Most Anticipated Films of 2016

Just in case last weekend's Top 10 of 2015 post wasn't enough list-making fun for you, here's the second of my annual lists for your perusal before we get into the bulk of 2016's theatrical releases!

My list is compiled of films that have already been announced.  It never fails that shortly after I post my list, I become aware of something else that would make the cut, but since I'm already a week or two behind getting this posted, I won't delay any longer.  Anyway, let's get to it.  The films that I'm looking forward to the most in 2016 are:

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order): Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25), The Divergent Series: Allegiant (March 18), Hail, Caesar! (February 5), Inferno (October 14), Kung Fu Panda 3 (January 29), Passengers (December 21), The Secret Life of Pets (July 8), Star Trek Beyond (July 22), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3), Warcraft (June 10)X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)

TV) Daredevil (Netflix), Season 2 (March 18) - I didn't include this in my official Top 10 since it isn't actually a film, but I'm looking forward to Season 2 of Daredevil just as much, if not more than anything else on this list.  Season 1 didn't just meet my lofty expectations for a series based on my favorite character, but it exceeded them.  Season 2 looks to continue that high level of quality while introducing the Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and Elektra (Elodie Yung) - classic Daredevil antagonists/allies - to the MCU.  The first trailer below is the Season 2 teaser from last year's NYCC, and the second is the first official teaser from earlier this year.

***UPDATED 2/15/16 - added the first official trailer for Season 2 after the two teasers.***

10) Suicide Squad (August 5) - When it hits theaters in August, this will be the second official entry to DC's shared film universe (which is beginning with March's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).  Oddly though, it is the DC film that I am most looking forward to.  Suicide Squad will be the first film from either Marvel or DC that focuses primarily on a group of bad guys (and gals).  It also boasts a fairly strong cast that includes Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Will Smith (Deadshot), Jai Courtney (Captain Boomerang), Joel Kinnaman (Rick Flagg), Viola Davis (Amanda Waller), and Jared Leto, who is bringing the latest big screen iteration of The Joker to life (different Joker than previously seen, but huge shoes to fill none-the-less after Heath Ledger's Oscar winning performance in 2008's The Dark Knight).  Like Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad will be introducing a large number of characters but that doesn't worry me as much with this film.  Maybe it's because most of them are lesser known, but it just doesn't feel quite as cramped as the film focusing on DC's heavy hitters.  For that reason, Suicide Squad makes my Top 10, while Batman v Superman finds itself in my Honorable Mentions.

9) The BFG (July 1) - Steven Spielberg is directing a live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic The BFG.  That's all I needed to hear to immediately place this film on my list.  The BFG was one of my favorite books as a kid, and even though I haven't read it in probably twenty five years I am very excited to see the story unfold on the big screen.

8) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18) - I would have been interested in this adaptation of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter spin-off anyway, but then I learned that the cast included Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Ron Perlman (Gnarlack), Colin Farrell (Percival Graves), and Jon Voight (Henry Shaw, Sr), all of which are actors whose work I tend to enjoy.  To this day I still haven't read any of the Harry Potter books, so I'm going into this with no prior knowledge.  I thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter films, and even though this focuses on a different group of characters, I hope that it will be just as entertaining.

7) Untitled Bourne Sequel (July 29) - Matt Damon is returning to the Bourne franchise!  No official name on this one yet and no trailer either, although one is supposed to air this weekend during the Super Bowl.  I loved the original Bourne trilogy, and this actually reminds me that I have not yet seen the fourth film, the Jeremy Renner-led Bourne Legacy (2012).  Damon will be joined by Julia Stiles (Nicky) in reprising roles from previous installments, and they're joined by Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassell, and Alicia Vikander, who is quickly racking up a pretty solid resume.

***UPDATED 2/8/16: Official title is 'Jason Bourne' and the first footage aired during the Super Bowl last night as expected.***

6) Deadpool (February 12) - This would probably be higher on my list if it weren't coming out next weekend, but since its release is so close, I'll let it settle right here at number six.  This film was long stuck in development purgatory before test footage for an action sequence leaked about a year and a half ago, causing the comic book public to go rabid.  Ryan Reynolds is the perfect man to fill the boots of Wade Wilson/Deadpool, and this looks to get the feel of the character absolutely right: sarcastic, raunchy, and explicit sense of humor, violence, and the breaking of 'the fourth wall', all of which are a break from the norm when it comes to most superhero films today.  But like the trailer says, 'this is a different kind of superhero story'.  When at his best, Deadpool is definitely an 'R' rated character, and his fans are being rewarded with a properly 'R' rated feature.  The first trailer below is the standard version, the second is the red band trailer, which gives a much better idea of what one can expect.  If the film is even half as good as the trailer and the marketing have been, it'll be a win for Deadpool fans everywhere.

5) Ghostbusters [2016] (July 13) - When this was first announced, I was very apprehensive.  A third Ghostbusters film had been rumored for ages.  First it was going to include original members.  Then it wasn't.  Then it might.  Then they decided on going with a new generation of Ghostbuster.  No official trailer yet, but while it is going to focus on a new cast of characters, it looks as though surviving members of the original films will have some sort of role to play.  Similarly to the original crew, this newer generation relies heavily on SNL veterans: Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones along with Melissa McCarthy and Chris Hemsworth.  I was originally leery, but the closer we get to its release date, I find myself becoming more and more intrigued.

4) The Witch (February 26) - I first learned of this film last year when the trailer began making the rounds after its director Robert Eggers won the Directing award in the Dramatic category at Sundance.  His name sounded familiar, but at first I couldn't place why.  After talking with my younger sister, I realized that this was the same Robert Eggers that was friends with a couple of our neighbors when we were growing up in New Hampshire.  I really enjoy checking out the works of those that either my sister or myself grew up with, and while I can't claim to have known him (because I didn't), I am very interested in checking out his work.  I just hope that it comes to this area.  With a late-February release date, I shouldn't have to wait long to find out!

3) Doctor Strange (November 4) - Another film with no trailer yet, but I've been pumped for this since it was first announced.  The mystical corner of the Marvel Universe has virtually unlimited potential for the big screen and Dr. Stephen Strange was mentioned by name in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Then they announced that Benedict Cumberbatch would be at the center of this film, donning Doctor Strange's cloak and wielding the Eye of Agomotto.  Subsequently, an all-star cast was named as well, including Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelson, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Doctor Strange is being directed by Scott Derrickson (possibly best known for 2012's Sinister), so I'm very curious to see how the mystical nature of Doctor Strange plays out.

2) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16) - Rogue One will be the first spin off Star Wars film to hit theaters and is supposed to focus on a group of Rebels whose mission is to steal the plans for the Death Star.  Gareth Edwards (2014's Godzilla) is directing, and the cast includes Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelson, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forrest Whitaker, and Diego Luna.  It'll be interesting to see a story from that familiar galaxy from a long time ago and far, far away, but that doesn't focus on any of the characters that we've met before.  It will also hopefully tide Star Wars fans over until Episode VIII comes out next year.

1) Captain America: Civil War (May 6) - Civil War is supposed to be loosely based on the comic book event from 2006 by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.  I say loosely because heroes taking sides and squaring off is similar, but the way in that comes to pass appears to be different.  This film will act as a sequel to both 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier and last year's Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Winter Soldier was my favorite MCU film to date, so I've been eager for the follow up since the moment it ended.  The fact that Civil War will feature old and new Avengers alike, as well as introducing Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to the MCU is an added bonus.  Spider-Man's appearance in the MCU-proper is huge.  Spidey's film rights had previously been held by Sony, that is until they came to an agreement with Marvel last fall to share the character's cinematic exploits moving forward.  I'm not nearly as worried about character overload in this film as I am with Batman v Superman, primarily because Marvel is now ten films into their cinematic universe and have successfully pulled off similarly dense casts before (Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron).  Originally, both films were scheduled to be released on the same day, but Captain America: Civil War won out, and Batman v Superman was pushed up to March.  I'm very curious to see if a typical villain will play into this story at all, or if the differing views between Iron Man and Captain America will be the sole source of conflict.

And that completes my list of Most Anticipated Films for this year.  I'm always curious to hear what others are looking forward to, so feel free to chime in with anything that has caught your eye.  Especially if it wasn't included in the list above!


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