There’s no getting away from it: 2015 is going to be a hard act to follow. Five films smashed the billion dollar box-office barrier. Iconic characters from the 1970’s were dredged up and rebooted with both style and substance. And most impressively of all, a new Star Wars film was released that was actually good.
Undeniably this year has a got a lot to live up to, and Earth’s mightiest studios, Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. are banking on their costumed heroes to deliver the iconic movie moments in 2016. The stage is set for an almighty showdown.
In anticipation of what should be a bumper year for the genre, here is our preview of Comic Book Movies coming to a cinema near you in 2016.
Deadpool – Wednesday 10th February
After a less than satisfactory screen debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, producer and star Ryan Reynolds finally gets the chance to do Wade Wilson right. Wilson aka Deadpool, aka The Merc with a Mouth is unlike any Marvel character we’ve ever seen. He swears, he kills people, and he knows he’s a comic book character.
The film follows Wilson, a former Special Forces operative who after being diagnosed with cancer subjects himself to an experimental treatment that leaves him grotesquely disfigured and mentally unhinged. On the plus side, it also gives him superpowers.
Expect lots of fourth wall breaking, self-referential gags, a ton of swearing and a whole bunch of violence. So basically, it’ll be kind of like Kick Ass meets Annie Hall. Now seriously…who wouldn’t want to watch that?
Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice – Friday 25th March
Here comes the big one. The one carrying more weight, expectation and anticipation than perhaps any other film this year. This could be huge, but it could also be catastrophic.
WHAT? It’s Batman AND Superman in the same film, I hear you screech. What could possibly go wrong? Well…it’s the old issue of running before you can walk. The DC Extended Universe is still in it’s infancy, consisting thus far of one film – Man of Steel – which despite having a few good moments was not exactly a hit with critics and fans alike.
Now instead of dipping their toe in the water of audience appetite, DC and Warner Bros. have chucked their two biggest, most lucrative babies right in the deep end, with only a lasso of truth to keep them from drowning.
Zack Snyder once again directs, as Superman (Henry Cavill) finds his place in the world being questioned. Is he a God to be worshipped? Or an alien destructor? If you have seen the trailer you will know exactly what Batman (Ben Affleck) thinks. If you haven’t seen the trailer, well, just look at the title.
Expect lots of furrowed brows. Chisel-featured men brooding over lost parents. Frank Miller-esque visuals and city-levelling action sequences. Let’s hope in addition to all this, the wonderful Gal Gadot can cheer these boys up. This looks like being a serious film. We’re excited. But a bit nervous too.
Captain America: Civil War – Friday 29th April
If you have ever appeared in a Marvel Studios film, yet you aren’t in Captain America: Civil War, let’s be frank, you must be gutted.
We thought DC had a job on their hands trying to wield the hefty combo of Batman and Superman in a single film, but that pales in comparison to the collection of heroes soon to be assembled in Civil War.
Confirmed to appear so far (deep breath): Captain America, Iron Man, Falcon, Black Widow, Spiderman, Black Panther, Ant Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision and War Machine. The Russo Brothers, carrying on with directing duties after their stellar work on The Winter Soldier have got some serious screen time issues to deal with.
The plot revolves around the Superhero Registration Act – a political action that splits the Avengers into two opposing factions. On one side of the fight is Captain America (Chris Evans). On the other is Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)
Who will emerge victorious? What does all this mean for the future of the Avengers, and how will this lead into the Infinity War? We can’t wait to find out.
X-Men: Apocalypse – Thursday 19th May
After the mind-bending, time-travelling, series retconning antics of Days of Future Past, things are looking back to normal (sort of) with X-Men Apocalypse. We’re back with the young versions of our mutant pals as they prepare to face the biggest threat they have ever dealt with. Isn’t it always?
This particular threat comes in the guise of man-of-the-moment Oscar Isaac, here portraying the world’s first mutant, En Sabah Nur. Also known, rather ominously, as Apocalypse.
Worshipped as a God for over several thousand years, he awakens in the modern world and it’s fair to say he doesn’t care for what he sees. With his four horsemen – Magneto, Storm, Psylocke and Angel – he sets out to destroy mankind and create a new world order.
Professor X (James McAvoy) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) reunite to try and save humanity, with the help of some familiar faces, and a few new ones too. Notably Jean Grey (Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner) and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan).
Unlikely to do the same level of business as Batman v Superman or Civil War, this should still be one of the big hits of 2016. Isaac and Turner are excellent additions to the cast, and should definitely excite the fans. Plus, Professor X finally goes bald. It’ll be worth watching for that alone.
Suicide Squad – Friday 5th August
As the publicity material states, the Suicide Squad are the: Worst. Heroes. Ever. That’s probably because they are all super-villains. Assembled by a covert government agency to do the jobs no one else will. A bit like the Dirty Dozen if Telly Savalas was a giant crocodile.
Directed by David Ayer – a man know for super realistic portrayals of hard-ass men doing dangerous jobs (Fury, End of Watch, Street Kings) – and starring Will Smith, Joel Kinnaman and Scott Eastwood – as the requisite hard-asses. This all seems like a natural fit.
But the real boon of this film is the casting of its more complex characters. Cara Delevigne as Enchantress. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Jared Leto as The Joker. Those three alone have sold me a ticket to the film.
Expect lots of tough guy banter, plenty of muscular action, and maybe a few big name cameos too. Jared Leto will undoubtedly carry the weight of expectation having to follow Heath Ledger’s iconic portrayal. But expect Margot Robbie to steal this film from the lot of them.
Doctor Strange – Friday 28th October
This one should really be a no-brainer. The word HIT is stamped all over it. Marvel Studios plus Benedict Cumberbatch surely equates to a box office bonanza.
Or does it? Doctor Strange isn’t one of the well-known Marvel titles. Although the character has been around since the early 1960’s, it is more surreal and mystical than the more mainstream Marvel comics. It is concerned with black magic and more thematically challenging content. This could in fact be the studios riskiest proposition yet.
Marvel’s handling of lesser-known properties has so far been exemplary. With both Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, they reduced the scale, focused more closely on the characters and increased the comedy. It worked both times, to the tune of 1.2 billion dollars combined in box office receipts.
But will that tactic work with Doctor Strange? Black magic. Astral planes. Dark dimensions. It is a tough sell to make that funny.
Little is known of the plot at this time, other than it concerns Dr Stephen Strange’s quest to heal himself following a car accident that has destroyed his career. On this journey he encounters the Ancient One, who becomes his mentor.
The film is bolstered by a fabulous supporting cast including Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Stuhlbarg and Mads Mikkelsen.
With a cast that impressive, whatever surprises Doctor Strange has hidden under his cape, we’re sure it’ll be worth the wait.
Which superhero movie are you most looking forward to in 2016? Leave your comments below and let us know!