Dir. Joss Whedon | Superhero | May 4
As a nerd it is my obligation to be excited about anything Joss Whedon touches, right? And further, as a nerd, I should be barking like a sealion in anticipation of anything that brings four major Marvel superheroes together in a single movie, right?
Wrong. I'm not that sort of nerd.
My relationship with the Marvel Studios films has been mixed. Iron Man? Okay. Robert Downey Jr. is a lot of fun to watch. Hulk? Do. Not. Care. Thor? Surprisingly fun and less over-the-top ridiculous than I expected. Captain America? A good, competent film, but one that made a few story decisions which decreased my enjoyment a lot.
So why is this on the list? Because it's either going to be a whole lot of fun or a completely and utter disaster. Either one will be a fun. Either way, this is going to be a crazy movie.
My first reaction was "that's a terrible idea! How are they ever going to pull that off?" But, y'know, I've been surprised enough lately that I'm willing to give The Avengers the benefit of the doubt. Plus with Whedon not only directing but also writing the thing, at least there will be good character moments. In the end that's the best we can hope for because - hey - let's not kid ourselves, the plot's not going to be surprising. I predict it will involve them saving the world. YIKES! SPOILER!
4. The Amazing Spider-Man
Dir. Marc Webb | Superhero | July 3
Oh, the Spider-man reboot! Yes, this is on the list.
I wasn't the least bit excited about this until I saw The Social Network which featured new Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield. That gave me a bit of hope.
I liked director Marc Webb's debut (500) Days of Summer, although genre-wise pseduo-romantic-comedy-drama is pretty far from superhero. I have my doubts about whether Webb can do action.
Judging by the trailer, this could be a laughably pretentious take on Spider-man... or just an overblown trailer. I hope it's the latter because a "darker" more "brooding" take on Spider-man sounds like the last thing I'd want to see. Sami Raimi played "emo" Peter for laughs and everybody hated it (except for me, I love that bit).
Also, what's the deal with the "untold story"? I'm pretty sure most people know the origin of Spider-man. Radioactive spider bite. Uncle Ben dies. So what's going to be so different about this one?
Finally, I have to gripe about the first-person bit from the trailer mostly because everybody else thought that was great and I hated it. I sure hope not a lot of that ends up in the film. First of all, platforming in first-person doesn't work. That's why Spider-man video games are in third-person. First person can easily be dizzying and disorienting. Second, if you are going to show first-person stuff to give us a sense of Spider-man's webslinging flights, use it sparingly. Do it while he's swinging and not while he's running across roves. They were just showing off with that stupidly long shot in the trailer. And third, it looked super, super fake to me. It's certainly better than the GCI in the original Spider-man which we all make fun of now, but this is 11 years later. I shouldn't be looking at those effects and thinking it's a video game.
Basically, The Amazing Spider-man is on this list for the same reason that The Avengers is. It'll either be a good movie or a hilariously bad flop. Either way = entertainment. To be honest, I have no prediction how this one'll turn out other though I think it has a better shot at being a good movie than The Avengers does.
But I will say this: having no J. Jonah Jameson means it's going to be at least 30% less funny from the get-go.
Dir. Ridley Scott | Science Fiction | June 8
I am no fan of Ridley Scott. Gladiator? Overrated. Blade Runner? Overrated and boring. Alien? Hey, I kinda like that one.
Much as I dislike the typically slow, plodding pace of Scott's films, I do enjoy a little breathing room in my sci fi my favourite being 2001: A Space Odyssey (yes, I actually like it, I don't just say that.) But, basically, I'm a sucker for space movies and it seems like there aren't a whole lot of them made anymore. Since Star Trek 2 is taking an eternity, this film, billed as a spiritual prequel to Alien (though not actually connected with that series), caught my eye.
It's plot, little as we know right now, sounds fairly high-concept. The crew of the titular ship Prometheus search for clues to the origins of humanity and there's some sort of advanced alien race or the ruins of one involved. Good enough. Better still: there's an excellent cast including Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce.
Also, the music in this trailer's pretty cool.
2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Dir. Peter Jackson | Fantasy | December 14
After years of legal wrangling between studios and filmmakers, a change of director, and a change of mind on the two-film deal, we are finally getting The Hobbit... part 1. There's a lot to be excited about with the return of the filmmaking crew, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum and the excellent new casting choice of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.
Even after all this anticipation, it doesn't make the number 1 spot and here's why: a lot of the film is a known quantity. We know what Peter Jackson's Middle-earth looks like. We know Rivendell, the Misty Mountains, the Shire, even the trolls have already been glimpsed in the trilogy. We know the story from the book (those of us who've read it). And we know that this film is only half the story.
Most of the really exciting stuff - the stuff we haven't seen before like Mirkwood, the wood elves, Laketown, the Battle of the Five Armies, and, of course, Smaug the dragon are in the second half of the story. To be honest, although I'm definitely going to see this movie and I have a pretty high degree of confidence that it'll be great... I'm not actually that excited about it.
Having said that, it's a whole year away and there's lots of time for me to get more excited as I'm sure I will. Now part 2? That I really wanna see!
1. The Dark Knight Rises
Dir. Christopher Nolan | Superhero | July 20
Is there really any surprise? No. There is no other choice for most anticipated film this year.
The Nolan Batman film series has the potential to be one of the greatest film trilogies. Heck, with a strong enough third movie I'd say it could even be the best. Certainly it looks like it's going to have a good shot.
Based on all I know of the film (I've been following the major news and I've seen the early preview of the opening 6 minutes of the movie) it looks like Nolan's bringing us around full circle thematically.
In Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne sets out to become an ideal and a symbol to fight the criminals of Gotham. As Ra's al Ghuld points out, if he devotes himself to an ideal he can transcend human limitation and can become more than a mere man. He can become a legend. In The Dark Knight, Batman's resolve is tested by the Joker and the Joker's corruption of Harvey Dent, the man he hopes might replace Batman.
Now we have The Dark Knight Rises, a title which has grown on me considerably since its reveal. Our villain is Bane most famous in the comics for having broken Batman - literally. If the poster is any indication, it looks like something similar could happen here. There's been rampant speculation that Bruce Wayne could die. Perhaps that would be the ending? Batman's death inspires others to take up his mantle (perhaps Catwoman and/or Joseph Gordon-Levitt's yet unnamed cop character?) and enshrines him as a legend in Gotham City history. Sounds like a winning plot to me.
We'll just have to wait until July 20th to see how Nolan ends the legend. For now we've just got to be satisfied with this awesome trailer.