By Contributing Writer, Manh T.
Entering this decade, we have witnessed a rapid increase in the amount of superhero movies released per year. 2018 continues this trend as Hollywood has shown no signs of slowing down, with a whopping 11 superhero movies announced so far!
With Black Panther releasing next week, here are my top 10 most anticipated superhero movies of 2018.
POTENTIAL SPOILER WARNINGS FOR DCAU, DCEU, MCU AND FOX-MEN MOVIES
Note: number 11 on the list would’ve been Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, (which I’m looking forward to) but let’s face it, nobody has ever made a top 11 list!
10. Teen Titans GO! to the Movies
Kicking off the list at #10 is Teen Titans GO! to the Movies. The movie follows our five teenage superheroes whose plans for Hollywood stardom are put to a halt by a villain’s maniacal plan for world domination. Totally not cliché am I right?
I know I’m in the minority who actually enjoy the Teen Titans GO! cartoons for what they are. Of course it’ll never compare to the original, but it’s appealing to a whole new generation of viewers and opening them up to the wider DC-universe at the same time!
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9. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Next up is X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Set roughly 10 years after X-Men: Apocalypse (in which Jean Grey taps into the Phoenix Force to defeat Apocalypse), we follow Professor X and his X-Men as they struggle to come to terms with Jean Grey’s newly acquired abilities.
Director Simon Kinberg describes the film as: “One of the most emotionally driven of the entire franchise.” He also teases a “twist that will completely change the X-Men film universe!” After the disappointment that was X-Men: Apocalypse, I’m surprised to find myself excited for the next installment in the X-Men franchise. I think this is wholly due to the fact that there’s been a change in terms of behind-the-scenes. Simon Kinberg, who has produced and written previous X-Men movies, has also taken over as director too. This is a welcome change, in my opinion, as the franchise could benefit greatly from fresh direction.
I for one, am very excited to see them launch this franchise into space and explore the Phoenix Force, hopefully better than X-Men: The Last Stand did.
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8. Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay
#8 on the list is Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay. A direct sequel to 2014’s Batman: Assault on Arkham, Hell to Pay follows Amanda Waller’s Task Force X as they’re sent to retrieve a powerful mystical object.
Hell to Pay refreshes the Squad’s roster by adding Copperhead to the line-up (although I’m 75% sure they’re going to detonate his brain-bomb early on in the movie like poor KGBeast). The animated original is directed by Sam Liu (who also directed Justice league: God’s and Monsters, Justice League VS Teen Titans, and Teen Titans: The Judas Contract), one of the grand architects of the DC animated universe, which is partly why I’m so excited for this movie.
One thing I loved about Assault on Arkham was that it fully utilized the expansive DC universe by featuring obscure characters such as Victor Zsasz and Black Spider. By the looks of it Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay is following in it’s predecessor’s footsteps as the movie features characters such as Punch, Count Vertigo, and Professor Pyg!
“Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay” releases digitally 27/03/2018, and on DVD and Blu-ray 10/04/2018
7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Next on the list is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The movie follows Miles Morales, who picks up the mantle of Spider-Man whilst also juggling high school. Judging by the title of the movie, it looks like we’ll be jumping into a universe in which Peter Parker isn’t the only Spider-Man.
I’m particularly excited for the film due to the animation. One of the film’s producers Chris Miller said: “The footage you see [in the trailer] is a new process that’s CGI animation that’s treated with line work and painting and dots and all sorts of comic book techniques.” Having watched the trailer, it left me speechless at how great the animation quality was. It truly felt original and different.
Sony Pictures/Animations might just have a superhero sleeper hit on their hands!
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6. Ant-Man and the Wasp
Coming in at #6 on the list is Ant-Man and the Wasp. The movie follows Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as he grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a superhero and a father in this post-Civil War climate. Whilst he deals with this, he is confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) with an urgent mission.
I really enjoyed the first Ant-Man movie mainly because of the great chemistry between the cast, Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly specifically. It makes sense that I’d be excited for the sequel, as Evangeline Lilly has been promoted to a lead role opposite Paul Rudd, hence “The Wasp” in the movie’s title.
Adding to the original returning cast, we see Laurence Fishburne make the leap from DC to Marvel to play the role of Dr Bill Foster, Hannah John-Kamen joins as the villainous Ghost, and Randall Park joins as SHIELD agent Jimmy Woo.
I’m excited for all 3 MCU movies coming out this year, but Ant-Man and the Wasp has been on my radar since 2015. Hopefully we get even more of those genius shrinking scenes that we got in the first movie!
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Next on the list may come as a surprise to most. However, I’m genuinely VERY excited for Venom. Little is known about the actual plot of Venom, but Director Ruben Fleischer (also director of Zombieland) has helped by confirming that the movie will be based on TWO comic storylines: Venom: Lethal Protector and Planet of Symbiotes.
Avid comic readers will know that Venom: Lethal Protector sees our lead character move from villain to anti-hero as he is kidnapped by an organization called the “Life Foundation”. They manage to create their own symbiote soldiers using Venom’s symbiote, and start wreaking havoc. Planet of Symbiotes sees Venom teaming up with none other than Spider-Man and Scarlet Spider as they investigate a string of Symbiote-related murders that Venom believes he could’ve committed himself. However, things aren’t all exactly as they seem.
The main reason I’m excited for Venom is due to the cast. The film boasts a star-studded lineup of A-list actors such as:
- Tom Hardy – who plays the titular lead Eddie Brock/Venom.
- Michelle Williams – who plays Anne Weying the ex-wife of Eddie Brock.
- Riz Ahmed – who is reportedly playing Doctor Charlton Drake, the leader of the Life Foundation.
- Woody Harrelson – who is reportedly playing a henchman.
And many more!
Venom I feel could be the true underdog of the superhero movies this year, which means Sony Pictures potentially have two superhero hits on their hands in 2018.
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4. Untitled Deadpool Sequel
#4 on the list is the untitled Deadpool sequel. Little is known about the plot of the sequel, but Fox has released a synopsis for the film which reminds us why we loved the first one so much, the humour! It reads as follows:
After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.
I loved everything about the first Deadpool film from the direction, to the humour, to the cast. Although Tim Miller won’t be returning to direct the sequel, the movie has found a replacement in the form of David Leitch (director of John Wick, and Atomic Blonde). This gives me confidence, as John Wick and Atomic Blonde were both great hyper-stylized action flicks with incredible choreographed actions sequences.
Hopefully the sequel proves that Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool isn’t just a one-time gimmick, and that he’s capable of spawning multiple successful sequels.
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3. Black Panther
Kicking off the top three on my list is Black Panther, arguably Marvel Studios’ most important movie since The Avengers. I say this because it is the first superhero movie lead by an African-American director with a majority black cast (In case you couldn’t tell, this is a monumental landmark!)
Black Panther follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as he returns home to the isolated, technologically-advanced African nation of Wakanda, to assume the responsibility of king after his father T’Chaka’s death. His attempt to assume the throne is challenged by outside forces, as a powerful enemy reappears and threatens the fate of Wakanda along with the entire world.
I think we can all agree that leaving the theatres after Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther and his world of characters were one of the highlights of the film. They brought a freshness to the cinematic universe that was sorely needed. The scene between Ayo (King T’Challa’s head of security/member of the Dora Milaje) and Black Widow was enough to get me in the seat for the opening night of Black Panther!
Black Panther is directed by Ryan Coogler, who brought us the incredible Fruitvale Station and Creed, is mainly why I’m looking forward to the movie so much. Coogler is an extremely talented director, who knows how to direct powerful and emotional character-driven films (which I’m hoping he continues to do with Black Panther). Interesting tidbit: Black Panther will be the third movie that Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan have worked on together.
If the idea of Coogler and Jordan teaming up again isn’t enough to get you pining for Black Panther, the social media embargo for the film has recently lifted with an overwhelmingly positive response from the masses. Many are calling it a cultural phenomenon similarly to Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman in 2017, and we all know how great that movie turned out!
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Just missing the top spot by an inch is Aquaman! Aquaman is the 6th entry into the DCEU, (DC Extended Universe) and although little is known about the plot, Jason Momoa has given us insight into the political plot of the movie. Momoa explained:
…you’re going to see this ocean world, which we just pollute, and how do these people feel underwater with what the land does to the ocean. And this war that is going to come between the two, and I’m the only one that can link the two. He has to do it. He doesn’t want to do it.
Judging from what Momoa said, it looks like we’ll be exploring the effects of pollution, and how that puts a significant strain on the relationship between humans and Atlanteans!
Directing the movie is James Wan (director of Saw, Insidious 1 & 2, The Conjuring 1 & 2, and Fast And Furious 7), which is mainly why I’m excited for the movie. Wan is one of my favourite directors, and is famous for his contributions to the Horror genre with the Conjuring and Insidious film franchises.
Wan is a director who knows how important the element of humanity is. His recent movies have all been emotionally supercharged because of the focus on humanity and family. I’m confident that Wan is fully capable of bringing us an action-packed Aquaman movie that will also hone in on Arthur Curry’s family dynamic and his relationship with his father, estranged mother, and half-brother.
Outside of the two leads, Momoa and Heard, the movie features an impressive cast, some well-known and some relatively unknown or new. These include:
- Nicole Kidman – Who plays Queen Atlanna of Atlantis, AKA Arthur Curry’s mother.
- Willem Dafoe – Who plays Vulko, Chief Scientific Adviser of the Atlantean Royal family.
- Patrick Wilson – Who plays Orm/Ocean Master, Arthur Curry’s half-brother.
- Dolph Lungren – Who plays King Nereus of Xebel.
- Temuera Morrison – Who plays Thomas Curry, Arthur Curry’s father.
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II – Who plays Black Manta, the main antagonist.
- Ludi Lin – Who plays Murk the leader of the Men-of-War, Atlantis’ front-line army.
Another reason I’m so excited for Aquaman, is the antagonist(s). This quote from Wan gives us a little bit of insight into where he’s trying to go with Black Manta and Orm, Aquaman’s two greatest adversaries:
We know Black Manta is in there, but I will say this: Patrick Wilson is the main antagonist in this film. I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘villain,’ but he’s the antagonist.
It looks like although Black Manta will be the villain of the film, Orm will be the true threat. What does this mean for the film? I predict that Black Manta will provide the physical threat/conflict for Aquaman, but Orm will do the most damage, operating from the shadows to sabotage his half-brother. According this Instagram post by Momoa:
We can insinuate that Orm has assumed the throne after his mother’s death, and has been king ever since. This already creates an interesting dynamic between Orm and Arthur, as Arthur poses a direct threat to Orm’s status as King of Atlantis. Wan and Wilson have the chance here to create a potentially iconic cinematic villain.
I feel that with Aquaman being the only DCEU movie out this year, it has a lot riding on it, but I have no doubt that Wan and everyone involved will absolutely deliver!
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1. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
And, without further ado, landing the #1 spot on the list HAD to be Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War! The movie follows The Avengers and their allies as they race against time to defeat Thanos before he acquires all 6 infinity stones.
It’s hard not to be excited for this as Marvel Studios have been building towards this deadly showdown for almost a decade now! The Russos will be pulling characters from all over the Marvel universe such as The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Panther and his world of Wakanda, Thor and his “Revengers”, and many more!
The Russos are returning to direct, which gives me great confidence because they’ve proven that they’re extremely versatile, as they’re capable of directing both small contained stories (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and also larger-scale stories (Captain America: Civil War).
I’m mainly excited for Infinity War because of the villains. Thanos has been built up to be the grand villain-to-end-all-villains, so I hope the Russos deliver on that. From the recently released trailer, Thanos and the Black Order (his elite team of super-powered aliens) will definitely be physically-imposing threats. However, I hope that they’re also able to mentally break our superheroes the same way Helmut Zemo did in CIVIL WAR.
Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4 movie are the final films within Phase 3 of Marvel Studios’, they also signal the end of our original Avengers’ journey, as heroic sacrifices are guaranteed to happen by the end of Avengers 4. Infinity War is my most anticipated superhero movie of 2018, and I’m excited to see what Kevin Feige cooks up for us in Phase 4, now that they have the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four again!
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