It is a new year and a brand new website, and I think the best way to get started with both is to see what we have to look forward to with the superhero movies of 2017. Early indications suggest it is going to be a stacked year for superheroes, and there are several highly anticipated titles coming out.
Marvel Studios will break from their trend with two franchise movies instead of launching an experimental title, like in the previous few years. DC has a lot to prove after their repeated failures last year, but there is hope. Lego Batman will be the first superhero movie of the year, and unlike its serious counterparts springboards from a successful movie. Lastly Spider-Man: Homecoming and Logan shore up the list by being polar opposites of each other. In addition to those we have the usual assortment of animated movies coming to DVD, but that list is presumed to be incomplete. For the sake of simplicity I’ll bundle these up by theme and publisher.
Justice League Dark (February 27 (DVD))
The so-called Dark Justice League is the mystical version of the popular DC superhero team. The regular Justice League is capable of taking on the big threats like Darkseid and Doomsday, but magical problems tend to fall outside their wheelhouse. Led by John Constantine (voiced by Matt Ryan, who played the character on television in Arrow and Constantine) and Batman (because you need a recognizable face to sell copies), the roster includes an interesting array of misfits. With Zatanna, Etrigan and Deadman part of the team you can expect weird things to happen.
This will be a difficult sell for DC, but fortunately their animated line has earned a lot of the credibility that their theatrical line has not. Add on to that an R rating (their second animated film to get the rating, after last year’s The Killing Joke) and it will probably draw a good amount of interest. Despite its pedigree this is the one I’m least interested in due to the subject matter. That said the animated universe movies are almost always worth watching.
You can pre-order the Justice League Dark Blu-Ray from Amazon.
Teen Titans: The Judas Contract (TBA Spring (DVD))
The Titans were introduced in last year’s Justice League vs Teen Titans animated movie, and this year they will be headlining their own animated film. The Judas Contract is a classic from the Teen Titans archives, and its transition to animation should be relatively easy. We don’t know yet whether this will closely follow the original story, or update it to account for team changes in recent years. The crux of that story also depends heavily on the infiltration of the team by Terra, which could be difficult to translate to the screen. All things considered this is one to keep an eye on, and we should get a trailer soon (probably around the time Justice League Dark comes out).
You can pre-order the Teen Titans: Judas Contract from Amazon.
Batman and Harley Quinn (TBA 2017)
Not much is known about this except that Bruce Timm, the original creator of Harley Quinn, is directly involved. The character of Harley has changed a lot over the years, and it will be interesting to see if this is a return to her roots or more closely tied to recent appearances. Personally I am hoping for the former since her recent portrayals have been more focused on her sexualization than on her actual story. We still have a long wait for this title, and little to base even speculation on. With Timm involved it bears keeping an eye out for news and updates.
Wonder Woman (June 2)
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was the shining beacon of hope in the otherwise dreary Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Set during World War 1 and (allegedly) heralding a new direction in the DC Cinematic Universe this is the movie with the most potential to right DC’s sinking ship. Early trailers certainly paint a much more entertaining picture than what we have seen before. This title also has the distinction of being the first woman-led solo superhero movie since Elektra. If anyone can pull this off it is Gal Gadot, and I am highly anticipating this title. Perhaps more than I should be given DC’s track record.
Justice League (November 17)
This movie has even more to prove than Wonder Woman does. The latter can at least pretend it isn’t connected to the larger picture thanks to its World War 1 setting, but this is a direct sequel to Dawn of Justice. The first trailer has me tentatively optimistic, but only time will tell what this movie will become. It does seem to be taking itself significantly less seriously than Dawn of Justice did, which is a good thing. Still, DC has burned most of its currency with film goers so I suspect that the success of this and Wonder Woman will be closely linked. We have a long wait for this one, and that gives DC plenty of time to polish it. Hopefully.
Lego Batman (February 10)
Out of all the DC theatrical releases coming next year this one is the most likely to succeed unconditionally. A few years ago The Lego Movie was a surprising hit, and the trailers for this one have been amazing. This is also the first superhero movie to hit theaters next year, so it could set the pace. Just like Deadpool in 2016 it is quite possible that the best superhero movie of the year is the first out of the gate, but Guardians of the Galaxy 2 may have some thoughts on that. Regardless, Lego Batman should be a good palette cleanser to get us started for the superhero movies of 2017.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
Of the superhero movies of 2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. is the most likely to break the box office bank. With the original team returning, plus the additions of Mantis and Wonder Man, we can expect the same blending of humor, action and witty dialogue from the first, just amped to 11. We are still waiting to see how exactly Ego the Living Planet (played by Kurt Russell) will fit in, and what Sylvester Stallone will bring the table, but those feel almost unimportant compared to everything else.
We don’t know much about the story so far, but the trailers have had audiences rolling with laughter already. And unlike many comedies it doesn’t feel like all the good jokes have already been used. I am having a hard time not letting myself get overhyped for this movie, and I doubt I am the only one. Between Lego Batman and this the first half of 2017 should be highly entertaining.
Thor: Ragnarok (November 3)
The first Thor movie surprised audiences with how good it was. The second Thor movie, Thor: Dark Ages, was underwhelming by comparison and added little to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The third Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok, will be the endcap to the superhero movies of 2017, and most likely one of the major lead-ins into 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. In addition to Thor we can expect the first appearance of Hulk outside of the Avengers movies since 2008. Several Asgardian characters will also make their debut, and Jeff Goldblum will join as the Grandmaster.
Aside from a post-credits sequence in 2016’s Dr. Strange we haven’t seen much about this movie yet. A teaser should arrive around the time Guardians of the Galaxy 2 hits theaters, and we’ll start to learn more then.
Logan (March 3)
The X-Men franchise has been rather hit and miss, and the Wolverine solo movies have been more on the “miss” side. The first one, Wolverine Origin, was almost the death knell of the franchise, especially when it was combined with X-Men 3: The Last Stand. The second film, The Wolverine, was significantly better, but had only a minimal impact on the franchise. Early trailers for Logan suggest a more mature tone and story, which should work to its advantage. The fact that Logan bears many scars suggest his powers have scaled back significantly, which will help make the characters more relatable.
X-23 will be an interesting addition to the franchise, and she may take over lead responsibilities sooner rather than later. On the other hand Mr. Sinister is a… difficult… villain to portray properly at the best of times, so his transition to theater may be rough. That may be why Donald Pierce, leader of the Reavers, is taking the top spot for now, but I suspect he’s just a puppet.
Since Hugh Jackman has said this will be his last appearance as Wolverine this could be the one that makes or breaks his legacy. As with any X-Men movie it must be approached with caution, but things are looking good so far.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Sony has botched the Spider-Man franchise twice now, but with Marvel having a direct hand in things there is good reason to be optimistic. The character was introduced in last year’s Captain America: Civil War to much acclaim, but this movie has to prove he can lead a movie successfully. The first full trailer for the movie was not precisely overwhelming, but it does hit some important notes. The inclusion of Iron Man in the cast will probably also help the movie’s credibility, and ticket sales.
Tom Holland has proven he can hack it as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, a feat neither Alexander Garfield nor Tobey Maguire ever really achieved, but it is the writing that will make or break this film. With Marvel’s input influencing the script that should be less of an issue, but I take nothing for granted when it comes to Sony. As we get closer to July we’ll learn more, but caution would be advised until more trailers come out.
And that wraps up our look at the upcoming superhero movies of 2017. There are several movies that already look amazing, and even more that still have something to prove. Some will succeed and others will fail, and hopefully lessons will be learned from both. Either way I will be watching a lot of movies this year, and I am hoping they are all worth watching.