FEATURE: Paul’s Ten Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

Dec 19, 2015

2015 was a rather monumental year for tentpole films. The Jurassic Park franchise made a huge comeback with Jurassic World, the Avengers won another battle with Age of Ultron, and the Star Wars saga continued with The Force Awakens. Other memorable blockbusters include The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Inside Out, and many more.

However, 2016 looks to be an even bigger year for blockbuster films. Captain America and Iron Man will go head-to-head in a Civil War, Batman and Superman’s highly anticipated battle will lead into the Dawn of Justice, a new Star Wars story will be told with Rogue One, and Fox expands the X-Men universe with Deadpool and Apocalypse. Meanwhile, legends such as Jason Bourne, Tarzan and King Arthur return to the big screen, while plenty more sequels will be released.

Below, I have compiled a list of the ten movies I am most looking forward to seeing in 2016.

Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Creed, Kung Fu Panda 3, Finding Dory, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Snowden

#10 – The Legend of Tarzan


The story of Tarzan has been told countless times since his creation in 1912. Arguably the most popular one is Disney’s Tarzan, which was released in 1999.

However, The Legend of Tarzan looks to be a unique and exciting new take on the century-old mythology. In this adaptation, we see a John Clayton III who has moved on from the Tarzan persona, but he returns to the Congo and begins a new adventure.

The recently released teaser trailer was very good, iffy CGI aside. The tone, the acting and the story all look promising. Alexander Skarsgard looks to be a perfect fit for the role of Tarzan. I was interested before, but this trailer made me even more excited for The Legend of Tarzan. Fingers crossed that it will succeed and spawn a new franchise for Warner Bros.

#9 – Doctor Strange


After decades in development hell, Marvel Studios is finally bringing Doctor Strange to the big screen. The story of Stephen Strange is fascinating, and it should offer something new and fresh in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie also boasts an excellent cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen.

Marvel Studios has been churning out hit after hit for the past few years, and I expect that Doctor Strange will be no exception. While we have yet to see any footage, I am excited to see what they do with this mythology. The visuals should be unique – I’m very interested to see Scott Derrickson’s directorial work here – and the acting will, hopefully, be fantastic.

Doctor Strange will expand the MCU as Phase Three begins, and it will likely not only offer something totally new from Marvel, but from the comic book movie genre as a whole.

#8 – X-Men: Apocalypse


While the X-Men franchise has been polarizing among some fans for over a decade, I personally love most of these movies. 2014’s Days of Future Past reached a new high for the series, becoming the highest grossing X-Men to date. It also reworked the timeline in an effort to wipe away continuity issues – at least the ones that resulted from The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine. In 2016, we will be getting a follow-up to Days of Future Past. Titled Apocalypse, the film will see the team take on the formidable threat that is, well, Apocalypse.

By now, I am very much confident in Bryan Singer’s abilities to direct an X-Men film. I am excited to see how the First Class trilogy will conclude, and I am happy to see younger versions of Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey. (Fingers crossed that Cyclops will be handled better than he was in the original trilogy.) Oh, and Charles Xavier is finally going bald.

Overall, I am very excited to see X-Men: Apocalypse, especially after the excellent first trailer. Fingers crossed that it will live up to the hype.

#7 – The Jungle Book


The story of The Jungle Book has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Of course, I loved Disney’s animated movie adaptation, but I adored the book and read it over and over as a kid. Now, Disney is adapting the tale into live action…again. However, from what we’ve seen so far, this take on the classic tale looks very exciting.

Directed by Jon Favreau, The Jungle Book boasts a stellar voice cast that consists of Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray and more. The visuals in the trailer are incredible, promising an exhilarating adventure. I have a feeling that this movie will be a big surprise hit at the box office, especially given the recent success of Disney’s other animation-to-live-action movies.

In case you couldn’t tell, I can’t wait to see The Jungle Book 2016. It looks like a fun and visually astonishing adaptation of the iconic story. Bring it on.

#6 – Star Trek Beyond


Paramount relaunched the Star Trek franchise in 2009 with a reboot, set in an alternate reality from the original series. While this movie was a big success, its 2013 sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness, received a much more polarizing response from fans. Some loved it, others hated it – mostly due to its Wrath of Khan similarities. I personally loved both movies, especially the first one. So, of course I would be excited to see the third installment of the series.

Star Trek Beyond looks to be the most “mainstream” Trek movie to date, judging from the teaser trailer. From the fun action movie tone to more comedy to Justin Lin directing, Paramount is trying harder than ever to appeal to a wider audience. This is something evident in the last two movies, and it has alienated some old school Trekkies. So, we’ll see how successful Beyond will be.

At this point, I am very much invested in the story of these characters, and I look forward to seeing it continue in Beyond. I’m also excited to see Idris Elba as the villain in this film. Overall, I am hyped for Star Trek Beyond and hope it will meet, even surpass expectations.

#5 – Bourne 5


After Jason Bourne’s story seemingly concluded with 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, Universal tried to continue the franchise with 2012’s The Bourne Legacy, which starred Jeremy Renner as new character Aaron Cross. The film was a financial and critical disappointment. Well, now, the fifth untitled installment will see the return of both star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to the franchise.

The Bourne movies are some of the best spy thrillers in history, with Identity and Ultimatum being particularly great. Jason Bourne is a straight-up badass, and Damon fits the role perfectly. Meanwhile, Greengrass’ directorial work on Ultimatum was superb, so it is exciting to see him return to the series as well. Additionally, Bourne 5 has an exciting supporting cast, with Tommy Lee Jones and Alicia Vikander joining the franchise and Julia Stiles returning.

Now that they have found a way to continue Bourne’s story, I cannot wait to see this five-quel. Hopefully, we will see some footage from the movie soon.

#4 – Suicide Squad


One of Warner Bros.’ two DC movies of 2016, Suicide Squad is easily one of next year’s most anticipated films. And it’s not hard to see why. The ensemble cast is incredible, with everyone from Will Smith and Jared Leto to Margot Robbie and Viola Davis on board. The passion and enthusiasm from everyone involved makes it hard for fans to not get excited. The film will also mark the cinematic debuts of many fan-favorite DC characters, such as Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang.

Additionally, Suicide Squad looks to be a very unique entry in the comic book movie genre. For the first time, the film is being told from the villains’ perspective. And who better to make the first supervillain comic book film than Warner Bros./DC? Plus, it will be exciting to see how Squad expands the growing DC Extended Universe.

Overall, I cannot wait to see Suicide Squad. From the cast to the storyline to the tone, it is shaping up to be a truly special comic book adaptation. “Let’s go save the world.”

#3 – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


In addition to the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Disney and Lucasfilm are creating spin-off films to release every other year. The first is Rogue One, which takes place before the events of A New Hope. In this film, a group of Rebel fighters seek to steal the Death Star plans from the Galactic Empire. Rogue One boasts a strong cast consisting of Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen and more. I was also a fan of director Gareth Edwards’ last film, Godzilla, so I look forward to seeing his approach to the Star Wars universe.

Based on what we know so far, Rogue One looks to be the most war-like Star Wars film to date. A little more grounded, a little grittier and smaller in scale. This is an exciting way to shed light on the period set between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. Rogue One can easily expand the universe without being a rehash of things we have already seen.

Of course, any Star Wars movie would end up in my Top 3 automatically, so here we are. The Force Awakens was outstanding, so I am particularly psyched for Disney’s future ventures into a galaxy far, far away. I am ridiculously excited to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and how Disney/Lucasfilm will expand the saga beyond the current trilogy. I can’t wait.

#2 – Captain America: Civil War


Marvel’s other 2016 offering, Civil War, is set to be one of the studio’s biggest movies yet. It will loosely adapt the iconic comic book arc of the same name – easily one of my favorite Marvel storylines, by the way – into a Captain America sequel. In this threequel, the Avengers will be split in the midst of a governmental debate of accountability for superheroes. Captain America leads one side, Iron Man leads the other.

There are many, many reasons to be psyched for Civil War. Seeing Steve Rogers and Tony Stark come to blows will surely be exciting, and the storyline sounds fascinating. Meanwhile, Black Panther makes his movie debut, Ant-Man meets the Avengers, and the film will mark the MCU debut of Spider-Man. A lot going on for a Captain America sequel, but I trust Marvel and the Russo Brothers to pull it off, especially after their stellar work on The Winter Soldier.

Overall, out of Marvel’s Phase Three offerings, Civil War is my most anticipated one by far. From adapting an excellent comic storyline to the huge ensemble of characters, it should be a real treat. Assuming it lives up to the hype, Civil War could avoid the “threequel curse,” resulting in Captain America becoming the rare perfect trilogy. Let’s hope it can meet these massive expectations.

#1 – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


Finally, we have my most anticipated movie of 2016. And is it really a surprise? As a lifelong DC fan, I have been waiting to see Batman and Superman share the big screen for a while. Throw Wonder Woman and other heroes in the mix, and we have a very promising film to officially kick off the DC Extended Universe.

I always thought that the Batman and Superman relationship can easily hold its own film outside of the Justice League. And, superhero cameos aside, it’s great to see that Warner Bros. is utilizing that idea. Seeing the two icons fight and later join forces will be legendary. I also love the Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, and it’s great to see elements of it are being adapted for this movie. Additionally, Ben Affleck’s Batman looks to be the most comic book-accurate version to date, and that alone gets me insanely hyped.

Despite its polarizing reception, I was a big fan of Man of Steel. Zack Snyder did an excellent job directing the film, and he looks to have upped his game for Batman v Superman. Combine his outstanding visuals with a script by Oscar winner Chris Terrio, and we have a perfect-sounding recipe. While, like Civil War, the film has a lot going on in terms of characters and storylines, I trust these two to make it all work.

I can go on and on all day about why I’m excited for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But, long story short, this is a very special film to me. I have been waiting to see the DC Universe depicted on the big screen, and this is our first glimpse of that. So much is riding on this film to succeed, as many more DC movies are in development. I am confident that the film will be a massive hit and spawn a new comic book franchise. It has been a long wait for a movie such as this to be made, and I hope the wait will be worth it.

Which 2016 movies are you looking forward to the most?


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