10. Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four
Now before the you shower me in a chorus of boos, listen up! I really do not understand where all the negativity towards this film is coming from. Sure, they’re changing and innovating the source material somewhat, but you have a director who proved with Chronicle that he’s more than capable of wonderfully subverting the superhero genre, and in Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Jamie Bell, and Kate Mara, you have four of the most talented young actors in the business in the leads. After all, I know you guys don’t want do go back to the days of the Tim Story movies, and those were a great deal more faithful to the comic than what this sounds like. Sometimes a reboot is the best thing for a superhero franchise (until they mess it up in the second one!) Give this one a chance, I think it’s going to surprise a great deal of people.
9. Christopher McQuarrie’s Mission Impossible 5
This franchise proved in 2011 that it had plenty of life left with the excellent Ghost Protocol, Brad Bird’s perfect blend of the vintage spy thriller, with the modern day action orgy. While Bird is gone, most of the cast is back, and they have an equally skilled director here in Christopher McQuarrie (the feverishly underrated Jack Reacher, and The Way of the Fist), who I expect will take a slightly more realistic approach to the franchise. Not too realistic of course, as set photos have showed Tom Cruise climbing the side of a plane, but I digress. While I have a sneaking suspicion that we may end up seeing this in 2016 due to it’s close opening to a certain other film on this list, it still promises to be one of the most exciting films of any year it comes out.
8. Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Now that we have all that set up out of the way (and perfectly done if you ask me), it’s time for this franchise to get nasty. Unlike the final Harry Potter film, I expect that this won’t just be a colossal mess of light and color, with the same rich character moments that the first three have done so well. Even so, I can’t wait to see Lawrence, who’s proved himself to be something of a stylistic virtuoso with his two previous bouts with this series, really cut loose and give this series the brutal, taxing send off that it deserves. No more games, it’s time for war.
7. Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man
I’m not going to lie, if Marvel had ended up okaying Edgar Wright’s loopy, hyper stylized (or so I hear) version of this instead of re-focussing it to fit more in the history of the cinematic universe, this would be a great deal higher on the list. Fortunately, while Marvel certainly does have to squash a couple pesky visions from time to time, they don’t normally sacrifice quality in the process. This is sure to be a lot of fun, with a bizarre, visually stimulating character, and one of the best casts in the Marvel Universe so far headed up by Paul Rudd, and Michael Douglass. Seriously, that is going to be a pair for the ages, mark my words. Also, can we stop picking on Peyton Reed? Sure, he replaced Edgar Wright, and made The Break-Up, but he’s also a hardcore comic book fan (I’m fairly certain he’s been to more comic cons than Robert Downey Jr), and sounds genuinely committed to making the best movie that he can under the circumstances. Personally, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
6. Cameron Crowe’s Volcano Romance
I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Cameron Crowe’s films. He always seems to find the perfect blend of realism, and sweetness, and although they’re certainly cliched, I’m always at least a little touched coming out of it. This seems like his most promising project in years, with his two leads, Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper, being two of my absolute favorite actors working today. Not much is known about the story aside from Cooper being something of a military contractor who is caught in a love triangle of sorts with Stone, and Rachel McAdams, but knowing Crowe, it’ll definitely be something to sweeten things in the middle of all the may blockbusters.
5. Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World
If you feel the need to have my interest in this film explained beyond this image, you might want to go looking for your pulse.
4. Sam Mendes’ Spectre
Skyfall was something of a revelation for the Bond franchise. While Daniel Craig had starred in a couple installments before, it was arguable whether or not his more cold, violent take on the character could be come truly iconic. Well, after Sam Mendes beautifully mended this grittier sensibly with the iconography of the classic films, we doubt it no more. After that, I’m up for just about anything that Bond has to throw at me, and with Mendes back in the chair, I’m sure it’s going to be just as good.
3. David O. Russell’s Joy
Ever since Silver Lining’s Playbook, a movie that means more to me than I can even begin to write about here, David O. Russell has had my heart and will not let it go. He’s one of the absolute best voices in film right now, writing dynamic, troubled characters, and then pushing A-list actors to places we never thought we could see them go. As such, anything he makes is something that I am one hundred percent on board with. While the story of the woman who created the Miracle Mop while balancing being a single parent dosen’t sound terribly interesting on it’s own, there is no doubt in my mind that through Jennifer Lawrence, who has proved to be Russell’s muse over the years, he will bring out something incredible in it.
2. Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Normally, deciding which Marvel Studios movie seems better in any given year can be a bit of a challenge, not so in this case. The Avengers: Age of Ultron acts as the climax to the darker, richer, and far better second phase of Marvel films, and it looks to extenuate everything that’s made this particular group so fantastic. Mainly, taking the characters to darker, more mature places while still retaining the sense of fun that people love so much. We’re going to see Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, who are like family at this point, go through hell, and the remnants of this film are going to be felt throughout the films to come. At this point, I have no doubts about the quality of any Marvel film, this is going to be biblical.
1. JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Finally, we arrive at what is arguably the most eagerly anticipated blockbuster in decades. There is no other way to say it, this movie must be good. It’s the chance for redemption for an iconic franchise trapped in over a decade of soulless, effects driven crap, it’s the time to give one of the most vocal, loyal fandoms in the world something to be proud of, and most importantly, it’s an opportunity for young kids in this day and age to be inspired to become filmmakers.It’s such a gamble, that it automatically becomes more exciting than anything else this year, because we just don’t know how it will turn out (whereas I feel very safe with Avengers). However, if the teaser is any indication, it looks like JJ Abrams is doing exactly that, molding some fresh, diverse new faces with the beloved original Star Wars cast, while returning to the beautiful practical visual style that made the first trilogy so influential.