2017, The Year of Nerd Cinema
5 Things To Look Forward To Watching in 2017
By Jann Shreve
Yeah, yeah, we’re all excited for Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and Spiderman: Homecoming. S*** is hype. This list? This is for the other titles, the under the radar titles, the “Oh yeah I heard about that, that sounds awesome” titles. Let’s face it, the dark times that came in the wake of the Writer’s Guild of America strike of 2007-2008 are good and over, because as a whole, TV and movies have gotten crazy good again.
2017 is already off to an amazing start with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is critically, and popularly, considered a massive win for the fans. But if you really wanna dive into those nerdy water cooler talks, here’s a cheat sheet for this year’s slightly less mainstream must-sees.
Attack on Titan Season 2
I highly recommend that even those who staunchly identify as “not being into Anime” should get in on this series. It tells the story of a dystopian society where humans are on the brink of extinction, while being terrorized by enormous and varying human-looking creatures called Titans (who, it should be noted, eat humans.) Over the years, humans have built defensive walls to help protect against them. The story picks up where a Colossal Titan has barged through the outer wall, and is told through the eyes of Eren, a young boy witnessing it all. He lives in an outer region with his parents and his adopted sister Mikasa. After the attack, Eren vows to join the Scout Regiment who are on the front line battling against the Titans in the fight for humanity.
The story is original and different, while still being accessible and engaging. The Titans are completely freaky and crazy looking, and the European influence and styling set it apart from other Anime series. In 25 episodes, multiple storylines unfold and conclude, all contributing to a bigger story, much like a novel, with all the plot twists and surprises that a good novel has.
Fans in Canada have been waiting since 2013 for developments of any kind. A teaser trailer for the second season was recently released, and every second of its two-minute run time both raised questions and amped up the fans. It's a strong show that is both binge-worthy and something to get very excited about.
John Wick Chapter 2
The sequel to the Keanu Reeves sleeper dropped February 10th and from what I’ve seen of the trailers there’s new locations, more action, more cars and more badass women! Events seem to pick up right after those of the first movie; John (along with his new dog) is forced out of retirement when a former friend takes over an international assassin's guild. A blood oath compels John to help him, and that’s when the gun-fu begins! The trailer looks as slick, stylish and action-packed as the original with more guns, cars, suits and Rome. Basically, it’s everything fans could want in a well made sequel! All the pieces are there, with a successful return for director Chad Stahelski, and returning writer Derek Kolstad. All the attention to detail will be there, Reeves is passionate about the project as usual, and the magic will ensue. Reeves is back on track and we can forget that 47 Ronin nonsense.
The Dark Tower
The much anticipated Stephen King adaptation is set for a summer 2017 release. Finally! Still unknown is whether it will be a direct adaptation of The Gunslinger, or will integrate plot from further on in the series, but speculation is running wild! It’s all being held under tight wraps, and only set photos and early teaser posters have been released. Reactions were mixed to the casting of Idris Elba as Roland Deschain (for obvious and stupid reasons that no one likes to admit) and Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. Nikolaj Arcel has been brought on in the dual role of Writer/Director, a multitask he received critical acclaim for with A Royal Fair. Contentious or not, there’s serious talent on board, and the tight lid on production details only builds the anticipation. The other potentially exciting Stephen King project is the remake of the film IT that pretty much invented fear of clowns (coulrophobia, if you will). Whether or not that pop-culture remake will be worth it remains to be seen, especially since they haven’t all been doing so well in recent years. Either way, I’m excited for The Dark Tower.
The Rule of Movie Threes is kind of a precarious one, as it seems the third movie of a franchise can be either the best or the worst. When it’s the best, it isn't because the first two weren't very good and when the first two aren't good or don't do very well, the franchise often doesn't live to see the third chance. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has a larger plan, which is something unseen since Star Wars and even that comparison isn't a strong one. The Disney machine is going to go along with the plan leading up to The Infinity Wars and Thor plays a big role in that event. In terms of box office numbers, Thor's first two movies fall in the lower range for the MCU, but even low MCU numbers would be more than welcome for any other film with a similar budget. The same argument could be made for the Captain America movies, though his second movie was more of a leaping improvement compared to Thor's more steady improvement. The changes being made this time around should be what make the difference. Director Taika Watiki has been brought on and his resume boasts huge range. He’s already given us the likes of Hunt For The Wilderpeople, The Inbetweeners, Flight of the Concords, and What We Do In The Shadows, so Thor: Ragnarok fits right in line.
Catching up with Marvel, The DC Extended Universe (DCEU)'s has also been establishing their cinematic world, though some of their offerings (Batman V Superman, Suicide Squad) have been met with mixed reviews. The real focus, however, has been the build up into the end game Justice League ensemble movie. Leading the charge is Wonder Woman who, despite being expertly well merchandised, hasn't been on the big screen, in live action, in ages. Gal Gadot looks incredible and the trailer has been received with cautious optimism.
The continuing success and relevance of DCEU projects seem to depend heavily on Wonder Woman’s (as is often the nature of her character, to rescue the men and save the world), though the last few attempts at female-lead comic book movies haven't exactly been the greatest. Need we be reminded of Catwoman and Elektra? Production details are slowly being released. The supporting cast is made up of strong women, many of whom have refused to age, for some reason. But they're all up in there, including Diana with her gauntlets, lasso sword, tiara and badass boots! The trailers even suggest a bit of comic relief, which we can only hope won't be cut out in the final product. If Wonder Woman succeeds, it could be a huge game changer in the movie and comic book movie world. Check out The New 52 issues (or Trade Paperbacks) where she’s had good storylines as well as the DC Rebirth series to get an even better perspective of the potential that Wonder Woman’s movie offers.
TV and film seem to have set out to rescue us all from the suck-salad of grief that was the year 2016 with returning shows and upcoming movies to satisfy inner and external nerds alike, and to keep nerdiness mainstream. Yes, this list is sequel-heavy, but once you see the first parts, you’ll get it. Plus, these titles barely scratch the surface of what fans can be looking forward to watching in 2017. These are strong contenders to live up to the hype and expectations because like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this list continues the good precedent that is at last becoming apparent, in the change of how cinema is made: with diversity, representation and original ideas (adaptations included). The successes of these titles will only further the case that good content can come from everywhere and in every way. That’s enough for me to have a bit of hope in the nerd world.