2020, once again needless to say, was somewhat of a dumpster fire for movie releases. Most moved, many moved to this year, and others were even delayed into next year after 2021 became so overcrowded with postponed releases. Even The Batman ended up moving release dates to next year. The Batman. It can be hard to navigate through all the noise of everything constantly moving and changing production schedules or opening weekend plans, so for today, I thought perhaps I could let you all in and shed some light on some material coming out this year that I’m particularly excited about. Some of these are new, while others are rollovers from the previous year. The only strict rules I followed in creating this list are these:
1) Every film on it has to have a planned 2021 release date already marked, so while I am greatly anticipating Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, I will not be able to include it here due to its lack of an official release date at this time. That could change very soon, if everything goes in its favor, but with circumstances being what they are, I am not able to confidently consider it a 2021 movie just yet.
2) Movies that I’ve already seen that are slated to be released this year, such as Rebecca Hall’s Passing, will not be appearing as I can no longer anticipate their release.
With all that in mind, let’s talk about all these other exciting new projects. Here are my Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2021!
10) Last Night in Soho
Edgar Wright, director of such hits as the Cornetto trilogy, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Baby Driver, now has his sights set on the horror genre, something he has yet to explore apart from cross-genre fare such as Shaun of the Dead. The cast is stacked, the hype is real, and I am very interested in seeing what the rhythm-obsessed filmmaker can do with a project like this.
9) The Suicide Squad
James Gunn’s firing from Disney over decades-old tweets he has repeatedly apologized and made reparations for was just about the stupidest “cancel culture” thing to come out of what I like to call the “consequence boom.” Some legitimate people having issues with Gunn’s past humor and behavior is worth noting, but Disney only fired him after a bunch of absurd morons who found out he didn’t like Trump gamed the system to try to get him blacklisted by Hollywood. Their ridiculous plan backfired perfectly. Not only has Gunn since been re-hired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3, he also got scooped up by DC in the process to make an R-rated Suicide Squad movie, and from the looks of it so far, the whacky Gunn energy seems to be all over it. Gunn is an excellent artist and a highly admirable craftsman in the world of blockbuster filmmaking, and I have a feeling that with the Disney reigns turned off here, we’re going to get something really special.
8) Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese is my favorite director. Leonardo DiCaprio is my favorite actor. Robert De Niro, a long-time Scorsese collaborator, who most recently worked with him on The Irishman in 2019, is also part of the cast, and it’s all being led by the immaculate Jesse Plemons. How could this not make the list?
7) West Side Story (2021)
Steven Spielberg is remaking West Side Story for a new generation, and given that the studio planned on releasing the film in December of last year, it’s expected to be a major awards contender in several categories. You all know how much I love awards season films, so yeah, this makes the list too. I can’t wait to see what newcomer Rachel Zegler brings to the table.
6) Black Widow
Black Widow is certainly the more high-profile MCU film on this list, given that there are already two trailers for it, despite the second only coming out as the project was poised to exit its September release date (after being postponed from May 2020). With that in mind, there’s not much to say about this one that hasn’t already been said. I’m excited to see Taskmaster, Florence Pugh is my queen, Rachel Weisz is everyone’s queen, and it looks like the MCU is returning to the sleek, grounded action of films like The Winter Soldier, which indicates some incredible sequences could be in store. I’ve been signed up for this for a while, and I have no plans to take my name off that list.
5) In the Heights
The thing keeping this movie afloat despite being delayed an entire year and becoming part of the HBO Max rollout catalogue for 2021 is that incredible trailer. Full of vibrance, energy, swagger, heart, and pride, In the Heights’ first footage put exactly the right foot down when it came to marketing the film for audiences. The costumes and choreography look amazing, this could be a huge break for Anthony Ramos in becoming a genuine movie star, and it will definitely be interesting to see how the first-ever film adaptation of a Lin-Manuel Miranda project turns out. Plus, it’s been a few years since we’ve gotten a theatrically-released musical, and John M. Chu proved with Crazy Rich Asians that he knows how to give any film a style all his own.
4) Nightmare Alley
The last movie Guillermo Del Toro made was The Shape of Water, which went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. With a cast this stacked, and a director this ambitious and talented, this was always going on the list, and it was always placing high.
Chloe Zhao, the trailblazing director of The Rider and Nomadland, is directing a movie for Marvel Studios, which is primarily known for making their superhero films action flicks with some drama supporting that action. That’s an incredibly bold step for Marvel to take – it’s not as if Zhao isn’t a risky bet, given her usual style of filmmaking is more patient and meditative. With easily the most stacked cast (in terms of pedigree) that the MCU may have ever had, I’m incredibly eager to see what Zhao does with a project like this, and if she can keep her signature style unaltered throughout the film. This is by far the MCU’s most ambitious movie project since the first Guardians, and we all know how those guys turned out among the wider scope of the franchise.
2) No Time to Die
Daniel Craig’s final turn as James Bond might have had the roughest, worst-luck promotional campaign in the history of the franchise (through no fault of its own). After countless delays, it’s hard to believe the film will ever even come out anymore, but hopefully it can hold on to its current release date of October 8 long enough to actually open. We shall see. For more of my thoughts on why I’m excited for No Time to Die, check out my Top 10 Movie Trailers of 2019 piece.
What else is there to say at this point? It’s Dune. Everyone who knows anything about movies, books, or both knows that when it hits, it’s gonna hit big. Denis Villeneuve adapting the iconic novel is a note-perfect director choice, and from everything we’ve seen so far, I’m entirely prepared for it to be October, to sit in a movie theater (hopefully amongst many other people), and experience what is sure to be an earth-shaking cinematic event.
And that does it for my Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2021! Are any of your most anticipated films on this list? What other films are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
- The Friendly Film Fan
*Expected 2021, Official Release Date TBD