Deadpool was finally released last week, incidentally to terrific reviews, and it now feels as if the year in film has really been kicked off. The first few months of the year are always a little bit slow at the theaters, but Deadpool marked the first widely anticipated release of 2016—and it seems like we're off to a good start! So let's look ahead at some of the other major releases we'll be seeing as the year moves along.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice
The title pretty much says it all. This would be a major film no matter when it was released. However, it also feels like a make-or-break moment for DC in cinema. While Marvel took years to build up characters and storylines that ultimately converged in films like The Avengers, DC is skipping the setup and jumping right into a massive movie with a huge collection of heroes. If it's not really good, DC is in a bit of trouble.
Captain America: Civil War
Marvel's been at its most intriguing when bringing heroes together, and Civil War will bring about the biggest collection yet. So far, the collaborative Marvel films have focused on Avengers characters, while broader gatherings have been left to comics and games for the most part. Online MMOs, apps, and even this site's Marvel roulette game have meanwhile excelled at mashing up characters from different branches of Marvel entertainment. In that roulette game alone, fans can enjoy Avengers, Spider-Man, and X-Men all in one place. Civil War is interesting because it's trending closer to that kind of scale, most notably by roping Spider-Man into the world of the Avengers for the first time. Not to mention it seems pretty thrilling to present an internal struggle between Captain America, Iron Man, and their respective "teams."
Sticking with the trend of superhero films carrying us through the spring, X-Men: Apocalypse will follow close on the heels of Civil War. Building on the success of a decade and-a-half's worth of X-Men films, but particularly recent installments First Class and Days Of Future Past, this looks to be the biggest adventure yet for Hollywood's longest-running cinematic superheroes.
Thirteen years after Finding Nemo helped to put Pixar back on the map, beloved character Dory is going on her own adventure. This will be hands-down the biggest animated event of the year.
Independence Day Resurgence
This would have been a bigger one if Will Smith were returning for the sequel. His decision not to do so is explained to some extent here, but the truth is that even without him this is bound to be a whole lot of fun. Basically, the aliens that attacked in Independence Day are back, and the humans will try to fend them off with defenses bolstered by the aliens' own technology. Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman return, this time with the aide of Liam Hemsworth.
Star Trek Beyond
There are questions about where this series will go with J.J. Abrams no longer at the helm, but many will tune in for another adventure with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Co.
People looking ahead to summer films were already excited about the return of Matt Damon to the Bourne franchise, after the fine but forgettable Bourne Legacy tried to keep things going without him. Then this teaser aired during the Super Bowl and excitement jumped up a notch. This looks like good old Bourne at his most brutal, and it could steal the show in the action category from a crowded year of superhero flicks.
No one quite knows what to expect from this strange spin on superhero movies. The Suicide Squad tale is one of DC's most notorious villains being brought together by the government to form an elite, deadly task force. The main draw here is sheer character curiosity, as fans can't wait to see Margot Robbie and Jared Leto take on Harley Quinn and the Joker, respectively.
The Girl On The Train
This might be something of a dark horse, but it's a pretty clear successor to Gone Girl, even if the two aren't related at all. Both are dark thrillers spun from best-selling novels, and of course both have "girl" in the title. That may sound silly, but it's probably a good bet that the two films will end up being compared.
As mentioned, some of Marvel's most expansive content has been in video games, and that's pretty much the only place Doctor Strange has appeared for modern superhero fans. Among others, this app features him pretty prominently as a mystical character that can be used in battle. But now we're seeing this master of magic brought to life on the big screen by none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, one of the hottest actors in Hollywood of late. It could be Marvel's latest home run.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
The hype surrounding Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them may actually take a hit following the news that J.K. Rowling is sort of releasing another Harry Potter book. Rowling has stressed that this is not a new novel, but a book version of the stage play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (which debuts in London this summer) will be published and the entire world is sure to go absolutely wild for it. Stage and page aside, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them will bring Rowling's wizarding world back to the big screen. This is the story of Newt Scamander, author of a magical creatures textbook read by students at Hogwarts, as he travels the world gathering his knowledge of those very magical creatures. Eddie Redmayne will star in a project that has a chance to steal the spotlight in 2016.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
This is the first of possibly innumerable Star Wars spinoffs planned by Disney. It will tell the story of how the Rebels initially stole the blueprints for the Death Star before the events of A New Hope. Felicity Jones and Mads Mikkelsen headline the cast.