2018 is officially here, which means it’s time to get excited about the movies set for release this year. Here’s what I’m looking forward to:
10. “Ant Man and the Wasp” (July 6) – While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to put a female lead in the top billing, it is set to take steps in that direction this year with “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Directed by Peyton Reed, the film will see the return of Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang/Ant-man and the rise of Evangeline Lilly’s Hope van Dyne/Wasp, who are set to team up with one another on a new mission. 2015’s “Ant-Man” was a pleasant surprise, especially considering I had never heard of Ant-Man prior to seeing the movie. However, Rudd’s charm and Lilly’s enigmatic nature made for a fun, intriguing duo with potential. Hope van Dyne’s superhero turn was hinted at towards the end of the first movie, and I look forward to seeing the rise of another strong, female lead this year.
9. “The New Mutants” (April 13) – The X-Men franchise is among the most underrated, especially when it comes to superhero movies, and “The New Mutants” looks like it’s ready to present a fresh take by blending the fatigued superhero genre with horror. Josh Boone directs this film, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy (“Split”), Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) and Charlie Heaton (“Stranger Things”) as a group of mutants who are locked up in a secret facility as they discover their powers while fighting for their lives. The trailer completely sold me on “The New Mutants,” which looks thrilling, terrifying and new. Add in a group of actors who are dominating in their respective projects, and you can guarantee I’ll be in the theater.
8. “Ready Player One” (March 30) – Director Steven Spielberg is poised to have a big year, with “The Post” arriving in time for awards season, and “Ready Player One” just around the corner. Adapted from Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, the film follows Wade Watts, played by Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse), a boy who frequently spends time in the OASIS, a virtual reality world that provides an escape from the desolate, corrupt real world. Wade, along with other gamers, competes to find an “easter egg” within the game that will earn him the deceased OASIS creator’s fortune. The trailer depicts a story bursting with energy, innovation and references to real pop culture, and no one does sci-fi quite like Spielberg.
7. “A Quiet Place” (April 6) – Real-life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt star in this horror-thriller, where a family living out on a farm must communicate through sign language and make no sounds — or risk their lives at the hands of a supernatural force. I saw this trailer on the big screen before “The Last Jedi,” and everyone in the theater seemed to hold their breath watching this largely silent teaser unfold. With an original concept applied to the thriller genre, “A Quiet Place” asks the right amount of questions to make me eager to see the answers this film will provide.
6. “Black Panther” (February 16) – Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa/Black Panther was a breakout character from “Captain America: Civil War,” and this year, we’ll get to see him headline “Black Panther.” The film will follow T’Challa as he returns to his home of Wakanda to take his place as king, a kingdom that is soon threatened when enemies try to overthrow it. Director Ryan Coogler showcased his talents with the critically-acclaimed films “Fruitvale Station” and Rocky-installment “Creed” — the latter of which is better than the original “Rocky,” in my opinion — and if the trailers are any indication, it looks like he has brought it once again here. The film will also feature a predominantly Black cast, with Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station,” “Creed), Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) and Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) also starring alongside Boseman, showcasing a diverse group of characters and an intriguing story.
5. “First Man” (October 12) – Not much has been announced about this film, but the talent involved is enough to get me on board with it. “First Man” sees the reunion of Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning director of “La La Land,” and Ryan Gosling, who starred in the musical. This time, the pair will bring to life the story of Neil Armstrong, played by Gosling, and the events that lead to him becoming the first man on the moon. Chazelle is primarily known for “La La Land,” but he also directed 2014’s “Whiplash,” one of my favorite films of all time, and I can’t wait to see what he and Gosling — one of my favorite actors — do with this biopic.
4. “Annihilation” (February 23) – Alex Garland’s 2015 sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina” was met with critical acclaim, and he returns to that genre with Annihilation. The film, adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, stars Natalie Portman as The Biologist, whose husband, played by Oscar Isaac, returns from an expedition into an environmental disaster zone with horrible injuries. The Biologist decides to take a second journey into the area with a group of women to uncover the truth of what happened and is faced with seemingly otherworldly threats. Portman is one of the best actresses working today, and she has proven she’s up for the task when it comes to psychological roles. Based on the trailer, it looks like Garland will combine the psychological thriller with the science fiction genre to create a film that may defy expectations.
3. “A Wrinkle in Time” (March 9) – Ava DuVernay (“Selma,” “13th”) directs this Disney film that follows a girl named Meg Murry who travels across the universe to save her father, who is trapped by a great evil that threatens the universe. “A Wrinkle in Time,” looks to have a fresh, contemporary take on Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel and features a diverse, ensemble cast made up of Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine. I have been thoroughly moved by each trailer that has been put out for this film, which reveals snippets of gorgeous cinematography and production design, not to mention a timeless story of love and family. I have faith that DuVernay, who has produced Oscar-caliber work, can knock this film out of the park.
2. “Incredibles 2” (June 15) – Brad Bird’s “The Incredibles” is my favorite animated film of all time; that was true when I first saw the film in 2004, and it remains true 14 years later. We have gotten so many sequels for other Pixar movies, but never a sequel for the one story I wanted to see continue. That all changes this year with “Incredibles 2,” which looks to pick up right were the last film left off, with the original voice cast, comprised of Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson and Brad Bird, returning. The Parr family will face off against The Underminer, the villain teased at the end of the first film, while dealing with Jack-Jack Parr’s emerging powers. The teaser alone was enough to bring all of my nostalgia flooding back, and I hope it lives up to the quality of the first “Incredibles” movie.
1. “Avengers: Infinity War” (May 4) – It may not seem like it now because we are so used to hearing about the MCU’s successes, but in retrospect, Marvel has spent the past 10 years pulling off the impossible. They’ve made relatively unknown superhero properties mainstream hits, all the while boasting financial and critical successes with all 17 of their films. Some have been amazing, others have been weak, but all have built up to “Avengers: Infinity War,” directed by the Russo Brothers. The film will see Marvel’s big-bad Thanos arrive on Earth to collect the Infinity Stones to complete his gauntlet, which will grant him great power over the universe, forcing the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy to unite and stop him. The teaser trailer gives me goosebumps every time I see it, promising a high-stakes culmination of everything we’ve experienced from watching these movies. I wouldn’t be surprised if this film sees the end of iconic characters like Captain America or Iron Man, who started it all. Whatever happens, the Russo Brothers, who have directed the franchise highlights “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War,” are set to provide an action-packed, emotional film to theaters to kick off the summer.
Other films to look out for this year: “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Aquaman,” “Sicario 2: Soldado,” “Deadpool 2”