17 Movies We're Looking Forward To in 2014

With nine movies coming out in wide release in 2014 that are based directly on comic book concepts [...]

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With nine movies coming out in wide release in 2014 that are based directly on comic book concepts and characters, it's perhaps not surprising that we can't limit our enthusiasm to just five, or even ten, movies that will be hitting this year. After all, you can't really expect us not to watch anything else in the coming year, especially with a lot of cool genre stuff and a lot of promising material from familiar names and faces hitting theaters. We made a list of the ones we're most eager to see, and a brief explanation of why for each. If you don't see your favorite movie on the list, don't take it as a slight. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, for instance, was left off only because those "part one of the finale" movies--from Harry Potter to Twilight--tend to be a bit on the underwhelming side.

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I, FrankensteinCheck out our interview with creator and star Kevin Grevioux here. Aaron Eckhardt is usually enough to sell me on a movie, but this one just seems like a lot of fun. The graphic novel has undergone some permutations since 2009 and will be released ahead of the movie (which comes out next month) but not by much, so many readers will go into the movie cold, knowing not much more than who's in it and the basic sense for plot that the trailers give. "A lot of people, once I broke into the comic book industry, wrongly assumed that I was a Hollywood guy coming in to do comics and I was like, 'No, no, no, no.' I was a comic book guy first. I've been collecting since I was 12. I have 15,000 issues of comics at home, so I'm a fan, a big geek from way back," explained the Underworld creator. "So I kind of resented people calling me a Hollywood guy but I also understood where they were coming from. Being a part of the comic book industry and the film community is really a dream come true and I think one of the important things you can do with your life is to make your avocation your vocation."

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RoboCop This is one of a few movies on the list that is fascinating for its potential to be an absolute disaster. The Paul Verhoeven original was clever enough to both feature some sociopolitical commentary and launch a franchise, so it's a high bar for the new filmmakers to make. Everyone involved, from the director and star to the villains and supporting cast are terrific--so there's some hope here that it could be done--but if the movie fails, it seems likely to completely face plant and embarrass itself on a Lone Ranger/Oldboy scale.

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300: Rise of an Empire This is a bit of an odd one; the original 300 gave Zack Snyder an opportunity to really hone his visual style (after having worked on Dawn of the Dead from a James Gunn script, which basically looked like every other movie on the screens that year), based on the striking visuals of the Frank Miller-drawn comic. This time around, there's no Zack Snyder (he's busy making the Man of Steel movies) and no Frank Miller, either, to an extent; the planned graphic novel that was meant to tie into this book and supposedly served as a kind of spirit animal throughout production was officially put on hold not long ago. So, expectations are really low for this film--but it still seems to have been done with some flair and the cast is great. It would be nice to see them surprise everybody and not turn into RED 2. Grand Piano This one might seem a bit out of place on this list. Check out the trailer and then come back to see why it's here...

Alright, so besides Frodo Baggins, we've also got John Cusack, who is awesome, even if he's never really done any genre stuff outside of Stephen King (he's got another of those in the works, too, in the form of Cell). Also starring in the film but not seen in the trailer? Alex Winter, better known to fans as Bill S. Preston, Esquire. And any movie that can draw Bill out of retirement--especially for a concert--has us doing our Bill & Ted air guitar.

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Veronica Mars The packed house at Comic Con and the millions of dollars raised from fans who haven't seen new content from this crew in nearly a decade would be enough to get us excited--even if this writer wasn't one of the Kickstarter backers who gets to own a digital copy of the movie on opening weekend. Muppets Most Wanted Because it's The Muppets. 'Nuff said.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier While it had the lowest box office take since The Incredible Hulk, Captain America: The First Avenger was my favorite Marvel Phase One film. The sequel, meanwhile, looks sleeker, more focused and is based on a story that I loved when it hit the stands a few years back.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Setting the stage for a major Marvel Cinematic Universe-style Spider-Man megaverse, the second film in this franchise cruised right on past "make or break" and simply has to work in order for Sony to have any future with the franchise. They've dedicated so much time and resources to four more movies with a total budget that will likely clock in at over $500 million, that if they don't make this one work, their entire business plan for the next few years will need re-examination. Godzilla This is your first chance to get a glimpse of the chemistry between Avengers: Age of Ultron's Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Oh, and also there's Godzilla. The movie looks pretty awesome. X-Men: Days of Future Past An adaptation of one of the best-selling and most beloved X-Men stories of all time, Days of Future Past makes sure that the original X-Men cast go out with a bang; a time-traveling storyline sees them "team up" with their future selves, and introduces a whole battery of new characters, including some that we wonder about using in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse or X-Force movies.

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Guardians of the Galaxy This is the ultimate gamble for Marvel, and one more and more fans are sure will pay off. The question just becomes whether it will go the way of John Carter--a fan-pleaser that failed to find an audience outside of the fairly restricted boundaries of that fandom--or something more. The other option is Iron Man, of course; the character was effectively a non-entity to non-comic book fans when he got his first feature film, and years later, he's the most reconizable character the studio has onscreen.

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(Teenage Mutant?) Ninja Turtles This one is the one that we're looking forward to, primarily for the train-wreck value of it all. Most fans are expecting this to be a disappointment at best and an embarrassment for the long-running franchise at worst. But we can't look away...

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For It's been nearly a decade since Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez made an R-rated crime noir based on a series of black-and-white comic books that most of the theatrical audience had never heard of--and somehow managed to churn out a fan-favorite, critically-acclaimed movie that made enough money a sequel was pretty much in the works immediately. What's that? In the works immediately? Well, it did take a back seat to roughly forty other projects that Rodriguez was writing, producing and directing over the last few years. And then it got delayed once it was in production. But the cast is phenomenal, the first one was great and at least it's not like they're relying on Miller to hit an art deadline. Interstellar Christopher Nolan's first post-Dark Knight movie is a science-fiction film that has a bizarrely great trailer. We want to see what this is all about; it has the feeling of Inception, and if it's half as good as that, it will be twice as good as most of the rest of the movies in theaters this year.

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Big Hero 6 The first animated collaboration between Marvel and Disney was a surprising choice--but it looks awesome so far, and who doesn't want to see more animation from the Mouse House of Ideas?! The Hobbit: There and Back Again It's finally coming to an end! More than a decade after he made The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, filmmaker Peter Jackson will wrap his six-part Middle Earth epic...and nobody is quite sure where he'll go from here, but everybody I know wants to be there on opening night to see Bilbo, Gandalf and company finally take their last curtain call.

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Clerks III Smith's track record over the last decade or so is spotty--he'll admit as much himself--but Clerks II was a return to form for the filmmaker, who managed to combine heart with toilet humor and capture something really interesting about some characters that fans were deeply invested in. Even if I hadn't loved Red State (which I did), I'd be lining up for this one.