So long 2018, it’s been fun but now it’s time to ring in the new year! Last year was a pretty big year for the film industry. A lot of firsts from Black Panther getting an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture to Crazy Rich Asians and The Searching making big leaps in terms of Asian representation in cinema. Honestly, there were some fantastic films we saw last year that you should definitely check out. But alas 2019 is upon us and with it brings new beginnings and exciting sequels for some of our most beloved properties. Last year felt like it was marked by ingenuity and bold storytelling and it looks like 2019 is set to keep that spirit going. So grab your calendars as we’re counting down our ten most anticipated films this year!
1. Glass (January)
Before 2016’s Split, if I told anyone that M.Night Shyamalan was planning on making his own comic-book cinematic universe with the characters of Unbreakable, I’d be laughed out of the room. Heck, if a future version of myself told me that, I’d think he was pulling my leg. However, this is no joke and it looks freaking awesome! Shyamalan’s film is shaping up to be one hell of a brain teaser with the villain of Unbreakable, a brittle-boned wheelchair-bound Mr Glass teaming up with Split’s Kevin Wendell. Wendell is a man diagnosed with having 23 distinct personalities with one them being a psychopathic, nigh-superhuman state known as the Beast. The only one strong enough the withstand the power of Glass’ intellect and Wendell’s insanity is David Dunn, a man with super-strength and the ability to see into people’s criminal past by touching them.
We’ve been waiting for this since Bruce Willis’ David Dunn was revealed at the end of Split and at long last it’s finally here. Regardless of what you think of Shyamalan’s films, there’s no denying the man’s dynamic and quirky style of storytelling. Not to mention, his pension for having jaw-dropping (and times hair-tearing) twists in them. So to have him pull the rug from under us in 2016 with a psychological thriller revealing itself to be a supervillain origin story was nuts. What will the man do next? Will the kid who sees dead people pop in this one too? I don’t know man but rest assured, we’re in for a shock come 18th January.
2. Shazam! (April)
Keeping up with the momentum of Aquaman, 2019 will have us see the divinely powered superhero Shazam hitting the big screens. It looks like DC and Warner Bros. are trying their very best to distance themselves from their cynical and tumultuous past. There’s no tragic Zod-murder or Marthas around here, just kids being kids…if one of them was imbued with the powers of the gods. Based on the trailer we got in Comic-Con 2018, the film is looking to be a whole lot of fun with Chuck actor Zachary Levi taking the lead as Shazam, the alter ego to a kid named Billy Batson played by Asher Angel. Billy can only use his superhuman abilities however when he shouts out the magical word “SHAZAM”.
Another reason to be excited beyond the more lighthearted and comical tone of the film would be the potential implications of the character. The character of Shazam mostly deals with supernatural and magical threats that at times are beyond the expertise of the regular Justice League. His appearance in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) could mean that we’re finally gonna see the weirder and mystical side of DC. We could get a proper live-action cinematic depiction of Justice League Dark. They are an alternate team of magical beings like John Constantine, Zatanna and Swamp Thing tasked with protecting earth from other more metaphysical threats. Shazam! will be flying into theatres early April this year.
3. Hellboy (April)
Though fans have wanted a sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army since 2008, this is the closest thing we’ll get to that, unfortunately. Fortunately, however, the trailer to Hellboy looks freaking rad! I don’t care if you think Hellboy looks like he’s had a ton of botox injections to his face or that this couldn’t hold a candle to the original two films by Del Toro. Newsflash, it’s not trying to, so get over it. There’s plenty of things to get excited about here. The film is set to adapt elements from one of Hellboy’s most epic comic book arc “The Wild Hunt”. It sees Hellboy and the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) going after Nimue, an ancient witch with connections to that of King Arthur and Merlin. She is set to be the villain for Hellboy, going by the name the Queen of Blood. At some point, it is even revealed that Hellboy himself is an heir to King Arthur with the trailer showing him wielding a crown and sword of fire. Tell me that isn’t pure badassery.
Not sold yet? Well, how about the fact that the film is going be Rated-R? That’s right, we’re gonna see Hellboy in all his bloody and foul-mouthed glory. Now, I know for many fans, there’s no replacing Ron Perlman in this regard but we’ll at least know that David Harbour’s Hellboy will at least have more of an edge to him and the film won’t be pulling punches. Maybe I’m right and maybe I’m wrong. I guess we’ll have to find out this April.
4. Avengers: Endgame (May)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you probably know about Infinity War’s infamous ending. Thanos won and now half the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has disintegrated into a puff of ash. The universe is in chaos and the Mad Titan has finally made his wish a reality. Since April, the internet has lost their collective minds trying to figure out how the heroes can come back from this. How does one take down a god? And when I say god, I don’t mean a superpowered being like Thor or the Silver Surfer. By all means, Thanos is pretty much the big G-O-D in the MCU (barring The-One-Above-All, if he’s even in MCU canon). Thanos wielding the Infinity Gauntlet would make him a universal threat, so I’m hoping we get to see some truly powerful cosmic beings like Eternity and Galactus.
Personally, I’ve never been a big MCU fan but I’ve gotta admit that I can’t wait to see how the Avengers are going to defeat Thanos. It’s Kobayashi Maru for them, the impossible task. More importantly, even if they stop him, what does this mean for the fate of the MCU. Will Marvel use this as an opportunity to kill off some key players and bring in some fresh blood? In any case, Endgame is exactly what its name implies, it is the end of an era and like a star going supernova or Iron Man’s tank missile, it’s going out with a bang. Endgame is locked to release on early May.
5. John Wick 3: Parabellum (May)
Everybody’s favourite dog-avenging, boogie man killing hitman is back! We saw at the end of John Wick: Chapter 2, our man become an open contract for the members of an assassin syndicate known as The Continental. He has been excommunicated and marked for dead after breaking their most sacred law: killing someone on the neutral ground. There’s nowhere he can run and nowhere he can hide. John has to fight his way to safety and that’s precisely what we’ll be seeing John Wick 3: Parabellum. The film sees him shoot, stab and fight his way out of New York City with nothing but his wits and weapons. This is going to be his greatest challenge yet.
The first John Wick was a breakout hit, pivoting from its absurd canine-companion premise to bring us a shining example of gun-fu done right! Everything from the camerawork to the creative use of firearms for intimate melees to fluid shootouts. I’m sure John Woo was somewhere out there jacking off to it. John Wick: Chapter 2 only upped the ante with more action and more assassin antics. We expect no less from Parabellum, in fact, we expect to at least see it raise the bar in the action department. The world of John Wick itself is pretty fascinating with its society of killers and a shadowy council, the High Table overseeing hits all over the world. Also, we’re just happy to see Keanu getting some real work after The Matrix: Revolution. Be sure to catch John Wick 3 come May this year.
6. Toy Story 4 (June)
Pixar seems to be giving the people what they want, first a sequel to The Incredibles and now this! Woody and the gang are back for another roundup. For those unaware of Pixar’s critically acclaimed Toy Story film series, they chronicle the trials and tribulations of a group of anthropomorphic toys, who are owned by a young boy named Andy. The last time we saw them was when Andy, all grown up and off to college, drop his toys off with a little girl named Bonnie. Sure that his toys are in safe hands, Andy says goodbye to his childhood and leaves Woody, Buzz and friends to live in peace with Bonnie. It was the perfect end to this toy trilogy…and then we got this trailer.
Admittedly, we’re more cautiously optimistic than we are piss-our-pants excited for this one. I mean we’re certainly glad to see the whole gang getting back together again for another adventure but we’re hoping for quality storytelling and deeper character development as well. The film will apparently see them go on a road trip and that’s about all we know at the current moment. Beyond Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprising their respective roles as the cowboy Woody and space ranger Buzz Lightyear, we’ll also be seeing (or rather hearing) Keanu Reeves, comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele here as well. Toy Story 4 is slated to come out June this year.
7. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (June)
The King of Dialogue is back, baby! Quentin Tarantino has once again returned from his workshop of macabre comedy and gorgeous ultra-violence to bring us Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The man is a legend in the industry for his ruthless dedication to his craft and his unapologetic exploitation of history. Inglourious Basterds saw him giving us a less than accurate depiction of how World War II ended, with hilarious and awesome results. Django Unchained certainly kicked up a storm with Tarantino doing his own little twist on black-revenge fantasy. There were times, people weren’t sure whether to label him a racist or a progressive filmmaker. To say that he is a polarizing figure would be an understatement. Personally, we love his work and can’t get enough of the man.
The setting for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is certainly an interesting, if not peculiar, one. It’s set in 1969, the same year the Manson Family killed several high profile individuals, including famed horror director Roman Polanski’s wife, Sharon Tate. It stars Leo Dicaprio and Brad Pitt as an actor and a stunt double making their way through Hollywood. This sounds it has the makings to be another Pulp Fiction! We’ve seen what these two heavyweights can do individually in Basterds and Django but together in the same film? The results are going to be nothing short of spectacular. As of now, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is set to release in late June.
8. New Mutants (August)
Comic-book films sure have come a long way, from the predictable modern retelling of the hero’s journey to being gripping fantasy dramas to satires of the genre they occupy. Naturally, the only place left for them to go would be horror and it’s about bloody time! The New Mutants see a group of mutant teenagers confined in a spooky containment facility as they attempt to escape it. Sounds pretty much like your typical run-of-the-mill X-Men tale, aye? Well, think again. From the trailer alone, we can tell that the tone of New Mutants is going to be far more sinister than its more mainstream cousins. Tombstones, a freaky mental asylum like facility and kids who desperately trying to get out using powers they can’t control? That sounds like the makings of a great horror film.
New Mutants finally broaches the subject of the severity of being a mutant in a world that can be wholly unsympathetic to your existence. This is what happens to those who don’t have the privilege of being picked up by Charles Xavier’s merry band of heroes. It is a grim prospect, with plenty of potential for some creepy imagery and nail-biting moments. The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy and Game of Thrones Maisie Williams are just some of the actors in New Mutants. The film has been set to hit theatres August 2019, despite what some trailers have stated. Come on Fox, let’s make some movie history!
9. It: Chapter Two (September)
2017’s IT was one of the best horror films, and Stephen King adaptation we’ve seen in a long, long time. Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown was an absolute showstopper. He managed to ride a fine line between being hilarious and horrifying at the same time. We still have nightmares about that projector scene till this day. At the end of the first film, it was implied that the kids had put down Pennywise for a time being and that one day the demon clown would return. That time is drawing near with IT: Chapter Two floating its into theatres September this year.
This time the film is set 27 years after the events of the first film. The members of the Losers’ Club are all grown up and have seemingly forgotten about Pennywise and the town of Derry. That is until Pennywise returns once again to wreak havoc in their old hometown. Once again, the Losers’ Club must reunite to defeat this evil once and for all. The question is: Can they overcome their own inner demons before finding the strength to face this one? The film will see how each member of the Losers’ Club has progressed since Pennywise’s first defeat with them all being split up. I’m certainly curious to see them in their adult form. Chapter Two is set to star James McAvoy, Jurassic World’s Jessica Chastain and Saturday Night Live’s Bill Hader. Most importantly, we get more Skarsgard.
10. Star Wars IX (December)
It doesn’t get any bigger than this! The anticipation surrounding the ninth instalment of the Star Wars saga has only been matched by the controversy The Last Jedi started all the way back in 2017. Everything we thought we knew about Star Wars was flipped on its head and sent spiralling into the unknown cosmos. Rey’s secret Jedi lineage you ask? She was well to put it frankly…a bastard. Galactic war hero Luke Skywalker has renounced the way of the Jedi. The reveal of the mastermind behind the whole war with the Rebel Alliance and the First Order, Supreme Commander Snoke was struck down before we even got to the third act! The Jedi order and the way of the Sith are no more. Disney is rewriting history before our very eyes and challenging pre-established lore and concepts. Nothing is sacred to the Mouse, not even your childhood.
I, for one, am eager to see what Star Wars XI has to install for us. We haven’t gotten an official title, trailer or teaser for the damn thing. The one thing that piqued my interest is Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams return in this film. It’s clear to see that these two had very different visions for this new trilogy. One wrote a giant expensive love letter to the original trilogy while the other subverted expectations so radically, some have seen it as a giant middle finger to fans. Regardless of which camp you’re in, there is no conceivable reason for you not to see this film. It is no exaggeration when I say that anything could happen. We’ll just have to wait till December to see how it all ends.
So those are the films we’re most looking forward to this year. Do you agree with our list? Is there any film you wished we included in our list? Be sure to tell your thoughts in the comments down below and to stay tuned to us for all your favourite film and TV news and reviews!