My Top Anticipated Films of 2021

To say last year was a difficult one for someone like me, a movie fan, to endure would be a small understatement. With theaters shutting their doors for a time, blockbuster movies moving to the next upcoming year and film schedules shifting, it was a time of uncertainty for film studios, fans, and the entertainment business in general.

With a new year already here and a new business model for films rising, it’s time to look forward to what movies could grace our screens, either on a large silver screen or streaming on at home.

Raya and the Last Dragon – March 5, 2021

Officially announced at D23, this newly animated film from Disney, Kelly Marie Tran voices the title character, Raya; a young warrior in a fantastical land who is on a quest to find the last dragon, who will be voiced by Awkwafina. Outside of that baseline, we don’t know much else about this film. While originally slated for a 2020 release, the coronavirus outbreak has caused a delay to push the film to March 2021. Considering the success Disney had with Onward and Soul last year, this could be an animated film to keep an eye on.

A Quiet Place: Part II – April 23, 2021

Another 2020 film that was a victim of the Coronavirus outbreak, director John Krasinski’s dystopian horror film, which stars his real-life wife Emily Blunt, follows up with the Abbott family after the events of the first film. Based on the trailer we received months ago, it seems as though we will get a flashback into the beginning of the…invasion? Fall of civilization? Either way, it looks as though Krasinski isn’t going to short us on the tension and we should expect quite a thrilling and terrifying ride.

Uncharted

Based on the popular video game series of the same name, this Indiana Jones-styled- action-adventure film stars Tom Holland as the star, playing the treasure hunter protagonist Nathan Drake. Mark Wahlberg, who was originally attached to the project since the early days of production, has signed onto co-star with both men under the direction of Zombieland’s Ruben Fletcher. Given the success of the Tomb Raider reboot and with this being one of my personal favorite game series of all time, I have a personal interest in seeing this film succeed.

In the Heights – June 18, 2021

Crazy Rich Asians director John M. Chu returns to the director’s chair to adapt Lin-Manuel Miranda’s breakout musical, In the Heights. The award winning musical kicked off Miranda’s career and I feel like John M. Chu is the perfect choice to direct this adaptation, which seems to share the similar theme of reclaiming one’s heritage – as it follows multiple characters in New York’s heavily Latino neighborhood, Washington Heights, over the span of three days. The success of Hamilton on Disney Plus did enough of a job to convince me in giving this musical a chance.

No Time to Die – April 2, 2021

Under the guidance of director Cary Fukunaga, superspy James Bond returns for his 25th film in the series, with Daniel Craig returning for his fifth (and presumably) final turn as 007. Series regulars Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Watts, Rory Kinnear, and Ben Whishaw are accompanied by Lea Seydoux and Jeffery Wright join Craig in this globe-trotting adventure. Recent Best Actor-winner Rami Malek has been reported to play the villain, while Captain Marvel‘s standout Lashana Lynch will play the newest agent to earn a double-00 license to kill, who may have to relinquish the title of 007 back to Bond when he comes out of retirement. Let’s see how Daniel Craig will sign off as the suave superspy… and if this date will stay the same.

Black Widow – May 7, 2021

If there has been one film that has also been affected by the outbreak, it’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the pandemic, the superhero franchise took a year off and shifting their schedule. The first Marvel property scheduled to kick off its Phase 4 will be a prequel that focuses on one of the original Avengers in Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff. We don’t quite know the full story of this long awaited solo film, which also stars David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, and rising star Florence Pugh. Maybe Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye will make a cameo appearance?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – July 9, 2021

Marvel’s Phase 4 will continue to expand the universe as its first Asian-led film hits the big screen. Kim’s Convince Simu Liu is set to star along with The Farewell’s Awkwafina, who has been cast in an unknown role. While I don’t know much about the hero, Shang-Chi, so I guess I better start researching.

Candyman – August 27, 2021

Horror maestro Jordan Peele is producing this sequel (I know, not a reboot) to the 1992 cult classic. We don’t know the direction that the new story will take, but with young director Nia DeCosta leading young talent such as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman) and Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk) with Tony Todd returning as the title character, we could be in store for a frightening good time.

Malcolm and Marie – February 5, 2021

This isn’t a love story – it’s a story about love. John David Washington and Zendaya star in a movie that follows a filmmaker and his girlfriend as they return from a movie premiere and, over the course of the evening, begin to hash out their relationship. Netflix landed the film that comes from the mind of writer/director Sam Levinson, who spent our initial quarantine writing this entire movie script in six days, the first trailer of this movie looks like a tense and emotional look at the relationships and what it means to love someone.

Tom and Jerry – February 26, 2021

The classic animated television series is getting a facelift in this big-screen update in the form of a live-action/animated hybrid in which the mischievous mouse Jerry moves into a hotel on the eve of a big wedding and forces the wedding planner to bring in his arch-rival Tom into the picture to get rid of him. If this film has any of the zany energy from years ago (because we know you can’t get away with what they used to do now), it’ll be worth seeing.

The French Dispatch – TBD 2021

Eccentric director Wes Anderson is back with a drama that acts as a love letter to journalists. Set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional twentieth century French city that brings to life a collection of stories that’s published in “The French Dispatch Magazine.” Once again, Anderson has gathered a star-studded cast that includes Bill Murray, Timothee Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Jeffery Wright, and Frances McDormand.

Mission: Impossible 7 – November 19, 2021

Speaking of movie series that seemingly doesn’t have an end, Tom Cruise returns as Ethan Hunt in the seventh installment in the franchise to possibly engage in another death-defying stunt. Christopher McQuarrie will also be returning as writer and director after serving that role in the last two installments. Hopefully this duo will be able to pull off the hat trick with another impressive film in the resurging success of Mission: Impossible.

Jungle Cruise – July 30, 2021

Following the path charted by Pirates of the Caribbean, this possible new film franchise is based on the Disney theme park attraction of the same name. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt star, respectively, as a riverboat captain and a scientist on the hunt for a magical cure in this Depression-era action-adventure film. While this film looks to have a possibly darker tone, it’ll still be an entertaining ride. Dwayne Johnson will make sure of that.

Halloween Kills – October 15, 2021

The duo of David Gordon Green and writer proved to be a successful team in the 2018 soft-reboot sequel of Halloween, which nullified all of the other sequels. So they announced two sequels that seems to close out a new trilogy and possibly bring the Halloween franchise to an end, even if it’s for a short time. The second installment, which sees the return of the newly badass Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her grown-up daughter (Judy Greer), should hit theaters by, Halloween.

F9 – May 28, 2021

It’s full-throttle, pedal to the metal for the Toretto family in their ninth (seriously?) installment. Director Justin Lin was the man who turned the franchise around and revitalized it, creating a run of good to great popcorn action movies. He returns to the driver’s seat to bring the family back together in this new entry as Vin Diesel leads his friends to face off against a new villain played by John Cena…who plays Dom’s brother? Where has he been all of this time? And Han is back?? The film was originally scheduled to open in May of 2020, but was one of the early films to push their release date a full year to occupy the space that was reserved for the apparent finale, Fast and Furious 10.

Dune – October 1, 2021

Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival) takes on another massive sci-fi task of re-adapting Frank Herbert’s science fiction epic. More than 30 years after the 1984 attempt fell short. Villeneuve has assembled a spectacular cast that includes Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Oscar Issac, Dave Bautista, and Zendaya, so it seems to fall on the director and his writers to fashion an engaging script based on the source material.

West Side Story – December 10, 2021

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the musical classic was on my original 2020 anticipated films list and I haven’t lost sight of it. Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler star as our Tony and Maria, two teens in 1950s New York City who belongs to rival gangs but fall in love with each other and must deal with the consequences. This alternative take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet should be a solid musical under Spielberg’s direction. Now I just need to put the original classic out of my mind.

Some of these properties will also be released simultaneously on streaming services similar to how Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul debuted on HBO Max and Disney Plus, respectively. So even if theaters aren’t packed to capacity or we will have to wait a few more months before returning to those reclining seats, we have options to watch these new films.

Along with honorable mentions such as the Untitled Spider-Man sequel (December 2021), The Matrix 4 (December 22), Marvel Studios’ Eternals (November 5) and Death on the Nile (September 17), this film is loaded with the pushed off 2020 blockbusters and new 2021 products. Now, the question is if the Coronavirus pandemic will help or hurt these pushed off films.

What are some of your anticipated films for this year? Are you still waiting in anticipation for the movies we should have gotten last year? Or do you care just a little less?

Leave a comment and don’t forget to give my Facebook page some love! Until next time, readers! Stay safe and enjoy a movie!

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