The Most Anticipated Movies of 2021

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Cole Kasprzyk, Staff Writer

2020 was a year that many people may not reflect on too positively in the future, has finally come to an end, with the new year of 2021 already commencing. While the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the theater experience for many in 2020, with theaters shutting down and films getting delayed, the slate of 2021 of new movie releases shows promise, especially with the COVID-19 vaccine beginning distribution, as well as Warner Bros. Picture’s decision to release their entire 2021 lineup simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. As such, this adds to the already promising lineup of films releasing in 2021.

To start things off, Tom and Jerry is a new film made by the Warner Animation Group in accordance with Warner Bros. Pictures, based on the Hanna-Barbera property featuring the beloved rivalry-story about a cat and a mouse. The story follows Tom and Jerry as they were recently evicted from their house, where they meet up again in a fancy hotel complex in Manhattan, New York. Kayla, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, employs Tom to catch Jerry before a great wedding happens. The cast also includes Michael Pena, Rob Delaney, Ken Jeong, and many more, and is directed by Tim Story. This film combines both animation and live-action film-work, as Tom and Jerry’s animated designs crossover with the live-action world of Manhattan. Tom and Jerry was released to theaters and HBO Max on February 26, 2021.

After releasing Soul on Disney+ last Christmas, Disney is back with another film early in 2021: Raya and the Last Dragon. This animated feature is set in the world of Kumandra, a place that is very similar to Earth, occupied by an ancient civilization. One of these people, a warrior named Raya, played by Kelly Marie Tran, sets off on a quest to find the last dragon that is occupying the land, which she hopes will restore peace to her world. The film is directed by Don Hall, Carlos Lopez Estrada, Paul Briggs, and John Ripa, and stars Benedict Wong and Gemma Chan. Raya and the Last Dragon released to theaters on March 5, 2021, and on Disney+, though only available through a premium fee of $30.

Being the fourth installment of Warner Bros.’s “Monsterverse,” Godzilla vs. Kong pits two of film’s greatest monster icons against each other in an all-out brawl, with Humanity caught in between these two titans. This film follows previously released films Godzilla (2014), Kong: Skull Island (2017), and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), being directed by Adam Wingard. The cast includes Alexander Skarsgard, Milly Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, and many more, and released simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on March 31, 2021.

After almost 30 years of playable installments and even a 1995 feature film, Mortal Kombat, the popular video game franchise that pits deadly warriors against each other in brutal combat, is getting a new film that serves as a reboot, titled Mortal Kombat. The movie stars an original character in the lead, an MMA fighter named Cole Young, played by Lewis Tan, as he teams up with Earth’s greatest champions to defend it from Outworld in a fighting tournament. The film is directed by Simon McQuoid, produced by James Wan, and distributed by Warner Bros., and also stars Jessica McNamee, Mehcad Brooks, Ludi Lin, and Hiroyuki Sanada. Mortal Kombat will debut in theaters and on HBO Max on April 16, 2021.

While Disney and Marvel Studios’ Marvel Cinematic Universe has been mostly dormant for the past year, that is about to change this year – assuming there are no more delays. The long-anticipated Black WidowScarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff, also known as, the Black Widow, as we see what she was doing in-between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Throughout the film, fans will also be treated with flashbacks revealing her origin. Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland, and will also star Florence Pugh and David Harbour, and will release in theaters on May 7, 2021.

Racing onto this list is F9 (also known as Fast and Furious 9) is the 9th entry in the beloved favorite films serious about Vin Diesel and bombastic car action. Dom Toretto, played by the previously mentioned Vin Diesel, and the rest of his rag-band team are being hunted by Dom’s younger brother, Jakob, played by John Cena, which leads to another action-packed thrill ride. Directed by Justine Lin and starring Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, and many other familiar faces, F9 races into theaters on May 28, 2021.

Black Widow is not the only Marvel film that is releasing in 2021, as Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is also slated to come out. Plot details about this film are scarce as of yet, but the story will follow Shang Chi, played by Simu Liu, who, in the original “Master of Kung Fu” comics, is the world’s greatest martial artist. The film is being directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and also stars Awkwafina and Florian Munteanu. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is scheduled to release in theaters on July 9, 2021.

Warner Bros.’s only DC Comics film to release this year is The Suicide Squad. Directed by James Gunn, this film serves as a soft reboot to Suicide Squad in 2016, though it is said to be a standalone installment. Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, and Joel Kinnaman are all back as Harley Quinn, Amanda Waller, and Rick Flag, respectively, but are joined by newcomers, such as John Cena’s Peacemaker, Idris Elba’s Bloodsport, and David Dastmalchian’s Polka-Dot Man. The Suicide Squad is dispatched to an island on a deadly mission, one that they will all survive. This rated-R action flick is headed to theaters and HBO Max on August 6, 2021.

After being delayed from its 2020 release date, A Quiet Place Part II is back on track to release. Being a direct sequel to A Quiet Place from 2017, the Abbott family continues to escape from the alien creatures that hunt humans through sound. Forced to travel in silence, they soon discover that the creatures are not the only threat that they face. Directed by John Krasinski and starring Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Cillian Murphy, this PG-13 horror movie will release in theaters on September 17, 2021.

One of the most anticipated films of the last year was Dune, an adaptation of the Frank Herbert series of science-fiction novels, though it has thus been delayed to this year. The film follows Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet, a noble son that is protecting one of the most powerful items in the galaxy. The film is directed by Denis Villeneuve and also stars Jason Mamoa, Zendaya, Dave Bautista, and Oscar Issac. Dune (2021) is set to release on October 1, 2021.

Another film that is finally making its theatrical debut after several delays is No Time to Die, which will feature Daniel Craig in his final outing as the iconic James Bond. After being called out of retirement by a former friend from the CIA, Bond must solve a mystery behind a new villain wielding dangerous new technology. The film is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and also features Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, and Jeffrey Wright, and is set to release on October 8, 2021. However, this release date is subject to change.

Prepare to be scared this fall, as Halloween Kills, a sequel to the fairly well-received 2018 version of Halloween. Details are scarce, but the film will see the ongoing feud of Laurie Strode, once again played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and Michael Myers, the legendary horror icon. The film is directed by David Gordan Green, with a release date set for October 15, 2021.

The third Marvel Cinematic Universe film to release this year is Eternals. Much like Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, not much of the plot is known about the film. The film will star the Eternals, a group of cosmic Marvel characters that, in the original comic books, are immortal beings that lived on Earth, who discover who they are throughout the original stories, which is likely what the plot of the movie will be based on. The film is directed by Chloe Zhao and stars Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Kit Herrington, and many more. Eternals is set to release in theaters on November 5, 2021.

Something strange is going on, as the iconic Ghostbusters franchise heard the call, as Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set to release this year following several delays. The film is set years after the events of the first two, the audience will pick up with a family of a mother and two kids arriving at a small town, which will begin their discovery as to their connections to the original Ghostbusters. This film is said to star Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd, though the appearance of the original cast members is rumored to happen. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set to release on November 11, 2021.

The iconic action series that have kept fans engaged for years, Mission Impossible, is receiving its latest installment this year, Mission Impossible 7. The film will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie and will see the return of Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, Hayley Atwell, Simon Pegg, Vanessa Kirby, Esai Morales, and more are also set to star. At the moment, details about the plot of the film are still scarce. Mission Impossible 7 is set to release on November 19, 2021.

The final Marvel Cinematic Universe film is an untitled Spider-Man sequel produced in accordance with Sony, and that is a direct sequel to Spider-Man: Far From Home. The film is still being directed by Jon Watts. Not much is known about this film, other than the cast. Tom Holland will once again reprise his role as Peter Parker, also known as, Spider-Man, and his fellow co-stars Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, and Jacob Batalon, returning in their respective roles. However, both Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina, whom both played Spider-Man villains in previous adaptations of the character, are set to appear as Electro and Doctor Octopus, respectively. This has made many wonder if the film will lead into the concept of the multiverse, which is further supported by the inclusion of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, a character already established in the MCU as a character with ties to the multiverse. This film is set to release on December 17, 2021.