2012 gave us some stellar cinematic experiences, from blockbusters like ‘The Avengers,’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ to kid-friendly successes like ‘Brave,’ and ‘Wreck-It Ralph,’ to heartwarming and hilarious dramedies like ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’
With 2013 just on the horizon (Mayans be damned!), it’s time to look ahead and preview some of the movies we’re most looking forward to.
Gangster Squad — January 11
‘Gangster Squad’ was supposed to drop at the tail end of the summer, but a controversial scene dealing with a movie theater shooting called for re-shoots and re-edits in the wake of the Colorado theater massacre, which pushed this promising crime flick to January. You’ve got Ryan Gosling teaming up with Josh Brolin, Anthony Mackie, and a handful of other fine actors as cops who go off the books to take on a power-hungry Sean Penn, playing the ruthless gangster Mickey Cohen in 1940s LA. Oh, and it’s got Emma Stone. Need I say more?
Iron Man 3 — May 3
‘Iron Man 3′ marks the first solo Marvel superhero flick since ‘The Avengers,’ and unlike it’s predecessor, it won’t be overstuffed with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and ‘Avengers 2′ easter eggs. It’ll just be Tony Stark and James Rhodes (War Machine) up against Iron Man’s most notorious villain from the comics, The Mandarin, played by the very respectable Ben Kingsley. The trailer (see below) suggests a more serious take on Tony, but we’ve since been promised a lighthearted film, which should feature plenty of buddy action and banter between Stark and Rhodes, with ‘Lethal Weapon’ writer Shane Black at the helm.
Star Trek Into Darkness — May 17
Sequels can be a tricky business, particularly the follow-ups for films that were adored by both critics and audiences alike. So, J.J. Abrams’ sequel to ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ is under plenty of pressure, and the recent release of the announcement trailer will only up the anticipation. But with the same delightful cast returning and the addition of the stellar Benedict Cumerbatch as the film’s primary antagonist, along with what sounds like an intense and action-filled plot, the cards are in place for the sequel to live up to and potentially even surpass the success of the first film.
The Hangover Part III — May 24
Whether you wanted to see them together again or not, the members of The Wolfpack will be back. This time, though, we won’t be in for a scavenger hunt as a result of a drug/alcohol-induced blackout. It’ll be a more standard film format, apparently involving a road trip, and Alan may or may not be broken out of a mental hospital by Phil and Stu. Plot details are under wraps, but hopefully this third installment feels much fresher than the sequel did.
The Fast and the Furious 6 — May 24
Did anyone ever think we’d be getting SIX Fast and Furious movies when the first one dropped all the way back in 2001? The series tried to evolve along the way, garnering mixed results most of the time, and it wasn’t until last year’s ‘Fast Five’ that interest in the franchise really skyrocketed once again. Director Justin Lin ditched the street racing-centered format and crafted a heist film; basically a blue collar/street thug version of ‘Ocean’s 11.’ The team-up approach, bringing together characters from all of the past films, was terrific, as was the addition of The Rock as a hard-nosed government bounty hunter. Plot details of the sixth entry aren’t known in any great detail, but the gang is supposedly taking the heist game over to Europe. The Rock will be back, as well as a certain figure from past films who I won’t disclose here (go watch ‘Fast Five’ and hang out for a bit during the credits).
Man of Steel — June 14
Superman is the big daddy of superheroes, which makes him one of the most difficult characters to do justice to on screen. But that’s what director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan are out to do, with Henry Cavill donning the iconic suit and cape. Snyder’s proven in the past that he can deliver visually stunning and tremendously exciting action/adventure films, and it’s that creative eye that holds perhaps the most weight in this entire endeavor. The cast is terrific, Superman will be tested by one of his greatest foes in General Zod, and we’re being promised a more grounded (the most commonly used phrase for Hollywood tentpole action movies these days), and relatable take on the Man of Steel.
Monsters University — June 21
The prequel to the stellar ‘Monsters, Inc.’ will see Mike and Sulley in college, in a fraternity, training to become professional scarers at Monsters, Inc. Don’t expect these two to be buddy-buddy the way they were in the original, though. A key part of the film will center on the development of their relationship. My biggest concern: How will they fill the gap left by Boo, the most adorable animated character, like, ever? (Mike Wahzowskee!)
Pacific Rim — July 12
Director Guillermo del Toro boasts one of the most creative minds in Hollywood, which is why his giant monsters vs. giant robots movie, ‘Pacific Rim,’ has incredible potential. Basically, the world’s under attack by giant creatures known as the Kaiju and humans develop massive robots called Jaegers to fight them off. The Jaegers are piloted by two people, connected by a neurobridge, and when the battle turns south, a washed-up former pilot and an inexperienced trainee pilot an obsolete Jaeger to save mankind. The film stars Charlie Hunnam of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ fame, as well as Idris Elba (better known as Stringer Bell) and Charlie Day.
The Wolverine — July 26
After the gigantic mess that was ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ left the future of the character in a bit of a haze, director James Mangold took the reigns and is poised to steer us to the version of Wolverine we’ve always wanted to see. ‘The Wolverine,’ set in Japan after the events of the ‘X-Men’ movies, has a pretty savage Logan struggling with his immortality. Mangold has promised a more grounded (SEE?!) take on our favorite mutant, as well as some of the finest action sequences we’ve seen him engage in. Sign me up.
Thor: The Dark World — November 8
When we last saw Thor and Loki, they were transporting themselves back to Asgard, with Loki ready to face punishment for being such a petulant d-bag in ‘The Avengers.’ Thor will have his own problems, though, as he’ll be up against Malekith and his band of Dark Elves, which threaten the peace of The Nine Worlds. One great bit of news for this movie: Longtime ‘Game of Thrones’ director Alan Taylor is calling the shots, so we’ll likely see a more realistic and believable approach to the mythological aspects of the film, just like we see in ‘Thrones.’
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2 of our 2013 Movie Preview, as Tyler Hitchcock weighs in with his list.