Another year of movies down, another year begins with new hopes, dreams, and resolutions upon us (for instance I resolve to write more consistently and often here). So that comes to the point when we say goodbye to the movies of 2016 and look forward to the movies of 2017. 2016 managed to finish stronger than I thought it was going to. There were quite a few disappointing blockbusters, but I think there were quite a few smaller movies that delivered.
With that said, 2017 looks like it’s going to be an incredible year for film. This was easily the hardest list I had to put together. There are so many incredible looking movies coming out in the next year that I had to leave off some films I wasn’t expecting to leave off. So hopefully where 2016 disappointed us perhaps 2017 will make up for it.
A little disclaimer like any other year: this list this is made up of mostly big blockbuster movies. Why? Because those obviously are the movies that I know the most about and are excited about. This doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to smaller movies, but I tend to get more excited about them as we get closer or I hear more about them. So without further ado, here is my top 20 most anticipated movies of 2017.
Number 20 – Cocco
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a massive Pixar fan, so one of these spots was going to go to a Pixar movie. I thought about including “Cars 3” since the trailer shockingly got me interested in the film, but the taste of “Cars 2” is still in my mouth. Cocco has me more interested even though I don’t know much about it. I know it’s subject matter has to do with the Day of the Dead and is directed by Lee Unkrich (the same Pixar veteran behind “Toy Story 3”). I’ve also read reports that this will be Pixar’s first musical. As much as I don’t mind the “Monsters University” and the “Finding Dory” of the world, I do prefer Pixar’s original material and I’m excited to see what next original project Pixar has in store.
Number 19 – The Lego Batman Movie
Another animated movie makes the list, this time the follow up/spin-off “The Lego Movie”. When I first heard about this project I wasn’t too sure about it. It felt like it could end up being another “Minions”. Yes, Batman was incredible in “The Lego Movie”, but this idea could easily fall south really quick. The trailers have done nothing but made me laugh and as a big Batman fan, I’ve loved all the in-jokes and deep cuts. This makes fun of classic Batman tropes and pokes fun at the concept but still seems like a love letter to the history of Batman. I could not be more excited for this movie and lucky for me it’s only a little over a month away.
Number 18 – Kingsman: The Golden Circle
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” was one of my favorite movies of 2015. It was smart, sharp witted, dumb, action packed, and wonderfully directed. A perfect satire to the James Bond spy genre. Naturally I’m interested in a sequel, especially with Director Matthew Vaughn’s return to the series (whom I’ve never seen a bad film from). I am a little nervous for how they plan on returning Colin Firth back to the series (after his demise in the first movie spoiler alert). But regardless of that I have the absolute faith this will be at the very least a fun and entertaining movie. It’ll be a hard follow up, but if there is someone who can do Matthew Vaughn and his returning cast of Taron Egerton and Mark Strong and the additions of Channing Tatum and Julianne Moore.
Number 17 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
This would honestly be higher on my list if it wasn’t for the previous installment. I love the first movie and really enjoy the second and third films. They are fun, dramatic and visually stunning adventure fantasy films. The fourth movie…. yeah not so much. That movie had the mistake of focusing on the wrong character and lost sight of what it was. The teaser for this got me hyped again. I love the tone and it didn’t rely on Johnny Depp’s immortal Jack Sparrow. The return of Orlando Bloom and his character Will Turner intrigues me and the addition of the co-directors is also intriguing. The biggest addition though is Javier Bardem as the main antagonist. The series has always had great villains and Ian Mcshane’s Blackbeard was a little bit of a letdown. After Bardem’s performances in “No Country For Old Man” and “Skyfall” I can’t wait to see what he does here.
Number 16 – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
I’m not a big Luc Besson fan like a lot of people are. I don’t dislike him but I don’t hold him in the same high regard as others (there is only so many “Arthur the Invisibles” I can take). That being said, he is always a visually great director. “Lucy” is a beautiful movie to look at. “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” looks absolutely gorgeous. This look massive and if it’s anything like the graphic novels it’s based off (in terms of mythology and scope) we could have something special on our hands. It’s got a talented cast and an interesting story. This could be the next big Sci-Fi franchise….or it could be the next “Jupiter Ascending” (hopefully it’s the former rather than the latter).
Number 15- Spider-Man: Homecoming
This one is a little bit lower on the list than others have it. I think that’s because unlike some others I wasn’t blown away by the trailer, something about the dialogue and conflicting tones threw me off. But there is so much about this movie to get excited for. Namely for me Michael Keaton (one of my favorite actors) coming in to play the chief villain in Vulture. Never one of my favorite Spider-Man villains, but when you got an actor like Michael Keaton playing him, I immediately look forward to that (let’s hope Marvel doesn’t waste another good potential villain). I know I’m a in minority in terms of how I felt about the trailer(s) (and for some reason I feel more people would be unsatisfied if it didn’t say Marvel Studios and was only a Sony led project) but regardless there is enough there to be excited. Besides, Spider-Man is one of my all-time favorite superheroes, so I’m excited to see him on the big screen again.
Number 14 – The Mummy
Wait the Mummy? Over Spider-Man? Well yes, let me explain. Before Marvel changed the game entirely and introduced audiences to the possibilities of a cinematic universe there had already been one. It was at Universal in the 1930s and 1940s with their classic monster movies. Many times, different characters would cross over in continuing storylines and recurring characters. Yes it’s a little different than what Marvel is doing, but if you want to trace the origins of a cinematic universe back you can find it there. As a kid and as an adult I loved the Universal monster classics and their series, so it gets me really excited to see Universal trying to revive their monsters and universe with “The Mummy”. A reboot of the 1932 Boris Karloff classic (and yes the 1999 Brendon Frasier film was a remake as well), I’m so excited to see what they will do with it. I like the inclusion of Tom Cruise, I’m interested to see writer Alex Kurtzman step into the directing chair (whom is also a big fan of the original films), and I really enjoyed the trailer as well (more so the behind the scenes footage). This movie for sure has a big chance of being a flop or a disappointment, but I can’t help but feel excited at the possibilities of this film and what it can do.
Number 13 – Kong: Skull Island
Like “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, I know I’m in a minority I wasn’t big on the most recent trailer that was released. I prefer the more mysterious (and J.C. Reilly less) comic con trailer to that one. But (as with so many other things on this list) I am a big fan of the original 1933 black and white blockbuster and I also really loved Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake (the 1976 version can go rot in a snake pit for all I care). I really love the setting for this feature and how it is straying away from the original beauty and the beast tale into something new and fresh. It’s got an incredible cast to boot and it’s a subtle way to work it into the current “Godzilla” universe so we can get that “Godzilla vs King Kong” remake down the line.
Number 12 – Alien: Covenant
It’s exciting to see Ridley Scott return to the Alien series (proper). Nothing against Prometheus at all, I like how he was expanding his universe with that film. But I can’t deny how thrilling it is for him to bring it back to something closer to the original movie. The trailer was exactly what I wanted from a first trailer. Oddly enough, it’s the poster that got me the most hyped, it’s absolutely terrifying. Scott is coming off his Oscar nominated film “The Martian”, and he has returning cast members. These include Michael Fassbender (who needs to wipe the taste of “Assassins Creed” out of his mouth) and several other new actors. This could easily be the Alien movie people have been waiting for since the Cameron’s “Aliens”.
Number 11 – Ghost in the Shell
Higher on the list than it is for some (but that’s okay it’s my list), the first trailer got me very hyped for the movie (and hungry for some good Sci-Fi). I know there is some controversy over the casting (which I would argue isn’t white washing but that’s a debate for another time) but Scarlett Johansson is a perfect lead. The rest of the movie looks absolutely visually stunning and I’m very intrigued by the story and the action. I really do believe this will be a great anime adaptation and it’s coming out in a busy March (not too far off).
Number 10 – John Wick: Chapter 2
When the first “John Wick” was coming out I was moderately excited. I wasn’t expecting much, but the trailer intrigued me. What I got was one of the best pure action films I had seen in years. Amazing action, a great lead character, simple story and some interesting mythology. Now I’m shocked myself to be this excited for a sequel. To be clear, I would not be surprised if this didn’t live up to the first movie, very few action sequels do. Hopefully this isn’t another “Speed 2” or “Taken 2” (God willing it’s not a “Taken 3”). I have a good feeling that this won’t be that. The trailers have been good and John Wick has a Pitbull this time, what’s not to like?
Number 9- Justice League
A bit lower than I thought it would be (but it’s still top 10). It’s lower because of my disappointment with “Batman V Superman” and “Suicide Squad”. I loved “Man of Steel” and I think Zack Snyder is a really talented filmmaker. However, I’ve started to distrust Warner Bros and their approach with their DC properties (and no I don’t want them to copy Marvel). Now with all that being said, I’m a massive DC comic book fan, so how can I not be excited for the first Justice League movie? The cast is great, I really liked the comic con trailer and I know Zack Snyder is a good filmmaker and can make great movies. Bring on the Justice League.
Number 8- Wonder Woman
Once again this movie might have been higher if I liked the previous two DC movies more. Forgetting all of that, this is the first Wonder Woman adaptation ever. How can you not be at least interested for that alone? One of the most iconic superheroes ever is finally getting her big screen treatment. It’s coming from a talented female director and being portrayed by Gal Gadot, who has been proving herself worthy of the role. I was absolutely floored by the comic con trailer and enjoyed the one that followed that. I think what sets this apart from “Captain America: The First Avenger” (in its period piece setup) is that it captures a more grounded and real look during the time of the First World War. Cap was more of a romantic pulpy look at the era (which was great for its own tone and style). I hope this movie will be a sign of things to come on DC’s front.
Number 7 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
This one slightly edges out from the two previous comic book movies for three reasons: Marvel is pretty reliable to deliver a solid flick, I really enjoyed the first movie, and the trailer is just so much damn fun! No matter how many times I see it in theaters or on YouTube, I laugh and get excited. James Gunn’s style is the biggest star for me in these films (when people say all superhero films are the same “Guardians” is one I so often point out as an example to why they are not the same). It’s a Sci-Fi franchise in a superhero world with all the returning cast members (well except for Groot who is now the awesome Baby Groot).
Number 6 – Beauty and the Beast
The original Beauty and the Beast is only second to Lion King (in my mind) in terms of the greatest Disney animated movies. I just watched it again two nights ago. I’m still captivated and drawn into the magic, grace and beauty of that film. The trailer for the live action remake gave me a similar feeling. I love what I’ve seen so far from this film. I just feel every decision they’ve made seems like the right one. The trailer gave me the impression that they will be faithful but will change a few things up (which I hope they do, I don’t want the same exact movie). I have a lot of faith in Disney right now to bring forth the live action remakes. After the disappointments of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Maleficent”, Disney really stepped up their game with a string of really excellent films; “Cinderella”, the incredible “Jungle Book” and the fun family adventure “Pete’s Dragon”. This doesn’t have to be as good as the original but just succeed on its own.
Number 5- War for the Planet of the Apes
Now we’ve reached the top 5. In all honesty, my 5 through 3 are so close in terms of excitement you could very well call it a tie (but this is a list after all I am forced to come up with different rankings). “Planet of the Apes” is another franchise I really enjoy. From the classic films in the 1960s and 70s, to the most recent rebooted set of films. “Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” are both examples of how to do a rebooted series. “Dawn” holds its own head right with the original 1968 classic, and I could not be more thrilled to see this trilogy of films come to a close, to see Caesar’s story conclude. Matt Reeves returns to direct the conclusion (if it truly is the end) and if he pulls it off we have another trilogy to add to the list of great trilogies (something that is still fairly sparse). The trailer had me jumping out of my seat and showing everyone I could. I’m trying to keep my expectations contained.
Number 4 – Blade Runner 2049
The announcement teaser is a perfect example of how to craft a small little teaser but still spread excitement. Sure a sequel to an all-time staple of the Sci-Fi genre could feel nothing more than a cash grab (which all movies are in some way or form) but the talent behind this project is anything but that. Denis Villeneuve is coming to direct and he is easily one of the top directors working in the business today. From “Prisoners” to “Enemy” to “Sicario” to this year’s near Sci-Fi masterpiece “Arrival”, Villeneuve is a true talent. Reteaming with Director of Photography Roger Deakins only adds to that level of talent (whom is arguably the best cinematography in the business). A project helmed by those two alone would have easily made this list. But mix those together with the returning Harrison Ford, the original writer, Ridley Scott producing and Ryan Gosling (coming off his incredible “La La Land” performance), you got the recipe for something special. I for some reason expect this movie to devise in the same way the original was or something like an “Interstellar”. Either way I’m happy this is being made.
Number 3 – Logan
The possible final performance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? How does that not make my list? It gets even higher with returning “Wolverine” and “Walk the Line” director James Mangold (whom I thought crafted a good film until it’s third act). But then it gets this high on the list after that AMAZING trailer. Johnny Cash makes a lot of things better and that was certainly the case with that trailer. What I love about this movie is how Fox Studios is allowing Mangold and crew to take such a different approach to the super hero genre and allowing the filmmakers to go for the more violent R rating. I have also read that the first 40 minutes were screened at a film festival not too long ago and there is a lot of positive buzz coming from that. Here is something some are overlooking, this might be the last time Patrick Stewart plays Professor X. Stewart and Jackman always have had great chemistry and I’m excited to take that journey with them one last time.
Number 2- Dunkirk
Christopher Nolan is probably the most well-known modern director working today. And for good reason, he has crafted amazing film after amazing film. I know for a few people on the internet messenger boards it’s become popular to hate on Nolan (for completely unknown reasons to me), but I’ve loved most of his movies (or at the very least really enjoyed them). I’ve really come to like “Interstellar” even more than I did the first viewing around and to see him tackle a period piece War film intrigues me. Dunkirk is a historical event that hasn’t gotten much film coverage and it’ll be interesting to see it played out on screen. I am a little concerned that this movie might be a PG-13 film and I’m not the biggest fan of depicting war in any less than an R rating (granted the golden age of war films were able to do that). What got me really excited though was the IMAX prologue that I was able to see. That IMAX preview was incredible! The amount of tension that was built in a short time frame without almost any acts of violence blew me away. I have a great feeling about the rest of the movie if it’s half as a good as the IMAX preview.
Number 1 – Star Wars: Episode VIII
This is almost a throw away pick. Anyone could have predicted this. Star Wars is just that big in my life. Lucasfilm under Disney and Kathleen Kennedy is 2 for 2. “The Force Awakens” was a great reintroduction in the series, “Rogue One” only gets better with every viewing (I’ve seen it 3 times), and I’m so excited to see “Looper” director Rian Johnson step into the director’s chair to continue the story that was greatly set up in “Force Awakens”. To really get the chance to see Mark Hamill return to the role of Luke Skywalker and to see Carrie Fisher as Leia I could not get me more excited. But let’s face it, if it’s Star Wars I’m going to be excited (this almost feels like a throw away pick at number one).