Tag Archives: The Neon Demon

Top 15 Best Movies of 2016

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2016 was an interesting year for film. This year was full of movies that were incredibly divisive, blockbuster or not. I find it weird that at one point, people were actually saying that 2016 was the year that films died. While there were a few films that were terrible, and a couple which disappointed, I do consider 2016 a good year for film, not that much different from previous years. It’s just that 2016 had more divisive movies than most years. The following films are my favourites of the year. And of course there will be a worst of the year list, which will be fun.

Now I do think I should state that I will be releasing updated versions of these lists later on. This is because many movies such as Lion, Silence and Jackie will be released here in Janurary and Feburary. So I’ll do an updated list, same will go for the worst of the year list. This will also allow me to catch up on the best/worst films of 2016 that I missed.

EDIT: An updated list never ended up happening. Keep in mind that in retrospect my list has changed a lot (especially after seeing more 2016 movies) so take this list as my opinion at the time. In the future I may do another updated list.

Honourable Mention

Zootopia

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Zootopia really caught me off guard. I expected an animated kids film, which would just be forgettable or annoying. To my utter surprise, not only was the film entertaining, it was actually a great film. The characters are so likable and memorable (and are voiced well), the animation was great and the story was surprisingly well written and developed. Zootopia was really one of the most surprising films of the year.

Although I will admit I like a certain other animated kids film more (which I will get to later in the list), I will credit Zootopia for having the best written animated movie story in 2016, due to how well it integrates its themes with the story. I didn’t expect this film to tackle issues like race, prejudice, etc, and for it to all work in its story. Even if the movie doesn’t look that appealing to you (believe me, it initially didn’t look good to me), I implore you to at least watch it. This movie is a lot better than you might think it is.

My review of Zootopia

15. 10 Cloverfield Lane

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Mary Elizabeth Winstead, left, and John Goodman in a scene from "10 Cloverfield Lane." (Michele K. Short/Paramount Pictures via AP)

10 Cloverfield Lane had a lot of hype from a lot of people (mostly because it had Cloverfield in the title), I admit I wasn’t as hyped as everyone else. I went in not sure about what to really expect, I hadn’t watched Cloverfield, but I still had such a great time with it. This film is very effective as a thriller, it really surprised me how tense I felt throughout the movie.

This movie was very suspenseful, you don’t know what’s going on in the film until the very end. It was slower paced but it felt very appropriate. The acting was great, especially from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman. Aside from a couple of aspects near the third act of the movie, this film was great. Honestly, just go into this movie without looking into it. And don’t have any false expectations, this isn’t Cloverfield 2. This is a contained, suspenseful thriller which will keep you guessing and guessing to the very end.

My review of 10 Cloverfield Lane

14. Don’t Breathe

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Don’t Breathe is a breath of fresh air into the horror and home invasion genres. Despite it’s simple premise, the film executes that premise brilliantly, and never lets up in building suspense, and creating effective scares. It’s unfortunate that this movie hasn’t gotten quite the attention it deserves, it really needs a lot more praise.

Don’t Breathe is a very contained horror/thriller which is actually scary. There’s not false jumpscares to ruin the tension, and when jumpscares are there, they are used effectively. The tension never lets up and is consistent throughout the whole film, you can never tell which direction this film is going in. The acting was great, particularly from Stephen Lang who makes for a very effective and scary antagonist. There were a couple of aspects in the final act that I thought could’ve been better but aside from that, there aren’t really many problems with this movie. If you are a big horror fan, go see Don’t Breathe as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.

My review of Don’t Breathe

13. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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The Hunt for the Wilderpeople was a movie that was so entertaining from start to finish, with never a dull moment. This movie is very unique, it isn’t a movie that you can compare to any others. It was so easy to watch this movie and to be entertained by it.

The script of the movie is very entertaining and hilarious but at the same time had a lot of heart. The characters were so easy to love, the leading actors, Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, had excellent chemistry and were fantastic. The direction by Taika Watiti, also excellent. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople was just such a surprising movie. I wasn’t expecting this movie to be so great. If you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out.

My review of The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

12. The Accountant

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The Accountant was a movie that sadly didn’t get a huge amount of attention for some reason. It’s a shame because it was such a great movie from its story, to its direction to the acting, most of the elements of the film are done really well.

There were a few problems I had with the story, and it didn’t always interest me in the first act but aside from that, I loved everything about the movie, from the story, to the cast (particularly Ben Affleck) and to the overall direction. By the end of the movie, I wanted a sequel, and I actually do hope that we get a sequel. Definitely check out The Accountant when you can if you haven’t already.

My review of The Accountant

11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Eddie Redmayne in a scene from, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. via AP)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was so enjoyable to watch as a Harry Potter fan. I will admit before watching the movie, I wasn’t as anticipated for the movie as much as I thought I would be. Maybe it’s because I had no idea what to really expect. However, it fits perfectly in the Harry Potter universe and it is in itself a very entertaining movie to watch.

The story was entertaining and was more complex than I expected it to be. The cast was great, with Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell being personal standouts to me. And as to be expects the special effects and action sequences were great to watch. The biggest thing for me is that this movie worked at setting up sequels while being a good movie in itself. As a Harry Potter fan I loved it. Even though I have some concerns over future instalments in the franchise (especially with one certain casting decision), I’m excited to see them.

My review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

10. Doctor Strange

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I wasn’t expecting to love Doctor Strange as much as I did. I liked all the MCU movies, so I already knew that I would probably end up liking it. But I didn’t know that it would end up being one of my favourite MCU movies. Doctor Strange was incredibly fun to watch, investing, entertaining, felt different from all the previous Marvel movies and was overall such a surprise.

The world created was so fascinating and interesting, probably more so than in other MCU worlds. The cast was on point, with Benedict Cumberbatch leading the film as now one of my favourite main characters of the MCU, and actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams and Benedict Wong adding to the film greatly. Even the villain managed to be good (though having Mads Mikkelsen play him definitely helped elevate the villain’s quality). And the action and special effects… mind blowing, and so different from what I’ve seen before. While there may be a few flaws that I had with the movie, they weren’t very significant and didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie. Doctor Strange brought back my anticipation for the future MCU movies, I’m now really looking forward to seeing what is to come in future instalments.

My review of Doctor Strange

9. The Conjuring 2

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I was hesitant about a Conjuring sequel, I really liked the original Conjuring and as most of us know, horror sequels can be really bad. The only potential I found that it could be even half decent was that Conjuring director James Wan was returning for this sequel. After seeing The Conjuring 2, I can say that James Wan really is the best director working today. I didn’t expect this movie to be as great as it was.

Unlike most horror movies today, you actually care about what’s going on. It has a story, with characters that feel real. And the scares used wasn’t just scares for the sake of it being scary. It was used when it was most suited, and the scares are actually effective. The acting was great from everyone. The direction was absolutely excellent. I loved The Conjuring 2, if you love horror movies and you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out when you can. It’s now one of my all time favourite horror movies.

My review of The Conjuring 2

8. Kubo and the Two Strings

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The film already had my interest with the talented voice cast with actors like Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey involved. This movie ended up surprising me however. Out of all the animated movies I’ve seen so far this year, this is my favourite.

It was just so easy to get wrapped up in the story. Not only that but the story itself was a little more mature and darker and more challenging as a children’s movie, it took risks which I love. Everything from the characters, to the perfectly cast voice actors and the beautiful animation just hit all the right notes for me. The animation in particular played a huge part in the movie working well, with a perfect blend of Claymation, stop motion and CGI. It is such a beautiful movie, and the animation is worth the price of admission alone. I can’t wait to see more from Laika, and I hope that Kubo gets enough attention from mainstream audiences so that we can get more of these kinds of animated movies.

My review of Kubo and the Two Strings

7. Nocturnal Animals

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Nocturnal Animals was such a great movie. It was such a different and special movie which had me interested and gripped from start to finish. No matter what you think of the movie, there’s no denying that the movie is definitely unique, and it deserves a lot more praise.

The story was pretty intriguing with deeper hidden meanings, with the storylines well implemented (however I will admit that one storyline was much more interesting than the other), the direction of the film was excellent, with perfect cinematography. However the stand out to me was the fantastic cast, with actors like Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson delivering some of their finest performances. Overall, I can’t wait to see more movies from Tom Ford. This is a movie that I won’t be forgetting for a long time.

My review of Nocturnal Animals

6. The Neon Demon

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The Neon Demon is another fantastic film from Nicolas Winding Refn. Before seeing this movie, I had only seen Drive but because I loved it so much, I was excited to see Refn’s upcoming film. As to be expected, it was polarizing for the general audience, because Nicolas Winding Refn makes divisive movies. However there is a group of people who loved it, and I’m happy that I’m part of this group.

The Neon Demon is a very different film from most. It relies more on visual storytelling, and it has many layers and meanings that Refn expertly injects into the movie. His direction was excellent, the soundtrack was amazing and the cinematography was so beautiful, it’s one of the best looking films of the whole year. Also the acting from everyone was great, particularly from a supporting performance by Jena Malone, who really deserves more praise. The Neon Demon overall is a movie that’s not for everyone. Some love the movie, some hate it, others don’t really know what to think of it. I’m glad that I’m in the group of people that love it. I can’t wait to see more films by Refn, both his older films and his future films.

My review of The Neon Demon

5. The Nice Guys

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I had a feeling this film would be great, with great actors Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling involved, as well as talented writer and director Shane Black leading the film. The film had a lot of potential. But I didn’t expect to love this movie this much. This and Hunt for the Wilderpeople are probably the funniest most quotable films of the year. The Nice Guys is non stop entertaining from start to finish, and has a well written and put together story.

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe were great, hilarious and perfectly cast in their roles, the writing is well written and all the jokes hit hard. Shane Black’s direction was also excellent, perfectly stylished and fitted well in its time period in the 70s. I can’t think really of any problems with this film. More people really should’ve seen The Nice Guys. I loved this movie when I first saw it and I loved it even more the second time. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, stop what you’re doing and go out and watch it right now. It is truly brilliant.

My review of The Nice Guys

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Rogue One had a lot to live up to. It was a Star Wars film taking place between Episodes 3 and 4, a prequel (which we all know don’t have that great of a reputation) and this film is released one year after the release of The Force Awakens, so it had a lot to live up to. I had such high hopes for this movie. Still, this movie managed to surpass those expectations, which really is such a surprise.

It was a darker and grittier story than most of the Star Wars movies. The movie had me completely invested from start to finish. The third act is simply perfection, especially with the last moments of the movie (no spoilers here). The acting was great, I loved the characters (highlights were Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO and Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Krennic). The direction of the film overall was fantastic. Aside from a couple aspects of the movie, I loved everything about this movie. I will say that I personally love this movie slightly more than The Force Awakens, which is such a huge achievement, because I loved The Force Awakens. Rogue One is definitely one of the biggest highlights of 2016.

My review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Now these next three picks could honestly be arranged in any order.

3. La La Land

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La La Land truly blew me away, I wasn’t expecting how excellent this movie would be. However, I shouldn’t really be surprised that I loved this movie because Damian Chazelle’s (director of Whiplash) was involved. Every element in the film worked well and delivered a fantastic, entertaining, and overall great film.

The main leads, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were fantastic and worked perfectly together, their chemistry is excellent. The direction of the movie is quite simply perfect. Everything fitted together whether that was the cinematography, the use of colour, the music, the choreography, everything fitted so well together. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go out and see it as soon as you can. It is truly a fantastic movie.

My review of La La Land.

2. Arrival

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Arrival was one of my most anticipated films of the year, mostly due to the cast (with Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker) and director Denis Villeneuve. I knew that it would be great, as Villeneuve has made some truly great films with Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario. However, Arrival surpassed my expectations on every single level, I absolutely loved it.

I don’t want to reveal too much for those who haven’t seen it yet so I’ll try to keep my description of the movie vague. The performances were excellent, especially from Amy Adams, who gives one of her all time best performances. The direction (as to be expected from Villeneuve) was incredible, everything technical in this movie fits perfectly into place and the cinematography is beautiful. Most of all, the story was great, the mystery is drawn out incredibly well and everything ties up well at the end. I know that a lot of people are divided by the ending, but I for one loved it, and thought that it was perfect for the movie. There’s not one flaw I can find in this movie. It is a movie you need to know what you’re getting into before seeing it, it’s slower paced, it’s not action packed, but all that benefited the movie overall. If you haven’t seen Arrival yet, I implore you to see it as soon as you can. It is truly an excellent movie.

My review of Arrival

1. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Ultimate Edition

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I know what you’re probably thinking, why is Batman v Superman at number 1 and especially over all these other great movies? While Batman v Superman might not be the best film of 2016, it is my favourite movie of 2016. Honestly, I’m surprised that this movie is so high up on my list. This movie had a lot to accomplish: it had to establish Batman, Wonder Woman, many of the Justice League members and the possible future. I was scared for how the movie would turn out but it managed to pull it off greatly. The film however didn’t feel overstuffed, it was balanced out well. Certain aspects like other members of the Justice League and future enemies are hinted at but don’t distract from the main story. Also, instead of going with the predictably action route, this movie for at least the first two acts is a political thriller, with some action in it (and then the last act is full on action). This movie goes to some places that I’ve not seen most comic book movies go. It challenges these iconic superheroes and gives them compelling character arcs (well, Superman’s is shown in the Ultimate Edition). Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition achieves all of that, and it’s a miracle that it has done that.

Ben Affleck’s Batman was just perfect to me and had a great character arc, Henry Cavill’s Superman was sympathetic and likable and even Jesse Eisenberg impressed me with his interpretation of Lex Luther. Not to mention Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman stole the show. However, I must stress that the Ultimate Edition is the version I’m ranking this movie. If it was the Theatrical Cut, this movie would be down some places. The Ultimate Edition fills any holes that I had with the film and makes the film feel more complete overall. I will not lie, this is in my top 2 favourite Comic Book Movies of all time now. Bold statement, I know.

My review of the Theatrical Cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

My review of the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Well, up next is my worst of the year list. That should be fun. It will take a little while as I haven’t seen too many bad 2016 movies, when I get 10 of them I’ll make a list (and then possibly make an updated list later).

What are your favourite films of the year? Comment below and let me know.

The Neon Demon (2016) Review

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Time: 118 minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1] Violence, Horror, Sexual Material and Necrophilia
Cast:
Elle Fanning as Jesse
Karl Glusman as Dean
Jena Malone as Ruby
Bella Heathcote as Gigi
Abbey Lee as Sarah
Desmond Harrington as Jack McCarther
Christina Hendricks as Roberta Hoffman
Keanu Reeves as Hank
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles just after her 16th birthday to launch a career as a model. The head of her agency tells the innocent teen that she has the qualities to become a top star. Jesse soon faces the wrath of ruthless vixens who despise her fresh-faced beauty. On top of that, she must contend with a seedy motel manager and a creepy photographer. As Jesse starts to take the fashion world by storm, her personality changes in ways that could help her against her cutthroat rivals.

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The Neon Demon was one of my most anticipated films of 2016, this is the second film from Nicolas Winding Refn I’ve seen, after Drive. Drive was an absolutely fantastic film, I loved it, so naturally I was excited to see his upcoming film. After seeing this film, I have to say, I absolutely loved The Neon Demon. Visually stunning, excellently performed, everything here was great. Understandably, not everyone will like this movie, due to it not having a straightforward story and some of its weirdness will alienate some. I’m just glad I’m one of the people who loved it.28fc5711b37fcb526c803cf78b40972f[1]

There are a few things that you have to know before going in. This film is slowly paced quite a bit, part of that is due to the fact that The Neon Demon is also very artistic, with many visual sequences showing symbolism and metaphors. This really isn’t surprising as Refn is known for being more of a visual director. Although this film sort of has a plot, it doesn’t have a very straightforward story, there are many different ways to interpret this movie. This may turn off and come across as pretentious for some viewers, but I personally loved the story that Refn told. The last act is completely nuts, having a complete change in tone, turning into straight up horror. While that change was a little jarring, I loved the last act, even though at times it could get ridiculously over the top at times. I’ve also heard from many that this is Refn’s most disturbing movie yet, I’ve not seen Only God Forgives or many of his other films aside from Drive but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the case. I won’t say what happens in this movie to avoid spoilers (as I found many of them out before watching the movie), but let’s just say I can understand why this movie turned a lot of people off…

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The performances from everyone was excellent. Elle Fanning was really good in the role of the main character, she goes through a form of transformation in the film, and along with the visuals of the film from Refn, she conveys that expertly. All the supporting cast did great jobs as well. Jena Malone was a standout for me, there are certain stand out scenes that she’s involved with which (I won’t spoil) I have to say are very daring, she’s fantastic. Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee were really great as two of models who become jealous of Elle’s character. Keanu Reeves also plays a small part in the movie as the seedy hotel manager, he’s only in a few scenes but he still manages to leave an impression, it was a very different character for him to play.

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This film quite possibly has the best cinematography all year, which really isn’t surprising as it’s directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. I can’t really comment on whether its Refn’s best looking film yet (as I haven’t seen any of his films aside from Drive) but it looks so gorgeous. The use of colour also makes the film absolutely beautiful, visually this film is perfect. Also the soundtrack by Cliff Martinez is absolutely europhoric, memorable, it really added a lot of the movie.

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This movie really isn’t for everyone however, whether that be the lurid content, the slow pacing or the visual storytelling. If you want a more straightforward plot, this isn’t your film. For me though, The Neon Demon is one of my favourite films of the year. This film is a reminder that I really need to see more of Nicolas Winding Refn’s films, with this film and Drive, he’s already becoming one of my favourite directors.

Top 20 Anticipated Movies of 2016

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Because of the big Oscar movies coming out in January-March, I’ll hold off my best and worst of the year for February/March. 2016 will be a big year for movies. It will have many comic book movies, a Star Wars spin off, a Harry Potter spinoffs and some video game movies that might actually be good. Most of these movies look like they are going to be great but then again so did the movies on my most anticipated of 2015 list and many of them disappointed. So this time I’m looking at these movies from different angles and I do hope that they turn out to be good in the end.

Honourable Mentions

The Legend of Tarzan

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Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard), having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.

There has been a lot of live action Disney films, there’s another on the list that I’ll get to. This movie can go both ways, it could be good or could be a failure. I’m starting to feel a little sceptical of these types of movies, we recently had live action interpretations of Maleficent (the story of Sleeping Beauty from a different perspective) and Cinderella. The more modern live action Disney adaptations haven’t always been great, Alice for Wonderland (which is for some reason getting a sequel in 2016 as well) being an example. However given the cast and the director, I think that this movie has a shot at being at least decent. This movie stars such actors like Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson and will be directed by Harry Potter director David Yates. It’s strange since Yates is also directed Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them so 2016 will be a big year for Yates. I’m still interested in this movie, I’m just not holding my breath on it.

The Legend of Tarzan is scheduled to be released on 1 July 2016

A Monster Calls

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The monster does not come walking often. This time it comes to Connor, and it asks for the one thing Connor cannot bring himself to do. Tell the truth. This is a very touching story about a boy who feels very damaged, guilty and mostly angry. He struggles at school with bullies, and pity looks from everyone, and at home with his mother’s sickness. Will Connor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Connor be able to speak the truth?

All I know is the cast and the director and that A Monster Calls is based on a short story. The cast is pretty big with Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones and Toby Kebbell. The director is J.A. Bayona who did The Orphanage and The Impossible and although I haven’t seen The Orphanage, his work on The Impossible was tremendous. The teaser trailer also intrigued me, there is quite a bit of mystery that it had and I am interested. However my lack of knowledge is probably the reason that it doesn’t make my top 20.

A Monster Calls is scheduled to be released on 14 October 2016

The BFG

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A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.

It’s strange that A Monster Calls and The BFG have very similar teaser trailers. My main interest in this movie is of course the fact that Steven Spielberg is directing. I haven’t actually read the BFG novel, so I don’t know what I’m in for, which is probably why I’m not as hyped to see this movie even though it is Spielberg. However I am still interested in checking this movie out.

The BFG is scheduled to be released on 1 July 2016

Una

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Two people who once had a passionate affair meet again fifteen years later. Ray (Ben Mendelsohn) is confronted with his past when Una (Rooney Mara) arrives unannounced at his office, and they are forced to revisit their relationship. Ray has made a new life for himself. Una is looking for answers. What follows in this emotional thriller is an unflinching excavation of damaged love. The consequences are shattering.

I’ll be honest, it was Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn’s involvement that caught my interest in this movie. The plot is pretty daring and I was surprised to hear that it was already a stage play. This looks to be a dialogue driven movie and seeing as how it is these two great actors leading the movie, I’m very interested and although I don’t know that much about the movie, just the two lead actors are enough to get me interested.

20. The Jungle Book

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This was the second live action Disney movie that I was referring to when I was talking about Tarzan. I was surprised when I heard that there was going to be a live action Jungle Book movie. Jungle Book doesn’t seem like it could translate well as a live action film. From the trailer and the fact that Jon Faverau is directing this though, I’m starting to think that this film might be really good.

An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

This movie also has voice work from Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken and many other great actors working on the film. I think overall I’m more interested in this movie than Tarzan because visually it looks fascinating and because of how hard it will be to pull off. I just hope that this movie doesn’t result in a live action adaptation of The Lion King, we really don’t need that to be a thing.

The Jungle Book is scheduled to be released on 15 April 2016

19. Warcraft

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Video game movies are at best enjoyable (Mortal Kombat) and at worst painful (Any Uwe Boll video game movie). Mortal Kombat is really the best video game movie we have and that’s not saying a lot. 2016 might be the year when that changes however. Warcraft has some great people working on it and it has a pretty good trailer to showcase it. Duncan Jones, who directed Moon and Source Code (the latter which I’ve seen), is doing this movie and his involvement has me thinking that he has something special planned with the movie. I haven’t played World of Warcraft so this is all new to me but I’m still interested and I hope that it is actually good.

The film portrays the origin story of the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs, with an emphasis upon both the Alliance’s and the Horde’s sides of their conflict. Featuring characters such as Durotan and Lothar, the film will take place in a variety of locations established in the video game series.

The only thing that the movie has to overcome is that a lot of it is CGI. Don’t get me wrong, this movie probably can’t avoid that. I just hope that it doesn’t get tiresome and that it can have a great story attached to it. The trailer makes it look like it has a story and less ‘videogamey’ than most of the other video game movies. I hope that is the case with the entire movie.

Warcraft is scheduled to be released on 10 June 2016

18. Kung Fu Panda 3

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It seems like the only sequels that are guaranteed to be good and mostly likely better than the original are from animated movies. Toy Story, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda have shown that. I really liked the first Kung Fu Panda and I loved the sequel even more so it makes sense that the third film would be even better.

When Po’s long-lost panda father suddenly reappears, the reunited duo travels to a secret panda paradise to meet scores of hilarious new panda characters. But when the supernatural villain Kai begins to sweep across China defeating all the kung fu masters, Po must do the impossible-learn to train a village full of his fun-loving, clumsy brethren to become the ultimate band of Kung Fu Pandas.

There really isn’t that much to talk about Kung Fu Panda 3. It’s the second sequel to a good animated film and I’m interested in seeing how it delivers. Also Bryan Cranston and J.K. Simmons will be in this movie voicing some characters. Although it’s not really high on my radar I am interested in seeing Kung Fu Panda 3, and I’m sure it will deliver in being a great movie and better than the previous two instalments.

Kung Fu Panda 3 is scheduled to be released on 29 January 2016

17. Hail Caesar!

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I generally like the Coen Brothers but haven’t seen many of their movies. The movies I’ve seen by them I really liked though (with the exception of Raising Arizona). Looking at the cast, the director and the premise alone, this has the potential to be a fantastic movie.

A Hollywood fixer (Josh Brolin) springs into action when a movie star (George Clooney) gets kidnapped and an actress becomes pregnant.

This movie has Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johannsson, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fieness, Jonah Hill and many more popular actors, it’s ridiculous how huge this cast is. This movie is one of the Coen Brothers’ comedies, with a bit of mystery in it. As I said before I haven’t watched many of the Coen Brothers’ movies but most of them delivered in what they set out to do. I have a feeling Hail Caesar will do the same.

Hail Caesar! is scheduled to be released on 5 February 2016

16. Assassins Creed

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It’s weird when I’m living at a time when two video game movies are some of my most anticipated movies of the year. With Warcraft, it’s pretty clear that movie will be visually appealing at the very least. But what about a movie that has a focussed story with not as much fantasy elements? It didn’t seem like Assassins Creed would be a great adaptation. However the fact that this stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and is directed by Justin Kurzel (who worked with both Fassbender and Cotillard on Macbeth), makes me think that this might be something interesting.

Through a revolutionary technology that unlocks his genetic memories, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) experiences the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain. Callum discovers he is descended from a mysterious secret society, the Assassins, and amasses incredible knowledge and skills to take on the oppressive and powerful Templar organization in the present day.

As I said earlier, I initially thought that it would just be another ‘fun’ video game movie and that there probably wouldn’t be a lot of depth put into the movie. This movie not only attracted the director of 2015’s Macbeth, but actors like Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons and Brendan Gleeson, which makes me think that Kurzel has something interesting planned. From what I can tell, this film won’t be based on any of the Assassins Creed videogames but will be pretty similar. Often video game movies are restricted to their story, which can often lead to their failure and having an original story is probably the best way to go. From what I can see this movie could be something special but only time will tell if it will actually deliver. If both Warcraft and Assassins Creed end up to be great than there might be a resurgence in video game movies (hopefully for the better).

Assassins Creed is scheduled to be released on 21 December 2016

15. John Wick 2

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2014’s John Wick was one of the year’s best surprises, not only was it Keanu Reeves’s best performance (and in my opinion his best movie), it was also a very fun movie with a great world. I personally would’ve liked to have seen a prequel, to show some of John’s previous adventures before but looking at the world that the first film established, I think there’s plenty of opportunities for a fun movie.

Thankfully, one of the two John Wick directors Chad Stahelski (the other is David Leitch who is instead working on The Coldest City) is returning for the sequel, one of the best aspects of that original film is how the action was done. Instead of a lot of shaky cam, close up shots and fast cuts to create their action like a lot of modern action movies use, they let us to actually see the action unfold, allowing us to get more into it. Common is playing the villain, and he was effective as a villain in Run All Night (even though he could’ve been used more), so I think he will be quite effective here. I sure do hope that it lives up to the previous movie, the only possible way that I think this film could be flawed is that only one of the director is returning, we can only hope that one of the directors can deliver the same amount (if not more) as the previous film.

14. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Star Wars isn’t the only franchise to have spin offs in 2016. Harry Potter gets its own spin offs, following a briefly mentioned character in the books, Newt Scamander. This film will be ‘at least’ part of a trilogy, with an instalment being released every 2 years. This is definitely a movie I’m interested in as it’s not only part of the Harry Potter universe, it is also expanding it.

The adventures of writer Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

David Yates will be directing this movie and seeing as he directed many of the Harry Potter films, I think he’ll do a good job. One advantage to this film over the Harry Potter films is that although it’s based on a character in the same universe, this is an original film and not based on any of the books, so it won’t receive criticism for ‘not being accurate to the book’. It also helps that the script is written by J.K. Rowling, and because she knows the Harry Potter universe better than anyone else, it is safe to say that it’s in the right hands. Eddie Redmayne has been making quite a name for himself with performances in movies such as The Theory of Everything and I think that he will be even more known after the release of this film. This movie will probably explore more of the wizarding world and has no limitations, there are no strings attached. I have no idea what the plot is yet but because it’s connected to the Harry Potter universe I’m already sold.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is scheduled to be released on 18 November 2016

13. The Neon Demon

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I’ve seen one of director Nicolas Winding Refn’s films, Drive, and was very impressed by what I saw. One thing that you can definitely count on him is that the film will look great, and the cast looks quite good.

When aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.

Although I haven’t seen the movie, the trailer for Only God Forgives looks very nightmare esque, and ever since then I’ve thought that Winding Refn’s style would be great for a horror film and it’s great to see him actually doing it. It’s also got a pretty good cast, with Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning and Jena Malone. But mainly it was Nicolas Winding Refn’s involvement that interested me, Drive was a fantastic movie and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does with this.

12. Bourne 5

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Not much is known about the upcoming Bourne film, which sees Matt Damon returning (not Jeremy Renner) as Jason Bourne as well as Bourne Supremacy and Bourney Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass. But just the fact that those two are returning, as well as the fact that we are getting another Bourne movie excites me a lot.

Paul Greengrass is a great director of action and seeing him return with Damon to the Bourne franchise is really exciting. This movie also has a great cast with Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones as well as Vincent Cassel as the main villain. As I said before, nothing yet is known about the plot but the fact that it was a Bourne movie intrigued me by default.

Bourne 5 is scheduled to be released on 29 July 2016

11. Star Trek Beyond

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Star Trek returns for its third movie in the rebooted franchise. I’ve liked the previous two movies and I’m interested in seeing how it is, with a few doubts in mind though. From the trailer it seems much more action packed (as if the past movies weren’t action packed enough) but at the same time I’m not complaining. Its only problems is the direction they’re going in but we’ll find out when the movie is finally released.

Stranded on a hostile planet, Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the Enterprise crew face an alien threat.

The cast from the previous two instalments will be in this movie, which of course I’m happy with. These actors played very well off each other and it will be entertaining to see them in this movie. I am also excited with the fact that Idris Elba will be playing the main villain, it’s a hard act to follow Benedict Cumberbatch but I’m certain that he will be great. Because of his involvement in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams isn’t involved in the making of this film, instead we have Fast and Furious director James Wan. While I do like a lot of his movies, I’m not exactly sure that he’s the best guy for the job. From the trailers, it seemed a little like Fast and Furious in space, however seeing as how Star Trek Beyond writer and actor Simon Pegg didn’t like the trailer and says there’s more to come, the trailer is probably the product of mis-marketing. I’m still interested to see how this plays out, I just hope that Justin Lin can make a film as good as the previous two instalments.

Star Trek Beyond is scheduled to be released on 22 July 2016

10. Doctor Strange

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Doctor Strange is a big risk on the part of Marvel as it’s going to a direction that it hasn’t gone before – magic. However if it’s anything that Thor, Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy has proven, Marvel can do no wrong (and yes, I enjoyed Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World).

After his career is destroyed, a brilliant but arrogant surgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wing and trains him to defend the world against evil.

Benedict Cumberbatch is on the rise and it’s only natural that he’s finally playing a comic book character. There was a recent picture of him as Doctor Strange and he looks great, it looks exactly like he does in the comic books and I am hyped to see how he does in the movie. This movie also has Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, Chiwetal Ejiofor as Baron Mordo as well as Mads Mikkelsen possibly starring as a villain (hopefully Dormammu). I think that this film is going to be very different from the Marvel movies, seeing as how director Scott Derrickson had directed movies like Sinister and Deliver Us from Evil, both horror movies. This is a bit of a wild card for Marvel, but I’m pretty sure that we will be getting something special that can expand the MCU.

Doctor Strange is scheduled to be released on 4 November 2016

9. The Disaster Artist

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The Disaster Artist is the story behind The Room, one of the worst movies of all time. Although I haven’t seen all of it, I’ve seen many scenes from it and it is definitely something I want to check out. This movie is based off the book of the same name by Greg Sestero, actor from The Room and friend of Tommy Wiseau, the star, writer, producer and director of The Room. I myself have read the book, and was fascinated in how the making of the film went. This adaptation has the potential to be a modern day Ed Wood.

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003).

The Disaster Artist has a great cast, with James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, Dave Franco as Greg Sestero as well as Josh Hutcherson, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron and others playing real life people who worked on The Room. From the set photos, the actors even looked like the characters/people, so I think that they are doing it right. I think my biggest concern is how Franco can portray Tommy. Look at any clips of The Room, Wiseau acts a certain way and it’s hard to act like Tommy Wiseau without making it look like an imitation. Franco also has to nail the inner emotions of Tommy, as there are moments in the book where there are moments where that happens. I’ve been hearing about this movie for a while and seeing it finally get made is really exciting.

8. Story of Your Life

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Denis Villeneuve has been making a great career recently with films like Prisoners, Enemy and Sicario (I still have to see that last one). I don’t know much about the plot but apparently it’s based on a short story. Just the fact that Denis Villeneuve is directing a movie made me very interested alone. Denis’s films are usually set in reality so it will be interesting to see him taking on a Sci-Fi film. I think it will be a realistic take on this type of story that has been done many times before.

Taking place after alien crafts land around the world, an expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat.

The movie also has a great cast, which consists of Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker. Once again I don’t know much about what the movie is about but the director, the cast and the premise are enough to get me interested to seeing the movie on the big screen.

7. Silence

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Last year I had Silence on my most anticipated movies of 2015 list. However it looks like it will be released in 2016. My thoughts on the movie are pretty much what I said back then so I might as well show what I thought to begin with:

Martin Scorsese is one of my favourite directors and has so far never failed in making a great movie. He just directs everything with style and every movie he makes feels complete, so naturally I would be very interested in him making a new movie. This type of story is much different than his previous film The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s more closely related to Kundun and The Last Temptation of Christ. I haven’t read the book it’s based on but nonetheless, I’m hyped to see it.

Two Jesuit priests, Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Francis Garrpe (Adam Driver), travel to track down their mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) in seventeenth century Japan which has, under the Tokugawa shogunate, banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact. There they witness the persecution of Japanese Christians at the hands of their own government which wishes to purge Japan of all western influence. The film also stars Tadanobu Asano.

Silence is based off the book of the same name by Shūsaku Endō which is a historical fiction novel set in the 17th century. I’m looking forward to what Scorsese can bring to this movie, he has some good material to adapt and work with. The film also has a great cast, particularly Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver and I’m looking forward to seeing their performances. Everything I’ve heard so far about Silence is great and I can’t wait to see it when it comes out.

Silence is scheduled to be released in 2016

6. Deadpool

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Fox’s non X-Men superhero movies aren’t really good (Fantastic Four, Origins Wolverine), which is why I was nervous about Gambit, directed by Doug Liman and starring Channing Tatum. It has potential but it has the problem with it being a standalone Fox movie, it didn’t make the list because it is very unlikely that it will be released in 2016, it’s more likely to be released in 2017. Deadpool however looks like it might break the mold and become something great. Ever since the Deadpool test footage was leaked, people have been hyped to see him portrayed on screen. This will be groundbreaking for the comicbook genre, an R rated superhero movie, which hasn’t been done since Blade.

Based upon Marvel Comics most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Although I was initially sceptical of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (because X-Men Origins Wolverine wasn’t a great movie) from everything that I’ve seen, I don’t think anyone else is as well suited for the role. It is going to be an R-rated superhero movie, and may lead the way for more of these types of movies. On top of that, the film looks like it’s doing the character justice, just based on the marketing alone. It will be the first comic book movie of 2016 and I am really looking forward to how it turns out.

Deadpool is scheduled to be released on 12 February 2016

5. X-Men Apocalypse

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The X-Men franchised returned to form with 2014’s X-Men Days of Future Past. Bryan Singer (director of X Men, X Men 2 and X Men Days of Future Past) is returning to deliver what is probably the darkest entry in the X-Men universe. It will be the end of the trilogy featuring the newer cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, etc) and it will feature one of the X Men’s biggest foes, Apocalypse. Everything looks perfect, the cast, the director, the characters used, I find it hard to imagine a world where X Men Apocalypse isn’t a great movie.

Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshiped as a god. Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

The film will have younger versions of older mutants, Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and introduce many new characters like Jubilee, Psylocke and of course one of the X-Men’s most dangerous enemies, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). I’ve not seen Oscar Isaac in much, I’ve seen him in The Force Awakens and Drive and from that I can tell that he’s a great actor, so I think he will do a phenomenal job as seen in the trailer. As I said earlier, it will end the trilogy of the newer cast (X-Men First Class, X-Men Days of Future Past and X-Men Apocalypse). X Men Apocalypse from the trailer looks great and seeing everything unfold will be a real treat.

X-Men Apocalypse is scheduled to be released on 27 May 2016

4. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars: Rogue One L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm 2016

Rogue One is the first live action anthology movie in the Star Wars universe. This is very intriguing and I think that it will pave the way for more spin offs, with a Han Solo spin off in the works and potentially and Obi Wan Kenobi and a Boba Fett spin off. I loved The Force Awakens but I hope that there is a strong distinction between the trilogies and Rogue One. It needs to stand on its own as a great movie, with maybe some references to the other films and potentially a cameo from Darth Vader.

Rebels set out on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.

Rogue One really interests me because from what I can tell, this is going to be a very different Star Wars movie. It’s pretty much a war movie and from this picture, it can be seen that it’s going to be gritty and realistic. With Godzilla (2014) director Gareth Edwards directing it and a cast which features such actors like Felicity Jones, Forrest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen, I’m hyped.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is scheduled to be released on 16 December 2016.

3. Suicide Squad

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Suicide Squad initially looked like DC’s biggest risk (we’ll get to the biggest risk later). It has a lot of characters that most audiences don’t know of, except for maybe Harley Quinn and of course The Joker. However given the fact that more people have viewed the Suicide Squad trailer than the Comic Con Batman V Superman trailer released around the same time indicates that more and more people are learning about this movie, and are being intrigued by it.

A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

This film is definitely taking a more realistic take on the comic book genre, which could be seen as David Ayer is the director, who did films such as Fury, End of Watch and Sabotage. The film also has perfect casting from Harley Quinn played by Margot Robbie (who I’m sure will steal the show) to Will Smith as Deadshot. It’s great that we can finally have villains as the main characters in a comic book movie. We will also get a bit of Jared Leto’s Joker, who I’m sure will do a phenomenal job. Although I was a little worried with his look at first, I think that it’s a very different take on the Joker that I think could be great and potentially the scariest Joker performance. I think that his overall design is nothing that we’ve seen before and it could actually work for the film. Except for that ‘Damaged’ tattoo on his forehead.

Suicide Squad is scheduled to be released on 5 August 2016.

2. Captain America: Civil War

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This film has the potential to be the best movie yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is so far my favourite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it would only make sense that a film which has one of the biggest events in the Marvel Comics would be the best in the series.

After another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

Civil War for those who don’t know is a major event in the Marvel Comics, the film will be different from the comics however. Civil War in the comics were about superhero registration but in the film it will be more about world governments demanding accountability and oversight of superheroes, probably because identities don’t exist in this universe and the MCU isn’t that big. However this will still have the aspect of the Avengers split in two (except for Thor and Hulk, who will star in 2017’s Thor Ragnarok), Captain America’s team and Iron Man’s team. This film also introduces Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Tom Holland as the (Sony) Spiderman and (hopefully good for a change) villain Baron Zemo played by Daniel Bruhl. This film looks like it may be the darkest movie entry in the MCU and like Winter Soldier, will have significant consequences on the rest of the movies.

Captain America: Civil War is scheduled to be released on 6 May 2016

1. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

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I would never predict years ago that there would ever be a crossover between DC heroes. This film is written by Chris Terrio (Argo) and with his involvement, this film looks to be a great film. Even though I’m looking forward to this film the most, it’s also the film that I’m most nervous about. Suicide Squad has a better chance of succeeding because its biggest risk is having a lot of characters that most people don’t know, but that has been done well in the past (Guardians of the Galaxy). Other comic book movies that have so much in it have failed however, so with Batman fighting Superman, fighting a ‘threat’ (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen the latest trailer) as well as the forming of the Justice League (and cameos from Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg), this film could end up as a disaster. However if this movie succeeds, it could end up as one of the best superhero movies to date.

Fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’ most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Man of Steel was a very dividing movie and one of the most divisive elements for some was the destruction of Metropolis. This film is taking that aspect and making it the catalyst for bringing Batman to fight Superman. The writing was really the weakest aspect of Man of Steel but with Chris Terrio writing the script, I have a feeling that there is something special. Although I was initially sceptical with Ben Affleck playing Batman, after seeing the trailers he has the potential to be the best live action Batman yet.

Now there are some things that I’m still not certain about. We don’t know what Wonder Woman’s part in this film will be, we don’t know how the film will introduce the Justice League without it being rushed and Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor, although I’m starting to see him in the role, I’m not completely sold on him yet. There’s also potential for this film to feel bloated, with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor and cameos from Aquaman, Cyborg and potentially The Flash. It’s my most anticipated movie of 2016 but out of all of the movies on the list, it has a lot of potential to fail, and we can only hope that it delivers in the end.

Batman V Superman is scheduled to be released on 25 March 2016