Whatever we may think of 2019 in film, there were a few landmark events. Looking forward, 2020 looks to be just as packed with Big Screen entertainment - if not even more so - from Cruise's fabled return to the classic Top Gun franchise, to Reeves' return to Bill & Ted, with new Bond - hopefully aiming to make right Spectre, if it can - new Villeneuve, new Nolan, and, as per, lots of superhero spectacles to fill the remaining slots. Sure, this is just a blockbuster list but that's largely because these days the smaller gems arrive with little fanfare - we don't get trailers light years in advance, nor much more than a light buzz building some anticipation - or at least awareness - with little real fanfare before, bam, something special arrives. So, for films like Robert "The Witch" Eggers' The Lighthouse with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe; Scott "Out of the Furnace" Cooper's Antlers with Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons; David "Old Man & the Gun" Lowery's Green Knight, with Dev Patel and Alicia Vikander; Sofia "Lost in Translation" Coppolla's On the Rocks reuniting with Bill Murray; and Wes "Grand Budapest Hotel" Anderson's French Dispatch with everyone, you'll just have to take it as read that they're likely going to be worth a watch, and look out for reviews closer to the time - although get to them quick: these gems are increasingly hard to find on the big screen, and when they land, they tend to disappear just as fast. And in their place:
10 – A Quiet Place Part IISure, the $17 million budget 2018 hit A Quiet Place was hardly a blockbuster, but the tidy $350 million Box Office it did may well make the fast-tracked second chapter a more glossy, effects-driven follow-up (for good or bad). Emily Blunt is returning in front of the camera, with husband Krasinski unsurprisingly only behind the camera this time around, and the promise of a more expansive plot that sees the core unit (silently) venture beyond their (un)safe farm to deal with the threats beyond.
Expect almost impossible-to-endure tension, expect Blunt to go full Hard Boiled - babe-in-arms - and some of the best (lack-of-) sound design you'll enjoy in 2020. Also expect better effects but a less complete narrative, with the echo of the ringing cash registers likely pushing this to be an ongoing saga, John Wick-style, rather than a conclusive sequel. Expected to walk softly in March.
9 - Ghostbusters: AfterlifeAfter the last Ghostbuster-esses film, and given the decades since the last good movie - arguably 1984 - not to mention the tragic passing of a core player, it's going to take some work to get a little buzz going for 2020's reboot/soft sequel effort, but the latest trailer just about does that, focussing on the younger characters who are clearly going to be mainstays (somebody has been watching Stranger Things), landing a reined-in Paul Rudd, and keeping the old crew cameos still a secret (although the subtitle: Afterlife might be portentous), whilst bringing back some former glory mainly thanks to the old car!
Expect some nice fan tributes, expect it to ooze nostalgia, expect the original stars to barely feature but - hopefully - make their contributions count, and - in typical Hollywood style - expect this to be just the first of a new 'trilogy', like always. Expect to get slimed in July.
8 – Fast & Furious 9Delayed by the Hobbs and Shaw spin-off - which, for some, arguably only reminded us that we were missing something we never even thought we'd miss: Vin Diesel - the latest Fast & Furious entry surely must be one test launch away from blasting the crew into space. For those who jumped after the first one ripped off Point Break - with cars - kind of a lot has happened, and the exploits of Dom's spy racers have somehow graduated to the blockbuster big league, boasting some seriously big budgets and some of the best action sequences money can buy.
Expect lots of macho posturing, Charlize Theron to finally get to kick some ass, a painful amount of talking about family, and also expect some tremendous action sequences which may largely revolve around cars, but probably also take to the skies, the sea and (hopefully, soon) space. Expect flying cars in May.
7 – Bad Boys for LifeAnother franchise which has been stagnating for what feels like decades, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have just never managed to commit to what felt like a (literal) no-brainer second sequel. Finally putting the pieces together, but leaving Michael Bay for a new helmer (a shame, really, as Bay might actually have made a fun movie for once - although Netflix's 6 Underground says otherwise), the first teaser looked a little creaky, but the latest full trailer just about hints at some returning magic from the motor-mouthed duo.
Expect lots of live-together, die-together, ride or die, one last time, bad boys for life dialogue; expect some send ups of Lawrence's weight, flashy cars and silly car chases, with lots of shouting dialogue and - hopefully - at least 50% of jokes that land. Certainly, it could go either way without Bay involved - a massive step up in everything but the action department, or just about the same as Bay would deliver on all counts except the action front - but it'll be nice to at least have Will Smith let his guard down for once (Aladdin showed just that). Expect people to sing the 'theme' song badly in January.
6 – Wonder Woman 1984Certainly catapulted further up this list thanks to one thing: just about the best trailer of the last decade. Sure, Nolan trailers are superbly mysterious, and the Top Gun trailers with their real flying footage will blow your mind, but WW84's trailer, set to the timeless beats of New Order's Blue Monday, is edited to perfection. From the opening timestamp to the beat-marked action, the sweeping background music for Kristen Wiig's elegant appearance, or the percussive use of gunnery placements over the drums - even if you weren't really blown away by the last entry, the trailer alone for this one should get you right on the hype train.
Expect lots of inexplicable powers - is she capable of throwing a tank but not bulletproof? - some seriously fabulous boots, interesting casting (the stagnation of the Star Trek franchise is clearly DC's gain), and another in-vogue time period likely used to superb comedic / nostalgic effect: the far-better-now-than-they-ever-were-then 1980s. Expect Gal "The Goddess" Gadot to lasso the truth out of you in June.
5 – No Time to DieAfter Casino Royale, the 007 world was Daniel Craig's oyster. Even Quantum could have been forgiven, absorbed into Casino Royale as an extended action finale; and Skyfall could be enjoyed as a lovely Bond 50 tribute album that is one of the most stunning looking franchise films of all time. But then came Spectre, which killed everything with its all-inclusive retro-fitted story plotting and sockless slipper-wearing villainy, leaving a follow-up surely only possible with a replacement actor and a whole new reboot chapter? Well, no. But, despite everything against it, the trailer gets the juices flowing, and hopefully involves killing the hell out of everything wrong with the last one, and leaving the series in good shape for a future handover.
Expect lots of returning characters - unnecessarily - lots of motorbike stunts - unnecessarily - and lots of 'you're too old for this' references, despite having covered that ground two movies ago. Also, expect Craig to still own the role, plenty of stunning exotic locations and spectacular stunts and, whilst now just a blip in the shadow of the far superior Mission: Impossible franchise, expect this to be a very enjoyable filler until next year's M:i-7, and certainly unlikely to be the car-crash that was Spectre. Surely? Expect some awkward Abrams'-style fixing of past mistakes in April.
4 - Black WidowAnother interesting announcement given some of the fallout from Endgame, this latest Marvel feature looks to be the polar opposite of the breezy fun that was Spider-Man: Far from Home, with (hopefully) a return to Russo-flavoured spy shenanigans that, at least from the trailer, hint at some Winter Soldier thrills. Whether this is Phase 4's Winter Soldier, or just a fitting swansong for Johansson's kick-ass heroine, this is surely going to be an unmissable instalment in a franchise we have clearly far from seen the end game of.
Expect PG-13/12A-boundary-pushing action; expect Black Widow to be the closest to another Captain America - Winter Soldier-style offering we might get for quite some time; expect multiple female 'widow' assassins as per the poster and trailer (and Florence Pugh to have a hopeless accent); expect David Harbour to try to avoid comparisons to Nacho Libre; and possibly some questions answered, albeit more about Black Widow's past than her future. Expect to be widowed in May.
3 - Top Gun: MaverickIf they had announced a sequel back in the late 80s, a traditional 2-3 years after the 1986 original became a hit and catapulted Tom Cruise into complete and utter stardom, it would likely be a very different animal to what we will see now, almost 35 years later. Modern Cruise - perhaps moreso than ever before, and certainly more than back when he started - has become utterly synonymous with practical stuntwork involving the actor himself, going bigger and more audacious with every successive skyscraper-scaling, breath-holding, plane-jacking, HALO-zapping, ankle-breaking Mission: Impossible outing. Last time out he spent a year putting in his hours to fly a helicopter solo, so the announcement of a return to Top Gun came complete with the question over whether we were going to actually see Cruise himself in these fighter planes and, thanks to the stunning trailer, we now know that this is precisely what we are going to get.
Expect beach volleyball, lots of sweating, grinning and bike riding alongside planes taking off; expect insubordination, egos and uncashable cheques, an ageless Cruise pulling serious Gs in real fighter planes and possibly the most staggeringly impressive practical stunts of the decade (as well as stunning visuals, courtesy of Joseph Kosinski - Tron: Legacy and Cruise's Oblivion). This has never been done before, and likely won't be done again anytime soon, so don't miss this. Expect to take a ride into the Danger Zone in June.
2 - DuneAdaptations of Frank Herbert's epic works have been fraught with troubles, with David Lynch's 1984 vision proving the director's first and only studio 'blockbuster', and the Sci-Fi Channel productions getting damned with the faint praise of at least being more faithful, whilst plenty never even got completed - including the fabled Jodorowsky adaptation. Post-Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve seems like the perfect choice to tackle the expansive subject-matter (although, with the current quality of TV on offer, it's surprising that the source wasn't optioned for a Netflix or Amazon show), and given his film history - Sicario, Prisoners, Arrival and the fabulous Blade Runner follow-up, this is sure to be absolutely unmissable.
Expect jaw-dropping visual opulence across alien landscapes rich with striking tones and filters; expect Timothy Chalamet (recently great in Netflix's The King) to impress in the lead, alongside Mission: Impossible's Rebecca Ferguson, Star Wars' Oscar Isaac, Thor's Stellan Skarsgard, Endgame's Josh Brolin, Spider-Man's Zendaya and new Villeneuve regular, Dave Bautista. Expect atmospheric intensity, startling imagery and a superbass score in December.
1 – TenetMemento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, Dunkirk - that's pretty-much all you need to know about the latest Christopher Nolan film. Pick your favourite from that list, and imagine this latest being anywhere near as mind-blowing as the first time you got stuck in a dream-within-a-dream, or tried to fathom that minutes passed like years if you're stuck in close proximity to a black hole. If you're not sold by just the fantasy of that, the latest teaser trailer should give you a taste of the magnificent mystery that you're about to undertake.
Expect brooding, bass-heavy scoring, portending impending disaster, and heightening tension; expect clinical crescendo-building to leave you on the edge of your seat, and expect another fabulous typically Nolan cast to wow you (Denzel's son John David Washington is sure to be a compelling lead, particularly after Blackkklansman; Robert Pattinson will continue to impress on the way to Batman, Elizabeth Debecki needs to be in more stuff, and Kenneth Branagh becomes a Nolan regular although he's got a way to catch up with the almost ubiquitous Nolanite, Michael Caine). Also expect lots of messing with time, because that's his M.O. Expect your mind to be veritably blown in July.
What do you think of our predictions of the best Blockbusters of 2020? Have we missed any unmissable Big Screen events that you would like to have seen make the cut? Feel free to let others know what you are personally most looking forward to in 2020 in the discussion thread - we'd love to hear your choices.
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