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CHAPTER 1

INFINITY

MARVEL MAYHEM

Avengers: Infinity War (May 4)

Once upon a time, Nick Fury told Tony Stark he was part of a larger universe after revealing himself to be Iron Man.  Since then, fans of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe have watched new heroes debut and (some) memorable villains fall.  One of the biggest criticisms of the MCU is the lack of truly devastating villains.  All that changes this year when the culmination of the entire MCU arrives.  Avengers: Infinity War.  Every single hero we’ve met over the last decade will be part of this historic event.  Of course, the main reason for the hype revolves around a single character.  Arguably the most hyped villain of all time.  Thanos.

THE MAD TITAN ARRIVES

It will take all of Earth’s mightiest heroes AND The Guardians of the Galaxy to fight back the forces of Thanos.  All signs point to Thanos playing a role in 2019’s Untitled Avengers Film so they likely won’t succeed.  Personally, this is what I’ve always wanted in a comic book movie.  A villain to arrive and absolutely devastate everything and everyone is his/her path.  There simply isn’t enough time in a single film to defeat a threat like Thanos.  So the question really is, who will survive when Marvel’s big bad attacks?  At long last, the Infinity War is upon us and we will finally see The Mad Titan and his most powerful minions in action.  How will it all play out?  We’ll get the answers in May and every single frame will be in the gorgeous IMAX format.

WAKANDA FOREVER!

Black Panther (February 9)

Before the Infinity War truly begins, Black Panther will arrive and feature a battle against both Killmonger and Ulysses Klaw.  The trailers promise an epic battle for the kingdom of Wakanda.  The fallout of which could impact the entire world.  But the looming Infinity War casts an impossible shadow to ignore.  Originally, I thought Black Panther would have an ‘Infinity War’ problem with such a large event arriving weeks after this release.  That was before rumors broke that Black Panther could introduce the final Infinity Stone.  The Soul Stone.  And who knows what we will see in the post credit sequence!

THE ANT AFTER INFINITY

Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)

If you were to ask me to rank the worst 3 movies in the MCU, Ant-Man would unfortunately be included.  However, I loved Ant-Man’s inclusion in Captain America: Civil War.  To me, the character could function a lot like Hulk does in Avengers films.  He still has a story line but doesn’t necessarily need a solo franchise.

Ant-Man and the Wasp has an opportunity to prove there is much more story to tell.  I think the film has the potential to be the comic relief as the dust settles post Infinity War.  But with another Avengers film on the horizon, is it possible for the Ant-Man sequel to truly stand out?

CHAPTER 2

A NEW PHASE 4 X-MEN

THE ACTUAL LAST STAND?

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (November 2)

Now that Disney basically owns the planet Earth, the future of the X-Men universe as we know it is uncertain.  No doubt, Marvel plans to incorporate the X-Men into the MCU at some point in Phase 4 but will they reboot the entire franchise in the process?  I think they have to.  Re cast the characters and bring them in slowly culminating in a Disney owned, Marvel produced X-Men.  If that happens, Dark Phoenix will likely be the last time we see the current cast in action.  Let’s just hope it’s better than Apocalypse.

TERRIFYING MUTANTS

New Mutants (April 12)

To say that Superhero movies dominate the box office is obviously an understatement.  We are getting new comic book blockbusters every other month.  Two things were bound to happen.  #1.  Superhero fatigue would set in.  That may happen at some point but 2018 is not the year for superhero fatigue.  #2. The comic book world would begin experimenting and different genres emerge.  We’ve already seen Rated R movies like Deadpool.  Why not horror films starring comic book characters?

MCU Reynolds?

Deadpool 2 (May 18)

There is ONE character I think Disney would be crazy to recast.  Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool.  He’s the only character that could poke fun at the MCU with full fourth wall immunity.  The X-Men franchise can be rebooted.  Especially now that Hugh Jackman has retired his claws as Wolverine.  Deadpool IS Deadpool BECAUSE of Ryan Reynolds.  This franchise is too new to recast.  Especially with Cable making his big screen debut (FINALLY!)

CHAPTER 3

VENOMOUS SPIDERS

MARVEL-LESS SONY?

Venom (Venom October 5)

Contrary to what many people thought after the disastrous ‘Amazing’ Spider-Man movies, Sony is charging ahead with their expanded Spider-Verse.  Without Marvel’s help it would appear.  It’s a film I never thought would happen.  Especially now that Spider-Man himself is firmly integrated into the MCU.

But then…  Sony announced that Tom Hardy would take on the role of Eddie Brock/Venom.  The idea of FINALLY seeing Venom vs Carnage on the big screen was given a big dose of hope.  Will we get Carnage?  Will Spider-Man appear?  Can this movie separate itself from the MCU?

ANIMATED MILES

Spider-Man: Intro The Spider-Verse (December 14)

Many wanted Marvel to introduce Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker into the MCU but it wasn’t meant to be.  Thankfully, the character will be front and center in an animated feature film that looks pretty amazing.  At least stylistically it looks amazing.  When Sony announced it would continue producing expanded live action Spider-Verse films I had questions. (A lot of questions.)  However, I have no doubt that this animated approach can be something truly special.  Perhaps rivaling DC/Warner Bros’ excellent animated features.

CHAPTER 4

DC DROWNING

THE FUTURE OF DC?

Aquaman (December 21)

Let’s face it.  Overall…  Justice League simply didn’t work.  And so…  DC rushed their team onto the big screen and it backfired.  However, Wonder Woman proved in 2017 that solo DC films can be successful without the caped crusader (and Christopher Nolan)

Can James Wan’s Aquaman continue the streak and set the tone for future solo films featuring DCs heavy hitters?  The only doubt I have is the film was in development alongside Justice League.  Presumably there will still be a lot of connections and foreshadowing and that’s a problem in this universe.  Just tell a good story with a meaningful conflict that doesn’t feel forced.

CHAPTER 5

MEGA FRANCHISES

SLOW-LO

Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)

The Star Wars Story brand is an interesting one to follow.  Rogue One was a fantastic movie but it was based on events for which we already knew the outcome.  Solo is a prequel at it’s hyper drive core.  Fans are simply looking forward to seeing events we’ve already heard about come to life.  Coming off the unfathomably divisive Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, Disney has kept a pretty tight lid on this film.  (A film that changed directors during production I might add.)  Obviously, Solo could very well be an entertaining film but the questions surrounding the film out weigh the hype I should be feeling for it.  Bring on some ORIGINAL Star Wars movies please!

ROBOTS & ROBOTS!

Bumblebee (December 21)

The Transformers movies are tough to discuss.  I loved Michael Bay’s original blockbuster and, more or less, disliked every single sequel.  How does a franchise with such a convoluted mythology already spin off into a shared universe of films?  I’ll be honest with you, I have very little faith in a Bumblebee movie but I sincerely hope I’m proven wrong.  I just can’t get behind a movie like this when the main franchise is such a mess.

Pacific Rim: Uprising (March 23)

On the other hand, Robots fighting Kaiju again?  That’s something I can get behind in 2018.  The trailers for the Guillermo Del Toro (less) sequel promise more giant robots fighting equally massive monsters.  That’s really all the selling the film needs to do.  I can’t say I’m thrilled about the human betrayal/robots fighting other robots story line but I’m willing to take the ride back to this world.

LIFE FINDS A WAY

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (May 25)

Jurassic World was an enormous and admittedly shocking box office smash.  I was blown away more by the success than the film itself.  As a big fan of Jurassic Park you would think I’d be excited for another rebooted adventure.  The truth is, the first trailer for Fallen Kingdom may have been (in my opinion) the worst trailer of 2017.  It did nothing to sell the film and featured remarkably awkward music and pacing.  I guess I can hope that they are holding back the more interesting story lines.   This feels awfully similar to Jurassic Park: The Lost World…

ALBUS vs GRINDELWALD

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16)

The world of Harry Potter is obviously ripe for additional stories.  I just found it hard to get behind Fantastic Beasts.  The film was okay and it set up a worthy enough sequel but this middle chapter hasn’t quite hit yet.

I will say I’m pretty excited to see Jude Law’s performance as Albus Dumbledore.  Especially when he inevitably takes on Grindelwald.  This film has a chance to truly set up a villain to rival Voldemoort.  (Not surpass mind you but rival.)  We’ll see if the film can achieve that status as I’m not convinced the heroes can carry this film like Harry.

FALLOUT

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (July 27)

2018 also sees the return of Ethan Hunt and his IMF team.  As the title would suggest, there will be a nuclear element to the 6th film in this franchise.  We’ve also been promised fallout from all of Ethan’s actions over the last few films trying to do what’s best for everyone.  Might we see a broken Ethan in this film?  Do you think it will happen before or after he leaps from buildings and fast moving vehicles!  (I’m a big fan of this franchise by the way.)

GHOSTS OF DRAGO

Creed 2 (November 21)

Creed was a welcome surprise and one of my favorite films of 2015.  The sequel promises to bring back even more nostalgia by having him face Ivan Drago’s son!  That’s pretty much all I needed to hear to be intrigued.  The one thing lacking from Creed was a decent connection to the film’s main antagonist ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan.  Now we’ve got a little history behind the big bad of Creed 2 and any connection to Dolph is okay with me.

2 INCREDIBLE!

The Incredibles 2 (June 15)

I still consider The Incredibles to be one of the best superhero movies of all time.  Forget live action vs animated, Pixar’s superhero tale was extremely fun.  But I may be part of the minority who didn’t need to see a sequel.  I thought the story was told.  Come June we will find out if there is indeed more to The Incredibles than defeating Incredi-boy AKA Buddy.

It is Pixar after all…  They are pretty good at their jobs.

CHAPTER 6

SUPER SCI-FI

The year is very promising for sci-fi fans.  Annihilation is up first on February 23 with Natalie Portman leading the way in Alex Garland’s adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy.  On March 30, Steven Spielberg brings us Ready Player One also an adaptation based on a novel written by Ernest Cline.  The trailers are packed with references to famous movies and video games.  We got a surprise release of The Cloverfield Paradox.  Another ‘sort of’ sequel to Cloverfield.  All bets are off as this one is based on a space station and could conceivably connect to the monster who mysteriously fell from the sky in 2008’s original.  Maybe?  The long gestating adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel arrives on July 20th with Robert Rodriguez calling the shots.  The trailer is overflowing with equal parts weird and beautiful.  Finally, on August 3 we are getting a Predator sequel (ish) directed by Shane Black!  (What!?)  The film sounds like it will honor the spirit of the original and could be one of the bigger summer hits this year.

CHAPTER 7

THE
VIDEO GAME
CURSE

A NEW RAIDER OF TOMBS

Tomb Raider (March 16)

As far as video game reboots go, the 2013 Tomb Raider was a phenomenal experience.  Developer Crystal Dynamics raised the bar with the sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider in 2015.  If you haven’t played these games, take my word for it, they are basing the movie adaptation on the right material.  The new version of Tomb Raider is cast perfectly with Alicia Vikander raiding tombs in the name of her father as Lara Croft.  This film has all the ingredients to break the live action video game adaptation curse.  But I’ve said that before…

ROCK vs MONSTERS

Rampage (April 20)

This is a tough one…  In 2018, we are getting Robots vs Robots.  Robots vs Monsters and now, thanks to rampage, monsters vs monsters and humans vs monsters.  The Rock is about as close to a box office guarantee as you’ll get in 2018.  He’s part of some of the biggest franchises on the planet.  He’s even helped relaunch a few including 2017’s Jumanji.  I just don’t know if his charisma is enough to power this video game adaptation to the top of the box office.  The movie does have giant monsters though…

WRECK THE CURSE

Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (November 21)

The first Wreck-It Ralph was harmless fun with a ton of popular video game cameos for fans.  The sequel promises even more and while it’s not necessarily a video game adaptation, it does prove the audience does exist when provided a good story.

CHAPTER 8

2017 HORROR
vs
2018 HORROR

2017 was one of the most successful years ever for horror movies with the *OSCAR* nominated Get Out and IT: Chapter One leading the way.  Those are incredibly bloody boots to fill in 2018.  We’ve already seen an ‘okay’ Insidious sequel.  The rest of the year features more sequels to franchises horror fans will undoubtedly recognize.  Let’s start with the biggest.  Halloween is back!  It’s a sequel set 40 years after the original with Jamie Lee Curtis and a full blessing from franchise creator John Carpenter!?  You can see that on October 19th. One of the craziest horror film endings of all time was The Strangers.  I’m not sure a sequel can truly capture that terrible feeling watching the final 10 minutes of the original…  But they are trying regardless and The Strangers: Pray At Night is coming March 9th.  Rounding out this year’s horror highlights?  The Purge returns for another…  Purge called The Island.  That sequel arrives on July 4.  Finally a horror film starring Jason Clarke and Helen Mirren is on the way.  Winchester, a film based on true events, debuts on February 2.  Will these highlights and the indie darlings of 2018 be enough to top a stellar 2017 for horror fans?