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There’s no way to get around it; 2012 looks like it’s going to be an amazing year for movies, with four of the most eagerly anticipated genre movies in recent memories being released – and that’s not even including Sony’s Spider-Man reboot, which could end up as the X-Men: First Class-style surprise hit of the summer. Here’re the five movies we’re most excited about this year… and some others thrown in for good measure.
Marvel’s The Avengers
If a movie could be considered a success just by the anticipation and goodwill it’s gathered before it’s even been finished, then Avengers could already be considered a record-breaker. The final chapter (or, really, the end of the first chapter; these are all franchises, after all) of Marvel Studio’s impressive debut series, this doesn’t just offer a chance for fans to see their favorite superstars – and actors) team up, but it’s also a chance for Joss Whedon to demonstrate that he has what it takes to become a big-name movie director after Serenity‘s failure at the box office. No pressure, then.
The Dark Knight Rises
The trailer has broken download records even as fans complain that they can’t understand what one of the main characters is saying, the previous installment is one of the most successful movies of all time, and worst of all, The Dark Knight Rises is a final episode, meaning that any and all expectations are doubled as everyone’s hopes and fears about how everything is going to wrap up have to be addressed and met (or surpassed, if possible). Yeah, Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale et al have a pretty daunting task ahead of them for their third (and final) Batman movie, and it’ll be fascinating to see how they handle it. I’m expecting at least one zig where we’re all expecting a zag – and I’m looking forward to being surprised by where they decide to throw it in.
Sasha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles’ follow-up to Borat is still shrouded in some mystery, even after the release of the first trailer, but I really doubt that anyone who’s seen their last movie isn’t hoping for great things from this new satire of international politics and social niceties. If nothing else, the trailer’s use of documentary footage to describe an entirely fictional character looks like we’ll be seeing a new twist on the pair’s attempts to mix reality and fiction now that everyone thought they were familiar with their tricks.
I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the Lord of The Rings movies – Sorry, everyone else in the world – but even I have to admit that the first trailer for The Hobbit looked remarkably impressive and epic in scale, managing to both fulfill expectations that it will be familiar enough for the hardcore fans and offer something different to keep people interested (Martin Freeman’s somewhat curmudgeonly performance was a lot of fun, and hopefully will make him the star he deserves to be). After all the various problems in making its way to the screen – Someone, somewhere, should really have been making a documentary about the movie’s cursed path from book to movie; it would probably be as epic and thrilling as the book itself – I’m hoping that this is all the movie people are expecting, and then some. Everyone deserves a happy ending, right?
This is, without exaggeration, the movie of the year for me right now – After seeing the purposefully vague, yet suitably teasing trailer, all understatement, hints and welcomely impressive visual style – I am filled with something between obsessive excitement and nervousness that Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien universe is going to live up to expectations, and not only answer the riddle of the “space jockey,” but go beyond that and open the storytelling possibilities back up after far too many movies that reduced everything to a repetitive and ultimately boring formula. Fingers and all manner of crossed that this doesn’t let us down… but beyond that, I’m trying to keep all my questions and theories to a minimum. I want to be blown away by this one.
As I said, The Amazing Spider-Man may just be the sneaky hit that no-one’s really thinking about – The trailer mixes nice turns from Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield with somewhat ludicrous CGI action scenes, so we’ll see what the final effort looks like. The new Bond movie, Skyfall, has to resurrect the entire franchise while maintaining the super spy’s effortless cool, and rumors that it’ll be more of a callback to the Connery days of yore than other recent installments may just manage to pull that trick off. GI Joe: Retaliation offers a follow-up to one of the more enjoyably stupid action movies in the last few years, while Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In The Woods finally manages to get released after a long stay in limbo (Hopefully not a bad omen about the quality of the movie). Finally, the purposeful weirdness of Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie and surprisingly straight-forward time-travel plot of Men in Black 3 do more to lure me in than I would’ve expected…
But what movies are you looking forward to this year? And are you expecting the big-ticket movies to be everything that everyone’s expecting, or do you have the by-now-traditional bad feeling about all of this…?