If you follow geekynerdy news like the Mysterious Mr. C and I do, you’ll know that 2015 was an epic year for science fiction and fantasy films. Heck, even if you don’t follow sites like ComicBook.com, SuperHeroHype, and Nerdist, you likely couldn’t escape all of the hoopla over films like The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, or Star Wars: The Force Awakens

But for as good as 2015 was to all of us moviegoers, 2016 is shaping up to be just as epic! According to Germain Lussier and Charlie Jane Anders over at io9, there are 75 – 75!!! – films coming out this year that fall into the sci-fi and fantasy categories. With that sort of bounty to look forward to, it was tough to narrow down my choices, but here are the five movies I’m most excited to see over the next 12 months. 

1. Captain America: Civil War

It’s no secret that C and I are huge Captain America fans, but I’ll admit that I wasn’t fully onboard the Marvel train until after we saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As I mentioned in my 2014 review of the film, I found Steve Rogers (Cap) to be a more relatable character than some of the other Avengers and I loved the “ripped from the headlines” feel of the story. Indeed, it seemed like more of an espionage thriller than a standard superhero flick, and a bit more accessible to people who hadn’t seen all of the other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Though I was already looking forward to a new Captain America movie, after learning that Civil War would bring back directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who all worked on the Winter Soldier, my excitement level for this film rose to ridiculous levels. Couple that with James Gunn, the director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (a great film in and of itself), saying that Civil War is one of the best Marvel films to date, and well, my expectations are even higher!

While I know it can be hard for something to live up to all of the hype surrounding it, I’m going to hold out hope that Civil War does just that, if not more – sort of like The Force Awakens. I’m also really interested to see how the fight between the Avengers plays out, how the new characters – Black Panther and Spider-Man – fit into the MCU, and how this movie sets up Phase Three of Marvel Studios’ master plan. There certainly are a lot of people in this “stand-alone” film and a lot of things that need to happen to close out Phase Two, but Marvel Studios has become a reliable producer of good – if not great – films and I have no doubt that Civil War will only add to that legacy.

2. Suicide Squad

As someone who grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series and all of the 1990s era Batman films, it’s safe to say that I’ve always been a fan of the caped crusader and the various villains that plague the city of Gotham. But since I never really ventured into comic books or graphic novels, I had no idea that the Suicide Squad even existed until – like so many other geekynerdy things – C alerted me to the story line.

Though the film is being considered the third installment in DC Comics’ attempt at an extended universe like the MCU, it is quite clear from the trailer that Suicide Squad will have a very different look and feel than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. From the footage I’ve seen, it looks like it was done in a similar vein as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which was a much darker and grittier take than the films I grew up with as a child. But that also helps make it feel more realistic since the world we live in is not Technicolor and not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Overall, I don’t know if DC’s universe will come together the way Marvel’s has, but I am curious to see what direction Suicide Squad takes it in.

3. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I will admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of Jane Austen’s novels and I often feel like the only woman who didn’t pine for a Mr. Darcy of her own. I also wasn’t a big fan of zombies until recently, so at first glance, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies doesn’t seem like a movie I would want to see. But oh, how I do!

Though I haven’t read the Seth Grahame-Smith book that PPZ is based on, after watching the film’s trailer, it’s definitely been added to my list! First of all, the movie just looks awesome, but I absolutely love how the Bennett girls are all now trained warriors, something their father seems to take great pride in. I’m sure the usual tropes will be included, such as men doubting that women can be fighters and all of that talk about marriage, but so far, it seems like that takes more of a backseat to the actual business of killing zombies, which I heartedly applaud!

4. X-Men: Apocalypse

I know, I know… other Marvel film makes it on the list. I can just hear you saying, “But GNG, there are so many other films out there,” and you’re right, there are, but I’m still really looking forward to this film. Part of that is because X-Men: Apocalypse has a similar vibe as Civil War – with mutants lining up against each other – and I always find films that focus on interpersonal dynamics to be more interesting than standard action fare, but most of it is because Oscar Isaac plays the titular villain.

Though I am still not a huge fan of how Apocalypse looks, I absolutely adore Isaac and after seeing his turns in Ex Machina and The Force Awakens, I can’t wait to see what he brings to this role. In a way, Isaac reminds me of Tom Hanks, who I’ve always considered a bit of a chameleon – taking on different characters and making you forget that Hanks is the actor behind them. Also, the trailer just looks incredible (if full of total and wanton destruction)!

5. The Huntsman: Winter’s War

Okay, I know I’ll likely get docked by a few of you for this selection, especially since Snow White and the Huntsman wasn’t really that good, but I’m still really excited to see the sequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War.

First of all, Jessica Chastain is a far more age-appropriate love interest for Chris Hemsworth – the Huntsman in the title – than Kristen Stewart was, and I enjoy the fact that she’s a warrior, ostensibly trained to fight from a young age, and not some mincing damsel in distress. I also love Emily Blunt in just about everything she does and there is no denying how much fun she and Charlize Theron seem to be having playing the Ice Queen and the Evil Queen, respectively. Sure, it’s likely not a film that will earn an Oscar in any category, but sometimes you just want a fun escape and that seems to be exactly what this is.

Alright, that’s my list, but as I noted above, there are scores of geekynerdy movies coming out this year, so which ones are you most looking forward to? Is your list similar to mine or are there some that you think should have been counted instead? Let me know in the comments below!

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