A Look Ahead To Cinema 2016

t’s coming up to that festive end of the year again – and what a year 2015 has been for cinema the world over. Not only have we seen some truly incredible, unforgettable and mind-blowing classics (Jurassic WorldFurious 7Avengers: Age of Ultron), but it’s also been a record breaking year for big-screen so far and it’s not even over yet (*cough* Star Wars *cough*).

So what’s in store of us next year you may ask?… Well, let’s just say there’s going to be a war of the studios unlike anything we’ve ever seen before when Marvel and DC Comics go head-to-head. Take a look below at some of 2016’s most anticipated releases:


Without a doubt one of the biggest releases that will hit 2016, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justicewill see two of the biggest superheroes on the planet go head to head for the first time on the big-screen. Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams, the upcoming blockbuster has already earned the title of ‘most expensive film ever made’ and will likely earn DC Comics a staggering amount of money when it hits cinemas worldwide.

Film Review UK’s Greatest Ever Movie Sequels

We live in a world of sequels – no matter what the film, if it’s remotely successful there’s normally a sequel just around the corner. Yet we very rarely sit back and think whether or not a film is worthy of a follow-up or even if it will outshine the original.

So take a trip back in time as we count down the most influential sequels that have supposed their predecessors both critical and commercially.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Let’s start off the list with this little diamond in the rough – and odd entry I know, but considering the phenomenal cult following this franchise has managed to amass in such a short space of time, it deserves its place in the list. It also helps that the film surpassed its predecessor in every way. Taking cringe to a whole new level of awesome.

Blade 2

Wesley Snipes could possibly hold the title as the first Marvel franchise hero – the Godfather of a superhero universe that has exploded to heights no-one could have imagined. The first film was an action-horror classic that brought vampire gore to the mainstream, but it’s sequel went to a whole new level. Pure action horror at its finest, Blade 2 also earn more at the worldwide box-office than the first.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

The classic family Christmas tale of disaster, family, disaster, kidnappings, and more disaster all wrapped into one hilarious movie. Christmas Vacation, starring SNL comedy legend Chevy Chase, has become one of the most loved, and watched, Holiday films in history and far surpassed the original. If for some bizarre reason you have yet to experience the unique family that are the Griswold’s, do so as soon as possible – it will be well worth it.

Mission: Impossible 2

He’s the United States answer to James Bond and one of the greatest action stars to have ever graced the silver-screen – so the list wouldn’t be complete without Mr Tom ‘run everywhere’ Cruise. The first film in the ever-growing Mission: Impossible series was a classic, but the second seemed to blow he first out the water with its insane action scenes. Perhaps the fact that it was directed by Action director John Woo helped it earn the $600 million worldwide gross.

Batman Returns

Following on from the phenomenal success of Batman (1989), it wasn’t going to be an easy task for Tim Burton to create a sequel that would out do the original – he did though. Considering Jack Nicholson’s show stealing performance as the Joker in the first, it made sense to bring in three stars for the sequel to boost it that bit further. Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken gave Michael Keaton’s Batman more than enough trouble to ensure the film out did its predecessor.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Technically most fans will argue that this was not a sequel and in fact the three Lord of the Rings films were in fact one giant movie that spanned three years. However, in the eyes of the global box-office, it was a sequel and as such belongs on the list. The film is seen as the best of the trilogy by both fans and critics and earned over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It also has some of the best fight scenes ever seen in a movie.


British engineering at its finest – James Bond is the UK’s biggest ever film export and the longest running film franchise in history – 24 films in total including the soon-to-be released Spectre. Starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall became the UK’s highest grossing film of all time, earning over $1.1 billion worldwide ($100 million in the UK alone), and was also nominated for five Academy Awards, winning two including Best Achievement in Music and Best Achievement in Sound.

Back to the Future – Part 2

Purely coincidental but this year is the year of Back to the Future – most fans will remember that the year Marty McFly travels foward to in the sequel is 2015. Although many of the futuristic things are yet to still come true, many already have including just recently, the Hoverboard. Considering the film contains both the past and the future, there’s no doubt it was the better of the three.

Shrek 2

Everyone’s favourite Ogre and talking Donkey appeared in a very successful follow up sequel to the 2001 animated family classic Shrek. The Sequel was a triumphant success over its older brother, earning just over $950 million worldwide, more than double what the original pulled in during its release. As the only animated film on the list, Shrek 2 must be regarded as one of the best animated films of all time, perhaps only beaten out by last years mega-release Frozen, which is also due a sequel in the coming years.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

He did say he’d be back – and he did so with spectacularly. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most famous role is that of Machine-turned-hero, the Terminator, in James Cameron’s timeless classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Argued as the one of the greatest sequels in history, the film eclipsed the original both critically and commercially, earning over $500 million at the box office and winning four Oscars for its technological prowess at the time. The franchise has since continued strongly with Arnie set to star once again in the role for the upcoming Terminator: Genysis.

The Dark Knight

Another Batman entry – though this time not just one of the greatest sequels, but perhaps one of the greatest films ever made. The Christopher Nolan created epic sits at #4 on IMDb’s all time greatest films list as outperformed its predecessor Batman Begins in every way possible. The film raked in $1.2 billion worldwide and earned 8 Academy Award nominations, winning 2 including Best Supporting Actor for Heath Ledger in a performance regarded as one for the best ever seen. It’s a classic that will remain a classic until the end of time.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

The daddy of them all – always has been, always will be the greatest sequel triumph in movie history. The Empire Strikes Back received unparalleled critical-acclaim over the first Star Wars release back in the 1970’s. It’s a fan boy classic, and most movie fans will be quick to agree that it remains the greatest movie sequel of all time. Though it’s worth noting, that with J.J. Abrams set to release another trilogy of films with the original cast attached, there could just possibly be some stiff competition for this title in the coming years.


10 Most Talked-about Superhero Reboots

Superheroes and reboots go almost hand-in-hand when it comes to Hollywood these days – no matter the superhero, there is always a reboot just around the corner.

Check out Film Review UK‘s 10 greatest superhero reboots and have your say below.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

These two box-office hits, that have so far accumulated over $1 billion at the box-office, were reboots of the original X-Men trilogy starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Ian McKellen. Instead of re-launching the series again, filmmakers Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer decided to explore the younger years of Professor X and Magneto, depicting how these two influential characters became enemies.

The new trilogy stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult – one thing that’s proved to be a popular choice with audiences, is the decision to merge the new and old franchises into one, as seen in X-Men: Days of Future Past that included most of the original X-Men cast.

Batman Forever (1995)

Many at the time thought director Joel Schumacher was slightly made to reboot one of the most iconic superheroes in history, especially only three years after Michael Keaton hung up his cape after two successful outings as the Dark Knight.

Despite being nominated for three Oscars, earning $350 million worldwide and boasting a all-star cast including Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones, Batman Forever promised a lot but sadly bombed with critics after it’s release – perhaps due to it’s introduction of Robin (Batman’s less than popular sidekick).

Verdict: Success with me, but failure in Hollywood’s eyes.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Like Batman, Bruce Banner’s Hulk started off successfully on the small screen back in 1978, then in 2003 Eric Bana helped bring the Hulk to the big screen in Ang Lee’s blockbuster adaptation. Sadly the film bombed at the box-office and it was another five years until Edward Norton starred in the reboot, The Incredible Hulk.

Yet again though the world’s strongest superhero failed to win people over and the film only managed to earn $240 million worldwide, almost certainly ruling out any regular big screen appearance for the Hulk – that is until The Avengers.

Verdict: Not bad, but not great either.

Superman Returns (2008)

Well known for all the wrong reasons, Superman Returns was the first reboot since the late and great Christopher Reeve hung up his cape back in the 80’s. At the time it was the most expensive film ever made and promised so much but sadly failed to live up to all the hype.

Considering the stellar-cast including Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden and new-comer Brendon Routh in the title role, who seemed to have the Superman look down to a tee, the film only made $319 million worldwide.

Perhaps it’s failure was down to the writers decision not to re-launch the franchise from the beginning, but instead carry on the story from where Superman 3 ended all those years ago. It just seemed impossible to embrace the characters.

Verdict: Epic CGI but snooze-fest of a storyline.

Fantastic Four (2015) – yet to be released

It was without a doubt the start of the epic Marvel reboot-a-thon that’s taken the world by storm (no pun intended), but after the somewhat mediocre performance of The Fantastic Four (2005) and The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Marvel have decided to re-launch the franchise with a whole new look.

The biggest change is the character of Johnny Storm, who up until now has been portrayed by only white actors, most recently Captain America himself, Mr Chris Evans. Now however, Marvel has decided to break down the race barriers and rejuvenize the character, who will now be played by Michael B. Jordan (That Awkward Moment).

With a sequel already confirmed before the first has even hit cinema screens, studio execs are clearly expecting a massive return on investment.

Verdict: Ask me again in a month or two.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2012)

Many are usually surprised to hear that Chris Evans’ Captain America is in fact a reboot of a hugely unsuccessful straight-to-video film made in the 90’s.

After the mouth-watering triumph that was Iron Man in 2008, Captain America: The First Avengerwas the beginning of the Avengers series that has now spanned nine hit films and over $4 billion in box-office revenue.

With a hit in the bag last year with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War confirmed to be starring Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, this reboot was clearly an epic descision.

Verdict: Brilliant, epic, and awesome all wrapped up with a bow on top.

Batman & Robin (1997)

Just why?…why does this film exist and why on Earth would half of Hollywood’s elite chose to star in it?

This film was infact a reboot / follow-on to Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever – the only reason this can’t be described as a full reboot in the fact that Chris O’Donnell once again reprised his role of the annoying and whimlish sidekick Robin. Probably explains why the film only made $200 million at the box-office.

Yet despite the horrific script and subsidized budget, the film still managed to attract George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman – Clooney also recently apologized for his performance as Batman at last years New York Comic-Con.

Verdict: I shall give none, it’s just rubbish.

Man of Steel (2013)

With 300 director Zack Snyder at the helm and The Dark Knight trilogy mastermind Christopher Nolan writing the script, Man of Steel was always going to something special, even as a spectacle, we were sure to see something epic.

And in many ways this reboot of the box-office flop Superman Returns gave us just that – the story was enthralling, the special effects mesmerizing, and the cast…well what can I say?…when you’ve got Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Lawrence Fishburne and Russell Crowe all sharing screen-time, it’s definitely going to be good.

Of course, you can’t always please everyone, and Man of Steel had it’s fair share of critics, but when you earn over $600 million at the box-office, it’s can’t be all bad – and it’s already spawned an upcoming reboot of Batman, when he and Superman square off in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Verdict: Successful start to what should be a successful franchise for DC Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Spider-Man actually has some claim to fame in this list for being the first superhero to successfully star in a big-screen trilogy – back in 2002, Toby Maguire teamed up with filmmaker Sam Raimi to bring the web-slinging superhero to life. Commercially the trilogy was a success, generating over $1.5 billion at the box-office. There was however a draw back – the third film left something of a sour taste for most movie fans.

Not surprising then, that with the success of Marvel’s blockbusters, Sony decided to reboot the franchise with Andrew Garfield in the title role, and in the process eliminating Mary-Jane Watson in favour of Gwen Stacey. The first film was a gargantuan success, earning over $750 million and immediately green-lighting the sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Sadly though, the second film couldn’t muster the same sort of critical praise, despite earning over $700 million and actually being a pretty decent film, especially it’s score that I still think should have received some sort of award recognition. Still, perhaps the upcoming reboot will give this popular superhero the praise he deserves.

Verdict: A great success in my eyes, shame about the lack of a third installment.

The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-2012)

The pièce de résistance of reboots – seriously they don’t come any better than this work of art. The Dark Knight trilogy, written and directed by Christopher ‘seriously needs to win an Oscar’ Nolan and starring Christian Bale as arguably the best superhero actor of all time, still is the crowing gem of DC Comics.

During it’s three installments, the franchise accumulated nine Academy Award nominations including a Best Supporting Actor win for the late Heath Ledger and amassed over $2.5 billion at the global box-office. The Dark Knight (2008) currently resides at #4 in IMDb’s top ten greatest films list.

Christopher Nolan certainly set the bench mark for reboots and it will not be easy to surpass the shear brilliance of this reboot.

Verdict: Genius, pure and simple.