The best upcoming movies of 2017

It

Release date: September 8, 2017

It’s had a troubled production, but the new version of Stephen King’s cosmic clown horror masterpiece looks like it might well be back on track. Losing True Detective season 1 director Cary Fukunaga was a blow, but the film has a strong replacement in Mama director Andrés Muschietti. And what’s more, the new It is doing things right. Split into two movies - one following its characters’ childhood battles against the titular horror, the other picking up when their adult selves must return to face it decades later - it should have more than ample running time to do King’s complex novel justice. And as for you purists worrying that transplanting the childhood story from the ‘50s to the ‘80s might ruin things? Don’t. The ‘80s now represent much the same things that the book’s original setting did at the time it was released. And besides, when we’re talking about unspoken-of horrors in isolated small towns, do things ever really change that much? David Houghton

Blade Runner 2049

Release date: October 6, 2017

Blade Runner defies sequelization. The power of its ending, with Deckard haunted by ambiguous implications about the nature of modern humanity, gains power from the fact that we don’t know what happens next. That’s on top of its nature as a showcase for the filmmaking technology of 1982; nothing else looked like Blade Runner’s mad mix of set design, models, and trick photography. Many imitators have tried, none have succeeded. Yet if anyone was going to carry the story of Ridley Scott’s weary world and its synthetic people struggling for the right to live, Denis Villeneuve is the man for the job. His nightmarish thriller Enemy, the sober alien contact film Arrival, and his penchant for human tension exemplified by Sicario demonstrate how he can capture the Blade Runner tone. The rest depends on a brilliant script and better editing - Ridley Scott spent 25 years tinkering with the original - and whether or not Edward James Olmos shows up with that jaunty hat again. Anthony Agnello

Thor: Ragnarok

Release date: November 3, 2017 (US)/October 27, 2017 (UK)

After Thor’s visions during Age of Ultron, it’s fair to assume that Asgard is in danger. The plot of Thor: Ragnarok is a heavily guarded so it’s tricky to glean what it’s about, but we do know that Cate Blanchett is playing Hela, the Norse goddess of death and the villain of the piece. However, given that Jeff Goldblum will be playing the Grandmaster, a being with cosmic powers who enjoys toying with others as if they’re pieces on a chessboard, maybe Hela will be having her strings pulled from behind the scenes. He could also be responsible for the appearance of the Hulk, although I hope his meddling doesn’t interfere with the bromance I want to blossom between Thor and the green muscleman. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki will also be around (of course), and we could be seeing a dash of espionage considering he was disguised as Odin in the post-credits scene for Thor: The Dark World. Zoe Delahunty-Light

Justice League

Release date: November 17, 2017

The DC Extended Universe has… not gotten off to the best start. Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Suicide Squad all raked in beaucoup bucks, but fell flat with critics. While the DCEU is often criticized for being too dark and grim, our first peeks at Justice League have us hopeful that this could be the film that rights the ship. Batman's sourpuss, old ‘n’ grumpy personality feels more like a crotchety grandpa we can't help but love, while Flash is happy to crack jokes as often as he cracks the sound barrier. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot were two of the highlights of Dawn of Justice, so the more time we get to spend with them, the better. And hey, it looks like Aquaman is going to be a legitimately cool guy thanks to Jason Momoa (AKA Khal Drogo)'s intimidating presence. We've been burned before, but Justice League has us ready to give loving the DCEU another chance. Sam Prell

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Release date: December 15, 2017

Oh come on. Do I really need to tell you why you should be excited? Part of the reason the The Force Awakens is so brilliant is that - for the first time in 20 years - Star Wars fans had reason to speculate. Suddenly, we had unanswered questions: what happened to Luke? Why is Kylo Ren such an asshat? Who are Rey’s parents? (The answer to the last one better be Obi-wan Kenobi, or there will be trouble.) Star Wars 8 promises to answer some, if not all, of those questions, and hopefully, it’ll leave us with even more. You can expect a stack of new characters to replace the fallen, Luke kicking ass with his hopefully-honed Jedi skills, and frothing sexual tension between Finn and Poe. The Star Wars universe is suddenly more exciting than ever, and the nuanced talent of director Rian Johnson promises to breathe life, character and intrigue into a revitalised Star Wars universe. Matt Elliott

Jumanji

Release date: December 22, 2017

The original Jumanji is peak '90s: it stars the late, great Robin Williams, features tons of CG animals, and will forever remain in the hearts of kids who grew up watching it. That makes it ripe for a modern comeback in this sequel of the same name, featuring an enchanted, jungle-themed board game that can warp reality to really suck in its players. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars as Dr. Smolder Bravestone, the macho Indiana Jones-esque lead, joined by Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), and Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black). Whereas the first Jumanji chronicled the chaos of the game's world invading our own, this continuation (which should pay homage to the original film and the children's book it's based on) appears to feature the reverse, where the players have been transported into the tropical board game. Expect hectic, family-friendly adventure with a hearty dose of danger mixed in. Lucas Sullivan

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