To understand Hollywood’s love for comic book heroes, one need only look at a list of the highest grossing movies of all time. You have the Avengers at first, then again at fifth, then again at eighth. And then again at eleventh. All personal opinions aside, the objective truth is that superhero movies make money. Even the bad ones. I mean, Iron Man 3 grossed over a billion dollars, and nobody liked Iron Man 3. That doesn't mean we wouldn't watch a fourth one though — even if it's just Robert Downey Jr. tinkering in a workshop for three and a half hours.
This year has about a dozen costumed vigilantes taking to the big screen — some household names and others, as vigilantes should be: absolutely unknown. Here are the superhero movies to watch out for in 2021.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Release Date: July 9
Canadian actor Simu Liu is set to star as Marvel’s first ever Asian lead in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Originally planned for release in conjunction with Chinese New Year, it’s surprising that we haven’t seen a teaser or even a promotional poster yet. In fact, apart from the names of the director and cast members, everything has been kept well under wraps.
Regardless, given Marvel’s track record with Black Panther, the prospect of another culturally impactful addition to their film universe builds up excitement in and of itself.
Predicted Rating (based on nothing but the title typography): 7/10
Release Date: April 29
We already know how the story ends, but no one bothered to tell us how it started. Until now. As the original cast of The Avengers bow out of their respective roles, Scarlett Johansson will suit up as Black Widow one last time, in a self-titled solo film geared to explore her character’s origin and backstory.
While Johansson has always stunned as part of the ensemble, it’ll be exciting to see her take all the shine for a change. There’s a lot of pressure riding on this one to be a memorable send-off. Iron Man and Captain America got theirs’; it’d be a shame if Black Widow has it any other way.
Predicted Rating: 8/10
Release Date: December 17
I’ve been to the cinema to see uncle Ben die on three separate occasions. As has the rest of the world. And I’d be up for three more retellings of the same story because it’s a truth as simple as day: when Spider-Man’s on the big screen, you go and watch.
He’s a superhero who transcends generations in a manner surpassing all his contemporaries. I mean, everyone knows Spider-man. With rumours circulating that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield — the two web-slingers of the past — might reprise their role alongside Tom Holland in this third sequel, the expectations are through the roof.
Predicted Rating: 9/10
The Suicide Squad
Release Date: August 4
A naming convention which reminds me of the way I save my writeups — draft, finaldraft, finaldraftforreal, finaldraftforrealiswear — the train wreck that was 2016’s Suicide Squad is now set to return for a reboot as The Suicide Squad. As if grammar was our primary issue with the first film.
Well, maybe it’s the director’s way to foreshadow better story writing. If so, we might actually get to enjoy some coherent dialogue this time around.
In all honesty, I’m fairly optimistic about this reboot. James Gunn inspires confidence as the production lead. And his confirmation that the film will enjoy all the freedoms that come with an R rating even offsets the highly questionable decision of casting John Cena as one of the villains.
Predicted Rating: 7/10
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Release Date: October 4
The first Venom movie didn’t receive a warm reception from critics. However, it did gross over 800 million dollars, which means we’re getting a second one anyways. At least the sequel shows a bit more promise. Although, that might be courtesy of the fact that we haven’t seen any footage yet.
Or, similar to The Suicide Squad, it might be because of the reported R rating. Movies such as the Logan and Deadpool have been crucial in paving this path, finally making producers realise that kids needn't be the target audience of a superhero movie. With this, the genre’s slowly gaining the freedom to evolve away from hackneyed dialogue and formulaic narratives. Whether or not the sequel to Venom puts this freedom to good use, is all that remains to be seen