Previewing the Top Movies of 2019

2018 was kind of a let-down for me as far as films were concerned. I struggled all year to find a movie that I could definitively say was my favorite movie of 2018, but I suppose Into the Spider-Verse probably comes closest. But that’s not the way it’s supposed to be, is it? I’m supposed to walk out of a movie theater absolutely convinced that what I just saw was my favorite of the year, at least until I get the chance to see if the next movie can top it. Luckily for me, 2019 is shaping up to be an absolute monster of a year with a ton of films I’m super excited to go see.

Avengers: Endgame

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Marvel fanboy, and who out there isn’t excited for the culmination of a story nearly 11 years in the making? Marvel began something special back in 2008 with Iron Man, and since then their shared universe has expanded to television and even streaming services like Netflix. But it’s the films that we all go to see, and Avengers: Endgame will likely be the final farewell for at least a few of the characters we’ve been following so far, before Marvel rolls out the new roster in the coming years. You have until April 26th to get caught up and watch all 21 previous movies (which includes Captain Marvel’s release just a month prior on March 8).

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Speaking of shared universes, this movie is the third in Legendary’s “Monsterverse” and is the front-runner to be my personal favorite film of the year. While 2014’s Godzilla served as a semi-lackluster debut, it’s hard to deny that the last 20 minutes of the movie are freaking epic. Godzilla fights two other massive monsters at the same time and the all-out brawl ends in the best way possible: with Godzilla bruised and battered, but triumphant. 2017’s Kong: Skull Island is the second entry in the universe and is tied for my favorite movie of that year. It kicked so much ass that I had to buy one of those cushioned butt-pillows just to sit down afterwards. Godzilla: King of the Monsters has Godzilla and three other massive kaiju from Toho fame: Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. If you’re as hyped as I am to see a bunch of monsters from your childhood duke it out, then you need to mark May 31st on your calendar.

Toy Story 4

The Toy Story franchise is one of those weird movie franchises that just gets better and better with each film. While the second entry is my personal favorite, it’s easy to prefer the fun and emotional trauma offered up by Toy Story 3. In my opinion, that movie served as the perfect ending to an almost flawless trilogy and the story probably should have been left alone. Having said that, the guys at Pixar usually knock it out the park (remember that Cars 2 still exists as the exception to that rule) so I’m pretty optimistic that they can make the fourth outing of Buzz and Woody just as interesting as the first three. Look for it on June 21st of this year.

Various Disney Live-Action Films

I’m just going to lump these together to save us both some time. You know what these are and you know whether or not you’re among the target audience. Personally, I haven’t been crazy at all for Disney’s live-action reboots of beloved animated classics. They just seem to be a bit redundant, and to me they contain a lot of the worst aspects of the original movies without offering up enough new and compelling content to justify their existence. They really seem like half-baked cash grabs that don’t really need to exist, but there’s a chance that maybe one of these three movies will be pretty good. I’m holding out hope for The Lion King because it’s directed by Jon Favreau and features Donald Glover as Simba, although there’s a good chance that the Dumbo film will also be watchable. I’m a bit nervous about Aladdin though, because a lot of that franchise’s strength came from Robin Williams as the Genie and Will Smith is no Robin Williams. But hey, who knows? The Fresh Prince might prove that he still has it. Look for Dumbo on March 29th, Aladdin on May 24th, and The Lion King on July 19th.

It: Chapter 2

Let’s take a break from all this light-hearted stuff, okay? The first It film not featuring Tim Curry came out in 2017 to a lot of hype and praise. I wasn’t a massive fan of the movie despite my unabashed love of all things Stephen King. Most of the scares were laughably bad (Pennywise’s signature scare move was slithering awkwardly towards the camera at high-speed like some kind of confused/drunk snake) but the performances of the children were fantastic. To me, the coming of age story following the children was far more compelling than anything that had to do with Pennywise and that makes me wary of It: Chapter 2 when all of those children are replaced by their adult counter-parts. Part of me hopes the film might contain a flashback or two to the characters as children, but I’m not holding out a ton of hope for that because their story was completely told in part one. This sequel has the potential to be really good because it’s source material is really good…I just hope they nail the scares this time around. Look for it in theaters on September 6th.

Star Wars: Episode IX

If the technology existed to measure hype levels, mine in December 2015 would have been literally off the charts. The Force Awakens was the perfect love letter to the original trilogy, while ushering in fantastic new characters and a new story that proved that Star Wars was back and better than ever. And then Rogue One happened and it was just… okay. And then The Last Jedi happened and it was pretty much terrible. And then Solo: A Star Wars Story came out, and I was one of the seven people who actually saw that (and sort of enjoyed it a little). And now here we are, on the verge of the next Star Wars film already and everybody is wondering just what kind of movie it’s going to be with J.J. Abrams back at the helm. Will it be a shot-for-shot remake of Return of the Jedi (admittedly) done very well? Will it be this random film featuring a 152 minute long spaceship chase scene, with a bunch of silly shenanigans thrown in and a bunch of disappointing non-revelations about characters introduced only one film earlier? There’s no telling. I’ll probably see this because it’s freaking Star Wars…but I sense a great disturbance in the force. Like millions of good Star Wars films cried out in terror, but were suddenly silenced. Approach your nearest theater cautiously on December 20th if you wish to see this one.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

The first Lego Movie pretty much took us all by surprise when it came out in 2014. It was actually…good. Really good. The characters were fun and hilarious, the story was equal parts silly and compelling, and the hour and a half Lego commercial we were tricked into watching made us all go out and spend $199.99 on some 1000 piece Lego sets in an effort to recapture that magical feeling of being a kid. The second film looks to expand on all of the strengths of the first, while taking the series in a new direction with new Legos and new adventures. You were right, catchy song from the first film: everything IS awesome. Catch this one soon on February 8th.

Detective Pikachu

I’ll admit it. I’m old. I played the original Pokemon games on my Gameboy Color back in the day and I’ve owned at least one Pokemon game in every generation since, though I don’t quite obsess over it like I did back in the day. To say that the first live-action cinematic Pokemon adventure is going to be odd is a bit of an understatement. This is a movie about Pikachu…as a detective…that wears a hat…and…talks. Oh, and he sounds like Ryan Reynolds. So uh…yeah. That’s a thing. I honestly really want to like this, and I think that if there was ever going to be a way to bring live-action Pokemon to the big screen, it was probably always going to have to be something like this. So I’m optimistic. Cautiously optimistic. I love Pokemon and I love Ryan Reynolds, so surely this can’t turn out too badly. Right? Find out if this movie is Super-effective on May 10th.

Honorable mentions

So there you have it! But before I go, I thought I’d offer up a few more films coming out that you may or may not want to go see. Remember that 2019 is going to be packed with awesome films, so budget accordingly (RIP Moviepass, you will only be semi-missed).

Spider-Man: Far From Home
Releasing on July 5th
Releasing on April 5th
Releasing on April 12th
Releasing on October 4th
John Wick: Chapter 3
Releasing on May 17th
Pet Sematary
Releasing on April 5th

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