As 2015 comes to a close I thought I would take a look at the films that 2016 has to offer. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the films released in 2016, but just the ones that I would say are worth a mention. I have gone into detail on my top five films that I am eagerly anticipating (for many different reasons!) and I have listed a few others to look out for with the month of their release. All the dates are correct at the time of writing, but you know what movie producers are like…
Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice
Crikey, where do I begin with this after that trailer? Well, let’s say I’m intrigued but it looks terrible. From the hammy acting to the floaty CGI, this could be one big expensive flop that could put an end to the DC cinematic universe before it has even begun. If you haven’t seen the trailer and have any interest in seeing the film, DON’T WATCH THE TRAILER, as it gives away its beginning, middle and end, and watching Jesse Eisenberg “quirky-up” Lex Luther and Ben Affleck trying to pull off troubled-but-suave will make your eyes bleed. I hope I’m wrong, as I’m a big fan of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and the Batman character deserves better. Also, do we really need another superhero cinematic universe, when Marvel are well into theirs and have a better variety of characters to do it with? It all smells of desperation from DC and a rush to catch a boat that set sail a long time ago… It will be a financial smash regardless of what I think of it and is released in March.
Having said all that above, this looks more like it! The trailer made the film look dark and intriguing and gave very little away. Maybe this is where DC should be heading. Whilst Marvel has its darker moments, the overall aesthetic is light and colourful and more child-friendly. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to see a big blockbuster film given a 15 or, dare I say, an 18 certificate and for it to cater for an older audience? 2012’s Dredd was rated 18 and was a financial flop because it restricted the range of the audience that could see it, and it was Ridley Scott who said, and I’m paraphrasing here, that the difference between a higher age rating and a lower one is $80million, so I think we’re stuck with 12A versions of Alien for the foreseeable future (ironically, Marvel’s Deadpool, released in February, will be the first mainstream superhero movie in many years to be aimed at an adult audience, so let’s see how it does at the box office…). Nonetheless, Suicide Squad, regardless of whatever its age rating will be, has a lot of potential and appears to have been cast superbly, with Margot Robbie in particular looking impressive as Harley Quinn. Let’s hope this potential is realised when it is released in August.
Captain America: Civil War
On the subject of Marvel, here comes their yearly big blockbuster release. That sentence sounded more cynical than I wanted it to, but, in all honesty, I am genuinely looking forward to this film. Not because ol’ Cap and Iron Man are fighting each other or because this introduces Spider-man into this particular series of films, but because its predecessor, The Winter Soldier, was one of the first Marvel movies that could actually stand on its own two feet as a singular film and wasn’t just “set up” for an Avengers movie. The film is excellent in its own right and is thrilling in a sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat way that is more akin to 1970s conspiracy thrillers than a modern day superhero movie. I can’t see Cap 3 being as revolutionary, but with the Russos back on board in the director’s chairs once again I am optimistic that it will be another quality entry regardless of its theme. It’s set for release in April.
2016 is full-to-bursting with superhero movies. Along with the above we have Doctor Strange (October), Gambit (pencilled for October) and X-Men: Apocalypse (May). Crikey… Let’s hope this genre of film goes the way of the Western! I’m all for superhero movies but surely this is too much!
Star Trek Beyond
Star Trek celebrates its 50th year in 2016 and the film franchise is in desperate need of a successful film to get the true Star Trek fans back on board after the abomination that was Into Darkness. Okay, it was critically acclaimed and it was financially the most successful entry in the film series at the box office, but fans at a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas labelled Into Darkness as the worst in the franchise and even placed it behind Star Trek parody Galaxy Quest! Now, I wouldn’t say I am an ardent fan but my father was so I know enough about Star Trek to hold an in-depth conversation on the topic, and whilst I thought the 2009 reboot was a lovingly made homage that paid tribute to the history of Star Trek, director JJ Abrams made a massive mistake thinking that with his sequel he could rip off one of the best films made with the original crew (that, incidentally, finished top of the fans’ list of best Star Trek films at the aforementioned convention), repeat the same story beats from his reboot and shoe-horn in another scene from one of the original crew members in a thinly-veiled attempt to reassure the true fan base that his butchering of a classic Star Trek film has its most iconic figure’s blessing!!!
…sorry, I ranted a bit more than I wanted to there… Maybe I’m more of a fan than I first realised! Anyway, despite my feelings on its predecessor, I’ll still be queuing to see Star Trek Beyond, hoping that writer Simon Pegg and new director Justin Lin remember that Star Trek is more than just action and big explosions and fobbing off the fans with recycled best bits of movies past, but about intelligent science fiction, original stories, and that Bones holds just as strong a bond to both Kirk and Spock as they hold with each other, albeit for very different reasons, all of which the previous two films have forgotten. I don’t have high hopes for this from the last trailer though, but I’ll know whether it’s a hit or a miss for definite in July.
Kubo and the Two Strings
“Huh?!” is what I hear from most people when I tell them that this is probably the film I am most looking forward to in 2016. Why? Because this is the next film from the geniuses at Laika, who brought us the stop-motion animated features Coraline, ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls. For me, Laika have never put a foot wrong, and they are a studio that can be mentioned amongst the greats. Aardman, Studio Ghibli and Pixar are all pioneers of animation technique but their films have a strong, well-developed story at their heart, and Laika have followed suit with each feature film they have produced. Here’s hoping Kubo and the Two Strings continues in their glorious back catalogue’s footsteps. It’s a sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan, and it’s earmarked for an August release.
Sticking with the fantastical, Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out in November and we have the long-awaited sequel to Independence Day in Resurgence (June) and Star Wars spin-off Rogue One (December) where we will see the story of those brave Bothan Spies that died to bring the Rebel Alliance their intel on the first Death Star in A New Hope (and give us a Star Wars fix until Episode VIII in 2017!) Warcraft will also be making an appearance in June.
Did someone say sequels? Well, we have Zoolander (February), Bridget Jones (set for September) more Bourne with Matt Damon (currently July), The Divergent Series: Alligient (March), Alice Through the Looking Glass (May) and sort-of-Rocky-sequel Creed (January).
The film industry’s lack of imagination is cemented even further with remakes/reboots of Point Break (February), Ghostbusters (July), Ben Hur (August) and The Magnificent Seven (September).
TV series also get the silver screen treatment and we’ll be seeing Absolutely Fabulous and Dad’s Army released in 2016 (July and February respectively) along with computer game ports Assassin’s Creed (okay, I can get on board with this, out in December) and Angry Birds (y’what?! Oh yeah, the money… out in May).
Hmmm, well, maybe 2016 will have the occasional hidden gem. At least Pixar have stopped churning out shameless cash-cow sequels! I know the industry is in trouble if they start all that up again…
…Finding Dory (July)… ah well, maybe 2016 will be the year to revisit the Blu-Ray…