All things geek: Another year of blockbuster comic book movies

Matthew Lane • Feb 5, 2019 at 5:45 PM

A new year is upon us, so it’s time to start thinking about what’s important.

No, not tax season (which is unfortunately in full swing), or those pesky resolutions you made about a month ago (which you haven’t stuck with anyway). What I’m actually referring to are the dozen or more comic book and science fiction blockbusters scheduled to hit the big screen later this year.

That’s what’s really important after all.

So what’s on deck for 2019? Well, we’ve actually got two, count ’em, two movies from DC Comics: “Shazam!” in the spring and the “Joker” this fall. Marvel is allegedly knocking out five movies this year, if the guys in yellow spandex can get their act together.

We’ve got one monstrous sequel coming this summer, the final entry in the latest “Star Wars” trilogy and a bit of a dark horse character seeing a long overdue reboot. I’d argue this year’s super-hero lineup offers us a little more variety than in year’s past, especially with two mutant-led flicks finally hitting the big screen.

And now, on with the show...

“Captain Marvel” (March 8) — First out of the gate for Marvel Studios this year will be “Captain Marvel,” starring Brie Larson in the lead role as Carol Danvers, an Earth woman who gains superpowers and is caught in the middle of a galactic conflict between two warring, alien worlds. This 21st movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is set in the year 1995 and stars Samuel L. Jackson (as a young Nick Fury), Clark Gregg (as a young Agent Coulson), Jude Law (Yon-Rogg) and Lee Pace and Djimon Hounson reprising their “Guardians of the Galaxy” roles of Ronan the Accuser and Korath the Pursurer.

“Shazam!” (April 5) — On the heels of Captain Marvel comes, well, Captain Marvel, the original one, or as he’s better known among DC fans, Shazam! The film stars Zachary Levi as Shazam! and Mark Strong as his arch-nemesis Dr. Sivana. The movie, seventh in the DC Extended Universe, tells the story of a 14-year-old Billy Batson gaining god-like powers from a wizard (played by Djimon Hounson) in order to stop the villainous machinations of Dr. Sivana. From the trailer, the movie appears to be more comedic and light-hearted in nature (compared to the darky darkness of the Snyderverse DC movies). I’m hopeful DC will continue its win streak after the typhoon-level success of “Aquaman” this past December.

“Hellboy” (April 12) — It’s been more than a decade since the Right Hand of Doom graced the big screen. For the third time around, the series will star David Barbour (Hopper from Stranger Things) as the titular hero Hellboy, squaring off against Nimue the Queen of Blood (Milla Jovovich) to stop her from destroying all of mankind. Sounds similar to the 2004 original to me. The trailer looked decent and it does have an R rating (expect plenty of blood and guts), but I doubt I’ll go see it in theaters. I’m thinking Netflix on this one, folks.

“Avengers Endgame” (April 26) — What can I say that’s not already been said. Ten years in the making with 20-plus movies worth of backstory, the fourth Avengers entry will be the final showdown between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Mad Titan Thanos with the entire universe at stake. I have to warn you folks, there just might be a few shocking deaths when all is said and done. However, I also believe this movie will set the stage for the next three to five years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (May 31) — The third movie in the Monsterverse franchise, King of the Monsters is the sequel to the 2014 “Godzilla” movie and stars Millie Bobby Brown and a bunch of other people I’ve never heard of. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a ginormous Godzilla fan, so my anticipation is quite high for this flick. The director, Michael Dougherty, doesn’t have that deep a resume, but Max Borenstein is the co-writer, whose credits include the 2014 movie and “Kong: Skull Island.” That helps alleviate most of my fears. I’m definitely seeing this one in the theaters.

“X-men: Dark Phoenix” (June 7) — Hopefully, third time’s the charm for the latest X-men sequel Dark Phoenix. It was originally scheduled for release in November, then pushed to February and finally settling on a June debut. The movie stars the usual gang of mutants — Professor X, Mystique and Magneto — and retells the story of the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” an epic tale of Jean Grey’s corruption by the Phoenix Force. No way I can wait on the Blu-Ray release of this one.

“Spider-man: Far from Home” (July 5) — Our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man has one of the most memorable rogue’s gallery in all of comic-dom. One of my favorites is Mysterio, a fish-bowl helmet wearing illusionist who attempts to thwart Spider-man through mind-bending special effects and subterfuge. The movie’s premise is that while on a school trip to Europe, Peter is recruited by Nick Fury to team up with Mysterio to battle the supervillain team called the Elementals. Not everything is as it seems with this one, folks.

“New Mutants” (Aug. 2) — X-men fans know all about the New Mutants; most everyone else, not so much. The team is a group of teenage mutant “superheroes in training.” Basically, the next generation of X-men. What’s new about this 13th movie in the X-men franchise is it’s a horror movie and not your standard superhero beat-em-up. Originally scheduled for release in April 2018, the movie has been delayed for more than a year to allow for reshoots to make the movie more frightening. Here’s hoping it was worth it.

“Joker” (Oct. 4) — The Clown Prince of Crime gets his own movie later this year with Joaquin Phoenix leading the titular role. It’s intended to be the first of a series of standalone DC Comics movies, separate from the main DC Extended Universe. Think “Solo” and “Rogue One” but for DC characters. I have to admit, I’m getting a “Venom” vibe from this movie. I’m going in with low expectations, but hopefully, as with “Venom,” I’ll be pleasantly surprised by the finished product.

“Star Wars Episode IX” (Dec. 20) — Director J.J. Abrams returns to a galaxy far, far away to save the final installment of the latest “Star Wars” trilogy. After knocking it out of the park with “The Force Awakens,” the series hit a galactic speed bump with “The Last Jedi” as fans were split with the story of the second entry. It’s a battle that rages to this very day. Hopefully, Abrams can right the ship and bring a satisfactory conclusion to the epic tale of Rey, Kylo, Poe and Finn.