Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2013

Lots to look forward to.
Lots to look forward to.

10. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Staring at Smaug?
Staring at Smaug?

While certain parts of Peter Jackson’s initial Hobbit film, An Unexpected Journey, made me smile quite a bit, as a whole I felt like something was off. Still, I can’t say it was a disappointment since spending anytime in Middle Earth is better than spending no time in it.

What caught my attention more than anything else and built my anticipation for the next installment were the small glimpses we saw of the dragon Smaug. I’m a sucker for dragons period and the short bursts we saw of Smaug did just enough to build the excitement for the Desolation of Smaug.

I’m interested to see if Benedict Cumberbatch, who is playing Smaug via motion-capture, can bring the magnificent dragon to life much like Andy Serkis did with Gollum. It really feels like the middle part of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy has a shot to be the best one of the three.

While not too much is known about the final installment, except for the title and the fact that it will deal with Bilbo’s journey home, this one seems to feature the most exciting parts, as well as the dragon slaying. I’m really pulling for Jackson and hope he can once again do something special.

9. OZ: The Great and Powerful

Lots of potential.
Lots of potential.

Most people have written this film off from the start. Even once the trailers began to come out, you heard a lot of rumbling about how much it looked like Alice in Wonderland. While I won’t necessarily disagree with the Alice comparisons in the way the film has been marketed, I hope Sam Raimi is able to bring out something more, and deliver a great OZ film that I know can be made with this wonderful source material.

While the answer for every film isn’t to just go darker, I do hope this one isn’t too light but since it does have that PG rating and Disney is looking to do Alice in Wonderland numbers, I am a bit worried. I am however, a fan of everybody involved in the film, even James Franco (and especially Michelle Williams) so I have faith that they can pull off some magic tricks with this one.

8. Iron Man 3

So many suits...so little time.
So many suits…so little time.

Iron Man 3 is going to be good. I have no doubts about that, however, something about it is not really giving me that feeling where I’m crazily anticipating it. Maybe Tony Stark just got on my nerves one time too many in The Avengers. Don’t get me wrong, I love Robert Downey Jr. but in that film the swarm level was turned up to an all-time high and it was just sarcastic quip after sarcastic quip. I can compare it to something like Harrison Ford in Return of the Jedi.

What we have seen so far however, looks absolutely amazing. It looks like the years and the adventures are starting to wear on Tony, and the idea that he hasn’t fully recovered after what happened in The Avengers is an interesting one. That’s what I’m interested in most. I hope the film focuses more on the psychological aspects of the character and tones down all the crazy action sequences, which I know are necessary and inevitable for a huge blockbuster.

I expect to like this film, but if it manages to somehow ground Tony and really show those battle scars, then it can become something else entirely.

7. Kick-Ass 2

All or nothing.
All or nothing.

The first Kick-Ass was amazing, however, it did not exactly do spectacular business at the box-office. So the fact that this film even exists is a victory in itself. I’m a little worried about a sequel and I really hope they don’t over-do it with all of the extra (and campy-looking) superheroes.

Of course, seeing still pictures and actual footage are completely different things so I won’t necessarily jump to conclusions until actually seeing some footage. There is a lot to like so far though. The addition of Jim Carrey seems inspired and the fact that they are actually addressing Hit-Girl and how she’s you know, actually aging.

No matter how menacing they try however, they will never really succeed in making McLovin’ menacing. It is a chance for him though to do something he hasn’t really been asked to do. It’ll be interesting to see what he pulls off. I know Aaron Johnson is game and I hope this sequel is at least a worthy addition to the very young film franchise.

6. Thor: The Dark World

Into Darkness?
Into Darkness?

It really does feel like Marvel has a much bigger canvas to play with this time around. Now the initial Thor film took us to Asgard as well as to the world of the Frost Giants, but for me, this film feels like there are no limits or restrictions. Everyone knows each other by now so no real introductions are needed and they can pretty much just jump straight to it.

Coming out of the first film as well as The Avengers, there are several questions that have emerged. It’ll be interesting to see how the relationship between Thor and Loki is handled. How will Loki be punished for his attack on Earth? Is there actually room for Loki’s redemption? Also, since she was missing from The Avengers, it’ll also be interesting to see how the relationship between Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster is handled. Will they pick up right where they left off? Like I said, it feels like Marvel has a lot of room to play with and I really hope they take advantage of their ever-expanding universe.

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Bring on the revolution.
Bring on the revolution.

I am ready for the revolution. I was surprised by The Hunger Games. It was so much better that I was expecting. I loved the tone of that film, and with the changing of director for the sequel, I just hope the tone can remain somewhat the same. I do know the basic outline of the remaining films in the series, but I still look forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Jennifer Lawrence only continues to get better and her Katniss Everdeen is one of the strongest female characters of all-time. The spark has been lit and the people have had enough of the Capital. Lawrence/Katniss is the perfect person to lead that revolution.

I found the Lawrence/Hutcherson pairing to be a weakness in the first film. Lawrence was too strong and had too much at stake to just throw it all away for some boy she just met. Well with Liam Hemsworth’s expanded role, here’s to hoping that it can be corrected and improved upon in Catching Fire. I don’t really care about the romantic pairings or who ends up with whom, but I hope that Lawrence can be that revolutionary that has been hinted at.

4. The Wolverine

Unleash the beast.
Unleash the beast.

The problems that plagued the Wolverine Origins film seem to have been corrected this time around. At least from what we’ve been hearing from director James Mangold. As far as actual footage, there hasn’t been any released yet. There’s still about four months before the film gets released so it’s nothing to really be concerned about.

I love the theme of immortality and exploring the loneliness of that. Immortality is not all Twilight and rainbows so I love that they are trying to fully explore that theme. It helps that it takes place long after X-Men: The Last Stand. I feel like they really have the chance to hit a home run with this film.

Hugh Jackman, as always, seems committed to the Wolverine character and is once again in full-on beast mode. Plus there’s non-mutant samurai’s who can put Wolverine on his ass without any special powers. In my opinion, the less mutants the better. The biggest problem with the previous Wolverine film was that there was just too many unnecessary mutants so hopefully they have realized that less is more.

3. Before Midnight

See you in 9 years?
See you in 9 years?

I can’t imagine having to have waited for nine years between each film like most fans of this film series had to wait. I only recently heard about how great the first two films were and I was so surprised at the thought of such a small film having not only a sequel, but also a third film on the way. A trilogy about a man and a woman who meet on a train and spend most of the film just talking is unheard of, but I love that it exists.

Before Sunrise gets better every time I see it, but Before Sunset, for me, is something else entirely. I find it pretty much perfect and feel like it touches me in so many different ways. Ethan Hawke evolved so much between films, and while I still found him likeable in the first film, in the second one, he really does prove that some people just get better with age. Plus, he’s written a book about the one night he spent in Vienna with Celine. It also has such a beautiful ending that leaves you craving for more.

Well, I think I’ve been pretty spoiled. While most people, the people who watched the film when it was released, had to wait nine years between each film, I only had to wait about a day in between Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. It’ll be about four months between Before Sunset and Before Midnight, yet that feels way too long. I know the new film has already gotten some great reviews, but I’m interested to see for myself if the magic is still there and they can cap off the trilogy in a magical, amazing way. No pressure.

2. Star Trek Into Darkness

The needs of the many...
The needs of the many…

J.J. Abrams made me into a believer. Not only that but he formally introduced me into the Star Trek universe, and made me fall in love with it. I’ve seen little bits of Trek here and there, but I was always much more into Star Wars. Now, well I pretty much see Star Wars as those fantasy films that are still pretty cool, but now lack something. Star Trek affects me on a much more personal level. It’s not set a long time ago, in a galaxy far away. Star Trek is us. Star Trek is an attainable goal, it’s out future and it’s a dream of getting out shit together and uniting as one.

That fear of the unknown and exploring new worlds and civilizations, making first contact, yeah that really gets me going. I watched the 2009 Star Trek film 3 times in theaters and countless more times since then. It made me see the original series in a different light, and gave me a deep admiration for Shatner’s Captain Kirk. Chris Pine was great as Kirk in the new film, but I really hope that with the next couple films, he’s able to grow into more of the seasoned leader that Kirk was in the original series. Pine is still younger than Shatner was when he started playing Kirk, so hopefully all Pine needs is the time and experience.

The new film looks amazing so far. Benedict Cumberbatch looks like he is about to put on a tremendous performance and become one of the most memorable Trek villains of all-time. I don’t really care who he’s playing, as long as the movie is good, I will have no complaints at all. I would prefer more actual exploring of new worlds in these films, instead of fighting these wars on Earth, but as I said I still loved the first film and what we’ve seen so far for its sequel has looked encouraging. I do trust Abrams and Star Wars fans should be grateful, instead of bitching, that he is in charge of Episode VII. Star Wars fans should be smiling from ear to ear and hope that they can get something as great as the 2009 Star Trek film.

1. Man of Steel

Superman Grounded?
Superman Grounded?

Being a huge Superman fan, no other film has as much expectations for me as much as Man of Steel does. However, being a huge Superman fan, I can also say that at this point, I’m happy with any live-action Superman film that is released. To be honest, Director Zack Snyder doesn’t need to do much to make me happy. Just give me Superman, some flying, and some deep character study, and I’ll be pretty happy. I won’t bitch about the red underwear being gone or how Lois seems to be much older than Clark or whatever else is being nit-picked on by the online community. Give me Superman on the big screen and I’ll be happy.

Having said all that, I’m super excited with what I have seen so far. Superman is so different in tone from Batman so I hope they didn’t just say, “Let’s go darker,” simply because it worked for the Dark Knight. But since Nolan’s Batman trilogy was so great, I can’t hate on what they are aiming to do. I can only hope Superman is as great as those films. Everything seen so far suggests that it can and will be done. This is Superman on a huge and more ambitious scale than Superman Returns ever was.

I do like Superman Returns but at times the film did play it too safe and was too much of a slave to the original Superman film. Snyder, Nolan, Goyer and everyone else involved smartly knew that the chains needed to be broken from all previous installments in order for this to be a great and lasting film. It worked with Batman Begins, Casino Royale and Star Trek, now I just hope that it’s Superman’s turn and that Man of Steel really just surprises everyone and the last son of Krypton gets the film and attention that he truly deserves.

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