Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Superhero movies perhaps could be the one genre that has dominated the year 2016. Though not devoid of duds, the year saw some highly technologically advanced works that lay unparalleled to their predecessors and adding IMAX to the experience, movie going has never been this gratifying. I feel sorry for the people who missed some of these movies at the theatres, for they are not going to watch it the way best of the cinemas offered.
The Ones That Made Movie Watching Fun This Year
These are some of the titles that have made movie watching more exciting this year.
Deadpool isn’t the kind of superhero movie you would want to take your kid along with. With lots of profanity and violence, this one should be kept far away from children. This Marvel wonder not only just amazed us with some stunning action but kindled our funny bones as well. Released earlier this year, the Ryan Reynolds starrer was not just different but came out of the cocoon of stereotypes of the other Marvel superheroes.
For the people who grew up during the 90’s, The Jungle Book is certainly a walk through that nostalgic trail. Most of us grew up watching The Jungle Book during the days of Doordarshan when options for watching cartoons were confined to a just couple of them. The movie not only preserved the original characters but it had up the ante by a stellar star cast. Idris Elba as the evil and frightening Sher Khan stood out and gave a chill through the spine. The Jungle Book did give complete justice to our childhood memories and watching it in the IMAX/3D screen was enlightening.
Be it the sharp Sherlock Holmes of Sherlock or the intelligent yet solitary Alan Turing of The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch just needs to exist on the screen for the movie to be thoroughly enjoyable. With Doctor Strange Cumberbatch has established himself as the superhero of Marvel’s mystic world. Heavily inspired by the ideas from Advaita Vedanta and Yogic philosophies, sadly which we Indians never tapped into these subjects for making great movies, Doctor Strange was a visual treat and a compelling watch.
And the year just got better with this Eddie Redmayne starrer Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them that came from the makers of Harry Potter series and set in the same Wizard universe does looks as promising and definitely more visually pleasing. The movies from the world of wizards and beasts would be something worth looking forward to in coming years and should be more exciting than the HP series.
Alas! The favourite one this year arrived towards the end. Arrival not just scores in the visual department, but in every other possible area as well. A captivating screenplay, superb acting, haunting BG score and a jaw-dropping climax sums up this beautiful piece of cinema. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Amy Adams lands up with an Academy award for best actress this year for Arrival.
2016 did have its share of disappointments among the fantasy/superhero movie genres. The only praiseworthy scene worth mentioning in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was the brawl between the two superheroes; unfortunately this was spoiled by a cringe worthy dialogue at the end of it. The revelation of the mother’s names of both the heroes to stop an intense action sequence between the rivals and cajoling them to hug each other like brothers is not the kind of scene fans of Nolan’s Dark Knight Series would expect for.
Most of the sequels had fallen short of the audience’s expectation. Other superhero movies like X-Men Apocalypse didn’t live up to its prequels. Movies that came with high hopes and hype like Suicide squad and veteran directors Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Steven Spielberg’s Dark Knight didn’t make an impact either.
What to Look Forward to in 2017
The line of films that are to come in 2017 looks impressive indeed. In the run to make Justice League (helmed by Zack Snyder again), DC is coming up with Wonder Woman, whose trailer looks promising. 2017 also looks like the year of reboots and sequels of many past hits. Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok will have Thor and…wait for it, yes Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in this sequel. The Mummy will get a reboot with Tom Cruise in the lead, Spider-Man: Homecoming will have the young Tom Holland playing Peter Parker and Dwayne Johnson will be starring in the reboot of Jumanji.
Jack Sparrow fans can also rejoice in 2017 as the witty pirate will be back in Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s revenge, also Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper will be back with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2.
Other original fantasy films to look forward to this year would be Scarlett Johansson’s Ghost in the Shell and Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds starrer, yet another Mars-movie, Life. The independent team of Ex-Machina fame will be back with a new Sci-Fi thriller Annihilation with Natalie Portman in the lead. The Dark Tower, an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name will be another film to look forward. With Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in the lead, the buzz and expectations are already high for this flick.
Hope the upcoming fantasy/sci-fi/superhero movies of the year 2017 are more exciting and expect them all to have a release in India. Try catching them all at the IMAX theatres near you and make the year a fun filled one.
Happy New Year!