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2016 Comic Book Movie Preview: Part One

Did you know that there are at least 18 films based on comic books seeing theatrical release in 2016?  Of course, that doesn’t even begin to cover the various DTV animated films destined to come our way via DC and Marvel.  Most are aware of the big gun releases like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War, but even the big Hollywood studio films only comprise 7 of the 18 films slated for 2016.

It’s high time we took a look at those other 11 films, in addition to the bigger films, right?  If you said “yes”, you’re in luck.  If you said “no”?  Well, too bad, because I’m doing it anyway.  For the sake of flow, I’m going to roll these out in terms of release date, with those not yet scheduled coming in at the end.  Here are the applicable films arriving during the first half of 2016…

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February 2nd – BATMAN: BAD BLOOD

Batman, Batman, everywhere!  For better or worse, WB remains obsessed with the caped crusader and he’ll almost always be the focus (or at least included) in any animated film they toss our way.  Heading your way on Blu-ray, DVD, and on demand in two weeks time is DC’s latest animated adventure for the Dark Knight.  A sequel to last year’s Batman vs. Robin, this effort sees Dick Grayson taking up the mantle of Batman in the wake of Bruce Wayne’s disappearance.  This film features a voice cast comprised of the likes of Jason O’Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, Sean Maher, Gaius Charles, James Garrett, Ernie Hudson, Morena Baccarin, John DiMaggio, Kari Wahlgren, and Travis Willingham.

DEADPOOL

February 12th – DEADPOOL

The first theatrical film out of the gate this year is Fox’s satirical X-Men spin-off, Deadpool.  The basic plot revolves around a motormouthed assassin (Ryan Reynolds) who undergoes an experimental procedure that will not only rid his body of life-ending cancer, but also grant him super abilities.  A foul-mouthed action/comedy that is already receiving good notices after its initial screenings last night, this is Fox’s first attempt at branching out of the X-films into riskier territory.  Will it pay off?  Who knows!  The film was directed by Tim Miller and stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams, Jed Rees, and Karan Soni.

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February 27th – KUROSAKI-KUN NO IINARI NI NANTE NARANAI

This romantic comedy, based on the shojo manga of the same name, arrives in theaters in Japan at the end of February.  It was directed by Hayao Kawai & Sho Tsukikawa and stars Nana Komatsu, Kaho, Sara Takatsuki, Kento Nakajima, Yudai Chiba, and many more.  Unfortunately, there is not yet a U.S. release scheduled at this time.

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March 25 – BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

We’ve covered this one enough that you probably know the basics from front to back, but let’s cut to the short of it.  In the wake of the destruction of Metropolis during an attempted alien coup of Earth, humanity is uncertain about how to cope with the existence of Superman (Henry Cavill).  This pits the Man of Steel at odds with not only the likes of billionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), but also the dark vigilante known as Batman (Ben Affleck).  What follows is a battle for the ages and one in which many surprises will come to light.  Directed by Zack Snyder, this follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons, Scoot McNairy, Diane Lane, Holly Hunter, Tao Okamoto, Harry Lennox, Christina Wren, Michael Shannon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Callan Mulvey, Jena Malone, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, and Ezra Miller.

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March 25th – ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM: THE GRADUATION

Across the globe, an altogether different comic book sequel is arriving in theaters.  Details are scarce on this follow-up to last year’s Assassination Classroom, but the first one has a pretty wild plot in and of itself.  I haven’t managed to see it just yet, but given that it involved an alien octopus destroying part of the moon and then coming to Earth to be a teacher(!) who must fend off assassination attempts by the students, that alone has my attention.  Color me interested whenever this finally sees release stateside this year.

Terra Formars

April 29th – TERRA FORMARS

What would 2016 be without at least one new film (if not 2 or 3) by Takashi Miike?  Just looking at his recent and upcoming CV, the man appears to be on a roll again when it comes to adapting manga into live action, at least for the foreseeable future.  All the better for you and me, as it will give Villain Smash an opportunity to step outside the normal areas of comic book cinema more often.  I was already down for seeing this based on Miike’s involvement alone.  While not everything the man makes is great, he makes films so often that at least one is pretty good every other year.  Given that this falls into the realms of horror, science fiction, and action, I’m double intrigued.  Toss on top of that a cast that includes Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim), Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine), Kane Kosugi (DOA: Dead or Alive), and Takayuki Yamada (13 Assassins)?  We’re absolutely cooking.

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May 6th – CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

Marvel’s Phase Three begins with a bang as hero is pitted against hero in the Captain America trilogy capper.  When the government decides to put restrictions and regulations in place for the Avengers, Captain America balks at the idea, sending he and his compatriots on a collision course with Iron Man and his followers.  Is someone or something more sinister manipulating these events?  I guess we’ll find out in a few months!  Directed by The Russo Bros. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), this latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, William Hurt, Emily VanCamp, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Renner, Martin Freeman, Daniel Bruhl, Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Paul Bettany, and Don Cheadle.

X-Men: Apocalypse

May 27th – X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

Picking up during the ’80s, about a decade after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer’s latest entry in Fox’s mutant saga sees an ancient, malevolent mutant (Oscar Isaac) rising from his slumber to remake the world in his image.  Naturally, it’s up to the X-Men to put a stop to him.  The film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Ben Hardy, Evan Peters, Lana Condor, and Josh Helman.

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June 3rd – TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

Whether you wanted it or not, the follow-up the 2014 live action TMNT reboot has arrived!  Thus far, this one appears to be an improvement on the original.  The tone seems less dour and the characters appear to be more lively, with some colorful new players tossed into the mix.  The details of the plot are a bit hazy, but it appears that The Shredder (Brian Tee) has returned and has now commissioned a mad scientist (Tyler Perry) to create mutant goons for him to combat the Turtles with.  The Foot Clan has also presumably aligned themselves with a mysterious alien species known as The Kraang, who intend on invading our world.  Directed by Dave Green (Earth to Echo), this new Turtles adventure stars Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, William Fichtner, Brittany Ishibashi, Laura Linney, Gary Anthony Williams, Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly, Whoopi Goldberg, Judith Hoag, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Danny Woodburn, and the voices of Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub.

That’s it for January through June, folks!  Check back next week for our showcase of the rest of the films that are currently planned for release this year!

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