This might begin to sound like a broken record by the time it’s all said and done, but I get goosebumps every time I think about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The original trilogy was the first franchise I really and truly loved when my dad introduced them to me as a child, and I’m ready and willing to forgive and forget the aftertaste that’s been left behind by the prequels. I’m also as excited about Age of Ultron as the next superhero fan and Whedonite, as I still have that trailer playing on repeat. 2015 will also bring with it the conclusion of The Hunger Games franchise, and I have high hopes for this wild ride of a finale.
My one wild card pick for next year is the movie Everest, based on the true story of a group of climbers who face disaster when they attempt to tackle Mount Everest. Jack Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, and Keira Knightley are starring, and if that doesn’t spark your interest I don’t know what else would.
We all know Star Wars is going to make oogles of boogles of dollars. Heck, it’ll probably be pretty darn entertaining as well. But with The Avengers being touted as one of the pinnacles of summer entertainment, how do you top that? The simple answer is to go bigger. Avengers: Age of Ultron isn’t going straight space opera as Avengers: Infinity Wars will end up being. AoU is scaling back the drama to focus on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their place in the world. Ultron himself is one of comics great villains. He’s not Skynet. Ultron has a complex history of emotions that often leads to him aiming to destroy humanity and the Avengers. At one point in the comics, Ultron succeeds in wiping out an entire country’s population. It’s a devastating moment in that pushes the heroes to avenge one of their greatest failures and is too good to pass up with an onscreen adaptation. (Ultron Unlimited is one of the definitive Avenger stories. Read it). As a longtime fan of writer/director Joss Whedon, I am absolutely confident that he will push these characters, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, to their limits.
There are a lot of cool movies coming out next year but for me I will spend every waking moment waiting for The Force Awakens. I have watched, re-watched, and re-re-watched the trailer a million times. I have excitedly re-enacted it for my bored wife. I have cleared my December schedule a year in advance with the full intent of finding a cinema that is showing a full seven movie marathon. I believed my love of Star Wars had been tainted by George Lucas’ meddling and the passage of time. It turns out the Star Wars lover in me was just sleeping and now…there has been an awakening. Have you felt it?
As a celebration of pure imagination, Star Wars has always been one of the prominent reasons behind my love of movies, comics, and my desire to write about them. While I’m crazy excited about Avengers: Age of Ultron, Star Wars is my first love and The Force Awakens is my most anticipated film of 2015. I’ll try to keep my expectations measured, but I know as the release date gets closer it’s going to become a more difficult to do so. I’ve already dusted off my lightsaber, so believe me when I say December 18th can’t come fast enough.
I love a good Star War as much as the next guy, and I’m super psyched for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I want to show some love to Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow-up to The Act of Killing called The Look of Silence. This quasi-sequel takes a different approach to the same material as the original; where that film focused on killers, this one focuses on a survivor. If it’s half as daring and devastating as Act of Killing, Look of Silence will be an unforgettable experience.
Luckily for me, the movie I absolutely cannot resist will be in theaters early into the new year; 50 Shades of Grey. No, no, just kidding. I am not that fortunate. I am adventure-seeking. Not new adventures, but familiar visits to the districts and Neverland. In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, the revolution against the Capitol of Panem will come full circle, it’s a visual closure that I need to see. Peter Pan is one of the stories that seems the most timeless and relatable to children/adults. I look forward to watching Pan as a supplementary byline to the multiple dimension of the Lost Boys, Wendy, and the pirates.
Mid-2014, my contribution to this post would have consisted of Antman written 20 to 30 times. But Marvel decided to rip that away from me and take away (Edgar, no!). Luckily, there are two more awesome reasons to look forward to the 2015 film season and one comes early in the year with Neil Bloomkamp’s Chappie. It pits Sharlto Copley as the title character that is a robot. I am a sucker for Bloomkamp, so here is to hoping he doesn’t let me down for a second time (Elysium hurt). The second comes from up-and -coming director Denis Villeneuve. His film Sicario follows and FBI agent turned CIA and, from the description, it seems be another deeply rooted character study. The kicker: Villanueve is teaming up with Roger Deakins again (Prisoners).
It’s going to be a big year for big, established film franchises, but none of those additional chapters to established series has me as excited as the aesthetic chaos exhibited in the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road. Tom Hardy is coming off a year in which he quietly might have been the most impressive actor in the business and I love seeing him behind this vehicle-filled star-vehicle. Beyond that, Jeff Nichols, one of my favorite working directors, will be releasing Midnight Special, a film about a father protecting his son from the government when it is discovered the son has special powers. . Little is known about the project, but if Nichols’ first three films (all falling somewhere between perfect and near-perfect) are any indication you can bet your ass that this will be a film you wont want to miss.