2018 was, simply put, an overall great year for movies. Ranging from blockbuster smashes to indie darlings, it was a year to remember. However, as time slips away and the final granules of sand on the planet-sized hourglass fall – we come closer and closer to 2019: a year that, just from the blockbusters alone, promises to be everything 2018 was and more.
Many of the following films may already be on your radar(everyone, their mum and their cat knows Avengers: Endgame will be released) but some of them – a Once Upon a Time in Hollywood or a Radegund perhaps – may have slipped underneath the eyes of the eagle. With so many movies coming out, it can be hard to keep track. So I’ve done my best to compile a list of films to look out for, ranging from the big blockbusters to the little movies that might. Whether you read the whole piece or not, I hope by the end you’re as excited for 2019 as I am.
Oh Snap: The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Let’s get this out of the way early: Avengers: Endgame will be released worldwide on the 24th April, concluding the saga 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War began. Once more directed by the Russo Brothers(Anthony & Joe), it will star every human being to ever walk this Earth(most prominently, however, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr and Chris Hemsworth) as they take the fight against Thanos(played once again by Josh Brolin) and try to fix the now infamous *snap*. Rumour has it that it will also be the last we ever see of Stan ‘The Man’ Lee in the movies. If that’s the case, I may actually cry in this one.
But before Endgame consumes the world, Captain Marvel – Marvel’s first female-led movie in their 11-year existence(let that sink in for a moment) – will be released on the 8th March and will follow the titular hero, played by Brie Larson, throughout the 1990s. Samuel L Jackson and Jude Law are set to co-star in the film, which will allegedly play a huge role in Endgame. Following Endgame, Tom Holland will reprise his role as the best Spider-Man in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home. Almost certainly due to Endgame spoilers, little to nothing is known about Far From Home other than Jake Gyllenhaal will debut the antagonistic Mysterio and Michael Keaton will make his return as the Vulture. If that cast doesn’t sell this movie, what will?
Year of the Mouse: Traditional Disney
But when Disney isn’t rolling in cash from the MCU – their ‘traditional’ library will likely suffice. 2013’s cultural giant Frozen will receive its first sequel in November 2019 – and although knowledge of the plot is sub-zero, one ‘cool’ song and one snowman are all it takes to get families to chill in theatres and get tunes too catchy for their own good to thaw my brain cells.
Also being released are the remakes of the animated classics Aladdin, The Lion King and Dumbo. Acclaimed casts and directors are attached to each(Guy Ritchie for Aladdin, The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau for The Lion King and Tim Burton for Dumbo), which should hopefully add some much-needed pizzaz to the so-far, so-average remake-renaissance. With any luck, a new direction will be taken: but no matter what, no-one will take the originals away from us.
Pixar – a subsidiary of Disney – is also aiming high in 2019, releasing the hotly debated Toy Story 4. The plot seems to be answering fears about whether a fourth film will disrupt the third film’s absolutely perfect ending, as the direction seems to be a prequel – set between Toy Story 2 and 3 – in which Buzz and Woody try to track down Bo Peep, Woody’s former love interest and in-joke extraordinaire. Pixar’s history with sequels has been mixed, although some would argue the Toy Story films only got better with each instalment: indicating hope is not all lost.
JJ is Back: Star Wars Episode IX
Lastly under Disney’s mainstream umbrella is Star Wars: No Controversy for Old Fans. Episode IX has, in fact, not even received a title yet but the odds are already stacked against it. After 2017’s The Last Jedi and 2018’s Solo received mixed responses from some fans, JJ Abram‘s return to complete the trilogy – filling in professional childhood killer Rian Johnson‘s shoes – is, one could say, ‘a new hope’ for this saga. It is set to be released on the 19th of December with only two things certain: it will make money, and it will cause a disturbance in the fan-community force.
Oh yeah, Marvel has other properties: X-Men
X-Men: Dark Phoenix – the latest instalment in the main X-Men franchise – will be released in June and will attempt to tell the Phoenix saga, after the famously hated X-Men: The Last Stand unsuccessfully portrayed this beloved story in 2006. Although long-time producer Simon Kinberg is signed onto direct, the film will have taken even less time than the original trilogy to execute an epic tale, which is, to many, way too soon. For many fans, Dark Phoenix should be to X-Men what Infinity War was to the MCU: delayed for so long with so much setup and hype before it that fans were practically frothing at the mouth for it to be released.
Then only two months after Phoenix hits theatres, the very mysterious New Mutants is expected to land – after two pushbacks on account of extensive reshoots, which doesn’t bode well for the film’s quality overall. Yet, the attached cast is full of rising stars and the previous X-Men genre films have ranged from good to great to Logan. Whether or not the horror focus will pay off remains a mystery, but it will be at a minimum different to what we’ve had from this genre before; although some comic-book movies are ghastly to watch for other reasons.
All it Takes is One Good Year: DC
So far, Marvel as a brand will be attached to five major releases in 2018 – but if you think DC is out for the count, don’t count on it. Being released on the 5th April, Shazam will hit theatres and make the big-screen debut of the eponymous hero: a 14-year-old boy who has the power to transform himself into an adult superhero, played by Zachary Levi, at will. The recent Aquaman was met with slight critical trepidation but commercial triumph, which beckons the question as to whether this new, much lighter and more colourful direction of DC films is what audiences are clamouring for: or to be more blunt, take the hint DC.
However, lighter and colourful are not set in stone, as the Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie awaiting release proves. Although plot details are sparse – many speculate it will serve as an ‘elseworld'(meaning not directly attached to the current DC Extended Universe) origin story for the titular Clown Prince of Crime. The budget is also surprisingly small for a mainstream movie(only 55 million compared to Aquaman‘s hefty 150-200 million dollar budget), which implies it is a risky project but, if it succeeds in the same vein Deadpool or Logan did, could yield more unique directions for this tiring genre to go.
A Family Picture: Non-Disney Animation
Shocking to many will be the realisation that Disney does not produce every theatrically released animated feature – and in fact, often the best ones are a result of other studios. Debuting the revolution against Major Mouse will be How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – the second sequel in the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy – in February. Director Dean DeBlois returns to helm the third entry in his acclaimed franchise: which is expected to conclude the trilogy with an emotionally resonant bang.
Also in February, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part will be released. Taking the reigns from Lord and Miller, director Mike Mitchell(of Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo fame)’s sequel to the 2014 smash-hit once again features a blockbuster cast, including Chris Pratt and Channing Tatum, and once again follows the loveable Emmet. This time, he will search for his now kidnapped love interest, Lucy(Elizabeth Banks), and meet Rex Dangervest(played by Pratt, whom also voices Emmet), an apparent spoof of Pratt‘s previous performances, including Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World.
Then in April, Laika’s latest feature since Kubo and the Two Strings, the curious Missing Link, will be released and will follow a big-foot spoof, titled ‘Mr Link’, as he explores the modern world. Finishing off the major releases on the 7th June, Illumination’s sequel to 2016’s The Secret Life of Pets will hit theatres – presumably to become another box office extravaganza. Kevin Hart‘s feisty bunny rabbit, Snowball, is expected to make a comeback while the lead character of Max will now be voiced by Patton Oswalt as opposed to Louis CK. I personally found the first film to be quite entertaining, but I also thought Despicable Me was a riot: then we got Minions. But so long as something called ‘restraint’ remains, Minions should remain a thing of the past.
Money: Other Blockbusters
Excluding the giants in this industry(Marvel, DC, Star Wars), 2019 is also looking up to be a year of sequel and remake heaven: even more so than years past. Probably the biggest(both literally and in hype) untraditional release will be Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the latest entry in WarnerBros’ ‘Monsterverse’. In it, the titular ‘king’ is set to fight against other creatures of legend, including Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah. Hype for the film skyrocketed after the most unequivocally awesome trailer in human history was released not too long ago, indicating that when it is released – 31st May – it will be ‘Godzilla’ sized at the box office. Let’s just pray the main man ‘zilla is actually in it this time.
Concerning the spookiness of the year, Annabelle 3 – the latest instalment in The Conjuring cinematic universe, and the latest since the critical disaster The Nun – is set to be released in July, with Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson reprising their roles from The Conjuring. Creepy dolls are a big no-no for me(as they should be for all sane people): though that may be why I will have to sit through a third one – I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
As far as more demanded horror films go, Stephen King‘s 2019 is rivalling his 2017. Towards September, the sequel to 2017’s delightful surprise It will be released – now focussing on the adult half of the story – with James McAvoy, Bill Hader and Bill Skarsgård(among others) starring, while the upcoming April remake of 1989’s Pet Sematary has already garnered some hype from its generally positively received trailer. Another, less discussed, King story titled In the Tall Grass is also set to be released in 2019, though plot details are scarce and excitement even scarcer.
Lack of genuine excitement also seems to be the case for other should-be smashes, including Parabellum – the conclusion to Keanu Reeve‘s much beloved John Wick trilogy – and Men In Black: International, Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson(who co-starred together in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok)’s spiritual-successor to Will Smith‘s 1997 hit. Men In Black looks like fun and with any luck will be, but after John Wick Chapter One and 2 each made my Top 10 of their respective year lists – it’s hard for me to say I’m not desperate to see Keanu Reeve ride a horse: aren’t you?
Equally as uncared for, the upcoming Fast and the Furious spin-off, Hobbs and Shaw – starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham against Idris Elba, and under the direction of Deadpool 2 and John Wick‘s David Leitch – has received little buzz. Such a pairing of esteemed stars should be able to pick money off trees, but few seem to care about this movie: which is a shame, as the comradery of Johnson and Statham was the highlight of 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, other than FAMILY!, of course.
Strange and Strangely Intriguing: Odd Mainstream Movies
On the list of movies I never expected to get a sequel, Happy Death Day is one of them. Not because it was a bad movie, but because it was an ‘odd’ movie. Its sequel – Happy Death Day 2U – will be released in October and is set to reprise the lovable chemistry of Jessica Roth and Israel Broussard. The trailer for this movie looks strangely captivating, and while a sequel seems unnecessary: Blumhouse’s history allows some faith to overcome logic.
Next, there is Artemis Fowl, a Disney adaptation – directed by Kenneth Branagh – of Eoin Colfer‘s beloved fantasy series. Though the trailer did little to garner hype, the source material is supposed to be quite strong – and although Disney’s recent track record with adapting family novels leaves a lot to be desired, it has the potential to become a cult classic if it embraces the alleged craziness. Also on this spectrum of thinking, Detective Pikachu is set to be something of an oddity. With Deadpool as the eponymous Pikachu and reasonably successful family film director Rob Letterman at the helm, this video-game adaptation is set to be released in May. And although it will not crack my top 10 most anticipated list, I am strangely excited to see what bonkers stuff lies ahead.
The Big Small Movies
The above term describes the films from acclaimed directors that are typically considered smaller in scale, but often feature grand casts and stories. First on that list is M. Night Shymalan‘s Glass, a sequel to Unbreakable and Split which will be released in January. After the shock ending of Split set a new bar for the Master of Twists(except – or perhaps especially – The Happening) to clear, the surprises in store here are sure to be game-changing. It will star Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson and James McAvoy – and is topping my list for movies I want now, now, now.
Next up is Quentin Tarantino‘s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a mystery crime thriller starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio(in his first acting role since 2015’s The Revenant) that will be centred around the Manson Murders and released in July. Tarantino‘s short but powerful filmography speaks for itself as far as what can be expected in both quality and content – and regardless of the film’s eventual quality, his work has never ceased to be interesting: although given the much more grounded setting, I wouldn’t hold onto your hopes for Pulp Fiction‘s Gimpy to return or for The Bride to execute everyone on a film set.
In March, Get Out director Jordan Peele will release his latest feature, Us. It will follow a family as they meet their doppelgangers, with horror and thriller being the staple genres. Peele‘s previous film, Get Out, was beloved across the entire spectrum of viewers and even received a best picture nomination at the 2018 Oscars. Just from the trailer, it looks to be a frightening experience: which means I both cannot wait and really, really can.
The Little Curiosities
Everyone always clamours after the latest Marvel film, the latest blockbuster and the latest explosion-filled cluster when the year starts: but many, especially committed film fans, tend to lean towards the underdog movies once the year comes to a close. No-one was yearning after Roma when 2018 began – yet here it is topping ‘Best Of’ lists and forefronting the Oscar race. Though I do not guarantee any of the following films will be even good, let alone Oscar-worthy, they all sound somewhat interesting.
First on that list in Richard Linklater‘s latest feature, Where’d you go, Bernadette? – scheduled for a March release. Though the missing person plot is quite overplayed by this point, Linklater‘s illustrious history and Cate Blanchett‘s revered acting abilities make it at least something of a curiosity.
Also being released will be Terrence Mallick‘s historical drama, Radegund – which will feature one of Michael Nyqvist‘s last roles – and Oscar-nominated Steven Knight‘s Serenity, which follows a ship captain(portrayed by Matthew McConaughey) after he is approached by his ex-wife to murder her new husband. In October, John Crowley(of Brooklyn fame) will also release The Goldfinch, an adaptation of Donna Tartt‘s novel in which a young boy survives a terrorist attack, must move in which his abusive father and later becomes involved in art forgeries.
2019 is shaping up to be a year to remember. From finishing not one but two epic journeys with Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars Episode IX to the intimate and smaller tales like The Goldfinch – the films we know for sure are coming out may be one of the best selections in years. This does not even count the indie hits we don’t know about yet or even some blockbusters, such as everyone’s most anticipated film: Sonic the Hedgehog. Regardless of what you like in film: I guarantee 2019 will have something for you. Let’s make it a good year and let’s watch some great movies!