2016 to yield long-awaited sequels, anticipated releases

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

2016 will be the year of clashing heroes, bad guys turned good and long-awaited sequels. The Daily Texan has assembled a list of the year’s biggest upcoming releases. 

Deadpool

  • Meet the mercenary with a mouth in Fox’s rated-R superhero flick. Well, it’s hard to call Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) a superhero when he curses like a sailor and kills his opponents just as viciously as he would a supervillain. At least he’s slaughtering goons to rescue his girl (Morena Baccarin).  

The stellar marketing campaign for “Deadpool” demonstrates an utmost refusal to take itself seriously, and Reynolds seems to be having a blast in the role. If the film, directed by Tim Miller and written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, sticks the landing, die-hard comic fans will rejoice. The question remains whether “Deadpool” can find a broader audience among the general public. 

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

  • After the disastrous events of “Man of Steel,” Superman (Henry Cavill) has become a divisive figure around the world. Among those who distrust him is Batman (Ben Affleck), who takes it upon himself to destroy the Last Son of Krypton. But as Earth’s two greatest superheroes battle for supremacy, the sinister Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) unleashes a powerful force that threatens the planet.

Cavill, Affleck, Eisenberg and Amy Adams, who plays Lois Lane, are excellent performers, and Oscar-winning writer Chris Terrio helms the script. Expect director Zack Snyder to deliver impressive visual effects and explosive action sequences. Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman and has much to prove come the film’s release, but she certainly looks the part.

The Jungle Book

  • “The Jungle Book” is Disney’s newest live-action reimagining of a classic animated feature, following the journey of a boy, a bear and a panther through the treacherous Indian jungle.

Jon Favreau directs, while Bill Murray voices Baloo and Ben Kingsley performs as Bagheera. Newcomer Neel Seethi takes on the role of Mowgli. New songs written by Richard M. Sherman, who was one of the original songwriters for the 1967 animated version, will appear in the movie. Have no fear, though — “The Bare Necessities” will make a comeback. 

Captain America: Civil War

  • Do superheroes even need villains anymore? Marvel joins the superhero face-off trend with the third “Captain America” film. 

The Star-Spangled Man finds himself at odds against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) when the world’s governments decide to regulate the Avengers. Captain America (Chris Evans) opposes governmental oversight and sets out to search for his friend Bucky/the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) before he’s captured by international law enforcement. 

The Russo brothers return as directors after helming the previous Cap film, and Evans and Downey Jr. look like they’ll sell the conflict between two friends. “Civil War” features the first cinematic appearance of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) — and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s introduction to Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

Finding Dory

  • The long-awaited sequel to Pixar’s “Finding Nemo” arrives 13 years after the original’s release. In this installment, amnesiac fish Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) goes on a search for her lost family, and Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) join her on an adventure that will take them from Australia to the coast of Monterey, California. 

Andrew Stanton, who wrote and directed the original feature, returns to both roles in this film. New characters, including Destiny the whale shark (Kaitlin Olson), Bailey the beluga (Ty Burrell), and Hank the octopus (Ed O’Neill) will appear. 

Star Trek Beyond

  • The third entry in the rebooted “Star Trek” series, “Beyond” sees the crew of the USS Enterprise marooned on an uncharted planet. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) leads a desperate mission to escape the world and defeat a vicious new villain, Krall (Idris Elba). 

Director Justin Lin takes charge of this installment from J.J. Abrams, and Simon Pegg, who also plays Scotty, handles the screenplay. “Star Trek Beyond” doesn’t look or feel like traditional “Star Trek,” but if it pulls in viewers with the charming characters and breakneck momentum of the two Abrams films, purists might just come along for the ride.

Suicide Squad

  • It’s good to be bad in director David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad,” based on DC Comics’ series about a team of villains used by the government as expendable soldiers.

Leading the large cast are Will Smith as the assassin called Deadshot, Margot Robbie as the manic Harley Quinn, and Joel Kinnaman as the Suicide Squad’s military handler, Rick Flag. Little has been revealed about the plot, but the trailers suggest the Squad will go up against Jared Leto’s Joker. 

Ayer fuses darkly comic characters with sensational action, and the film appears to be a violent but entertaining romp that will push the PG-13 boundary. 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story 

  • Before Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance had to steal the destructive space station’s plans from the Empire.

“Rogue One” is a prequel to the original “Star Wars” film, exploring how the Rebels ended up over Tatooine. Felicity Jones stars as a character whose name has not yet been revealed, and other big names such as Mads Mikkelsen and Forest Whitaker will also appear. 2014 “Godzilla” director Gareth Edwards began shooting the film in August 2015 and is likely wrapping up production.  

After the critical and commercial success of “The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One” has a high bar to reach. Thanks to a talented cast and crew, the Force might be on its side.