It’s a new year and for a lot of us, that means a new start. 2016 had some good moments in entertainment culture, but a litany of celebrity deaths and other blunders have left some bad tastes in our mouths. So, for 2017, we can only hope things are looking up from here.
One of the things I can hope for this year is for faithful movie adaptations. We see plenty of movies derived from books, plays and comics, but a lot of times they don’t hold up to their source material. It makes sense that movie adaptations often don’t capture the essence of their foundations. Condensing books that are hundreds of pages long into a two-hour movie isn’t easy. When the rights to a book are acquired, scripts go through a number of rewrites, many times by different writers. By the time a director gets involved, the story may be a shell of what it originally was. One upcoming movie to keep eye on is Andres Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It, slated for release in early September. Though the movie did get its own two-part television miniseries, a big-screen rendering may be more faithful to the novel. You can, after all, get away with more in a theatrical movie than in a televised one. Just like the 1990 ABC broadcast, the movie will start with the characters as kids. If it is successful, the second installment will get the green light.
Also coming out soon will be a number of movies in the successful Marvel franchise. 2016 had some great superhero movies. Highlights were definitely Deadpool and Doctor Strange. The 2017 slate has four upcoming films in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Logan and Thor: Ragnarok. Guardians of the Galaxy is, without a doubt, my favorite movie out of Marvel Studios. It has the perfect blend of characters and delivers solid action with a blend of humor. The biggest question mark of the three movies will be Spider-Man: Homecoming. It will be the second reboot of the franchise and the sixth overall Spider-Man movie. Michael Keaton is set to play the Vulture, one of Spidey’s more notable nemeses. We got a taste of Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, with pleasant charm and a good dose of wry wit, typical of the character from the comics. Hopefully it will continue. Logan looks interesting in terms of its marketing style. The trailer looks like a heartfelt drama, so the plot may not be as much of a slash ‘em up X-Men blockbuster. Most X-Men films are usually either good or below average, so hopefully Logan is a good send off for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. As for Thor: Ragnarok, this will be Chris Hemsworth’s third movie as the protector of Asgard. We haven’t seen a standalone Thor movie for four years now, so it will be interesting to see where the franchise goes when the other Avengers aren’t around.
Speaking of Marvel, Netflix’s catalog of comic-based TV shows is expanding with The Punisher. Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle was the highlight of Daredevil’s second season, and it is exciting to see what is in store for a stand-alone show. While all of the current Marvel shows have a bit of grit to them, The Punisher is bound to have some tenacious violence, in comparison. Though, that is not to overshadow Iron Fist, the final piece leading to Marvel’s The Defenders, which is also set to stream later this year. Another Netflix show to get excited about returning in 2017 is Stranger Things. The nostalgic ’80s mystery horror series will return for Season 2 sometime this year.
Lastly, 2017 could use a new and innovative horror director/writer to break out of an era of supernatural jump-scare thrillers. Legends like John Carpenter and Wes Craven have led to up and comers like James Wan. It is about time for the genre to get under our skin again, and many recent scare flicks have fallen into a void of remakes and sequels. 2017 has some exciting prospects in entertainment and hopefully it delivers.