Jr., the success of Civil War should be a no-brainer. Marvel Studios begins Phase 3 with a bang by dumping nearly 80 per cent of all the characters they’ve introduced so far into Civil War, but can a film this big possibly live up to expectations? That will be the real test, and after Age of Ultron, which was also packed to the gills with superheroes, there is cause for concern. On the bright side, good will towards Marvel is still very high, and with so much at stake, you better believe Marvel’s going to cover their bases with this one. Release Date: May 6.
4) Doctor Strange
While we’ve regularly enjoy new adventures with our favourite heroes, in the last couple of years it’s been the part ones from Marvel Studios that have garnered the most attention. Hoping to follow in the path of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, Scott Derrickson is currently shepherding the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first foray into magic with a cast whose award worthiness eclipses that of even the original Iron Man. With Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Madds Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, and, of course, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange, this first tale of the Sorcerer Supreme is primed to be Marvel’s most ambitious new entry since The Avengers, and with all the strange dimensions, creatures and spells, perhaps the weirdest since Guardians. Release Date: November 4.
3) Suicide Squad
After the abject failure of Josh Trank’s grounded and gritty Fantastic Four, our best hope for a non-conventional comic book movie now rests in the hands of David Ayer and the Suicide Squad. You see kids, not too long ago, the villains were the most interesting part of a comic book movie. The flashier part. That’s been lost in recent years, so may we be so bold as to suggest that Suicide Squad might bring some balance back to the genre, that a group of charismatic and engaging villains might overcome their instinctual desire to do evil in order to reluctantly save the world? Admit it: the Comic Con preview of the movie got you way more excited about Suicide Squad than you thought you were going to be, and Ayer is a very capable filmmaker, especially with action. Batman V. Superman may be the all-star for DC, but in Suicide Squad is the promise that they might be able to do things that Marvel still can’t. Release Date: August 5.
2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Bringing Star Wars back to the big screen with The Force Awakens was the easy part, diversifying it beyond the main saga will be the real challenge, and it begins with Rogue One. Set sometime immediately before A New Hope, the Gareth Edwards movie promises to be more of a heist-style war movie than the action/adventure serial vibe of the main saga movies. But what specifically can we expect? We know that the film is about a group of Rebels trying to lift the Death Star plans, and that Darth Vader and young Han Solo cameos are possibilities, but aside from that all we’ve seen is that one production photo and the bootlegged teaser from Star Wars Celebration. As much as we marvelled at the secrecy brought to bear on The Force Awakens, it seems that at this point we know even less about Rogue One than we did this time last year about Episode VII, which is kind of weird and exciting. What Rogue One will look like, and how these standalone Star Wars movies will set themselves apart from the Skywalker saga, is still anyone’s guess. Release Date: December 16.
We here, on this site, literally said that this day would never come. Back after the 2014 Comic Con, when that Deadpool test footage was leaked, we said it was unlikely that we would ever get a hard R-rated Deadpool movie. But in less than a month, we will, and if you’re a Deadpool fan and have been following the marketing, you are probably on pins and needles waiting for the day. Why is Deadpool the most anticipated comic book movie of the year? It will dare to be different by being a very adult-oriented superhero movie, a rarity the two recent Punisher movies notwithstanding. It’s also the first attempt by 20th Century Fox to diversify the X-Men brand, a move that’s been a long time in coming but for some reason has never been able to get off the ground. Most importantly though, Deadpool himself is unlike any other comic book character now, or coming to screens later this year; he’s crude, amoral, violent, self-effacing and self-referential. It’s entirely possible the general audience won’t get it, and that, combined with the R-rating, also makes Deadpool one of the year’s biggest gambles. Perhaps Deadpool should be the one wearing the brown pants, but probably, he’ll be wearing the green pants in anticipation. Release Date: February 12.