Over the last few weeks, some of my fellow genre nerds have offered up their most anticipated horror movies of 2014 and a ranked list of the comic book movies they're most excited about this year. Well, it's my turn to get in on the “most anticipated movies” action this week.
Of course, given how wide of a net I'm casting with the whole “geeky movies” theme, I should probably indicate right from the start that these are the movies I'm most looking forward to this year. And if you enjoy movies about robots (giant or otherwise), monsters, ninjas, superheroes and the rest of the stuff I've been rambling on about for the last six months, you're probably looking forward to a few of these movies, too. So let's look forward to them together, shall we?
Here, in order of how much I'm annoying my friends and family by talking about them, are the 10 films I'm most excited about this year:
10. The Hobbit: There and Back Again
I'll admit to being a bit underwhelmed by Peter Jackson's padded-out adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's original Middle-earth adventure thus far, but if the new trilogy follows suit with its predecessor The Lord of the Rings, the epic battle that serves as the climax of the story will provide more than adequate apology for any of the prior films' flaws. Sure, the presentation of the Battle of Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King was impressive, but my mind reels at how Jackson will bring the Battle of Five Armies to life on the screen.
Goblins vs. dwarves vs. humans vs. elves vs. eagles... oh, my!
Christopher Nolan's first film since wrapping up The Dark Knight trilogy is a sci-fi adventure about astronauts traveling through a wormhole. His last original film project was the utterly brilliant Inception. Just take my money now, okay? TAKE IT.
8. Muppets Most Wanted
Count me among the people who loved the original incarnations of Jim Henson's Muppets, but never expected to like the new, rebooted, relaunched adventures of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of their crew. I couldn't have been more wrong, though, and absolutely adored 2011's The Muppets. It captured so much of what I liked about the cast of characters and their inimitable interaction with their human supporting cast that I can't help being very, very excited about Muppets Most Wanted. As a kid raised on the Muppets, I consider this one must-see material.
7. Edge of Tomorrow
I'm not sure whether it's the crazy exo-suit Tom Cruise wears in the marketing for this film that has me hooked or the time-twisting story that has a soldier living through the same battle with buglike aliens over and over again. Heck, maybe it's the blend of Starship Troopers, Source Code and Groundhog Day that got to me. Whatever it is, I'm in. (Honestly, they had me at “exo-suit.”)
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I know I shouldn't be excited about this one. I know I'm creating unrealistic expectations for a reboot of a beloved franchise that will star Megan Fox and is already the target of considerable criticism for the liberties it's taking with the source material. I know all of this, but no matter how much I try to suppress that part of me that wants to yell “Cowabunga!” it's still there. And it's freaking out. And it's holding a pizza. And nunchuks.
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
I'm one of the few people who wasn't blown away by Captain America: The First Avenger, and to be honest, Chris Evans' 2011 debut as soldier-turned-superhero Steve Rogers is actually my least favorite of Marvel's solo introduction movies (after Iron Man, Thor and The Incredible Hulk). My issues with the film had more to do with the WWII period-piece elements of the story, though, and I really enjoyed Captain America's modern-era adventures in The Avengers. That's one of the reasons I'm optimistic about The Winter Soldier. The other reason? Well, the film is based on one of my all-time favorite story arcs from the Captain America comics (and possibly one of my favorite comic book stories from any series). Here's hoping it treats the story well.
4. Transformers: Age of Extinction
You might think it's sacrilegious that I'm more excited about Michael Bay's next Transformers movie than any of the films I've mentioned already, and that's totally understandable. What you have to understand, though, is that I am a man moved to tears by the sound of Peter Cullen saying, “One shall stand. One shall fall.” My love for the ol' robots in disguise is not bound by the parameters of your silly human logic. Also, this movie is going to have the Dinobots in it, so your argument is invalid.
3. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Marc Webb's reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise in The Amazing Spider-Man really impressed and made me believe that Andrew Garfield was the Peter Parker I never realized I was looking for all these years. He embodied everything I wanted to see in Marvel's friendly neighborhood web slinger, so I can't wait to see how he tops the success of that 2012 film. All signs point to the new film being a big gamble, with the story cramming a lot of characters into one film. This could either be the greatest movie for Spider-fans or the worst, and I dig those odds in a sort of weird, masochistic way.
Remember that part about how I love massive, kaiju-style monster movies? Well, this is as big as you get when it comes to name-brand monsters of the city-destroying variety. I'm a huge fan of director Gareth Edwards' low-budget 2010 creature-feature travelogue Monsters (if you haven't seen it yet, do so), so I'm intrigued by what he'll bring to the project – particularly, what he'll do with a significantly larger budget and one of the most famous monsters in cinema history. The first trailer for Godzilla looked amazing, and with an all-star cast that includes some of my favorite actors (Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn chief among them), it seems like all the pieces are there for this to do right by the “Godzilla” name. Fingers crossed!
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
A talking, heavily armed raccoon with brilliant strategic intellect. A sentient tree with a limited vocabulary and a mean streak. Oh, and Chris Pratt shooting bad guys in space with lasers. That should be all the explanation you need for this film's ranking at the top of my most anticipated movie list. Not only is it the riskiest project Marvel has attempted to bring to the screen, but it could also be the most fantastic, fun and ridiculously entertaining cosmic adventure we've seen in quite a while. If anyone had said years ago that a Guardians of the Galaxy movie was even a remote possibility for Marvel, no one would've believed it. Heck, I don't think I'll fully believe that this movie is happening until I'm sitting in the theater watching it – which will definitely happen on the night it hits theaters. (And maybe several more times in the following week, too.)
So, now that you've read all about my most anticipated movies of 2014, tell me about yours in the comment section!
Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, IFC.com, Newsarama, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV, and his personal blog can be found at MindPollution.org. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.
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