2/7 The Lego Movie (Phil Lord and Chris Miller)
Although this may not sound like a great idea on paper, the humorous trailer definitely sold me. Lord and Miller have directed 21 Jump Street and the animated film Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs. They’re also writing the screenplay.
The film has a star-studded cast featuring Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Ferrell. However the highlight might be Arrested Development star Will Arnett as Batman. Channing Tatum was supposed to be Superman, but had to drop out. The trailer is embedded below.
3/7 300: Rise of an Empire (Noam Murro)
The sequel to the 2007 film 300 (Zack Snyder) was originally supposed to come out this August, but has been pushed back to next March. Murro has only directed one previous film, 2008’s Smart People starring Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker. The movie follows the plot of an upcoming Frank Miller graphic novel titled Xerxes.
Returning from the first film are Rodrigo Santoro (Lost) as Xerxes and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) as Queen Gorgo. Eva Green also appears as Artemisia. This probably won’t be a great film, but I’m curious to see how this turns out anyway. Check out the trailer here.
3/28 Noah (Darren Aronofsky)
This is definitely a contender for the most exciting film of 2014. Darren Aronofsky is one of the most talented directors of our time, having made amazing films such as Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, and Black Swan. The script has leaked online and it is excellent. I’m curious to see how Christians react to the portrayal of Noah.
Noah is loosely based on the biblical story. It stars Russell Crowe as the title character and Jennifer Connelly as his wife. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson are also featured. Clint Mansell, who has done the music for all of Aronofsky’s films, is again writing the score.
4/4 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Russo Brothers)
The First Avenger is back in the sequel to the 2011 Marvel Studios film. This will be the third time Chris Evans is portraying the character, the second being the 2012 film The Avengers. Scarlett Johansson will be reprising her role from Iron Man 2 and The Avengers as the Black Widow; the same goes for Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders and Maria Hill. The large amount of Avengers cast members has led some fans to view this as a sort of Avengers 1.5.
Robert Redford is making his first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance as Alexander Pierce, a high-ranking SHIELD member who is rumored to be a villain. Also joining the series is Anthony Mackie as The Falcon, Frank Grillo as Crossbones, and UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre as Batroc the Leaper.
Sebastian Stan returns as Bucky Barnes (who appeared to die in the first film), but this time, he’s the villainous Winter Soldier. In the comics, Barnes is thought dead, but reappears as a brainwashed Soviet agent. He had a relationship with Black Widow, so it will be interesting to see if this is carried over to the film.
The Russo Brothers are directing, which is somewhat of an odd choice, seeing as they are mainly known for comedies such as the mediocre You, Me, and Dupree and the TV show Community. However, I’ve enjoyed all the MCU films so far, so I have confidence in their choices, which often seem odd at first.
4/18 Transcendence (Wally Pfister)
This is Pfister’s first film as director, but he has a great resume as cinematographer, including Moneyball and Christopher Nolan films such as Inception, Memento, and all three of his Batman movies. Nolan is an executive producer on Transcendence. The movie is about scientists trying to develop computers than can surpass the abilities of the human brain.
The cast includes Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara (House of Cards), Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins), and Paul Bettany. The screenplay was written by Jack Paglen, who is also writing the upcoming sequel to Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The film is being distributed by Warner Brothers.
5/2 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Marc Webb)
Webb returns to direct the second film in the rebooted franchise starring Andrew Garfield. Also returning is Emma Stone (Superbad) as Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy. There are several new additions to the cast as well. Jamie Foxx joins as the main villain, the blue-skinned Electro. Paul Giamatti plays the villainous Rhino.
Furthermore, Chris Cooper will be playing Norman Osborne AKA The Green Goblin. He’s the head of Oscorp, which was featured in the first film, but his character was only hinted at. Dane DeHaan plays his son, Harry Osborne, in the role played by James Franco in the original trilogy. The character of Mary Jane Watson was also cast, but now she is apparently being saved for the third movie.
Sony has already announced the release dates for the third and fourth film in the series. Number three will come out in June 2016 and the fourth in May 2018. This is very far in advance for a studio to declare a release date. They likely want to claim these highly competitive summer spots.