The Best of the Big Screen in 2018

We’re one week into the new year and there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to big studio movies for 2018. In addition to all the sequels coming our way, exciting new characters and stories will be brought to the screen, not mention all the independent movies that will hopefully be gracing theatres near you. This list is unabashedly basic and comic book property heavy with just a touch of indie flair, but these are the films that have me excited for 2018.

5. Sorry to Bother You  

Sorry to Bother You may not be on many people’s radars yet, but I imagine that will change once this debuts at Sundance. The star power behind this film is incredible. For one, you have Forrest Whitaker listed as one of the producers, plus it stars Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Armie Hammer, among others. The premise is that Cassius Green (Stanfield) is a telemarketer who works at a company that does not have the good of the customers or the world at their heart. He discovers a preternatural gift to sell anything and quickly rises up the ranks, only to discover a dark secret at the company. The IMBD lists the genres for Sorry to Bother you as “Comedy, Fantasy, and Sci-Fi,” so that’s definitely something to be excited about as I’m a huge fan of all of those genres, especially when done well. There isn’t a trailer for this movie yet, but the cast and crew plus some still photos were enough to sell me on this idea. It’s at the bottom of my list solely because I don’t know when this will get a release outside of Sundance. This is definitely one that would make me travel far and wide to see.

4. Avengers: Infinity War (May 4th)

Surely, I don’t have to summarize the plot of the ongoing MCU for you. You already know all the awesome characters that are going to come together on screen for Marvel’s biggest movie yet. Every time I see the trailer I get more excited to see where the Russo Brothers and the Powers That Be will take the characters next. I don’t want to see my favorites die, but I’m not the only one who feels that many won’t make it out of this film alive. That may sound like a complaint, but I’m actually excited about that. It’s been a while since a big franchise film to had such high stakes.

The only reason this isn’t higher on my list is that I do have a bit of apprehension about this movie. For one, Thanos did look a bit ridiculous in the trailer compared to his appearance in other MCU movies. I think it has to do, in part, with his helmet being absent, and him being a larger than life character cloaked in somewhat unconvincing CGI. (When has that ever gone well?) The other element that has me worried is actually combining ALL of the characters together. Don’t get me wrong, I was worried about the first Avengers for the same reason, but this is even bigger. I know the Russo’s are capable directors and I’m curious to see how they’ll handle each character in this movie. My apprehensions are minor and definitely won’t stop me from being at the theater on opening night.

3. Deadpool 2 (June 1st)

Who could have predicted that Deadpool would be the comeback king of 2016? Fans of the character definitely lost hope when they put him X-Men Origins: Wolverine and subsequently sewed his mouth shut, but that “leaked” Deadpool teaser footage renewed their faith that given the right tools, he could have a successful turn in film. More than successful actually – Deadpool was a record breaking film. People have been worried about the sequel because original Deadpool director Tim Miller was let go and replaced with David Leitch. I’m not as worried about that change considering Leitch’s most notable film is Atomic Blonde, an impressive, action-packed Cold War era spy film which had a smaller production budget than Deadpool. Returning to pen the screenplay for the sequel are Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and with Ryan Reynold’s serving as a producer, I have little to doubt about this one.

The only thing that has me a bit curious is the timing of this release in the heart of summer blockbuster season. I thought it was really smart to release the first one around Valentine’s day, as that wasn’t a huge month for action movies, and  counter-programming to the season seemed to be a big boon for its box office. Plus all the hilarious marketing that went with it being that season. The marketing for the sequel, or this case, non-marketing has been hysterical too. The “Bob Ross” one is definitely my favorite of the two so far. I can’t wait to see what this movie does to skewer sequel tropes just as it’s predecessor did with general origin story cliches.

2. Ready Player One (March 30th)

It’s freaking Spielberg. Hello. Spielberg has done little wrong over his long and storied career. If you’re a child of the 80s or 90s, your nostalgia is built on the backbone of his filmography. In fact, most of his work from the 80s, whether he directed it or produced it, is the basis for Ready Player One. I enjoyed the novel from a story perspective, even though the writing style was not my cup of tea. The screenplay has been co-written by Ernest Cline, the author of the novel, and Zak Penn, who has story credits on The Avengers and The Incredible Hulk. Considering few authors have any control over how their works get adapted for screen, this is very promising. Any changes that we might complain about as fans could very well be at the creative team’s insistence with author approval. I know that is definitely one of my concerns considering the whole novel is a mega-load of 80s nostalgia from all aspects of geekdom. What will remain unchanged and what will replace what they didn’t get the rights for? We already know from the trailer that tons of non-1980s characters will be inside The Oasis, which leaves me wondering what was cut.

My other apprehension with this movie is how they’ll pull off the narrative. We’ve seen trailer footage and the split between Reality and The Oasis looks promising, but that’s just a small piece of getting this adaptation right. The novel is quite sizeable, so how are they going to include all the important elements without sacrificing anything that is essential? I feel that we’ll be experiencing quite a few montages to help bring this narrative to the screen. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What would an homage to the 80s be without a montage or two? If anyone can pull this sizable endeavor off it’s Spielberg. Now if they would fix that leg situation in the poster.

1. Black Panther (February 16)

Black Panther is the only release on this list that I can’t think of a single worry for. In fact, if I could just write a list that had 5 slots for this movie and move the rest down the appropriate spaces I would. I’m that excited for this movie that it figuratively makes me forget about all the other cool stuff coming out this year. When you ask me what I’m excited for, I don’t have to hesitate. Black Panther. Always. Its director Ryan Coogler has a great track record with his previous releases, earning both critical and audience praise. Its cast is absolutely amazing. Not only do you have screen veterans Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker, but they’re joined by a new generation of amazing actors with Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, and Chadwick Boseman. Oh, and Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis are in it too. But let’s talk more about the star of this vehicle. Chadwick Boseman is T’Challa. What little screen time he had in Civil War proved that he embodies this character, making him quite frankly one of the best aspects of that movie. Boseman has a way of transforming himself into his characters, so much so that you’re surprised to hear his actual accent in interviews.

I have a feeling that we’ll be witness to something amazing when this makes its premiere in February. I think it’s perfect timing to choose that month for the release too. As I said with Deadpool, February isn’t well known for big-action blockbusters. Black Panther could have easily been a big summer release, but I think it will have a greater impact in February. Not only because February is also Black History Month in the United States, but because of its probable lack of competition, it has the potential to break some records. Every trailer has been well-crafted and just shows enough to whet our appetites but not spoil our dinner. I hope this one is so good it opens doors for an even greater roster of heroes on the screen, and not just ones with super suits or powers.

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