From "Black Widow" to "No Time to Die" to "Matrix 4", we round-up the most anticipated movies coming out in 2021
Last year might not be the best year for movies, with many postponed or moved to a digital release due to Covid-19. Cinemas may still be closed in Hong Kong, but most movies set to be released in thsi year are scheduled to come out online, allowing us to watch them at the comfort of our home.
Much like books, movies have been our source of escape and entertainment during this pandemic. And in 2021, we can look forward to many more exciting movies, including several sequels to successful franchises and some book adaptations.
From superhero movies and science fiction to action-packed titles, we round-up the most anticipated movies coming out in 2021.
1. Malcolm & Marie
Malcolm & Marie, un upcoming black and white drama film stars Zendaya and David Washington. Director Sam Levinson wrote the screenplay in just six days and compared to other films that had to halt production due to Covid-19, Malcolm & Marie was filmed during the pandemic, following safety protocols with the cast and crew being quarantined during before, during and after shooting.
Shot in 35mm black and white film, the story follows a filmmaker (Washington) after returning home following a movie premiere. He expects the movie to be a critical success. What should be a celebratory night at home with his girlfriend (Zendaya), takes a dark turn after secrets about their relationships began to unravel.
Release date: February 5, 2021
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2. Raya and the Last Dragon
Raya and the Last Dragon is the highly anticipated animated movie from Disney. Many are looking forward to the Southeast Asian influences of the movie including the debut of the first-ever Southeast Asian Disney princess. The story set in Kumandra, inspired by the cultures of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Laos. For their research, the production team travelled to the countries except for Myanmar and Malaysia.
Kelly Marie Tran will be voicing the titular Raya, the warrior princess training to become a Guardian of the Dragon Gem. Joining her is Sisu, voiced by Awkwafina, the last dragon in existence who can also transform into a human. Raya will be tasked to track down Sisu to stop the Drunn, the sinister monsters destroying Kumandra.
Release date: March 5, 2021
3. Godzilla vs. Kong
Speaking of cinematic universes, there's another one of that coming soon. Godzilla vs. Kong, the fourth movie in the "MonsterVerse" will hit theatres this 2021. The movie has a spectacular list of cast members including Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgård, Shun Oguri (in his Hollywood debut), Jessica Henwick, Kyle Chandler and Rebecca Hall with some of the characters reprising their roles from other Godzilla and King Kong movies in the cinematic universe.
The previous movies, as well as the title, have all hinted at the two iconic monsters—Godzilla and King Kong—finally having the most-awaited legendary monster battle to settle once and for all, who the true king of the monsters is. The clash of the two in the big screen is definitely one that will excite viewers. The story will follow a squadron on a mission to unearth clues to the monsters' origins in the hope of saving mankind.
Release date: March 31, 2021
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4. A Quiet Place 2
The long-awaited sequel to the 2019 sleeper-hit A Quiet Place is dropping this year. John Krasinski will be directing the sequel with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe back for their roles. The sequel will pick up where the first movie left off with the Abbott family venturing the outside world. Upcoming discovering the unknown world for the first time, they soon realise that the creatures who hunt by sound may not be the only monsters they should be scared of.
Given the plot of the first movie, the family is forced to live in silence while hiding from the monsters so there was a little to no dialogue but from the trailer of the sequel, we can definitely look forward to having more dialogues. We can also expect some flashbacks before the monsters terrorised the planet including scenes with Krasinski, who starred in the first movie.
Release date: April 23, 2021
5. Mortal Kombat
The highly-anticipated reboot of Mortal Kombat film series and adapted from the video game franchise of the same name. Deadpool 2 and Wu Assassin's Lewis Tan will be leading the film as Cole Young together with Jessica McNamee as Sonya Blade, Tadanobu Asano as Lord Raiden, Ludi Lin as Liu Kang, Chin Han as Shang Tsung, Joe Taslim as Bi-Han and Sub-Zero, and Hiroyuki Sanada as Hanzo Hasashi and Scorpion.
The reboot will follow Cole Young (Tan) who has always fought for money and living completely unaware of his heritage. Discovering his roots, he seeks the help of Sonia Blade (McNamee) who leads him to the temple of Lord Raiden where he trains with esteemed warriors to unlock his hidden abilities.
Release date: April 16, 2021
6. Black Widow
After many years of waiting (and hoping), a Black Widow movie is finally coming. It will be the first movie in the "Phase Four" of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and will take place after the events of Captin America: Civil War. In Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) will have to confront the demons of her past. Faced with a dangerous conspiracy and chased down by a force that will do anything to bring her down, the highly trained assassin will have to deal with her past, before becoming an Avenger.
Johansson herself sees the solo movie as an opportunity to showcase Black Widow's as an independent woman making her own choices. It'll certainly be an exciting movie for MCU fans out there.
Release date: May 7, 2021
This year seems to be looking like the year of sequels and follow-up instalment of many successful franchises. Joining the party is F9 or also known as Fast & Furious 9. The ninth instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise welcomes back the crew—Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris Bridges, John Cena Nathalie Emmanuel and Sung Kang. Many other cast members from other Fast movies will also be returning.
If the previous movies were set on Earth, this one will be taking you to outer space, according to Rodriguez and as teased by Diesel. The story will pick up after the events of the previous movie. Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his crew will come face to face with his younger brother, Jakob (Cena). A deadly assassin, Jakob is working with Cipher, Toretto's old enemy. As with any Fast movies, expect cars, action and maybe some explosions.
Release date: May 28, 2021
8. In the Heights
Crazy Rich Asians' director, Jon M. Chu is helming the musical drama, In the Heights based on the 2007 stage musical of the same name by Hudes and Lin-Manual Miranda, prior to his Hamilton days. The movie is set in Washington Heights and follows Usnavi de la Vega, a bodega owner who is kindly taking care of his ageing Cuban neighbour. Viewers will be joining in de la Vega's journey—from his feelings about closing his store to whether he will be retiring to the Dominican Republic after inheriting his grandmother's fortune.
The musical movie will also showcase the vibrant and tight-knit community at Washington Heights. It will star Anthony Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Stephanie Beatriz and many more.
Release date: June 18, 2021
9. Top Gun: Maverick
After 35 years, 1986's Top Gun finally has a sequel. Top Gun: Maverick boasts an impressive ensemble comprising of Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Lewis Pullman, Val Kilmer and many more with Cruise and Kilmer reprising her roles from the previous movie.
The movie centres around Pete "Maverik" Mitchell (Cruise) who has always been a stellar pilot and flight instructor for the Navy. His outstanding record has put him in charge of training a new squad of graduates. But the past catches up to him and he must prepare his students for a dangerous mission that may require them to make a sacrifice.
Release day: July 2, 2021
10. The Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad is back...except not all of them. This movie is intended to be a soft reboot and standalone sequel rather than a direct follow-up to the 2016 movie. Joker (Jared Leto) is absent from the movie, instead, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) will be headlining it together with Idris Elba as Bloodsport, John Cena as Pacemaker and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag.
The Suicide Squad follows the imprisoned convicts of Task Force X who have a new mission to Corto Maltese island in South America. They are tasked to destroy Jotnunheim, a Nazi-era prison and laboratory that has political prisoners captive and conducted various kinds of experiment. While not a direct follow-up, fans of anti-hero team are definitely excited for this one.
Release date: August 6, 2021
Jordan Peele is waving his magic hand at yet another horror movie, not as its director but as its writer. Instead, Candyman will be directed by Nia DaCoasta and will serve as a direct sequel to 1992's Candyman. The supernatural slasher movie is also the fourth movie in the Candyman series.
Set a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were demolished, Anthony McCoy (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) moves into a luxurious loft in present-day gentrified Cabrini. After an encounter with an older resident, McCoy learns of the story behind the word-of-mouth supernatural killer, Candyman. Desperate to maintain his reputation as a visual artist in Chicago, Anthony takes inspiration from the legend as a base for his paintings which eventually affects his own sanity.
The plot of the film is reminiscent of Peele's former movies and viewers can expect a similar tone and vibe from the film.
Release date: August 24, 2021
See also: 15 Scariest Asian Horror Movies To Watch
12. Death on the Nile
If you can't get enough of cinematic universes, put your seatbelt on for this one. Director and actor Kenneth Branagh is considering the possibility of more movies based on Agatha Christie's novels, eventually creating its own cinematic universe. Death on the Nile is a follow-up of the 2017 movie Murder on the Orient Express—both movies are adapted from Christie's novels of the same name.
Bringing Christie's signature mystery novel to life, the movie follows Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot (Branagh) enjoying a glamourous honeymoon aboard a river steamer. The almost perfect escape soon turns into a search for the murderer of a young heiress. The title of the movie already hints at it but expect to see sweeping scenes of the Egyptian vistas in addition to a lot of betrayals.
Release date: September 17, 2021
Dune, the upcoming science fiction movie by Denis Villeneuve is one of the most anticipated releases this year. The first of a planned two-part adaptation from Frank Herbert's 1965 eponymous novel. The stellar line-up consists of Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Chang Chen, Jason Moma and more.
Set in the far future, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) sends his son Paul (Chalamet) and other trusted advisers to Arrakis, a desert planet home to find "the spice", a drug that extends human life. The drug also grants you superhuman levels of thoughts and to travel faster than the speed of life.
Described as an "epic story", the movie is set to feature breathtaking cinematography and visual effects of the fictional planet.
Release date: October 1, 2021
14. No Time to Die
James Bond is back with No Time to Die which also marks Daniel Craig's final portrayal as the British MI6 agent. The 25th instalment in the James Bond series will be directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and will follow Bond after leaving service. His friend and CIA officer, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), needs his help to look for a missing scientist, Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik). Upon learning that the scientist has been kidnapped, Bond will face a villain that will threaten the lives of many.
Considering that the movie is Craig's last outing as the famous spy, long-time fans of the series are definitely watch before another Bond actor closes the chapter.
Release date: October 8, 2021
15. Matrix 4
16. The Woman in the Window
Much to the surprise (and joy) of fans, Matrix 4 is happening. The movies in the Matrix franchise is one of the best science fiction movies of all time and was considered "ahead of its time" when it was released considering technology or visual effects then wasn't as advanced as it is now.
Lana Wachowski—who co-directed and co-wrote the previous three movies with her sister, Lily—is back in the director seat with Keanu Reeves reprising his iconic role as Neo. Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity), Jada Pinkett Smith (Niobe) and Daniel Bernhardt (Agent Johnson) will also be back.
The plot of the movie has been kept under wraps and with the third movie wrapping up the main plot, fans and critics alike are only coming up with theories as to what the story will be. The latest instalment in the franchise was originally scheduled in 2021 then 2022 and eventually settling for 2021.
Release date: December 22, 2021
This Netflix-exclusive movie stars Amy Adams as an agoraphobic psychologist, Dr Anna Fox, who befriends her neighbour. What started as a friendship soon descends into a thrilling case of disappearance which Fox believes involves foul play.
Those looking for something to take them off their seats and exercise their mystery-solving skills will be in for this psychological thriller. It's also based on the 2018 novel of the same name by A.J. Finn. Other members of the cast include Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Julianne Moore. The Woman in the Window was originally scheduled for release in 2019 but has been delayed to 2020 due to re-editing and then further delayed because of the pandemic.
Release date: 2021, exact date be confirmed