The best movies are usually not mainstream movies that get a lot of hype before they are released. For example, Arrival is probably the best film, in terms of pure quality, I watched in 2016 and I did not know about it until it received stellar reviews and was released. Nevertheless, the mainstream movies are normally the blockbusters and the ones I am most excited about going into the New Year. Accordingly, below are the list of movies scheduled for 2017 that caught my eye.
- Underworld: Blood Wars – January 6
Underworld (2003) is a decent and unique movie about a war between vampire and lycans [werewolves] that has spilled into present times and fought with modern tools of war (e.g. silver bullets). Underworld: Evolution has some entertaining moments but it is really a terrible movie and the franchise starts to get goofy with it. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a decent prequel but not necessary. Underworld: Awakening is absolutely terrible. I only went to see it because my friend wanted to watch Kate Beckinsale in leather for 89 minutes. One of these movies is more than enough. Do we really need a fifth film in the franchise? I guess they have a dedicated fan base that keeps the movies profitable.
- Resident Evil: The Final Chapter – January 27
Resident Evil has a loyal fanbase that has made the film series very profitable. I have not watched a single one. They have been critically panned. However, their fans are entertained and enjoy them so it is the only thing that matters.
- Logan – March 3
Logan is Hugh Jackman’s last performance as Wolverine. He is synonymous with the role. It will be difficult to see a different actor play the character in the future. It is the third film in the standalone Wolverine trilogy. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is an awful movie. For this reason, I had extremely low expectations for the sequel The Wolverine. However, I absolutely love the second movie. It has a good story, excellent flow, and solid performances. I have no idea what to expect for the finale in the trilogy. The plot is based on the comic book story line of Old Man Logan which is set in a dystopian future when Logan dies. I do not know any specifics about it. From the trailers, I am not too excited to watch Logan. However, I will wait and see how the reviews are.
- Kong: Skull Island – March 10
It is another reboot of King Kong. Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005) is highly rated by critics but audiences did not feel the same way. I actually like the 2005 film and enjoyed it a lot when I watched it. Kong: Skull Island is a 2017 reboot that intends to bring the character into Legendary Picture’s monster film series, headlined by Godzilla and King Kong. It is the second film in the series after the release of Godzilla (2014). It features high profile actors such as Tom Hiddleston [Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe], Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Brie Larson. As a child, I was a big King Kong fan. I also like Legendary’s version of Godzilla in 2014. Nevertheless, I am not jumping to go see Kong: Skull Island. I am interested to see how well it is reviewed and received. If I hear it is a great film, I will go to the theaters to see it. Otherwise, I will eventually watch it at some point after it is out of theaters.
- Beauty and the Beast – March 17
Disney is in the midst of its live action remakes of its classic fairy tale stories. In all honesty, I constantly forget about the film series because Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars franchise are completely dwarfing the fairy tale project. Alice in Wonderland kicked it off in 2010. I actually like the dark and quirky version directed by Tim Burton. His style definitely fits the Alice in Wonderland style. Of course, Johnny Depp is very enjoyable as the Mad Hatter although all his movie characters are becoming very similar to me. Maleficent (2014) did very well at the box office but it is poorly reviewed so I did not see it. As a result, it killed my enthusiasm for the live action remakes and I disregarded Cinderella (2015) despite solid trailers. I see it is well reviewed so I will need to catch up on it when it debuts on cable television in the spring. I recently watched The Jungle Book (2016) on Netflix and really enjoy it. It is a very good movie. It has reinvigorated my interest in watching Disney’s live action remakes.
Beauty and the Beast (1991) is one of my favorite Disney animated films from my childhood. It is a brilliant movie with great animation. Of course, it is a beautiful love story. Some would say it is a “Tale as Old as Time”. The film features incredible music, headlined by Celine Dion’s serene and powerful “Beauty and the Beast” song. As a result, I am very interested in the live action remake. The trailers look great. Emma Watson looks beautiful as Belle. If this movie has great reviews, I will definitely rush to see it in movie theaters.
- Power Rangers – March 24
Power Rangers is one of the most iconic and memorable television shows from my childhood. It is about young people who are asked to protect the world from magical, evil forces from space. They are given power coins by their leader Zordon [basically a giant head in a massive tube] that allows them to morph into a Power Ranger with a suit that amplifies their physical abilities and the ability to summon Zords, mechanized fighting machines in the form of pre-historic animals such as dinosaurs or mastodons. Even as a kid, I realized how silly the concept is. However, it was a guilty pleasure that I was embarrassed about but enjoyed. I made sure to close the house door when I watched the show so no one would see me watching it. Nevertheless, the show is about teaching young people learning to work together and having dreams of grandeur. In my opinion, it accomplishes that goal.
In 2015, film director Joseph Kahn filmed a short 14 minute dark re-imagination of the Power Ranger universe. His interpretation of the story is fantastic. As such, I would love to see a full feature Power Rangers movie in a similar tone. While it will definitely not be as dark as Kahn’s short film, the trailer for the film appears to be more dark and realistic than the cartoonish style of the television series from my childhood. Just for nostalgia and curiosity, I will absolutely see the movie at some point. I would love to see a great reboot of the franchise. I am not overly optimistic but hopeful. Regardless, I will only watch it in the movie theaters if I see good reviews.
- Ghost in the Shell – March 31
All I know is that it is a live action movie based on a popular anime series. More importantly, Scarlett Johansson is starring in it. For this reason alone, I will go see it if it has good reviews.
- The Fate of the Furious – April 14
I have not watched a single The Fast and the Furious film. However, I know they have a strong fan base and the last three films have been solidly reviewed. I am sure they are fun action films. Nevertheless, I have never been into flashy cars and racing them so the franchise has never appealed to me.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5
Guardians of the Galaxy is the movie that was supposed to slow down the Marvel momentum. Before the film, Guardians of the Galaxy was a fringe Marvel property that most fans were not familiar with, me included. Nevertheless, Director James Gunn and Marvel completely knocked it out of the park with the funny and entertaining style of the first film that is unique from every other of their movies. It proves Marvel can turn anything into gold. The movie is even better than I remembered when I re-watched it. In my opinion, Guardians of the Galaxy is in the top 5 films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The cast is fantastic. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and Michael Rooker return as Peter Quill/ Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and Yondu respectively. Bradley Cooper is returning to voice Rocket Raccoon. As we know, Groot sacrificed himself to save the team at the end of the first movie. However, Rocket salvaged enough of his friend to plant him. As such, Vin Diesel will return and voice Baby Groot in the sequel. From the trailers, Baby Groot looks very cute and adorable. In general, Vol. 2 appears to be an awesome sequel. I am pumped to see it. It is on the top of my list of movies I need to see in 2017.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – May 26
The first film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, is a very good movie. The next two films, Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, are decent and at least entertaining. On Stranger Tides is not very good but I was still entertained the one time I watched it. I definitely do not need a fifth film. The whole franchise is based on a theme park ride at Disneyworld. Personally, I think the premise has been more than milked for all its worth and should be retired. I have very little faith the fifth movie will be any good and even less interest in seeing it.
- Baywatch – May 26
The primary reason to the “Baywatch” television series is obviously to admire the beautiful people on screen. However, there is an attempt at some kind of serious, actual story. The upcoming Baywatch film stars Dwayne Johnson as David Hasselhoff’s character, Mitch Buchannon. Kelly Rohrbach has the unenvious task of playing Pamela Anderson’s character, C.J. Parker. Of course, Rohrbach has no chance in successfully replacing Pamela Anderson. Zac Efron will also star in the film. I have watched the trailer and it looks like a goofy parody of The Fast and the Furious and “Baywatch”. I can only shake my head at how ridiculous the film looks and will be.
- Wonder Woman – June 2
Batman v Superman is a flop of a comic book movie and a disappointment for DC’s cinematic universe. Most of the story is pointless. At least, the final battle entertains me. On the other hand, I do enjoy Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Batman. My favorite aspect of the movie is Gal Gadot’s version of Wonder Woman. She is a badass. For this reason, I am very excited to see Wonder Woman. The trailer looks phenomenal. Of course, a lot is riding for DC on the movie. Batman v Superman is a bad film. I was excited for Suicide Squad but it may actually be worse. DC needs one of its movies to knock it out of the park and jump start its cinematic universe. If Wonder Woman is not that film, I do not know when the moment will be.
- The Mummy – June 9
It is a reboot of The Mummy film franchise that started with the 1999 film of the same name. The new movie will start Universal’s Monsters shared universe, which will also include Frankenstein’s monster, Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, Gill-man, the Invisible Man, and the Bride of Frankenstein. In my opinion, the 1999 film is good. The second movie is not as good but still entertaining. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz have good chemistry in the first two films and are fun to watch. The third film is terrible. I watched the beginning and stopped watching. From my perspective, I am not very excited to see this franchise rebooted. However, the trailer is great. After viewing it, I am mildly interested in this film and the universe it is trying to build.
- Transformers: The Last Knight – June 23
Michael Bay is a highly criticized director. Nevertheless, he is very good at releasing blockbusters that are at least loud, action packed, and entertaining. His Transformers films are not good movies. However, he has made Paramount and DreamWorks a lot of money by creating a popular film series out of a child’s toy. Obviously, there are plenty of fans that enjoy his talents even if most critics annihilate his work. For a lot of casual moviegoers, they view movies as a release from the real world and just want to be entertained by 2 ½ hours of meaningless explosions and special effects. Regardless, I still stand by my opinion that the first film Transformers (2007) is actually a good movie. I was hoping that it would be the only movie because I had a feeling sequels would diminish it. Of course, the films are a money maker so it was never going to happen. The second and third films, Revenge of the Fallen and Dark Side of the Moon, are bad films but offer entertaining action and awesome soundtracks. The fourth film, Age of Extinction, is a worse movie but still entertaining. However, I am beginning to tire of the franchise. Nevertheless, there is still a good chance that I watch The Last Knight. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and John Turturro are returning from the first three films and I enjoy their characters.
- Despicable Me 3 – June 30
I have not seen either of the first two movies or the spinoff, Minions. However, I have heard they are good movies and know they made a lot of money. I am sure Despicable Me fans are excited for the next film.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7
As the name of the film fittingly states, Spider-Man is finally coming home to Marvel after a deal was struck between SONY and Marvel. Tom Holland made his debut as Spider-Man debut in 2016 during Captain America: Civil War. He is fantastic in the film and steals the show in the scenes he is in. He has perfect chemistry with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. My favorite portrayal of Spider-Man is still the one from the 1990s animated series that originally aired on FOX. They start the series with a Peter Parker who is in his 20s. I have not been a big fan of the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb film series starting the story with Peter in high school. I am just not that interested in him as a teenager trying to control his hormones and deal with high school. However, it makes sense for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to do so. Since Marvel got Spider-Man back in the middle of its Marvel Cinematic film franchise, it would not make sense for Spider-Man to have been around already and skipped to his mid-20s because it would beg to question where he has been the whole time the events in the various movies occurred. In addition, I really enjoy Tom Holland’s portrayal of the character and the funny dynamic of him as a kid trying to impress the much older Avengers so he can join the exclusive club. The trailer also looks great so I am definitely excited to see what Marvel can do with a full Spider-Man feature film.
- War for the Planet of the Apes – July 14
The reboot of Planet of the Apes has gone very well. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rise) is very good. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Dawn) is excellent. The reboot films are an origin story about how the Earth ended up in a post-apocalyptic state ruled by apes by the events of the 1968 classic Planet of the Apes. In Rise, we learn that Dr. William Rodman (James Franco) develops a drug that is intended to cure Alzheimer’s. The trials are tested on apes. The drug amplifies the intelligence of the apes so they are on par with human beings (e.g. developing the ability to speak). In addition, one of the apes he uses the drug on has a baby before she is killed because she went on a rampage. The baby’s name is Caesar who Rodman adopts and raises. Eventually, more apes are exposed to the drug. At the same time, they are treated cruelly by some of their handlers. Eventually, they revolt and make an action packed escape from San Francisco past police forces into the woods to the north of the city. While the drug enhances apes, it is deadly to most human beings. At the end of the first movie, it shows the “Simian Flu” spreading throughout the world. By the beginning of Dawn, ten years have passed and 99% of human beings have been wiped out by the flu. Naturally, there are humans who blame and hate the apes. While the apes generally just want to live separately in the woods, one of them, Koba, remembers his mistreatments as a guinea pig and wants to wipe out the humans. As such, there is a delicate peace between apes and humans that is eventually destroyed by the militant factions on each side. Koba undermines the leadership of Caesar and finally attempts to kill him and frame the humans at the same time. In the end, the apes route the humans under Koba’s command. Although Caesar stops and kills Koba during the final battle, it is too late to prevent a war. Before the humans are defeated, they radio to military forces for help. The military receives the call and is on its way. War for the Planet of the Apes is about the war between the human military and the apes. Woody Harrelson is starring as the Colonel who leads the human forces. From the trailer, he appears ruthless and understands that the war will determine whether humans or apes will be the dominant lifeform on the planet. Of course, we know the apes will win. Nevertheless, we have known that fact from the first movie in the reboot. The story has been interesting so far. Accordingly, the third film has a chance to be very good.
- Dunkirk – July 21
A Christopher Nolan movie? I am in. At the beginning of World War II, the German war machine is unstoppable and quickly overruns most of Europe. During the opening moments of the war, British and French expeditionary forces are beaten baldy and pinned down at Dunkirk, France. Fortunately, the Allied forces are able to rescue over 330,000 troops and evacuate them to Britain. It is one of the early turning points in the war that saved face and the morale of the Allies. I cannot wait to see Christopher Nolan’s telling of the story.
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle – October 6
The first film, Kingsman: The Secret Service, is about the Kingsman, a secret spy organization that protects the world. It follows Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, who is the son of a former agent that sacrificed himself to save his team. It has elements of a spy movie parody but the story is serious enough that is it not really a parody. It is an excellent medium between a James Bond and Austin Powers film. I love the first movie and am very excited to see the sequel.
- Cloverfield 2017 – October 27
Not much is known about the Cloverfield films until they are released. It is part of the marketing strategy. A third anthology film will be released in 2017. We are also in the dark on whether any of the films tie into or are supposed to tie into another movie in the franchise. I appreciate the uniqueness of the films but they do not really appeal to me.
- Creed 2 – November 2017
I still need and want to see Creed (2015), which is highly acclaimed. Anyone who saw the first film should be excited for the sequel.
- Thor: Ragnorak – November 3
The Thor standalone films have been the weaker of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nevertheless, they are still very fun and entertaining as action films. Ragnorak is supposed to be Armageddon on Asgard. At the end of the second film, The Dark World, Loki is masquerading as Odin and ruling Asgard. At the end of Avengers: Age of Ulton, Bruce Banner/ Hulk flees from the team and goes into hiding. He will end up in the middle of the events in Thor: Ragnorak. There are sure to be a cameo or two from other characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since Asgard is protecting one of the Infinity Stones, the Tesseract, we may even see Thanos show up to take it as we head towards his showdown with the Avengers in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. I am definitely excited to watch Thor: Ragnorak.
- Justice League – November 17
If Wonder Woman is a hit, Justice League will try to continue DC’s momentum. If Wonder Woman is another DC flop, Justice League may be DC’s last chance to salvage its cinematic universe before they consider rebooting the entire thing. At the end of Batman v Superman, Superman is killed by Doomsday. Of course, we also see that he may not necessarily stay dead. Of course, the other heroes do not know it. The Justice League will be about Bruce Wayne/ Batman, with the help of Diana Prince/ Wonder Woman, trying to assemble a team of metahumans to defend the planet in the absence of Batman. Of course, some metahumans are more willing and cooperative than others. The first trailer looks promising. I am hopeful and moderately optimistic about this film. DC needs to finally provide me a movie that gives me real hope for their film future.
- Star Wars: Episode VIII – December 15
It is the most anticipated movie of the year. After the Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I thought maybe I have outgrown Star Wars. However, Rogue One has reenergized my enthusiasm for the franchise. After Force Awakens, the biggest questions we have are who Rey’s parents are and who Supreme Leader Snoke may actually be. Of course, Mark Hamil’s Luke Skywalker only appears in the final minute of the movie. We will see a lot more of him in Episode VIII. In addition, fans are still shocked by the passing of Carrie Fisher. As such, Episode VIII will be her last appearance as Leia Organa. It will be very eerie but a final tribute to Fisher as the beloved Princess Leia.
- Jumanji – December 22
As a kid, I really enjoyed the original Jumanji (2005) starring Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, and a young Kirsten Dunst. I am not sure why we need a remake of it. In addition, the casting of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack lack makes me assume that the remake will be overly silly.