Another year means another round of Marvel movie releases, in their seemingly endless slate of films that – if we’re lucky – will continue until the end of time, or until some Kaecilius-like individual finds a way to end time itself.
Let’s take a look at the blockbusters you will almost certainly be watching this year. No one escapes the long, Mr Fantastic-like arm (an appropriate metaphor, even if that particular character is owned by 20th Century Fox) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
25 April 2017
Iahhhh-iahhhh-iahhhh I’M HOOKED ON A FEELING. Anyone else excited enough to do a little dance to the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back?
The highly anticipated sequel to the film that proved Marvel makes the best movies from the most unlikely characters. Who would’ve ever predicted how much a monosyllabic sentient tree and an excessively polysyllabic talking raccoon could have captured our hearts?
Directed again by James Gunn, the crew is back together with Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, and Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing Rocket and Groot. Or rather, Baby Groot. This time the cast is joined by Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight), who will be playing Star-Lord’s father, the literal ‘living planet’ Ego; as well as Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from U.N.C.LE.), who will be playing a villain named Ayesha.
James Gunn has said of her character, “Ayesha is the golden High Priestess of a genetically-perfect people called the Sovereign. She’s not a woman to be screwed with – she, and her entire world, are extraordinarily deadly.”
And there’s going to be another retro-inspired soundtrack. Obviously.
6 July 2017
First we had Tobey Maguire in 2002, 2004 and 2007; then we had Andrew Garfield in 2012 and 2014; and now - less than three years later - we’ll have Tom Holland in Homecoming. This latest incarnation of the franchise is big news, as it officially brings Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Tom Holland made his pretty adorable introduction in Captain America: Civil War and looks like he’ll be bringing a truly teenaged Peter Parker to life in Spider-Man Homecoming. This time around, the character will be a sophomore. Thankfully, the studio also knows that we really, really don’t need to see another origin story, so Homecoming skips over the part where Peter Parker gets his powers and swings straight into the web slinging.
Directed by Jon Watts, who is not really a household name yet, the film will also feature Disney Channel star Zendaya as a character called Michelle, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May and Michael Keaton as bad guy Adrian Toomes a.k.a The Vulture. Casting Michael Keaton as a winged villain feels like an excellent nod to his Batman days, as well as his recent comeback in Birdman as the former cinema superhero with a dark alter ego.
Community’s Donald Glover will also appear in a mystery role – which is particularly exciting for fans given that there was a huge push from the public back in 2010 to cast Glover in The Amazing Spider-Man. He didn’t get an audition at the time, but this casting could be an attempt to show that the executives are listening to what the people want. In the Homecoming trailer, Glover appears to be standing with actor Logan Marshall-Green, who fans have speculated may be the Shocker.
3 November 2017
The third Thor film (ANOTHER!) brings the armoured, built-like-a-tank Chris Hemsworth back to our screens. Joining him is the Internet’s boyfriend Tom Hiddleston as the fangirl’s boyfriend Loki, the Internet’s other boyfriend, Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr Strange, the climate activist on the Internet’s boyfriend Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk and husband-material Idris Elba as Heimdall.
Ragnarok also features new characters Skurge - the Executioner, played by Karl Urban (McCoy in the new Star Trek movies) and Cate Blanchett as Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death. As their names suggest, Thor isn’t going to be sitting down with this pair for a nice catch-up over a cuppa. The good news is, he’ll have some help from Creed and Westworld’s Tessa Thompson as warrior goddess Valkyrie.
In the film, Thor must face the Hulk in a gladiator match – which should be a fight to rival the showdown between the Hulk and Iron Man with his ‘Hulkbuster’ armour in Avengers: Age of Ultron – before saving his people from the ruthless Hela.
One of the reasons we’re most excited about Ragnarok is that it’s directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi, of Boy, What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople fame. Plus, if this promo video set during the events of Captain America: Civil War is any indication, Waititi will bring his signature, eclectic sense of humour to the production. #TeamThor