How to Feel About Every Upcoming Superhero Movie Part 2 – The Nebulous Maybes

It’s that time of year, when summer movie season (which is now just the last nine months of the year, and covers all the parts of the year that aren’t horror-movie season, and which tapers off a bit during prestige-movie season. As someone who remains the sort of dude who has a background in the field, and also who doesn’t particularly care about movies but feels compelled to write about them anyway, this sort of thing is catnip.

This year I’ve included movies that are announced (be it by studio, director, producer or what-have-you) without a clear intention about when or how they’re coming out, which films comprise part 2 here. Since these are more nebulous, I have also added a field to discuss the likelihood of the movie in question actually coming out.

Aquaman 2

WHAT IT IS: The sequel to Aquaman.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, Aquaman wasn’t bad, and perhaps with the origin and world-building a little more out of the way, they can focus on, y’know, making it a compelling story, rather than a series of exposition-heavy conversations each of which is punctuated by an explosion and the entrance of a villain  1.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Aquaman was fine, but not great, and there wasn’t a lot in there that made me feel like there were a bunch more stories involving this character that I needed to see.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Sure. The first one made shedloads of money, and it’s not like DC has shown any willingness to give up on any of their franchises here.

Batgirl

WHAT IT IS: For awhile it was the definitely-happening project that was meant to be Joss Whedon’s entre into his DCU-running career. He was cancelled, and I haven’t heard anything about it since.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Batgirl has a devoted fanbase, and if you are among them, you know a great deal more about why this is exciting than I do. I am not among them, and I have no idea what there would be to look forward to here.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I mean, in this case I’m waffling in the “toward-excitement” direction, since I don’t have any enthusiasm for the thing in my natural state. But she does inspire a truly impressive level of fandom, so there’s got to be something there, and it would probably something that could make it into a movie.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: I don’t believe that it will.

Black Adam

WHAT IT IS: The Rock’s passion-project-attempt at making a big-time superhero movie.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because who doesn’t love The Rock?

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Well, Black Adam sucks real bad, and this movie can’t apparently generate enough of its own momentum to actually move any closer to being finished. Also he’s traditionally a villain, so expect some revisionist antiheroing, which is one of the worst things about superhero stories in general.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Oh, probably, But it almost certainly won’t actually be any good.

Black Panther 2

WHAT IT IS: The sequel to Black Panther.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because Black Panther was great.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I’m not really waffling, this will probably be good. I suppose the fact that it isn’t actually on the calendar is something. And there probably be any Kilmonger, and that’s kind of a bummer. But only kind of, and not enough to dampen my enthusiasm.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Of course it will.

Black Widow

WHAT IT IS: Proof that the characters of the original MCU aren’t all going away, mostly.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Scarlet Johannsson is reliably pretty good, and there’s a lot of potential in a superhero spy movie, if that’s what it ends up being.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: We know next to nothing about it, really, but there isn’t a lot to the Black Widow character as drawn in the movies, so it might be disappointing in its scope, if not its execution? I don’t really know.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Yes, especially after Captain Marvel made all the money in the world.

Bloodshot

 

WHAT IT IS: What if Wolverine’s backstory and powers (minus Canada and the claws, respectively) was actually the backstory of a soldier-guy with a bunch of guns? WHAT THEN?
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: I’m going to go ahead and say that you shouldn’t? Bloodshot wasn’t quite the dumbest of the grim-n-gritty guns-n-grimaces grimdark nineties comic book uh…”heroes” 2, but he was way up there. Once again I come at this as someone in the younger range of the target audience for this kind of nonsense the first time around 3, and can only say that of all the things we could try to bring back from the nineties, this should be way at the bottom of the list, if it indeed needs to be on the list at all.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I guess because Vin Diesel is attached, which could lead to an agreeably-daffy bullet-hell mayhem-fest. If it’s got a sense of humor and manages to be fun, it might work out.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: I hope not.

Blue Beetle

WHAT IT IS: One of the throwbackier former-Justice League-ers could be getting his own movie! Blue Beetle is a dude in a suit 4 with gadgets, whose appearances in his own series and others’ were genuinely pretty fun, sometimes. This is meant to be the alien-robot-suit version of him, which makes him a little more like Iron Man than he ought to be, but also is the version that most people know.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: He very easily could be like a lighthearted Batman, which would be nice. Or, alternately, a wackier Iron Man.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The track record of superheroes who need to be lighthearted actually being lighthearted is pretty bad. It’s getting better, though, especially on the DC end, so maybe there’s hope!

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Almost certainly not, which also makes it easier to be optimistic about.

Bone

WHAT IT IS: One of the finest achievements in all of comicsdom, an epic fantasy story with a lot of visual flair and an appeal across all sorts of genres. I love Bone, you guys. It’s adorable and very funny, and exciting and parts of it are even scary. Great stuff. All-time great stuff, in fact. I’m reeeaaally stretching the definition of “superhero” to include it – it isn’t in any appreciable way, it’s pretty much high fantasy – because I love the comic so much and want to praise it publicly again.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because it’s great, and it has a super-clean story that moves linearly and should be a snap to film. It’s being promoted as a trilogy, which is heartening, as it means they can leave all the good stuff in there.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It would also be super-easy to tone down one of the aspects that makes it so great 5, not to mention that its pace is a part of its genius, and that would be very easy to botch in a movie environment.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Well, it’s been rumored to be near happening for, oh, twenty-five or so years, so it seems pretty unlikely at this point.

Deathstroke

WHAT IT IS: Somehow distinct from Bloodshot, Bloodstrike, Deadpool, Deadshot, Deathblow, Dethlok and Death’s Head, Deathstroke is a super-soldier (so also like Captain America, and not entirely unlike, say, Bloodshot) who I think wants revenge or something on the army.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because he’s going to be played by Joe Mangianello, which is something I guess.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I cannot think of a reason that this movie should exist, let alone a way in which it would be good. Maybe if Joe Mangianello is playing his character from Magic Mike, and this is what happens to him after the events of Magic Mike 2.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Actually, I really don’t think it will. Especially if the rest of the Gun Superhero movies that come before it don’t work.

Doctor Doom

WHAT IT IS: A colossally terrible idea, unless it’s a comedy.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: uh…at least a botched standalone Doctor Doom movie isn’t as bad as another botched Fantastic Four movie? Maybe you like Noah Hawley, who is the guy who claimed to be making it? I don’t know, man.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: What if it is a comedy? Like what if we’re not getting the classical Doctor Doom from Fantastic Four, but instead the wacky absurdist Doctor Doom from Squirrel Girl? That would be rad.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: No

Doctor Strange 2

WHAT IT IS: Another Doctor Strange movie. Guess he was right about giving Thanos that time stone, then.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Benedict Cumberbatch is reliably charming, and the first one was fine.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: They burned through the more interesting Doctor Strange villains (all both of them) in the first one, and who knows where it goes from there? Plus, the first one wasn’t that good.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Indubitably

The Eternals

WHAT IT IS: A movie based on one of Jack Kirby’s weirder contributions, specifically his most self-cannibalizing 6 contribution to the Marvel Universe.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, it’s going to star Angelina Jolie in some capacity. That’s something. The current MCU has a pretty good track record for figuring out how to make compelling stories out of characters who don’t exactly have super-well-known storylines (see specifically Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man).

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: I was as into goofball-ass cosmic Marvel as anybody, and The Eternals were still never that compelling. The best character it yielded was Thanos, who I’m going to imagine is going to be off the table here, since his story will have been completed. So we could have a movie about…Ajax? Interloper? Cybele? Who even knows?

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: It’s already started being cast, so the likelihood isn’t non-existent, but man, I don’t know.

Extreme Universe

WHAT IT IS: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Hoo. It’s a Rob Liefeld shared-universe thing, presumably starring a bunch of teeth, a bunch of bulging muscles, many, many pouches, and zero feet.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, to his credit, Rob Liefeld seems to have a pretty good sense of humor about himself these days (see The Pouch), so it might be funny. It’s interesting to note how many of these tertiary-market superhero movies are saved by the notion that they could potentially be funny. More superhero movies should be funny in general, is what I’m saying.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Self-awareness and sense of humor aside, everything that would be pulled from as source material here (Youngblood, Brigade, Bloodstrike, etc.) is dumb dumb dumb. It’s going to be developed for Netflix by noted terrible-movie-abettor Akiva Goldsman. There’s no way it’s going to be good.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Netflix is going to find itself bereft of superhero entertainment soon, or at least with it stock of superhero entertainment greatly diminished, so I’m sure it’s going to happen, if only so they have something to stick up there. They need to make their quota or whatever.

The Flash

WHAT IT IS: The solo movie version of the guy who was the other other not-bad part of Justice League 7.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Again, Ezra Miller isn’t bad. It’s going to be a time travel movie, as far as we know. So that’s something. I’m really kind of scraping for this.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The Flash just isn’t that interesting. The tv show does good work with the character, but that just necessitates the movie being even more significantly different from it, and there just isn’t that kind of depth of field for the Flash. That said, I’m not an expert, so I’m willing to be wrong.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Sure, probably.

Green Lantern Corps

WHAT IT IS: Another swing at a Green Lantern movie, this time the entire Corps, so a weird team-up movie based around a character that didn’t work the first time around 8. Wee!

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, CG has come a long way since the last time they made a Green Lantern movie, so that’s something. This is another movie based around a title (and even more specifically this set of characters) that people love deeply, even if I’m not among them. So if it gets handled responsibly and treated fairly, it could end up a movie that a lot of people like.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Well, that “handled responsibly and treated fairly” thing is the real rub, and since its charms elude me even when the book was in the hands of John Broome 9, it’s something that is liable to elude me no matter what.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: It’s probably about 50/50, to be honest.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3

WHAT IT IS: It’s the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: The first two are great, and after much hoopla, James Gunn is re-hired as the director, with the additional show of faith of delaying the filming until he’s done making Suicide Squad 2.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It’s probably going to be sans Gamora, who is probably dead for real (given that she died before the snap), and at the current pace with which Chris Pratt is losing his damn mind, it’ll be well into his case of the brain worms. Still and all, it’ll probably be fine.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: After all that hoopla, it would be super-weird if it didn’t.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

WHAT IT IS: It’s a uh…reboot of the movie that ended Sean Connery’s career.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because it can’t possibly be worse than the original.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The source material is some of the most unjuustly overhyped work in all of comics, and I can’t imagine that there’s a way to even get a quality movie out of it in the first place.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

WHAT IT IS: It’s a uh…reboot of the movie that ended Sean Connery’s career.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because it can’t possibly be worse than the original.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The source material is some of the most unjuustly overhyped work in all of comics, and I can’t imagine that there’s a way to even get a quality movie out of it in the first place.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Now this is where things are at least mildly interesting. This was announced a couple of years ago as a thing that Fox was doing to reclaim the series, but Fox has since been bought out. Now, this almost certainly means that this movie is as dead as Bram Stoker himself, but it would be interesting to see Disney put their weight behind it. The rights, however, if it doesn’t get made, might revert to WildStorm (and therefore DC, and therefore Warner Bros), which might make it more likely that it happens, and less likely that it will be worth talking about. I’m pretty sure, however, that this thing is just straight-up not happening.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Now this is where things are at least mildly interesting. This was announced a couple of years ago as a thing that Fox was doing to reclaim the series, but Fox has since been bought out. Now, this almost certainly means that this movie is as dead as Bram Stoker himself, but it would be interesting to see Disney put their weight behind it. The rights, however, if it doesn’t get made, might revert to WildStorm (and therefore DC, and therefore Warner Bros), which might make it more likely that it happens, and less likely that it will be worth talking about. I’m pretty sure, however, that this thing is just straight-up not happening.

Morbius

WHAT IT IS: Jared Leto is going to play “the living vampire,” who sets out to cure himself of some kind of blood disease 10 and ends up, y’know, a vampire or whatever.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: I think that Jared Leto has the capacity for goodness in him, if he can get over his “method acting”-borne harassment issues. Morbius actually had some cool comics moments, although they were mostly when he was on a team with Ghost Rider and Blade, so there’s potential there. One of those two even had a couple of good movies.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Ghost Rider is a much better and more cinematic character, and has had zero good movies, for starters. Also there are a paltry handful of good vampire movies in the world out of the hundreds of attempts, so that precedent is also against our boy here. Plus, I think Jared Leto has done good stuff, but not much of it. The batting averages involved here on all fronts are pretty low. But hey, it’s its own thing, so it might work out after all.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: I think it will, yes.

New Gods

WHAT IT IS: Jack Kirby’s completely unhinged creative-control-granted superhero madness party, this time on film

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Ava Duvernay is going to direct it, which is exciting 11. There isn’t much else to know about it, but if it’s as visually distinctive (and one of the things that can absolutely be said about Duvernay’s last great big genre movie, A Wrinkle in Time, was that it was visually distinctive) and utterly bonkers as the comic book, then we could be in for a real treat.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It’s not the most coherent thing that was ever published, and Kirby was always more of a drawer than a writer, so there’s a lot of visual flair and not a lot of actually-engaging plot stuff. A bone-simple plot can sometimes be an asset in a situation like this, but it isn’t necessarily encouraging in and of itself.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: I hope so! It’s got a director but no cast. Darkseid and Steppenwolf are already established presences in the DCU that are originally from New Gods, so we may have already seen some ground laid. Of course, who knows how connected DC is going to try to keep its movies anymore, so we may not have actually seen any of this as it will eventually be conceived, and this therefore could, in fact, not happen.

Plastic Man

WHAT IT IS: One of DC’s more joyful comedy-based superheroes. He’s stretchy and bendy and whatnot.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: If there’s any justice at all, he’ll be played by Ben Schwartz, which would be awesome.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Plastic Man’s comics are hell of dumb, and as much as I like Benny Schwa, he’s not actually been cast, so who knows what’s going on with it. If it happens, it’ll have to get a tone pretty specifically right in a way that’s very difficult, and I haven’t seen any evidence that that’s going to happen.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Probably not, thankfully

The Sandman

WHAT IT IS: Another one that stretches the definition of superhero pretty hard 12, this is sort of the Velvet Underground & Nico 13 of the comics world – it changed everything that it touched, and is generally part of the bedrock of serious comics fandom.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Individual storylines – A Game of You, The Doll’s House and Brief Lives 14 among them – are well-written and highly-filmable, despite the unwieldy nature of the whole project. Oh, and it doesn’t have Jared Leto involved with it anymore. That’s got to be a plus, right?

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Sandman is huge and lumpy and unique to comics, and adapting even the more adaptable parts of it will still leave huge whacks of necessary table-setting and exposition. It’s meant to be a serial story, and it’s meant to be read, and I don’t see how it would survive translation.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Probably not. It really is a lot to chew, and I don’t know that there’s any real benefit to it, given that it doesn’t have a tonne of people clamouring for a film version.

Shang-Chi

WHAT IT IS: The first superhero movie anchored to an Asian-American lead. Shang Chi is the son of Fu Manchu, and himself a master martial artist.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Here we have both an opportunity to tell a story about Asian-Americans but also a nifty idea where the missing father of the protagonist is actually a villain. Also, I think he would be a cool addition to whatever the stable of Avengers is shaping up to be.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Disney has generally done well by its characters, which has surprised me 15 as often as not, so it will probably be fine on that front, but who knows what Marvel movies will look like by then?

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: I think it’s all but official – it’s got a director and a writer and stuff.

Spawn

WHAT IT IS: One of the more ridiculous nineties artifacts is getting another movie, this time directed by Todd McFarlane, the guy who wrote and drew the original comics.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because people like Spawn, I guess?

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Spawn was awful. Also, the Venom movie wasn’t very good, and Spawn is just Venom 16 with a hell-based back-story, and, presumably, without Tom Hardy.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: It seems to be making progress, but I still kind of can’t believe that it’s going to happen.

Supergirl

WHAT IT IS: Superman’s cousin comes to the big screen!

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: People really like the currently-running tv show, and people also like the movie from the eighties, so it’s clearly possible to tell Supergirl stories on the screen that people like.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Well, a big part of what makes the tv show work is the casting, and they’re not going to use Melissa Benoist, so that’s kind of a problem. Plus, as with The Flash, the tv series is good enough that it’s not exactly leaving people begging for a re-interpretation, you know?

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: I’m dubious, but it probably will. DC has to keep shoring up their properties somehow.

Venom 2

WHAT IT IS:The sequel to the aforementioned Tom Hardy antihero vehicle.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Uhhhhhhhhh…..Tom Hardy sure is handsome?

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The first one was straight-up garbage? It was a dumb idea in the nineties that is officially out of non-dumb executions? I don’t know, there’s a whole lot of reasons to not be excited about this.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: Sony doesn’t have a lot of hits as a film studio, and the first one made money, so it most assuredly will.

X-Force

WHAT IT IS: I’m presuming this would have been Deadpool 3, or a spinoff thereof, about Deadpool, Cable, Domino, Firefist, and possibly Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: The Deadpool movies are pretty good. Seemed like a sure bet.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Oh, who knows what parts of the X-movies are going to survive the purchase.

WILL IT ACTUALLY COME OUT: I have no idea. On the one hand, it’s a huge money maker and would seem to be dumb not to release. On the other hand, I don’t know how things work at what is now the biggest movie studio in human history.

X-23

WHAT IT IS: Again, operating under presumption, it’s probably a movie about the young lady from Logan, whose corresponding comic book character was named X-23.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: It’s a neat character.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: We know nothing about anything. The X-series has flirted with teasing Mr. Sinister as a big bad, and there’s some of that in Logan, and that would be cool,, but it isn’t happening, and there’s also a very high likelihood that that could be super dumb.

That’s it for the movies that may or may not ever exist, and tune in later in the week for an attempt to do this for television. Three parts is a lot of parts! This is a lot of words, guys!


  1. no, but seriously: nearly every scene in Aquaman ends with something blowing up, and the heroes being chased and/or having to punch something. It’s weird. 
  2. Here is a true story: my original writeup for this entry confused Bloodshot with Deathblow, who might actually have been the dumbest of the grim-n-gritty guns-n-grimaces grimdark nineties comic book uh…”heroes”. 
  3. I was nine when Bloodshot was introduced, and thus still spent most of my comic-book time reading Thor, Ghost Rider and Daredevil (two of which, now that I think about it, avoided unnecessary grimdark by heaping on the catholicism. Who’d have guessed?). 
  4. historical fun fact, he was a part of the Charleston Comics lineup, and thus was set to be one of the characters in Watchmen until DC decided that the Charleston characters were too valuable to burn off in that series. The Night Owl is, then, an expy of the Blue Beetle, and their metiers are the same. 
  5. e.g. lessening the humor to amp up the action, lessening the scariness to amp up the cuteness 
  6. The Eternals were basically a palette swap of his own New Gods series for DC, which yielded Darkseid, the current overvillain of the Justice League movies, and his own actual original version of Thanos, about which see below. Or, well, above, since this footnote is at the bottom of the page. 
  7. i.e. not Gal Gadot or Ben Affleck. NB that this opinion rather requires that you agree that Ben Affleck isn’t the problem with Justice League 
  8.  i.e. one of the Green Lanterns in question would be Hal Jordan, the one that nobody liked when Ryan Reynolds played him.  
  9. who also, now that I think about it, wrote issues of The Flash that were pretty good 
  10. it’s worth noting that Morbius started out as a (rare non-animal-themed) Spider-Man villain, and a whole bunch of those were driven to deformity and madness by accidents with science, often medical (see also: Doctor Octopus, The Lizard, The Vulture usually). It makes me think that if you were a sociopath and wanted a bunch of internet attention, you could really pitch Spider-Man as some sort of anti-medicine crusader to the anti-vax/anti-science crowd. I hope no one actually does this, that would blow. 
  11. she turned down Black Panther, so it would seem that this project was more appealing to her than Black Panther, which has got to mean something. 
  12. Although in a way it doesn’t – the run of comics includes a bunch of bottom-tier DC people, and the character himself is a sort of elaboration on a pre-superhero crime-fighter comic book hero. 
  13. by extension, Watchmen is its Fun House, riding the bike so hard the wheels come off, and The Dark Knight Returns is the Kick Out the Jams, managing to make the same destructive, power-trip ideas accessible. This metaphor does not extend to any of the creators, I’m afraid. It also doesn’t hold up in regards to their chornology. I make no apologies for my sloppy comparison.  
  14.  if the movie were to only adapt one of the collections, and that’s probably what would happen, I think Brief Lives is the most likely. Also this list of likely culprits does not include Season of Mists (too much religious weirdness, and also too many one-off characters, although it is amazing) or The Kindly Ones (which is actually the best of the collections, but comes at the very end of the story and sort of by its necessity precludes a sequel, which seems like something that isn’t going to happen). 
  15. You can, for example, in the history of this very column, see my trepidation about Black Panther develop and be assuaged over the years. 
  16.  Todd McFarlane created Venom first, and then decided that since he was moving to his own self-published creation, he could just do it again, this time with a cape and the devil and stuff. 

How to Feel About Every Upcoming Superhero Movie Part 1: The Definitely-Being-Released

It’s that time of year, when summer movie season (which is now just the last nine months of the year, and covers all the parts of the year that aren’t horror-movie season 1, and which tapers off a bit during prestige-movie season 2. As someone who remains the sort of dude who has a background in the field, and also who doesn’t particularly care about movies but feels compelled to write about them anyway, this sort of thing is catnip.

Ordinarily I only write about the movies and such that have a definite, confirmed release date so that the level of excitement (or non-excitement, as it were) can definitely be said to exist. But superhero movies are in a state of flux. Marvel and Fox have merged, meaning there is one fewer studio making the damn things, and a lot of the people who are interested in telling more interesting superhero stories have moved to television 3. On top of that, the DC movies have entered a weird state where it’s unclear if they’re still trying to maintain a single universe, or if they’re going to continue to let them drift apart into their own things.

I’m not good at prognosticating 4, but I will say that this is probably evidence tha thte cracks are starting to show in the hegemony of the superhero movie – the MCU as it stands is coming to an end in a couple of weeks, and while The Powers That Marvel have clearly laid down their breadcrumbs to keep going, it’s unclear how well this will work, and how well this sort of thing will continue to dominate.

But hey! I could be wrong and we could still be in for eighteen of these goddamn things a year! Who knows! Anyway, this year I’m writing about every superhero (or strongly superhero-adjacent, as there are some non superhero works below that seem superhero-ish) movie I can find positive evidence of the existence of.

Hellboy

 

WHAT IT IS: A reboot of Mike Mignola’s eternally-running comic about a demon that wants to kill monsters and crack wise.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, the trailer makes it look cool, as does all the stuff we’ve actually seen in terms of costume and set and whatnot. Neil Marshall has an excellent track record, having managed to prove that he can juggle a bunch of characters (Doomsday), absolutely handle horror comedy (Dog Soldiers) 5 and create a genuinely terrifying atmosphere (The Descent), as well as putting nifty monsters in all three 6. David Harbour’s got charisma to spare, and there’s very little about Hellboy that isn’t wildly entertaining, so it’s probably got a good chance.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Well, the original movies leave some very big horns to fill. David Harbour seems good and all, but he’s probably not Ron Perlman. Hellboy lends itself to some deeply strange magic-inflected weirdness, and Marshall’s horror bona fides are more based in close-up grounded tension. But honestly, I bet it’ll be fine.

Avengers: Endgame

WHAT IT IS: The proverbial it 7. What the eleven years and twenty two movies have been building up to. The snap is undone, time is traveled, Captain Marvel Captains Marvellously and saves the universe, Captain America Captains Americanly and then probably dies. Thanos goes away. A magic glove is rendered merely an unusually heavy accessory.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: I mean, it’s pretty hard not to be. The dominant force in pop culture reaches its climax. That’s a big deal. Even mechanically, the fact that Marvel managed more-or-less to sustain this story over however many dozen hours of movie time is impressive mechanically, and if they can manage the landing even reasonably well, it will be a heck of an accomplishment.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: There’s always some trepidation about the landing – superhero stories are easier to keep in flight than to bring down to the runway – and this has some sky-high expectations. It’s also three goddamn hours long, and the first one was already overstuffed and had an awful lot going on, so the odds of everything ending satisfyingly seem a little low. Also, there’s like a dozen more Marvel movies in the pipeline (see below), so it’s hard to maintain much tension. I’ll probably still see it more than once.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

WHAT IT IS: The end of the current X-Men movie continuity, and, if Kevin Feige is to be taken at his word, the last X-Men movie for awhile (although, again, see below).

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: The X-Men movies have gotten progressively more cartoonish and bizarre. This one appears to feature Sophie Turner as a haughty full-on villain for most of it, which is nice. The Dark Phoenix story is one of the stories that really put the X-Men on the map, although this version will be without Mastermind 8, so it has a lot of extremely likable crowd-pleasing history.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Well, I was the only person that liked Apocalypse. So that’s not a reason I’m waffling, but it’s a reason to waffle. Also, the Dark Phoenix story worked for selling the comics, but was the worst part of the X-Men United a bunch of years ago, so has already failed once as a movie. Plus, even with the willingness to get even stranger, the X-Men movies are still missing some of the elements (outer space! Mind control! Weird magic clone things!) that made the comic book version so cheerfully weird.

Gambit

WHAT IT IS: The still-somehow-scheduled Channing Tatum Gambit movie! Gambit was the guy in the purple body armor and the trench coat from the cartoon. He has a cajun accent and makes things explode (largely playing cards) when he throws them. Lizzy Caplan is somehow in it. Hopefully not also doing a cajun accent.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Um. So. Gambit is a very popular character, certainly. People of a certain age liked him. Those people were alive and very young in the nineties, when the character was designed. No seriously, look at this fucking dude. He has, like, zero stories that are worth experiencing. But Channing Tatum is very charismatic, certainly. So maybe that’s the reason? Maybe it’s funny? I don’t even know, guys.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It’s a Gambit movie in 2019. That’s a bad idea. It would have been a bad idea in 1999. I’m not even waffling. I am straight-up dubious, guys. Straight-up dubious. I suppose I can take solace in the fact that there’s basically no way this movie is going to actually come out, let alone this summer.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

 

WHAT IT IS: Mainly it’s the thing destroying the tension of Infinity War. If it’s not just two hours of swirling ash, then obviously things are put back to normal. If it is two hours of swirling ash, I’ll be pretty happy about it anyway.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, the first one was the best Spider-Man movie ever made for about eighteen months 9. It was as good as it could have been, and Tom Holland is a fantastic Peter Parker. It’s also the first MCU movie after whatever happens in Endgame, which means that it’s going to be our first glimpse into a world where half of everyone has died and come back. It’s also meant to be explicitly about the aftermath, which is neat.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: There’s only been one good Spider-Man movie sequel ever, and this isn’t that. I’m not super worried about it, but there’s also the fact that it’s a double unknown quantity, and it seems like a logical place for the ball to be dropped.

The New Mutants

WHAT IT IS: Formerly an X-Universe spinoff movie, now it looks to be on of the dwindling relics of the end of the X-Universe films. It’s a horror movie about a new set of mutants (hence the title).

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: An x-mutant-themed horror movie sounds great, and the trailer looked fantastic. The comic book The New Mutants managed to look at some really interesting aspects of mutant-ness 10, before eventually morphing into the much less interesting, but way more tuff-nineties-goulash-y X-Force.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The trailer came out a long, long time ago, so clearly the studio doesn’t have a lot of interest in actually releasing it, especially in this post-merger world. It’s directed by the guy who directed The Fart in Our Cars, and that movie sucked big time. It was probably meant to set up a series and now almost certainly is not, which could lead to some ending weirdness. Still, though, it’s a horror movie!

Joker

WHAT IT IS: The Hangover guy is making a Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because at least Joaquin Phoenix is not Jared Leto

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: This looks like it was written by the worst kind of edgelord committee. The least-interesting part of the Joker is how he became the Joker, and we keep trying to tell that story, and it keeps not being very good. Even in the Tim Burton Batman, the parts where Jack Nicholson is not yet the Joker are not the good parts. I just can’t fathom being excited for this one. Although, again, at least Joaquin Phoenix isn’t Jared Leto.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

WHAT IT IS: A spin-off/sequel to Suicide Squad

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Because Margot Robbie was the best part of Suicide Squad. The cast is rounded out by Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who’s great in everything) and Jurnee Smollett-Bell (who was great on Friday Night Lights), which is pretty cool. DC had good luck with their other female-led superhero franchise, so maybe lightning will strike twice.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: There’s still a lot of potential for it to be pretty awful, given that the source material was rarely particularly good, and it’s still DC, which has only recently started to shake their propensity for making over-serious, overstuffed movies full of bad ideas. Still, it’s probably fair to be cautiously optimistic.

Wonder Woman 1984

WHAT IT IS: The sequel to the only unmitigatedly good DC movie so far 9

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Eh. I think that the DC movies are on something of an upswing, Joker-based decisions notwithstanding. This could be fine. Steve Trevor is coming back somehow, which is something, and Chris Pine is always delightful. Gal Gadot is still just dandy, the whole thing is probably going to work out.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: The first one did have it’s third-act problems, and while it’s true that they’re similar problems to just about every big superhero movie (there’s got to be a showdown with a CGI villain, after all), it’s also true that in Wonder Woman it seemed especially pronounced, given the difference between most of the conflict in the movie up to that point and the final conflict. That’s a pretty minor concern, though, given that that hasn’t happened as often in the last couple of years, and also that even though that was the first movie’s problem, it wasn’t enough to make the movie less good in any appreciable way.

Suicide Squad 2

WHAT IT IS: At this point, this is the most out-there thing to try to predict about. It’s the movie that snapped up James Gunn in between him being fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and re-hired for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. It’s also the sequel to the most mixed-bag of the DC movies so far. The announcements about it have made it seem especially murky who might be coming back, but it appears that Jai Courtney and Margot Robbie are among them.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, Guardians of the Galaxy was an unlikely success story, and James Gunn did a bang-up job with that. There are things about Suicide Squad that could be fun, we just aren’t seeing a lot of “fun” in general from DC to this point. Viola Davis is also rumoured to be coming back, and she was also good. Idris Elba is going to be involved, and I like him also.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: Well, Will Smith was the other best part of the first one, and he’s not in this one. I like Idris Elba (who is not replacing Will Smith as Deadshot, but is instead playing a so-far-unnamed character), but his presence in a movie is….not a reliable indicator of quality. Suicide Squad seems like it could work in theory, but even the original comic book source is not particularly good, so it’s always been better on paper than in practice.

The Batman

WHAT IT IS: The guy that directed Cloverfield and the two most recent Planet of the Apes movies is going to take on the masked detective.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED: Well, Cloverfield is, if not great, then at least an excellent tight-action-in-a-big-city movie. The latter two Planet of the Apes movies are genuinely great, so Matt Reeves has his bona fides.

BUT I’M WAFFLING BECAUSE: It currently doesn’t have a star? Ben Affleck has left the project, and while Reeves says filming began a month or so ago, there’s still no word on who is actually going to don the suit. There’s also reports that it’s going to have a bunch of villains in it, which has never once helped any superhero movie ever. Not even once.

Alright, that wraps it up for the movies that are definitely going to come out. Tune in in a couple of days for the movies that might, in fact, not exist. It’s very exciting!


  1.  which just ended 
  2. AKA Awards-Season, which also overlaps with horror movie season, because there can only be two types of movies I guess? 
  3. in the interest of word-count, I’m saving the tv stuff for part 3, with the not-confirmed movies comprising part 2 in a couple of days. 
  4. a thing I say literally every time I try to prognosticate 
  5. it’s not germane here, but he also proved that he could handle horror comedy for a budget of, like, whatever money he had in his pocket at the time of filming, which is also encouraging. 
  6. he may have also proven something with Centurion, but I haven’t seen it. Mea culpa.  
  7. yes, yes, there are no proverbs about “it”. Shut up. Also it’s not the literal It, which comes out at Halloween times and isn’t a superhero movie. Well, it kind of is with all the psychic whatnot, but I’m still not including it. Shut up again. That’s a double shut up. 
  8. who, for whatever reason, was not included when they made First Class, which included many of the other Hellfire Club characters. True story: when the X-Men cartoon did this story, they included the character, but never referred to him as Mastermind, which makes me wonder if there’s a weird rights thing I don’t know about. I can’t help but think that they’re related. 
  9. although they are getting better – Aquaman wasn’t so bad, after all.  
  10. a character who had powers that were useless in a fight, a displaced alien techno-virus, an artificially-aged witch person who had the powers of a demon and a magic sword and a werewolf comprise many of the members of the group. 

The 2019 ACM Awards

You know, we really give out a lot of awards. If you are a successful country music artist, especially, there are just piles and heaps of opportunities for you to win award after award. What do you suppose, say, Carrie Underwood does with all of them? Has she used them to build a shed 1?

Anyway, you get it. Another awards show. I’ve talked previously at great length 2 about how the problem with writing these things about country music is that there’s precious-little turnover, especially when compared to other genres, so I’ll not get into the whole thing here except to mention it for any first-time readers that happen across it.

Anyway, this awards show has a bunch of awards I’m not going to write about, because I have zero opinions about casinos or venues that I don’t attend. Oh, and I’m skipping songwriter of the year because even though it’s in my wheelhouse, more or less, I still find it difficult to deduce what the songwriters in question are nominated for, and in country music the songwriters generate a lot more material than in other genres/sub-industries.

Furthermore, I’ll be going through these quickly, so as to minimize the amount of time I have to spend getting frustrated at my own inability to come up with more words to say about each of these artists, especially as time goes by.

Music Event of the Year

I don’t know why this is called this, and it drives me crazy every time I write about these awards. I suppose I’d call it “team-up” in my head, but that’s what a childhood of comic books will do to you. Anyway, I kind of like “Drowns the Whiskey,” which surprises me somewhat, as I generally don’t like Jason Aldean. I suppose even a blind squirrel finds a dog’s butt sometimes.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jason Aldean, “Drowns the Whiskey” f. Miranda Lambert

Video of the Year

None of these are particularly interesting or inspiring, but at least the Brothers Osborne look like they’re having fun.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Brothers Osborne, “Shoot Me Straight”

Song of the Year

At some point I may have to talk about “Meant to Be,” but the powers that be have allowed me to continue avoiding that for yet another awards ceremony, which is great. Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos” is a fine song, and an honorable nominee. But Kacey Musgraves is super-great, and “Space Cowboy” is especially super-great, and it’s the winner.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kacey Musgraves, “Space Cowboy”

Single of the Year

This is a pretty dire situation. I sort of like “Down to the Honky Tonk,” and it is, by the rough rubric we have here, the least bad song. But I do want to say this about “Most People are Good”: it is terrible. Like, it’s a melodically-dumb song with a chorus that never really kicks into gear, and the less I say here about the lyrics the more likely I am to be able to get through the rest of my life without trying to chew on my own eyeballs, but I appreciate how earnest it is. This is sort of how I feel about Luke Bryan in general. It’s pandering and terrible pabulum for middle-of-the-road mush-listeners, but goshdarn it it feels pretty genuinely all that. And something that sucks honestly and without pretense is the best of the things that suck. I mean, it’s not a winner, it’s a terrible stupid song, but I rather appreciate the attempt in and of itself.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jake Owen, “Down to the Honky Tonk”

Album of the Year

I’ve sort of come around on Eric Church. I still don’t listen to him of my own volition, but I’ve softened on what it is he’s doing, and I don’t hate it. I like Chris Stapleton well enough. He’d be praised a bit higher if he were in direct competition with anyone but Kacey Musgraves.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour

New Duo or Group of the Year

I still only like LANCO of these options. I like their all-caps name.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: LANCO

New Male Artist of the Year

I am sad that Mitchell Tenpenny’s music doesn’t move me more, because his name is awesome. I mean, it’s not a very country-music sort of name, but it’s an all-time great name anyway. Shame, really. He should try to be as good as Luke Combs. It would make him better.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Luke Combs, who isn’t actually that good. But who also has a pretty good name, for all that.

New Female Artist of the Year

This one is actively the most difficult for me to decide on. I genuinely have no feelings. Like not even a “Well Luke Combs is a little better than the curve here” type of feeling. I guess Carly Pearce doesn’t actively put me to sleep. I guess.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Carly Pearce

Group of the Year

LANCO’s incursion is fine, but I still like Lady Antebellum more. Still and all, there have been several categories with more than one viable choice in them, and that’s kind of nice. Makes me hopeful, even.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lady Antebellum

Duo of the Year

There are definitely not two viable candidates in this category, and also I am concerned that LOCASH is trying intentionally to interfere with LANCO’s all-caps fanbase. Actually, given that one of them is “new” and the other is not, it’s probably the other way around, but LOCASH suck real bad, so I’m blaming them. Good job, Brothers Osborne! At least you seem to be having fun in that one video I mentioned earlier!

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Brothers Osborne

Male Artist of the Year

I’ll say this: I spend most of these writeups whining about how terrible this all is. No one in this category is anything I’d call a favorite, but none of them are that bad, such as it is. It’s still a matter of “acceptable by degrees”, which isn’t great, but by the lax standards that this awards show generates within my heart, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches.

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Chris Stapleton

Female Artist of the Year

The female artist category isn’t necessarily better than the male artist category, but the highs (Kacey Musgraves) are much higher, even if the lows (Maren Morris) are also much lower. It’s nice, though. A relative pleasure to work through. I’m pretty happy about it, even though it was pretty much a foregone conclusion anyway

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kacey Musgraves

Entertainer of the Year

It is dumb nonsense that there are no women here. It is especially dumb nonsense that one of the women who isn’t here is Kacey Musgraves. That said, the winner is non-musical, because Luke Bryan is a delightful addition to American Idol and has, therefore, entertained me more than the rest of these people. He will, of course, not be present, because the ceremony airs directly opposite an episode of American Idol, but that would make it funnier anyway. 

THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Luke Bryan

And there you have it! We’ll be back in November to look at (I’m sure) this exact same basic set of people once more!


  1. by which I mean she probably can have built a shed out of awards, in which to keep all of the awards that were not directly used for construction materials.  
  2. and in many, many different writeups