If you haven't been living in a cave for the past couple of years then you will be well aware of the superhero hype, and simply by looking at the box office stats from last year and the list of upcoming releases it is clear that these films are here to stay. In 2019 the superhero train is running full steam ahead and there will be no shortage of releases for all the eager fans.
The fans' undying passion for these films was made crystal clear with the unbelievable box office success of 'Avengers: Infinity War' or 'Black Panther', surprises like 'Venom', or the great run that 'Aquaman' is currently experiencing (even while it still awaits its release in China).
Here we present to you a list of some of the most anticipated films of 2019, which are all part of this explosive superhero genre. As well as the expected titles from Marvel and DC, there are other releases such as M. Night Shyamalan's 'Glass', which show the true potential of the genre and move away from previous norms for superheroes.
This year is an important one for Marvel (who is ending the successful Phase 3 and embarking on the uncertain Phase 4 with the most anticipated film of the year, 'Avengers: Endgame'). Likewise for DC 2019 could be a turning point as it releases the first films after the change of director provoked by the slump of 'Justice League', and also for Fox, who debut what will probably be the last of their 'X-Men' films before the studios are swallowed by Disney.
With so many changes in the big studios, and the arrival of new players to the game (including the aforementioned 'Glass' and 'Hellboy') we are left with a new, strange and exciting era for the genre, which promises a change from the previous years. Now there are almost as mani super-villains as there are heroes... Which film are you most excited to see?
Release date: 18th January
After years in which the beloved director seemed to have lost his flair for genre mashups and mastery which underpinned the start of his career, a small film 'The Visit' reignited the love between M. Night Shyamalan and his fans. His following film, 'Split', ended with a surprising cameo from Bruce Willis, thus revealing the film to be connected in some way to his cult classic 'Unbreakable'. The under-appreciated performance of James McAvoy was the birth of one of the most iconic super-villains in cinema history.
In 'Glass' it seems that the universes will all come together under the fearsome Mr. Glass, Samuel L. Jackson, whose character becomes the villain he is through reading superhero comics. 'Unbreakable', released in 2000, came at a time before superheroes were as fashionable as they are today, thus it is in this new golden age of superhero films that Shyamalan returns to his world to show us how he can manipulate the genre like no other, creating his own super-universe.
While it is true that as a continuation of 'Unbreakable' the film fits well into this genre, but as a film which shares its universe with 'Split', it is certainly going to be much more than simply another superhero film.
Release date: 8th March
Last spring, Marvel successfully had our hearts in their fist by literally killing half of their universe in one fowl swoop. But according to the post-credits scene of 'Avengers: Infinity War', it seems a small ray of hope remains: a blue, gold, and red logo announces the long-awaited arrival of Captain Marvel, the most powerful heroine in the Marvel Universe (or so says Mr. Fantastic in the comics). But before we see Captain Marvel setting herself against the omnipotent Thanos in the fourth installment in the 'Avengers' saga, we must first meet the hero herself.
The trailer shows Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, whose memory of her past has been lost and who will learn the story of her origin along with the audience. The superhero's backstory has been re-written several times in the comics and we will have to wait until International Women's Day in order to discover to which one the directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden will adhere. We doubt that the chosen date was coincidental seeing as this film will be the first (and long overdue) of Marvel's directed by a woman and starring a female protagonist. This is no small hurdle after 20 years of filmmaking, and to excite fans even more, we have only to wait a few short months before seeing Carol Denvers return to the big screen in 'Avengers: Endgame'.
Release date: 5th April
During a good part of his existence, the original character from the now extinct Fawcett Comics shared his name with the superheroine starring in previously mentioned Marvel film. For obvious reasons and after numerous legal battles, Billy Baxton's superhero has been renamed as Shazam. For those who may not be familiar with the superhero, the summary provided by the creators of the films is spot on: it is 'Big' with superpowers. Billy is a kid who, when his shouts the magic word, is transformed into an impressive Zachary Levi, but although he is backed up by the Book of Wisdom, he continues to be a child. As well as finding his place as a hero, confronting the terrible Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong), Billy must also find his place in the world with his new adoptive family after having spent years alone. Billy's story is about a child and a hero, but also about families and the different ways that they are made.
This film is part of the new directive team for DC and Warner and we will see if they continue with the success of 'Aquaman'.
Release date: 26th April
Release date: 17th May
Nobody expected a reboot of Mike Mignola's demon, especially after the iconic nature of the first two films, directed by Guillermo del Toro. After years of talking about a third installment which never came, Ron Perlman and Selma Blair watched the producer opt for the most drastic decision and opting instead for a reboot, casting David Harbour ('Stranger Things') in the leading role.
The film's subtitle, 'Rise of the Blood Queen', shows that Milla Jovovich's character will have far greater importance in this film. The producers promise us a darker, bloodier version of the character, not forgetting the the original comics, although it covers a lot of ground, it focuses on existing horrific and supernatural legends. The demon, created by the Nazis but raised by good-natured human returns on his crusade to help humanity while discovering the truth of his past.
Release date: 7th June
One of the few things which was almost unanimously like by the spectators of 'X-Men: Apocalypse' was Sophie Turner's portrayal of Jean Grey. Although this film was one of the biggest disappointments in the history of the saga, Tuner's character was loved by all. The plot of the Dark Phoenix is one of the most important parts of the modern comics and fans deserve more than what they were given. And everything that has happened in leading up to this new film's shooting is making us unpleasantly suspicious. The delays of almost a year to provide a release date, rumours and denials about the vast number of reshoots, inclusion of mysterious characters such as Jessica Chastain's, or unnecessary appearances such as that of Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, do not help the situation...
To make matters worse, the acquisition by Disney of the intellectual property rights of Fox has shaken all involved in the film, as we now know whether this will be the latest version of these mutants. For once, the threat of the end of the world seems to be real.
Release date: 5th July
Marvel's Phase 4 remains a mystery and as of yet there has been no advance about the film. Some things remain clear, however, such as the fact that we only have a limited number of films with Tom Holland remaining as soon his contract (and Marvel's temporary ownership of the Spider-Man franchise) will come to an end.
Marvel's reboot of Peter Parker as a teenager in their universe has been successful so far. This time we will see that character on a school trip with his school to Europe as well as the Marvel debut of Jake Gyllenhaal as the super-villain, Doctor Mystery.
What fans are most curious to see is how Peter managed to survive the destructive click of Thanos, as the last we saw of the character, he crumbled into dust in the arms of Tony Stark.
Release date: 2nd August
The first superhero film classified as a horror leads the way to becoming a nightmare on and off the screen (as its first trailer was released more than a year ago). Josh Boone's film, which follows the misadventures of a second generation of Charles X. Xavier's pupils promises a lot; the adaptation of a legendary comic saga adored by fans seemed to be at the point of becoming something truly special...until everything began going upside down. Conflicting news about its reception in various test streaming then brought more conflicting news about additional shoots which may or may not have been used to alleviate some of the horror scenes. So much changed that we lost Jon Hamm as the villain and instead gained Antonio Banderas. Boone always said that he imagined the film as part of a trilogy, but with the commotion over Disney's rights to Fox, we know that this might not be the case.
Release date: 4th October
This film is unusual in every way. The idea of making a story about the origins of the Joker, something that in 75 years of the story even the comics have not dared to make clear, is a little more than risky. The film is the first officially declared by DC to be outside of the official cannon (as precarious as it may be), under the title of 'Elseworlds'. It already promises the names of two prestigious players in their field, Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Solondz. And according to the Hollywood gossip, it has one of the most powerful scripts seen in recent years. This could be the final reason as to why the projects has been approved, associated with such important names and filmed with such efficient speed. With a notably lower budget than previous films on these lines, and with seemingly less demanding technical needs to other films, everything has been plain sailing for an October release for this film that we never knew that we needed to see.