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Prepare yourself for more superheroes, car chases, talking apes, talking bears, spin-offs, sequels (and maybe even some original films) coming to a cinema screen near you this year.
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\nNot even the death of a leading cast member can put the brakes on this hot rod action series (we’ll all be watching Fast 50 in our retirement homes and Vin Diesel will still look exactly the same). This time the gang are headed to New York, Iceland and Havana, with Straight Outta Compton director F Gary Gray calling the shots. Start ’er up!
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
\nThe original Guardians was one of the most purely enjoyable blockbusters in years. Let’s hope this sequel can keep the party going. Everyone from the first movie is back – the raccoon, the tree, the big angry guy, the green woman and Chris Pratt – and the story is set to focus on Star Lord’s search for his mysterious dad. That said, writer-director James Gunn has promised stronger female characters this time.
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\nOkay, so Ridley Scott’s first Alien prequel, Prometheus, was a total mess. Can this sequel-to-the-prequel get things back on track? On a voyage to a distant planet, the crew of the Covenant discover a mysterious world with one inhabitant: David the paranoid android (Michael Fassbender). The title implies there’ll be a tad more xenomorph action this time around. Let’s hope there’s less waffle, too.
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\nA much-anticipated reboot of the original smash-hit series, the 2017 version of The Mummy is yet another action-adventure horror movie that features an excellent cast (we’re talking Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella). An ancient princess awakes in her crypt and brings unimaginable terror, nurtured over a millennia, upon the world. This is sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-furiously-shoving-popcorn-in-your-gob kind of stuff and the first in the Universal Monster shared universe that will include Van Helsing and The Wolf Man.
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\nWonder Woman made a guest appearance this year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In 2017, she gets her own movie, 70 years after making her comic book debut and played by actress Gal Gadot. This is the first-ever superhero movie to be directed by a woman – Patty Jenkins (Monster) – and it’s the first since Elektra in 2005 to feature a female lead.
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\nFew filmmakers tell grander stories than Christopher Nolan, and stories don’t come much grander than the British retreat from Dunkirk in the face of overwhelming German forces. This looks like a modern-day version of one of those sprawling wartime epics you used to watch on dull afternoons. The cast is typically impressive with Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Mark Rylance and One Direction moppet Harry Styles being just the tip of a massive iceberg. Expect plenty of pluck, derring-do and explosions.
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\nHis appearance in Captain America: Civil War was a comic highlight, so we’re officially into this reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. Twenty-year-old Londoner Tom Holland is a nerdier, weedier and more loveable Spidey than we’ve seen before, and the choice of Michael Keaton to play the villain is a masterstroke. We’ll be first in line for tickets to this one this summer.
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The Dark Tower
\nIt’s one of the longest-gestating projects in Hollywood – a big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s fantasy series, set in a magical land inspired by the old west. The books are not exactly masterpieces, but if Ron Howard’s film can tame King’s scattershot imagination a bit, it might just be something special. Oh, and the cast is great: Idris Elba plays the notorious Gunslinger, with Matthew McConnaughey as his nemesis, The Man in Black.
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War for the Planet of the Apes
\nThe first two films in the Planet of the Apes reboot series were way better than they had any right to be: smart and serious, with beautiful special effects. Let’s hope this third film continues that trend. Director Matt Reeves returns for what sounds like a more action-heavy instalment, as Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his ape kin take on a human army.
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\nHe hasn’t directed a film since The World’s End in 2013, so we’re more than ready to welcome Shaun of the Dead genius Edgar Wright back. His new film sounds like a riot: a crime comedy about a getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who finds himself in trouble when a bank heist goes wrong. Scripted by Wright and co-starring Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and Kevin Spacey, this looks like a lot of Tarantino-type fun.
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Blade Runner 2049
\nIt was the sequel no-one thought they wanted… until Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling signed up with Sicario director Denis Villeneuve. Now it’s arguably the most anticipated film of the year, picking up the story of Ford’s android-killer-who-might-be-one-himself 30 years after the events of the original classic. If it’s half as beautiful – stay away from that CGI, Denis – we’ll be satisfied.
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\nWe’ve been hearing lots of interesting things about Ragnarok. Taika Waititi, the New Zealand director and friend of the Conchords (whose last film Hunt for the Wilderpeople was an absolute joy), was the perfect choice to bring a little humour to this Marvel-verse. He’s promising a “crazy” movie with an “’80s vibe”, plus stars Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston will be returning. What’s not to love?
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\nIf the early teaser footage is anything to go by, Zack Synder’s hook-up of DC Comics superheroes is looking a little less serious and gloomy than Batman vs Superman. The Justice League gang include Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, with Ezra Miller in the role of The Flash.
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Star Wars: Episode VIII
\nWill Luke train Rey as a Jedi? Will Chewie get over Han’s death? Will Kylo Ren succeed in his quest to have the galaxy’s most luxurious hair? All this and much more as the Star Wars saga continues. Daisy Ridley has promised that Rey’s parentage will be revealed, and the film couldn’t be in safer hands than Looper director Rian Johnson.
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\nAnimation studio Pixar is releasing two films this year: Cars 3 and this cartoon inspired by Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Guess which one we’re most excited about? Coco follows a 12-year-old boy, Miguel, who “sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery”.