Cinema Watch: these are the movies we’re most excited to see in 2017
Plan your cinematic calendar with our latest picks
12 April 2017 by Stuff Staff
Thanks to streaming services, we have a treasure trove of movies on hand whenever we want and wherever we want them… but there’s still nothing like the thrill of seeing a huge, buzzed-about new flick on the big screen.
And there’s plenty on the horizon. We’re only a couple of months into 2017, yet we’ve already picked the 17 films that we’re genuinely most excited about for rest the year ahead. There are a lot of heavy-hitters in here, too, ranging from the usual Marvel and DC fare to Star Wars: The Last Jedi and a few other very different flicks.
Right now it’s mostly big-budget blockbusters, since those are scheduled out years in advance and teased incessantly for months, but we’ll be updating this list throughout the year to bring in more indies, under-the-radar fare, and freshly-announced flicks. Be sure to check back!
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (APRIL)
Guardians of the Galaxy has been the biggest surprise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: a total oddball flick with currently-minor links to the rest, yet so stylish, hilarious, and packed with brilliant characters that it could stand alone without the big superhero connections.
Now that we know Star-Lord, Rocket, and the rest, hopefully Vol. 2 can explore these great anti-heroes even further while expanding their world – and from the trailers, it looks like the sense of humour, cool sci-fi setting, and bold ’70s soundtrack remain well intact.
THE CIRCLE (APRIL)
We’re all so thoroughly connected by technology these days, and while that has its benefits, the amount of information being tracked can be kind of eerie. Mae, a new recruit for the Facebook-esque The Circle, discovers that quickly, as something is clearly amiss at her employer.
The Circle looks to be a taut thriller about privacy, data mining, and the surveillance state, and it has a lot of talented folks attached: Emma Watson (Hermione!), John Boyega (Finn!), and even Tom Hanks (Tom Hanks!). Will we all shun social media and second-guess our new technological overlords after seeing it? Probably not. But hopefully it’s entertaining.
ALIEN: COVENANT (MAY)
Prometheus proved to be a pretty divisive film as a pseudo-prequel to Alien, but now Ridley Scott is going all in for the sequel: Alien: Covenant is clearly tied into the iconic sci-fi film series, and brings back a couple characters (including Michael Fassbender’s android, David) from the last film alongside several newcomers.
The first trailer here looks plenty horrifying, which is a welcome return to form for the franchise. Hopefully Covenant ends up being a more worthy successor… or, rather, predecessor to… the early Alien classics.
WONDER WOMAN (JUNE)
Woman Woman was arguably the most interesting character in Batman v Superman, so we’re intrigued by the prospect of a standalone film – and based on the trailers, it looks like Wonder Woman could help turn the tide for DC’s Cinematic Universe.
This origin story finds Amazon badass Diana Prince attempting to stop World War I, with the historical fiction angle giving the film a bit of a Captain America: The First Avenger vibe… except she’s got a sword and a whip instead of a shield. Actually, as well as a shield.
BABY DRIVER (JUNE)
Despite what you might assume from the title, Baby Driver is not about an infant behind the wheel. However, it is the next Edgar Wright film following The World’s End and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, so yes, we are very into it.
Baby Driver is a crime flick about a rather curious young getaway driver who agrees to do “one last job” before breaking out of the game – and while that does sound remarkably clichéd, it’s Edgar Wright, so it’s sure to be distinctly styled, incredibly funny, and much more original than it sounds. Early festival reviews are unanimously glowing.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (JULY)
Yes, it is definitely too soon to be rebooting the Spider-Man film franchise yet again, but our fears and irritations were allayed with Tom Holland’s extended cameo as the wall-crawler in Captain America: Civil War, which was easily one of the best parts of a spectacular film.
He’ll get his first starring shot in the role in this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, which as the title teases is more firmly set in high school, and finds the young hero learning to manage his powers and responsibilities while staying incognito. And yes, Spider-Man will remain intertwined with the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward: Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man/Tony Stark appears here too.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (JULY)
Those damn dirty apes are back at it again! Who really expected that the second attempt to reboot Planet of the Apes would be such a critical success, but both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes scored big – and the battle is only just beginning.
As the trailer and title suggest, War for the Planet of the Apes sees the humans and apes settling things on the battlefield, with Woody Harrelson leading the former for the fate of mankind. Hopefully it lives up to the immense praise for the last entry, and continues 2017’s ape-based buzz following Kong: Skull Island.
Christopher Nolan? Yeah, we’ll be there: from Memento to Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy, the big-budget auteur is a sure bet for something memorable and exhilarating. And with Dunkirk, we’ll see his attempt at a proper war film, set during World War II.
Recalling the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk, France in 1940, the flick features a couple of familiar Nolan collaborators – Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy – along with the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance, and… Harry Styles from One Direction? Right. Anyway, the first trailer shows Nolan’s flair for framing and dialogue, and it ought to be a captivating ride.
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (JULY)
Based on an influential and long-running French comic series, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a sci-fi epic that looks almost as bold and eccentric as director Luc Besson’s own cult favorite, The Fifth Element, albeit with a bit of Avatar tossed in.
In fact, the original creator of the Valerian and Laureline comics worked on The Fifth Element, and Valerian seems to be packed to the brim with visual delights, including odd creatures, stunning space settings, and a nice bit of chemistry between the young leads. It’s the most expensive French film in history, and it sure looks that way. Hopefully it’s good, too!
ATOMIC BLONDE (JULY)
Now that is a trailer. If Atomic Blonde looks remarkably like a female-led John Wick, that’s really no accident: it’s helmed by Wick co-director David Leitch, based off of a graphic novel by Antony Johnson.
Charlize Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, the badass blonde in question and a spy for MI6, who is sent to Berlin in 1989 before the Wall falls to team with a local bureau chief (James McAvoy) to recover stolen intelligence. The fight sequences are easily on par with Wick for their unflinching intensity, while the cinematography here looks ravishing. Nice touch with “Killer Queen” there too.
Well, this looks horrifying. Stephen King’s classic novel about a shape-shifting clown monster gets an updated adaptation this year from Andrés Muschietti, director of Mama.
The monster changes form to become whatever each person fears the most, and you’re sure to find something to scare you senseless in this adaptation, which pairs the original story with quite a bit of modern genre flair. And it’s not the only King story getting a big-screen flick this year, as The Dark Tower should have an official trailer for us any time now…
THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE (SEPTEMBER)
Lego’s own mystical ninja-themed sub-brand takes the stage in this flick, yet another spinoff to The Lego Movie after this year’s excellent Batman-centric entry – but thankfully, it doesn’t seem like you need to know the characters or toys to appreciate The Lego Ninjago Movie.
Like the previous films, Ninjago looks like it was made from millions of real plastic bricks, is packed with frenetic action, and seems to be absolutely loaded with jokes. It has big shoes to fill given the last two Lego movies, but following that same blueprint looks like a sure bet so far.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 (OCTOBER)
The original Blade Runner is so utterly iconic and influential that we can’t help but be afraid of a follow-up diminishing its legacy… but hey, if Star Wars can have an awesome sequel after all this time, then maybe Blade Runner can too. With Harrison Ford in both, of course.
Ford leads a cast augmented by the likes of Ryan Gosling and Robin Wright, and picks up 30 years after the original – where Gosling is now the replicant hunter, and is seemingly in search of Deckard’s help. The first teaser here doesn’t show us much, but we should be assured of a very cool and distinctive aesthetic again. Also worth noting: it’s directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has helmed two hugely acclaimed flicks in a row between Sicario and Arrival.
THOR: RAGNAROK (NOVEMBER)
Thor: The Dark World might have been the least exciting Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to date, but the Asgardian warrior won’t suffer the same fate twice. Why? Because his next standalone flick, Thor: Ragnarok, looks like a rollicking good time.
Ragnarok has a strong Guardians of the Galaxy vibe to the trailer, with a dose of classic rock, weird creatures, and fantastic humour on the back end. Oh, and an eyeliner-clad Jeff Goldbum, which should elevate any film. Credit the unexpected director choice of Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) for breathing some fresh life into this hero’s solo adventures.
JUSTICE LEAGUE (NOVEMBER)
After both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, we were about ready to swear off DC’s movie universe for good – but Wonder Woman looks very promising, and the Avengers-esque Justice League looks… maybe even better?
We’re shocked too, but the very early Justice League teaser footage showed a strong course correction from the grimdark aesthetic of BvS: it’s lively, it’s funny, and most of all it looks downright inviting. This official trailer above mostly echoes that approach, as well. On the other hand, it’s still Zack Snyder steering this ship… so we’re optimistic, but trying not to get our hopes up too much. (And where is Superman?)
Pixar is about to be immersed in sequels, with three of its next four films being follow-ups (after Finding Dory last summer, too)… but the odd film out there sounds plenty intriguing.
Coco is about a 12-year-old Mexican boy who accidentally finds his way into the Land of the Dead on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and runs into fallen family members there, thus triggering an odyssey that’ll bring him back to the land of the living. If Pixar’s next original ends up more like the amazing Inside Out and less like the tedious The Good Dinosaur, then we’ll be in for something really special here.
STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI (DECEMBER)
Another year, another Star Wars? Nah, we’re not jaded yet: The Force Awakens was brilliant, and we can’t wait to see how Episode VIII: The Last Jedi picks up from there. Will it be the Empire Strikes Back of this new trilogy… or the Attack of the Clones?
We’re betting the former, given the strength of both TFA and Rogue One, as the Star Wars movie machine is firing on all cylinders. Also, the hugely talented Rian Johnson – director of Brick and Looper, and key episodes of Breaking Bad – is both writing and directing the film, which is both surprising and totally exciting. And seriously, who is (or are) the last Jedi?!