Aaron’s Most Anticipated Films of 2021 – A Month By Month Look

This should be interesting. I’ve assembled my annual list of Most Anticipated Films for 2021, but it comes with an interesting change. While it’s always fun to look ahead at the films set to arrive this year, this is coming after a year where many releases were delayed. As a result, films from last year will appear on this list as well, but I’m going to put a larger focus on films I didn’t spotlight in last year’s list. With that in mind, I’m also well aware some films aren’t even on my radar yet, but I’m still plenty happy at seeing all of the current potential. Regardless, this is a month by month look at what movies I am looking forward to seeing this year (links for trailers where available). Feel free to name the films you are all looking forward to in the comments.

First, let’s start with a recap of my 2020 picks:

January – Bad Boys For LifeSurprisingly good, and not just a nostalgia trip.

February – The Invisible ManA terrific reimagining.

March – MulanMore of a vanilla Disney remake than I hoped.

April – No Time to Die – Delayed.

May – F9: The Fast Saga – Delayed.

June – Candyman – Delayed.

July – TenetNot prestige Nolan, just a fun, time-bending action flick.

August – Malignant – Delayed.

September – Last Night in Soho – Delayed.

October – Venom: Let There Be Carnage – Delayed.

November – Godzilla vs. Kong – Delayed.

December – Dune – Delayed.



The Little Things (1/29)

As expected, January starts off a little rocky to some degree, as it’s more a time for everyone to see the already released award contenders (along with a few suddenly spreading wider). That said, we have The Little Things, 2021’s first HBO Max/theatrical simultaneous release. “Denzel Washington” plays a cop isn’t too much of a stretch, but Denzel makes everything better, so we’ll see what he can do with Rami Malek and Jared Leto in this neo-noir thriller. Director John Lee Hancock has an odd track record, so here’s hoping for the best. Outside of that, beyond One Night in Miami expanding on Prime Video, there’s The Marksman, with Liam Neeson defending a young Mexican boy from cartel assassins on the border. Neeson is doing his thing in January, so no real stakes to worry about beyond being watchable. Netflix also has The White Tiger and Outside the Wire to look forward to – one is a gritty Indian crime drama, and the other features Anthony Mackie as a parkour cyborg. Fun!

Others: The Marksman, MLK/FBI, The Night, Passing, One Night In Miami, Our Friend, Outside the Wire, Some Kind of Heaven, The White Tiger



Judas and the Black Messiah (2/12)

Fortunately, things take a big jump in February, with several notable expansions, including Nomadland and Minari. There’s also another buzzy release – Judas and the Black Messiah. Another HBO Max/theatrical split, I’ve been looking forward to finally seeing a film covering Fred Hampton’s story, even with the reliance on another perspective (no spoilers for history, but it’s a good move). It doesn’t hurt that WB put together a fantastic trailer to go along with a film starring Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, so I’m hoping for greatness here. A couple of other notables – Cherry, Tom Holland stars in the first Russo brothers film, post-Avengers: Endgame; Nobody finds Bob Odenkirk, of all people, in John Wick mode, and Lee Daniels is back with The United States vs. Billie Holiday, and it will ideally be stronger than some of his other previous efforts.

Others: Cherry, The Father, French Exit, Land, The Killing of Two Lovers, Malcolm & Marie, The Mauritanian, Minari, Nobody, Nomadland, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, Tom & Jerry, The United States vs. Billie Holiday



Coming 2 America (3/5)

There are some great options in March, but I’m still happy to pick a film that will ideally just make me laugh and smile. Over 20 years later, the prince has returned, and I’m ready for Eddie Murphy and the whole gang to deliver something fun with Coming 2 America. Also coming in March is The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel film to The Sopranos, starring the late James Gandolfini’s son. Disney has Raya and the Last Dragon, another Disney+/theatrical split release. Delayed comic book movies Morbius and The King’s Man are arriving during this month as well, along with Doug Liman’s Chaos Walking, a film shot before stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley made sequels to their own franchise films. Oh, and Nicolas Cage has a wild-sounding movie where he recreates his previous roles.

Others: Chaos Walking, The King’s Man, The Many Saints of Newark, Morbius, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent



Reminiscence (4/16)

Given that I wrote about Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho and the James Bond film, No Time to Die, last year, I’m opting to pick Reminiscence, some kind of sci-fi noir from Lisa Joy, the co-showrunner of HBO’s Westworld (with her husband, Jonathan Nolan). The film features Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson in a plot involving future tech that lets people relive memories, which leads to romance and violent crimes. There’s also the James Wan-produced Mortal Kombat…we’ll see. Plus, A Quiet Place Part II and Peter Rabbit 2 finally get a chance to be seen, Martin Campbell and Michael Keaton are back with The Asset, Tom Hanks and a robot are among the last on earth in BIOS, and Bob’s Burgers gets a movie!

Others: The Asset, BIOS, Bob’s Burgers: The Movie, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Fatherhood, Last Night in Soho, Mortal Kombat, No Time to Die, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, A Quiet Place Part II



Spiral: From The Book of Saw (5/21)

May is full of movies that were supposed to hit last year, most notably for me, Godzilla vs. Kong, but I’ve made my anticipation for that MonsterVerse entry quite clear. So, I’m putting attention on a franchise I have a weird obsession with, despite not considering many of the films to be all that good (Saw VI is the closest to that thumbs up for me). With Spiral, a re-launch of the Saw series, star Chris Rock apparently had a pitch good enough to bring back Darren Lynn Bousman (director of 2-4), and attract Samuel L. Jackson for good measure as well. I have no idea where this is going, but the trailer looks pretty solid, and I can only hope Rock’s idea incorporates some neat themes to go along with the grizzly horror the franchise is known for (and the convoluted storytelling, of course). The rest of the month has some big blockbusters, including Marvel’s return with Black Widow, and the latest Fast & Furious, Free Guy, and Antoine Fuqua’s sci-fi film, Infinite, starring Mark Wahlberg.

Others: Black Widow, Cruella, F9: The Fast Saga, Free Guy, Godzilla vs. Kong, Infinite



In The Heights (6/18)

It may have been delayed a year, but In The Heights seems like the musical waiting to break out huge, as far as its particular demographic appeal, along with just looking like a whole lot of joy brought to life via colorful set pieces composed of song and dance. Director Jon M. Chu is coming off Crazy Rich Asians (along with some of the enjoyable Step Up films) to bring Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first major stage musical to life and seems to have all he needs to do a great job. The rest of the month offers The Conjuring 3 and another Ghostbusters, for everyone in need of a ghost story, along with Venom: Let There be Carnage, which hopefully doubles down on what worked best in the first film – really ridiculous scenes involving Tom Hardy’s gonzo performance.

Others: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Luca, Samaritan, Venom: Let There Be Carnage



The Green Knight (7/30)

It would be easy to pick some of these huge franchise films like Marvel’s Shang-Chi, Top Gun: Maverick, or Space Jam: A New Legacy (okay, that one wasn’t hard to pass up, even if I’m hoping for the best). However, David Lowery dropped a trailer for The Green Knight last year, featuring Dev Patel as Sir Gawain from Arthurian legend, and it looks pretty great. An A24-produced medieval fantasy just looks like something right up my alley, and it’s one I’m happy to highlight most here. That said, Shyamalan doing something original again with Old is certainly intriguing. The Tomorrow War, with Chris Pratt, among others, has a fairly wacky premise (soldiers from the past are developed to fight aliens), and hopefully, Jungle Cruise is something close to the spirit of The Mummy as far as fun, old fashioned adventure stories done big.

Others: Jungle Cruise, Old, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Tomorrow War, Top Gun: Maverick, Uncharted



The Suicide Squad (8/06)

Given how Suicide Squad is easily the worst thing to come out of the DC Cinematic Universe over the past several years, I’m more than willing to let James Gunn do whatever he needs to raise the bar entirely for what could come from a proper take on this comic book concept. Based on what little has been seen, this thing could be a riot, with a tone that completely fits and an ensemble ready to shine (and many ready to perish). That said, August has some other fun coming. I wrote about Candyman last year, but it remains a highly anticipated film for me. Peter Jackson looks to be continuing to amaze with his restoration work on old footage for his new Beatles documentary. The Aretha Franklin biopic also has potential, and I suppose there’s fun to be had with sequels to Don’t Breathe and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.

Others: The Beatles: Get Back, Candyman, Deep Water, Don’t Breathe 2, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Respect



Jackass 4 (9/03)

There’s sure to be more options as the Fall approaches, but for now, I will say I am quite curious about Jackass 4. For one thing, as ridiculous, painful, and, at times, dumb as these Jackass films can be, they can also be pretty creative. Jackass 3D was not only one of the best 3D movies of the 2010s, it had some inspired set pieces working as a weird form of performance art. Now that these guys are ten years older (and reports of injuries are already out there), I’m curious how this will play into their style of craziness this time around. Also out in September, a buddy action-comedy with Woody Harrelson and Kevin Hart, and Kenneth Branagh returns as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile.

Others:  Death on the Nile, The Man from Toronto



Halloween Kills (10/15)

Again, Dune was previously written about last year, and the trailer for the film gives me plenty of confidence (even if I still feel the film has an iffy chance of being a huge hit). That said, the film I’m choosing to highlight here is Halloween Kills, the sequel to 2018’s successful 40-year follow-up to the original John Carpenter classic. Given that all the same people are involved, along with some new additions, I’m very curious about what’s next for my favorite slasher franchise. There’s certainly enough goodwill to hold onto a level of confidence. Also out is Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, a historical drama starring and co-written by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Here’s hoping the 83-year-old Scott can still put out something closer to Kingdom of Heaven over 1492. Oh, and there’s a G.I. JOE spin-off about Snake Eyes, starring Henry Golding. Do with that what you will.

Others: Dune, The Last Duel, Snake Eyes



Eternals (11/05)

It almost feels like cheating to put a Mission: Impossible film here because I can just assume a high level of quality and call it a day. I’m not sure what to expect from a Marvel film directed by Chloe Zhao, in a new phase of the MCU where a lot more trust is being put into the filmmakers. While I’m not familiar with the comics, the stacked cast (Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, and Barry Keoghan) and potential for absolute weirdness could make for something that breaks from the mold in a good way. Otherwise, Disney has Encanto, from the team behind Zootopia, Will Smith is back in drama mode with King Richard, and Ridley Scott is supposedly delivering his second film in two months with Gucci.

Others: Elvis, Encanto, Gucci, King Richard, Mission: Impossible 7



The Matrix 4 (12/22)

Tempting as it is to write about how much I look forward to Steven Spielberg finally delivering the musical he’s always wanted to make with his upcoming remake of West Side Story, I do like taking any opportunity to praise The Matrix films. I’m not just talking the first; I’m talking The Matrix trilogy (featuring the best entry – The Matrix: Reloaded). The idea of a fourth Matrix movie has me wondering what could be going on here, and with that in mind, I always look forward to what a Wachowski can deliver, even if this time around, it’s just Lana working on the film this time. At the very least, it’s sure to be a visual treat. There’s also the third Spider-Man movie from the MCU, which looks to be loaded with cast members from previous Spider-Man movies, so here’s to a live-action Spider-Verse, I suppose. And finally, Damien Chazelle is back with some sort of period Hollywood film known as Babylon, starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. The guy has made nothing but great movies so far, so I’m ready to hear him out again.

Others: Babylon, The Nightingale, Spider-Man Sequel, West Side Story


Dates Not Yet Set:

As always, there are plenty of other releases that have not even been scheduled for release yet, despite being set for a 2021 release date. So, I’m happy to shout out to some titles I am keeping in mind. This includes new films Guillermo del Toro, Taika Waititi, Leos Carax, Ana Lily Amirpour, Wes Anderson, Jane Campion, Steven Soderbergh, Paul Verhoeven, and more.

Annette, Antlers, The Bad Guys, Benedetta, Blazing Samurai, The Card Counter, Dark Harvest, Don’t Look Up, The Harder They Fall, False Positive, The French Dispatch, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, Next Goal Wins, Nightmare Alley, No Sudden Move, The Northman, The Power of the Dog, Soggybottom, Stillwater, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Triangle of Sadness, Voyagers, Without Remorse


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

2 Responses to “Aaron’s Most Anticipated Films of 2021 – A Month By Month Look”

  1. Brian White

    I meant to comment here yesterday, but the day slipped by. This is an amazing post. I love these annual posts the most as you are so in tune with everything movie-wise the lay people including myself are not and there’s just so much goodness above that I don’t even know where to start! From The Little Things to the new Jackass and more you opened my eyes to everything I need to be on the lookout for month by month pending no more covid release delays. This is a treasure trove of wealth here and the folks who have been patiently waiting some big Hollywood movies survey won’t be disappointed with this list (coupled with last years and the movies that got delayed). Thank you!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Thanks, Brian! It’s a fun list to put together, as I have to research it all, giving me a much better idea of what to expect too.