We're almost at the end of 2011, a year full of surprise hits (Bridesmaids) and surprising bombs (Green Lantern). What will 2012 bring? We've culled together our picks of the Top 12 Upcoming Films of 2012, from comic book adaptations to promising indie horror projects, to give you an idea of what to look forward to in the year to come. What made our list? What ended up surprisingly low on our list? Find out now with our 2012 Movie Preview!
12. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
Release Date: July 3, 2012
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field
Directed by: Marc Webb
Rather just continue the enormously popular and lucrative Spider-Man series after director Sam Raimi left the franchise, Sony opted to reboot the whole series, telling the hero’s origin again with a hip young cast consisting of Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Emma Stone (The Help) and… Sally Field? This time out Spider-Man forgoes his usual supervillains to take on The Lizard, as played by Anonymous’s Rhys Ifans.
CraveOnline’s Call: With a screenplay by Alvin Sargent (Ordinary People) and Steve Kloves (Harry Potter), and direction by Marc Webb, who proved in 500 Days of Summer that he understands the current generation better than any other director, we were initially stoked to high heaven about this reboot. But after the “gritty” trailer and drastically underwhelming Comic Con preview footage… our interest has waned enough to make this our #12.
11. THE DICTATOR
Release Date: May 11, 2012
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, Megan Fox, Ben Kingsley
Directed by: Larry Charles
The Dictator tells “the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” Sacha Baron Cohen stars in his first traditional narrative feature film, based on the novel Zabibah and the King by – get this – Saddam Hussein. The Saddam Hussein.
CraveOnline’s Call: We haven’t seen frame one of the latest collaboration between Cohen and his Borat and Bruno director Larry Charles, but we don’t have to. The opportunities for purely offensive comedy and political satire are too numerous to mention, and we suspect no sacred stone will be unturned. The only comedy to make our list. Hell, the only comedy to make it close to our list.
10. GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
Release Date: February 17, 2012
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Johnny Whitworth, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba, Christopher Lambert
Directed by: Neveldine/Taylor
Nicolas Cage returns to the screen as Johnny Blaze, a stuntman turned demonic superhero. This time out he’s a tortured soul and not a goofy celebrity, and takes on one of the few memorable Ghost Rider villains, Blackout, played by Johnny Whitworth from Limitless.
CraveOnline’s Call: The sequel to Mark Steven Johnson’s abysmal 2007 Ghost Rider had no appeal to us before the footage started coming in of Crank directors Neveldine & Taylor gliding behind car chases with a camera on their shoulders while chained to the bumper and riding roller blades. Then there was the grotesque redesign of the title character and the oppressively, darkly comic tone. Now we can’t wait.
9. THE EXPENDABLES 2
Release Date: August 17, 2012
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Scott Adkins
Directed by: Simon West
Sylvester Stallone’s all-star cast of action heroes returns with even more cinematic icons for the sequel to 2010’s smash hit The Expendables.
CraveOnline’s Call: We don’t know what it’s about, but have you seen that cast?! The Expendables 2 could be about a talking penguin and we’d still be first in line.
8. THE CABIN IN THE WOODS
Release Date: April 12, 2002
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Amy Acker
Directed by: Drew Goddard
The story is shrouded in mystery, but this long-delayed horror comedy from screenwriters Joss Whedon (The Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield), the latter of whom is making his directorial debut, has been hyped for years as a subversive take on the classic “teenagers getting killed in the woods” cliché.
CraveOnline’s Call: Given the fact that Cabin in the Woods subverts the tropes of a fairly minor horror subgenre, we’re hesitant to overhype this film, but with two of the cleverest writers in Hollywood at the helm, this is the only horror movie we’re super excited about in 2012.
7. JOHN CARTER
Release Date: March 9, 2012
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Thomas Haden Church, James Purefoy, Ciaran Hinds, Bryan Cranston, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Based on the classic character from by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, Taylor Kitsch stars as a Civil War veteran who winds up on a war-torn Mars, and becomes the planet’s unlikely savior.
CraveOnline’s Call: Gorgeous trailer, brilliant director (Stanton’s making his live-action debut after directing Finding Nemo and Wall-E), and a classic sci-fi adventure tale without any post-modern irony. Can we buy our tickets now?
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Berenice Marlohe, Naomie Harris, Albert Finney
Directed by: Sam Mendes
After a few years of financial squabbles, Daniel Craig finally returns for his third installment of the James Bond franchise with Javier Bardem as his villain du jour.
CraveOnline’s Call: While we thought Quantum of Solace bordered on silliness in the second half, there’s no denying that James Bond hasn’t been this exciting a franchise since Sean Connery left (the first time). They’re still keeping the plot under wraps, but with young Ben Whishaw taking over as the previously fogey-ish Q and Javier Bardem in tow as the latest Bond villain, we’re completely on board for Skyfall.
5. DJANGO UNCHAINED
Release Date: December 25, 2012
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Jamie Foxx stars as a freed slave-turned-bounty hunter on a mission to save his wife from the clutches of Calvin Candie (DiCaprio), who runs an amusement park where slaves fight each other to the death.
CraveOnline’s Call: Quentin Tarantino turns his grindhouse-infused sensibilities to the old west after his acclaimed World War II genre-bender Inglourious Basterds. Clearly inspired by spaghetti westerns (where the character of “Django” was a mainstay for decades) but daring to incorporate slavery, America’s greatest shame, heavily into the exploitative plotline, the question remains whether Django Unchained will be an unlikely Oscar contender or just a freewheeling entertainment bonanza like Kill Bill. Whatever the answer, we want to see it now.
Release Date: June 8, 2012
Starring: Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Shrouded in secrecy (sort of… did you see the leaked footage before they took it offline?), Ridley Scott returns to the hit Alien franchise he created for what promises to be a thrilling, mindbending prequel.
CraveOnline’s Call: Ridley Scott’s doing another Alien. We think that about covers it.
3. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Release Date: December 14, 2012
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Hugo Weaving, Luke Evans
Directed by: Peter Jackson
The first half of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit finally comes to theaters courtesy of Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.
CraveOnline’s Call: If any blockbuster feels like a sure thing in 2012, it’s The Hobbit. We’re still uncertain if there’s enough story to warrant two feature films, but we’ve learned to trust Peter Jackson on this kind of thing.
2. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Release Date: July 20, 2012
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
The latest and last installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy finds Bruce Wayne tangling with Catwoman (Hathaway) and Bane (Hardy) to save Gotham City once again.
CraveOnline’s Call: This movie is so overhyped that you’d be forgiven for losing some interest, but don’t overdo that. This is still Christopher Nolan we’re talking about, and if he’s making just one last Batman movie, we’re betting he’ll go out with a bang. There’s only one movie we’re more excited by in 2012, and you can probably guess what it is…
1. THE AVENGERS
Release Date: May 4, 2012
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Earth’s mightiest heroes finally team up after a series of solo films to tackle Loki and an unconfirmed alien menace (probably the Skrulls) in The Avengers.
CraveOnline’s Call: The teaser trailer was a whole lot of exciting nothing, but it’s primed us for what could be – and certainly should be – the biggest superhero spectacle of all time. It’s a ballsy move, tying all these disparate action franchises into one ensemble film, but if anyone can handle all those characters without losing any in the shuffle, it’s Joss Whedon. But can he handle the action? We’re betting he can. The most exciting movie of 2012, by far.
Disclaimer: Release dates (and our opinions) are subject to change.