It appears the geeks have inherited the Earth. Comic book movies are dominating the big screen now with Marvel on top but DC trying to catch up as well. 2016 looks to continue that with Marvel bringing back all its heroes in Captain America: Civil War and later offering Doctor Strange. Warner Bros counters with Batman v Superman which sets up their coming Justice League slate and a solo Wonder Woman film along with Suicide Squad. Meanwhile, Deadpool gets his solo movie while the X-Men return in their biggest film, Apocalypse. It’s a good time to be a comic book fan as movies are ready to unleash even bigger stuff this year.
This leads to a slew of characters hitting the movies this year. Some are making their debut while others are new takes on guys we’ve seen before. Some are big name actors in the role, others newcomers trying to make their mark. What they all have in common is bringing to life beloved comic book characters to entertain fans and moviegoers alike. Here are 15 of the biggest characters we’re waiting to see on the big screen in 2016 and how they promise to make this another great year for geeks.
Fans of the comic know this man is far, far more than the joke he’s been portrayed as in sitcoms and such. The ruler of Atlantis, he’s super strong, agile, tough skin, a capable warrior and that “talks to fish” thing isn’t so funny when he can have a fleet of sharks or whales on you. Whatever doubts there are on Batman v Superman, Zack Snyder is getting some kudos for talking on making the character a great hero in his own right. Casting Jason Momoa is a great step in that direction, the Conan and Game of Thrones actor looking sensational in the photos and should forever erase the image of Aquaman as a joke. With his own spin-off film coming, this is a great way to get in on the ground floor and give the character the respect he’s long been due.
14 Jean Grey
The original X-Men trilogy showed Famke Janssen in the role as the leather-clad telepath who was killed after going insane but brought back thanks to time travel in Days of Future Past. In Apocalypse, we meet a new and younger Jean, still wrestling with her psychic gifts that are more powerful than she could dream and can be a key in the battle against Apocalypse. Having shown her strength on Game of Thrones, Sophie Turner plays the younger Jean and looks wonderful in the leather suit and her natural red hair scorching. Turner should more than bring sex appeal but also strength to win you over and remind you how powerful Jean is and perhaps top Janssen in how great she is in the role.
13 The Ancient One
The mentor of Dr. Strange has long been portrayed as an Asian man who’s centuries old and matched by his wisdom as he teaches Strange magic. Normally, casting a white woman in the role would have fans up in arms and grousing over how terrible it would be. That is, unless the actress happens to be Tilda Swinton. The Oscar-winning star has long mastered vanishing into her roles and this should be no different, able to pull the role off and have fun with it to boot. We’ve yet to see her in character but if anyone is capable of making the Ancient One possibly sexy, it’s Swinton and adds another must-see shade to the movie.
The character first appeared in 1950 as a one-off guy in a tuxedo suit. He returned in the 1970s, clad in the distinctive armor costume he’s stuck with since and shown to be an expert marksman and assassin for hire. Casting Will Smith in the role for Suicide Squad is a change but Smith looks to be losing his usual joking swagger for the role. Clad in a copy of the comic book costume which includes a cool-looking helmet, Smith takes the lead in the film and selling the character’s gun skills while making him a cool bad-ass in his own right. Smith gets top billing for the film which indicates he’s in the lead and should hit the target in letting this master gun-slinger become a fan favorite.
The last time we saw the Web-Head on the big screen, it was in the horrible sequel that attempted to franchise into multiple spin-offs while packing too much into one flick. With Marvel getting the rights back from Sony, fans are finally getting the chance to see Spidey in the MCU with the Avengers as he belongs. They’re smartly not showing him yet in trailers or photos from Civil War but Tom Holland looks to be a good choice for Peter Parker who finds himself choosing between these two sides of the conflict. Getting Spider-Man back on track following the failure of the last reboot is a good thing and another reason this might be the best Marvel movie yet.
10 Amanda Waller
Every fan of Suicide Squad knows the heart of the book has always been The Wall. It takes a certain person to run over a team of lunatics and hard-core killers and Waller has that in spades. She’s been played by numerous actresses like CCH Pounder (the Justice League animated show), Angela Bassett (Green Lantern) and Cynthia Addi-Robinson (Arrow) who all show that strong spine and manipulative power. Now, Emmy winner Viola Davis takes on the role and already seems to have Waller in hand (“my job is making people do things that are against their best interests,”) smooth, cunning and yet ready to lay down her law. She won’t back down against these maniacs and not caring too much of their ultimate fates as long as she gets what she wants. Davis has proven that in spades in How to Get Away With Murder and thus Waller should be right up her alley to show that the biggest bully on the Squad is the one in charge, not in the field.
After a year of major talk and slams among comic book fans, it’s the biggest question regarding Batman v Superman: Can Ben Affleck pull it off? The casting of Affleck as the Dark Knight has been met with huge criticism by many although others point out all the numerous “never will work” castings that turned out great (Michael Keaton in the role comes to mind). The trailers for the film show Affleck as an older and harder Bruce Wayne, a bit more grit beyond his usual boyish charms and looking better in the suit that most had expected. Affleck has shown he can be a great actor when he tries and with so much riding on him, he seems ready to rise to this challenge. Maybe he won’t be the best on-screen Batman but we’re going to see him do his best and that alone makes this film worth watching.
Even by the standards of the X-Men, this character’s past is wild. A British telepath, she had her personality transferred into the body of a Japanese ninja, notable for her purple hair and very skimpy outfits. Her origins will be a bit different in Apocalypse but still a hot outfit and the casting of Olivia Munn in the role is quite promising. A hot geek gal who’s no stranger to sexy outfits, Munn has been shown in the classic blue outfit to show off her great legs and chest and her famous “psychic knife” is ready to be used. While on the side of the bad guys, she may turn to the X-Men and Munn looks ready to make her mark in the part. You don’t have to read minds to know a lot of guys are looking to this film for Munn alone and how she remains a steamy sight.
7 Black Panther
Since the MCU began, folks have been clamoring for T’Challa to join and now it happens. He’s been spotted in just one shot of the trailer for Civil War but the costume looks terrific. Chadwick Boseman has played Jackie Robinson and James Brown on film so handling the ruler of Wakanda should be no problem. His role in this movie is a bit low but he has his own spin-off coming and having a high-profile black character on screen should be a great move to win Marvel even more fans. Warrior and king, the Panther is ready to truly go hunting for adventure.
6 The Joker
The task is daunting as the last time the Joker was on the big screen, it was Heath Ledger’s final major role in The Dark Knight. But Oscar winner Jared Leto looks ready to tackle that and put his own stamp on the character in Suicide Squad. His Joker looks to be more a punk type with short hair, tattoos and metal on his teeth but Leto still seems to capture the psychotic nature of the man, how he goes off at any moment and ready to rip anyone apart at the slightest provocation. Stories are being told of how Leto was totally in character on set to enhance the performance and looks prepared to follow in the footsteps of Ledger, Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill in bringing the Clown Prince of Crime to life. It’s wild and unpredictable but then so is the Joker himself and Leto realizes that’s what you have to show to make the character shine.
5 Doctor Strange
Always on the fringes of the Marvel Universe, the Sorcerer Supreme is ready to step into the spotlight. Benedict Cumberbatch is an inspired choice to play Stephen Strange, an arrogant surgeon brought low by a car accident and hitting bottom. Now forced to learn magic over science, he’s trained to take on magical forces. We haven’t seen footage yet but the Sherlock star looks perfect in the costume of levitation cloak and even the graying beard and temples while mastering those fun lines. This marks a new direction for Marvel films and Cumberbatch ready to make true cinematic magic.
Next to Magneto, Apocalypse is the most famous and powerful X-Men villain. Born in ancient Egypt, the first mutant has lived for millennia with his shape-shifting powers and in the new film that bears his name, is ready to conquer the world. Having become a star as Poe Dameron, Oscar Isaac is prepared to take on the infamous villain, looking just like the comic book character in the armor and look and ready to lead his Horsemen into the plans to ensure “only the strong survive.” With that booming voice and cool but terrifying power, Apocalypse is prepared to make his mark on the X-Men movies and live up to his name as a force that can’t be stopped.
3 Harley Quinn
From her first appearance on the 1990s Batman animated series, Dr. Harleen Quinzel has been a popular figure with her nutty behavior and loveable personality despite her brutal actions. In various incarnations, she’s kept to that sexiness and so looks ready to take to the forefront of the highly anticipated Suicide Squad movie. Margot Robbie looks terrific in the part from gymnastics to the white skin to the nutty laugh and marching along in various skimpy outfits. She has the action part down too with various weapons and her total insanity makes her stand out. A much needed dose of hotness among the Squad, Harley is preparing to show how she dominates fan’s hearts in any format and a nutcase to die for.
When Ryan Reynolds was cast as Wade Wilson for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, fans were ecstatic. Sadly, the role was ruined by the stupid script that actually muted the motor mouth merc. Thankfully, after years of waiting and push, the popular nutcase is getting the movie he deserves. The trailers promise the same off the wall fun, breaking the fourth wall and ultra-violence while Reynolds is the perfect voice for the wisecracking lunatic. Throwing in cameos from Colossus and Morena Baccarin as Copycat and this should be a true delight, a showcase for how not all heroes can be good guys. Reynolds may be hit and miss at some movies but the Merc With the Mouth is the role he was born to play and prepared to go wild with it.
1 Wonder Woman
Yes, there are concerns about Batman v Superman. The dark tone, Ben Affleck as Batman, Lex Luthor made joking, the use of Doomsday. But if anything is going to get folks excited, it’s that at long last, the greatest comic book heroine ever is going to be in movies. Gal Gadot has got the look down perfectly and rocking the uniform well and the bit from the trailers of her standing up to Doomsday looks amazing. Not just drop dead gorgeous but also a capable warrior and willing to stand up to any foe in order to protect those in need, just as fans wanted. The footage of her own spin-off is also promising and this is a move long overdue. Whatever else, seeing the Amazon Princess on movie screens is going to be a key moment for comic book movies and Gadot should be able to handle it well.