It’s going to rain genre movies in 2019. There are too many to even list, so let’s just look at the top 10 comic book and sci-fi movies of 2019, in reverse order of my enthusiasm. (Release dates are subject to change.)
“Glass” (Jan. 18): “Unbreakable” had comics fans feeling smug, because we knew the color code director M. Night Shyamalan was using to give us advance tips on the characters before the script did. (Hint: Superheroes generally wear primary colors, whereas villains favor purple, green and orange.) Shyamalan’s stock fell for a while, before being rescued by “Split.” Now comes “Glass,” which is a sequel to both movies.
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (May 31): I hear there are some people who don’t love Godzilla, and didn’t spend Saturday afternoons in their youth thrilled by the sight of men in rubber suits trampling tiny models of Tokyo. I don’t understand such people. My kind of person will be front and center for this updated take on the Big G, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah.
“Shazam!” (April 5): Only some people will remember this DC hero, who sold as well as Superman in the ’40s. This is the story of a boy who is given a magic word from a dying wizard that turns him into an immature, but genial, superpowered adult. Now called Shazam, this lighthearted character is the perfect antidote to the grimdark grimness of movies like “Batman v Superman.”
“The New Mutants” (Aug. 2): This next generation group of X-Men, introduced at Marvel in 1982, had some pretty strange, non-superhero-ish adventures. One was a straight-up horror show titled “The Demon Bear” — and that’s what we’re getting in this hero/horror hybrid.
“Dark Phoenix” (June 7): This movie promises a more faithful adaptation of the famed X-Men story “The Dark Phoenix Saga” than the mess we saw in “X-Men: The Last Stand.” It’s also probably the last X-movie before Disney reboots the franchise, so this is probably the last X-dance for James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.
“Hellboy” (April 12): The two movies directed by Guillermo del Toro, which starred Ron Perlman as the demonic hero, were perfectly enjoyable films. But they weren’t really Hellboy. This new version, starring David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) promises to be more faithful to the comics, so that movie viewers can see why comics fans have loved Hellboy for so many years.
“Captain Marvel” (March 8): Yes, it’s Marvel’s first female-led superhero movie. Yes, it’s Marvel’s first period-piece superhero movie. But is it good? I’m hoping for “Wonder Woman” good, but I’ll settle for “Ant-Man” good.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” (July 5): Tom Holland made us fall in love with Peter Parker all over again in “Civil War” and “Homecoming.” Bring on Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the popcorn!
"Star Wars" Episode IX (Dec. 20): The last Star Wars movie got a lot of hate, and I for one have no idea why. But maybe it shook the powers that be, because “Star Wars” mastermind J.J. Abrams himself returns to direct this (unnamed) installment.
“Avengers: Endgame” (April 26): There’s not a lot to say about this movie, because we know so little. But evidently we don’t need to know anything, because “Endgame” is setting records for trailer views and advance ticket sales.