SBox Soapbox: Most Anticipated Films of 2019

Well folks, allow me to be the one millionth person to tell you “Happy New Year” as we ring in the new and exciting year of 2019. That’s right! The final year of the decade is now upon us, and as the decade comes to an eventual close, we draw our attention to the year we now find ourselves in and some of the many things to look forward to. Both the grand adventures we’ll embark on in our real lives as well as on the big screen. That’s right!

With no shortage of major and minor releases coming at us over the next 52 weeks of life, film fans will definitely have their hands full this year. So, whether you’re into superhero films, dramas, horror flicks, or comedies, be sure to fill that new calendar of yours with some of the new releases of 2019. To that end, here’s just a few of my personal highlights that’ll hopefully give you inspiration.

This isn’t in any particular order, by the way, and this is far from every film on my radar this year. I’m merely sharing some quick highlights off the top of my head, and I invite you to do the same in the comments below.

Avengers: Endgame (April 26)

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Big surprise: my most anticipated film of the year is a Marvel film. I bet no one saw that coming. In my defense, don’t lie and tell me that you aren’t at least a little interested in the second part of last year’s biggest film, Avengers: Infinity War. Infinity War may have been the most hyped film of the decade — something very hard to live up to — but somehow I anticipate that Avengers: Endgame will more than meet our incredibly high expectations.

I don’t even know what to expect, which theory to believe, or how Earth’s mightiest (remaining) heroes intend on reviving the like of Black Panther, Spidey, and Starlord among others. Quite frankly, I try not to think too much about it. Instead, I plan to just head to the theater this April and see where this wild ride ends up taking us. And when that day comes, Mr. Stark, it’s gonna feel SO good! (Also, Mr. Stark, please don’t die)!

John Wick 3: Parabellum (May 17)

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Probably the best action series to come out of the past 5 years, John Wick has gone from unassuming sleeper hit to essential revenge-flick viewing in such a short amount of time. All for good reason, too. The first two films did a phenomenal job of setting up what is destined to become one of the great action trilogies. From Keanu Reeves’ chillingly intimidating performance to the choreography’s stunningly satisfying use of “gun-fu”, you couldn’t ask for anything better if you tried. Now, with our favorite Baba Yaga heading toward his biggest predicament yet, you bet I’m coming along for the ride one more time.

Glass (January 18)

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Historically, January has gotten a bad rep for being a dumping ground for generic, uninspired, or unsavory movies. Can’t blame people for that opinion, although in my experience there’s always just one standout movie worth seeing. One single sacrificial champagne bottle to christen the new year in film. This year, that film is definitely Glass. Glass, for the few who don’t know, is M. Night Shyamalan’s direct sequel to two of his biggest films: 2016’s Split and 2000’s Unbreakable. If that doesn’t hype you up immediately, imagine a grounded, realistic pseudo-comic book movie with roots firmly planted in action, suspense, and psychological thriller. If that still doesn’t hype you up in some way… well, I can’t help you.

Star Wars: Episode IX (December 20)

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I’m trying to think of a way to start this without stepping on any toes. Although I assume just placing this film on my list has already made a handful of people mad, so screw it.

Yes, I’m aware that Star Wars as a film franchise is in an odd state. In under a year’s time, the world had gone from being in a third Star Wars mania to being in a jaded state of contention and lack of confidence. For the record, I absolutely adored The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi was fine overall. There’s definitely aspects of it I didn’t care for, but I find it far from a bad movie. If anything, I think it did a decent job of setting up the final film of the sequel trilogy. I agree that my confidence in Star Wars isn’t as high as it once was, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not excited to see another Star Wars film this December. All I have to do is keep my expectations leveled and hope that the force will be stronger this time around. I look forward to seeing if it is for myself.

Shazam! (April 5)

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It seems that after Justice League, the DCEU is taking things a bit slower, building up hype in the franchise gradually. That’s good. I’d say that’s an excellent step for them to take, and clearly it’s working out for them so far with Aquaman being a massive hit. All they need to do is ensure that their only DCEU film of the year, Shazam!, succeeds and this positive momentum could continue from there with Wonder Woman 1984 and beyond.

Actually, I have a lot of faith in this movie, too. The trailers make it seem like a lot of fun yet not too over the top. Zachary Levi appears to be a great addition to the superhero genre. The concept involves a character with a perspective we haven’t seen from this genre yet, like if Peter Parker’s secret identity was Superman. If the film plays its cards right, I anticipate that Shazam! will be a contender for best comic book film of the year… but let’s save that assumption for March, shall we?

Toy Story 4 (June 21)

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It may not have been the film we asked for, but it’s certainly one we’re not angry about recieving. There’s still so much about it that we don’t know, and the promotional material for the film is some of the most entertaining yet vague I’ve seen for a Pixar movie since maybe Brave. It’s actually gotten to the point where Marvel-level theories are popping up for Toy Story 4, with some even claiming that Woody is going to die. Super dark stuff aside, though… you think Thanos was the one that got him? What if half of all life in the universe also applies to half of all toys? All the sudden you see Woody all like “Mr. Spell, I don’t feel so good”. Then the movie is actually Buzz seeking revenge on Thanos and… yeah, I know I’m getting carried away.

Point is that there’s a lot to be excited for with Toy Story 4, and no matter what adventure Andy’s toys end up in this time around, I’ll be there with my heart fully prepared to be broken by Pixar yet again.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5)

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Question: You think Spider-Man makes it out of Infinity War alive? Call me crazy, but for some reason I think he’ll make it out alive. Can’t quite put my finger on it… anyway, let’s talk about Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Our sequel to the film we never thought we would get, Spider-Man: Homecoming, sees Marvel Studios’ second collaboration with Sony, continuing Spidey’s stay in the MCU. A lot of new ground will be made with this very film, whether it’s showing Spider-Man existing outside of New York for the first time on film, introducing Mysterio to the big screen, or simply being the first film in Phase 4 of the MCU. There’s a ton to look forward to here, and given my love for Homecoming, I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be more than satisfied by this movie, too.

It: Chapter Two (September 6)

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Man, two years ago you wouldn’t have caught me dead saying I was excited for a film called It: Chapter Two. Then again, I can be an idiot at times, so I can’t be too surprised.

Yes, following in the footsteps of the likes of Deathly Hallows, Breaking Dawn, and to an extent Infinity War, It comes to us in two parts. While the first film saw the formation and heyday of the Losers Club, this one will see the club’s reformation as Pennywise the Dancing Clown has resurfaced. Unlike the book and TV special, this film is taking place in the year 2016. Also, based on the stakes, budget, and cast involved in this film, it can be assumed that this will also be MUCH better than the second part of the 1990 It. Just the idea of seeing that second half of the book told in a much better way is worth the price of admission alone for me.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (July 26)

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Here’s something you may not know about me. Quentin Tarantino is probably my favorite director of all-time. Ever since seeing Pulp Fiction, which quickly became my favorite movie of all-time, for the first time, I’ve been in love with the way Tarantino makes movies. The dialogue, the characters, the cinematography, the way he fashions every single story so beautifully with the unique setting. What’s not to like about a good Tarantino movie. So, naturally his upcoming ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is an absolute must-see for me. That and, of course, the A-list talent of Leo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie among others. Oh, and the fact that the film will take place in Hollywood around the time of the Manson murders doesn’t hurt this film’s potential, either.

Captain Marvel (March 8)

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Why do I get the feeling I just talked about this movie a minute ago? Hmm, probably nothing.

Captain Marvel is the next MCU film coming at us in just two months. Admittedly, the marketing for this movie isn’t part of the reason I’m excited for the movie. Don’t get me wrong. The trailers are decent, but they’re not all that either. Though, far be it from me to dismiss a movie based on trailers alone. Besides, it’s the idea of this movie that’s worth getting excited about. I love the idea of us getting another galactic hero besides the Guardians and Thor, and a supposedly OP one at that. Every comic reader I know keeps hyping her up as one of the biggest things ever, too, which I’m happy about. After all, if she’s the secret ingredient that’s set to bring Thanos to his knees in Endgame, I want to know all about her. So, sign me up!

Frozen 2 (November 22)

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You know, people were telling me all throughout last year that “winter is coming in 2019”. I’m assuming this is what they meant when they told me that, right? It couldn’t be about anything else.

Indeed, the sequel to the biggest animated movie of all-time, Frozen, is coming at us at the end of this year. This news, depending on who you are, may either fills you with childish glee or absolute rage. For me, I lean more toward the prior than the latter. I thoroughly enjoyed Frozen when I first saw it in the theaters for the first time. And yes, like most people who have young children in their families, forced overexposure did nearly kill the film for me. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m looking forward to seeing how they’ll choose to follow things up this time around… Although, I’m not looking forward to this film’s songs being killed for me, too. Let’s just cross that icy bridge when we get there, shall we?

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (May 10)

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I meant to talk about this when the first trailer dropped for this movie, but I must say. This looks surprisingly good. I mean, I was not a believer in this movie’s ability to look decent before the trailer. I couldn’t even take the idea of this movie being a real thing seriously, because… it’s Detective Pikachu! The game was already a huge stretch in terms of something to take serious, but a movie? No way! That’s where I draw the line… or at least I did.

I’m not saying that I’m expecting this film to be amazing by any means. I think it’ll turn out to be a decent little flick when all is said and done, but that remains to be seen. And after seeing a world of kinda cute/kinda horrifying CG Pokemon interacting with a Pikachu played by Ryan Reynolds (a sentence I never thought I’d say), I’m now a lot more willing to see it. Here’s to the most super effective trailer of last year; now please don’t let me down.

Aladdin (May 24)

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This year will see the release of not just one, but three Disney remakes. I’m looking forward to at least two of them, and of them, and one such film is Aladdin. This film has every potential to be an absolutely magical carpet ride. The Arabian scenery alone has massive potential for creating visuals that are both breath-taking and refreshing. The story will, of course, be great since it’s based on one of Disney’s better animated movies. (Easily in my top 20). Plus, the cast is pretty well picked all things considered. The only one I’m kinda nervous about is Will Smith as the Genie. Not necessarily because of him, but because those are some impressively large shoes to fill. I have faith in him, though, as I do this movie.

The Lion King (July 19)

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Note that before I didn’t say “live action” Disney remakes, because technically this isn’t a live action remake. Whatever it is, though, this is easily going to be the most hyped shit of the year. I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say everyone loves The Lion King. It’s one of Disney’s biggest films for a reason, making it a very difficult act to try and follow (let alone replicate). Do I think it’ll rise to the occasion? Who knows? Then again, it doesn’t even matter because it’s Lion King. As long as it’s at least decent, I and everyone else in the world are gonna see it.

The New Mutants (August 2… maybe)

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It’s not often that I place a movie on one of these “Most Anticipated” lists two years in a row. I mean, this happens all the time in the Games list, but this I’m not used to. For those who may not know what I’m talking about, this movie, a horror flick in Fox’s X-Men universe, was supposed to come out last year before getting delayed. Why? Partially because of Disney’s buyout of Fox (set to be completed early this year) making the current X-Men series obsolete; mostly because test audiences apparently weren’t feeling the first cut of the film.

Basically, the film is currently being reshot and/or placed on the backburner by Disney, who will most likely opt to not have it released at all in order to place resources into rebooting the X-Men for the MCU. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Why is this on your list? The answer is that I still really like this premise and idea. The trailer that came out for the film was very interesting, and the cast of all the who’s who 20-something in Hollywood is really promising. I don’t know. I’m choosing to hold out hope for this movie being good in the end… even if I never actually get to see it.

The Upside (January 11)

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I’ll go ahead and keep this one to the point, since this movie’s actually coming to theaters *checks watch* this week. Simply put, The Upside is a feel-good comedy starring Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman which is a remake of 2011’s The Intouchables. It follows a wealthy paraplegic who hires a young man recently placed on parole to take care of him. The film was actually already released during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, but is coming out for wide release now. One of the reasons this film is making my list is mostly that I really like the idea of this duo. Hart and Cranston seem like they work really well off each other, and I look forward to seeing if that chemistry translates into a good movie.

Us (March 15)

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Okay, so this is a last minute addition to the list. I had no clue that this was a movie coming out, but the minute I found out a Jordan Peele movie had their trailer released on Christmas I had to see what it was about. After all, my favorite movie of 2017 was Get Out.

So, Us stars Winston Duke and Lupita Nyong’o, who play parents of two children heading on a vacation. While they’re there, they come across another family of murderous, psychotic, perhaps supernatural doppelgangers who want them dead. Much like Peele’s first movie, the film appears to be a horror movie with a comedic edge to it. It’s a format that worked wonders for Get Out two years back, which gives me all the hope in the world that he’ll also take this premise and make it incredible. So looking forward to seeing this around my birthday!

Dora the Explorer (August 2)

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Feast your eyes, folks! This is a real thing being released in theaters this August. I know you all have so many questions, but please leave your questions till the end as I describe my soon to be film of the year with you all.

In this movie, Dora is a teenager about to enter high school (yes, I’m serious). Her parents soon find themselves kidnapped by someone or something and it’s up to her, Diego, Boots, and a “rag tag group of teens” to travel to the Inca and save them. Dora is played by Isabella Moner (aka the older daughter from Instant Family and the little orphan girl from Transformers: The Last Knight). Additionally, you have Eva Longoria and Michael Peña as Dora’s parents and even Benicio del Toro as Swiper.

As you can see, this is a very… special movie by the looks of it. This is shaping up to be a absolute naufragio (trainwreck) in the making. So, why place it among my most anticipated films of the year? Simple. I can’t wait to see how this movie turns out. This thing which doesn’t need to exist fascinates me so. I so desperately want to see just how bad (or maybe even surprisingly average) this will be. So, yes, this movie is on my radar purely for curiosity purposes. Will that curiosity translate into me buying a ticket. Absolutely not. But you bet I’ll be ALL over the reviews for this come August. I can’t wait!

Honorable Mentions

  • Rocketman: This Elton John biopic starring Taron Egerton has a lot of promise, though my lack of knowledge of Elton passed a handful of his songs places it in this category
  • Joker: The non-DCEU origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker is fascinating. At the same time, wasn’t one of the draws of the Joker that no one — not the audience, not other villains, not Batman, and not even the Joker himself — knows who he is? I don’t know. I’ll see it, but I have some reservations.
  • Dumbo: The third live action remake by Disney will probably end up a servicable good time in the theater. I’m excited for it; just not Aladdin and Lion King excited for it.
  • Kingsman: The Great Game: The third installment of the Kingsman series and the first to not feature Taron Egerton as Eggsy. This sounds like it’ll end up being the Tokyo Drift of the Kingsman series. You know, like a filler movie loosely connected to the previous two films that will end up all coming together in Kingsman 4 or 5.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: A live action/CG movie based on Sega’s famous mascot. Controversy involving his weird appearance aside, I am slightly interested in this movie. My hopes are definitely not up for this film, though.
  • Hellboy: The first film in a new series of Hellboy movies. I’m hesitantly excited to see how this new, non-Perlman Hellboy stacks up against the original series. If it succeeds, I’m so down.
  • Dark Phoenix: The newest installment of the X-Men series and fourth in the new first class series. I’d be a little more excited about this movie if I weren’t 80% sure it’ll be shelved by Disney before it’s even released.
  • Alita: Battle Angel: A comic book movie based on the popular Gunnm manga which was strangely delayed into this year. By now, I’ve seen a ton of trailers for the movie, and while they don’t entirely grab me I am kinda rooting for it. Maybe it’s those big, buggy eyes, but I for some reason have a soft spot for this movie.
  • Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw: The ninth-ish installment of the Fast & Furious series, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. This should be just as entertaining as the other F&F movies, so I’m not worried about not liking it. It’s simply not at the top of my priority list for the year.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: The sequel to The LEGO Movie, which I absolutely adored. I’m definitely gonna see it, but, again, I don’t consider this film a priority over other films on this list.
  • A Madea Family Funeral: Finally, the eleventh film in the Madea series based on Tyler Perry’s titular stage character. Admittedly, the Madea films are somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine. There’s definitely certain ones in the series I hate, but I also enjoy quite a few of them. Normally, I wouldn’t even include one of these films on this list, except this is apparently the last one, which means now I definitely have to see it.

There you have it! These are the films I’m looking forward to seeing this year, but I know for sure that I’m missing a ton of great films to come. Can you think of any? Let me know some of the films, big or small, that you’re looking forward to in the comments below, because I’d love to know.

Also, if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic about last year’s movies, stay tuned for my 2018 Movie Countdown coming very soon, where I rank all the movies I saw last year from worst to best. Feel free to follow this blog through WordPress or via email to be among the first to see it!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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