Heroes vs. Heroes, and a whole lot more1 of 122016 promises to be a banner year for superhero and genre cinema. With over 20 major movies that fall into those categories set for release between now and 2017, this could be one of the biggest film years for fandom yet. In fact, it’s been a major topic of discussion among the writers at Newsarama – so big, we decided to put our heads together and rank the ones we, as a team, are most excited for.
Of course, with so many films on the horizon, we couldn’t rank them all – and some surprising candidates, such as Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Gambit didn’t even crack the top ten. Likewise, some dark horse candidates did sneak their way onto our list.
Bear in mind, not all of these films originate from comic books, but they do fit in the niche of genre movies. We made this list by polling 15 Newsarama writers, compiling our rankings into one definitive list of Newsarama’s most anticipated films of 2016.
And for a full listing of all the superhero, comic book, and genre movies coming out this year, check out our continuously updated schedule.
Fifth Bourne Movie2 of 12Well, we like superheroes and arguably the newest superhero on our list (if you don’t count the original novels the franchise is based on) checks in at #10.
Matt Damon’s return to Jason Bourne in an untitled fifth entry (fourth if ignore the Hawkeye installment) is maybe the biggest wildcard on our list. Other than Damon and director Paul Greengrass are likely going to pull all the stops to top the previous films given their near-decade reluctance to return to the franchise, not much is known about Bourne 5 other than a few scent details. And maybe that mystery helped it eclipse other films like the aforementioned Gambit and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them into our top 10.
Bourne 5 opens in theaters July 29.
Star Trek Beyond3 of 12Another film with air of mystery – and uncertainly – surrounding it is Paramount’s Star Trek Beyond. With the mixed/polarizing reception to Star Trek: Into Darkness and J.J. Abrams jumping starship completely for Star Wars, the solid ground the franchise was on after the 2009 reboot feels it could be hiding a sinkhole just seven years later.
And that first trailer and its surprisingly un-Trek vibe rattled even optimistic fans but good, despite actor/co-writer Simon Pegg and director Justin Lin’s attempts to stem the bad buzz afterwards.
Trekkers have been in this sort of uneasy space before – and have survived far leaner times – but Newsarama’s staff consistently ranked it low on our lists, and was absent entirely on more than a few. We’ll see if Star Trek can boldly go on the comeback trail once again.
Star Trek Beyond opens in theaters July 22.
X-Men: Apocalypse4 of 12After the soft reboot of X-Men: First Class, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men film universe took a dark turn designed to bring some of the disparate threads left by under-performing films in line with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Now, X-Men: Apocalypse will explore the universe’s slightly rejiggered timeline and touch on the early days of the team first seen in 2000’s X-Men.
On top of that, the franchise will finally expand its villain roster beyond Magneto and his Brotherhood, bringing titular bad ass Apocalypse to the big screen – something fans have been clamoring for since the first film hit theaters 16 years ago. X-Men: Apocalypse will also introduce younger versions of characters that haven’t been seen in several movies, such as Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Nightcrawler.
X-Men: Apocalypse opens in theaters May 27.
Deadpool5 of 12In many ways, Deadpool is the little superhero movie that could – and what ultimately seems to be winning people over is how unique it seems to be in an ever-expanding comic book movie marketplace.
Resurrected after of 11 years in development hell, likely in large part due to the persistent cheerleading of lead actor, producer, and according to those on set, writer of many of the film's adlibs – Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool’s off-kilter, meta sensibilities may make it one of the most faithful comic book adaptations ever.
But that said, its apparent hard-R rating may also take the character to places Marvel Comics never dared, promising the possibility of something both surprising and satisfying.
Deadpool opens in theaters February 12.
Suicide Squad6 of 12While some fans might have said the ending of Man of Steel was too dark for a "Superman" movie, Suicide Squad looks to be all that and a lot bloody more. Driven by a large, diverse cast featuring some rising young stars along with a former box-office giant, DC's Suicide Squad could be the less-expected hit ala Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy that Warner Bros. needs.
Whereas most of Marvel and DC's films are produced top-down, Suicide Squad is apparently an idea writer/director David Ayer brought to Warner Bros. out of the blue – meaning a rare creatively-driven shared-universe tent-pole feature.
That if-nothing-else-but-interesting profile powered it to six on our list.
Suicide Squad opens in theaters August 5.
Ghostbusters7 of 12The world may not have needed a reboot of the iconic supernatural ‘80’s comedy Ghostbusters, but that doesn’t mean Paul Feig’s all-female take on the only folks to call when there’s something weird in your neighborhood isn’t hotly anticipated.
Bringing together comedy powerhouses Kristin Wiig and Melissa McCarthy with current Saturday Night Live stars Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon – as well as Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth and cameos from most of the original cast – Ghostbusters will put a new spin on the old classic.
Ghostbusters opens in theaters July 16.
Doctor Strange8 of 12Marvel’s newest entry into a new corner of their cinematic universe was on of the more polarizing films on our list of candidates.
More of us rated it as our #1 most anticipated movie of the year than any other candidate, but it also appeared lower (or not at all) on enough lists to knock it down to #4. Our top 3 finished in their lofty positions by appearing higher up on by most contributor’s ballots.
With set photos of a more comic-book-faithful-than-expected Benedict Cumberbatch just finding their way online in the last week, maybe if we waited a month or two Doctor Strange would have finished even higher, but either way it’s a pretty healthy showing for arguably one of the more original concepts on our list.
Doctor Strange opens in theaters November 4.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story9 of 12Hey, we’re a comic book site first, so Rogue One taking only the show position shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. And it will be a fascinating to find out whether a “Star Wars story” will have the same magnetic field as a full-on Star Wars ‘Episode.’
Of course the success of The Force Awakens at least suggests the best case scenario for Disney, but whereas J. J. Abrams sequel felt familiar, by the look of things they’re going for a different rhythm, a different feel and cadence for the first official big-screen Star Wars spin-off… on purpose.
Can a Star Wars movie count on the built-in Star Wars fanbase if it sings a very different tune? We’ll find out in about a year.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters December 16.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice10 of 12A few years ago, Man of Steel launched a new DC Cinematic Universe – one that will kick into overdrive this spring with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And, anticipation almost couldn’t be higher.
Even though Batman and Superman have a combined 11 films under their belts, they’ve never been on the big screen together – and that’s saying nothing of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, or any of the other characters making their film debut in Batman v Superman.
So, to say fans – and we at Newsarama – are excited for the world that’s being built is an understatement. If there’s anything holding Batman v Superman back from the top spot, it’s the fear that Warner Bros. may be flying too close to the sun. Nonetheless, it’s hard to imagine a bigger banner for superhero cinema in 2016 than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in theaters March 25.
Captain America: Civil War11 of 12Seeing Captain America and Iron Man on the big screen may not be anything new, but seeing them butt heads in full mano a mano glory will be. The clash between the two top-tier Avengers may not have the immediate marquee value of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight, but Captain America: Civil War has the weight of an entire universe of fan-favorite films bolstering it.
Not only that, it looks just plain cool. Who doesn’t want to see Marvel’s biggest heroes picking sides and squaring off in a knockdown, drag-out fight that also promises to set the stage for the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Whereas Civil War’s biggest competition Batman v Superman aims to bring together the Justice League, Civil War will disassemble the team that’s been the heart and soul of Marvel’s movies for nearly a decade – and that monumental premise puts this one at the top of our list.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6.
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