Lights, camera, non-stop action…

Blockbuster season is almost upon us — that time of year where plots and nuanced character arcs take a back seat to car chases, explosions, one-line catchphrases, kill counts and plans that are just so crazy, they might just work. And there’s a jumbo popcorn-bucket sized serving coming up this summer. These are just some of our faves…

The Little Mermaid

Expected: May 25

Next up on Disney’s live action reanimation slab, is this enchanting tale of a young fish girl living ‘under the sea’, who is so besotted with the trappings, strapping young Princes, and assorted dinglehoppers of human life that she makes a Faustian bargain with a scheming sea witch, for a shot at true love with a mouth breather. The TLM reboot also has the delicious Neptune-tier casting prospects of placing Ursula under the care of Melissa McCarthy, King Triton is in the scaly hands of Javier Bardem and Daveed ‘Hamilton-Sandpiercer’ Diggs takes a soft-shelled bow as Sebastian the Crab. We hope it finds its voice because it really feels like it deserves to be ‘part of our world’.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Expected: June 1

2018’s Spider–ManInto the Spider-Verse, was a surprise hit for the Marvel family — a big screen animated superhero story with Spidey-in-training, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as the central character. Stunning visuals, creative story telling, trademark protagonistic sass, wild cameos, a web sack full of fan-pleasing Easter Eggs, and a soundtrack that had absolutely no business slapping as hard as it did. This follow up, which reportedly will now be the second movie in a Spider-Verse trilogy, picks up where the original left off — a universe smashed into fractals, each respective strand of the web with its own version of Spider-Man and visual style, borrowing heavily from the rich comic dynasty of the character. Villainy in this multiverse mash up will come in the form of dimension-hopping antagonists The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), and The Vulture (Jorma Taccone).

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Expected: June 8

After five, critically lambasted, outings for Cybertron’s most famous refugees, Michael Bay’s Transformers reboot finally found a hit. 2018’s Bumblebee, the first film not directed by Bay (and we’re not suggesting any causal link there) — was generally well-received by reviewers. I never saw it, the trauma of watching childhood heroes unravel was already too deep. The good news is that this movie was crafted to be a direct sequel to Bumblebee (and prequel to 2007’s Transformers). It’s based on the Beast Wars set of comics and animated TV shows, and charts the adventures of another set of giant alien robots, the Maximals. Rather than turning into modes of transport, these robots have the ability to eh-eh-eh into animals. It’s directed by Steven Caple Jr. (Creed II, so he’s used to picking up a film series halfway through) and we know that regardless of whatever we think (honestly, when is ‘make the robots animals’ ever the answer?), the kids will still ‘roll out’ to see it.

The Flash

Expected: June 15

Certain off-camera antics, many performed by the main star of the movie, Ezra Miller, themself — meant that this film almost didn’t get made. In fact the director, Andy Muschietti (of IT reboot fame) was the fourth attached to the movie. But we’re glad it did speed over the finish line in the end. Everything we know about it screams fan service in the most authentic way possible. From this year’s Super Bowl trailer we got confirmation on the return of Batfleck, Michael Shannon as General Zod, and the super hotly anticipated arrival Sasha Calle’s Supergirl. And we should probably address the flying nocturnal rodent in the room. Michael Keaton, back in the Batman cowl. How? Because according to comic lore (Flashpoint, 2011), Flash can run fast enough to travel through time and right the wrongs of the past (if only, eh Miller?). Queueing up all the fun that comes from timelines jiggery-pokery and dimension dabbling. The big question isn’t whether it’ll be any good, all signs point to yes, it’s more about whether this film will form a canon prelude for James Gunn’s DCU.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Expected: June 30

It’s hard to resist the subconscious urge of ageist prejudice after learning that at 80, Harrison Ford is reprising his iconic action-archeologist role, Indiana Jones for one last crack of the whip. But it’s a baited boobytrap, and the giant tumbling boulder of shame will wipe you out if you don’t move out of its way. He might not be as spritely, but the trailer teases that same pedigree of swashbuckling, snake-phobic, artifact-chasing, map-hopping, humour-laced adventuring that’s often been imitated over the past four decades since the original film was released, but never replicated. And an inestimably large part of its charm over that tenure has been Ford’s glint-eyed screen charisma. This fifth chapter of the story sees the return of long-time pal and Fez enthusiast Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays Indy’s Goddaughter Helena, Mads Mikkelsen also appears (presumably as arch baddy) and Antonio Banderas is also named in the cast list.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

Expected: July 13

If you’re an action movie fan, they don’t come much bigger, or as frequently — as the films of the Mission Impossible franchise. And like the man who plays lead protagonist Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), they only seem to be getting better with age. Which is in no small part thanks to the emergence of Christopher McQuarrie as saga director. The sixth outing, Fallout was easily the best of the bunch for us, but gave us little clue what sort of direction, double-crossing and Q-style gadgetry we could expect from the next two entries Dead Reckoning, Parts One and Two — which were shot back-to-back. Again, details are scant but we do know that the IMF Squad was filming in Abu Dhabi so maybe there’s a great objet d’arts heist at Louvre Abu Dhabi, or a high-stakes car chase up the E11 in a pair of Nissan Patrols. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to hold on until July to find out. Or self destruct.


Expected: July 20

This film has all the right periodic elements for a truly explosive release. Directed by Christopher Nolan (whose lowest rated, of nine, full length feature films currently sits at 7.2 on IMDB), starring Cillian Murphy in the titular role and a based-on-a-real-storyline that follows the ethically-fraught series of events behind the Manhattan Project, the race to master nuclear fission and “become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. After shaking the atomic genie out of the bottle, Oppenheimer famously spent the rest of his days lobbying against its use, and we couldn’t think of a better pairing (Nolan and Murphy) to smash that sort of internal conflict nucleus apart. If all this wasn’t enough to send your expectations into an anticipatory mushroom cloud, there’s also the prospect that rather than using CGI to recreate the famous Trinity Test — Nolan, opted for a real explosion. Literally zero chance this bombs at the box office.


Expected: July 20

Even after watching the trailer, we’re not entirely sure what sort of energy this big screen live-action Barbie movie is going to give. There are reasons to be hopeful though. It has Greta Gerwig (Little Women, Lady Bird) directing and a cast that includes Margot Robbie as Barbie, Ryan Gosling as Ken, and support from Will Ferrell, America Ferrera, Michael Cera, Kate McKinnon and Helen Mirren. Not much is known about the plotline, but in the grand What’s On movie round up tradition we’ve got some predictions. We’re guessing that it’s going to be hyper-self aware and full of running gags in the vein of frantic outfit changes, androgynous anatomy and ubiquity of the colour pink.

The Meg 2: The Trench

Expected: August 9

Back to the Future Part II made a lot of peripheral predictions, some (even a few of the tongue-in-cheek ones) have come true. And sure the prevalence of fax machines and the very-much-still-wheel-based hoverboards we got a couple of years ago were a letdown, but the biggest disappointment was the lack of any IRL Jaws 19. We did get The Meg though, a Jason Statham vehicle about a giant murdering prehistoric shark, the megalodon thought to be extinct (turns out just chilling at the bottom of the ocean). The end of that movie very transparently teased the possibility of a sequel, and the name of this second film suggests that Jonas Taylor (Statham) and his gang of amateur shark busters will be returning to the ingress point that spawned the last batch of aquatic leviathans. If you’re looking for spoilers, the movie is based on the Steve Alten book, The Trench (the follow up to Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror which the first film was based on), but if you’d prefer baited waters a little less chummy, we might suggest to you that the eponymous trench might be home to a lot more than sharks. Queue Jaws music.

Gran Turismo

Expected: August 10

This isn’t a true movie adaptation of the popular Sony game. It couldn’t be. The game doesn’t have a plotline and whilst you may argue that might actually have improved the Assassin’s Creed movie, we wouldn’t dare comment. Instead, this film is based around the miraculous real life story of Jann Mardenborough (played by Archie Madekwe). Jann was an elite gamer, a Gran Turismo grandmaster who was recruited into a racing academy on a gut intuition that good gamers might make good drivers. It’s directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) and the cast list includes David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Djimon Hounsou, Josha Stradowski and Geri ‘Ginger Spice’ Horner. We’re expecting the plot curbe to go a little up, a little down, up, down, left, right, square, X.

Blue Beetle

Expected: August 18

From the trailers Blue Beetle looks distinctly like it belongs to the BG (Before Gunn) era of DC superhero films. So we’re not sure how, or if, it will fit into the future of the Comic House’s cinematic adaptions. Maybe it doesn’t have to. The smart move would be to make it a detached spin off, devoid of any role in moving the overarching story on. It stars Xolo ‘Kobra Kai’ Maridueña in the central role, of a young man who is gifted an ancient and powerful totem, The Scarab, which super-handily transforms into a snazzy suit of armour/weapon of mass destruction. It’s directed by Angel Manuel Soto (also signed to helm an untitled Transformers movie) and features a cast with a strong Latino at its core. The villains of the piece are envy-eyed businesswoman, Victoria Kord (played by Susan Sarandon) and Carapax the Indestructible Man (Raoul Trujillo).

Images: MovieStills