2018 Superhero Movie Preview
Remember when people were worried about “superhero fatigue”? So much for that! The superhero movie genre is thriving, with more and more major studio releases landing in theaters every year. In 2017, superhero movies accounted for five of the top ten spots at the domestic box office and grossed nearly $6 billion worldwide, and 2018 is shaping up to be even bigger, with more superhero films on the lineup than ever before — even after Fox pushed The New Mutants back to 2019.
It’s an especially huge year for Marvel fans, with Disney, Sony, and Fox all breaking out big gun sequels and superhero debuts from the wildly anticipated MCU culmination Avengers: Infinity War to Tom Hardy‘s Venom and even an animated Spider-Man movie. We’re also finally getting Brad Bird‘s long-developed Incredibles 2, which is no small cause for celebration.
Get the details on every major superhero film landing in theaters this year below.
Release Date: February 16, 2018
Director: Ryan Coogler
Writers: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, and John Kani.
What It’s About: After making a scene-stealing debut in Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman‘s Black Panther gets his own solo film that follows his journey as he assumes the mantle as king of Wakanda. When powerful old enemies threaten T’Challa’s reign, and the whole world along with it, the new king and sacred protector of the Wakandan people has to rally his allies and unleash his full powers of the Black Panther to save the day and preserve the Wakandan way of life.
Why We’re Excited For It: So. Many. Reasons. Ryan Coogler has proven himself an extraordinary and exciting voice in filmmaking, and he’s never had this kind of budget or fantastical freedom to realize his visions. To do so, he recruited one of the most impressive casts you’ll see anywhere this year, and every single new glimpse at the film only further reinforces how special this thing is going to be if all the pieces fall into place. Marvel has made a habit of exploring ever-more-stunning worlds with their recent string of films, and Coogler’s vision of Wakanda promises to be one of the most dazzling yet — not to mention one of the most important; an Afrofuturist vision of a thriving, untouched Africa.
Avengers: Infinity War
Release Date: May 18th
Directors: Joe and Anthony Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Josh Brolin, Zoe Saldana, Tessa Thompason, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, Karen Gillan, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Angela Bassett, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, Jeremy Renner, Danai Guirra, Vin Diesel, Benedict Wong, Bradley Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Linda Cardellini
What It’s About: This is what it’s all been building towards. Thanos (Josh Brolin) finally takes matters into his own hands, landing on Earth in search of the Infinity Stones that will grant him unlimited power. He runs up against just about every MCU character we’ve seen thus far, and he’s joined by his Black Order, a group of lethal aliens who murder and pillage for their dear leader. Will our heroes be victorious, or is all lost?
Why We’re Excited For It: Because this is what it’s all be building towards. Ever since Thanos showed up at the end of The Avengers, Marvel Studios set into motion a franchise-long arc involving Infinity Stones that has been threaded through each movie. We’ll finally see what the endgame looks like in Avengers: Infinity War, and in the process we’ll get to see our favorite MCU characters rub elbows with one another.
Release Date: May 18th
Director: David Leitch
Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beets, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, and Stefan Kapicic
What It’s About: Well we don’t know exactly since the first Deadpool 2 trailer was mostly Ryan Reynolds’ foul-mouthed lead character doing a Bob Ross impression, but it certainly looks fun. We do know that Josh Brolin is playing Cable, whose character is poised to have a major future in this franchise, and Atlanta standout Zazie Beets plays Domino, a mercenary mutant with a luck-infused ability.
Why We’re Excited For It: Aside from the comedic antics, the addition of David Leitch as director promises to expand the visual palette of this franchise. The first Deadpool was great for what it was, but director Tim Miller was operating on a very small budget. This time around, the guy who directed John Wick: Chapter 2 is at the helm, so there will hopefully be even more scope and inventiveness when it comes to the action.
Ant-Man and The Wasp
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Director: Peyton Reed
Writers: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferarri, and Paul Rudd
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Walton Goggins, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Randall Park, Judy Greer and Hannah John-Kamen
What It’s About: After bumbling his way into a career as a superhero, Paul Rudd‘s Scott Lang struggles to balance the demands of the high-stakes job and the equally important home life demands of being a father. Meanwhile, he teams once again with Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym to take down a new threat, uncover mysteries from the past, and further investigate the quantum realm. Ant-Man director Peyton Reed returns with most of the original cast, as well as some knockout additions like Walton Goggins and Michelle Pfieffer.
Why We’re Excited: The Wasp! Evangeline Lily was an ass-kicking scene-stealer in Ant-Man and with Ant-Man and the Wasp, we finally get to see her fully suited up and in action. Ant-Man and the Wasp also promises to go wilder and more far-out with the Quantum realm, a fantastically promising concept that opens up endless possibilities from the film’s aesthetic to the very fabric and future of the MCU.
Release Date: October 8th
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Writers: Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, and Kelly Marcel
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Reid Scott
What It’s About: Based on the Marvel Comics villain/symbiote, a Venom movie has been in the works for a long while. It’s finally coming to fruition via Zombieland and Gangster Squad director Ruben Fleischer, who’s drawing inspiration from two comics arcs: Lethal Protector and Planet of the Symbiotes. The story finds reporter Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) living in San Francisco and struggling with the Venom symbiote, but most everything else is being kept under wraps.
Why We’re Excited For It: Mostly because of the cast. Tom Hardy is one of the most interesting actors working today, and ditto to Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, and Jenny Slate. Sony reportedly plans for this to be an R-rated adventure, and the question of whether Spider-Man will or won’t be in the film adds yet another layer of intrigue.
Release Date: December 21, 2018
Director: James Wan
Writer: Will Beall
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, and Willem Dafoe
What It’s About: After appearing in Batman v. Superman and co-starring in Justice League, Jason Momoa‘s Aquaman finally gets a proper origin story. Official plot details have been scarce, but The Conjuring and Fast & Furious 7 director James Wan directs the desent down to Atlantis, where we learn the aquatic superhero’s origin story and explore one of the most mystical, mythic realms in the DC universe.
Why We’re Excited: After striking gold with Wonder Woman, the DCEU fumbled again with Justice League, and Arthur Curry’s brief trip down to Atlantis was one of the lowpoins of the film — a flat, kinetically-drained sequence that barely seemed under water. Fortunately, Wan was an inspired choice to bring Atlantis to life in full. He’s an accomplished filmmaker with a proven knack for action and visually distinct world-building. Momoa has the charm and certainly the physicality to become a DC all-star, and with Wan’s filmmaking finesse, Aquaman could become one of the best DCEU films yet. And with Patrick Wilson on board as the nefarious Ocean Master, fingers crossed Wan side-steps the CGI villain in favor of something compelling.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Release Date: November 2nd
Writer/Director: Simon Kinberg
Cast: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain, Nicholas Hoult, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Evan Peters
What It’s About: The X-Men are finally going cosmic! Longtime X-Men producer/writer Simon Kinberg makes his directorial debut by adapting the comics arc Dark Phoenix, and indeed the film will see Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) forever changed while on a mission in space. It puts the strain on the entire X-Men team, while Jessica Chastain’s mysterious alien with shapeshifting abilities complicates matters. Moreover, X-Men: Dark Phoenix apparently has a twist halfway through that ups the stakes even further.
Why We’re Excited For It: While Kinberg already kind of adapted Dark Phoenix in X-Men: The Last Stand, that film was compromised on many levels. Moreover, Dark Phoenix marks the first time Kinberg gets to call all the shots, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of X-Men movie he wants to make. Fox has been mixing things up with its superhero movies lately, offering a somber drama with Logan and a horror film with New Mutants, so it’ll be exciting to see how Kinberg expands the limits of what a “superhero movie” can be with this sequel.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Release Date: December 14, 2018
Directors: Bob Perschietti, Peter Ramsey
Writer: Phil Lord
Cast: Shameik Moore, Mahershala Ali and Liev Schrieber
What It’s About: From The Lego Movie and 21 Jumpstreet Wunderkinds Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse brings a fresh vision of Spider-Man that finally dares to leave Peter Parker behind. The film introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, who was introduced in the comics back in 2011 after the death of Peter Parker.
Why We’re Excited: The idea of a Phil Lord and Chris Miller produced animated Spidey movie always sounded like a good idea, but then the first trailer came along and dropped the mic. The animation for Spider-Man: into the Spider-Verse looks stunning and distinct, with a keen eye for action, and the energy on display was an instant ticket to hype town. It’s also exciting to finally see Miles Morales get a cinematic incarnation, a nice change of pace from string of Peter Parkers we’ve seen over the last 15 years. With Tom Holland killing it as the new Spidey in the live-action MCU, and the creative talents of Lord and Miller dishing up a new vision of the iconic character, it might just be the best time ever to be a Spider-Man fan.
Release Date: June 15th
Writer/Director: Brad Bird
Cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, and Samuel L. Jackson
What It’s About: Filmmaker Brad Bird long said he had an idea for Incredibles 2, and indeed once he committed to making the film, this sequel flew through the production process at Pixar in what feels like record speed. The follow-up picks up literally seconds after the first Incredibles ended, so there’s no time jump here. But the story this time around finds Bob (Craig T. Nelson) playing homemaker while Helen (Holly Hunter) is out fighting crime, putting a modern spin on family dynamics.
Why We’re Excited: Honestly the fact that it’s a new Brad Bird movie is reason enough to be thrilled, but that it’s a sequel to Incredibles makes this all the more enticing. That film still stands as one of Pixar’s best, an intriguing chronicle of family life wrapped up in a 60s-tinged superhero tale. The idea of leaning into modern family dynamics and putting Elastigirl in front of the action is an exciting one, and we can’t wait to see what new set pieces Bird and his team have dreamed up this time around.