2016 saw a solid year for the MCU on the big screen, capped off by a compelling debut for Doctor Strange. The lineup this year ought to be every bit as good. So what’s on deck for 2017?
If you enjoy these movies as much as I do and you’ve been paying even the slightest bit of attention, then that’s probably a dumb question. But on the off chance that you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months, let’s take a look.
May 5th – Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
There can be little doubt that this is one of the most anticipated movies of the year, and it’s not just because of Baby Groot. The success enjoyed by the first Guardians of the Galaxy was somewhat unlooked for, maybe something of a surprise. However, if Volume 2 continues that success, it won’t be much of a shock to anyone.
The galaxy needs saving again. Surprise, surprise. This time it looks like the Guardians may be getting some new team members in Pom Klementieff’s Mantis and even Karen Gillan’s Nebula. There seems to be a possibility that Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) deranged, homicidal sister, initially an enemy, could now become an unlikely ally. Also returning is Michael Rooker’s Yondu, probably looking for some payback after Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill tricked him, but just might find himself participating in the galaxy saving yet again.
Mantis isn’t the sequel’s only newcomer, as Star Lord will finally come face to face with his father. Acting veteran Kurt Russell takes on the role of Ego, the Living Planet. It’s clear that the onscreen adaptation of this character won’t be using that title as literally as the comics have, though he’ll almost certainly be an individual in possession of great power and intellect. Not much is known about Ego, except that Quill’s mother seemed to almost worship him, while it’s obvious that Yondu’s opinion of him is less than favorable. Could he be something of a wild card, being generally good, perhaps, but with a planet-sized ego? Headstrong and unpredictable, maybe? That would make him not unlike his son, and Quill’s mother did indicate that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Regardless, it should be an interesting family reunion.
As Star Lord and the Guardians embark on their next adventure, it’ll be worth noting if they continue to drift from their anti-hero status and move a bit closer to hero status. You can expect a smattering of language and a few less than appropriate references – something else to consider. No doubt there will be some good laughs, though.
July 7th – Spider-Man: Homecoming
There was a lot to love about Captain America: Civil War, but Spider-Man was definitely one of the bigger highlights. Tom Holland turned heads with his portrayal of the young web-slinger. He may not have had a ton of screen time, but it was enough, because he sure made it count. After an appetizer like that, we’re all ready for the main course, and Spider-Man: Homecoming promises to deliver.
Tom Holland is my favorite Peter Parker, capturing that kid-hero persona better than anyone I’ve seen so far. As exciting as it is that he’s getting his own movie, though, an appearance from Tony Stark can only make it better. The chances that Robert Downey Jr. will steal the show aren’t very high, as Holland has already established that he is more than capable of making his presence felt. Seeing as how Stark has already been something of a mentor and benefactor to Parker, it makes sense that he might be there from time to time to talk him through some growing pains as a budding young hero. Holland and Downey have proven that they have fantastic chemistry, so who doesn’t want to see more of that, anyway?
Before the casting of the villain was announced, there was already plenty to look forward to. Then Michael Keaton’s name was thrown into the mix. The MCU has had some good villains, but it’s also had a few less than convincing ones. Somehow I doubt that Michael Keaton’s Vulture will be among the latter. This won’t be Keaton’s first time in a superhero flick, having experience in two outings as DC’s Caped Crusader. While I will say that playing the role of antagonist does seem like a different speed for him, I think he has enough versatility to pull it off. I’m eager to see him play this part.
November 3rd – Thor: Ragnarok
While neither of the first two Thor movies are in my top five Marvel films, I do think they’re underrated. I have a hunch, though, that Thor: Ragnarok will get the respect it demands. Have you seen the list of cast members for this one? It’s kind of jaw dropping. In addition to most of the regulars, you’ve got Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Ruffalo, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Karl Urban. There is so much potential here.
Just a year after we watched Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange save the world from Dormammu, we’ll see him make his return for Ragnarok. Presumably, he’ll be helping Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in their search for Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Cumberbatch’s involvement may not take up a huge chunk of the film, but I imagine he’ll be around long enough to make it interesting.
The casting choice that’s really caught my attention, though, is Cate Blanchett. Blanchett has been given the part of Hela, the film’s big baddie. I am really looking forward to this. Blanchett is one of the best in the business and can bring a lot of depth. She has already proven her metal when portraying an antagonist (take, for example, her performance as the wicked stepmother in Cinderella), so this should be right in her wheelhouse. Now let’s just hope the script gives her a strong presence – we don’t want another Malekith.
Thor and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) managed to avoid the drama of Civil War, but it looks like Ragnarok is going to make up for that. Once more, it’s hero versus hero, as Thor and Hulk will be pitted against each other in a gladiator match. We’ve already been given a preview of this in The Avengers, when Thor strove mightily to bring a berserk Hulk to heel. However, this could be more intense than just trying to help a friend come to his senses. A fight between gladiators often means there can only be one survivor.
Thor: Ragnarok is stacked with great talent and should be fun, dramatic, and action-packed. If done right, it’ll be one of the year’s best films.
In case you missed it, the first teaser trailer just landed earlier this week. Check it out (Cate Blanchett looks menacing).
The MCU definitely has plenty to look forward to this year. None of these films should have any trouble at the box office, and I expect they’ll be one smash after another. If these movies are all as good as they look, 2017 will be one of the best years Marvel Studios has ever had.