With 2015 coming to a close, we can look back at some amazing films. We finally got a major blockbuster sequel to Jurassic Park. We closed out the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2 with Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. We rebelled against the Capitol with Katniss to close out The Hunger Games. We saw Pixar’s first two-movie year featuring the incredibly emotional Inside Out. We scienced the **** out of things with Matt Damon on Mars and we drove sports cars through buildings in Dubai with a surprisingly well-thought and heartfelt goodbye to Paul Walker. Tom Cruise continued to complete his impossible missions while James Bond dealt with the aftermath of Skyfall. Meanwhile, another Disney animated classic was brought to live action and a February James Bond knockoff film surprised us all and was green-lit for a sequel. Oh and let’s not forget about the galaxy far, far away. 2015 was a big year for films and I’ve barely scratch the surface here but 2016 stands to be even bigger and bolder. So, let’s take a look at my Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2016.
10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (11/18)
We recently got our first look at the Harry Potter universe film and while it didn’t show much, it did bring a little bit of magic back to us. I’m most excited about this film because I’m curious to see how the magic world is depicted not only in the past (this takes place 70 years before Harry enters Hogwarts) but in North America since the film takes place in New York. The film stars Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Flash (2018)), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Les Miserables), Colin Farrell (Phone Booth, Total Recall), Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy), Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible, Heat), and Samantha Morton (Minority Report, John Carter). Catch the first teaser trailer below.
9. Ghostbusters (7/15)
Who you gonna call? This time, it’s four female heroes in the form of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. Our heroes are joined by Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and several original returning cast members including Bill Murray, Signourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd (who also co-wrote the film), and Ernie Hudson. This past week we got our first official look at the women in costume plus four individual character posters spotlighting the tech more than anything. I’m excited that Aykroyd was involved in the writing and I’m excited that so many people are coming back for cameos in the film. This is a good sign to me. Additionally, the woman look the part in the official images we’ve seen. It doesn’t hurt that the tech looks solid too. Check out the character posters below.
8. Warcraft (6/10)
Blizzard Entertainment has finally made a feature film and it’s not even CGI like their glorious in-game cut scenes. The studio behind such iconic PC games as World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch is finally putting out a Warcraft universe film. The CGI looks awesome. The battles look awesome and hey, when the “for the horde” and “for the alliance” war cries sound, my voice is part of it thanks to my BlizzCon 2014 attendance. But, biases aside, the movie looks really cool. The film stars Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Deja Vu, Precious), Travis Fimmel (Vikings), Daniel Wu (The Man with the Iron Fists), and Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, Lone Survivor). Check out the trailer below!
7. Independence Day Resurgence (6/24)
It’s been 20 years and Will Smith’s character died in a experimental plane test but several other major characters from the original sci-fi classic are returning including Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, and Judd Hirsch. Now yes, Brent’s character died… right? Wrong. Rumor has it, he’s been in a coma of sorts. The returning cast is joined by Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) and William Fichtnet (Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, The Dark Knight), Joey King (Crazy, Stupid, Love., The Conjuring, Oz the Great and Powerful, White House Down), and Maika Monroe (It Follows, The Bling Ring). I’m very excited to see how we adapted the alien technology to advance our own defenses. Sure, some of it looks silly, like an alien ship half the size of Earth entering the atmosphere, but hey… it’s Independence Day! Check out the trailer below.
6. X-Men: Apocalypse (5/27)
I’m a big fan of the X-Men films overall. Sure, X3 was pretty rough and I skipped X-Men Origins: Wolverine due to the low ratings and poor CGI but the first two films, First Class, The Wolverine, and Days of Future Past were pretty solid superhero and action flicks. Well, the story isn’t over yet. The young cast (Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Evan Peters, and Hank McCoy) return with some newcomers to take on the big bad Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Now, there’s a few directions this could go but based on the recently released first trailer, it looks like we are getting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse concept with Magneto (Fassbender), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Angel (Ben Hardy). The trailer looks solid and the style for Storm, Jubilee (Lana Condor), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are fantastic. True, Jennifer Lawrence appears more Raven than Mystique and we didn’t get a glimpse of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine cameo but I have high hopes for this one. Check out the trailer below.
5. Suicide Squad (8/5)
I’m a DC Comics guy. Yes, I love the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Iron Man, The Winter Solider, all fantastic, not to mention the others. But I am first and foremost a DC fan. I love the comic books, cartoons, The CW TV series, you name it. On top of that, I’m a huge Will Smith fan. It’s a great combination. You’ve got a solid cast of Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wallstreet, Focus), Cara Delevingne (Pan, Paper Towns), Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream, Dallas Buyers Club), Jai Courtney (Divergent, Terminator Genisys), Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt, Disturbia), Common (Selma, Now You See Me, Wanted), and yes, Will Smith. Plus, Ben Affleck is reprising his Batman role in this film, making that TWO appearances by the Dark Knight in a motion picture in the same year. Crazy. Also, just try to tell me that Viola Davis is not the perfect casting choice for Amanda Waller. We’ve got a cast photo below but no trailer yet. Of course, this is an August release, so we have a little while to wait.
4. Star Trek Beyond (7/22)
For those of you who come here often or listen to our podcasts Grid Talk and Screen Heroes, you know I’m a Trekkie. You can find me online @TheStarTrekDude on both Twitter and Facebook. It’s my thing. So, I am excited that Trek is continuing and that we have a movie for the 50th anniversary of the franchise. With that said, Into Darkness is at the bottom of my list. Seriously, I made a list. You can read it here. So, I am looking forward to a new Star Trek film not helmed by J.J. Abrams but instead a new director who is actually a fan of the franchise, Justin Lin. Also, Simon Pegg, an avid Trekkie, co-wrote the script. These are good signs. Additionally, the first trailer showed some solid stuff. I know not everyone is a fan of the action-packed “Sabotage” filled trailer (Simon Pegg is in that group by the way) but look past that and focus on what is being shown. The Enterprise is being destroyed, something that’s very Trek. Second, the uniforms are losing that athletic look and look more like TOS and TNG. Plus, we are on an alien planet with new species and the premise is brand new to Trek. So, let’s watch them seek out new lifeforms and new civilizations while they boldly go where no one has gone before. Oh and Idris Elba as the big bad? Thank you! Trailer below!
3. Captain America: Civil War (5/6)
My friends know I have a problem with the title because this is an MCU film, an Avengers film. It is not a Captain America solo film so the name should reflect that. Yes, Cap is a big focus and he seems to cause the divide directly but just call it Marvel’s Civil War and then I’m happy. Anyway, we’ve been building up to this for a while now. The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron set this stuff up and it’s about time. We also get Black Panther which is very exciting. So what’s not to love about this movie? We get the Avengers battling it out over principle with new comer Black Panther stuck in the middle AND Spider-Man is supposed to show up at some point. There is so much potential here and after Age of Ultron, most of our expectations are a little lower which isn’t bad. Trailer below!
2. Star Wars: Rogue One (12/16)
I mean did you see The Force Awakens yet? No?!? Stop reading and go see it now… I’ll wait. Back? It was awesome, right? So why wouldn’t you want to see another film set in that universe focusing on earlier events less than a year from now? Rogue One is the first of the Star Wars Anthology films and revolves around the group that stole the original Death Star plans. We’ve got a solid cast including Felicity Jones, Alan Tudyk, and Forest Whitaker. We don’t have a ton of information yet but based on how great The Force Awakens was and how much I love this franchise, I can’t wait.
1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (3/25)
Finally, the big one. This film, in my opinion, is the most important on this list because it has so much riding on its shoulders. If this movie fails, the rest of the DCEU tumbles with it which means no Wonder Woman, Justice League, Shazaam, Aquaman, nothing but Suicide Squad since it’s basically done at this point. Now, based on the images, posters, and trailers we’ve seen…. I couldn’t be more confident that this will work. The film looks awesome. The tone is solid, the style of the characters is nothing short of epic. Oh and Wonder Woman is looking like she will steal the show which is something I welcome. Not pumped about this? Check out Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns either in graphic novel or animated film form. In the animated film Peter Weller voices Batman… so that’s cool. While this movie will be different, it borrows a lot of concepts and designs from The Dark Knight Returns. This is hands down, the movie I am most excited about, the most looking forward to, and the one that has the opportunity to disappoint me the most. Good luck to everyone involved! Check out the character posters and trailer below.
There’s a few more films that didn’t quite make the cut that I’m still excited about. The next five on my list in alphabetical order are:
Deadpool – February 12th
Doctor Strange – November 4th
Finding Dory – June 17th
The Jungle Book – April 15th
TMNT 2 – June 3rd
What did I leave off the list? What films are you most looking forward to in 2016? Comment below with your thoughts!