As 2016 draws to a close, we're looking ahead with equal parts excitement and dread about the comic book movies headed our way in 2017. Unless one of these gets pushed back suddenly—my vote goes to Kingsman: The Golden Circle—these are the seven major studio comic book movies headed our way in the next calendar year...
Logan (Marvel/Fox) March 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Marvel Studios) May 5
Wonder Woman (WB/DC) June 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming (Marvel Studios) July 7
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (Fox) June 16 or October 6
Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel Studios) November 3
Justice League (WB/DC) November 17
Marvel Studios is releasing three films in a calendar year for the first time in their nine year existence, while DC and Fox keep their eyes on the prize with two a piece again this year—provided you don't count The LEGO Batman Movie which, for the purposes of this list, we aren't. With all of that in mind, we're not going to do a conventional ranking, but rather the five categories we think are most important when determining which of these to see.
These are solely the opinions of the writers providing them, based on the little bits of information, trailers, etc. that we've seen. At the end of 2017, we'll take a look back and see whether we were right on the money or missed the mark big time.
Here are the categories...
Highest Potential to Surprise
Based on your pre-conceived notions of the film going in, which one has the highest chance of surprising you, positively or negatively?
Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad have given us every reason to be wary of Justice League. Which is why I think DC and Zack Snyder went to every effort to correct the errors of the past and make this film live up to its potential. That in itself will be the surprise -- and it could make Marvel finally fear the competition.
Wonder Woman – I’m probably including this on the list solely because I want it to do well. Gal Gadot does a great job with the character, and this looks like the DC movie that’s had a) the least battles between studio heads and directors, and b) the least Zack Snyder influence. It might just pull it out of the bag.
DC seems like the obvious way to go here since, based on their 2016 output, they have nowhere to go but up. However, I'm going to go with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Sure, Civil War got us back on Spidey's bandwagon after two depressingly mediocre rebooted entries in the franchise, but I think most people are still thinking about stupid mopey Wardo from The Social Network and his too many villains garbage non-trilogy. At the very least I am, and if you ask me, Spider-Man has yet to get his due on the big screen. Marvel knows this and wants to give the world the best Spider-Man movie to date, and frankly, that's more a light jump than a pole vault.
Who will end up stealing the show, which characters will all the kids want to be for Halloween, buy the action figures, etc.
If you're a girl and want to dress as a female superhero, your current choices are Black Widow, who just dresses in black, and Scarlet Witch, who dresses pretty normally. Wonder Woman will finally give little girls a movie character they can dress up as.
That being said, I imagine little boys will want to be Baby Groot.
Spider-Man’s going to be back on top, there’s no doubt about it. We haven’t had a properly enjoyable Spidey film in over a decade, so Homecoming is going to introduce a generation of kids to the idea that Spider-Man is more than just a cartoon character or a Civil War cameo.
Baby Groot is going to take over the world too, of course. There’s no question to that.
Yeah, I mean, of course Baby Groot's going to be the heartbreaker of the bunch. The boys are gonna love Spidey, the girls Wonder Woman, and me... I think the little girl in Logan, who is obviously X-23, is going to be the unexpected breakout star of that movie. Fox has GOT to endear her to the audience, particularly if they're aiming to kill of Wolvy, so they've really got to make us love her.
And I think they will. I think she's going to get at least two killer moments, literally, in this flick and that has me super excited to see Logan.
Is there a Jai Courtney in the bunch? Is it maybe a director who's killing the franchise, or a film that they'll want to quickly sweep under the rug? What are the red flags we need to be looking for?
Logan is supposed to end the Wolverine franchise, and I'm fine with that. His story has gone about as far as it can. Bring him back with the other X-Men, but please, no more solo films.
Oh, would that Justice League would succeed in killing the franchise. Zack Snyder’s going to give it his best effort, and this movie will have all the problems of an insane director, plus too much studio interference, so it’ll be the most awful movie of the year by far.
By this point, though Warner Bros is too invested in the franchise to fully kill their DC cinematic universe, so while a clean break might be best for all involved (especially Jimmy Olsen), future filmmakers will simply be saddled with a convoluted canon that’s been poisoned by Snyder’s trigger-happy comic book cannibalism.
I think Snyder pulls it out of the bag and makes Justice League just good enough that we don't end up parading his severed head around the streets of Hollywood. If there's a franchise killing director in the bunch, it's probably Patty Jenkins. She's in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation where she has to rely on aping other directors' style in order to make a serviceable action movie by the—extremely high yet conveniently low when they need to be—DC Comics' fans' standards. Don't look for her to return for a Wonder Woman sequel.
If there's a single actor in this batch of movies with a Ted McGinley-esque knack for killing franchises, it's got to be Halle Berry in Kingsman. She sucked as Storm (except in DoFP where she didn't do enough to suck), she sucked as Catwoman, she sucked in that Bond movie. She sucks in these types of movies. She's a great actress, who has been very good in a lot of movies, but whenever it's a big franchise or a comic book movie, she's terrible. Mark my words, she's gonna kill this franchise.
The Participation Award
Which of these films is gonna go right down the middle. Not great, not terrible, keeps the train on the tracks, but doesn't necessarily set things on a new course. The one that's safest for you to recommend to your non-comic book loving friends.
I'm not expecting much from Thor: Ragnarok. The Avengers and Captain America are making some of these other films seem kind of puny, no?
Sadly, this will probably go to Logan. Kingsman 2 will be a decent romp, Thor: Ragnarok will be enjoyable if perhaps not quite as good as people are hoping. But if you want a completely middling comic book movie, it’s long since been established that a movie starring Hugh Jackman is a good bet.
My prediction is that Logan will end up being just as forgettable as The Wolverine, and Jackman’s final turn as the character will drop off everyone’s radar as they continue to get excited over Deadpool 2.
Part of me wants to say Guardians 2, but I just know James Gunn is not going to fuck that up. I'm gonna say Justice League. It'll be middle of the road nonsense that breaks no new ground and feels like a dozen other movies you've already seen, but it won't be as officious as BvS or Man of Steel, and that will be enough to land it the coveted participation ribbon.
Best of the Bunch
Very simply, which film is going to be the best of the seven
With all due respect to Wonder Woman, who I hope gets to star in a dozen movies, I think Guardians of the Galaxy looks like too much fun and will vanquish its more serious competitors.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – from everything we’ve seen of this, and from James Gunn’s comments, this looks like it’ll be every bit as much fun as the first movie. It’s rare to get a perfect sequel, but if the first movie can make a sentient tree into a household name, the sequel stands a pretty good chance of rocking everyone’s world.
Well of course it's gonna be GotGv2, but in the interest of making this BOLD, I'll go ahead and say Thor: Ragnarok. The expectations for it are extremely low, as they should be for any Thor movie, but it's got a few aces up its sleeve. Director Taika Waititi has a warped sensibility that could potentially translate well given the caliber of actors he has—Goldblum, Blanchett, Urban, Ruffalo, Hiddleston, Hopkins, Hemsworth, among others.
The fact that it's not on anyone's radar is a good sign, and if Guardians and Spider-Man aren't runaway smashes compared to what's come before, this flick could swoop in and steal the show. Or it could be a pile of shit. Who knows?