What Are the Superhero Movies Coming to Theatres in 2021?
10/28/2020 • 4 min read
Superheroes, come save us! After a very strange 2020, in which we were entirely devoid of trips to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or stopovers in the DC Multiverse, 2021 is set to be chock full of our favorite spandex-clad heroes (and antiheroes). But what heroes will be making a splash next year and exactly how excited should you be?
Read on to find out about all the new superhero movies in 2021, listed in current planned release order.
Part of Sony’s ever-expanding roster of Spider-Man-based characters (more on that in a minute), MORBIUS follows scientist Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) who, while searching for a cure for a rare blood disease that has plagued him since childhood, winds up becoming a vampire. (You really need to look out for stuff like that.) While Morbius is perhaps best known as a foil for Spider-Man, there does seem to be some world-building here, with Michael Keaton’s character the Vulture (from SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING) teased in the trailer. Far from your traditional superhero, MORBIUS looks to incorporate elements of science-fiction and, most importantly, horror. This is good news considering director Daniel Espinosa’s last film, LIFE, was a nifty and terrorizing extraterrestrial chiller.
Finally. Two years after AVENGERS: ENDGAME became the biggest blockbuster of all time (and one of our favorites), the latest entry in the MCU is here. BLACK WIDOW, starring Scarlett Johansson as the titular assassin-turned-superhero, takes place after the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, with Natasha on the run and confronting some of her biggest fears, in an adventure described as MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-y. (so we’re guessing no talking raccoons or trees.) Florence Pugh plays another assassin (her “sister”), with Rachel Weisz playing a mother figure to the girls. Also, David Harbour plays Red Guardian, the Russian equivalent of Captain America, which should be a lot of fun. But the villain in the movie, Taskmaster (who is able to replicate any opponents moves) remains shrouded in mystery. Honestly it’s shocking that it hasn’t been spoiled yet. Hopefully it stays that way.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Another one of Sony’s Spider-films, VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (that title!) is the sequel to 2018’s surprise smash VENOM. Not much is known about the plot for this one, just that Tom Hardy will be back as Venom, an alien symbiote that gives him superhuman powers (and in the comics is very much the dark mirror for Spider-Man), this time facing off against Carnage (Woody Harrelson), a similarly powered but much nastier creature. (Hence that ridiculous title.) Michelle Williams and Reid Scott are also returning from the first film, with Naomie Harris joining the cast as Shriek, yet-another symbiote-powered baddie. This time around actor and mo-cap pioneer Andy Serkis will be directing, which makes everything even more exciting.
Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS is Marvel Studios’ first Asian-centered superhero and that has us extremely jazzed. The exact plot of the movie is still a mystery, but Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi, a Kung Fu master defending the world from evil. (In early comic book iterations, he was the son of legendary pulp villain Fu Machu; when Marvel lost the rights to that character the connection was erased.) What’s more, legendary Hong Kong actor Tony Leung, who has starred in straight-up classics like IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and INFERNAL AFFAIRS (which was later Americanized as THE DEPARTED) plays The Mandarin, an iconic Marvel baddie. Now if that name sounds familiar, that’s because Ben Kingsley played a phony version of the character in the wonderful IRON MAN 3. We suspect the new film will address the forgery. Also in the cast (in roles that have yet to be revealed) are Awkwafina, Ronny Chieng, and Jackie Chan protégé Michelle Yeoh.
The Suicide Squad
Not to rehash the past but there was a time when GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY director James Gunn fell out of favor with Disney and was dismissed. He then turned to Warner Bros. and DC, who offered him the keys to THE SUICIDE SQUAD. The resulting film is a pseudo-sequel, kind-of-reboot of the 2016 SUICIDE SQUAD, this time full of a mostly new roster of cannon-fodder villains making one last stab at redemption. Of course Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is back, as is Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney) and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), as the one who puts the new team together. This new team, incidentally, includes Bloodsport (Idris Elba), Peacemaker (John Cena), Blackguard (Pete Davidson), Savant (Michael Rooker) and The Thinker (Peter Capaldi). A sizzle reel released this past summer indicates a 70s men-on-a-mission vibe, with a hard-R rating and tons of fun. And, oh yes, Gunn will be back for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 3.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe emphasizes the Universe with ETERNALS. The Eternals are a band of immortal beings, created by Celestials (the godlike beings we’ve seen in a couple of Marvel Studios movies so far), who have been hiding out on earth for thousands of years. According to the official synopsis, a tragedy immediately following the events of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, brings the Eternals back together to save earth from their dark-hearted counterparts the Deviants. It sounds sort of like a mixture of THE BIG CHILL and SHAZAM, which we’re definitely here for, especially when you factor in who is playing the Eternals, among them Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry and Selma Hayek. Yeah, this cast is cosmically loaded with talent.
This is the third MCU/Sony Spider-Man movie that started with SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and continued with SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (which wound up being the most successful movie Sony had ever released). These movies are a delight. Details on the story are scarce, but we know that most of the cast (led by Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Zendaya as MJ) returns alongside director Jon Watts. (We also hope that J.K. Simmons will be back as the Alex Jones version of J. Jonah Jameson.) What is interesting are a couple of casting notices – for one, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) will step in to serve as Peter Parker’s mentor, carrying on a tradition from the franchise that began with Robert Downey, Jr’s Iron Man and continued with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. But most intriguingly of all are reports that Jamie Foxx will return to play Electro, a character he previously essayed in the otherwise disconnected 2014 misfire AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Could a live-action Spider-Verse be opening?
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