Now that movie fans have returned to a Galaxy Far, Far Away, and the 2015 year in film is winding down, we turn our attention to what 2016 has to offer. In addition to a number of high-profile non-comic book movie releases, 2016 could be the biggest year for superheroes at the multiplex so far. In addition to obvious heavy-hitters Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War, the coming year will also include X-Men: Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, Deadpool, and Doctor Strange, among others. Some films are further along in the production pipeline but as we get closer to summer movie season (which, itself, comes earlier every year), fans should enjoy a steady-stream of new details to tide them over between releases.
Rumors and speculation abound in the industry; however, today, we have a semi-official update for Marvel movie fans - direct from Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn (who has some encouraging words about Captain America: Civil War and its new Spider-Man).
According to Gunn, who spoke out in a live Facebook AMA, he's been shown Captain America: Civil War - indicating the upcoming film is "incredible" and "one of the best Marvel movies ever." Gunn suggests that directors Joe and Anthony Russo did an "awesome" job - while also stating that Marvel's new Spider-Man (and Peter Parker) is "amazing" and "off the charts awesome."
You can check out Gunn's comments on the film with your own eyes in the archived video - starting at the 9:50 mark (after he praises the Doctor Strange script) and 11:00 (after being asked for specific Spider-Man details):
Almost New Years Q&A and Thanos ft. Jennifer Holland
Posted by James Gunn on Wednesday, December 30, 2015
So, Gunn, who earned a ton of credit for delivering one of Marvel's most entertaining films (based on a mostly unknown set of characters, by comparison to The Avengers) has seen Civil War - and is already singing the film's praises. Since Civil War doesn't open until May, fans might be surprised to hear that Gunn has seen the film; yet, Gunn doesn't indicate he's seen a finalized cut - which is almost certainly not the case with four full months before release. Instead, Gunn likely saw a rough cut, in which special effects may not have been finalized, but the Guardians of the Galaxy 2 director would still be able to comment on the film's story, characters, and performances.
Usually, studios and filmmakers are working into the month before release when producing a movie on the scale of Captain America: Civil War, remember: J.J. Abrams only finalized Star Wars 7 one month before the movie premiered. While the Russo brothers enjoyed a lengthy production timeline, all signs indicate the pair are still very much at work. Fans will likely see parallels between Gunn's comments and the unsubstantiated report that Warner Bros. screened Batman V Superman to an audience this week; yet, it's hard to compare the post-production schedule for these competing superhero movies - since Dawn of Justice was delayed a year (to provide Snyder with adequate time to polish) and then bumped forward a month. That is to say, it is possible that a near-complete version of the DC film could be shown at this stage (whether it was or not) - while Gunn only saw a rough cut of Civil War.
In being candid, the filmmaker might have led fans to believe that he's seen a more than he has at this point; though, considering Gunn is currently preparing another film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he's probably not the most objective barometer for Civil War's quality anyway.
That all said, Gunn's excitement is heartening - especially because he focused his comments on the three things that Captain America 3 needs to accomplish:
- Deliver a great MCU story
- Evolve key Avengers characters and relationships (through nuanced performances)
- Introduce a memorable version of Spider-Man
As indicated, it's likely that Gunn wasn't privy to many finalized special effects but, with CGI spectacle now standard in even the least inspired Hollywood films, a rough cut of Civil War might actually be more revealing than one that is saturated with explosions and super-powered battles. Essentially, Gunn is providing reassuring testimony on an aspect of the MCU that will make or break Marvel in Phase 3: quality drama.
Comic book movies have already begun to expand outside the "superhero" genre but 2016 is one of the most heavily saturated years ever in Hollywood - with loads of stiff competition (even among blockbusters that would, any other year, have dominated the box office for weeks). As a result, it's exciting to hear that Gunn has high praise for Captain America 3 and its Spider-Man (not to mention that the filmmaker volunteered this info without being explicitly asked).
In the face of fears that the film might be overstuffed with Phase 3 setup (fans have a similar concern for Batman V Superman), it's good to know that one of Marvel's most passionate and successful directors is excited about what he's seen and what's to come in 2016.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange– November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.