Your Guide to the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Movies of 2017


Below is your guide to the science fiction, fantasy, and superhero films of 2017—complete with trailers, release dates, pros and cons, and an Excitement Rating that quantifies Big B’s interest in each film.

The Lego Batman Movie – February 10th – Warner Animation Group & DC Entertainment

Pro: the possibility that Will Arnett will be the best Batman yet; the realization that this movie is essentially an animated amalgam of all the Batman memes that exist on the Internet

Con: None—though here’s hoping that the film passes the Bechdel test

Excitement Rating: 10/10

The Great Wall – February 17th – Legendary East & China Film Group

Pro: mesmerizing action sequences; directed by Zhang Yimou (Hero and House of Flying Daggers), who responded to the controversy over Matt Damon’s role by noting that “Matt Damon is not playing a role that was originally conceived for a Chinese actor. The arrival of his character in our story is an important plot point. There are five major heroes in our story and he is one of them—the other four are all Chinese. The collective struggle and sacrifice of these heroes are the emotional heart of our film.”

Con: the realization that American trailers for the film ignore that information, choosing instead to focus almost solely on Matt Damon

Excitement Rating: 7/10

Logan – March 3rd – Marvel Entertainment

Pro: an even grittier Wolverine; an appropriate cinematic farewell to Hugh Jackman’s reign as Logan; and the film has a shining endorsement from Ryan Reynolds (who believes that the movie will elevate the superhero film genre to new, more emotionally compelling heights)

Con: the nagging fear that one or all of the above pros could turn out to be false advertising

Excitement Rating: 9/10

Power Rangers – March 24th – Saban Brands

Pro: impressive new costumes; Bill Hader as Alpha 5; 90s nostalgia

Con: the feeling that this movie is an unsolicited inevitability; too much 90s nostalgia

Excitement Rating: 3/10

Life – March 24th – Skydance

Pro: Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds stare intensely at each other—in space

Con: lacks originality (we get it: space is scary); seems like it fuels anti-NASA sentiments (starts with pro-exploration lines from JFK, but as Jeff Goldblum once said, “Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and um, screaming.”)

Excitement Rating: 5/10

Ghost in the Shell – March 31st – Paramount Pictures &  DreamWorks Pictures

Pro: a widely distributed adaptation of a classic manga (and subsequent anime)

Con: whitewashing; possible narrative and character development problems; ideologically different than source material

Excitement Rating: 6/10

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5th – Marvel Studios

Pro: Baby Groot; Drax one-liners; more Yondu; introduction of Mantis; same director as first film (James Gunn)

Con: overdone father-son conflict as a main storyline

Excitement Rating: 8/10

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – May 12th – Warner Bros.

Pro: directed by Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Sherlock Holmes); promises to be a wild ride—the wit of Snatch, the grittiness of Sons of Anarchy, the characters of medieval Britain, and the athleticism of David Beckham (literally)

Con: maybe too many things are packed into this movie

Excitement Rating: 6/10

Alien: Covenant – May 19th – 20th Century Fox

Pro: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, and Danny McBride; screenplay by John Logan, a screenwriter who worked on films like Gladiator and Hugo 

Con: beginning to wonder if there is a finite number of different Alien story arcs—and if we have alreadly seen them all

Excitement Rating: 4/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – May 26th – Walt Disney Studios

Pro: Javier Bardem’s wild hair; pirate shenanigans; Jack Sparrow (a character that—don’t forget—earned Johnny Depp a Best Actor nomination)

Con: like On Stranger Tides, this film is not directed by Gore Verbinski, the director of the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films. (This film is directed by a two Norwegian directors, Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning. They may be wonderful directors, but Verbinski’s style is a franchise staple.)

Excitement Rating: 7/10

Wonder Woman – June 2nd – DC Entertainment

Pro: first female superhero film of the modern superhero era from a major company; Gal Gadot and Robin Wright; directed by Patty Jenkins

Con: hearing opinions like this that ignore the adaptability of comic book characters (and, arguably, the power of film)

Excitement Rating: 9/10

The Mummy – June 9th – K/O Paper Products

Pro: fantastic group of actors: Sofia Boutella, Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, and Russell Crowe

Con: no Brendan Fraser; according to director Alex Kurtzman, “Putting it in modern day forces you to ask the question: What would it really be like if a monster came to our world? Immediately asking that question, you’re in a more grounded attempt at reality”—as if he just blew our minds, as if this is the first movie to throw a monster into a modern city setting

Excitement Rating: 4/10

Transformers: The Last Knight – June 23rd – Hasbro Studios

Pro: Mark Wahlberg; Autobot infighting

Con: Is Bumblebee in danger? Wha—? Why?! Bumblebee!!!

Excitement Rating: 4/10

Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7th – Columbia Pictures & Marvel Studios

Pro: a live-action Spider-Man with the endearing nerdiness of Tobey Maguire—but without the strained expressions and Saturday Night Fever struts

Con: Marvel burnout; over-hype; opportunistic reboot; apprehension fueled by Andrew Garfield’s unconvincing version of the character

Excitement Rating: 6/10

War for the Planet of the Apes – July 14th – Chernin Entertainment

Pro: Woody Harrelson; no Tom Felton

Con: a simplistic, violent narrative that squanders its potentially compelling subject matter—this could be an intelligent film, but it likely won’t be

Excitement Rating: 3/10

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – July 21st – EuropaCorp

Pro: directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element); chemistry between Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan; brilliant source material

Con: None

Excitement Rating: 10/10

The Dark Tower – July 28th – Weed Road Pictures & Imagine Entertainment

Pro: Stephen King is author of source material; Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, and Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon), and Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen); directed by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair)

Con: the usual passive-aggressive battle between those who have read the books and those who haven’t

Excitement Rating: 8/10

Blade Runner 2049 – October 6th – Alcon Entertainment, Thunderbird Entertainment, & Scott Free Productions

Pro: directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario and Arrival)

Con: might tarnish the legacy of a science fiction classic

Excitement Rating: 7/10

Thor: Ragnarok – November 3rd – Marvel Studios

Pro: directed by Taika Waititi (Eagle vs Shark and Hunt for the Wilderpeople); buddy-cop pairing of Thor and Dr. Strange

Con: TBD

Excitement Rating: 9/10

Justice League – November 17th – DC Films

Pro: the long-awaited, big-screen portrayal of an iconic comic book team; DC’s willingness to avoid the cookie-cutter style of filmmaking that Marvel has embraced

Con: will spark another round of widespread bellyaching about the supposed flaws of DC films

Excitement Rating: 9/10

Star Wars: Episode VIII – December 15th – Walt Disney Studios

Pro: written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper); like Episode VII, a terrific cast, including Daisy RidleyAdam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, and Oscar Isaac

Con: revisiting sad feelings about those who have passed, fictional and real

Excitement Rating: 8/10

Did I forget a movie? Let me know in the comments.

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Ben Boruff is a co-founder of Big B and Mo’ Money, and he has reviewed comics for and Some of his favorite directors are Whit Stillman, Seijun Suzuki, Noah Baumbach, Kathryn Bigelow, Stanley Kubrick, Antione Fuqua, Don Hertzfeldt, Adam McKay, and Tom Hooper.  Follow him on Twitter: @BenMagicAwesome

2 thoughts on “Your Guide to the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Superhero Movies of 2017

  1. That’s a lot of movies. I unfortunately won’t get to see most at the cinema due to distance but it looks like I’ll have a few movies to look forward to (whether to enjoy or to laugh at) after 2017. Thanks for sharing.

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