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Movies for 2017: The Good, The Bad, and the Over-Hyped (Part 1)

Great movies for 2017 have already hit theaters, with more on the way. And of course, we’re already getting a lot of hype about some of the upcoming flicks. Hype doesn’t necessarily mean a movie is going to be good or bad. However, if a movie is over-hyped and turns out not to be great, we are left feeling pretty disappointed. Additionally, there are some pictures that we just do not hear about until after the fact, so I want to shine the spotlight on a few of those, hence the following list.

It’s not a comprehensive list of all the biggest or best movies coming out this year. Nor is it a list of movies I want to see personally. Instead, this is a type of hype list. A list of movies that are being marketed heavily as either a blockbuster event like Kong: Skull Island or maybe as extra relevant like Get Out.

Honestly, I think some of these movies will be really terrible. But, for others, I expect great things. The only movie that I would retroactively put in this list from January, would be Splice (I loved it, by the way). Here we go:

John Wick: Chapter 2 / Feb 10th – A follow-up to the cult classic surprise hit from two years ago, I mention this partially because of the box office sleeper hit it might become, but also because John Wick defies genre. It creates a odd noir, hitman subculture in a way that feels like grounded mythos. We’ll see if lightning will strike twice.

Lego Batman Movie / Feb. 10th – I predict a box office hit here. Hardly any real competition. The Lego Movie was surprisingly good, and here Warner Bros can finally prove they haven’t forgotten how to make a Batman movie (more than I can say for the Justice League movie coming out later this year). The voice-acting cast is superb for this animated-flick, and it has the opportunity to be the best Batman movie since The Dark Knight, and I truly believe that.

A Cure for Wellness / Feb. 17th – This film intrigues me personally as I have an odd interest in the rise of the medical practice of psychiatry during the early 20th century. This film looks half Shutter Island, half something else, and I am incredibly interested to see Gore Verbinski return to a story that is not a massive Disney production, after having headed three Pirates of the Caribbean films, and, the often misunderstood, Rango. We know he can do creepy suspense, since he directed The Ring over a decade ago, and now that Rings (out Feb. 3) the third installment to that spooky franchise is also hitting theaters, I assume Verbinski likely turned down the opportunity at that to do A Cure for Wellness, which is nice since he already did the sequel dance with Disney and Pirates. 

Get Out / Feb. 24th – This film has made a huge splash at Sundance. After a “secret” midnight screening at the festival, many critics have been naming this as a must see. This clever suspense/thriller will certainly be a hit at the box office, and it may even make some really poignant remarks on culture.

Logan / March 3rd – This (most likely) final installment of the Wolverine-saga takes a new and intriguing departure from the classic superhero films that have been released as of late. The trailer reveals a broken and lost Logan longing for purpose, or maybe just rest. Directed by James Mangold who also made 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line, this appears to be a far more intimate Wolverine story than we’ve yet seen. Also, more Johnny Cash could not hurt, right?

Kong: Skull Island / March 10th – Directed by newcomer Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island, may prove to be the surprise hit of the year. With only three features to his name, I understand why some might
be wary, especially since Peter Jackson’s epic love letter to the King Kong story did not do splendidly, despite following directly on the heels of his success with Lord of the Rings. Yet, Vogt-Roberts proved that he cares about characters with his small coming-of-age story, The Kings of Summer, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance four years ago. The cast for Kong is truly mind-boggling: John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, and more. The only thing that causes me pause is that the writers are a mixed bunch. First, there are six credited writers (which may mean even more have touched the project but not been credited), and while some have backgrounds with great thrillers and action films, like Minority Report and Nightcrawler, but bombs like Need for Speed, and (as I am about to discuss) Power Rangers.

Beauty and the Beast / March 17th – This film will dominate the box office for weeks. Even with popular pre-existing intellectual property releases, like Kong and Logan, nothing will stand up against Disney’s newest live action remake. Emma Watson has already received praised for her singing in the trailers and the voice acting will surely please. After Kenneth Branagh secured success with Cinderella a couple years ago, Beauty and the Beast was the most obvious contender for adaptation, and, knowing Disney, they have yet another hit on their hands.

Power Rangers / March 24th – I do not hold out hope that this will prove a hit, as the only ingredients for that are incredible top-billed actors (Bryan Cranston & Elizabeth Banks), while everyone else on the production would seem to be unproven. A director with no real hits, indie or otherwise, writers whose past work includes Need For Speed and Gods of Egypt, and a young cast to play the Rangers themselves. I expect the movie to be panned by critics and a flop at the box office… But the marketing has already started kicking into high gear (no pun intended).

The Fate of the Furious / April 14th – Since Paul Walker died, many believed this would be the final movie in the franchise, whether that proves true, is a whole different discussion, but I expect this to land well at the box office, even if it ends up being a flop amongst critics. They continue to add new and big names to the cast list, including Charlize Theron, after her incredible portrayal of Furiosa in Mad Max a couple years ago.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales / May 26th – It’s been six years since the poorly received fourth installment of the Pirates franchise. This film has picked up new writers, directors, and even has Orlando Bloom returning to reprise his role as Will Turner. Whether that is enough to resurrect this series for Disney is the $320 million dollar question… that’s right, Disney is rumored to have poured over $300 million into this release, which is a massive risk, considering that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides only grossed $240 million at the box office here in America. If nothing else, watch this for another incredible performance by Javier Bardem.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 / May 5th – This film will be a wild success. The announcement of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film had many people very skeptical of Marvel’s decision making, until it grossed $333 million at the domestic box office. That first movie is still considered one of Marvel’s best yet, and Vol. 2 has many people waiting with anticipation. I expect Chris Pratt to continue his rise as Hollywood’s choice leading man, and Marvel to once again prove that no one else makes superhero blockbusters like them (why do you keep trying, Warner Bros?). This will easily bring in more than than $400 million and will likely be the third highest grossing film of 2017 (behind Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars: The Last Jedi).

Alien Covenant / May 19th – After the mixed success of Prometheus, and the wild rumors that Neill Blomkamp would have a chance to helm the franchise, Ridley Scott returns home once more to prove he is the master of sci-fi. All my cards on the table: I don’t love most of Scott’s work, I enjoyed Alien, respected Blade Runner, and just didn’t get The Martian. Yet, I cannot help but admire this man who, even after turning 79, continues to create entertaining and beautiful films. Whether or not this will prove better than Prometheus, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Baywatch / May 26th – I normally would scoff at a film like Baywatch, but there are two big reasons why I won’t laugh this one off: 1) I’ve met the writers for this film, and their background is in horror films. They are excited and very optimistic that people will like this new take on an old IP. They are genuinely confident that their original screenplay has not been tampered with much, so hopefully they are right. 2) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This guy seems to draw a crowd no matter what he does these days. He might very well carry this entire film from the edge of disaster to that ever-so-rare ground of, “it’s awful, but I love it anyhow” (see San Andreas).

Wonder Woman / June 2nd – I really want to love this movie. I want DC Comics and Warner Bros to finally figure it out. Wonder Woman’s appearance in Batman Vs. Superman was lackluster and disappointing, but not because of Gal Gadot or the Wonder Woman story. This comes back to Zach Snyder and Warner Bros putting together a jumbled mess of meaningless dialogue, random plot points, and terrible character development. I hold out some hope for this film because of the director: Patty Jenkins. I look forward to a woman directing a woman’s story. Perhaps audiences will see a intimate story for a very cool comic book hero.

The Mummy / June 9 – If you asked me to name an unlikely franchise to reboot and a likeable action star to take the lead role, I’d never put The Mummy and Tom Cruise together… EVER. In fact, when I heard this was the case, I groaned. I like Tom Cruise. His performances are always enjoyable, as are the films he typically chooses. My fears were mostly allayed after seeing the trailer for The Mummy. It has incredible action set pieces that we’ve never seen before, let alone seen in what is widely considered a low quality action franchise, like The Mummy. I expect this to be a surprisingly good reboot and popcorn flick.

Transformers: The Last Knight / June 23rd – Michael Bay is a master of making money. I seriously do not understand how this franchise continues to make hundreds of millions of dollars around the world, when the films are a jumbled mess of explosions and absurd plot holes, but here we are. Last year, Bay surprised me with a compelling film in 13 Hours, and I wish the Transformers movies were more like that. This film will likely be a hit in China and barely make its budget back here in America.

Despicable Me 3 / June 30th – This movie comes on the heels of the awful spinoff of the series, Minions, from two years ago. I doubt anything new and interesting will be added to the original concept of a super villain learning how to love through experiencing fatherhood. Probably moderately successful at the box office, but nothing to write home about, story-wise.

This concludes Part 1 of my “What to Watch Or Not Watch” Hype Movie list. Come back in a couple days for the conclusion.


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