FEATURE: PaulRom's 15 Most Anticipated Films Of 2013
2012 was a great year for movies, especially for the CBM genre. With the next year looking to be just as big, I look ahead to what films we can expect to see at cinemas in 2013, and list just a few that I'm excited for.
2012 was one of the more memorable years in recent cinematic history. We received such box office successes such as Marvel's The Avengers (which now has the biggest opening weekend of all time), The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall and The Amazing Spider-Man. We also saw less than financially successful movies such as John Carter, Dredd, Battleship and Total Recall. But overall, it was a great year at the movies, and 2013 looks to be almost as exciting. With many geek-related films hitting theaters, 2013 could possibly surpass 2012 in terms of excitement. So it was rather difficult to narrow my list of most anticipated films to 15, so a good amount of it isn't in a particular order.
#15 - R.I.P.D.
Since Ryan Reynolds' previous comic book movies (Green Lantern, Blade: Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine) weren't very successful financially or critically, many are expecting the same for his upcoming Dark Horse adaptation R.I.P.D., which also stars Jeff Bridges. It's hard to say whether or not this supernatural action film looks good when there's no trailer yet, but judging from the storyline and the cast, this could be a decent movie. Bridges usually makes any film better with his presence, and Kevin Bacon as the villain should be a very nice treat (he was excellent as Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class). Throw in a director who has some experience with CBMs (RED's Robert Schwentkie), and this may be worth a watch.
#14 - Oz: The Great And Powerful
Another project that could easily be a winner or loser, this Wizard Of Oz prequel certainly looks gorgeous (despite the overabundance of CGI shown in the trailers). Disney may not have the best track record with live action productions, but Oz will hopefully be a stand out film from the studio. After thoroughly enjoying his first two Spider-Man films, I have full confidence in Sam Raimi directing this movie. Plus, James Franco is one of my favorite actors, and I have no doubt that he'll be fantastic here.
#13 - Despicable Me 2
The first Despicable Me was a very pleasant surprise back in 2010, going on to becoming one of the best animated features of not only that year, but of the past several years. So clearly, I'm really looking forward to seeing the sequel. I'm very interested in continuing the journeys of Steve Carrell's Gru and his adopted daughters, and you gotta love those Minions. And the film’s villain will be voiced by Al Pacino in the legendary actor's animated debut. Sounds awesome, right?
#12 - Monsters University
C'mon, you know you loved Monsters Inc., which is inarguably one of Disney/Pixar's best films to date. After previously making sequels to Toy Story and Cars, the studio is now revisiting the Monsters world in their very first prequel. The idea of seeing Mike and Sully in college is a rather delightful idea, and Pixar's track record has so far been excellent (although Cars 2 was quite a bump in the road, and Brave felt quite unoriginal despite otherwise being a solid film). Definitely one of THE animated films to look out for next summer.
#11 - Oblivion
TRON: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski takes the helm in adapting his own 2014 graphic novel Oblivion, with Tom Cruise starring in one of several sci-fi projects in the actor's near future. I'm a sucker for sci-fi films, especially if they're on a scale as large as this, so this is a movie that I'm anxious to see. The recent trailer was surprisingly really good, promising stunning visuals, excellent cinematography and yet another great action role for Cruise. Even if the plot sounds similar to Wall-E, I'm quite excited about Oblivion.
#10 - The Muppets 2
I never was much of a Muppets fan growing up (I preferred Sesame Street as a wee lad), but Disney's 2011 revitalization easily won me over with its charm and fun. Even without the involvement of actor/co-writer Jason Segel (who heavily pushed the development of the first movie), I'm very excited for the planned sequel. It was recently reported that Ty Burrell has replaced Christoph Waltz in a key role in the Europe-set film, after the Django Unchained star's negotiations broke down. Still, The Muppets 2 should be a delightful movie that’ll be released just in time for Christmas.
#9 - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The first Hunger Games was definitely a surprise earlier this year, and I usually have zero interest in young adult novel adaptations. While I'm slightly disappointed that director Gary Ross isn't returning for the currently-filming sequel, I'm still quite excited to see how the story continues (the first film’s ending is quite the cliffhanger). And I definitely like the idea of Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) directing. His work on Catching Fire must really please Lionsgate, since he was recently confirmed to be directing the two-part adaptation of the novel trilogy's final novel, Mockingjay.
#8 - The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger is a film that isn't heavily anticipated, to say the least. From the enormous $250M budget to production problems to the much criticized casting of Johnny Depp as Tonto, you may be surprised to see this film as high as it is on my list. Despite its production problems, I think the Ranger's return to the big screen has a lot of potential. It has some great actors on board (Armie Hammer looks to be an inspired choice for the title role), and Gore Verbinski certainly knows how to direct an action film. I just hope he makes Lone Ranger more like Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl than At World's End. So even if the script isn't perfect, I think this will be a fun, entertaining movie.
#7 - The Wolverine
The Wolverine has left fans divided in their expectations ever since the non-Origins sequel was announced. Judging from 20th Century Fox's Marvel track record, it's not hard to see why. However, I firmly believe that this film could be worth the wait. Everyone involved has been saying all the right things about the movie, and if X-Men: First Class is any indication, perhaps Fox is looking to produce more great CBMs in the future (especially with Mark Millar being creative consultant for the studio's upcoming Marvel films). Plus, Hugh Jackman has been fantastic as Wolverine so far, and I hope he's serious about the film truly nailing down the character. I just wish that Darren Aronofsky was still directing, even though I'm sure that James Mangold will do a good job.
#6 - G.I. Joe: Retaliation
This was a film that was on my most anticipated films of 2012 list last year, but The Rise Of Cobra sequel was then pushed to a 2013 release to convert it to 3D and film some reshoots. While the original Joe film was quite disappointing, the new movie looks like it could be worth the long wait. From mostly featuring a new cast of characters to looking like a proper adaptation of the franchise, the trailers offer a lot to like. It even brought in two of the action film genre’s heavyweight stars, Bruce Willis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I doubt that it'll have an Oscar worthy story, but Retaliation will probably be a very entertaining flick, and a treat for die hard G.I. Joe fans.
#5 - Pacific Rim
This is a film that many have been anticipating ever since acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro signed on to take the helm. The concept of giant monsters fighting giant robots alone should be able to sell this movie, which Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are hoping will be their next big franchise (a script for the sequel is already in the works). I'll admit that I wasn't blown away by the recently released first trailer. While showcasing some excellent visuals and some decent dialogue ("Today, we are canceling the apocalypse!"), it didn't quite have the "wow" factor that I was expecting. Nevertheless, Pacific Rim is still high on my anticipation list, and I'm confident that GDT will deliver a thrilling summer blockbuster.
#4 - Thor: The Dark World
One of the most anticipated comic book movies of 2013, the follow-up to last year's Thor sounds like it could be yet another game-changer for Marvel Studios. With the promise of a more epic scale, Thor being forced to make big sacrifices, a more Game Of Thrones-esque feel (thanks to director Alan Taylor) and seeing how the events of The Avengers affects the characters all make this sequel a must-see, as well as continuing Marvel’s "Phase Two" and paving the way for the next Avengers movie. Oh, and seeing the God of Thunder take on Malekith the Accursed (played by Christopher Eccleston) should be awesome. I can't wait to see some footage, which I'm guessing we'll see with Iron Man 3 in May. Speaking of Iron Man 3...
#3 - Iron Man 3
This is easily one of the most anticipated films of next year. Marvel Studios' other offering for 2013 looks to be the best installment in the Iron Man franchise, with Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) taking the director's reins this time. Taking a more stand-alone approach, Marvel's first post-Avengers flick also promises to give Tony Stark his biggest challenge yet. The trailer, which released back in October, was excellent. I can't wait to see more from what just might be Robert Downey Jr.'s final outing as the Armored Avenger (unless he signs another contract with Marvel, which I think we all hope happens). Then there's Ben Kingsley, one of my favorite actors of all time, playing the Iron Man villain that we've all wanted to see, Mandarin. Yeah, I think Iron Man 3 will be a winner.
#2 - Star Trek Into Darkness
Here's a film that I've been heavily anticipating for years. J.J. Abrams' 2009 take on the beloved Star Trek franchise blew me away, instantly becoming one of my favorite films of all time. And this is coming from someone who was otherwise never a Trekkie. As we draw closer to the sequel's release date, we're finally learning more and more about the film. What's still a big mystery is who exactly Benedict Cumberbatch is playing (I doubt it's just "John Harrison"). I have a feeling we won't find out until the movie comes out. Still, Star Trek Into Darkness looks to be another hit for Abrams, and possibly more personal than the original. Will it be even better than the first? We'll see.
And the prestigious First Place goes to...
#1 - Man Of Steel
You may be surprised to find out that, despite my extremely high anticipation for Superman's next big screen outing, I never was a big fan of the character. Not because of his poor portrayal in Superman Returns, I just never felt particularly interested in him as I have in the likes of Batman, Spider-Man or even Captain America. However, I was immediately interested in Man Of Steel when I found out that Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, who were a part of the great creative team for The Dark Knight series, would be involved. I was also impressed with many of the casting choices, as well as director Zack Snyder and his promising that his Supes will actually punch someone. The film will also be a more human take on the legendary hero; in fact, the trailers suggest that this will essentially be "Superman Begins" in telling his origins and how/why Clark Kent becomes Superman. What we've seen so far has been phenomenal. Many of the scenes in the recently released trailer literally took my breath away. And not many trailers can do that. There's also a lot riding on Man Of Steel for WB, not only because they plan on releasing a Justice League movie in 2015, but also because it remains to be seen if the world is interested in another Superman film. While we wait for that answer, Man Of Steel looks to be not only the best movie of 2013 so far, but also one of the greatest comic book movies to date. Snyder, don't fail us now.
Well, that's a wrap. Feel free to list your own anticipated films of 2013 in the comments, and vote in the poll below.
Honorable Mentions: World War Z (June 21st); I, Frankenstein (September 13th); Ender’s Game (November 1st); Elysium (August 9th); Jack Ryan (December 25th)
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