There are countless superhero movies already lined up until 2020, but this year alone is like 365 days of Christmas for comic book fans: there are six superheroes movies coming out in 2016, evenly distributed between the three main studios, Marvel, DC/Warner and Fox.We’ve already seen Deadpool, the antihero tale that took everyone by surprise as a movie that was not only filled with R-rated jokes, but also killed it at the box office. We’ve barely left Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice behind, our hearts full of anticipation for the upcoming movies of the DC Cinematic Universe, and we’re already drowning in the superhero abundance of Captain America: Civil War (but in a good way). And still, it comes as no surprise that we’ve only reached half of the superhero movies coming in 2016.So, what’s next? Here’s a recap of everything we know so far.There seems to be a trend here: as with the other superhero movies coming up in 2016, the fourth X-Men movie directed by Bryan Singer is pushing the limits of the number of characters we’ve been used to seeing together on screen.In X-Men: Apocalypse, a powerful mutant named Apocalypse awakes from his century-long sleep only to decide to destroy the world. He’s joined by four horsemen — Magneto, Angel, Psylocke and Storm — and requires the X-Men to team up, including the young students of Professor Xavier’s academy.
Professor Xavier and his students in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ / Fox
The stars of the X-Men franchise such as James McAvoy as Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and Nicholas Hoult as Beast, are returning, and are joined by more A-list actors including Rose Byrne, Olivia Munn, Oscar Isaac and Sophie Turner. If you need help navigating this complex web of characters, read more about the horsemen of the apocalypse here, and about the villain himself and his comic book achievements here.
As for the quality, even though the movie won’t be released until May 27 in the US, the first critics have already started speaking up about X-Men: Apocalypse, and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. The mostly mediocre reviews deplore the lack of personal stories for each character and a not so credible villain, as his motive for destroying the planet isn’t very clear. The number of superheroes also seems to hinder the story’s progress, with critics feeling like most of them deserve more screen time.
Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse / Fox
On the other hand, the newcomers are meant to be great and the cast is as impressive as always. Storm, Jean Grey and Nightcrawler steal the show, and Mystique’s story arc is a fascinating path from villain to hero. Just like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we’ll have to see whether the fans decide to make the movie a box office hit compared to other the superhero movies coming out this year, despite its not so favorable ratings.
After the sombre tone and color palette of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the logo and posters for DC’s second superhero movie in 2016 are switching it up with a splash of neon colors that are none the less intimidating. It’s a good fit for the movie’s playful vibe.The plot of Suicide Squad centers around a group of lunatic supervillains, recruited by the government to go on missions so dangerous they’re supposedly suicidal. Amanda Waller, who runs a secret government agency called A.R.G.U.S., is the one who suggested the creation of the task force, arguing that the best operatives for this kind of mission are the ones who’ve got nothing to lose.
‘Suicide Squad’ / Warner Bros.
We’ll get to see Deadshot (Will Smith), Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Slipknot (Adam Beach), Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and the Joker (Jared Leto). And we haven’t even identified yet who Scott Eastwood is playing! Is he Jason Todd? Is he Grifter?In the midst of this wide-scale superhero reunion movie, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and Jared Leto’s Joker have been making headlines ever since the promotional material for the movie started coming out — albeit for different reasons. The Australian actress, who’s also starring as Jane in the upcoming The Legend of Tarzan, has been talking at length about her take on the character, who’s making her first proper appearance on the big screen with Suicide Squad. She thinks Harley Quinn might be the most dangerous of all, because her background in psychology allows her to mess with people’s heads.
Harley Quinn in ‘Suicide Squad’ / Warner Bros.
And while we’ll have to wait to see the movie to decide what Jared Leto’s method approach to playing the Joker is actually worth, we can say for sure that his antics on set have put him at the top of superhero movie news. He’s sent his fellow cast members disturbing gifts such as used condoms, he’s admitted to practicing his creepy laugh in public… and the rest of the actors have explained that they’ve never met the person of Jared Leto on set — only the Joker.We also know we’ll get to see Ben Affleck’s Batman in the movie, and judging from the trailers, he might be more than just a cameo. Not only is the Batmobile from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice making a comeback, the third trailer for Suicide Squad shows Batman carrying an unconscious Harley Quinn.
The Task Force X in ‘Suicide Squad’ / Warner Bros.
On the feverish expectations scale of the superhero movies of 2016, this one’s clearly aiming for the top.The last superhero movie for 2016, Doctor Strange, certainly has big shoes to fill after Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, which is currently smashing the box office. It’s the start of a new era for Marvel Studios as well, as it introduces magical powers to their cinematic universe.Acclaimed British actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) is playing Dr. Stephen Strange, a skilled surgeon who has to give up on his career after an accident that leaves his hands badly damaged. As he travels the world in the attempt to find a cure, he meets the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton, who is going to lead him on his path to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. Cumberbatch and Swinton are joined by Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Scott Adkins, Michael Stuhlbarg as Nicodemus West and Benedict Wong as Wong.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange / Marvel Studios
Directed by Scott Derrickson, who’s specialized in horror movies such as Sinister until now, Doctor Strange sets itself apart from the other superhero movies of 2016 — it’s actually unlike any of the Marvel movies we’ve ever seen before. The original comics are known for being quite, well, strange, ranging from colorful magic to actual horror — there’s even one where Strange has to fight a giant rabbit and a caterpillar!
‘Doctor Strange’ / Marvel Studios
While we don’t know much about the plot besides the information revealed by the trailer, theories about what we might get to see in Doctor Strange include the potential appearance of one of Marvel’s coveted Infinity Stones… There are six stones in the Marvel Universe: the Space Stone, the Mind Stone, the Reality Stone, the Power Stone, the Time Stone and the Soul Stone. Supervillain Thanos is obviously after them, but we only know where the first four can be found. Which means we might have to look to Doctor Strange’s necklace, called the Eye of Agamotto, to find the Time Stone.So Doctor Strange might be a lesser known character, but the novelty of the universe he’s about to introduce to movie fans, carried by a star-studded cast, makes this an undeniably promising superhero movie.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange / Marvel Studios
That’s a lot to look forward to, but who’s complaining? 2016 looks like it’s just the start of the superhero movie mania, considering there are 34 planned from now until 2020 — 33 if you exclude Captain America: Civil War. You better start saving up now!