20 sci-fi and fantasy movies to watch in 2016

In terms of box office performances, 2015 was an enormous year for Hollywood, with films like Mad Max, Jurassic World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron propelling revenue through the roof. And these movies hit during the first half of the year, months before Star Wars: The Force Awakens strutted onto the scene. Based on the numbers, it’s hard to see how 2016 can top that, until you see the lineup of upcoming movies.

This year, we’re getting Deadpool, Batman v Superman, X-Men, Suicide Squad, and Captain America: Civil War. Oh, and the first very Star Wars spinoff, which will fill the void until Episode VIII hits early in 2017. That’s a pretty damn good list of movies if I do say so myself. What’s particularly exciting is that films like Batman v Superman and Civil War will be used as setup for bigger payoffs down the road. Justice League and Infinity War, anyone?

Our list of 20 movies is pretty concise, and is by no means comprehensive for the overall landscape of 2016. There are a lot of animated, horror, drama, and action movies scheduled to come out that aren’t listed, but we just couldn’t include them all. Take a peek at our list and let us know what you’re looking forward to most.

Deadpool – Feb. 12, 2016

Out of all the superhero movies coming out this year, Deadpool might be the dark horse. This movie almost didn’t even happen, but… you probably know the story by now. Test footage leaked, people went nuts, and 20th Century Fox almost immediately greenlit the film. Folks weren’t happy with the portrayal of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so this is also a redemption of sorts for the character. So far as we know (and have seen in the trailers), this will be a faithful portrayal of Deadpool, which means we should be in store for a very funny, very vulgar movie.

10 Cloverfield Lane – March 11, 2016

Bad Robot, the production company of J.J. Abrams, somehow managed to keep this project completely secret up until a few days ago. How they did that is beyond me, especially when some films are spoiled months in advance. 10 Cloverfield Lane is apparently a “blood relative” to the original Cloverfield, which was a found footage-style film that followed the invasion of a massive monster. How the new movie ties in remains unclear, but color us intrigued.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – March 25, 2016

I know people aren’t huge fans of director Zack Snyder, but let’s not judge his next film until we see the final product. What’s I’ve enjoyed most so far is the banter between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. Of course, people are much more interested in seeing these characters duke it out as as Batman and Superman, and you can bet there will be plenty of punches thrown. As the trailers have shown, however, these two characters will eventually buddy up in order to take down an even more dangerous threat. Guess we’ll find out just how people respond when it comes out.

The Jungle Book – April 15, 2016

A classic Disney story reimagined for a new generation. Seeing such beloved films get rebooted can be a dangerous thing, especially considering The Jungle Book was one of Disney’s early successes. Director Jon Favreau has proved he is capable of handling big franchises (he directed Iron Man), so our hopes are high. The fact that this is a live action film, and not animated, isn’t sitting well with longtime fans, but the footage we’ve seen so far has been impressive. And, come on, it’s Disney—and The Jungle Book!

Ratchet & Clank – April 29, 2016

Ratchet & Clank has become a cult favorite among the gaming crowd, reinventing the platformer genre through a combination of humor and clever puzzles. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailer, the same spirit of the game will be present in the upcoming movie; there’s actually a game coming out to coincide with the film’s release, too. A game based on the movie, which is in turn based on the game. It’s confusing, I know. All you need to know is that, in a year full of familiar properties, Ratchet & Clank is a property worth paying attention to, the kind of movie perfect for both kids and adults.

Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016

Marvel’s movies so far have been pretty safe and expected, showing the heroes take on aliens and human-hating robots. But in Civil War, this script will flip and see these characters take on each other. If you’re already familiar with the Civil War storyline, you know that this will easily be one of Marvel’s more dramatic and emotional stories. There have been plenty of rumors about who does what and to whom. One thing is for sure: Fans should prepare to be shocked going in. We’re pretty sure we know what happens, but we won’t spoil it here.

X-Men: Apocalypse – May 27, 2016

Bryan Singer’s X-Men trilogy is coming to a close with Oscar Isaac as the titular villain. The young class of X-Men will be up against their biggest threat yet as Apocalypse arises with his four powerful horseman by his side. Can they unite and take him down, or will his power and influence spell the end for our heroes? We’ve only gotten a tiny glimpse at Apocalypse thus far, but it’s looking like it’ll pick up right where Days of Future Past left off.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – June 3, 2016

No, we don’t need a TMNT sequel, but we’re getting one anyway. This time, the film will introduce a few very famous characters in the TMNT universe, including Bebop, Rocksteady and even Krang, who is one of the more hilarious villains. Yes, the turtles still look like aliens, and they’re nowhere near as fun as they were in their earlier movies. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I mean, Bebop and Rocksteady don’t look horrible, and you can’t help loving villains with names like that.

Warcraft – June 10, 2016

To be honest, I don’t know much about Warcraft other than it’s a hugely popular game. Based on the trailer that has been released, we’re going to get plenty of orc versus human action as the future of Azeroth lies in the balance. If anything, I’m confident Warcraft is going to be a fun movie solely because Duncan Jones (Moon) is directing.

Finding Dory – June 17, 2016

It’s Pixar’s next big movie, and a spiritual sequel to Finding Nemo. This time, Pixar will take us on a journey as we follow Dory on an adventure to find her family. Of course, we’ll meet several quirky new characters and learn a few life lessons along the way. Disney showed off some early footage at its celebration event last summer, and it looks every bit as fun as the original.

Independence Day: Resurgence – June 24, 2016

Another sequel, and another movie that doesn’t need to exist. That said, after seeing the trailer, I’m optimistic. It doesn’t look horrible, and the dogfights actually look engaging. The weird thing is that Will Smith isn’t returning, though Jeff Goldblum, who hacked the aliens into submission in the first film, is back. Word has it there will be other Independence Day movies down the road, so consider Resurgence just the beginning.

The BFG – July 1, 2016

The Big Friendly Giant is Steven Spielberg’s interpretation of Roald Dahl’s classic story. What’s crazy is that this is Spielberg’s first-ever Disney film, which adds a bit of allure. The teaser that we’ve seen is promising, and the premise is intriguing. We’re in need of a good fantasy full of whimsy and charm, so we’re very much looking forward to The BFG. Is it for kids? Probably. Do I care? No way.

The Secret Life of Pets – July 8, 2016

Do you love Despicable Me? Do you love animals? The Secret Life of Pets is for you. The trailers we’ve seen have been hilarious, but there’s always the danger of all the big moments already being shown. There’s plenty of material to work with in Secret Life of Pets, and if Illumination Entertainment can make Minions work, I’m sure folks will enjoy seeing what kind of shenanigans animals get into when humans are away.

Ghostbusters – July 15, 2016

Don’t like that they’re rebooting Ghostbusters with an all-female cast? GET OVER IT. Directed by Paul Feig, Ghostbusters features an A-list roster of talent, and brings the famous franchise into the 21st century. Feig has had successful turns churning out comedies led by females, and there’s no reason to suggest Ghostbusters will be any different. Many of the old actors are making cameo appearances, too, so we’ll also have that to look forward to when the film comes out this summer.

Star Trek Beyond – July 22, 2016

Let’s not be too quick to judge Star Trek Beyond. The first trailer, released last year, was more of a music video than actual movie, and people are not very pleased. But let’s give new director Justin Lin a chance. Having come over from the Fast & Furious franchise, it’s understandable some of his action movie tendencies would migrate over. With all the hype around Star Wars, Star Trek was almost forgotten. Hopefully Beyond can rebound from its awful first impression and surprise us with something great.

Suicide Squad – Aug. 5, 2016

There’s even more pressure on Suicide Squad than there is on Batman v Superman. Warner Bros. showed off a lovely trailer for this supervillain team-up, but we haven’t seen much else since. Jared Leto as the Joker will be the one to watch when Suicide Squad hits, so let’s hope it’ll be worth the wait. We’re actually going to get another glimpse of the film later this week, so if you’ve been anxious to see more footage of the film, you won’t have to wait long. That being said, the film is still 8 long months away—an agonizingly long time for such an anticipated movie.

Doctor Strange – Nov. 4, 2016

Easily one of Marvel’s weirder characters, Doctor Strange is a kind of magician/sorcerer who can jump through portals and perform all sorts of mysticism. With Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, Marvel has picked the right actor. But can the studio make this more fantastical story fit in with the larger cinematic universe? I can’t wait until the first footage is released, which will likely be around the time Captain America: Civil War hits theaters in May.


Moana – Nov. 23, 2016

I saw early footage of Moana during Disney’s celebration event last summer, and I immediately fell in love. The film will focus on a young girl from the South Pacific who yearns to set sail for a fabled island. On the way, she will team up with Maui (voiced by The Rock), along with several other wacky characters. What makes Moana special is that it will focus on Samoan culture and their relationship with the ocean. The art and animation looked stunning, and I can’t wait to see more.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Nov. 18, 2016

More Harry Potter? Kind of. Fantastic Beasts actually focuses on Newt Scamander as he navigates the tricky streets of New York while tracking down a variety of dangerous creatures. J.K. Rowling has shown her uncanny ability to create believable fantasy worlds, and seeing more of a focus on the creatures in the Harry Potter universe will be fun to see onscreen. Even better is that Fantastic Beasts will take place years and years before Harry and Voldermort hit the scene.

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