Most Anticipated Movies of 2018 - Part 2

Twice a year (in January and July), I prepare a list of the ten movies I’m looking forward to the most in the coming months. I insist on including only films for which we have a definitive release date and for which we have seen a trailer, otherwise the list becomes far more prospective than I would like. My record here is, uh, spotty as I have highlighted some big hits over the years as well as few total duds. The July through December batch is difficult because of the sheer number of indie and awards-y movies that haven’t been officially slated yet and/or received a real trailer. Nevertheless, I push on and present a set of films that I think measures up to the first half of 2018’s “solid if unspectacular” standard.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mary Poppins Returns (December 28)
We’ve only seen a brief glimpse of the world’s greatest nanny (I Still think “Marry Poppins Returns” sounds like a horror movie but whatever) but the idea is a good one and I’m here for any and all things Emily Blunt. Plus, my cohort, Richard, is a big proponent of this film and his excitement has proved contagious.

 10. Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse (December 14)
Like many of you, I am exhausted by all the various Spider-Man-ing going around these days and I’m inclined to be wary of any non-Marvel incarnation at this point (see: the absence of Venom on this list). But, for one thing, this seems like the right way to venture out from the Disney safety net and for another, the animation here looks incredible. There’s a fun story to be told here and it can branch out into an excellent franchise very easily.

9. White Boy Rick (September 14)
For me, this stands out as the poster child for why trailers are valuable. White Boy Rick has been in various stages of development for quite a while now and I’d completely lost all interest in it. Then the trailer dropped and, wow, that is a fantastic trailer that left me wanting more and pumped for what we might get out this movie.

8. Ralph Breaks the Internet (November 21)
For me, Ralph is almost the antithesis of White Boy Rick: it’s a property I’ve been incredibly excited about for a long time but the trailer left me a little concerned. I’m not overly concerned, mind you (hence the placement on this list), but it was not quite what I expected and a little jarring in its meta-ness. Even still, I love the first Wreck-It Ralph, I think these characters are some of the best in recent Disney memory, and the idea is solid. Just hoping for equally solid execution.

7. Predator (September 14)
I’ve already run the gamut with this one. I think it’s a great idea, Predator needed to be rebooted, and I love Shane Black coming back to direct. I’m also a bit hesitant on some of the cast and I thought the first trailer was bad, as if the movie didn’t have to sell itself because everyone knows what the Predator is and will be flocking to see its return. The second trailer was a lot better and hopefully bodes well for what we’re about to see.

6. Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)
By the time this publishes, many of you will have already seen this one and of course, the…buzz (I sincerely apologize) around it has been great. I’m lower on the first Ant-Man than many seem to be but I love its possibilities and I expect this one to be a vast improvement on it’s already-good predecessor.  

5. Bad Times at the El Royale (October 5)
This could go extremely badly and turn into a jumbled, Smokin’ Aces-style mess, but with this cast and this trailer, I’m completely in. I’m not a big fan of director Drew Goddard’s last film (Cabin in the Woods) but I loved its premise and I love his writing and El Royale promises to be stylistically impressive, if nothing else.

 4. Mission: Impossible Fallout (July 27)
As co-president of the, “Yeah Tom Cruise is Probably a Weirdo but He Sure Makes Good Movies” fan club, there are very few things I enjoy more than Tom Cruise doing ridiculous stunts, on his own (for literally no reason other than to please his fans), in the character of Ethan Hunt. Does this look like the BEST Mission Impossible movie? No, not really, and we’re probably just going to keep chasing the success of Ghost Protocol but I’m here for it nonetheless.

3. A Star is Born (October 5)
This is another one Richard has been banging the drum for over the last few months and again, he was right. I was mildly intrigued in this remake-of-a-remake until I saw the trailer and now it’s all I can think about. I’m a sucker for a harmony and I’ve already fallen in love with this film’s music just from these brief glimpses. And Cooper and Lady Gaga look like a magnificent pairing.

2. First Man (October 12)
I am no friend of the biopic but if you’re going to do a biopic, I demand that you do that biopic with King Ryan Gosling The First of His Name and Damien Chazelle. I imagine that pairing could make a biopic about the creator of the wire hanger interesting so, of course, adding in Neil Armstrong and the Space Race doesn’t hurt First Man’s cause.

1. Creed II (November 21)
Oh my oh my oh my. I’ve been preparing for the Creed II trailer pretty much since the second I walked out of the theater for Creed (bawling my eyes out) and even still, I was unready. This trailer dropped, and I woke up in a hospital bed three days later. You guys, I mean…I’m at a loss for words. What more could I POSSIBLY want from this movie than what I’ve already seen in the trailer?! Creed is a perfect movie and this sequel looks to be following right in its footsteps. We got one, Rock!

Trailer Time: A Star is Born, 100 Animated Movies, and More!

All of the trailers came out this week. All of them. If there's a movie slated for 2018 and you've been thinking, "Hmm, I wonder when we'll get a trailer for that", it probably dropped this week. On our social media feeds, I try to comment on all the "big" trailers that come down the pipes throughout the year but this week, there was no chance, the onslaught was too much. So, here's a look at everything we've gotten a look at, so to speak, in the last few days because maybe you, too, have had trouble keeping up. 

Bumblebee (December 25)
Right off the top, I'd like to state that I do not want this movie nor any new Transformers movie to exist. The robots-in-disguise-pool has been spoiled by Michael Bay. However, I don't think Bumblebee is a bad idea and the trailer actually looks like what the Transformers movies should be: harmless fun that is NOT horribly stupid and at times racially insensitive. (I don't feel like this standard should be too difficult to achieve but here we are.) This has a chance to reset the franchise and that would be a good thing. 

The Girl in the Spider's Web (November 9)
This is a tough sell all around for me. The first book was a cultural phenomenon but has resulted in diminishing returns with each subsequent venture in either book or film form (though the Swedish-release films made an impression). We're now seven years out from David Fincher's Dragon Tattoo and 13 years from the publication of the first book and I'm not sure all that many people care anymore. Perhaps the film itself will flesh out the backstory and character development but the trailer points toward a, "Return of a legend" tact regarding Lisbeth Salander and I don't know that will resonate. 

Ralph Breaks the Internet (November 21)
I'm all-in on Wreck It Ralph and have been super pumped up for the sequel. This trailer, though, is...odd. I wasn't expecting such a meta approach to the Disney universe and I feel like that's either a massive home run or a massive failure with no in between. Here's hoping for the former. 

A Star is Born (October 5)
Richard's number one most anticipated movie of the year, A Star is Born has been in some form of pre-production for years, it seems, and all that work looks to have paid off. This trailer is incredible. If the film can capture the essence distilled into this 150 second cut, we're in for an absolute treat and these songs will be EVERYWHERE. 

Operation Finale (September 14)
I've been looking forward to this one for a while because of the cast and story. I'm hoping the clunkiness of this trailer is due to the need to distill a lot of historical information into two minutes in order to get people to the theater. I'm just not sure this subject matter is best suited for a PG-13 movie and the trailer makes me wonder if too many punches will be pulled. 

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (February 8)
I feel like people are starting to forget how much fun the first LEGO Movie was and I won't stand for it. This trailer is a reminder of the brilliance of the first movie and also the Beastie Boys are prominently featured so you know I'm super all-in. 

White Boy Rick (September 14)
The McConaissance has derailed a bit over the last year or two. The Dark Tower, Free State of Jones, Gold, and The Sea of Trees is a farcry from the tour-de-force that was Mud, True Detective, Dallas Buyer's Club, and Wolf of Wall Street. But I've been holding out hope for White Boy Rick and this trailer is excellent. Hoping it carries over to the finished project. 

Widows (November 16)
I'm not a huge fan of Steve McQueen's films or sensibilities but cannot deny the man's understanding of drama and emotion. Widows looks exactly like the gritty crime thriller I expected when it was announced and I love this cast, lead by Queen Viola Davis. 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (December 14)
Okay, I know all the competing Spider-Man and Spider-Man-adjacent movies and timelines and what not is confusing and tiring. I agree, I would like to go back to 2002 when Sam Raimi made the first Spider-Man and gather everyone together for a discussion about that future and what we needed to do to avoid this mess. All that said, Spider-Verse looks AWESOME. I'm so excited for this movie and I am in love with the animation style on display here. I sincerely hope this is a huge hit and we get a full cinematic universe out of this, franchise confusion and all. 

Bad Times at the El Royale (October 5)
I'm THE faux-movie critic on the, "Cabin in the Woods wasn't that great" corner; I'm the only one and it's lonely here. So perhaps this comes as a surprise but I've been very excited for Royale since it first dropped onto the schedule and anxiously awaiting a trailer. And wow, this is everything I wanted it to be and then some. This is going to be VERY high on my list of anticipated movies for the back-half of the year. 

How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World (March 1)

How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The LEGO Movie came out the same year (and in fact, Dragon debuted four months after LEGO) and yet for whatever reason, it feels like the Dragon franchise has been dormant for far longer. Maybe it's because of LEGO Batman and LEGO Ninjago but regardless, Dragon 3 feels WAY past due, so much so that when the trailer popped up, I was genuinely surprised. Like, "Oh. I guess I forgot they were still making those movies?" I love these movies, though; they are some of my kid's favorites and he gets no pushback from me when he wants to watch one (as we are doing right at this very moment). This trailer is strong though perhaps it gives too much away and if this is indeed the end of the Dragon movies, I expect they'll go out with a bang. 

I Have a Bad Feeling About This: On Solo and Rotten Tomatoes Culture

A few weeks ago, I got a surprising text from a friend of mine who is definitely not “up to date” on the Star Wars™ Expanded Universe. “What are people saying about Donald Glover’s Star Wars movie? Bad right?”

A complicated question to get from someone who I would never expect to be interested in pre-Cannes buzz. But I knew where she was coming from. For whatever reasons, the media storm leading up to the premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story has been mixed at best. Early coverage was marred by director shake ups, reports of Alden Ehrenreich getting an acting coach (which I feel like shouldn’t be stigmatized? But I digress), and general palpable stress from the Kathleen Kennedy lead production team, surely not helped by the unexpected polarizing reception of The Last Jedi.

I responded to my friend some variation of, “There was some drama behind the scenes, but since no one has seen the movie yet, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. Plus, sometimes you’ll like a movie that some critics don’t, try not to let any of it cloud your opinions.” A level-headed response that practically screams, “Do as I say, not as I do”. Let’s face it, we’ve all been burned before. “Everyone is saying Batman v. Superman is bad, but I am going in with an open mind and giving it a shot!” Maybe it would have been better to save 3 hours of my life and ten pre-MoviePass dollars.

With time, it seems the Rotten Tomatoes-style conclusions of a movie’s quality are coming earlier and earlier. We all just want to know- Fresh or Rotten? Good or bad? Worth my time or not? Like I said, the movie hadn’t even been seen yet, and everyone online had decided the only good aspect of this would be Donald Glover’s Lando. They may be right. Donald Glover is fire right now. But why are we letting so much of this wild speculation seep into our individual perception? I am sure it can all be tied back to overexposure. I check Twitter hourly, I’m not exactly trying to close myself off from the firehose of opinions leading up to seminal pop culture moments. I mean, this week I ended up listening to five podcast episodes on Westworld alone. It seems that nowadays if you want to be “in touch” with whatever is in the entertainment zeitgeist, this barrage of content is virtually inescapable.

Let’s take a moment away from blaming everything on the internet. Of course, the pre-movie analysis is strong in this franchise. I am not so naïve to think that we could all just step back and calmly let the chips fall where they may. At this point, every movie to come out of this property is essentially 40 years in the making. People LOVE these characters; they’re precious, they feel like they belong to us. We as fans have emotional stock in how they are used and what happens to them. We want to protect them and ourselves. Especially after the famously disappointing prequels. We are quick to put our guards up if we need to, hoping to avoid that heartbreak again.

And yet, at least in this franchise, there doesn’t seem to be proof that any of this hysteria ends up being indicative of the finished product. Before TLJ, we kept hearing about how the studio was loving Trevorrow’s vision. Hype builds. It’s announced that he is shooting some things for the 9th installment, solidifying Lucasfilm’s belief in him. More hype. After initial screenings of The Last Jedi, critics were saying it could be the best Star Wars ever. However, upon release, social media was overrun with immediate criticism. Articles started popping up everywhere about the dichotomy between critics and “fans”.

So, is the endless commotion leading up to these movies just a symptom of an increasingly overactive film media? Of a cautiously cynical fan base? Something else entirely? Am I only adding to the issue by continuing to talk about it? Probably. Now that the film is getting positive reviews after a few showings, personally, I am breathing a little easier. But I still can’t completely silence that voice in the back of my head, whispering skeptical Reddit comments and questioning the quality of past Ron Howard movies. I should probably, “try not to let any of it cloud my opinions,” but why start now?

Megan is a friend-of-the-show and now frequent contributor. You can find more of her work at and follow her on Twitter @spellmegan.