To paraphrase the immortal words of the great Ron Burgundy, superhero movies are “kind of a big deal” these days. Unless you’re Universal Studios, you need a comic book series to compete with the big boys at the blockbuster box office. That’s why Disney (Marvel), Warner Bros. (DC) and 20th Century Fox (X-Universe) are all rolling out major tentpoles in 2016.
As things stand now, there are seven superhero films that are set to be released next year. If you’re like us, you’re going to be in line to see every single one. But if you’re a normal person who has a so-called life, you’re going to need to prioritize. That’s why we’ve ranked each upcoming comic book movie based on our excitement levels, so you know which films are worth seeing and which you can wait on.
To be clear, this is a subjective list. So instead of whining to the world that your favorite of the bunch isn’t No. 1, try instead to make a coherent argument as to why you disagree in the comments section.
7. Gambit – Fox – Oct. 7
Is Gambit actually going to make its release date? Following atumultuous search for a director, Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) finally signed on over the summer only to depart the project back in September. It was like bringing a date to the prom only to ditch her as soon as you get there (just kidding, none of us ever had prom dates).
Nothing against Channing Tatum, but can he really pull of the Ragin’ Cajun? Tatum stole the show in the Jump Street films and turned in a solid performance in Foxcatcher, but it’s unknown if he possesses the charisma, dialect skills and range to do one of the most popular X-Men characters of all time justice.
Given the behind the scenes turmoil and the questions surrounding its leading man, we’re not exactly ready to board the hype train on Gambit.
6. Doctor Strange – Marvel – Nov. 4
Consider Stephen Strange’s low placement on this list more of a testament to the quality of superhero films coming next year and less of a reflection of our enthusiasm.
We love that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to explore a more mystical realm and, in turn, diversifythe MCU’s offerings. Plus, Doctor Strange has amassed arguably the best cast for a superhero movie in recent memory with Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, ChiwetelEjiofor, TildaSwinton and more. Seriously, we’d happily watch these guys in a movie about photosynthesis, let alone one of the more unique comic book properties floating around.
Yet Doctor Strange gets dinged ever so slightly for being yet another Marvel origin story. By now, every movie-goer knows the familiar formulaic beats. That could leave the movie feeling a bit played out to non-die-hards.
5. X-Men: Apocalypse – Fox – May 27
We get it, Bryan Singer’s X-Universe isn’t for everyone. But you have to give some credit to Singer for being one the first filmmakers to approach comic book properties with a level of seriousness that helped to legitimatize the genre.
X-Men: Apocalypse will bring to a close the First Class trilogy while likely bidding farewell to familiar faces (Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender) and introducing a few new ones (Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Alexandra Shipp). That alone gives the film a certain intrigue factor.
But the real attraction is Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse. Not only is Apocalypse the greatest villain in X-Men history, but Isaac is perhaps the most talented up-and-coming actor in all of Hollywood. His inclusion (and his character’s) is a big plus for anyone who appreciates quality acting and high stakes.
4. Deadpool– Fox – Feb. 12
A common (and justified) criticism of the superhero movie genre is that each film feels similar. Somehow,we don’t think that will be the case for Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool.
Have you seen the Red Band trailer for this movie? If not, go watch it right now. Seriously, we’ll wait.
This is not your ordinary comic book submission and that’s what has us so excited. The tone will be irreverent and gleefully inappropriate while the hard R-rating will allow the action and humor to be ratcheted up several notches. You’re not going to get content like this every day from a major studio.
I mean, the dude just shot three guys in the head with the same bullet. How can you not think that looks awesome?!
3. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – WB – Mar. 25
You see it play out in MMA all the time; the guy who is more desperate to win a fight usually does. Well, right now, Warner Bros. is desperate in a “single lonely guy at closing time” type of way. The studio needs this movie to be a hit after the somewhat underwhelming box office return and divisive reaction to Man of Steel.
And to be honest, Batman V Superman looks pretty badass. The dark and gritty tone of the DC Extended Universe may not work for everyone, but it does succeed in establishing drama and tension while setting itself apart from Marvel. It also allows Warner Bros. to tackle mature topics in a realistic and grounded way. It’s not a criminal act to want a superhero movie to be somewhat relatable and lifelike in that sense.
Also, we get to see Batman and Superman beat the ever loving snot out of each other. That helps raise our excitement levels as well.
2. Captain America: Civil War – Marvel – May 6
In many ways, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was Marvel’s most complete film. Now that the studio has given the same creative team behind that movie virtually the entire Avengers roster to work with in a head-to-head battle format, it’s hard not to harbor high expectations for Civil War. It will be like the Super Smash Bros. of the MCU.
Consider Civil War Marvel’s official pivot move. Instead of the cookie cutter good vs. evil storyline we’ve seen play out a thousand times, Marvel is muddying the lines between right and wrong. Suddenly, audiences will find themselves torn between two superhero factions that are both fighting for just causes. It is that internal and external conflict that should make Civil War one of the best MCU movies to date.
1.Suicide Squad – WB – Aug. 5
Remember what I said about all superhero films feeling the same? Well,Suicide Squad is going out of its way to leave a different taste in your mouth.
For starters, the movie is filled to the brim with interesting villains instead of bland Boy Scout good guys. Jared Leto is an Academy Award winning actor who is going to put a completely new spin on the classic Joker character while Will Smith (Deadshot) and Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn) will do theheavy lifting elsewhere. That’s already an impressive lineupbefore you remember the handful of other awesome characters we’ll meet in this subversive adventure.
Suicide Squad will open the door to an entirely new subset category within the superhero genre while introducing fans to iconic DC criminals that have never hit the big screen before. Writer/director David Ayer (Training Day, Fury) is going to deliver a dark, ugly, amazing, humorous feature that is wholly unique and different from everything that has come before it. Despite the lesser known characters, Suicide Squad could very well be the defining movie of the DCEU’s early stages due to its originality.