2020 is officially history – and good riddance! The next 12 months are already looking promising, with the COVID-19 vaccine distribution well under way, meaning a far greater chance of movies actually sticking to their current release dates and being released in cinemas where they truly belong. To kick off 2021 on an optimistic note, we’ve listed the 20 most exciting films for you to look forward to, and to mark in your new yearly diary (all dates are subject to change, of course!).

We’re also excited to bring some new additions to our website this year, including the introduction of a brand-new grading system for reviews! From now on, movies will be graded anything from an A+ all the way down to a bottom-level F, to give more of an expression of how we feel about a certain movie. You can read more about the new grading system, including what each individual grade basically means, right here!

Back to the list, and you may notice that a lot of the following movies also featured on last year’s countdown – well, that was before 2020 actually happened, so forgive us if we didn’t exactly see the future back on 1st January 2020! Needless to say, there are plenty of films delayed from last year that have more than a right to show back up here again, so what’s the harm in spotlighting them once more?

Now onto the list…

20 – GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE

The 2016 all-female reboot might not have pleased everyone (predominantly the online trolls), but this newer and much more nostalgic take on the classic Ghostbusters series could pull it off this time.

Director Jason Reitman takes over the franchise from father Ivan Reitman, setting the supernatural adventures outside of New York for the first time, and introducing a new young cast of intrepid heroes in a Force Awakens-style revitalisation (there just might also be some familiar faces showing up along the way as well).

It’ll certainly feel different than what came before, but that’s a good thing: this series desperately needs a fresh take that can potentially breathe new life into the fan-favourite movies, and if all it takes is transplanting the action to a small town in Oklahoma with Finn Wolfhard filling in for the likes of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, then bustin’ might make us feel good once again.

WHEN’S IT OUT?

11TH JUNE 2021

19 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7

COVID-19 certainly isn’t stopping Tom Cruise from bringing even more intense action to the ongoing series (and given that leaked audio, he’s making damn sure it won’t spoil the fun).

The seventh film will of course see Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and company on yet another death-defying mission to save the world (should they choose to accept it, naturally), with new additions this time including Hayley Atwell and Henry Czerny, the latter reprising his scene-stealing role from the very first Mission: Impossible movie back in 1996 (has it really been that long?). Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie is also back, so expect to see more wily banter and sharp, simple plots with all the usual gadgets and tricks.

The big question, though, is what kind of mind-blowing stunts will Cruise be putting himself in danger for this time? In these movies, the guy has climbed extremely tall buildings, clung onto the sides of planes, and injured his foot while jumping over rooftops – what on earth could top all of those things? Going into space has been ruled out (especially since Cruise and director Doug Liman have begun making their own plans for that one), so for now it’s up to our imaginations to guess what the hell Ethan Hunt is going to do. No matter what, though, it’s going to be pretty awesome…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

19TH NOVEMBER 2021

18 – CANDYMAN

No, not the horror movie version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory you’ve secretly been hoping for – though let’s be honest, that movie was always kind of disturbing – but rather a sequel/reboot of the cult classic 1992 supernatural thriller that’s about to get a much-needed update for the 21st century.

This version comes from director Nia DaCosta (recently announced as the director of Marvel’s upcoming Captain Marvel sequel) and producer Jordan Peele, both of whom use their vital skills of suspense and terror to generate not just some pretty creepy scares, but some timely social commentary on the long-term effects of gentrification and the removal of black culture from increasingly white neighbourhoods.

We wouldn’t expect anything less from a creative force like Peele, so you can count on this being one horror title you’ll be naming over and over again…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

27TH AUGUST 2021

17 – FAST & FURIOUS 9

It’s all about cars and family once more as the Fast & Furious saga continues with even more mindless action and big, buff heroes duking it out with each other.

Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and company are all back, as is long-time series director Justin Lin who returns after sitting the previous two entries out, but this time their enemies come from somewhere more personal, in particular John Cena as Dominic Toretto’s little (in birth order only) brother who’s teamed up with Charlize Theron’s vengeful Cipher for more chaos. As if that wasn’t enough, fan-favourite character Han is also back, having somehow survived his apparent death in the third – but chronologically sixth – movie, and giving our heroes a helping hand.

Again, as with Mission: Impossible 7, what kind of crazy things will they get up to this time? Will this be the entry that finally takes the action into space, since at this point they’ve exhausted all of their options on the surface? We shall find out in a matter of months…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

29TH MAY 2021

16 – JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH

The Black Lives Matter movement may have gotten some serious attention in the last twelve months, but the fight for racial equality has always been a major social topic, and this fierce biographical drama – from director Shaka King and producer Ryan Coogler – spotlights a key figure in that fight whose tragic story rings extremely true today.

In what looks as though it’s a real knockout of a central performance, and could very well nab him his second Oscar nomination, Daniel Kaluuya portrays Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Black Panther Party who was ultimately brought down by the FBI, which received information from petty criminal William O’Neal (played here by Lakeith Stanfield). Its prime real estate in the middle of this year’s award season, along with its heavily topical subject matter and powerhouse acting, will almost certainly catch the eye of the Academy, but beyond its awards prospect this looks as though it could be a vital and urgent portrayal of a radical, but in many ways heroic, public figure that we need more of in modern society.

It’s impossible not to get sucked into Kaluuya’s performance in that trailer alone, so imagine what an entire feature-length experience will be like…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

26TH FEBRUARY 2021

15 – RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON

Disney is back with two all-new animated features in 2021, but before November brings about their musical fantasy Encanto (no cast announced yet, but the songs will be done by Lin-Manuel Miranda), they’re introducing a fresh heroine to their line-up.

The titular Raya, voiced by Star Wars alumni Kelly Marie Tran, is on a quest to find the last remaining dragon – a shape-shifting beast voiced by Awkwafina – to save her kingdom, and as ever with Disney it looks like a visual stunner with breath-taking animation as well as some adorable little sidekicks that children will be definitely be putting on their Christmas lists next December.

The company will also be testing out its hybrid theatrical/on-demand distribution with this film, after its streaming success with last year’s Mulan, meaning that you can expect the film to debut on Disney+ (for a premium price) at the same time it hits cinemas. Whichever option you go for, though, get ready for a new Disney adventure unlike any other…

 WHEN’S IT OUT?

5TH MARCH 2021

14 – FREE GUY

We’ve all missed Ryan Reynolds’ charming goofiness in 2020, and luckily he’s got the perfect vehicle to return with in director Shawn Levy’s latest high-concept action-comedy.

Reynolds is Guy, who one day discovers that he is a mere background character in a Fortnite-style video game, which immediately lends itself many possibilities as to how far they can stretch both the action and the comedy, all with Reynold’s trademark tongue-in-cheek attitude. Co-stars include Killing Eve breakout Jodie Comer, Stranger Things’ Joe Keery, and Reynolds’ former Green Lantern co-star Taika Waititi (though both of them would probably rather you not remember that one).

More than just Wreck-It Ralph for the slightly older crowd, Free Guy is set to become a crowd-pleasing hit you’ll want to play over and over again…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

21ST MAY 2021

13 – IN THE HEIGHTS

Known largely as the OTHER Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, In The Heights is launching on the screen with energetic and euphoric song-and-dance numbers to rival the classics.

Miranda’s tale of love, dreams, community and hopeful bodega shop owners is brought to exhilarating life by a diverse cast including Hamilton co-star Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins and Jimmy Smits, and director Jon M. Chu who lends some beautiful summertime scenery as well as some gravity-defying choreography to go along with the catchy, irresistible lyrics. It’s bound to be the perfect summer movie, filled with escapist dreams and fantasies to inspire new generations of lovers and optimists.

While Hamilton may be the better-known Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, come next summer there may well be a contender for that title…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

30TH JULY 2021

12 – A QUIET PLACE: PART 2

As one of the first major movies to be heavily delayed last year during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, the anticipation couldn’t be higher for director John Krasinski’s horror sequel to his own breakout movie from three years prior.

Krasinski’s real-life wife Emily Blunt, along with on-screen kids Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds, are still making as little noise as they can to avoid those darned monsters that see and hunt by sound, only this time they also have a possibly-crazed Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou to deal with. Expect plenty of suspense from the smallest of sounds, and perhaps even an explanation as to what these creatures are and why they’ve suddenly decided to hunt a noisy humanity.

Early buzz suggests this is very much a horror sequel that’s worthy of the original, and with a spin-off already confirmed (with Jeff Nichols filling in for Krasinski as director), it’s bound to be worth the extended wait…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

23RD APRIL 2021

11 – WEST SIDE STORY

In The Heights isn’t the only movie musical this year to contain a healthy amount of Latino cast members, only this one might just well be the granddaddy of the pair.

Sure, West Side Story has already been adapted into a multi Oscar-winning masterpiece, but director Steven Spielberg – with his first all-out musical – is lending his trademark eye to the classic Sondheim piece, bringing new passion to timeless tunes like “America”, “I Feel Pretty” and “Somewhere” as well as ethnically-appropriate cast members (as great as the original was, there sure were a LOT of white actors playing Puerto Ricans), including potential breakout Rachel Zegler as female lead Maria alongside Ansel Elgort’s Tony (also look out for Rita Moreno, an Oscar-winning cast member of the original film, who pops up in a specially rewritten role).

Spielberg’s entry into musical film territory is going to be one that everybody has eyes on, not just for how it compares with the original, but for how this new version will bring back the joy and wonder of the musical itself…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

10TH DECEMBER 2021

10 – TOM & JERRY

When news first broke out about a live-action movie about the famous cat-and-mouse duo, most reactions were of fear that it would look like another Alvin and the Chipmunks or The Smurfs, with unnecessarily lifelike CG redesigns of the two legendary cartoon characters. What a relief, then, that not only are the new designs very faithful to their original look, but they’re animated in a way that really looks like Tom and Jerry came to life.

Incorporating computer-generated trickery not dissimilar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Space Jam, the 2D designs of both the feline Tom and the rodent Jerry – in a world where all animals are apparently cartoons, in a nice little touch – interact here with real actors like Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Peña and Ken Jeong, and participate in slapstick that looks as gloriously violent (albeit in a cartoon sense) as their older outings. Families should have a blast seeing what director Tim Story has managed to do with the timeless characters, which should generate the right amount of nostalgia for the older crowd.

Plus, neither Tom nor Jerry talk in this one, which already makes it far superior to their all-animated 1992 cinematic outing…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

19TH MARCH 2021

9 – SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY

It’s probably the 90s kid in me, but a Space Jam sequel is something that I’ve always wanted to see since childhood.

You can say whatever you want about the 1996 hit, which saw basketball icon Michael Jordan team up with the Looney Tunes to play against aliens who want to enslave them, but there’s no denying that it was a cultural phenomenon, and producer Ryan Coogler – yes, the director of Black Panther – appears to recognise that with this movie, which this time sees current NBA superstar LeBron James teaming with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the others to battle an evil AI – presumably, also with basketball. Rumours are also swirling that other Warner Bros characters are coming to the party as well, from Pennywise the Clown to the Joker, which if true would make this a glorious crossover event worth the 25-year wait.

Also, if it’s anything like the first film, no matter how it turns out the soundtrack is seriously going to slap – just listen to that above track and try not to catch some serious 90s flashbacks…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

16TH JULY 2021

8 – THE SUICIDE SQUAD

Turns out that James Gunn’s (temporary) firing from Marvel was a blessing in disguise, because he’s now been tasked with perhaps the most exciting venture yet in the DC Universe: giving a DOA property like Suicide Squad a brand-new lease of life.

While the first film was hugely underwhelming, even after the disappointment of both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gunn’s bloodier and more war-like vision of the ensemble group of baddies forced onto missions that’ll likely mean their demise is looking more and more like the kind of film that David Ayer’s attempt should have been all this time. The cast list is too long to mention here individually, but stand-outs include Margot Robbie’s return as Harley Quinn, John Cena as the maniacal Peacemaker, and Sean “brother of James” Gunn as a human-sized weasel – that alone should get you excited for this one.

Expect heavy action, shocking deaths, and a rather dark sense of humour – in other words, pure James Gunn…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

6TH AUGUST 2021

7 – LAST NIGHT IN SOHO

Yet another 2020 holdover, Edgar Wright’s first full-on horror film – said to be in the same vein as Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and Wright favourite Don’t Look Now – is still an anomaly waiting to be revealed, but if the filmmaker’s previous work is anything to go by, it should be another fascinating cinematic outing.

With a cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith and the late Diana Rigg, all of whom Wright has transported into 1960s London and its period-appropriate fashion attire, the film will almost certainly incorporate the director’s keen eye for stylistic homage with his own kinetic approach that is unmistakably Edgar Wright. Not much is still known about the actual plot, only that it somehow involves time-travel and a shady force making things a lot more sinister, but expect the unexpected and for some mysteries to remain secret until its first showing.

Either way, it’s exciting to see an original new Edgar Wright movie once again…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

23RD APRIL 2021

6 – HALLOWEEN KILLS

Three years after Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode seemingly finished him off for good, the masked killer Michael Myers is coming after her and her family once more, in David Gordon Green’s direct sequel to his successful franchise do-over.

You can expect more gruesome kills and possibly another showdown between Strode and Myers, as well as the reappearance of some old faces from John Carpenter’s original 1978 classic. Tommy Doyle and Lindsey Wallace – the two young kids that Strode was babysitting in that film – make their returns here as played by Anthony Michael Hall and Kyle Richards respectively, although how they factor into the plot (and if, indeed, Michael finally decides to go after them more than forty years on) still remains a mystery. No word yet, either, on whether Ben Tramer – Strode’s high school crush who met an explosive end in the now-retconned original sequel Halloween II – has also made it to middle-age.

Intended as the second part in a trilogy that’s set to conclude with 2022’s Halloween Ends, you can count on Halloween Kills to give you at least one good scare this spooky season…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

15TH OCTOBER 2021

5 – DUNE

Director Denis Villeneuve has yet to truly disappoint, which immediately makes his extremely ambitious adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic space novel – previously turned into a film by David Lynch, who was so dissatisfied with the final product he opted for the infamous Alan Smithee credit – one to seriously get excited about.

It looks like it’ll be a visually stunning, thematically rich epic with plenty of complex characters and exciting new worlds, with an all-star cast led by Timothée Chalamet fully inhabiting the parts that made Herbert’s original novel more than just another sci-fi opera. This film, though, intends to only cover the first half of Herbert’s novel, with a planned follow-up covering the second in an It-style approach that gives itself more opportunity to explore and develop this universe and its inhabitants.

Nonetheless, for a first outing into a bold and grand new corner of the galaxy, Villeneuve seems to have really outdone himself, and it’s only a shame we have to wait until much later on to see how he fares with the material…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

1ST OCTOBER 2021

4 – THE MATRIX 4

2020’s been a lot like living in a glitch, so the time feels about right to return to the virtual world of the Matrix for more kung-fu and long leather overcoats.

Director Lana Wachowski flies solo on this fourth outing, which will also see the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss as Neo and Trinity respectively (despite both of them meeting rather unfortunate ends in the last one). New additions to the cast include Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris and Jessica Henwick, but where is Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus among the cast? Unless rumours are true about Abdul-Mateen II playing a younger version of the character, it just doesn’t feel complete without the holy trinity (ahem) present.

Nevertheless, you have lots of new action, stylish effects and overly complicated jargon to look forward to – here’s hoping it’s also a more pleasing sequel than the others…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

22ND DECEMBER 2021

3 – BLACK WIDOW

Marvel is set to have a jam-packed year, with not just this, but also Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and the third Spider-Man movie all set to finally make their cinematic bows. If that weren’t enough, with their upcoming Disney+ shows WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye and animated anthology What If…?, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get an expansion like never before (by the way, you can expect weekly reviews of those shows on this website as and when they come out).

Since Black Widow was originally primed as the first big entry into Phase Four, it receives our primary focus on this list – but the long-awaited solo outing for Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, which explores what she was up to in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, is worth getting excited about for numerous other reasons. Not only is it set to be an action-packed, character-heavy piece that further explores Romanoff’s past and even her pre-Avengers family – including Florence Pugh as her younger sister Yelena, and David Harbour as the Soviet equivalent of Captain America – but given Romanoff’s ultimate fate in Avengers: Endgame, it’s also going to be quite the bittersweet experience as we give a fond farewell to Johansson’s tenure as one of the more complex and mysterious members of the superhero mega-team.

As we mentioned earlier, Marvel is certainly making up for lost time in 2021, but Black Widow is the one most of us are really keeping an eye on…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

7TH MAY 2021

2 – TOP GUN: MAVERICK

This summer, we’re set to feel the need for speed once again for the thrill ride we’ve been waiting extremely patiently for.

Tom Cruise returns to his iconic role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, the ace fighter pilot with a heart of gold, for the first time in 35 years, in a sequel with some truly awe-inspiring action – all filmed in real air-born jets, as is the Cruise way – and plenty of good-natured homoerotic cheese. As enjoyable as the Mission: Impossible movies are, Top Gun feels like the quintessential Tom Cruise flick, showcasing the actor’s inherent charisma and movie star qualities in a movie that’s fun, highly accessible and extremely crowd-pleasing; this sequel, with director Joseph Kosinski taking over from the late Tony Scott, looks like it’s going to take the character of Maverick to new heights (both figuratively and literally), potentially bringing the original’s 80s charm and goofiness into a more modern era where the dangers are more real than ever, and the stunts are increasingly immersive thanks to the use of revolutionary IMAX camera to capture the mid-air antics.

We’re already bound for a packed summer of new releases and 2020 holdovers, and while Top Gun: Maverick falls into the latter category it should be a movie that’s not only worth the wait, but a completely awesome movie experience that’ll take our breaths away…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

9TH JULY 2021

1 – NO TIME TO DIE

Let’s try this again, shall we?

As you might know, the twenty-fifth James Bond movie was also our #1 pick for the Most Anticipated Movie of last year. Then, of course, last year happened. But now, with everything that’s happened lately from the start of the COVID vaccination program to the strict but effective restrictions placed on different parts of the country, it’s looking increasingly likely that 2021 will finally, at last, see Daniel Craig bow out of the role in style, on the biggest screens imaginable as it was always destined to be.

Yes, this may be Craig’s final outing as 007, but Cary Joji Fukunaga’s action epic – from its vast range of worldwide locations, to its starry supporting cast including Rami Malek, Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes, to Billie Eilish’s haunting title track – goes the extra few miles to ensure he goes out with all the style and swagger you’d expect from the world’s greatest spy. Case in point, the trailers suggest that this mission is a far more personal one for Bond than ever, with Malek’s sinister villain Safin wanting something to do with his SPECTRE lover Madeleine Swann (played once again by Léa Seydoux), forcing him to return after some time in retirement and stamp out the threat before it becomes far more dangerous.

It’s a movie we were all bound to look forward to anyway, but now after the last twelve months, it’s more important than ever that we get it in cinemas. No Time To Die was the first major blockbuster to be delayed last March, in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, effectively causing a domino effect that saw more and more films get pushed back significantly or go directly to streaming ever since. It’s clear that all eyes are on this one, because it’s not only the newest James Bond film, but because it just goes to show the series’ power that it can cause rival studios to follow suit and reorganise their own schedules, and can even close down entire cinema chains in response to its sudden departure from certain dates. Most of all, though, it is us, the paying audience, who are going to pin all our hopes on this one; after all we’ve gone through, it’s not that we want the movie to be good, but that we NEED the movie to be good, as a sort of final reward for having to put up with all the nonsense for the better part of a year.

I have great confidence that 2021 will indeed be the year of Bond, and if things continue to go okay, then we could very well get it sooner rather than later…

WHEN’S IT OUT?

2ND APRIL 2021

ALSO OUT THIS YEAR (DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BREATH)

  • The Croods 2: A New Age (out: 5th February 2021)

  • The Little Things (out: 12th February 2021)

  • Peter Rabbit 2 (out: 12th February 2021)

  • Promising Young Woman (out: 12th February 2021)

  • Chaos Walking (out: 5th March 2021)

  • The King’s Man (out: 12th March 2021)

  • The Many Saints of Newark (out: 12th March 2021)

  • Morbius (out: 19th March 2021)

  • Bob’s Burgers: The Movie (out: 9th April 2021)

  • Godzilla vs. Kong (out: 21st May 2021)

  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw (out: 21st May 2021)

  • Cruella (out: 29th May 2021)

  • Vivo (out: 4th June 2021)

  • The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (out: 4th June 2021)

  • Luca (out: 18th June 2021)

  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage (out: 25th June 2021)

  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (out: 9th July 2021)

  • Minions 2: The Rise of Gru (out: 16th July 2021)

  • Uncharted (out: 16th July 2021)

  • Jungle Cruise (out: 30th July 2021)

  • Hotel Transylvania 4 (out: 6th August 2021)

  • Deep Water (out: 13th August 2021)

  • The Beatles: Get Back (out: 27th August 2021)

  • Jackass 4 (out: 3rd September 2021)

  • The Boss Baby 2: Family Business (out: 17th September 2021)

  • The Man From Toronto (out: 17th September 2021)

  • Respect (out: 8th October 2021)

  • The Last Duel (out: 15th October 2021)

  • Snake Eyes (out: 22nd October 2021)

  • Elvis (out: 5th November 2021)

  • Eternals (out: 5th November 2021)

  • King Richard (out: 19th November 2021)

  • Gucci (out: 26th November 2021)

  • Spider-Man 3 (out: 17th December 2021)

  • Clifford the Big Red Dog (out: 24th December 2021)

  • The Nightingale (out: 26th December 2021)