For better or worse, 2016 has been one of the most eventful years in recent memory. Unfortunately, much of what occurred in this year will live in infamy, but on the brighter side of things, we got a record of 6 brand new superhero this year. Once again, for those who are already crying “superhero fatigue,” you couldn’t be more wrong. Marvel, Fox and DC each brought two new projects this year, and although some films were definitely held in higher regard than others, the upcoming slate of superhero in 2017 still have quite a bit to improve upon.
Today, as we are mere hours away from ringing in 2017, let’s run down the 6 major superhero offerings in the coming year. All of them have some important goals to accomplish, and if they do indeed succeed, 2017 will be an even better year for the colorful characters we all adore.
Anticipation for Logan continues to skyrocket day after day. The first trailer for James Mangold’s upcoming follow-up to The Wolverine has been widely considered to be one of the year’s best trailers – if not the year’s best. This film has the benefit of being rated R, and because of that, we will finally see Hugh Jackman (in his final performance donning the claws) unleash in all of his bloody glory.
What Logan needs to accomplish, more so than being just the perfect swan song for Jackman as Wolverine is to be the most intimate and personal comic book film we have had yet. Right from the trailers, we get a sense of Mangold’s western sensibilities showcasing a different tone altogether, but it looks as though that the heart of this entire film will be the relationship between Logan and X-23. If they nail their dynamic, along with sending off Jackman on the highest note possible, Logan will transcend from being just a great superhero film into something truly special.
Logan opens in theaters on March 3rd, 2017.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Audiences immediately fell in love with Marvel’s misfits known as the Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. Nothing was more satisfying to me than seeing the masses thoroughly enjoy a film featuring these obscure sci-fi comic book characters and laughing their asses off thanks to director James Gunn’s incredible accomplishment that remains an anomaly within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With Vol. 2 along the way, it has an interesting set of goals. First off, utilizing Baby Groot for the majority of this film has to have purpose beyond the obvious cuteness factor, because we all know that Gunn and company have already accomplished that. Also, adding Yondu (Michael Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to the team needs to feel organic to the pitch perfect chemistry shared by Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). Lastly, the film has the difficult task in putting together a brand new Awesome Mix that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the original. When that soundtrack was released back in 2014, it caught the culture by storm. Thankfully, I trust Gunn’s taste in music, so I’m excited to see how it’s implemented into the action of this sequel.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens in theaters on May 5th, 2017.
Let’s be honest guys. Although arguments can be made about the merits of DC’s 2016 releases, there are plenty of improvements that need to be made to help the Extended Universe for the better. Thankfully, I have hope that 2017 will not only bring DC more success at the box office, but will paint a more fun, inspiring image for audiences for the future of this universe. And that’s why Wonder Woman *needs* to be great.
Wonder Woman will be the true start of the Geoff Johns era, and with director Patty Jenkins at the helm, there’s a lot to be confident about. The trailers provide some of the most stunning cinematography not just from the DCEU, but from comic book films in general. The aesthetic just pops, and the beautiful colors are thankfully needed. Also, the genre is in need of a great female-led film – and what better candidate is out there to accomplish that goal than the first official standalone outing for the most iconic female superhero of them all.
Most importantly, if the film’s story and character motivations work in tandem and satisfies what is desperately desired, Wonder Woman will be a success across the board.
Wonder Woman opens in theaters on June 2nd, 2017.
Tom Holland has already proven to be a great Spider-Man with the sample size we got from his incredible debut in Captain America: Civil War. He already has great chemistry with the numerous Avengers he’s interacted with – particularly with Tony Stark. If Holland can stand well alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, him holding his own in his first standalone outing will bode well.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is being promoted as a John Hughes-style coming-of-age story for the genre. Many of the best stories featuring the web head take place during his years in high school. If Jon Watts can nail the infectiously entertaining vibe of the best John Hughes films and implement that into the modern superhero film, we will be blessed with the first great solo Spidey flick since 2004.
Thanks to the track record of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I have the utmost confidence in the action set pieces. Because of that, Spider-Man: Homecoming has to focus on the everyday life of growing up in high school with the twist of also being a superhero at the same time. That is why Peter Parker is so beloved by millions for decades – it’s not just because we want to be him, but rather that we *are* him.
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens in theaters on July 7th, 2017.
What is the God of Thunder up to right now? With both Thor and Bruce Banner’s absences from the events of Captain America: Civil War, fans have been on pins and needles wondering what their cosmic adventures together will be like. Thankfully, in one of Marvel’s most intriguing choices for a director, Taika Waititi has the opportunity to let his geek flag fly, and expand upon the fantasy realms that the previous two films have presented.
The chance at seeing more of the dynamic between Thor and Hulk already has our tickets bought – but including elements within Planet Hulk also peaks our excitement. But much like how Captain America: Civil War still felt like a Captain America story at its core despite the presence of much of the Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok needs to further develop the motivations of Thor himself. Sure, it’s going to be fun seeing two of Marvel’s giants together, but of all the Avengers we have, Thor is in the most need of character development. He’s a great presence alongside the team, but Ragnarok has the opportunity to push him to places we haven’t seen him yet. We’ll have a better sense of what Marvel and Waititi have in store when a trailer drops, but before we finally see footage, let’s remain excited for yet another adventure with him.
Thor: Ragnarok opens in theaters on November 3rd, 2017.
And it all leads up to this. Zack Snyder brought to audiences two of the most divisive comic book films of the decade in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I’d put myself in the camp of someone that adores Man of Steel, but also felt pretty disappointed in the theatrical cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Although the Extended Edition was definitely an improvement, there will still some fundamental issues with the film that I just couldn’t warm myself up to – particularly with the essence of how the titular heroes were presented. I love Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, but Batman v Superman was a bit too deconstructionist of an approach for many who want to see these heroes the way we always loved them.
With that in mind, along with the much-reported on change in tone, Justice League has a whole lot to prove. For starters, with Superman absent for much of the film, the introductions to Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) has to be perfect. As exciting as it was to see them for the first time in Batman v Superman, their introductions couldn’t have felt more forced. Thankfully, now that we will see them alongside Batman and Wonder Woman, Snyder and company need to make these characters as endearing as possible.
But above all, the major way for Justice League to be truly entertaining is for the team to have great chemistry with one another. We will be spending at least a good 2 hours with them – so why not give each of them distinct relationships with one another that when we finally see them unite against Steppenwolf and the Parademons, we will all be cheering in the audience together in pure, cinematic ecstasy. I gotta admit, my mind keeps telling me to be cautious in terms of excitement for the film, but my heart reminds me that this is still Justice League – a film that I have waited for longer than even an Avengers film. The fact that this film is coming out at all is something to be happy about, but I remain optimistic for what’s to come.
Justice League opens in theaters on November 17th, 2017.