Release Date: March 8, 2019
Director: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Clark Gregg, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Algenis Perez Soto, Rune Temte, and McKenna Grace
You were under the impression that super-people didn't make a public display of it until 2008-ish, when Tony Stark donned the Iron Man armor and fought his similarly armored usurper on the grounds of Stark International. Well, you're wrong. So says Nick Fury.
This is the story of Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers, an ace air force pilot who becomes a powerful cosmic hero -- a hero who is, apparently, the most powerful super-person in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It's the 1990s, and Carol returns from an unexplained absence by plummeting to Earth in a strange, alien costume. With unusual cosmic powers and severe memory loss, Carol attracts the attention of a younger, two-eyed Nick Fury -- he's just dipping his toes into the sci-fi madness exposed by an extravagantly top secret organization: SHIELD.
With agent Coulson in tow, the trio becomes involved in a massive battle between warring alien races -- the shape-shifting Skrulls and the blue-skinned Kree.
Will Captain Marvel spare Earth from untold devastation as our frail, blue planet suffers collateral damage inflicted by an eons-long cosmic war??
Hopefully, yes, considering she's joining the surviving heroes in Avengers: Endgame.
Release Date: April 5, 2019
Director: David F. Sandberg
Cast: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Ron Cephas Jones, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Grace Fulton
Zachary Levi plays the titular character, SHAZAM -- a superhuman composite of several Greek deities. However, SHAZAM isn't actually a well-muscled man in his mid-thirties blessed with the unlimited powers of a long-forgotten pantheon. Nope. Shazam only treads powerfully upon the Earth when teenager Billy Batson (Asher Angel) transforms into SHAZAM.
How does a silly, misunderstood teen invoke such a transformation? By saying the following -- and very obvious -- magic word: SHAZAM!
Granted the ability to transform into a superhuman champion from an immortal, subway-squatting wizard, Billy enjoys the many advantages brought about by his magical adult self. And yes, flying and super-strength are certainly nifty features, but buying beer seems infinitely more important.
Release Date: April 12, 2019
Director: Neil Marshall
Cast: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane
Firstly, no, Hellboy will NOT be performed by the eerily ubiquitous actor Ron Perlman. Stranger Thing's David Harbor -- the salty but stalwart sheriff -- has the honor for this soft reboot of the Gothic horror/comedy franchise. But don't worry -- Mike Mignola's shiny black vision captured in uncountable volumes of Hellboy comics (courtesy of Dark Horse) is still intact here. And so is the sardonic humor amidst a world regularly imperiled by sanity-ravaging Chthonic entities.
Secondly, no, Guillermo del Toro isn't directing. However, in lieu of directing a third Hellboy film, he created the story for said soft reboot -- a story loosely based on the Hellboy story arc Blood Queen.
Oh, and this is totally rated R.
Because the Blood Queen refuses to express anything less than her honest, organ-slathered, hyper-violent, and baby-eating self.
Release Date: April 26, 2019
Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
Cast: Like, 50% of the cast for Infinity War. ZING!
Good grief. Thanos won, the world is immersed in perpetual grayscale, and the remaining Avengers are feeling intimately responsible. Oh, and Tony Stark is floating in 'The Benatar' with an oppressively brooding Nebula.
Will Earth's mightiest heroes enact Dr. Strange's 'endgame' and undo the great undoing?
Will Black Panther and Spider-Man return in time for their respective sequels?
Will Captain Marvel slap Thanos with a SHIELD Helicarrier and hurl his lifeless body a few billion light-years shy of Alpha Centauri?
Will Thor slap Thanos with another SHIELD Helicarrier and feed his charred remains to Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder?
Will Avengers: Endgame introduce Thor's goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder?
We'll have to wait until the latter half of this two-part Avengers epic -- clocking in at a whopping three hours and demanding an intermission -- hits theaters, melts your eyes into white, runny eggs, and scars you worse than your parents' sloppy divorce when beloved heroes make the ultimate sacrifice for several billion dust piles.
Release Date: May 31, 2019
Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins
Crypto-zoology agency Monarch performed admirably amidst the rediscovery of Earth's indestructible leviathans (specifically, Godzilla).
But the events of 2014's aptly titled Godzilla film -- Godzilla -- only marked the beginning of a bonafide super-monster invasion. Because one monster usually begets another. Which begets another.
The third movie in WB's shared "MonsterVerse," Godzilla: King of the Monsters introduces classic Godzilla foils Mothra, Rodan, and the absolute worst of the worst, King Ghidorah.
Start digging your bomb shelters now, folks. And try to avoid San Francisco.
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Director: Simon Kinberg
Cast: Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, and Evan Peters
Oh, boy. The "creative" team behind X-Men Apocalypse is back to dazzle us again with another "promising" reimagining of a classic X-Men tale. In some circles, Dark Phoenix is THE tale -- the tale of an omni-powerful galactic force inhabiting, and eventually possessing, Jean Grey.
Yes, this godlike entity was initially a power harnessed for good, but it's true nature - it's instinctive drive to sterilize all life in order to grow something less disappointing -- became violently apparent.
It seems this X-film might actually incorporate the outer-space aspects of this historically lauded comic arc -- this is supported by the introduction of Lilandra (Jessica Chastain), an alien queen who directed her planetary military towards the destruction of the Phoenix entity.
This will probably (okay, most definitely) be the last X-Men film produced by Fox, so let's hope we can leave the theater without a popcorn bucket full of bile.
Release Date: July 5, 2019
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson, and Cobie Smulders
Jon Watts killed it in Homecoming, so he's back with writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers for the highly anticipated sequel.
Peter, vacationing in Europe for the summer with a host of high school friends, runs afoul of the villainous Elementals.
With Tony Stark's presence drastically reduced, the fledgling Spider-Man receives support from two superlative SHIELD operatives -- Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).
Oh, and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) is here to...help? Yes. Help. No, not torment Peter with hallucinations based on damning past failures. Help.
How long will this initially friendly and supportive superhero relationship last? Well, how well do you know Mysterio? Exactly.
Release Date: August 2, 2019
Director: Josh Boone
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Alice Braga, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga
Yep, it's really happening. The movie based on the hit X-Men comic spin-off, New Mutants, is finally making it to the big screen. And I'm obviously surprised by this, considering the film was supposed to hit theaters in April of 2018.
Why was it pushed back? Because, according to rumors, the movie wasn't scary enough.
So, director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is taking this X-Men-in-training story and turning it into a pseudo horror film. Yes, the young, genetically gifted (or cursed) characters find themselves confined to some sort of facility/hospital/asylum for mutants -- a facility that seems utterly haunted, or perhaps a hot bed of oppressive psychic treatment.
If the rumored reshoots still result in a less than stellar film, perhaps the equally rumored inclusion of James McAvoy's Professor X will incite a half-smile, or mitigate our enamel-shedding teeth grinding.
Release Date: October 4, 2019
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Zazie Beets, Robert De Niro, Marc Maron, Frances Conroy, Glenn Fleshler, Shea Whigham and Bill Camp
What happens when the suits at WB completely annihilate -- almost immediately after conception -- a cinematic universe through a succession of terrible creative decisions? Why, they rethink their hasty, cash-grab-focused strategies and abandon the clunky, abhorrent thing entirely.
And then they make new movies focusing less on previous (and rushed, and sloppy, and painfully formulaic) continuity -- standalone films with, potentially, the benefit of additional creative freedom. And why not? Aquaman and Wonder Woman proved they can sell tickets with little regard for world building.
Anyway, this new strategy paved the way for Joker -- a dark, violent film at home in the unvarnished wilderness of Scorsese's 1976 classic, Taxi Driver. Joaquin Phoenix plays the titular, clown-faced culprit -- a rumored second choice after Leonardo DiCaprio kindly declined.
With J-Phoe's fearless dives into the bottomless psyches of unseemly characters, you know this iteration will forego wind-up, chattering teeth and lethal, grimace-inducing toxins for straight-up, wholesale slaughter.
Release Date: December 20, 2019
Director: J.J. Abrams
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Richard, E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell
Luke is dead (or is he?).
The Resistance is safe, but severely distraught (and decimated).
The First Order is relentless, and Kylo Ren seeks to surpass his legendary grandfather by smiting the rebellion and coaxing Rey to appreciate the more gratifying Dark Side.
Well, if there is a Dark Side, considering Yoda incinerated Jedi history and passed off the opposing factions as convenient social constructs. Good grief.
Release Date: February 7, 2020
Director: Cathy Yan
Writer: Christina Hodson
Cast: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, and Rosie Perez
This was me 37-seconds ago: "Why, they rethink their hasty, cash-grab-focused strategies and abandon the clunky, abhorrent thing entirely."
I'd like to amend that if I could -- they "mostly" abandon the clunky, abhorrent thing. I mean, Aqua-Momoa and Wonder Woman survived that cinematic knee to the crotch -- aka Justice League -- while proving themselves successful, solo superhero properties.
Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn (from the 50% promising/50% atrocious Suicide Squad) was deemed passable by fans and critics alike, so she's back to usher in the next set of presumably bankable DC stars.
Birds of Prey: FEHQ is based on the DC Comic Birds of Prey -- a female-centric team-up book comprised of Batman-inspired vigilantes, including (but certainly not limited to) Batgirl, the Huntress, and Black Canary.
If audiences respond positively to these new characters, the studio will repay said audiences with copious spin-offs.
Release Date: March 13, 2020
Cast: Channing Tatum, Lizzy Caplan
I'm not a fan, and neither are the gods. Here's why:
Channing Tatum signed up to play the card-charging Cajun waaaaaay back in 2015. After Fox pushed back production until 2016, the first director, Rupert Wyatt, dropped out. He cited "personal reasons," but I don't buy it. Nope.
Director Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) signed on for an October 2016 release date, but the film was shelved and silently remitted to the charred beaches of production limbo.
Because the film won't die (unlike the character in Marvel's line of "Ultimate Universe" books), Gambit corralled director Gore Verbinksi (Pirates of the Caribbean, A Cure for Wellness) for a 2019 release. And then he dropped out two months before production commenced.
With the completion of yet another script, Fox is hoping to keep that 2020 release date. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us), Marvel reacquired the formerly sold X-folks, so this particular Gambit film might never grace the big screen.
Release Date: May 22, 2020
Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Eiza González, Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown
What, exactly, might transpire in a film titled Godzilla Vs. Kong?
Here's what won't transpire:
-- A friendly game of gin rummy.
-- The longest recorded hug in the history of cinema.
-- King Kong saying "I'm getting too old for this sh__" right before King Ghidorah explodes in slow motion.
So, yes, this is the fourth movie in WB's shared "MonsterVerse" -- the final film that determines, once and for all, the most powerful, most malevolent-but-kind-to-small-children creature to bludgeon San Francisco with a Boeing 747. Yup.
Release Date: June 5, 2020
Director: Patty Jenkins
Cast: Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Chris Pine, and Pedro Pascal
With 2017's Wonder Woman succeeding regardless of DC's initial, lackluster cinematic output, Wonder Woman 1984 seeks to surpass its predecessor with the return of key creative personnel (director Patty Jenkins and stars Gal Gadot and Chis Pine. Wait. What? Chris "I died in the last movie" Pine??).
Set during the 1980s, Diana finds herself in the blinking neon decade responsible for legwarmers. And feathered hair. And Atari. And Scratch-n'-Sniff stickers.
Will Diana dismantle the Soviets' nuclear stockpile and single-handily defuse the indelicate Cold War? Hmmm.
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Cast: Jared Leto, Adria Arjona, Matt Smith
Award-winning biochemist Michael Morbius has a rare, degenerative blood disorder.
Michael Morbius concocts an untested cure for said disorder.
Said untested cure succeeds, but it comes with unforeseen side-effects -- Michael gains the superhuman -- and supernatural -- abilities of a vampire.
Based on the classic Marvel character and dependable Spider-Man detractor, the Morbius film stars Jared "I was the Joker for seventeen minutes" Leto as the titular, long-toothed, occasionally heroic pseudo-vampire. Because Sony is going to milk its tiny corner of the "Spider-Verse" as often as it can, regardless of our violent, in-theater retching.
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cast: Jason Momoa, Rebecca Ferguson, Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Fergusen
Holy sh*t. If there's anyone who can bring the first book of Frank Herbert's dense, brilliantly conceived sci-fi series to life, it's Denis Villeneuve.
Director David Lynch did a fair job in 1984, but critics were dismissive, and general audiences don't usually appreciate thoughtful material, artistic filmmaking, and the original conception of religions existing specifically to manufacture intergalactic gods.
Denis Villeneuve's films boast magnificent cinematography, so we can't wait to see the vast, flickering and swirling oranges and browns of Arrakis, or the portentous star maps of the Spice-addled Space Guild.
Oh, and the Dune series takes world building to the extreme, with competing houses, the cut-throat competition existing between said houses, the eons-long history, the intergalactic economy, and the shrewd, shameless political maneuvering. Think Game of Thrones, but in space. And more intelligent.
Oh, and the story begins with one such house -- the honorable House Atreides. This particular house -- by order of the Emperor -- is directed to take over Spice mining operations on the desert planet Arrakis. The Spice, by the way, is the most important material EVER considering intergalactic travel absolutely depends on it. House Harkonnen, a less honorable house, isn't a fan of House Atreides' new appointment, and sets to rewrite this inconceivable wrong....in blood.
Oh, and the creation of Spice is dependent on massive, miles-long worms. Yup.