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CHAPTER ONE:

STAR WARS

THE SAGA CONTINUES

Star Wars Episode VIII (December 15)

When it comes to heroes and villains, few film franchises boast such an incredible roster of both.  In the thriving Star Wars Universe this year, we finally get to see what Luke Skywalker has been up to for the last few decades.  We’ll also get to see him train the heart of the new Star Wars Trilogy, Rey.  What more can we learn now that the force has truly awakened within her?

The Force Awakens successfully brought us back to a galaxy far, far away.  It’s almost time to find out what’s next for Star Wars!  (I still can’t believe I get to type sentences like that.)

THE DARK SIDE

Kylo Ren has returned to Supreme Leader Snoke to complete his training.  As someone who strives to become as powerful as Darth Vader, his defeat at the hands of Rey will torture him.  Especially with a nasty scar on his face reminding him of his defeat on Starkiller base.  I have no doubt we will see Rey vs Ren II in 2017 but I’m more interested in the inevitable meeting between Ren and his former teacher and uncle, Luke.

Behind the chaos is Snoke.  What does he ultimately want?  How much more will we learn about this mysterious character in Episode VIII?  Will he encounter Luke? We’ll find out in December!

CHAPTER TWO:

SUPER TEAMS

SEARCHING FOR JUSTICE

Justice League (November 17)

In 2016, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was largely considered a disappointment by critics and fans.  The film focused far too much time setting plot threads for future films.  Now we get to see if all the seeds they planted help make Justice League a huge hit.

It’s time to see DC’s heaviest hitters on screen together for the first time.  Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash & Cyborg!  Maybe a Green Lantern cameo?  It’s hard not getting excited for a lineup like that.

What kind of villain is deadly enough to justify the need for such a powerful team?  Steppenwolf.  A new God sent to Earth by the super villain Darkseid (presumably).  Steppenwolf might not be widely known in the mainstream but he is a force nonetheless.  Personally, I’m more interested in meeting Darkseid in 2017.  Will it happen?  Time will tell.

HOOKED ON A FEELING

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)

In a year that is overloaded with FUN blockbusters, I don’t think many will argue that Guardians Vol. 2 has the potential to top them all.  The entire cast is back along with an adorable Baby Groot to defend the galaxy against a living planet named Ego.  It sounds weird but that is exactly why this franchise is so much fun to watch!

Marvel’s Phase Three got off to an amazing start in 2016 with Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange becoming huge hits for the studio.  Both films also pushed the Infinity War narrative forward by splitting up The Avengers and introducing us to a new Infinity Stone.  How will Guardians Vol 2 fit in to the story?  Will Thanos make an appearance after his Guardians 1 debut?  Director James Gunn has repeatedly stated that this film will exist on it’s own.  I think that is largely true but there will be connections.  Oh yes…  There will be connections…

FAMILY NO MORE?

Fate of the Furious (April 14)

The 8th (8th!) installment in the Fast and Furious series is on the horizon.  This time pitting everyone’s favorite heist family against Dom who has gone rogue.  It’s pretty obvious the true villain Cipher (Charlize Theron) has a strong hold on Dom but rest assured, there will be stunts.  Big submarine sized stunts.

GO GO!!!

Power Rangers (March 24)

Will the big screen version of the Power Rangers successfully capture the spirit of the original series?  Or will it be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of 2017?  All the elements are in place to make this an incredibly fun ride with the promise of massive battles featuring Zords and giant monsters.

CHAPTER THREE:

SUPER HEROES & VILLAINS

THOR'S NEW BEST FRIEND

Thor: Ragnarok (November 3)

Mega Producer Kevin Feige promised that Thor: Ragnarok will change the MCU in the same way Captain America: The Winter Soldier did when S.H.I.E.L.D collapsed.  So we know a major event is on the way.  The film’s title alone spells doom for Thor.  Especially with Hela and Loki around to cause havoc.  Thankfully, the God of Thunder will have Hulk around to help fight off these massive threats.  In terms of ‘big picture’ this could very well be the first time we see Thanos in action.  If he is indeed absent from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 it’s practically a guarantee.

AMAZING RETURNS

Spider-Man Homecoming (July 7)

Is this the Peter Parker we’ve always wanted?  In my opinion, Toby Maguire nailed Spider-Man but didn’t bring much to Parker.  Andrew Garfield nailed Peter Parker but Spider-Man suffered thanks to Sony’s ambitious world building.  Now Spider-Man is home and Marvel appears to have nailed both aspects of this classic character.

His debut in Captain America: Civil War was one of the highlights.  It’s hard to stand out next to Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, Vision and more but Tom Holland held his own.  Now he’s going up against Michael Keaton as The Vulture.  Amazing.

ONE LAST TIME

Logan (March 3)

If this truly is Hugh Jackman’s last film as Wolverine, it would appear he’s going out with a bang.  The first trailer for Logan is, in my opinion, the best trailer of 2016.  After the atrocious X-Men Origins: Wolverine and slightly better The Wolverine, we deserve a classic.  If the first trailer is any indication, this could be the best X-Men movie ever.  Period.

POWER GRACE WISDOM WONDER

Wonder Woman (June 2)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a mess but Wonder Woman was definitely a stand out.  If she can rise above that world building fiasco, she can most definitely shine in her first solo film.  Could this be DC’s first big hit after a disastrous 2016 that also featured the critical failure of Suicide Squad?

CHAPTER FOUR:

FANTASTIC FRANCHISES

ROBOTS, APES & PIRATES

Kong: Skull Island (March 10)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)
Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)
War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)

Let’s start with the good.  War for the Planet of the Apes looks like it will be a worthy follow up to two solid films.  The bad?  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Transformers: The Last Knight.  There’s a lot at stake for both of these franchises.

The wild card in this group is Kong: Skull Island.  However, an all star cast and a solid first trailer would suggest this film could be something special.

TALE AS OLD AS TIME

Beauty and the Beast (March 17)

Disney’s recent trend of remaking their animated classics in live action has been a tremendous success to say the least.  In 2016, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book was extremely well received and that wasn’t even a tale as old as time!

If the overall reception of the film’s trailer are any indication, Disney has another mega hit on their hands in March.  The live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast looks every bit as magical as it’s animated predecessor.

CHAPTER FIVE:

NEW HEROES RISE

NEW FRANCHISES EMERGE

The Great Wall (February 17)
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (March 24)
Ghost in the Shell (March 31)
The Mummy (June 9)
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21)
The Dark Tower (Summer)

New hereos.  New villains.  At the forefront?  Tom Cruise vs The Mummy and Idris Elba taking on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.  The Mummy will help resurrect Universal’s Monster Universe and The Dark Tower is a literary classic with a wealth of stories to tell.

A recent trend recently sees some big budget films fail domestically yet thrive internationally.  I believe King Arthur, The Great Wall, Ghost in the Shell and, perhaps, Valerian could follow that trend.

CHAPTER SIX:

OLD FACES RETURN

WELCOME BACK!

John Wick: Chapter 2 (February 10)
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (June 16)
XXX: The Return of Xander Cage (January 20)
Underworld: Blood Wars (January 6)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (January 27)
Rings (February 3)
Alien Covenant (August 4)
Blade Runner 2049 (October 6)
Saw: Legacy (October 27)

First of all, everything about Alien: Covenant screams success.  Reaction to early footage gives me hope for a true horror film featuring arguably the scariest creatures in cinematic history.  Meanwhile, Ridley Scott is poised to have a monumental year with Alien: Covenant AND the sequel to Blade Runner on the way.

Kingsmen: The Secret Service was one of my favorite movies of 2014 and the sequel looks just as intriguing.  Meanwhile, is anybody anticipating the return of Xander Cage?

Finally, we have four arguably unnecessary horror sequels.  Each of them have the potential to surprise and entertain but…  Do we need another Saw or Ring?  Do we need another Resident Evil or Underworld?  Regardless, these films are coming and we’ll get to catch up with heroes like Selene and Alice not too mention villains like Samara and Jigsaw(?).

So…  2017 is finally upon us and our favorite heroes and villains are ready to entertain.  Will your favorites succeed or fail?  Below you’ll find a recap of all the films previewed here, release dates and my own personal Tomatometer predictions.  Bring on the blockbusters!

LAST CHAPTER:

THE RECAP

MOVIE TITLE

RELEASE DATE

TOMATO %

Underworld: Blood Wars

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Rings

John Wick: Chapter 2

The Great Wall

Logan

Kong: Skull Island

Beauty and the Beast

Power Rangers

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Ghost in the Shell

Fate of the Furious

Guardians of the Galaxy

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Wonder Woman

The Mummy

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Transformers: The Last Knight

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War for the Planet of the Apes

The Dark Tower

Alien Covenant

Blade Runner 2049

Saw: Legacy

Thor: Ragnarok

Justice League

Star Wars Episode VIII

January 6

January 20

January 27

February 3

February 10

February 17

March 3

March 10

March 17

March 24

March 24

March 31

April 14

May 5

May 26

June 2

June 9

June 16

June 23

July 7

July 14

July 22

August 4

October 6

October 27

November 3

November 17

December 15

49%

32%

55%

59%

78%

70%

82%

80%

88%

72%

65%

70%

75%

90%

75%

81%

77%

73%

62%

87%

86%

76%

82%

69%

59%

91%

82%

94%