The holidays are coming to an end, and so is the year 2012. That means that the next year is upon us, as well as a brand new year of movies to look forward to and anticipate. Particularly for fans of geeky movies, there are a lot of options to look forward to that add to worlds and film series that we love, and these are the top 10 picks from the perspective of the Geek Beat.
10) The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Release Date: December 13
I know it’s probably a little difficult to look a full year into the future, but when it comes to the new adventures of Middle-earth, I know at least a few of you can’t blame me. While An Unexpected Journey has had its detractors and a few irreconcilable differences with the Lord of the Rings trilogy already, it’s hard to say that we’re not at least looking forward to the next stage of Bilbo’s adventure to slay the dragon. And with a vocal performance from Benedict Cumberbatch to boot, what’s not to like about what’s still coming?
9) Jack Ryan
Release Date: December 25
Another film that’s about a full year away, it’s still interesting to see what lies in store for us. Chris Pine has become the fourth actor to fill the shoes of Tom Clancy’s heroic CIA agent, and while there aren’t too many details available on where this story is going, I’m already excited just because of the creative team. With a screenplay cowritten by David Koepp as well as featuring Kenneth Branagh as a costar and as the director, I have high hopes that this won’t be a typical actioner, and that it will add very interestingly to the tapestry of one of the more time-honored American secret agents (that British guy usually has all the fun).
Release Date: September 6
What is there not to like about Riddick, especially given what we’ve heard about the new film’s plot? It seems that after a betrayal by his own people and being left for dead on a backwater world, Riddick is ready for some revenge. Because of that, he’s going to use the very people that are after him to make that vengeance all the sweeter. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Vin Diesel’s highly skilled, shined-eyes convict. Checking out what’s next should be quite a ride in for the opening of the fall film season.
Release Date: April 12
While the Tom Cruise sci-fi actioner might look unremarkable from a concept level, the recently released trailer showed a big-budget thriller that looks like it could be one of the more distinctive sci-fi/action films of the last decade. While some people might be turned off by Cruise’s involvement to a degree, I don’t think there’s a lot of controversy when it comes to his involvement in science fiction (granted, this comes from someone who really enjoyed Minority Report and some of you might not share that sentiment).
6) World War Z
Release Date: June 21
Yeah, I share the feeling on flesh eaters with some of you: “Zombies, zombies, zombies everywhere.” While it’s easy to be discouraged because of the sheer plethora of zombie fiction being produced today, a lot of people are looking at the footage we’ve seen from World War Z and thinking that it looks a little different. These are fast zombies, which have been done before in films like 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, but we’ve never seen literal tidal waves of infected human bodies run like a torrent through a city street. I’ll be pretty interested to see what happens when it opens up next year.
5) Iron Man 3
Release Date: May 3
“Nothing’s been the same since New York,” according to Tony Stark in the trailer for Iron Man 3. With the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and aftermath of The Avengers showing up in the third solo outing for Robert Downey Jr.’s stint as the Invincible Iron Man, I think it’s safe to say that a lot of eyes are going to be on this one. Not to mention the fact that you have Sir Ben Kingsley bringing the character’s arch nemesis to life for the first time in live action. Iron Man 3 looks like it’ll be launching Marvel’s “Phase Two” in a big way, and it’s easy to be excited about that if you like what we’ve seen so far from the studio.
4) The Wolverine
Release Date: July 26
While I’m not much of a fan of Logan’s last outing as a film or of X-Men: The Last Stand, Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine never makes the list of components of the films I don’t care for. Back in 2000, Bryan Singer struck gold by casting the highly versatile actor as the legendary X-Man, because in addition to being fantastic in every outing he’s played the troubled, long-lived former soldier, like Wolverine, Jackman never seems to age. That’s perfect for a man like Logan, whose aging process has been slowed to a crawl due to his mutant healing factor. Beyond that though, I’m a fan of the director and have high hopes given the source material for this story. We’ll see how they all pull it off this summer.
3) Thor: The Dark World
Release Date: November 8
After the success of Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and the praise garnered by Chris Hemsworth for his portrayal of the Asgardian God of Thunder, seeing the follow-up should make any fan of the Marvel films excited. This one is especially exciting for fans of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki character, as it’s likely we’ll see the fallout on him for the events of The Avengers. With all the major cast members returning from Thor’s previous solo outing, this looks promising, although I remain a little cautious due to the absence of Mr. Branagh in the director’s chair. This is no slight to Alan Taylor by any means; just concern for Marvel Studios’ penchant for its lack of retention for certain creative minds (Edward Norton? Patty Jenkins?).
2) Star Trek Into Darkness
Release Date: May 17
After the fantastic nine-minute peek at the next outing for the crew of the Enterprise found before IMAX showings of the first Hobbit film, I’m currently hard-pressed to find anyone that’s not excited for this film. Coming off of the success of the 2009 Star Trek film with the same creative minds and talented actors, the sequel looks to be amping everything up considerably -- from the threat, to the locales, to the stakes, the canvas here just screams much larger than any of the previous eleven Trek films. Add to that the inevitable return of arguably the greatest ensemble of characters in all of science fiction, and you have what looks to be a very promising film that will satisfy both longtime Trek fans and general audiences. A feat, by the way, not thought possible until this film’s predecessor proved everyone wrong.
1) Man of Steel
Release Date: June 14
All this talk of anticipation for 2013 films is leading me to just one character: the Last Son of Krypton. Given Superman’s largely disappointing outing in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, it’s now time for audiences to get to know the Superman of the modern era, a character that’s been present since at least 1986, but who has never been seen on film before. No more callbacks to Christopher Reeve or to the 1978 film he starred in. The Superman that intuitive comics fans know is finally going to be introduced to everyone, and this makes me more excited for Man of Steel than any other movie of 2013. Couple that with a strong and even visionary director (Zack Snyder), a very strong writing team (David S. Goyer and Jonathan Nolan, Dark Knight Trilogy alumni), a producer with a keen eye for how to envision comics films in our world (Christopher Nolan, Dark Knight Trilogy daddy), and a striking cast, and I think Superman is finally going to get the grandeur and status he deserves. Beyond that, though, I think that means people are going to love it.
What are your most anticipated geek films of 2013? Sound off below, and just so you know, we'll be back to our normal place on Tuesdays next week on the Geek Beat.
Chris Clow is a graduate of Western Washington University, in addition to having an obsession with film history and general geekdom. He is a comic book expert and retailer, contributor, and overall geek to Batman-On-Film.com and ModernMythMedia.com. You can find his comic book reviews for various monthly titles and his participated podcasts at BOF and MMM, as well as his regular piece The Geek Beat right here at Movies.com every Tuesday. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow!