As the superhero movie machine rolls steadily onward, 2016 brings with it a slew of brand new comic book films. This year, we’re spoilt for choice: not only do we get to see supervillains team up for the greater good (or evil), and stand back in awe as two iconic heroes from not just DC, but Marvel too, battle it out in sweeping style, but we’ll also see franchises branch out into intriguing new directions, be it a change of genre or breaking the fourth wall. Here are all the comic book movies out this year, and why you should be as excited about them as we are.
The Merc with a Mouth finally gets his own movie. The story of Deadpool has been a rollercoaster ride: when pre-viz footage was leaked to huge applause, director Tim Miller was granted the opportunity to make this film a reality, with Ryan Reynolds reprising the title character (and rescuing him from his ill fate in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Deadpool stands out from the rest of the other superhero fare in 2016 as it’ll be throwing the comic book movie rulebook out the window: with hard violence, a playfully meta attitude to storytelling, and a central character who has zero shame but huge imagination when it comes to marketing his movie, we can’t wait to see how the film itself plays out. Release: February 12
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Don’t let the clunky title fool you: Batman v Superman looks more and more geared to be the epic clash of the titans we’ve been dreaming of. And while the latest trailer may have revealed a few too many plot developments and new characters, we still have Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor to look forward to, who’ll probably be chewing the same scenery that the Man of Steel and Caped Crusader will be destroying. Plus, Affleck seems increasingly suited to the role of billionaire Bruce Wayne; we can imagine fights breaking out in the next few years over who the best Batman is, Bale or Affleck? Release: March 25
Captain America: Civil War
Although we unreservedly loved it, many of you weren’t too keen on Avengers: Age of Ultron. Fear not, for the Russo brothers have returned from The Winter Soldier to helm Captain America: Civil War, which boasts a cast of old and new characters so large, it’s essentially plugging the gaping chasm in 2016 where an Avengers movie should be. With the directing duo’s knack for wonderfully choreographed fight scenes and emotional story beats, plus the appearance of a few new superheroes like Black Panther and Spider-Man to look forward to, this could be Marvel at their sweeping, operatic, bludgeoning best. Release: May 6
We’re eagerly anticipating X-Men: Apocalypse mostly to witness Oscar Isaac’s prophetic bellowing as the titular villain. But there are a few other factors that get us grinning widely at the mere thought of them: a host of characters we’re familiar with, but played by younger actors such as the terrific Sophie Turner as Jean Grey; the pop culture-rife setting of the ‘80s; the fact that this movie marks the end of a standalone trilogy that will probably beat the original three films in terms of overall quality. The X-Men films continually set the bar for the comic book movie; while being aware of the times and the issues within them, they strive to be something more than just special effects-driven spectacle. Release: May 27
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Alright, so we’re not looking forward to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel, Out of the Shadows, quite as much as, say, Civil War. But interestingly, this movie looks a tiny bit more like the beautifully bizarre and colourful comics that inspired the franchise, with the inclusion of off-kilter characters like Bebop, Rocksteady, and Casey Jones. Will it be any good? Probably not – but we’ll hold our tongues until June 3. Release: June 3
The internet seemed to melt under the heat of its own excitement when the trailer for Suicide Squad, which was originally leaked from Comic-Con, debuted officially last year. The hype, however, was earned: under David Ayer’s darkly beautiful direction, the movie – which sees supervillans such as Harley Quinn and Deadshot team up – looked a hundred shades of insane, with just the right drop of anti-hero cool to make us desperately want to see this dysfunctional family work together. Add to the mix the first footage of Jared Leto’s Joker, a performance that seems to combine solitary confinement psychosis and a gleeful anarchic spirit, and we are sold. Release: August 6
Just look at those recently released images of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange. Just look at them. Not only does the British superstar wear that moustache perfectly, but his super costume is refreshingly faithful to the one the Sorcerer Supreme wears in the comics, ridiculous collar and all. Hopefully, this means that Marvel have realised that the bigger, the better for this particular superhero, which will be directed by horror maestro Scott Derrickson and promises to launch the MCU into the fascinating realm of the supernatural. Cumberbatch will also have his work cut out for him from an elite supporting cast that features Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams. Release: Nov 4. Images courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.