Marvel Studios is hitting the theaters hard with five releases. “Captain Marvel” (out March 8), “Avengers: Endgame” (April 26) and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 5) are part of the connected Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Standing outside of that continuity are two Marvel-related mutant movies, “Dark Phoenix” (June 7) and “The New Mutants” (Aug. 2). “Dark Phoenix” likely will be the last X-Men film released by 20th Century Fox due to Disney’s buy-out of Fox, which still has yet to be finalized. Once that happens, the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool will be part of the Marvel Studios family and are expected to be part of the MCU.
“Dark Phoenix” is the story of the transformation of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) into the powerful Phoenix and is a follow-up to the mostly unsatsifying “X-Men: Apocalypse.” It originally was supposed to come out about three months ago, Nov. 7, only to be pushed back to this summer. Whether that was to incorporate major rewrites and significant scene changes or to take advantage of the summer movie season is anybody’s guess. I expect moderate box-office returns for “Dark Phoenix” and “The New Mutants” to be a blip on the radar.
The Twitterverse is exploding with anticipation for “Captain Marvel,” the story of Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot and Kree warrior. As I predicted in my most recent “Cary’s Comics Craze” column, “Captain Marvel” will be queen of the 2019 box office. This is the first movie starring this character, not to mention the first from Marvel featuring a female superhero.
Once Captain Marvel makes her movie premiere, about a month-and-a-half later, Carol Danvers will help the Avengers resolve its “Endgame.” Spoiler-ific prediction: Don’t expect most, if not all, of Marvel’s Big Three — Captain America, Iron Man and Thor — to make it out of “Avengers: Endgame” alive.
DC Comics and Warner Bros. are taking a different approach with stand-alone films: “Shazam!” (April 5) and “Joker” (Oct. 4).
“Shazam!” is DC’s first attempt at a superhero comedy and should do well at the box office.
“Joker,” starring the incredibly talented Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role, is an even bigger creative risk; it’s a low-budget drama/thriller about a failed stand-up commedian-turned psychopathic murderer with no definitive ties to the Batman universe. Word-of-mouth will be what kills this movie or turns it into a surprising hit. Regardless, count on Phoenix to turn in one heckuva performance. I can only imagine how mesmerizing and disturbing his take on the Joker will be.
Other genre movies of note out this year are: “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” (Feb. 7), “Alita: Battle Angel” (Feb. 14), “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (Feb. 22), a rebooted “Hellboy” (April 12), “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (May 31), “Toy Story 4” (June 31) and little something being released Dec. 20 called — at least so far — “Star Wars: Episode IX.”
This year, DC is treating fans to an incredibly strong lineup of four animated movies on Blu-ray and DVD: “Reign of the Supermen,” “Justice League vs. the Fatal Five,” “Batman: Hush” and “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.”
“Justice League vs. the Fatal Five” has me the most excited since it's set after the “Justice League Unlimited” series and reunites the voice actors for DC’s Big Three: Kevin Conroy as Batman, George Newbern as Superman and Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman. Needless to say, it has been much, much too long for a sequel to the 2009 “Wonder Woman” movie — in my top four the previous 30 animated DC flicks— so I’m plenty pumped to see “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.”
Reflector staff writer Cary Ashby shares his views, reviews, previews and interviews about the superhero industry and action-adventure genre on his Cary’s Comics Craze blog, caryscomicscraze.blogspot.com. CCC originally ran as a twice-monthly column in the Reflector for nearly 10 years. Follow Ashby on Facebook at “Cary Ashby — reporter & comic book blogger” and on Twitter at @Cary_reporter.