Film Surf Report: Super Hero Franchises Save Us From Looking at Our Phones (and from Reading Books – Shazam!)

AQUAMAN POSTER

Santa Monica, CA — With the Dog Days of Summer comes a bit of a lull in big super hero franchise films, so let’s enjoy the respite and look forward to the months (and years) ahead, shall we?

Interestingly, DC Comics and Warner Bros. seem to be taking a Villainous approach to their franchises having recently greenlit a Birds of Prey film starring Margot Robbie and not one, but two Joker solo films starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jared Leto, respectfully.

Of course, the super hero is only as good as the super villain opposing him/her, but I gotta say I don’t really care about a Joker origin story.  Yawn. He’s nuts. Less is more. I have serious doubts about this approach, however, were I a betting man, I would place my pesos on Universal’s upcoming Glass, the 3rd film in the Unbreakable franchise, which explores super heroes and super villains. DC should take note!

Meanwhile, here’s what/who’s about to hit the big screen. You may want to prepare yourself for multiple doses of Jude Law and James McAvoy:

JUDE LAW AS YOUNG DUMBLEDORE IN FB

  • Venom Oct. 5th — Hopes were not high until Tom Hardy signed on to play Venom, the anti-hero of the Spider-Man Universe. Interested. Underpaid actor Michelle Williams co-stars. Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directs. Here is the most recent Trailer which shows Michelle Williams running a lot. Got a bad feeling about this one, gang.
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix  Nov. 2nd — Too soon. I still remember the Famke Janssen version of X3, and young Jean Grey was just okay in Apocalypse. Fox is going to the X-Well once too often, I fear. Simon Kinberg directs. Jessica Chastain plays the Villain, who is taken from the original Comic.  Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy return as does Evan Peters as Quicksilver.  Feels Ho Hum to me. Been here, done that.  Meanwhile, someone dies! Any guesses? Here’s the Trailer. Yawn.
  • Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them: The Crimes of Grindewald  Nov. 16th — David Yates directs the 2nd of the planned five films in the franchise that will likely culminate in the big duel between Grindewald (Johnny Depp) and a young Dumbledore!  (Jude LawThe Latest Trailer Looks Great! Young Dumbledore Suits Jude Law via EW
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse  Dec. 14th — This animated movie explores a post-Peter Parker world and features Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy.
  • Aquaman  Dec. 21st — Man, I hope DC Comics/WB gets it right here.  Jason Momoa looks great holding a trident, confronting Bruce Wayne, etc. in Justice LeagueAmber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman also star. James Wan (Fast & Furious 7, The Conjuring) directs. Here’s The Trailer Which Looks Uneven To Me. Supposedly it’s not an Origin Story but expect a lot of humor a la Thor: RagnorakEW’s 1st Look Make It Sound Like An Origin Story, Tho!

GLASS

Here’s a Peek at  2 0 1 9:

  • Glass — Jan. 18th — M. Night Shyamalan’s follow up to 2016’s Split and Unbreakable features characters from both films (James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson) who think they are super heroes and/or villains. Looks great.  Here’s the Trailer which premiered at Comic-Con
  • Fox/Marvel Film  Feb. 14th — That Fantastic Four option appears to be lapsing.  Doctor Doom perhaps? Or possibly, Multiple Man starring James Franco! Simon Kinsberg produces from a script by Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman).
  • X-Men: New Mutants Feb. 22nd — Josh Boone directing a new group of mutants that will likely include Wolfsbane, Rachel Summers, and MagmaJames McAvoy returns as Professor X.
  • Captain Marvel  March 8th — Okay, Brie Larson. Ya got your work cut out for ya. Story is set pre-Avengers in the ’90s with Nick Fury not wearing an eye patch! Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck direct. Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Tomb Raider) scripts. Jude Law co-stars (in everything!). Film sets up Captain Marvel as the Avenger to beat in the ensuing Avengers 4 where Thanos gets his due.
  • Shazam! April 5th  David F. Sandberg (Annabelle) set to direct with Zachary Levi stars in a story reminiscent of Tom Hank’s Big, and Dwayne Johnson is set to produce and to star as Black Adam, the villain of Shazam!, in a spinoff film, but Johnson is reportedly not appearing in Shazam! (or is he?). The Trailer Goes For Laughs (And Misses)

AVENGERS INFINITY WAR POSTER

  • Avengers 4  May 3rd — What was to have been a 2-parter from The Russo Bros. has now become Avengers 4 which supposedly wraps up the current group, including expensive paycheck players Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America who completes his contract with Marvel with this film. Fingers crossed that Thor survives. Black Widow must because she’s getting her own solo film! Look for a big assist from Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel, as well.  The End of the MCU (As We Knew It) Via GQ
  • Gambit  June 7th — Channing Tatum, anyone? The loss of director Gore Verbinski has resulted in yet another delay. New Director is TBA. Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) co-stars.
  • Men in Black: The Spinoff — June 14th —  Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjani, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson topline this Sony re-boot. F. Gary Gray directs from a script by Iron Man scribes Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.  Hopes high, I think.
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home   July 5th — Tom Holland and Marisa Tomei scored in Civil War and are rewarded with a 3-parter.  Expect director Jon Watts to return for the sequel. Jake Gyllenhall in talks to star as the villain, Mysterio. Gotta say, Tom Holland is really winning in this role (and I am a fan of the Tobey trilogy). Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders also appear. Interesting!
  • Birds of Prey (aka, Untitled Girl Gang Project) TBD. Margot Robbie co-produces and stars as Harley Quinn.  Cathy Yan (Dead Pigs) directs from a script by Christina Hodson. The villain will be Black Mask.
  • X-Force A team franchise led by Deadpool, Fox will make it work for better or worse (Fantastic Four anyone?). Drew Goddard writes and directs this non-virtuous team of X-Men which also includes Josh Brolin’s Cable. Ryan Reynolds gets an EP credit. Perhaps, the Fox sale to Disney will stall this franchise once Marvel gains complete control.
  • Joker: My Life & Times (working title) – Oct. 4th  — Todd Phillips’ (The Hangover) solo story stars Joaquin Phoenix as Batman’s arch-nemesis following in the notable footsteps of Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill, and most recently, Jared Leto. Here’s the details via Deadline Hollywood
  • Wonder Woman 1984 — Nov. 1st — Director Patty Jenkins has set the sequel story during the Cold War with Russia. Who’s the next villain for Diana: Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) will play Diana’s nemesis, Cheetah.
  • James Bond 25 — Nov. 8th — Purvis and Wade scripting. Danny Boyle directs. MGM  distributes. Daniel Craig returns one more time as James Bond, though. More info forthcoming including a return for Monica Bellucci.
  • Fantastic Beasts 3 (Nov. 15th) More Dumbledore! Less Johnny Depp. I anticipate FB2 will be a smash it as the story escalates between Dumbledore and Grindewald with a big assist by Newt.
  • Untitled Fox/Marvel Film — Nov. 22nd — More X-Men! Or possibly, Dr. Doom from Fantastic Four with Noah Hawley (Legion) helming.
  • Star Wars, Ep. IX   — Dec. 20th —  LucasFilm is using previously shot footage so it will be interesting to see how they deal with the untimely death of Carrie Fisher and her alter ego, Princess/General Leia? JJ Abrams returns to the franchise in the director’s chair after a troubling start. I predict the storyline for The Skywalkers gets wrapped up. No more Death Stars, please! Fisher had the last line in The Last JediWe have everything we need. Let’s hope so. Keri Russell has been cast in an as yet unknown role.

CARRIE AS GENERAL LEIA

N E X T   U P:

Female Characters Who Deserve Their Own Movie!

TRINITY

 

About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things TransMedia from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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