2017 is already off to a good start, with one great film already in the bag. But what does the rest of the year hold? Here are my top ten most anticipated films of 2017.
10. My Life as a Courgette
Laika may not releasing a film this year, but that doesn’t mean we will be bereft of stop-motion, the best animation technique known to man. My Life as a Courgette follows a boy with an unusual nickname as he negotiates the formative politics of an orphanage. It’s written by Céline Sciamma, the director of 2015’s Girlhood, so expect a movingly uplifting examination of childhood. In stop-motion.
After his brief but brilliant foray into science fiction, Jeff Nichols returns to more grounded fare with the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose interracial marriage led to the repeal of miscegenation laws in America. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga look fantastic in what should be a much needed tale of racial acceptance and fellowship.
8. Wonder Woman/Justice League
I’ve cheated a bit here. But after the Disappointment Trilogy of Man of Steel, Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, I think Wonder Woman and Justice League can be taken together as DC’s last chance to prove that their cinematic continuity is viable. Hopefully Wonder Woman can show that Gal Gadot’s scene-stealing appearance in Superman v Batman wasn’t just a flash in the pan. And I’m willing to be won over by this new Justice League line-up, even if Martian Manhunter is nowhere to be seen.
7. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Another slice of idiosyncratic science fiction from Luc Besson? Yes, please. The Fifth Element is a sci-fi classic, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets looks to have enough outlandish spectacle and weird aliens to rival its sister film.
Christopher Nolan is looking to redeem himself after the sometimes interesting mess that was Interstellar. There’s an impressive cast here, including someone called Harry Styles whose provenance is a mystery to me. But can Nolan, whose films are notoriously cold, imbue the evacuation of Normandy with the humanity it deserves?
A new dark comedy from Alice Lowe, who co-wrote and co-starred in Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers. The story of a woman who goes on a killing spree at the behest of her unborn child looks to occupy the same twisted space as Wheatley’s film. This is Lowe’s directorial debut, so here’s hoping a good one.
4. The Lego Batman Movie
One of the many reasons The Lego Movie was great was how surprisingly subversive it was. I doubt that’ll be the case with The Lego Batman Movie, but with Will Arnett’s Batman taking centre stage, it should be as funny. The sly dig at previous Batman outings that is the casting of Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face is hopefully just one of many. This will probably be the best Batman movie this side of The Dark Knight.
3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians of the Galaxy remains the best of the Marvel cinematic cannon, and the trailers suggest that the sequel could easily supplant it. The original brilliant cast is back, along with Kurt Russell (presumably as some kind of intergalactic Snake Plisken) and a rumoured Sylvester Stallone in an unannounced role. Also, Baby Groot!
2. Free Fire
Ben Wheatley is looking to do for shoot-outs what Mad Max: Fury Road did for car chases. An arms deal in a warehouse goes south, and a feature length gun fight ensues. The cast is amazing, including Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, and Academy Award Winner Brie Larson. I didn’t think much of Wheatley’s previous, High-Rise, but this looks delightfully bonkers.
1. Blade Runner 2049
Please be good, please be good, please be good. Blade Runner is one of my favourite films, the best science film ever, and a cultural milestone. A bad sequel won’t ruin the original, no matter what the internet would have us believe, but it would be tremendously disappointing. However, there is some impressive pedigree attached to this. Hampton Fancher, who penned the Blade Runner, has turned in the screenplay for 2049, Harrison Ford returns as Deckard (but will he be a replicant?), and Denis Villeneuve directs. Villeneuve proved his sci-fi credentials with the exemplary Arrival, so things might turn out OK. Please be good…
And there you have it, my most anticipated films of 2017. As always, feel free to loudly disagree.