2017 has in store dozens of epic, promising films ranging from sequels and prequels to reboots and spinoffs. There’s a neat mix of films from all genres, dominating their respective favorable seasons. While Chris McKay’s The Lego Batman Movie, Pierre Coffin & Kyle Balda’s Despicable Me 3 and Brian Fee’s Cars 3 are hot favorites in the animation category, there are seven superhero films (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Justice League) spread out through the year.
Fresh entries and reboots that assure blockbuster entertainment include John Roberts’s Kong – Skull Island, Michael Bay’s Transformers – The Last Knight, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Pirates of the Caribbean, Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers, Fast and the Furious 8, and Alien: Covenant. There are small budget offerings as well in the form of John Wick: Chapter 2 and Kingsman – The Golden Circle whose first installments surprised the critics gathering acclaim and performing well at the box office. And then there are some indie and Oscar favorites stuffed in between and during the fall.
Suffice to say, it’s a blockbuster year. And to our malaise, it was hard to pick the best ones. So here are films we’re totally looking forward to in 2017:
1. Logan – March 3
It’s impossible to not be excited for our beloved superhero Wolverine aka Logan’s final outing as the versatile actor playing the part Hugh Jackman has called it quits. It was first in 2000 when he made an appearance as the clawed hero in Bryan Singer’s X-Men. It has been an emphatic journey since, watching the man in action. Other than the emotional quotient, the R-rating makes his final run special as the comic character is popular for blood and gore. So on the lines of yesteryear’s Deadpool, the film promises unshackled action. The lustrous first trailer has already heightened expectations as the film is shot beautifully with Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’ perfectly fitting the atmosphere.
2. Song to Song – March 17
Late critic Roger Ebert once wrote that Terrence Malick is one of those rare filmmakers who yearn to make a film no less than a masterpiece. Having begun his career in 1969, it’s surprising that he has directed only seven feature films so far. But kudos to his talent and vision, every film had something unique to offer. So, I’m clearly excited about his next. Song to Song is a contemporary love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene depicting a tale of love and betrayal. The cast — Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale — only adds more weight to a seemingly striking script from the ace director.
3. Free Fire – March 17
Free Fire is one of those films that are based on a simple idea but fire on all cylinders through its execution. The trailer was arguably the best we had in the past few months with the multi-talented cast lead by the Oscar winner Brie Larson providing us a glimpse into the crackling blend of action and dark humour. Reminiscent of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs with a warehouse setting, the film looks super fun. And with the efficient British filmmaker Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Kill List) at the helm, the wait is hard.
4. Ghost in the Shell – March 31
Based on the mega-popular Japanese Manga comics and the animated series, this project was long overdue. Last year’s announcement that Marvel’s Black Widow aka Scarlett Johansson would play the protagonist heightened excitement around the film. Although the film is not a downright adaptation of the source material, it still embodies a lot of cool elements which we saw in the trailer. The cinematography, the set-pieces, the action sequences look awesome. Rupert Sanders, who ably handled similar stuff (Snow White and the Huntsman) is at the helm. So, of the many run-of-the-mill summer blockbusters, Ghost in the Shell ensures a diverse universe to harbor.
5. Wonder Woman – June 2
Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman is the first ever comic book film helmed by a female director, which stands it out among superhero films. And to the director’s credit, it looks absolutely kickass. Gal Gadot received tremendous praise for her first (cameo) performance in last year’s Batman V Superman. Despite the mediocre film, the critics and audiences showed substantial interest in watching the actor in a solo outing. And both the trailers so far were received well. Some are even calling it the last hope of survival for the DCEU. The film promises to deliver and deliver big.
6. Dunkirk – July 21
Christopher Nolan’s World War II thriller is, undoubtedly, the most awaited film of the year. His releases are no less than a festival for moviegoers. He is one of those elite directors who’s had a hundred percent success rate. The journey that began from a minuscule budget film called Following which delivered high on smarts to the epic space opera Interstellar, Nolan has upped his ante with each passing film. So the expectations are naturally sky high. Shot largely with IMAX cameras, Dunkirk assures another immersive experience packed with tension that the director is known for creating, with a terrific cast to boot. If there is a film that can outshine Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, it’s this.
7. Baby Driver – August 11
Another filmmaker who hasn’t made a bad film ever is the uberly creative Edgar Wright. Shaun of the Dead. Scott Pilgrim vs the World. Hot Fuzz. His filmography is a diverse collection of out-of-the-box films that are both ingenious and entertaining.
His next film, Baby Driver, about a talented, young driver who gives up his criminal life when he meets the girl of his dreams. Since it’s an Edgar Wright movie, we have a delicious twist in the tale as the protagonist suffers from tinnitus. So, the large portion of the film is choreographed as per the music he plays. According to Wright, there will be thirty-five songs in the film depicting the mood swings of the character. Like his signature style of filmmaking, Wright promises unprecedented visuals and humour with Ansel Egort (The Fault in our Stars, Divergent series) in the central role. The fact that we almost got an Ant-Man from him makes it harder to wait now.
8. Blade Runner 2049 – October 6
Do we really need another Blade Runner film, you might question? Given how amazing the first film was and the number of special editions that have released. But with Ridley Scott (producer) and director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners) bringing this together, there’s no reason to not be excited about the sequel. Harrison Ford returns to the cast, and is now accompanied with Ryan Gosling for another dystopian adventure. The teaser trailer blew our minds with enticing cinematography and score. Contemplating the number of sci-fi shows we have just seen (Stranger Things, Westworld); it’ll be like an icing on the cake to relive another classic.
9. God Particle – October 27
JJ Abrams’s Cloverfield universe is the new crazy thing in the sci-fic genre. Proffering smart and original stories with watertight and well-acted screenplays, the next installment is a sure-shot thing to look forward to this year. Temporarily titled God Particle is about a team of scientists who make a startling discovery at the US space station that questions the fabric of their reality. Given how suspenseful the last year’s 10 Cloverfield Lane was, we presumably won’t be provided with more details about the plot. The cast includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daniel Bruhl, David Oyelowo and Chris O’Dowd. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman set the bar pretty high last year with their robust performances so saying our hopes are high from ‘God Particle’ is an absolute understatement.
10. Star Wars: Episode VIII – December 15
It’s a no brainer that Star Wars’ next episode is on our list. Star Wars is now officially the biggest franchise in the history of cinema grossing insane amount of money at the box office. The recent release Rogue One was another excellent film, albeit a spinoff that has already swelled our appetite for the next episode. Episode VIII (no official title yet) is part of the main series that has been in continuation since 1977’s A New Hope.
2015’s monstrous hit The Force Awakens grossed over $2 billion worldwide. Director Rian Johnson of Looper fame will helm the next episode, which will bring back all characters — Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Poe (Oscar Issac), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). And further expand their storylines along with revealing requisite sub-plots about the newly expanded universe. Princess Leia’s (aka Carrie Fisher) recent death left millions hearts broken. And fans will certainly throng to the theatres to see their beloved actress for one last time. For this reason alone, the film is a must watch.
Notable mentions: Darren Aronofsky’s Mother, Destin Cretton’s Brie Larson starrer The Glass Castle, and Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower.