2017 will give us a lot more of the same. You’ll have your sequels and your reboots at every corner. But which ones are the real deal and what others are waiting to fail the fanboys and dishearten the cinephiles?
For now, the best ways of trying to figure that out are by looking at who’s involved, how well they fit in such a project, and what kind of material they’re working with. If there’s any past performances by the franchise and they don’t look like they’ve cleaned up those issues (we’re looking at you, DC), then that’ll be factored in the list as well.
And while trailers don’t show the whole story, they sure can point us to problems the film may succumb to.
Some films are seemingly bound to fail. We won’t judge them until they hit screens, but how many people honestly expect Transformers: The Last Knight, 50 Shades Darker, or the Emoji Movie to be critical hits?
Instead, we’re looking at 10 films we honestly have some level of faith in, many of which we’ve been anticipating for a long time. Now we’re going to take a step back and knock them all down a peg.
1. Logan, March 3rd
None of us wants to see anything but greatness for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s X-Men sendoffs. But though Fox has made major changes to these movies, style didn’t help the last two Wolverine films.
Granted, the switch-up to a grittier, more grounded movie is something most of us didn’t expect from Fox. Not after X-Men Apocalypse was such a CGI-infested project with a bluish-purple villain. Still, this film is in the territory of being so much unlike any other superhero movie that it barely looks like one at all.
All the comparisons to The Last of Us console game are right on the nose, but we’re not expecting this to be a video game-movie level of bad. It just seems that this could start out with a drunk, deadbeat Wolverine, and not morph into anything all that exciting after the fact.
The connection between him and newcomer Dafne Keen, who’s playing Laura Kinney and eventually X-23, will be vital. If that bond is unsuccessful and Stewart’s Professor X isn’t utilized as more than a motivator, this will go downhill fast. It doesn’t need constant action, it just needs a charisma between the actors that wasn’t found in Apocalypse or The Wolverine.
Though the tone is different, the keeping of a young “special” being from the big bad government is a worn storyline. We even experienced it as early as last year with Midnight Special.
Making an R-rated Wolverine movie is what the people wanted, but a lot of Deadpool’s success came from properly displaying source material. Logan can be good without doing that, but it not staying all that true to the comics didn’t help in the first two films.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine ruined several characters and had a bad script altogether. The Wolverine had promise and then fell apart in the third act. James Mangold hasn’t made an exciting film in a decade and having The Green Lantern writer (Michael Green) on-board doesn’t make things any more prospective.
2. Ghost in the Shell, March 31st
Miscasting or white-washing isn’t the reason this film might not meet expectations. Ill-chosen direction and jumbled storylines may play a hand though.
Scarlett Johansson became a box office sensation as an Avenger, but showed her true worth in an R-rated, $463M blockbuster (Lucy) that wasn’t even that good. For as miscast as she might be, there’s clear reason to have an a-lister in a movie with source material that’s impressive, but is relatively unknown to casual moviegoers.
But for many die-hard Ghost in the Shell fans, Johansson may take them out of the movie. But that’s the least of potential problems.
Considering they’re using parts from several different storylines in the series, it’d be easy to see this film getting muddled. But it seems more likely to display a lack of execution, with director Rupert Sanders not only having botched his one directorial (Snow White and the Huntsman), but not having had that chance since 2012.
This film has a promising look to it, but even the trailer offered clichéd dialogue and a little too much of the Lucy-like Johansson. The world will likely draw us in, but whether the actors (not a stacked cast aside from Johansson and Takeshi Kitano) and Sanders can keep us there throughout a full movie is a shady proposition.
Hopefully it’ll reflect the source’s strength, and be more Blade Runner than Aeon Flux.
3. The Fate of the Furious, April 12th
Not too many films get away with as much simplicity in plot and absurdity in action scenes as the Fast and Furious films.
But they’ve continued to stack box office numbers and appeal to a broad audience. That may not change, but the praise they earned for their last installment is destined to fall in its eighth.
First off, it looks like it has some crucial similarities in plot to those of Transformers: The Last Knight, which shows you the level of creativity involved. Though people may only go to the films for stunts, Furious 7 put all its best in the trailer, so why wouldn’t this one?
Besides the stunts and the Dom-turning-bad plotline, which we already saw from Leddy earlier in the series, there’s mostly shots of stuff in ever Fast and Furious movie before it. It’s been a winning formula at the box office, but loses a lot of its heart without Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor.
Even if the movies are built off aerial tricks, the “family” isn’t going to have the same vibe without Walker. No amount of Ludacris driving a tank on ice is going to fill that void. Keeping Walker’s character alive but out of the story also makes no sense, as he’d clearly come back to try and change Dom.
F. Gary Gray’s presence gives this film hope of having more to it. But it seems to be mostly setting up the exact way the last few have. So, if the action is enough, they’ll hopefully hit that out of the park. If you’re expecting better than Furious 7 or anything truly new from the series, it’s likely to disappoint.
4. King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword, May 12th
We’re not exactly sure how Warner Bros. could possibly see this as a six-film series when it hasn’t even gotten off the ground yet. In fact, it might never do so.
Guy Ritchie has a few interesting films worth watching, but every part of this movie says “flop”. It certainly has some attitude and flair to it, but Ritchie’s style is in no way a match for this film. The director and Charlie Hunnam would’ve made a killer Sons of Anarchy movie together, but without the outfits this barely looks or is stylized as a medieval film.
Hunnam was great on TV but wasn’t all that riveting or distinct in his last blockbuster role, Pacific Rim. He doesn’t have a particularly deep cast around him, though Djimon Hounsou is tremendously underrated.
Beyond that, it looks like a poor representation of the legend itself. Warner makes this look like a medieval fantasy film, a crime comedy, and an epic war drama in one trailer. If it has direction, it won’t be of the right mold. And if it doesn’t, it’s bound to fall straight on its face.
Many Arthur movies have been made, and very few have been done right. Films based in the middle ages have in general been failures in recent years. The chances of Warner Bros breaking such a mold are slight to begin with. From our first look at King Arthur, those chances have dwindled even further.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, May 26th
This isn’t any grand surprise here. The Pirates movies have been on a steady decline ever since The Curse of the Black Pearl hit theaters in 2003. They should’ve stopped with a trilogy, but Disney apparently didn’t have enough money, so they continued them.
We won’t judge a movie simply from a teaser trailer, but there’s nothing that we get from it that brings any new element to the Pirates franchise. We get that Javier Bardem has played a couple great villains in his day, but his Capitan Salazar just looks like the baddie of the week. The character doesn’t appear to be anyone that’ll bring anything new and exciting to the table like Geoffrey Rush’s Hector Barbosa or Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones did.
Pirates is simply a cash-cow nowadays, a franchise that brought a fast-paced adventure 14 years ago and never came close to matching it. But each of the four films after it made (if calculating inflation) $1 billion-plus. So, dead men may tell no tales, but Disney feels the need to tell us the same one over and again with this franchise.
Johnny Depp will be back, but his characters are less known these days for being layered and peculiar, and more for just being weird for weirds’ sake. Rush and Kevin McNally’s Mr. Gibbs started off as a solid villain and side character, but even the latter turned into nothing more than an exposition machine.
All in all, we can hope this movie is somewhat redeemable simply from an action entertainment value. The creative team isn’t enough to think it’ll tweak the formula to make a better movie. But if you’re making a billion dollars anyway, why change at all?