1. Black Panther (out now)
Back in 1966 BLACK PANTHER was the first comic book to feature a superhero of African descent and now it is also the first standalone Marvel movie to feature a black character in the lead role. It has already garnered applause from multimedia screenings and it’s recent world premiere so if the tuxedo-wearing party-goers are to be believed we are in for a hell of a treat with this one. Word is that BLACK PANTHER takes the Marvel universe in new and exciting ways, much in the same way that Taiki Waititi’s THOR: RAGNAROK did last year.
2. Red Sparrow (2nd March)
Hands up who wants to see Jennifer Lawrence play a Russian ballerina / super-lethal seductress in a hard R-rated espionage thriller that features sex, nudity and copious amounts of the claret? Everyone does, surely! Director Francis Lawrence (who also directed the last three HUNGER GAMES movies with J-Law) has cast Joel Edgerton as Sparrow’s CIA nemesis / paramour and has also brought on board classy talent such as Charlotte Rampling to bring some acting weight to the movie. Word is that RED SPARROW is a visual treat that doesn’t let up on the graphic violence or nudity. Sold!
3. Isle of Dogs (23th March)
Back in 2009 director Wes Anderson brought his trademark wit, symmetry and visual inventiveness to THE FANTASTIC MR FOX and the resulting movie was a treat for both adults and children like. The director is now returning with even more talking animals with ISLE OF DOGS in a caper that is set in 2030s Japan, where “canine saturation has reached epidemic proportions” and all dogs have been exiled to a garbage-dump island.
4. Pacific Rim Uprising (March 23)
We love Guilermo Del-Toro here at SMTM! towers but in all honesty 2013s PACIFIC RIM was a slight let down in terms of character development and plot. However, do those teeny tiny details really matter when it delivered where it really mattered – huge robot vs monster smackdowns! Hell no! Despite under performing in the US and most other territories the first movie was a smash hit in China and we now have a sequel starring Finn himself, John Boyega, to look forward to. Plot-wise the film sees Boyega’s character thrust upon a global battle against huge beasties but really all we’ll be paying to see is the ensuing mayhem!
5. You Were Never Really Here (April 6)
2012’s WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN thrust director Lynn Ramsey into the movie spotlight and it’s not hard to see why. Despite being bleaker than a trip to Uncle Monty’s summer house the film was as powerful as it was terrifying, especially for any parent-to-be. Her follow-up sees Joaquin Pheonix as a hitman with issues who is trying to clear up a sex-trafficking ring in Manhattan. It looks dark and brooding, so should be walk in the park for director Ramsey!
6. Avengers: Infinity War (May 4)
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been exactly 10 years since Marvel started it’s modern cinema-defining busting of blocks with IRON MAN and now 17 movies later we’ve arrived at the mother of all team-ups with INFINITY WAR. The movie will see every superhero and main protagonist from all 17 films together in a mega smack-down that is surely too much to ask from directors Joe and Anthony Russo, isn’t it? Well they succeeded spectacularly with something similiar in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR so here’s hoping.
7. Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)
We were almost tempted to boot this off our list of must-see movies this year. Why you ask? Well, who’s idea was it to bring back a young version of everyone’s favourite space smuggler who has been as iconic as the actor that has played him since STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE back in 1977? Of all the characters they could have chosen, did it really have to be Han Solo? Alden Ehrenreich’s portrayal of Solo better be top-notch or we fear for the lad. The first trailer looks just as expected; big, daft but slightly intriguing….It is a STAR WARS movie after all so we’re giving it a shot…For now!
8. Sicario 2: Soldado (29th June)
Although the director of 2015’s Sicario (Denis Villenueve) isn’t back for the sequel we still can’t help being pretty excited to see what grim pleasures await in Sicario 2: Soldado. Emily Blunt’s FBI field agent isn’t returning for the sequel but Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro’s special ops contractors both return while the writer of the original, Taylor Sheridan is on directing duties. While the first movie brought some serious edge to the morally ambiguous world of drug trafficking the sequel is “pretty severe”, according to Josh Brolin in an interview with Vulture and that, “I saw the most recent cut and was like, ‘Fuck!’ I’m psyched about this one.” We’re psyched too Josh!
9. Creed 2 (21st November)
The Rocky franchise has a warm and fuzzy place in the hearts of SMTM! (well, maybe not Rocky V so much…) and the story of everyone’s favourite prize fighter was brought back in style with 2015’s Creed. The first movie took what we love about the franchise (plucky underdogs, an ageing and increasingly frail trainer, a rousing story and emotional pay-off) and this year’s sequel looks set to pick right up from where Creed ended. Sylvester Stallone is no longer directing (Steven Caple Jr, is stepping in) but he has confirmed that Ivan Drago’s son will be up against Michael Jordan’s Donnie in the ultimate grudge match. After all it was Drago who killed Creed senior in Rocky IV. Awkward…