2019 has finally started so comes the time to anticipate what the year might bring to the big screen. The first thing that is noticeable are the number of super-hero movies. Granted, that has been the case for nearly a decade. Yet, there is a noticeable drought of pure Science Fiction movies such as last year’s Annihilation and A Quiet Place. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Netflix movies and other lower-budget offerings are not as visible.
Included on this list are a number of movies at risk of being a flop. The Terminator franchise has been pointless since Rise of the Machines, but I can always hope for a change. Also of note are sequels meant to end a story saga, Ep 9 directly below is the prime example of that. So lets get stuck in on what 2019 has to offer.
Star Wars Episode 9
Release date: December 20th 2019
After 4 years the Star Wars sequel trilogy is finally ending with Episode 9. This final iteration is the movie I am most looking forward too this year, but it is not without a degree of fear. Even though I consider myself a fan of The Last Jedi, it also made some serious missteps. Director J.J. Abrams will have a tough time living up to expectations that he started with The Force Awakens. Though I love to see resolution to the various story lines, including Reylo, Snoke turning Kylo and the date of the resistance I will consciously downplay my own expectations. Maybe that way I won’t be disappointed.
Episode 9 stars Daisy Ridley as Rey, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and John Boyega as former storm trooper Finn. The movie will also feature scenes with the late Carrie Fisher as Leia which will conclude her character’s story. Expect the first trailer for Episode 9 to come in April, during the biennial Star Wars Celebration.
Release date: January 17th
One of the first Science Fiction movies of the year is Glass, the third and final installment of M. Night Shymalan’s Unbreakable series. Starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy the movie is hard-grit look at the consequences of what would happen in world in which people actually have superpowers. Now, we are not talking about powers such as flying through the air or shooting laser beams form the eyes, but getting flashes of a persons intents upon touch, super intelligence and multiple personality disorders. Glass builds on its predecessors, Unbreakable and Split, to create a showdown between great actors and their great characters. The movie also stars Sarah Paulson as doctor Ellie Staple who is bent on disproving the existence of superpowers.
Release date: April 26th
Avengers: Infinity War gave viewers quite a shock when it practically killed off half the heroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie marked the grand entrance of the villain Thanos. He had been frequently referenced to and fans knew confronting him would mark the end of the current generation of actors in the series (Chris Evans having indicated he would leave).
Yet Thanos was not well known outside comic book circles. But viewers of Avengers: Infinity War immediately got to understand him and fear him. He has had an effect on the franchise similar to Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars.
And now we all want to know how the story ends. Super hero movies do often revive deceased heroes, and it is almost guaranteed to occur in Endgame. With the all powerful Thanos simply snapping his finger and reducing all intelligent life in the galaxy to half has to be undone. But how? He is all powerful. That is what it means. And at the same time the directors cannot undo every death Thanos brought about, that would be lame. There must be sacrifice. Avengers: Endgame has a lot to proof, fans want to know who dies and they want a glimpse of the Marvel Cinematic Universe beyond Endgame. In April we will see if the Russo brothers delivered.
Release date: March 8th
Captain Marvel is one of those comic franchises I know very little about. I suppose that should not upset me as arguably I knew very little about Black Panther, Ant-Man or even Thor for that matter. So far the MCU has been lacking a female-character driven movie. The DCEU beat them to the punch with Wonder Woman. I suppose everybody thought it might be Black Widow, but here is Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson.
The movie is set in 1995, Brie plays Carol Danvers, a former Air Force pilot who is turned into a Kree superhero. That much can be inferred from the trailer, which otherwise does not make much sense. Captain Marvel also stars Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Clark Greg and Jude Law.
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Release date: July 5th
In 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming with Tom Holland was just a delight to watch. The chemistry between Tom and his co-stars Jacob Batalon, Zendaya and Laura Harrier was palpable. The fact that the movie also sported and interesting, three-dimensional villain didn’t hurt either. So now Sony is back with the sequel (officially it is set in the MCU) with the movie taking place in Europe.
I suppose I am looking forward to this just to find out what aunt May does after she discovered Peter is The Spider-Man. Did he manage to talk his way out of it? That doesn’t quite feel like an MCU spidey to me.
Release date: November 1st
Am I looking forward to Terminator 6? Sort of… I still remember the release of Terminator 2 when I was 6 years old. I remember looking forward to Rise of the Machines throughout 90s, then losing hope it would ever be made and subsequently being disappointed when it was finally released in 2003. And then I remember getting excited for Salvation only to be disappointed it was not THE depiction of the Future Wars I had hoped for, not to mention the wasteful usage of Christian Bale. I remember thinking Genisys would be a lame sequel… to any of the previous Terminator movies only then to discover it was not half bad, but it did not rock either.
So now we have Terminator 6, directed by Timer Miller – from Deadpool fame. It also stars Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049) and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The latter will return using CGI.
So the pedigree is there, but is there a point to another Terminator movie? T3 showed that events before the Future Wars have been fleshed out, that leaves just the war itself. But with the inclusion of Linda Hamilton I can only conclude we will see more time travelling. Officially events after T2 will be disregarded, which is great. Yet another soft reboot might also confuse viewers.
Release date: October 4th
It has been a long time since I have seen a Will Smith movie at the cinema. I think it must have been I, Robot back in 2004. I was going to view Suicide Squad but the poor reviews convinced me otherwise. To a degree that sums up Smith’s career in the last 10 years. Zombie apocalypse movie, super hero movies and the odd drama.
Gemini Man feels more like an old-school outing, like from the 90s. That is confirmed by the fact it was originally supposed to start production in 1997. Will Smith plays Henry Brogen, an assassin who wants to quit but is pitted against a clone of himself. Instantly that gives me vibes from the movie Assassin starring Sylvester Stallone with a hint of Logan. Gemini Man might not be novel from that point of view. The big scare around cloning has been over for more than a decade and a half.
Nonetheless, the movie is being directed by Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi). It also stars Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong. I am definitely looking forward to this, it might sound derivative, but the 90s also gave us Sci-Fi dramas such as Gattaca and Contact.
Release date: March 1st
The upcoming Chaos Walking movie is based on the young adult novel series written by Patrick Ness. So far nothing special. However, the movie is being directed Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Edge of Tomorrow). It stars Tom Holland (Spider-man: Homecoming) and Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi). Seeing these actors outside the franchises that made them popular has so far been rare.
Chaos Walking tells the story of a future colonized world in which a viral germ has killed all women. An ability called Noise allows survivors to read minds. However, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers this is not true when he stumbles upon a young woman called Viola Eade (Daisy Ridley).
That sounds interesting, but also familiar: a dystopian future which is not what it seems, people being chased, some special abilities and a star-crossed love bond you can spot from Jupiter. And yet, the pedigree is there… Chaos Walking also stars Mads Mikkelsen. Despite some mixed news regarding re-shoots I am looking forward to this movie. I don’t think it can be bad, but we will see if it can match the quality of A Quiet Place.
Release date: June 7th
Dark Phoenix is the 12th X-Men movie in the franchise, but really it is a sequel to Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. Originally scheduled for a 2018 release the movie has undergone delays and re-shoots. Sophie Turner (Sansa on Game of Thrones) returns as Jean Grey who has as an alternate identity The Dark Phoenix. Fans of X-Men have been wanting a Dark Phoenix movie for years, the prospects of one of the coolest characters going dark and a possibility of a little bit of Deadpool is enticing. Sadly, Dark Phoenix will be targeting a general audience so there will be little of the dark humor of Deadpool.
Nonetheless, Dark Phoenix is coming, and it wouldn’t be the first time that re-shoots have done wonders for a movie. Directed by Simon Kinberg the movie will also star James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. The cast is further extended by Jessica Chastain and Olivia Munn. Sadly, despite a cameo in Days of Future Past actress Famke Janssen will not return. Now if only they could re-use the Dark Phoenix theme from X-Men Last Stand then I might just forgive them that oversight.
Sadly, my opinion is that 2019 won’t be a great year for Science Fiction on the big screen. It might become decent, but no more than that. Beyond 2019 there are plenty of rays of hope. The Dune movie series directed by Denis Villeneuve should arrive hopefully by 2020. Recent casting announcement have added Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica, Dave Bautista as Rabban and
Stellan Skarsgård as Baron Harkonnen. 2020 year will also see the release of Avatar 2 by director James Cameron. The movie is set to be the first in a series.
So there you have, 2019. Next week I will be attending an early screening of Glass so expect a review soon afterwards.