‘Till the end of the line’: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ wraps up a decade of superhero storytelling

AvengersEndgameFinalPoster-Top-1024x576.jpg“This is not going to go the way you think…”

Remember that line from “The Last Jedi” trailer? Marvel fans were wise to keep those same words of warning in mind as they walked into the theater for “Avengers: Endgame.”

The culmination of approximately 10 years and 20 films, “Endgame” is the bittersweet and emotional conclusion to this stage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I knew going in that the Avengers would have to pay a steep price to stop Thanos, and I thought I was prepared to say goodbye to some of these characters. Turns out, it was harder than I thought, and while the ending is satisfying, it’s definitely a gut-punch.

I’m not even going to attempt to write a regular review here, because literally anything I say would be a spoiler. And by this point, you’ve either A) already seen it; B) have made plans to see it; or C) this isn’t really your thing and you don’t plan to see it at all, which means that no review of mine is going to convince you of anything. 😉

These are some of my VERY spoiler-filled thoughts on the film, so final warning if you haven’t seen this movie yet and don’t want to have the twists ruined for you — stop reading now!


WARNING: Literally SO MANY spoilers ahead

All right, if you’re still with me, that means you’ve (hopefully) already seen “Endgame” and we can all commiserate together.

I don’t quite know how to review a movie like this. It’s weird to think that this has all been building since a little movie called “Iron Man” in 2008. I don’t think anyone back then guessed that the end to this story arc would gross $350 million in ONE weekend — and that’s just domestically. It’s a cinematic event film that people needed to see on opening weekend.

I’m sure that in the days and weeks to come, plenty of bloggers will be breaking down the story and all the plot’s twists and turns. I know that if I sat down and started picking apart the details, I’d uncover a few plot holes or inconsistencies in regards to the time travel stuff.

But in the end, what this movie comes down to is the characters, and it’s a fitting end for these superheroes that we’ve come to love over the past decade.

While one could argue that they maybe could have shaved 15-20 minutes off the film to bring its runtime below three hours, none of the time feels wasted to me. We get lots of little character moments, which are all the more meaningful since this is probably the last time we’ll be seeing many of these characters.

“Endgame” has some surprisingly funny moments, despite its more serious tone overall. This helps to break the tension, and also shows how many times, these troubled characters use humor as a coping mechanism.

I was surprised by how quickly the Avengers killed Thanos in the opening minutes — a twist that serves to throw the audience off balance. I had a lot of theories about “Endgame” and really only one of them came true (Falcon taking on the mantle of Captain America, which I’m really excited about).

This twist also provided a good set-up for the main plot of the film, a so-called “time heist” to steal the Infinity Stones from previous points in the timeline and then use them to undo Thanos’ snap. As I mentioned earlier, the “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” stuff may have more than a few holes in it if you look closely, but I loved the scenes themselves and seeing the Avengers revisit important moments from their past. It reminds the audience of how much these characters have experienced — and how much they’ve grown.

I appreciated the movie’s slow burn set-up, which culminated in a truly epic final battle that brings together all the characters for one last stand against Thanos. It also contains one of my favorite moments in the entire MCU — when Cap calls Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, to his hand, proving himself worthy. That moment earned cheers both times I watched this movie in the theater over the weekend.


I wish I had time and space to talk about each character’s journey in this film in depth, but I’m going to highlight the characters that I believe are the two greatest Avengers, and whose stories are the main drivers of this film: Iron Man and Captain America.

For the past year, I’ve been saying that in order for “Endgame” to make an emotional impact, at least one major character needed to die. Thanos is THE “big bad” of the MCU, and if he’s defeated too easily, it undercuts the dramatic impact of “Infinity War” and, truthfully, the entire MCU.

However, I wasn’t expecting Iron Man and Black Widow to be the two major characters to die. Especially with the long-rumored Black Widow spin-off film (which I hope is still happening, as a prequel), Black Widow’s death came as a shock. The scene where she and Hawkeye are fighting over which one of them is going to make the sacrifice is tough to watch, but highlights the strong bond between their characters. It’s a bond I wish had been explored even more in the preceding films.

I really thought that Tony was going to end this movie by retiring and serving in a mentor role, popping up in cameos every now and then. As I’ve mentioned before, Iron Man is my favorite Avenger and one of my all-time favorite film characters, actually. Seeing him die upset me far more than I was prepared for, but I think that in the end, I’ll come around to accepting the story’s conclusion.

Iron Man started the MCU, and even though I didn’t want him to die, I appreciate that the film gave him a powerful final scene, letting Tony be the one who finally stopped Thanos and saved the universe. I could spend another whole blog post going over his character journey throughout the MCU (actually, I did!), but I have loved seeing his redemption arc and watching him grow from a selfish, spoiled playboy into the galaxy’s greatest hero. I would love for a future film to feature his daughter carrying on his legacy and wearing one of the Iron Man suits.

I was expecting Captain America to die in this film, but I really loved the ending they gave his character. After all he’s been through, he deserves to lay down the shield. And the scene where he finally gets that dance with Peggy Carter was a beautiful, poignant ending to his story. Does it break all kinds of time travel rules? Yeah, probably. But emotionally, it just feels *right.*


In short, there are places to be picky with this film. There’s the confusing timeline stuff, and I’ve heard debates about Thor and Hulk’s character arcs. I’ll be curious to see how the CGI ages. But Tony and Cap’s storyline was a home run, at least for me, and reminds us how much the MCU owes Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans.

It’s possible we’ll never see another film series quite like this one, and I don’t know what the future of the MCU will look like from here. But I’ve really enjoyed this journey, and it’s meant so much to me as a geek. Thanks for the memories, MCU!


Endgame: What’s ahead for the Avengers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe

A journey that started a decade ago will come to an end next April, with the follow-up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Infinity War.” We now know the sequel will be titled “Endgame,” though what sort of ending the film will have is still anybody’s guess.

How many of the original Avengers will we have to say goodbye to forever? And will “Endgame” truly serve as an ending for the MCU as we know it, or will it be more of a springboard for future storytelling opportunities (or both)? I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned to find out!

Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve watched the “Endgame” trailer multiple times by now. It’s a somber and emotional trailer, and I thought it did a great job hinting at the sort of movie we’ll be getting, without giving away too much. The tone is definitely going to be darker here, and appropriately so. Half of the universe has vanished, thanks to Thanos’ snap, and the Avengers’ failure to stop him is weighing heavily on them.

I appreciated that Marvel was willing to actually let Thanos use the Infinity Gauntlet at the end of “Infinity War.” It’s a gut-punch of a scene…with one caveat. Others have pointed out that as the year has gone by, that scene has been robbed of some of its emotional impact by the fact that all the Avengers who disappeared are almost 100 percent guaranteed to come back. We know their deaths — as well acted as they were — are not going to stick, because many of them are going to appear in sequels of their own.

Still, I can understand why certain characters were chosen for the snap, and certain ones were left alive. “Endgame” will give us what may very well be our final chance to see all the original Avengers in action together, before some of them retire or possibly even die.

Captain America has been one of my favorite Avengers characters. Will “Endgame” be his final film? Will someone else take up the shield?

I love all these characters. I’ve enjoyed getting to know them on screen over the past decade, and one of them dying would break my heart. But… (and please don’t hate me here!) at least one of them NEEDS to die in “Endgame.” Thanos is one of the most serious threats the Avengers have ever — or possibly ever will — face, and defeating him needs to come with serious consequences. “Endgame” will be the culmination of 10 years of franchise building. A major character death will give this film emotional weight.

When it comes to character deaths, I think the most likely candidates are Captain America and/or Iron Man, which is hard because they’re two of my favorites. The MCU began with Tony Stark, and him sacrificing himself in “Endgame” to save the entire universe would be such a poignant and powerful moment for the character. But, I also really love the idea of him and Pepper finally tying the knot and then him retiring, serving as a consultant to the new Avengers team and a continued mentor to Peter Parker.

Cap is the most logical choice to make a sacrifice, and it would be interesting to see what could happen in future films with either Bucky or Falcon picking up the shield. Chris Evans has done such a great job in the role, and I’d love for his story arc, however it ends, to be epic and emotional.

As for the overall plot of this film, I’m trying hard not to speculate too much. I’ve heard rumors about time travel (which would be a cool twist to add to the MCU) or everybody who disappeared being trapped inside the Soul Stone. I’m really curious to see what role Scott Lang/Ant-Man plays in this story, partly because I just adore Paul Rudd and also because I’m really intrigued by what could happen with the Quantum Realm.

How much of an ending will “Endgame” be?

Beyond that, I really just want to be surprised by this movie. I want “Endgame” to do for the MCU what “The Last Jedi” did for Star Wars. I know that’s a slightly controversial thought, because Episode VIII sparked a lot of debate within the fanbase. However, one of the things I appreciated most about “The Last Jedi” was the way it dared to shake up its fictional universe and make us ask tough questions about characters we love.

I’d love for “Endgame” to be a challenging film that digs deep into who the characters are and forces them to make sacrifices with lasting consequences. I’m hoping for a darker film that balances tragedy and hope, and provides some sort of definitive ending to the first decade of the MCU. I want the impact of “Endgame” to be felt in all the MCU films that come after it.

It will be really interesting to see what the MCU looks like post-“Endgame.” There’s still lots of potential with Tom Holland as Spider-Man, and there’s a wealth of untapped material with Black Panther and the world of Wakanda. And, of course, I can’t wait to meet Captain Marvel and see how she ties into “Endgame.”

Years down the road, maybe we’ll look back and see “Infinity War” and “Endgame” as the peak of the MCU, and the films that follow will be smaller in terms of both scope and box office. I’d be okay with that, actually. I’d love to have more films focused in on individual characters, with smaller stakes (similar to the excellent “Spider-Man: Homecoming”). Someday I want to see a live action Miles Morales, and I’d be game for a Guardians/Thor team-up.

So, what are your hopes for the future of the MCU? What do you think will happen in “Endgame”? What are some of your theories, hopes and fears?

Box office breakdown: Summer 2018 in review

InfinityWar5aa86b6fdaeb5.0It’s hard to believe it, but another summer movie season has already come and gone at the box office. Although this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, the biggest winner of the summer was “Avengers: Infinity War,” wrapping up a decade of buildup and letting the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ultimate villain, Thanos, take center stage.

“Infinity War” made a boatload of money — over $2 billion worldwide, to be precise. Domestically, though, it couldn’t *quite* touch “Black Panther’s” insanely impressive $700 million. “Black Panther’s” exciting reign at the box office is a topic worthy of an article all on its own, and the film clearly resonated with audiences.

“Infinity War” is my personal favorite movie of the year so far, simply because it was such a joy to see all these characters we’ve fallen in love with in one big movie together. I figure most people have heard about the ending already, but just in case, spoiler alert! I loved that they actually let Thanos snap with the gauntlet, even if I’m 100 percent sure that those characters who disappeared are coming back. In fact, that’s my one little gripe about the film; the deaths are well-acted, particularly the scene with Spider-Man and Tony. But I know these deaths aren’t going to stick, which guts their impact just a little. However, I’m waiting to pass judgement on that until I see part 2 next year, because I have a feeling some of the original Avengers will be called to make some devastating sacrifices in order to bring back the characters who crumbled into dust.


While “Infinity War” was the biggest film of the summer, there were quite a few nice, smaller surprises along the way. I actually enjoyed “Deadpool 2” a lot more than the original; I liked the story more, I laughed at the jokes more, and Josh Brolin was awesome as time-traveling soldier Cable (Brolin wins the award for this summer’s biggest overachiever, as he also did an awesome job playing Thanos). And speaking of awesome, “Mission Impossible – Fallout” was fantastic, and is one of the best action flicks I’ve seen in a long time. I always forget about that franchise, and then it always comes back and amazes me. It was definitely a must-see this summer.

I was sad to see “Solo: A Star Wars Story” under-perform, because it really was a fun movie, despite all the drama behind the scenes. Sure, it didn’t carry the same narrative weight or emotion as “The Last Jedi,” but it’s an entertaining heist flick, and it deserved to make more money than it did. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with what Disney has done with the Star Wars franchise, and now it seems like an insanely long wait until Episode IX. I still think Disney should have held “Solo” until late fall this year, but we’ll never know how that might have played out differently at the box office.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” didn’t receive glowing reviews from critics, but I had a lot of fun watching that movie. Dinosaurs on the big screen always make me smile.


Although I didn’t see any films this summer that I disliked, I was a bit disappointed in a couple of films I was really looking forward to: “Incredibles 2” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” Granted, I still had fun watching these movies, and I was glad I saw them in the theater. But at least for me, neither one of them *quite* lived up to their predecessors. I know others who really loved them, though, and I’d still recommend them.

The last film I saw this summer was “Christopher Robin,” and I thought it was a perfect note to end on. Disney’s live-action Winnie the Pooh adaptation was a lovely little tale about rediscovering joy in life, and it felt like an incredibly relevant and timely message. The importance of kindness, friendship, and compassion is a lesson that needs to be shared as often as possible.

And…that’s it! There are a couple other films that were released this summer that I’d like to catch on DVD but I probably won’t be back at the theater until late fall. I hope everyone had a great time at the movies this summer, and I’d love to hear your favorites and least favorites! Here’s my quick list — what’s yours?

Favorite movie: Avengers: Infinity War
Least favorite movie: Incredibles 2 (I’m really sorry, Pixar! I promise, I didn’t hate this movie!)
Best scene: Thor arriving on the battlefield in Wakanda
Best soundtrack: Solo: A Star Wars Story
Best laughs: Deadpool 2
Best special effects: Infinity War
Best character: Thanos
Least favorite character: The villain in Incredibles 2
Most suspenseful: Mission Impossible – Fallout
Best surprise: Christopher Robin


Some assembly required: What’s next for the Avengers after ‘Infinity War’

nullThanos didn’t exactly leave the Avengers in the best condition at the end of “Infinity War.” (Warning: This blog is full of spoilers about the plot of “Infinity War”!) Similar to the ending of “The Empire Strikes Back,” our heroes have been beaten down and scattered across the universe, unsure how to move forward. (Last chance — major spoilers incoming!) Thanos has wiped out half of all life with a mere snap of his fingers, and for the first time, the Avengers weren’t strong enough to save the Earth or even each other.

While I really liked the ending of “Infinity War” and thought the characters fading into dust was shot and acted very well, I’m 100 percent positive most of the Avengers/Guardians who disappeared are coming back. I know we haven’t seen the last of Spider-Man, Black Panther, Groot, or Doctor Strange. Still, if they’re not gone forever, where are they now and how are they coming back?

I’m hesitant to do too much theorizing, because I don’t want to weigh down my viewing experience of the still-untitled Avengers 4 next year with too many expectations. I walked into “Infinity War” with no real idea what was going to happen, and I think the film impacted me more because of that. Yet it’s hard not to speculate at least a little bit what’s coming in the next film.

One possibility is that the characters who faded into dust are actually dead, but if the Avengers can get control of the Infinity Gauntlet, they can somehow reverse time or alter reality to bring everyone back. The Gauntlet really is like nothing we’ve seen before, and it’s obviously incredibly powerful. Maybe it really can just “snap” everything back into existence.

An alternate theory I’ve heard is that the people who faded *aren’t* dead after all, but instead are trapped inside the Soul Stone or have been sent to some other alternate reality. Maybe even Thanos doesn’t understand the full capabilities of the Infinity Gauntlet or how the snap is supposed to work. Again, if the Avengers gain control of the Gauntlet, maybe they can release all the characters trapped in the Soul Stone or in the alternate dimension.

Although I think that everyone who faded away is coming back, I’m less certain about all the characters who died before the snap. As much as I love Tom Hiddleston as Loki, I think Loki needs to stay dead. If no one ultimately dies in the fight against Thanos, that cheapens the storyline of “Infinity War” and guts the impact of Thanos’ character. Losing Gamora hurt even more, but I’m pretty sure she’s trapped inside the Soul Stone and will be released once the Gauntlet is destroyed (but more on that in a minute). It’s possible Vision could be “uploaded” again to a new form, if Shuri managed to download his information before Thanos killed him.


If Gamora and Vision come back, then another major character does need to die in Avengers 4. It’s really hard to say that, because I love these characters and after 10 years of movies, they kinda feel like family. Yet again, Thanos is supposed to be the biggest, most impressive villain they’ve ever faced, and this story loses a lot of its impact if no sacrifices have to be made to defeat him.

It’s really going to hurt, but I think Captain America will die in the next movie. Based on some comments from the actor, Chris Evans, I think we’ll see Steve Rogers make some kind of sacrifice, saving the universe and his friends but dying in the process. Perhaps to destroy the Soul Stone and free the souls trapped inside, another sacrifice is required, and I can see the Cap stepping up to do that. It would be a really powerful and poignant way to end his story. He will likely pass his shield on to either Bucky or Falcon, allowing them to serve as the next Captain America (my money’s on him picking Bucky.)

The other major character who could die in Avengers 4 is Tony Stark, although I think it is a little less likely. After Avengers 4, I think we’ll see Tony retire and take on more of a mentor role, looking out for Peter Parker and showing up once in a while with new tech for the Avengers.

As for how all these events will come about, I’m trying not to speculate too much about that! The only person who knows is (presumably) Doctor Strange. I believe events are playing out exactly as he intended; he saw a future where the only way to win was to give Thanos the Time Stone and let him think he’s won instead. Doctor Strange is definitely playing the long game here, and I’m excited to see how it all works out.

Other than that, I’m curious to see how Tony and Nebula escape from Titan, and to see what plan the heroes come up with to fight Thanos. Plus, it’s going to be really awesome to see what happens when Captain Marvel responds to Nick Fury’s distress call!

So, what do you think? What are your theories about what will happen in Avengers 4? What are some things you hope to see?

Movie review: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ a stunning game-changer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

nullWhen I watch a geek movie on opening night, many times the audience will clap and cheer after the film is over, at least in the theaters near where I live. However, there was no applause after “Avengers: Infinity War” — simply because everyone was too stunned by what they’d just watched.

The word “epic” is thrown around a lot as a buzzword, but its use is absolutely appropriate here. “Avengers: Infinity War” is a genuinely epic event film, the stunning culmination of a 10-year build-up that is unlike anything we’ve seen on screen before. Believe the hype — “Infinity War” was worth the wait.

Like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” it’s really hard to talk about “Infinity War” without diving into heavy spoilers, but I’m going to try my best. Although I’ll get into spoilers later in this review, that section will be clearly marked. Absolutely do not let ANYONE spoil this movie for you or ruin any of the surprises!

After years of hints and foreshadowing, the ultimate Marvel villain is here — Thanos — and he’s just as powerful and terrifying as everyone feared. Our heroes are dealing with a whole different level of villain here, and the film lets you know right away that it isn’t messing around, with some shocking twists in just the first few minutes of the movie. The stakes are higher, and for the first time, our heroes might not be up to the challenge. It was fascinating and disturbing to see powerful heroes like Doctor Strange and Thor actually struggling to fight Thanos.

One of the things I was most worried about with “Infinity War” was how well the film would come together with so many characters — all the Avengers, the Guardians, etc. Would the final product end up being a choppy, overly-complicated mess? However, the Russo Brothers do a fantastic job juggling all the characters and details. The story never gets bogged down, and every character has a moment to shine. I particularly enjoyed the unexpected team-up with Thor, Rocket, and Groot, and the ego-driven, quip-fueled showdowns between Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Star-Lord.

Of course, there’s plenty of trademark Marvel humor here, but the tone is surprisingly darker, particularly in the final act. There were just a handful of moments where I thought a joke undercut what should have been a completely serious moment, but overall the humor works well to balance out the heavier spots. There are some truly shocking — and heartbreaking — moments in this film. And as for the ending…well, there’s a reason everyone in the theater seemed so stunned as the credits started rolling. Kudos to Disney for allowing the Russo Brothers to end the film on a very somber note.

Well, I feel I’ve covered about all I can without diving into spoilers, so fair warning, if you haven’t seen “Infinity War” yet, stop reading now…



I feel like what separates good movies from great ones isn’t the action set pieces, or the big, shocking reveals — it’s the little moments. Snatches of dialogues between characters, small details that add up to equal something special. And “Infinity War” has a lot of these moments. There’s the conversation Rocket and Thor have about loss; Scarlet Witch and Vision realizing they can’t have a normal life together; and Tony still trying to be a father figure to Spider-Man.

There are so many gut-punches in this film. Loki and Vision were two characters I had speculated might die in this movie, but it’s still hard to see them go. And I definitely didn’t see Gamora’s death coming. As sad as these deaths are, they give the film much-needed weight. Thanos is supposed to be THE BIG BAD of the MCU, and if he didn’t kill any major characters, he would have felt underpowered.

Which is another reason why I really appreciated the film’s darker ending. I figured Thanos wouldn’t die in this movie, but I wasn’t sure he’d be able to collect all the Infinity Stones and actually get to snap his fingers and wipe out half of the universe. You can tell that moment really shocked audiences — it’s one of the loudest collective gasps I’ve ever heard in a theater. And while I’m almost 100 percent positive the characters who faded away at the end won’t stay dead, it was still an emotionally impactful moment. Tony holding Peter Parker as he fades away really got to me (man, that “I don’t want to go” hit me almost as hard as David Tennant’s “I don’t want to go” in his final minutes as the Tenth Doctor).



I have no idea how the next Avengers film will wrap things up, and that’s incredibly exciting to me. The whole time I was in the theater during “Infinity War,” I had the feeling that I was watching something truly special. I feel like I need to see it again to decide where to place it in my ranking of MCU films, but it’s most likely going to be in my top 5 (at least). The film delivered everything I was hoping for, as well as some major surprises.

The only possible drawback of the film is that it’s definitely not a stand-alone story (if you haven’t seen all the individual Marvel movies, some parts probably won’t make sense). However, for me it was a thrilling and emotionally satisfying conclusion to what we’ve seen in the MCU so far. I’m already hyped for the still-untitled “Avengers 4” next year — and “Captain Marvel”!

My top five most anticipated movies of 2018

avengers-infinity-war-poster-comic-conjpegWith 2017 behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2018! There will be plenty of movies to look forward to in theaters this year, including a certain little Marvel movie that will wrap up a decade of build-up. It might make a little money at the box office. 😉

Although it’s always hard to narrow my list down, here are the top five movies I’m most excited about this year!

1. Avengers: Infinity War (May 4), Black Panther (Feb. 16), and Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)

I’m already cheating on my supposed “five movie limit” by combining these three into one entry, but otherwise I’d only have two slots left in my list. 😉 I’m super excited about all three of these. I’m also glad we only have to wait another month for “Black Panther.” Although I had a lot of fun watching “Thor: Ragnarok” last year, it will be nice to see a little more serious superhero movie like “Black Panther.” I loved his character in “Captain America: Civil War” and can’t wait to find out more about that world. I also think the original “Ant-Man” is sometimes a little underappreciated in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s actually one of my favorites. I’m looking forward to seeing an expanded role for the Wasp. Still, if I had to pick only one most anticipated movie of the year, it would have to be “Infinity War.” It’s hard to believe that this all started back in 2008 with “Iron Man” and has now grown into this expansive cinematic universe. I have a feeling the MCU is going to look a lot different after the fourth Avengers movie wraps up, but it’s been a great ride so far. Hopefully it will be the epic finale to this phase of the MCU that the characters deserve.


2. Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)

I’m a huge Star Wars fan; pretty much everybody knows that. So despite my misgivings about a spinoff Han Solo film, I’m definitely willing to give it a chance. I would have much rather Disney given us an Obi-Wan or Boba Fett spinoff movie, but since this is what we’re getting, I’m hoping it will turn out well. I’ve loved all the Disney Star Wars flicks so far, and in an odd way, the director shakeup behind the scenes on the “Solo” set boosted my confidence a little. If Disney had doubts about the direction the film was taking, I’m glad they were willing to brave the negative PR and make a change. Harrison Ford as Han Solo is such an iconic performance and getting audiences to invest in a new actor playing the character is probably the biggest obstacle the film is facing. However, I’m super excited to see Donald Glover as Lando, and it will also be fun to see Woody Harrelson in a Star Wars movie. On another note, I wish they had pushed back the deadline and released this movie in December, rather than summertime so close to “Infinity War.” But it is kinda cool it’s being released on the 41st anniversary of “A New Hope.”


3. Annihilation (Feb. 23)

“Annihilation” is my pick for best potential breakout movie. I don’t know a lot about the film, other than what I’ve seen in the mysterious, eerie trailers, and I’d like to keep it that way. I’m not even sure how to describe it, really, other than that Natalie Portman’s character is apparently going to investigate some sort of really weird scientific anomaly that is most definitely not benign (based on the title “Annihilation”). Although sometimes an early winter release date doesn’t speak of a lot of confidence from a film studio, sometimes it’s nice to get these movies outside the increasingly crowded summer season. “Black Panther” is going to do very well the weekend before, so I’m hoping this has a shot at being a surprise hit. Hopefully it will offer better sci-fi scares than last summer’s “Alien: Covenant.”


4. Pacific Rim: Uprising (March 23)

The original “Pacific Rim” does not have a particularly deep plot, characters, or dialogue, but I absolutely love that movie. Where else can you see a giant robot pick up a cargo ship and use it to smash a giant monster? One could argue that the film doesn’t really need a sequel, especially since director Guillermo del Toro isn’t returning. However, I’m actually really excited to see John Boyega heading up a new sci-fi blockbuster. I really loved him as ex-stormtrooper Finn in the new Star Wars trilogy and I think he’s a good fit to play the son of the coolest character in the original movie, Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost. The film’s March release date also might be a good thing, giving it a chance to stand out before the onslaught of summer blockbusters.


5. Ready Player One (March 30)

The novel “Ready Player One” has been on my “to be read” list for a long time so at this point I’ll probably end up watching the movie first. The story takes place in the dystopian future, where people find solace in a virtual reality world known as OASIS. Teenager Wade Watts enjoys the escape the OASIS provides…until dangerous real-world problems start bleeding into the virtual one. One of the things I’m most excited about in this movie is all the pop culture references that will supposedly be in the film, including “The Iron Giant,” “Back to the Future,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and more. The first Lego movie is the only other film I can think of with this many cool characters mashed together. Plus, this movie was directed by one of my all-time favorite directors — Steven Spielberg — so that’s always a plus!

So, what’s on your “must-see” list for 2018? What will be the biggest hit, or the biggest flop?