Comic book adaptions are worth big bucks at the box office. The last three years alone saw 20 live action superhero movies hit the big screen, and 2019 is going for broke with an incredible nine feature films of the superhero persuasion. So strap yourselves in for an epic movie viewing year. Here is your guide to every superhero movie coming in 2019.
Glass (Jan. 18)
In a year full of Marvel and DC Comics movies, the first superhero film to hit the theater comes from neither company, but rather from director M. Night Shyamalan. Early in his career he made Unbreakable with Bruce Willis as a hero as unconventional as they come, and in 2017 his film Split turned out to be a sequel of sorts, being part of the same universe. Now with the release of Glass (the name of the first film’s villain, played by Samuel L. Jackson) both earlier films come together in a mutual sequel that explores the very nature of superheroes — and superhero movies — unbeholden to any comic book company’s convoluted history. What a great way to start the year.
Captain Marvel (March 8)
Marvel Studios is releasing three movies all in the same universe that can be viewed as past, present, and future. Past is represented by Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson as the title character in Marvel’s first female-led film. It’s essentially all a flashback to the 1990s. Samuel L. Jackson (wow he’s busy!) is a younger, eyepatch-less Nick Fury dealing with an air force pilot who returns to Earth with super powers and a cosmic war following her home. Co-written and co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, there’s a lot of speculation that this movie will make or break future female superhero films.
Shazam! (April 5)
DC’s first film of the year will feature another “Captain Marvel” — renamed Shazam! due to legal reasons, obviously — and will shy away from the grimdark DCEU films of Justice League et. al. This is the story of a boy (played by Asher Angel) who gets super powers to transform him into a grownup hero (played by Zachary Levi) by saying the magic word “Shazam!” Director David F. Sandberg is at the helm; his previous work includes horror films Annabelle: Creation and Lights Out. It will be interesting to see how he handles lighthearted comic book fare.
Hellboy (April 12)
Another in a series of superhero reboots, this time taking on Dark Horse’s unlikely hero, you’d think that Hellboy has an uphill battle against its previous incarnation’s powerhouse team of actor Ron Perlman and director Guillermo Del Toro. But this version, starring David Harbour (from Stranger Things) under director Neil Marshall, is taking the material into R-rating territory, and considering that Marshall directed several episodes of Game of Thrones, including the powerful “Blackwater” episode, this film could take the Hellboy story to a frighteningly fantastic (and fantastically frightening) level.
Avengers: Endgame (April 26)
This is the main event, the middle of Marvel’s three movies this year, and the culmination of over 10 years and 20 full length films’ worth of superhero saga. It will also spell the end for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, as several of its stars are confirmed to be retiring from their roles, whether their characters survived the Big Snap or not. Directed again by the Russo Brothers, who also helmed Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Captain America: Civil War. What a long, strange trip it’s been.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix (June 7)
This is the fourth and probably last in Fox’s X-Men reboot that began with X-Men: First Class, assuming the merger between Disney and Fox goes through. The story is based on the same material as the disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand, the classic Dark Phoenix storyline, and was supposed to release in 2018 but it was delayed due to reshoots. Directed by newcomer Simon Kinberg, the movie is not only a phoenix, it’s a swan song.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5)
The third of the Marvel films this year sees Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) facing off against Mysterio (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) in Europe, with the help of Nick Fury (yes, it’s Samuel L. Jackson again). Just knowing these facts kind of spoils some of the Avengers: Endgame suspense, but seriously, these are comic book movies. You can’t expect anyone to really stay dead for long. A trailer has not yet been released, probably because Spidey needs to return first in Endgame.
The New Mutants (Aug. 2)
The title refers to the X-Men spinoff comic book, but this is looking a little darker than usual. Director Josh Boone takes the helm of a mutant storyline that crosses into the horror genre. The first trailer for the film dropped back in 2017, but reshoots and edits have delayed it until this year. This and the earlier X-Men release Dark Phoenix will spell the end of Fox’s involvement with Marvel Comics movie as a separate entity, once the property is folded back into Disney, and it’s going to be interesting to see how this relationship finishes up.
Joker (Oct. 4)
One of the biggest fan complaints about 2016’s Suicide Squad was a lack of screentime for the Joker. Warner Bros. seems to have heard the feedback loud and clear, and is going to try to cash in on the character’s popularity with his first ever solo film. Heath Ledger’s interpretation of the iconic DC supervillain is a hard act to follow (just ask Jared Leto), but Joaquin Phoenix seems up to the challenge in this origin story of the most famous comic book antagonist of them all. Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and intended to be R-rated, this could be the year’s best Halloween movie without even trying.