2018 was a banner year for comic-book film devotees. Last year brought us moments such as Miles Morales meeting interdimensional spider-people, Tom Hardy giving his twitchiest performance to date as Eddie Brock, Jason Momoa fighting a sea monster voiced by Julie Andrews and, of course, the snap heard ‘round the world. But that’s not to say that 2018 can’t be topped; caped-crusader obsessives have a lot to anticipate in 2019. So grab your spandex and suspend your disbelief: Here are all of the superhero showdowns that the new year has to offer.
“Captain Marvel” (March 8)
After making her unofficial entrance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe via pager in the post-credits scene of “Avengers: Infinity War,” human-Kree hybrid and “noble warrior hero” Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) will formally introduce herself to audiences with her solo film in March. The film will take place in the 1990s and chronicle the origins of a hero who might just be powerful enough to send Thanos (Josh Brolin) packing. Boasting a plot that spans multiple planets and a stacked cast including MCU mainstay Samuel L. Jackson, “Crazy Rich Asians” alumna Gemma Chan and everyone’s favorite hot Dumbledore, Jude Law, Carol’s debut is sure to be, um, Marvel-ous.
“Shazam!” (April 5)
The story of “Shazam!” — a 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) magically acquiring the ability to turn into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) — is more irreverent than what we’ve all come to expect from the largely self-important and growing shortlist of heroes over at DC Comics. With early trailers showcasing Levi’s comedic chops and leaning into the zany origins of the character, “Shazam!” is looking like a fun ride that, if not a cinematic tour de force, will at least inspire some laughs.
“Hellboy” (April 12)
Eleven years after the last film starring Hellboy was released, David Harbour of “Stranger Things” fame is aiming to reinvent the beloved half-demon character this April with a story revolving around Hellboy trying to defeat an evil sorceress. Seeing as former writer-director Guillermo del Toro is no longer in creative control of the franchise, fans are crossing their fingers that director Neil Marshall can make this reboot worth their while.
“Avengers: Endgame” (April 26)
The follow-up to 2018’s grave “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Avengers: Endgame” promises to be the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we all know it. The plot is murky — all that’s known so far is that Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is in space, leaving the rest of the earthbound Avengers to try and defeat the deranged Thanos — but that hasn’t stopped fans from cooking up a variety of kooky theories during the long buildup to the film’s release. We’re forecasting the following: time travel, a few resurrections, a box-office record or two, and droves of nerds crying into their popcorn in theaters.
“Dark Phoenix” (June 7)
Aiming to adapt the same iconic comic-book arc as critically panned 2006 entry “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Dark Phoenix” will pit the X-Men against Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), who’s beginning to succumb to a powerful, dark force beyond her control. It will undoubtedly be a delight to watch James McAvoy’s Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto act as frenemies once again, but seeing as Simon Kinberg — a co-writer of “X-Men: The Last Stand” — is directing this entry, X-Men fans had better temper their hopes.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 5)
The sequel to 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” will follow the noticeably not-dead Peter Parker (Tom Holland) on his school trip across Europe. Fans will be delighted to see the return of supporting characters such as Zendaya as M.J. and Jacob Batalon as Ned — but, judging by the reaction to the movie’s first trailer, the standout is bound to be Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, aka the greatest thing to happen to the “Spider-Man” film franchise since Alfred Molina as Doc Ock.
“The New Mutants” (Aug. 2)
Marketed as more of a horror-superhero hybrid than a straight-up comic-book movie, this entry into the “X-Men” cinematic canon will see five young mutants fight to escape a high-security facility while reckoning with their newly discovered powers. Fox has delayed this film’s release twice, and with rumors of another delay surfacing, let’s just hope we get to see this film before 2019 ends.
“Joker” (Oct. 4)
Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular character, this origin story for Bruce Wayne’s famed archnemesis has some big, clown-sized shoes to fill (and some Jared Leto-sized disappointments to make up for). While this writer isn’t quite convinced that a Joker movie without Batman can work, there’s still some hope that this eclectic venture will delight the Clown Prince of Crime’s admirers and close out the 2019 slate of superhero films with a bang.