First-Look Photos: Who Looks the Best?

As some of the most-anticipated films of 2016 move closer and closer with every passing day, there's always bound to be a dozen or so photos that circle the Internet, building hype with every pair of eyes that sees them. Revealing a character, a location, or even a plot detail at times, these photos (whether they're officially released or leaked) offer fans just a taste of what amazing excitement is in store for them next year. From DC's growing cinematic universe with films like Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman to the plentiful platter of Marvel's many studios, we get our first glimpse at a few of the coolest and strangest comic characters:

The Merc With a Mouth - New and Improved:

One of the most notable, and surprisingly amazing, of the released first-looks was the revamped look of the famous comic mercenary, Deadpool. Known to Marvel Comic fans as the "Merc with a Mouth", Deadpool is easily one of the biggest fan favorites in the world of comic-book characters. Returning from the ashes of the trainwreck known as X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds finally dons his signature red-and-black mask and picks up the swords once more. In an attempt to retool the character into his much-needed glory of violence and vulgar, next February's deadly debut will usher in another one of Marvel's most beloved loudmouths. While the first released photo was a bit more comedic (with a costumed Reynolds posing in a particularly humorous position), this one truly gets me hyped for this comic-faithful take on this awesome character.

A Squad Like No Other:

Released early this month, following another huge reveal from DC Comics, our first look at the motley crew known as the "Suicide Squad" was quite an interesting one. Rounding up a gang of villainous thugs and mercenaries from Will Smith's sharpshooting Deadshot to Margot Robbie's odd-looking Harley Quinn, the Suicide Squad bands together this strange bunch to pull off the most dangerous government missions, all for the chance at staying out of prison. Jumbled with characters from the headlines of DC Comics to the deepest trenches of the unknown, next year's Suicide Squad takes a mighty leap into the lore, similar to what Marvel brought us with Guardians of the Galaxy. With a group as intriguing and spooky as this, Suicide Squad may be able to wrangle up enough courage to combat the Avengers films (but probably not).  

Fresh-Faced Mutants:

With one of 2016's biggest films, X-Men: Apocalypse, taking us back into the 1980s, it was almost certain that we'd begin to see images of famous characters, old and new, played by even younger actors. The first to be revealed was a simple set photo, which showed newcomers to the franchise, Sophie Turner (right) and Lana Condor (left) as young telepath Jean Grey and young mutant Jubilee. With Jean Grey not being my go-to X-Men character (after being not-so-vibrant in the previous films) and Jubilee being a new face to me, I was initially skeptical of the look of Apocalypse. Even with a newly-released look at a young Nightcrawler (played by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes actor Kodi Smit-McPhee), as well as some intriguing casting choices (Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse? Yes, please!), the newest X-Men film still has me on the fence, as it churns out new stories and actors every second with no set plotline. Direly waiting to see James McAvoy return as a bald Xavier, as well as see more of Evan Peters' slick Quicksilver, Apocalypse is promising a lot, but giving us little. While it still may be a year away, I may need some more convincing on how this film will turn out. 

Comic-Book Villains - There And Back Again:

With Marvel tangled up with X-Men and Captain America: Civil War, DC is also in a juggling act of characters and storylines, as it struggles to construct its own cinematic universe. Kicking off this new universe with 2013's brooding Superman reboot Man of Steel, DC gave us just a preview of their dark style of storytelling. Revealing now a multitude of dark characters, from another gloomy Batman to a tattoo-covered Joker, DC hopes to combat Marvel's light-hearted hijinks and fun with cut-throat malice. While all of Marvel isn't completely without darkness, with Age of Ultron taking risks and the new Fantastic Four film basking in the shadows of a revamped origin tale, DC looks to be going down a whole new road than before. This is most notable in their new villains. With new looks at Jared Leto (left) as the creepiest Joker ever and Jesse Eisenberg (right) as a menacingly calculated Lex Luthor, DC is veering away from their past attempts at playing off these characters. While we know little on how the two newcomers will act in their menacing roles, just by looking at them they appear to a whole new breed in DC's live-action past. If Leto manages to somehow out-laugh the fan-favorite Heath Ledger Joker from The Dark Knight, and Eisenberg manages to out-bald Kevin Spacey's lacking Lex Luthor from Superman Returns (which may be easier that we expected), we may be seeing this duo together on the big screen soon enough. For now, we can expect to see our first of Eisenberg's Lex Luthor in March's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Leto's Joker in August's Suicide Squad.  

War Is Coming, and It'll Be Crowded:

Speeding towards an early May 2016 release, Captain America: Civil War plans to bring war, as well as a massive amount of cameos. With fellow Avengers Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Black Widow passing through, as well as appearances by War Machine, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and the Winter Soldier, the highly-anticipated fight between Chris Evans' Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man just got a hell-of-a-lot bigger. Also joining the mix is a battle-ready Sam Wilson aka Falcon (played once more by Anthony Mackie), seen below. With new digs and a stern look, Wilson will most likely be siding with Cap in this battle, with the intent of bringing all his winged might down onto Stark's doorstep. But before they take on Stark and his team, Falcon and Cap may have to go toe-to-toe with Crossbones (below), who seeks revenge from his last tussle with the costumed heroes. Brock Rumlow (played by Frank Grillo) returns to the fight, this time with his own battle armor, as he joins in this heated battle of strict government regulations and feuding morals between Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Other Comic Convicts:

Veering away from the world of superheroes for our last first-look, we enter the world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with a look at Arrow's Stephen Amell as the street vigilante and aid to the turtles, Casey Jones. Ditching the iconic long hair and biker gloves (well at least in this photo), this version of Jones pulls some elements from the original character, keeping the hockey attire at least. Not being my first choice for Jones, Amell is without a doubt a great actor, just not who I pictured for the role. Nevertheless, fans of the Turtle lore will surely enjoy the debut of the character in the new sequel of the rebooted franchise. Promising to debut other characters as well, like thug duo Bebop and Rocksteady, as well as Dr. Baxter Stockman, this Turtle sequel may be able to revive my interest in the lore, after the reboot nearly scared me back into my shell (Thanks for that, Micheal Bay and Megan Fox). 

Is waiting around for 2016 getting too boring for you? Well, why don't you flip on your TV and enjoy some new shows this Fall? Stay tuned this week for my preview of the hottest new shows premiering this Fall, from famous films rebooted into shows to a new superhero show around every corner! From the good to the bad to the ugly and beyond, check out what you should watch this Fall.

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