Hello, and welcome to another installment of “Rated ‘D’ for Doom,” my annual look at the year’s upcoming superhero movies!
It’s been a couple of years since I wrote one of these, but that’s only because we haven’t had any new superhero movies come out lately. I guess they’re just not that popular with general audiences anymore.
But fear not! It’s a whole new year, and it looks like several of the major film studios in Hollywood are going to risk it all once again and roll the dice on a few of these properties. Hopefully they don’t lose their shirts!
No, but, for real, the stakes have never been higher than they are right now – last year, three of the top five highest-grossing superhero movies of all-time were released. At the domestic box office, six of the top ten highest-earners on the year were superhero movies.
Studios have a lot riding on this fad, and they’re determined to milk it for all it’s worth.
You thought Solo was a gross cash-grab in the Star Wars Universe? Well wait until you see the TV spin-offs for Scarlet Witch, Loki, and the Winter Soldier!
Drain ‘em dry!
But this year, we have more superhero movies coming out than ever before (don’t, uh… don’t fact-check me on that), so we don’t have any time to waste on looking back or talking about TV spin-offs.
Let’s get right into it!
Release Date: March 8
First up, we have Captain Marvel hitting theatres in early March. Buzz for this has been generally positive, based on the trailers and what little we’ve seen elsewhere.
Brie Larson plays the role of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, not to be confused with Jude Law’s Captain Mar-Vell (the original Captain Marvel from the comics).
I don’t know much about this (I’ve been purposefully avoiding hype), but the description on the IMDB says the story plays out during an intergalactic war between two alien races. If you’re the betting type, I would bet everything I have on it being the Kree/Skrull War.
Hopefully the Skrulls are contained entirely within this movie’s story, though, because I’m not sure I have the patience for a live-action adaptation of Secret Invasion.
The way it’s all being set up – especially with the post-credits scene after Infinity War – I’m thinking that Captain Marvel is going to factor heavily into the Avengers: Endgame finale in April, possibly taking over the role that Adam Warlock played in the comics.
So this had better be good, in other words, or it could screw up everything!
Quick aside: What was up with that post-credits scene in Infinity War?
The snap happens; chaos starts spreading all over the world as half the population disappears in an instant; and so Nick Fury decides – then and there – that he needs to pop his trunk, fish his Top Secret Captain-Marvel-summoning beeper out of his backpack, and call her for help?
Why now? Why not when S.H.I.E.L.D. was overtaken by H.Y.D.R.A., and their helicarriers were reprogrammed to target every possible threat to their dominance in the world? Why not when Loki unleashed Thanos’ army over the skies of New York? Why not earlier in the same movie as the cosmic pager scene – after Thanos’ spaceship came down to earth, snatched up Iron Man, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man, and then peaced out to who-knows-where?
Release Date: April 5
The next big superhero movie of the year drops on April 5th, when DC’s Captain Marvel movie hits theatres, starring Zachary Levi as the title character.
It’s the latest in DC’s line of New 52 stories brought to the big screen, so Captain Marvel is officially going by the name Shazam in this telling of his story, which is a touch disappointing to me, if only because I’m one of those insufferable guys who used to always say, “Um, excuse me, but technically his name is Captain Marvel!” while pushing my glasses up the bridge of my nose.
Aside from the name change, I think it’s a little bit weird that they’re releasing a Christmas movie in April, but if that’s my biggest gripe, that certainly tells you something.
And while I don’t think it’s the best story they could be adapting for these characters – I personally hated everything from the New 52, and it’s the main reason I quit reading weekly comics – I still think it looks incredibly fun.
I’ve only seen the one trailer, and it’s still too early to even wager a guess as to how good it’ll be, but I have a feeling this might be a sleeper hit. It’s not even close to DC’s most well-known property, but it’s one of their best, and I hope it blows us all away.
And then hopefully The Rock will show up as Black Adam to whip some candy ass in the next one.
Release Date: April 12
What is the point of this?
It purports to be a more faithful adaptation of the comics, but I sinceriously can’t tell how, judging by the trailer and the promotional artwork. Everything about it seems like it’s trying to be the exact same movie as the original Hellboy.
And why shouldn’t it? The original was great! So was the sequel!
Here, we’ve got the sheriff from Stranger Things doing his best Ron Perlman impression, wearing the exact same costume, delivering strikingly similar dialogue, fighting monsters that may as well have been from the first two movies.
There’s no difference!
As far as I can tell, the only tangible change is that they replaced a talented director best known for his work on supernatural horror and fantasy films with… a talented director best known for his work on supernatural horror and fantasy films.
I give up.
I’ll see it, but that’s only because I already liked the first ones, and I don’t own either of them on DVD.
Release Date: April 26
My favorite part of Infinity War was something that happened at my theatre on opening night.
Granted, it’s a well-done movie, with a ton of work put into it, and it delivers on everything it needs to; but my favorite part wasn’t even in the movie – it was the audience reaction to something in the movie.
It happened when all of the heroes were turning into wisps of dust at the end, after Thanos’ snap.
We watched Bucky disappear, followed by Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy. After Dr. Strange tells Iron Man that “there was no other way,” we hear, from off-camera, Peter Parker’s voice squeak out the now-famous line, “Mr. Stark? I don’t feel so good.”
And the theatre lost it.
People started sobbing; dozens of folks started yelling, “No!” at the screen. My disbelief was suspended completely, and even I got misty-eyed in my seat.
As we all left the theatre a few minutes later, I’m sure that most of us knew these characters weren’t going to stay “dead” – they’d all be back for the sequel and the various spin-offs – but for one shining moment, the creative talent behind this series made us forget that we were watching a slickly-produced blockbuster film, and we all collectively went along with the story on the screen.
That they were able to pull that off – after ten years and twice as many movies – is simply astounding.
I can’t wait for the finale, and I’ll be there on opening night.
Release Date: June 7
I have no hopes for this movie.
Unless it introduces Corsair and the Starjammers, I don’t see how this is going to rise above anything we’ve already seen from this tired-ass franchise.
While Marvel Studios is giving us a movie about the Kree and the Skrulls this year (probably), Fox seems intent on re-telling the same story they already told us in X-Men: The Last Stand. Give me some Shi’ar Empire, already! Do something different! Try something new!
Instead, long-time X-Men producer and writer Simon Kinberg, in his directorial debut, will go through this extremely played-out Jean Grey story yet again, probably matching X-Men 3 beat-for-beat. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.
Sure, Kinberg wrote Days of Future Past, but he also wrote Apocalypse, Last Stand, the dreadful 2015 Fantastic Four, as well as xXx: State of the Union, the worst of the xXx franchise (yes, it’s possible for a movie to be worse than the original xXx, or even The Return of Xander Cage, somehow).
I really don’t see why they keep trying. At this point, they should just pack it in, wait a couple years, and then try to jump into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Besides, the Dark Phoenix Saga isn’t even that good to begin with.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Release Date: July 5
I was really looking forward to this movie until the trailer dropped.
In the trailer, we’re introduced to Mysterio, sans his fishbowl helmet, as well as The Elementals, which appear to be a few gigantic swirling CGI clouds made of earth, fire, wind, water, and heart.
And yet, studios keep relying on them for their big fight sequences. Did they learn nothing from The Rise of Silver Surfer?
Wait, bad example. Did anybody even see that?
I guess a better question would be, “Did they learn nothing from Spider-Man 3?”
One of the best parts of the last Spider-Man movie was that they grounded it in a smaller story, featuring one villain and a relatively narrow scope. Sure, it fit into the larger story in the sense that Vulture was using tech from Thanos’ army of Chitauri warriors, but he was an arms dealer, and the scope never broadened out past that.
So for the sequel, we’re taking a European Vacation, featuring what appears to be five new villains, and broadening the scope to pit Spider-Man against immortal god-like monsters that wield the power of earth’s greatest natural forces.
Glad they’re paying attention over at Sony.
Release Date: August 2
There are too many superhero movies coming out in 2019.
I just decided this.
I’ve been writing this damn thing for a couple of hours now! I don’t care about the New Mutants! Who wants to see a movie about them? I don’t think I’ve even read a New Mutants comic!
Wait, no, that’s not true. Ok, I actually own a whole bunch of New Mutants issues.
That’s not the point!
The point is that, even though this seems intriguing – they’re making a superhero movie in the horror genre – I just can’t be bothered. I don’t know any of the actors or actresses in it, and the only thing the director has done is that angsty teen romance movie from a couple years ago, The Fault in Our Stars.
Plus, this was originally scheduled to be released in April of last year, then it was pushed back to February of this year, and now it’s not coming out until August. Word is they re-shot half the movie.
Strike three! Not interested! Next!
Release Date: October 4
This, on the other hand, could be great.
Leave aside the fact that this is one of – I think – three different Joker movies that are currently in production.
Forget that half of the movies DC shits out these days are unwatchable.
Look past how this is directed by Todd Phillips, the guy who brought us Old School, Starsky and Hutch, and The Hangover trilogy.
The important thing here is that it stars Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker, and he’s incapable of giving a bad performance.
I just watched You Were Never Really Here last week, and I kept thinking about how he’d fit as The Clown Prince of Crime. It doesn’t make a ton of sense at first glance, but the more I think about it, the more he seems absolutely perfect for the role.
I don’t know much else about this – I don’t think anybody does – but I’m sold on Joaquin Phoenix alone. This could be the best iteration of the Joker that’s ever been put to film.
Now let’s just hope he’s in a Batman movie someday, too, or else there’s not really any point to this.