The year has come to an end, but there is a new one on the horizon. 2012 brought incredible films like “The Avengers”, ”The Dark Knight Rises” “Breaking Dawn Part 2” and the first installment of “The Hobbit”. It was also the end of a few franchises, “Batman” and “Twilight” included. Even though there were several sad goodbyes, there were also new franchises to look forward to. 2013 had dozens of new films coming out, some of them sequels and some of them adaptations. It can be hard to decide what film to see in the New Year, but there are at least ten prominent titles audiences should not miss.
One movie already generating buzz is “Oz: The Great and Powerful”, starring James Franco, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams. It can be seen as sort of a prequel to the classic “The Wizard of Oz”. As with almost every film released, this film will be presented in varied formats, such as regular 2D, 3D, IMAX 3D and RealD 3D. Much like Dorothy, Oscar Diggs (Franco) is swept away to the magical land where he meets the infamous witches. Diggs is caught in a battle between good and evil, but the lines have been blurred so he must figure out who belongs to what side and fast. For avid “Wizard” fans, there will be another film released later in the year called “Dorothy of Oz”, which will be an animated movie. This one will feature the voice talents of Lea Michele, Patrick Stewart and Kelsey Grammar.
On May 3, Tony Stark returns to the big screen in his third film, “Iron Man 3”. As with the upcoming Thor movie, this one is set after the events that transpired in “The Avengers”. A teaser trailer has been released and it shows a much darker side of the rick playboy. Stark’s majestic mansion is destroyed, his longtime love Pepper Potts is put in peril and a new villain arises. Ben Kingsley joins the cast as The Mandarin. The Mandarin is one of the most famous baddies in the Iron Man world and was supposed to appear in the first film. Because “Iron Man 2” wasn’t the best film, he will be brought in to hopefully boost interest and sales. Before “Avengers”, Tony Stark was a self absorbed man but as audiences saw, he learned to play with others. Will the changes stick with him or will Stark revert back to his old ways? Marvel fans will just have to wait until May to find out the answers.
Not too long after that comes out, movie goers can be treated to a sequel in a reboot of a classic series. “Star Trek Into Darkness” hits theaters May 17. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto return as Captain James T. Kirk and Spock respectively. Only one trailer has been released to the public at this time but it reveals almost nothing about the plot. There are hints that it will be a lot like the film “The Wrath of Khan”, but it is not clear. One of the final shots in the trailer has two hands pressed against a pane of glass, one on each side which is reminiscent of the famous scene where Leonard Nimoy bids farewell to William Shatner. The enemy in this film is none other than Benedict Cumberbatch, who seems to have had a very busy 2012. Not only did he play the villain in “Star Trek”, he found time to travel to Middle Earth, become a Necromancer and provide a voice for a dragon. According to IMDB.com, Cumberbatch is listed as playing Khan, but that is just a rumor. He is also rumored to be playing John Harrison or Gary Mitchell. Trekkies young and old are sure to enjoy this action packed, science fiction epic.
Superman is also flying back in theaters on June 14. “Man of Steel”. This film will focus on Clark Kent’s history. It will recount how he came to Earth and grew up to be the super hero in blue and red. In this version, Henry Cavill will be filling the iconic tights. In the last rendition, Brandon Routh played the titular character. Other big names in this version include Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General Zod and Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Clark Kent’s biological father from Krypton. Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play Clark’s parents and Laurence Fishburne will play Perry White. Zack Snyder steps in as director for “Man of Steel”. Snyder is known for his use of slow motion during action sequences and is known for his stylized films like “Sucker Punch”, “300” and “Watchmen”. It is currently unknown if the elements Snyder is famous for will appear in this movie, but audiences will have to wait and find out.
Fans of Johnny Depp will be glad to see him back on the silver screen, though he is nearly unrecognizable as Tonto. “The Lone Ranger” gallops into theaters on July 5, which will be right in the middle of the summer movie season. Already this movie has seen setback after setback. It was stuck in “development hell” for a while before being finally released. For those unfamiliar with the lingo, development hell is a period of time when a project is stuck in the developmental phase and never gets off the ground. It has been shopped around to different production studios, gone through several directors and set on the shelf for a while. Budget concerns kept production on hold, but it seems that the movie finally has finally had a stroke of luck. Gore Verbinski is at the helm of this and it will be released. Armie Hammer plays the Lone Ranger. There are concerns the film will not hit expectations, due to the less than successful performance of “Cowboys and Aliens”. There is some major star power attached to this film, so there should be no worries.
Everyone’s favorite character from the X-Men is also coming back to theaters in yet another prequel. This one will cover the time he spent training in Japan. “The Wolverine” will once again feature Hugh Jackman as the title character. Many fans of the film series only know Logan/Wolverine as the genetic experiment gone awry from the X-Men franchise, but he actually has one of the longest and most complicated stories in the comics. This film is based on the limited series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller that explored Wolverine’s history in depth. Here he will meet some formidable foes like the Silver Samurai and Viper. However, it won’t be all about awesome mutant powers and evil villains. Fans will be shocked to see that Logan has a softer side. Die hard fans of the comic know who Mariko Yashida is and why she is a very important woman to Wolverine. For those who don’t know that name or her role in the comics, this film will allow them to learn about Logan’s past love life.
“The Mortal Instruments” series is a relatively unknown franchise making its debut on the big screen. Lily Collins plays the lead female role, Clary Fray. Clary goes on the search for her abducted mother and discovers a secret world she knew nothing about. For those looking to fill the void left by the departure of “The Twilight Saga”, “City of Bones” might be the best option. It has vampires, werewolves, love triangles and a seemingly ordinary girl in the middle of it all. This film also has some major star power in it, other than Collins. Jamie Campbell Bower, from the “Twilight Saga” joins the cast, along with Lena Heady, Jonathan Rhys Davies and Aidan Turner, who also plays Kili in “The Hobbit” trilogy and from BBC’s “Being Human” where he played Mitch. The story is based off a novel written by Cassandra Clare. While the film itself is not yet rated, there is sure to be plenty of fantasy action.
On November 8, Thor returns, fresh from his adventures with the Avengers. There isn’t much known about the plot currently, other than that audience gets to explore another realm. This time, the Asgardian warriors go up against Malekith the Accursed, the ruler of the Dark Elves in Svartalfheim. Supposedly, he is so strong eve Odin could not defeat him so it is now up to Thor to save the day. He will face tough choices that might lead him to make huge sacrifices in the end. For those who had questions following the first film or that stemmed from “The Avengers”, “Thor: The Dark World” will seek to answer them. The cast from the first film returns, with the exception of Joshua Dallas who will be replaced by Zachary Levi. For those who are in “Loki’s Army”, don’t worry. Tom Hiddleston will return as Loki and his character will most likely face consequences. Will Loki see the error of his ways and become a good guy? That will be answered in the upcoming film. Alan Taylor takes over directing duties, so it may or may not be the visual feast Kenneth Branagh created. No matter the outcome, it will be a fast favorite for Marvel fans.
Two weeks after Thor’s sequel debuts, it will have stiff competition from fans of “The Hunger Games”. “Catching Fire” comes out on November 22 and it is already generating huge buzz. The first film was wildly successful and it made Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson house hold names. Suzanne Collins has created a dystopian trilogy involving teenagers being forced to kill each other. So far, only a quick trailer has been released and it’s the iconic four note whistle and the mockingjay pin set ablaze. Sam Claflin has been cast as the smooth talking and handsome Finnick Odair. All of the original cast will be returning, including some new faces like Claflin and Jena Malone. Philip Seymour Hoffman joins as Plutarch Heavensbee, replacing Wes Bentley’s Seneca Crane. The young Katniss Everdeen and her semi fake beau Peeta Mellark go on the Victor’s Tour, only to be sucked right back in to the Arena for the Quarter Quell. She is not aware of the whispers of rebellion going on in several districts as she struggles to prove her actions from the previous trip to the Arena were out of love and not defiance. If this is anything like “The Hunger Games”, this one will end on a cliffhanger as well, leaving the audiences everywhere waiting impatiently for the final installment “Mockingjay” to come to theaters. Better yet, the question “Will “Mockingjay” be split into two films, like other films in the end of a series” will be asked a lot. Only time will tell.
And almost exactly one year after the release of the first film in its trilogy, “The Hobbit” will return for its second trip. “The Desolation of Smaug” will hit theaters on December 13. It will pick up where the previous film left off, with the company heading towards Erebor in order to reclaim it. The entire cast will return, along with cameos from both Elijah Wood and Ian Holm as a prologue into the story. There will also be a slew of new faces and new places introduced. In this installment, audiences will get to see Mirkwood, Dale, more of Erebor and Lake-Town. Orlando Bloom joins the cast, reprising his role as Legolas once more. Evangeline Lilly will play the newly created Tauriel, a female Elf who is friends with Legolas. Peter Jackson has come out and stated that Tauriel will not be a romantic interest, just a regular Elf. Fans can expect more beautiful scenery reminiscent of “Lord of the Rings”. It is one of the most highly anticipated sequels of 2013 and the finale of this trilogy will come out July 18, 2014.
2013 is a new year filled with new films to entice audiences back into the theater. While there are dozens of films coming out, these are just ten of them that might appeal more than others. There are plenty of sequels coming out, such as another “Hangover”, another “Anchorman and unfortunately, another “Paranormal Activity”. Books make the jump from page to screen as well. Whether you like action flicks or zombie movies, there is something to cater to everyone’s taste in the coming year.