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The future is bright for Comic Book movies and with four major film studios vying for blockbuster payouts there are a plethora of quality titles to entice you into the cinemas in the coming years.
In Part 1 I looked at the films that are edging around the corner with the new Avengers sequel to be released May 1st this year. In Part 2 I talked about what films are due in the first half of 2016 including Deadpool and two DC powerhouses coming together in Batman V Superman.
So, let us have a look at the Supermovies to come in the latter part of 2016 starting with:
X-Men: Apocalypse (Fox) Dir. Bryan Singer
Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer returns to direct the next chapter in the X-Men saga, which will open on May 27th. The after-credits scene of DOFP showed a greyish dude being worshiped and moving the pyramids of Giza into shape; this dude is Apocalypse. One of X-Men’s recurring super villains, Apocalypse has been in so many story-arcs that the plot of the movie is still very much up in the air. There is, however, plenty we do know about the movie to get enthusiastic about.
Lets talk about casting. The ever-impressive Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex Machina and A Most Violent Year) will portray the titular villain Apocalypse. As the First Class mutants catch up with the original cast we are introduced to the younger counterparts of Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey. Alexandra Shipp, who is set to feature in this years’ NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, will portray Storm. Tye Sheridan will bring Cyclops back to the silver screen, and Sheridan, although young, is making a name for himself in Hollywood after starring alongside Matthew McConaughey in Mud and Nicholas Cage in Joe. Jean Grey is to be brought to life by Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner who has played Sansa Stark for 5 seasons in the HBO triumph.
Another big casting for Apocalypse, which will lead into a solo movie, is the addition of Channing Tatum as Remy LeBeau. You may know Remy better as Gambit. Gambit was my favorite X-Men growing up so this is fantastic news and I hope Tatum’s recent run of form (22 Jump Street, Foxcatcher) keeps up and delivers a great performance.
Apart from the casting, all we really know is that it be set 10 years on from Days of Future Past and most of the First Class cast are set to return (with Wolverine/Hugh Jackman still only a maybe). Along with Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult and Michael Fassbender, we will be gifted more slow-motion shenanigans with Even Peters (Quicksilver). I think everyone can agree, the scene in the Pentagon kicked ass.
Suicide Squad (Warner Bros.) Dir. David Ayer
The Suicide Squad are an off-the-books, covert team who work for the US government. The incarcerated squad members, in return for reduced sentences, carry out high-risk black-ops missions. They also happen to be super-villains.
David Ayer heads up this DC anti-hero whopper after impressing with his previous films, including writing Training Day and directing End of Watch and Fury. The grittiness that Ayer delivers in his work makes the prospect of his take on a Supermovie very interesting. A Suicide Squad movie should be raw and brutally gruesome; it is after-all, a band of violent murderers.
As well as a top director on board, the cast is pretty impressive including some Oscar winning talent. So let’s start with the cast. Jared Leto, who pretty much won everything last year including a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his brilliant role in Dallas Buyers Club, has recently nipped into the barbers to cut off his luscious locks. He needed the chop to start his transformation into the most iconic DC villain, The Joker. I think this is a superb casting; Leto won’t be the same Joker as Ledger and that is not a bad thing. Leto has shown his chops and as a skinny maniacal Joker, I feel he is the right choice. I want him to be insanely brilliant and brilliantly insane. As with Ledger’s announcement, the unveiling of Leto’s Joker has caused wide-spread controversy and although there are a few parts about it I don’t particularly like, overall I feel it will work. Here are a few of Twitter’s funnier digs at the new form Joker.
The next member of the Squad is Deadshot; an assassin who rarely needs more than one shot. Initially a new crime-fighter in Gotham City he ends up clashing with Batman and Commissioner Gordon, resulting in his venture into crime and eventual incarceration. None other than the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, will play Deadshot. I am not too sure if Smith is a perfect choice for the role but he is usually very enjoyable no matter what character he plays. He typically mixes action and comedy to a tee; Independence Day and Men in Black are perfect examples and the dark comedy throughout the movie may fall on his shoulders.
Margot Robbie, Smith’s “partner in crime” in his new box-office flop Focus, also features as a well-known DC head-case. Robbie is best known as Donna in Neighbours (to people who actually watch that) and as the very sexy wife of Leo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (to everyone else). Now after over 300 episodes of Neighbours Robbie will be playing Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn who is a straight-up psycho, devoted to the Joker in every way; she is also partial to a giant sledgehammer to the head when available.
The three heavyweight characters will be backed up by some lesser-known DC foes. Boomerang, an Australian adversary of The Flash (who throws – you guessed it- boomerangs) will be played by Jai Courtney, Divergent’s dauntless-prick-leader Eric. Supergirl and Green Lantern have both come up against the evil witch Enchantress and June Moone’s alter ego is also bringing her magic to the Squad. Moone is being played by supermodel turned actress Cara Delevingne and as her eyebrows are more celebrated than her acting I am reluctant to get excited about her inclusion.
Tom Hardy was supposed to play the team-leader Rick Flagg but unfortunately had to pull out due to scheduling problems. Flagg, a non-criminal, will now be brought to our screens by Joel Kinnaman who is best known for his role in critically praised series The Killing and as titular crime-stopper in the rebooted RoboCop. Flagg reluctantly agrees to the job of taking point with a group of maniacs and resents any similarity between him and the rest of the mercenaries. The entire Squad is under the scrutiny and guidance of Dr. Amanda Waller. Although possessing no superpowers, Waller has proven herself to be a fierce character and not someone to mess with. The brilliant, twice Oscar nominated, Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt) will bring the powerful Waller to life.
Director Ayer has described the Suicide Squad as a “Dirty Dozen with Supervillains” and some of the team has already appeared together in the well-received animated feature Batman: Assault on Arkham. With Academy recognized actors and a promising gritty director, this feature could well put the buzz back into the DC cinematic universe.
Suicide Squad hits the silver screen on August 5th.
Gambit (Fox) Dir. Unknown
As I mentioned above, Channing Tatum will be making his debut as Remy LeBeau in X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th. A mere five months later, on October 7th, Gambit will be hitting our screens again in his solo outing.
Although no one has been green-lit to direct this project as of yet, the script is in production by Joshua Zeetumer, the brain behind the screenplay for 2014’s RoboCop. Chris Claremont, the man who penned 16 years of Uncanny X-Men (75-91), is also involved in the treatment process for the script. Claremont has been acknowledged with bringing the formidable mutant team from a once under-appreciated comic to the powerhouse series it is today. Claremont is also the co-creator of some of the big hitters in the X-Men world including Rogue, Sabertooth, Mystique and Gambit.
Gambit already had an outing in the monotonous X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and although his fight scene with Jackman was destroyed by Wolverine slicing through ten foot of steel ladder in the most awful CGI scene in a film filled with awful CGI scenes, we saw a little something of what the character is capable of.
His power to charge objects with an explosive result and his high-octane staff styling makes his fighting techniques great to watch.
We will have to wait and see how Channing looks, and more importantly, sounds as the Ragin’ Cajun so hopefully we get a glimpse in a teaser trailer in the coming months. I love the character and I’m a fan of Tatum so this is bound to be great, or an utter disappointment. Let’s just hope the reins go to an exciting an accomplished director.
Dr. Strange (Marvel) Dir. Scott Derrickson
As Marvel are more organized and media-hungry than Fox, we know a lot more about the Dr. Strange outing than the previous Gambit; they love a good PR get-together.
They have announced their man to take over the magical world of Dr. Strange already and it falls to the horror director Scott Derrickson whose work includes The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil. I have not seen any of these, as I couldn’t be bothered paying money to be scared, that just ain’t my jam. I have seen his remake of the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still and I was not very impressed; no matter, let’s just hope Marvel know what they are doing.
Earlier this year, Marvel delivered some big casting news; our favorite Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch, will play the mysterious, darkly supernatural doctor. Cumberbatch has been brilliant over the last many years with fantastic portrayals of the aforementioned crime solver, the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, and the ground breaking mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Recent rumors are attaching Oscar Nominated and 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor to the project also but nothing has, as of yet, been confirmed.
Joshua Oppenheimer and Thomas Dean Donnelly, who have teamed up in the past to bring us Sahara and the poor reboot of Conan, are working on script together. Jon Spaihts is taking their draft and rewriting a screenplay. Previously, Spaihts helped reboot the Alien franchise with his screenplay for Prometheus.
So let’s talk about the doctor. Stephen Strange was a brilliant, yet egotistical, neurosurgeon who feel on harsh times after injuring his money-makers (that’s his hands). While searching worldwide for an exotic cure he meets an old hermit called the Ancient One. As it turns out this lowly hermit happens to be Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, he watches over our world to protect us from magical attacks. As the story goes, Strange takes over the Ancient One’s place and is skilled in the dark arts by the previous Sorcerer Supreme.
Kevin Feige has talked a bit about the new character in the MCU and how exciting a new take on the supernatural part of the Marvel Universe could be; he had this to say:
“With Strange, it is a classic Marvel origin story because he’s got one of the best origins ever. And it’s our opportunity to take that left turn into the supernatural. Now, what is the definition of supernatural? It varies. We like the idea of playing with alternate dimensions. The very sort of crazy – [Steve] Ditko crazy acid trip way of traveling through dimensions and traveling through other realms is something that we think is very, very cool… playing with the perceptions of reality.”
We know the talent in the titular role is there and it will be up to Derrickson to prove that he has what it takes to step away from horror mediocrity and move into the time and space bending acid trip that is the Universe of Dr. Strange. The Doc hits our cinemas on November 4th.
Coming up in Part 4:
In Part 4 I will look at the movies which come at us in the first half of 2017. Again we have 8 Supermovies scheduled for release over the year. In the first six months we will have yet another Wolverine solo outing, the highly anticipated Guardians of the Galaxy sequel (which means the highly anticipated soundtrack sequel), Fantastic Four 2 (with it’s first outing coming August this year) and the first female lead in a Supermovie with Wonder Woman getting a solo flick after her appearance in Batman V Superman. It’s all very exciting.
Check out Part 4 here!
Featured Image Credit here