Sunday Life

| 3.7°C Belfast

2021 has a licence to thrill with big-budget hits in the pipeline after a year of delays in cinemas


Close

Daniel Craig playing James Bond in the delayed Bond film No Time To Die (Nicola Dove/PA)

Daniel Craig playing James Bond in the delayed Bond film No Time To Die (Nicola Dove/PA)

PA

Top Gun : Maverick

Top Gun : Maverick

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

The Kingsman

The Kingsman

Black Widow

Black Widow

Fast and Furious 9

Fast and Furious 9

The Matrix

The Matrix

Fan Art for  The Eternals from Avengers

Fan Art for The Eternals from Avengers

Space Jam

Space Jam

Raya And The Last Dragon

Raya And The Last Dragon

/

Daniel Craig playing James Bond in the delayed Bond film No Time To Die (Nicola Dove/PA)

After an utterly miserable year, the cinema industry will be hoping to get back on its feet and welcome audiences into their seats in 2021.

That many of the biggest films of the year ahead are projects that were bumped from release in 2020 almost goes without saying.

The biggest of them all has got to be No Time To Die. The 25th instalment of the James Bond franchise, and Daniel Craig's final blast as the stern-faced government agent with a licence to kill, had its release date repeatedly pushed back over the past 12 months (for both Covid and practical reasons, with physical injuries adding to the chaos around its troubled production), but hopes are high that it will finally hit cinema screens in April.

As Craig's big farewell - and with a Billie Eilish theme tune, a star turn from Rami Malek as the sinister villain Safin and a script that's been given a 21st century polish up from Fleabag star and critics' favourite Phoebe Waller-Bridge - expectations are sky-high for one of the best Bonds ever. That's providing it can make that hoped-for April release date, of course.

Bar the recent return of Wonder Woman, 2020 felt like a welcome breather from the never-ending churn of cinematic superhero stories. After that break, the year ahead looks to be pretty heavy on the spin-offs, re-imaginings and back stories of that ever-lucrative comic book world.

Close

Black Widow

Black Widow

Black Widow

Black Widow was promised throughout 2020 but never arrived. That will change in May when Scarlett Johansson, as Natasha Romanoff, gets her first proper spin-off film.

Though she was sadly lost in Avengers: Endgame, this takes her story back in time to events just after Captain America: Civil War and welcomes both David Harbour and Florence Pugh into the Marvel cinematic universe for the first time.

After such a prolonged wait, expectations for this one are high and initial glimpses suggest it should do the business.

Marvel obsessives can also look forward to the arrival of Jared Leto to the universe in March when he plays the lead in Morbius, a dark tale of a biochemist who injects himself with blood and accidentally turns himself into a vampire, and the return of the classic ensemble set-up when The Eternals arrives late on in the year.

With a cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington and more, Marvel will be hoping this will fill the team-shaped hole left by the Avengers and bring in some serious cash from the inevitable spin-offs along the way.

If Marvel is busy, then DC is also getting in on the action by reactivating their comic book caper franchise with the long-awaited release of Black Adam.

Centre stage will be Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as Atom Smasher, a superhero with a gift for expanding in size and strength just by willing it.

Spinning off from 2019's Shazam! and co-starring Noah Centineo, this could be latest success story for DC, if the pre-release hype is to be believed.

The year ahead is looking good for some old favourites as well. Tom Cruise is looking forward to a productive 2021 even though most of his big projects are essentially reboots and sequels to long-established success stories.

Mission Impossible 7 is currently in production and set for release later in the year, but the big one for many is his return to one of his early successes with Top Gun: Maverick.

Close

Top Gun : Maverick

Top Gun : Maverick

Top Gun : Maverick

Cruise once again plays ace fighter pilot Maverick, but this time he's training the new generation of recruits, one of whom is the son of his old pal Goose, who died in the first film.

Acting support comes from the likes of Glen Powell, Miles Teller and Jon Hamm, but this is all about wee Tom and how much appetite audiences have to revisit the story of a film that first graced cinema screens 34 years ago.

Another ageing franchise receiving the Hollywood kiss of life in the next 12 months is the Fast & Furious, which reaches an incredible film number nine in its run this May.

Close

Fast and Furious 9

Fast and Furious 9

Fast and Furious 9

Quite how much mileage there is to be gained out of that particular vehicle remains to be seen, but you have to credit the makers for sheer perseverance if nothing else.

Close

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

Also returning is the Ghostbusters franchise, which is back with the new adventure Afterlife, and the ongoing Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts, which is back after much Covid-related delay for part three in November.

Close

The Kingsman

The Kingsman

The Kingsman

The popular adventure thriller series Kingsman returns in September with The King's Man (right), a Ralph Fiennes-fronted back story set in 1900 as a collection of the world's worst villains set out to murder millions. Elsewhere, Keanu Reeves revisits old glories when The Matrix 4 finally arrives next Christmas.

Close

The Matrix

The Matrix

The Matrix

Kids are well catered for too, with an old 90s favourite getting an update courtesy of LeBron James in Space Jam: A New Legacy this summer. There's also a diversity-friendly epic in the form of Raya And The Last Dragon for fans of classic Disney animation to enjoy.

Close

Space Jam

Space Jam

Space Jam

Horror fans can get their kicks from the likes of the third instalment of the The Conjuring series The Devil Made Me Do It, a sequel for the hugely successful Emily Blunt-fronted A Quiet Place and a reworking of the old Clive Barker scare-fest Candyman from award-winning director Jordan Peele.

Close

Raya And The Last Dragon

Raya And The Last Dragon

Raya And The Last Dragon

If you're looking for award-friendly films in the year ahead, look no further than Wes Anderson's new movie The French Dispatch, which critics have been getting all flustered about for months now, and Jamie, the much anticipated adaptation of the popular West End musical of the same name that tells the feelgood story of the 16-year-old Sheffield boy who dreams of becoming a drag queen despite the disapproval of his dad and school bullies.

And finally, on a personal basis, I'm really looking forward to Respect, the biopic of the late great Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. With Jennifer Hudson in the lead role, it sounds like just the injection of musical positivity that we all need so much.

Sunday Life


Privacy