A Look Ahead: The Movies of 2016

As far as cinema is concerned, 2016 will be The Year of the Nerd. The Marvel and DC Comics universes will be heavy hitters, an Independence Day sequel nearly twenty years in the making will hit theaters, the long-awaited and debated female-fronted Ghostbusters film will arrive, and we’ll also see another appearance by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In this look into next year’s movie schedule, I’ll offer brief discussions of eight movies that I cannot wait to see, and I’m sure I’m in good company.

Deadpool

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After years of production, setbacks, and “will they?/won’t they?” speculation about whether or not Marvel was going to make this movie centered around the most foul-mouthed, violent character under its umbrella rated-R, Deadpool finally hits theaters in February. And yes, it did get the R rating, and according to producer Simon Kinberg, it’s going to be “a hard R”. That should make fans happy, as they watch Ryan Reynolds play the title character, a former Special Forces operative and current mercenary who endured an unsanctioned experiment that left him with accelerated regeneration powers. Reynolds, known for his sarcasm and boundless sense of humor will undoubtedly manage the role well. I was never terribly familiar with Deadpool, and most of what I know I learned from my super-geek of a friend and roommate Cory, who is quite possibly the character’s biggest fan. The trailer, when it was finally released, got me very excited, and I’m glad to know that Marvel is not watering this down for the kids.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

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I am so beyond excited to see Ben Affleck play Batman. Despite the unhinged rage spewed forth by the fanboy community of his casting, I have been all for “Batfleck” since that very day. Conversely, I’ve never been much of a Superman fan. Man of Steel was watchable, mostly because it was visually stunning, and Michael Shannon turned in an awesome performance as General Zod. Other than that, however, the film was long, dark, and mopey. I am still thrilled to watch the upcoming battle between the two, which arises as Bruce Wayne witnesses the destruction that the out-of-control alien caused while he was chasing Zod around. Everyone’s favorite vigilante is back in the suit and cowl, equipped with a new armored suit, a new Batmobile, and a fiery desire to restore order as he goes head-to-head with Superman. And Jeremy Irons will be playing Alfred! If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is. Obviously, we know that both Batman and Superman eventually join the Justice League, which means they’ll likely kiss and make up at the end of this movie, but it should be great to watch up to that point. I am also very much cool with Jesse Eisenberg in the role of Lex Luthor, and I am all the way pro-Affleck. This movie is going to be incredible.

Captain America: Civil War

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When the government decides that the Avengers have become a loose cannon that has left entirely too much collateral damage in its wake during its ongoing battle for good, and requires that they be regulated and have someone to answer to, Captain America and Iron Man are found at odds over this decree. This movie, based on the comic of the same name, pits the two against each other in a war for the ages, with several other members of the team choosing sides. The cast will also feature Ant-Man, courtesy of my cinematic hero Paul Rudd, the return of Falcon, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, the Winter Soldier, and Spider-Man! Now that the messy business of rights is settled, Spider-Man, who was an Avenger in the comics, will finally be a part of this cinematic universe. This time around, the role of high-school student Peter Parker will be played by newcomer Tom Holland, who is actually a teenager! Fancy that! It will be exciting to see the Marvel Universe continue to expand and unify as far as the inclusion of characters, and at the same time cause a rift between them.

X-Men: Apocalypse

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According to IMDb, the plot for this third installment of the latest X-Men series is still unknown. What we do know is that many of the usual suspects will be returning for what will surely be another incredible film. You’ve got Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), and a host of others. Olivia Munn will be making her X-Men debut as Psylocke, which is creating a major buzz in the fan community. Who knows what this new journey will bring, but I am sure it will be another well-acted, intensely dramatic, and visually arresting addition to the series.

Ghostbusters

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My emotions about the possibility of a third Ghostbusters movie have been violently tugged back and forth for the better part of a decade now as the rumors have been aplenty. A script for a third film had been written and reworked by Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and director Ivan Reitman ever since the second movie came out in 1989. Ultimately, Bill Murray refused to be a part of it, and Ramis passed away last year, effectively eliminating half of the original foursome. Nonetheless, a new Ghostbusters movie is finally happening, but it’s opening up a whole new universe. The four paranormal investigators and eliminators will be women, played by Saturday Night Live alumnae Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, as well as Melissa McCarthy. The tables are turned even further by the casting of Chris Hemsworth as the crew’s receptionist. I was hesitant about this at first, due to the fact that I don’t watch SNL and can’t vouch for the acting or comedic chops of Jones or McKinnon, and I’ve grown tired of McCarthy’s typecasting as the loud, foul-mouthed type in many of her roles. However, it’s the Ghostbusters, and I have to watch it. Director Paul Feig, who was at the helm of Bridesmaids and The Heat, has done a great job of gradually revealing photos from the set of the film, including of the ladies in their uniforms, the Ecto-1 and the proton packs. Feig insists the ghosts will be quite scary in this new vision, and has been experimenting with many different concoctions for the ectoplasm that will be featured in the film. Very recently, it has come to light that Bill Murray will have some sort of part in the film, and Dan Aykroyd is also rumored to appear. I’m not sure of the level of my expectations for this movie, but it should be interesting, and I am harboring some excitement for it.

Independence Day

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Of course they were going to come back. Twenty years after aliens attempted to wipe out mankind and harvest the resources of Earth in Independence Day, they’ll be returning to make it happen this time. Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox, and Judd Hirsch will also be back to ensure the survival of the human race. Will Smith is conspicuously absent from the cast, but I’m fine with that. I’m so excited to see Goldblum in this sequel, as well as Pullman’s return as “President Lonestar”. Pullman’s speech in the original movie holds up as one of the best movie speeches of all time, and I can only hope there’s a repeat of that in the upcoming film. Independence Day set a precedent for the summer blockbuster, and it is yet to be seen if the sequel delivers a bigger, badder punch. Liam Hemsworth also stars.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2

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The “heroes in a half-shell” are back next summer to eat pizza and kick the Shredder’s ass again! I had my doubts about the new vision of my beloved turtles when the latest movie came out last year, but it was thoroughly entertaining for me, and no childhoods were harmed during filming. This time, the fun-loving foursome of mutated turtles face off once again against the Shredder, the evil Eric Sacks (William Fichtner), Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), and Bebop and Rocksteady! The fact that all those baddies are involved sends a joyful tingle down my spine, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to be done with them. Megan Fox returns as April O’Neil, Will Arnett as her cameraman Vernon Fenwick, and Steven Amell, who currently portrays Arrow on the successful TV series has been cast as Casey Jones! Also stars Laura Linney, Victoria’s Secret model Alessandra Ambrossio, and Judith Hoag, who played April O’Neil in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 1990.

Suicide Squad

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In next year’s Suicide Squad, a government agency, led by the fantastic Viola Davis, recruits a whole bunch of incarcerated villains from the DC Comics universe to carry out black ops missions. The big to-do about this movie is the casting of Jared Leto as the Joker, which I discussed in another blog. The role of Harley Quinn will be played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street), Deadshot by Will Smith, Bruce Wayne and Batman by the mighty Ben Affleck, Killer Croc by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Captain Boomerang by Jai Courtney, El Diablo by Jay Hernandez, and Rick Flagg by Joel Kinnaman (The Killing, Robocop). Will the group win their freedom by completing the missions they’re assigned, or will their criminal nature put them back in the slammer, or worse, in the grave?  As you already know if you’ve read my blog, The Joker: The Evolution of a Madman, that I’m a big fan of Jared Leto, and I’m all the way behind his casting in this film. Silly tattoos aside, what will matter is the performance, and knowing Leto from other roles, he’ll get deeply into it and give us a great show. Fear not.

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