The big studios continued to lay the groundwork for their 2017 blockbusters this week, with Marvel in particular treating audiences to a meaty preview of one of their upcoming films as we finally got a full, hilarious look at latest sequel Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
Elsewhere, several directors of surprise 2016 hits got themselves new, big projects and there was some interesting casting announced for The Lego Batman Movie.
Here’s your round-up of the biggest and best news from the world of film.
Drax laughs it up in Guardians 2 trailer
One of the most exciting new films on the Marvel Cinematic Universe slate debuted a brand new trailer this week, as we got our first substantive look at Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The MVPs of the trailer were absolutely Dave Bautista‘s Drax, who steals the final scene of the trailer completely, and the diminutive Baby Groot, who seems like an adorably childlike klutz. We don’t get a massive amount of plot in this trailer, but it’s fair to say that it’s nice enough to have the Guardians back on our screens.
Marvel can pretty much do what it likes with its cinematic universe given that they’re almost guaranteed success stories at this stage. With that in mind, it’s good to see that they appear to have let James Gunn off the leash once again to produce something unique, witty and utterly brilliant. I’d frankly be happy with Bautista laughing for two hours. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be released in the UK in April 2017.
Goosebumps director on for Detective Pikachu
With the success of Pokemon Go earlier this year, few people were surprised when a new live action outing for the Japanese monsters was announced. Eyebrows were raised a little though when it was announced the the rather unusual Detective Pikachu idea would be the basis for the film. There is now encouraging news for Pokemon fans, though, with Legendary revealing that Goosebumps director Rob Letterman is set to helm the Detective Pikachu film.
Letterman did a thrilling job with Goosebumps, lovingly taking a classic family franchise and transforming it into a great adventure movie. If he can maintain the same sort of tone for Detective Pikachu, then this will be another fun family blockbuster. Given the nostalgia factor of Pokemon, this could potentially be a very solid franchise to be on board with. For a guy like Letterman, it could make his career.
Lego Batman Movie casts the rightful Two Face
Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent in two Batman movies in the 80s and 90s. However, when it was time for the character to turn to the dark side in 1995’s Batman Forever and become Two Face, the role was recast and handed to Tommy Lee Jones. Now, that historical wrong is set to be righted with the news, confirmed on Twitter, that Williams will indeed play Two Face in the upcoming animated comedy The Lego Batman Movie.
This is a nice little slice of stunt casting for a film that already looks as if it could be one of the funniest films of next year. Warner Brothers is doing everything right in its Lego franchise and this spin-off to The Lego Movie looks like it is set to be a spoof of superhero movies from a totally different angle to something like Deadpool, which was far more enamoured with swearing than silliness. The Lego Batman Movie is due to be released in February 2017.
James Gunn unveils The Belko Experiment
Away from the big-budget spectacle of Guardians of the Galaxy, it seems as if James Gunn is still working on the dark thrillers that made his name. His script for The Belko Experiment, which will be directed by Wolf Creek helmsman Greg McLean, focuses on a group of Americans in an office block who are subjected to a grim social experiment in which they are ordered to kill a set amount of their co-workers or those in charge will kill even more. A trailer for the film landed this week, showcasing the high-concept darkness of the story.
This is a really fun trailer, suggesting the kind of overblown dark concept that Gunn communicated so well in films like Slither and Super. Single-location thrillers always have a real sense of intensity to them and the addition of McLean as director suggests there won’t be any holding back on the violence. The Belko Experiment will be released in America in March 2017, but there is no UK release date set at the time of writing.
Cloverfield director tied up for Houdini movie
Dan Trachtenberg directed one of the best films of this year with the tense sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane. His next project looks set to be an interesting one as, according to Deadline, he is in talks to step behind the camera for a film based on the life of escapologist Harry Houdini. The film was first mooted quite some time ago as a Johnny Depp project and it looks set to be a major prestige movie.
Trachtenberg is a solid director and he seems to have a real eye for horror. It’s unclear whether his skills can transfer to a big Hollywood biopic, but there are sure to be aspects of darkness and the occult to this that will be right in Trachtenberg’s wheelhouse. We don’t know much about this film as yet, but it’s certainly an interesting project.
Lin-Manuel Miranda on board for epic fantasy
Lin-Manuel Miranda is currently packing cinemas with his songs for Disney movie Moana and it looks like the Hamilton man has another interesting film project on his plate. The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Miranda is working on the upcoming adaptation of fantasy book trilogy The Kingkiller Chronicle. The story follows a magically gifted young musician who becomes a powerful wizard. Miranda will, of course, be helping with music for the film.
Anything Miranda does musically is worth keeping an eye on and it’s a great boost for this project, which seems to be arriving on the young adult fantasy scene rather late. I will certainly be keeping an eye on it now.
What do you think of this week’s new trailers? Does the Universal Monsters franchise have a bright future? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.
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