2016 will be a year of superheroes. So far, there are eight superhero blockbusters scheduled for release throughout the next year. At least four of those films will feature entire groups of well-known super-powered heroes and villains battling each other.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe entering its eight year and the DC Extended Universe gaining momentum, the over-saturation of superhero stories has become a growing concern. Is there enough demand from worldwide audiences to satisfy the huge investments made in these tentpole pictures?
But until that time arrives, we present you with the 8 Most Anticipated Superhero Movies of 2016.
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Evil is afoot in New York City as Shredder (Brian Tee), leader of the evil Foot Clan, hires Dr. Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) to create mutants to use against the heroic Ninja Turtles. Enter Bebop and Rocksteady – a mutated humanoid boar and rhinoceros, respectively. To defeat them, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo will need all the help they can get, not just from their journalist friend April O’Neil but also from street vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell).
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984 as a parody of superhero and vigilante comics. By the early 1990s though, Ninja Turtles became hugely popular superheroes of their own, appearing in comic books, cartoons and movies. In 2014, producer Michael Bay rebooted the franchise with Transformers star Megan Fox in the lead. Two years later, American filmmaker Dave Green is directing this sequel, which seems to return the franchise to the cheeky sense of humor it was always known for.
The character of Remy LeBeau, better known as Gambit, was originally created as an anti-hero, sometimes associated with the X-Men, for Marvel Comics back in 1990 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. Gambit is a Cajun thief whose mutant powers allow him control over the kinetic energy of objects, which he uses by throwing playing cards to surprisingly devastating effects. Gambit first appeared on the big screen in 2009 in X-Men Origins: Wolverine as a supporting character played by Taylor Kitsch. Now, Marvel Studios is planning a solo Gambit movie with Channing Tatum in the titular role.
However, during its development, Gambit lost its original director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) due to scheduling conflicts. Wyatt was eventually replaced with Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow), although there’s a distinct possibility that Gambit might be postponed from its original release date of October 7, 2016 all the way to 2017.
6. Suicide Squad
The ultimate black ops strike force, Suicide Squad, is a group of super-powered villains secretly released from prison and controlled by surgically implanted micro-bombs. Consisting of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) as well as some other equally dangerous bad guys, they operate under the supervision of ruthless the government operative Amanda Waller (Viola Davis).
Originally created in 1959 by Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru as comic-book version of The Dirty Dozen, Suicide Squad was shaped into present form by writer John Ostrander. The movie is directed by filmmaker David Ayer, known for his crime dramas and thrillers such as Harsh Times (2005), Street Kings (2008) and End of Watch (2012). This movie first drew attention of comic book fans in April when the first pictures of Jared Leto’s Joker appeared on the internet, and the footage release at least year’s Comic-Con in San Diego only made them more excited.
5. Doctor Strange
After barely surviving terrible car accident, world-renowned neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) finds himself more receptive to a hidden world of mystical powers and alternate dimensions. With his professional career in ruins, he embarks upon a journey of discovery. He meets wise teachers such as the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) as well as potential new rivals like Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor).
The character of Doctor Strange was created in 1963 by Steve Ditko for Marvel Comics. Directed by veteran horror film maker Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil), Doctor Strange marks first ever big screen adaptation of this character. The cast of the film also includes Rachel McAdams (Midnight in Paris), Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire).
Motor-mouth mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) volunteers himself to the Weapon X program (which also transformed “James Howlitt” into Wolverine once upon a time), hoping that these radical experiments will cure him of cancer. Although the procedure gives him accelerated healing powers, he also becomes disfigured and, maybe, just a little bit insane. Adapting a costumed alter ego and calling himself Deadpool, Wilson now plots revenge against Ajax (Ed Skrein), a man responsible for destroying his life.
Created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld in early 1990s, Deadpool first appeared on film as a supporting character in 2009 X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where he was also played by Reynolds. Although in that version, Deadpool’s characteristic sharp wit was hampered by the incomprehensible decision to have his mouth sewed shut.
The cast of this Deadpool features, among others, T. J. Miller, Morena Baccarin and former mixed martial artist Gina Carano. It’s the first feature film of director Tim Miller, and it comes with an R-rating. This will definitely influence its box office, but also ensure that the film stays true to this iconic Marvel antihero.
3. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
After his battle against general Zod (Michael Shannon) left Metropolis in ruins, Superman (Henry Cavill) draws people’s anger, alarm and adoration in equal measure. Gotham City’s masked vigilante Batman (Ben Affleck) sees him as a threat to mankind that needs to be stopped. Meanwhile, evil genius Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has plans of his own and not even these two superheroes might be enough to prevent them. Luckily, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is here to help.
In 2013, director Zack Snyder created some controversy with his grim and gritty vision of Superman. Criticized for its excessive violence as well as for outbursts of pretentiousness, Man of Steel was nevertheless box office success. Now, with the introduction of Batman in the storyline, there’s a chance that Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice might be even grimmer and grittier.
2. X-Men: Apocalypse
Director Bryan Singer returns once again to X-Men franchise with X-Men: Apocalypse – an epic story about En Sabah Nur (played by Oscar Isaac), the oldest and most powerful of mutants, who wakes up after millennia of sleep ready to cleanse mankind and create a new world for his followers. While some mutants like Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Psylocke (Olivia Munn) find themselves drawn to Apocalypse, others like Professor X (James McAvoy) or The Beast (Nicholas Hoult) struggle to prevent upcoming apocalypse.
X-Men: Apocalypse will feature a huge cast of heroes and villains in an epic showdown, including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and many others. For better or worse, X-Men: Apocalypse promises to offer more of the same for all the fans of the X-Men series.
1. Captain America: Civil War
With Avengers battling evil all over the world, escalating collateral damage leads to demands that all superheroes submit to government control. While past events made Captain America (Chris Evans) distrust politicians, they also made Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) more willing to submit to their scrutiny. As these opposing viewpoints clash, other Avengers like Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and outsiders like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) find themselves forced to pick a side in the upcoming conflict.
Captain America: Civil War is loosely based upon a 2006 miniseries written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven. Brothers Anthony and Joe Russo proved themselves in 2014 with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but here they face a much bigger challenge, directing a superhero epic with a sprawling cast of heroes including Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and many others. The stakes are high for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in this film, but the excellent trailers have us feeling that this cast and crew might be able to make it work.
Captain America: Civil War comes out on May 6, 2016.
Which one of these superhero movies are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!