Directed by Chris McKay Starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes
In crime-ridden Gotham City, the Joker (Galifianakis) launches a devastating attack in concert with a vast assortment of other villains, only to be soundly (and rhythmically) defeated by Batman (Arnett). When Batman declines to acknowledge his greatest foe (because he doesn’t do ‘ships,) however, Joker concocts a plan of breathtaking audacity to take his nemesis down a peg or two.
Directed by Justin Kurzel Starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling and Michael K. Williams
In 15th century Spain, a group of Assassins set out to protect the son of the last Sultan of Granada, in order to prevent Torquemada, Grand Master of the Spanish Inquisition, extorting from the Sultan the Apple of Eden, which contains the genetic blueprint for free will. As their meeting is interrupted by the neighbours’ garage band rehearsing, we jump to 1986, where adventurous (we know this because he’s practicing some daredevil shit on his BMX) Callum Lynch finds that his father (Brian Gleeson) has murdered his mother. He flees as be-sunglassed goons converge on their home, and in 2016 is in prison awaiting execution.
We’re about five minutes in and we’ve already covered about five centuries.
Directed by Aleksander Bach Starring Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Zachary Quinto and Ciaran Hinds
Hitman began life as a series of successful computer games, in which the player controls Agent 47, the ‘perfect assassin’; six-four of shaven-headed, barcode tattooed white beefcake with the ability to disguise himself as a Chinese waiter. Using said mastery of disguise and an arsenal of weapons, the player must plan and execute an assassination to meet the terms of a contract. Some of the games have an ongoing plot i which a series of unconnected jobs add up to a conspiracy, but some are just a series of jobs, and their appeal is not story so much as the replay value inherent in trying various approaches to perfect each kill. The game series was first adapted into a movie in 2007. Hitman was a frankly appalling film in which 47 – played without engagement by Timothy Olyphant, fresh from critically acclaimed yet cancelled TV series Deadwood and with payments due on the mortgage – is betrayed by his superiors as part of an insanely moronic plot to seize control of Russia by treating the entire world as if they were idiots.
So, apparently someone at 20th Century Fox really believed in the potential of a Hitman movie, because despite a modest commercial success and critical mauling, and Timothy Olyphant going on record on the Nerdist podcast to confirm that bit about the mortgage, the collapse of a planned sequel, and the death of intended new Agent 47 Paul Walker, just eight years later they decided to reboot.
In this version, Agent 47 (Friend) is sent to assassinate the founder of the Agent programme, Petr Litvenko (Hinds) and his daughter, Katia Van Dees (Ware), for reasons that are never adequately explored, but possibly as part of a shadow war between two ideologically indistinguishable conspiracies. Katia is initially protected by international man of mystery John Smith (Quinto), before he is revealed as an agent for the Syndicate, the enemy of 47’s International Contracts Agency.
Directed by John Carpenter Starring Ice Cube, Natasha Henstridge and Jason Statham
Ballard (Henstridge), a police officer on Mars, reports to a panel after a mission goes royally tits up. Through a series of nested flashbacks, she explains how a simple pick-up of accused murderer ‘Desolation’ Williams (Cube) from a mining town jail went south as her team – Commander Braddock (Pam Grier), Ballard, Sergeant Jericho Butler (Statham) and a pair of rookies – stumbled into a town full of men and women possessed by, if you will, the ghosts of Mars.
“They told Jack Burton to go to hell…and that’s exactly where he’s going!”
Directed by John Carpenter Starring Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun, Kim Catrall, Victor Wong and James Hong
While in San Francisco on business, trucker Jack Burton (Russell) meets up with friends in Chinatown and ends up driving his friend Wang Chi (Dun) to the airport to collect his fiancee Miao Yin (Suzee Pai). From there, the two stumble into a gang kidnapping, which in turn leads them into a rumble interrupted by the arrival of ‘the Three Storms’, a trio of supernatural warriors. Aptly named lawyer Gracie Law (Catrall) points them to the Wing Kong triad and its reclusive boss David Lo Pan (Hong). After that, it’s all madcap schemes and daring rescues as tour bus driver Egg Shen (Wong) musters the forces of good for a confrontation against the terrible powers of Lo Pan.
Directed by Tim Miller Starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrien, TJ Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić, and Leslie Uggams
Deadpool (Reynolds) is killing a lot of people, then we flash back to him on the way to kill those people, and at the end of the fight do a proper flashback to see how mercenary Wade Wilson met the love of his life, Vanessa (Baccarin), then learned he had advanced cancer. Offered treatment that would also make him into a superhero, he falls into the hands of sadistic Ajax (Skrien) and his super-strong henchwoman Angel (Carano), and while he gains the ability to heal any harm, is rendered hideous by the process.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro Starring Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba
When huge monsters known as Kaiju emerge from an interdimensional rift in the floor of the Pacific Ocean, humanity unites to create a defence; colossal battle mechs called Jaegers, whose pilots become the new rock stars.
“Welcome to a world where death is only the beginning”
Directed by Brian Yuzna Starring Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Simon Andreu and Elsa Pataky
This film is a sequel to Re-Animator, rather than an adaptation of the original story. It ignores much of the ending of the first film, however, largely in order to bring Combs’ West back in.
During the ‘Miskatonic massacre’, one of the reanimated corpses escapes and kills a young woman as her brother, Howard Phillips (geddit?), watches. Phillips later sees Herbert West (Combs) being taken away by the police. Years later, West is continuing his work in prison, when Phillips (Barry) arrives as the new prison doctor, bringing the last of the reagent and asking to work with West.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski Starring Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner and Michael Sheen
Twenty years after the disappearance of his father, software pioneer Kevin Flynn (Bridges), Sam Flynn (Hedlund) is a troubled young man. Receiving a message from his father, he visits Flynn senior’s old arcade and is transported into the virtual world of the Grid, where a program with his father’s face rules a fascist dystopia.