Superhero Movies Assemble!
Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Captain America Civil War, X-Men Apocalypse. 2016 sounds like the greatest year ever for comic book movies, and it keeps getting better. 2017 claims to bring us Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Justice League Part 1, and many more. Ever since Marvel kicked off their cinematic universe in 2008, the comic book movie wars have begun, and they don't show any signs of slowing down.
In 2014, Disney raked in over $5 billion from their Marvel movies alone, with the year's total earnings at $7.5 billion. There is no doubt that Disney has struck gold with their superhero films, and are also willing to take chances, as they showed with 2015's Ant Man, to raving critical and financial success. This year however, Disney is taking its biggest risk yet, with Doctor Strange. With a fantastic cast including Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek, The Imitation Game) as the Doctor himself, Tilda Swinton (Chronicles of Narnia) as the Ancient One, Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls, True Detective, The Notebook) , and Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Hannibal) as the main villain. Doctor Strange is certainly the least well known superhero movie Marvel has made, and one very deeply set in a magical context, different than any other sort of "universe" or "space time continuum" Marvel has showed us over the years. Doctor Strange has a release date of November 4th, 2016, and will hopefully set a new standard for what a comic book move can be. If not, it will still be fun to see Benedict Cumberbatch jump around in a wizard suit.
On the other end of the comic book movie spectrum is DC, with two movies coming out this year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad. Batman v Superman is likely the most anticipated, if only to see the crazy concept the title boasts, but also due to the mixed reviews of 2013's Man of Steel. Also, the introduction of Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman may give us a taste of what's to come in the future, with a Wonder Woman movie planned for 2017, as well as a standalone Batman film with an unconfirmed release date. However, the movie holding the most promise, as well as the one that may finally give DC a unique style, is Suicide Squad. Director David Ayer (Training Day, Fury) is attempting to bring an unlikely team of DC villains to the forefront of pop culture, and with the whole world still lamenting the death of Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), we are anxious to see how Jared Leto will bring the Joker character into the modern day. With a mostly great cast, including Margot Robbie (Focus, The Wolf of Wall Street) as Harley Quinn, Will Smith (I Am Legend, Independence Day) as Deadshot, and and the previously mentioned Jared Leto (Fight Club, Dallas Buyers Club, Requiem for a Dream) as The Joker, the acting department seems to be stacked fairly high. There is one choice that leaves me puzzled however, and that is the casting of Jai Courtney (Terminator Genisys, A Good Day to Die Hard) as Captain Boomerang. Aside from the ridiculous name, Courtney is yet to show he has any talent as an action hero, while playing the role almost exclusively. While there are many other concerns about the film, as are easily identifiable in the trailer, it is this film that will decide whether or not the planned Justice League movies will succeed, as well as in establishing a rich new Batman universe for the years to come.
While Suicide Squad and Doctor Strange are two highlights coming this year, Marvel and DC have movies planned all the way up to 2020. Check out the full list here and see if one of your favorites is coming to theaters in the next few years!