2019 was a year dominated by Disney, with Marvel finishing up its phase 3 line-up and Disney churning out live-action remakes of classic animated movies, or continuing certain franchises (Toy Story 4, Frozen II). Whatever your stance on Disney, 2020 doesn’t look as Disney-saturated.
There are tons of anticipated book adaptations, plenty of female-led narratives coming into play, with further expansions on the DCEU and Dark Universe, and of course the beginning of Marvel’s phase 4. Here are the biggest new movies of 2020.
1. Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn | 7 February 2020
The title is quite a mouthful, but it seems to suit the wackiness of the character of Harley Quinn and makes perfect sense to Paul Dini, the co-creator of the character, so who are we to say otherwise? Birds of Prey will have an R rating, which is a great decision for the world they want to sell to us on screen. Suicide Squad’s PG rating probably handicapped it a little, though it’s hard to make excuses for a film that squandered immense star talent and source material potential.
Birds of Prey is getting a fairly early release, which usually doesn’t bode well for expected quality of the film, but I’m willing to give anything with Margot Robbie a chance – what a fantabulous actress she is.
2. The Invisible Man | 28 February 2020
Any movie with Elisabeth Moss is going to be at least decent because this woman can act. Her work in the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale is compelling stuff, and she has the rare quality of elevating any body of work she is a part of. All you need to do is watch the trailer of The Invisible Man to see what I mean.
The Invisible Man is an addition to the Dark Universe, following the character of Cecilia (played by Moss), a woman who is being stalked by the invisible man, turning the focus of the original narrative from the male protagonist to a female lead. With Leigh Whannell taking the lead as director (I have been a fan ever since I watched Upgrade), I look forward to seeing a new spin on an old story.
3. A Quiet Place: Part II | 20 March 2020
John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place was a nice surprise at the theatres in 2018, well received by critics (it is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and moviegoers alike. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to us that a sequel would follow. Looking at the official trailer that has been released, it dives into the immediate aftermath of the first movie, with the family leaving the sanctity of their home.
They run into Cillian Murphy’s character, and I can’t decide if he’s a good guy or a bad guy, which feels like Peaky Blinders all over again. With Emily Blunt resuming her role from the first movie, and Murphy on board, this might be worth watching in the cinemas, and hopefully it bests the efforts of the first.
4. Saint Maud | 27 March 2020
Saint Maud made its way into the world last year during the film festival circuit, but only makes its way into our theatres this year. The critics who got a chance to see it raved about it, describing it as a horror film that is surreal and poetic, with riveting performances from lead actresses Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle making it a must-watch film.
Clark plays a recluse nurse in charge of a cancer patient (played by Ehle), and becomes quickly consumed with the idea that she needs to save her patient’s soul from eternal damnation. It brings creativity and a unique quality to the horror genre, so if you are a fan of the horror genre, Saint Maud sounds like an experience you would enjoy.
5. The New Mutants | 3rd April 2020
The New Mutants has been plagued with a series of problems, pushed back from its original release in 2018, with delays and reshoots that never materialised. After Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, the fate of the movie was even more uncertain, given the differing tone between The New Mutants and other Marvel movies (the former is more a horror coming-of-age film).
While it was assumed that Disney might scrap it or rework it to fit the MCU more, it now appears that Disney has left it untouched, so what we will see is director Josh Boone’s vision. After the disaster that was Dark Phoenix, the X-Men series could use a bit of a boost, so I’ll be rooting for The New Mutants to surpass my expectations.
6. No Time To Die | 10 April 2020
This movie will be Daniel Craig’s last time donning the James Bond persona, so if you have been a fan of his portrayal, you should really make some space on your calendar to watch it in the cinema.
No Time To Die has been beset by a series of misfortunes, due to changing directors and Craig’s injury, but it has since bounced back with renewed rigour, with director Cary Joji Fukunaga on board and Phoebe Waller-Bridge brought in to make some adjustments to the script.
For me, Rami Malek as the Bond villain in this movie is probably the most exciting thing, and I am eager to see what he brings to the role.
7. Promising Young Woman | 17 April 2020
Promising Young Woman has a Gone Girl-esque vibe, with a #metoo message. The movie stars Carey Mulligan, who has been quietly building up a successful career. Her character honey-traps men, in the sense that she feigns being drunk to see how she is treated by men in these spaces.
The title is a reference to how sometimes men who commit sexual offences are given lenient sentences, because they are promising young men. The movie wants to show us what is taken away from a promising young woman when she experiences an incident like this, drawing its focus on ideas of consent and how we as a society need to change the way we view a woman’s body. Her body is an extension of her own agency, not something to be objectified.
8. Black Widow | 1st May 2020
If you are still hurting from Avengers: Endgame, then Black Widow might ease a little bit of that ennui. Scarlett Johansson returns to her role as Natasha Romanoff, with a prequel film that explores the events between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. It is rumoured that Robert Downey Jr, aka Tony Stark, might make an appearance in the movie, though nothing is confirmed as yet.
She will be up against villain Taskmaster, and while the character is typically a guy in the comics, there are speculations that because Black Widow is such a female dominated movie, that they might reveal Taskmaster to be a woman. Whatever the changes might be, Black Widow is just the thing to whet our appetite for Marvel phase 4.
9. The Woman in the Window | 15 May 2020
The Woman in the Window is an adaptation of a novel with the same name, written by A.J Finn. It is reminiscent of Girl on the Train, where we get an unreliable female narrator who witnesses something horrifying and tragic, but is not believed given her mental health struggles as well as excessive drinking. She can’t prove her innocence given her agoraphobia, and we aren’t sure if she’s lying to us or not.
It is a fast-paced thriller, and who better to bring it to the screen than director Joe Wright, who has a stellar record in book adaptations (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, Anna Karenina). With Amy Adams in the lead role (give this woman an Oscar already, she is well over-due), as well as the fantastic additions of Julianne Moore and Gary Oldman, we are in for quite a thrill ride.
10. Wonder Woman 1984 | 5 June 2020
Patty Jenkins’ 2017 Wonder Woman is the best film from the DC franchise, so it is a good thing that we are getting a sequel, with Jenkins returning to direct.
As the title suggests, we are moving from WW1 to the brighter hues of the 80s. The trailer is popping with so much 80s colour, creating a potent sense of nostalgia. Gal Gadot returns in the titular role, with Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal and Chris Pine on board as well. How is Chris Pine’s character Steve Trevor still alive? Guess you will have to watch the movie to find out.
11. Top Gun: Maverick | 26 June 2020
Top Gun was released in 1986, and now, 34 years later, we have a sequel. The trailer is such a great endorsement for anyone who wants to be a pilot, and is so riveting to watch you will find yourself replaying the trailer just to watch those plane sequences again.
Tom Cruise resumes his role as Maverick, content to roam the skies as a captain rather than be grounded by a promotion in rank. The nostalgia is heavy with this one, so if your parents are fans of the first movie, this could be something to bring them to and enjoy together.
12. Tenet | 17 July 2020
I will be the first to wholeheartedly admit that I am a Christopher Nolan fan girl. I have seen all his movies, multiple times I may add, and I shell out the money to go watch them at the cinema no matter what. The films he makes just deserve that full screen attention, and for the duration I am caught like a fish in the wonderful narratives and tantalising visuals.
It’s been a rather long wait for Tenet, especially with how little information we are getting about the film. The trailer seems to indicate time loops, given that the title itself is a palindrome and ends the way it begins. Confused? Confusion is part of the Nolan movie experience, and more clarity will be offered once we actually get to see the film, so hang on tight till then.
13. Morbius | 31st July 2020
Venom becoming a box office success was an event I did not see coming. I mean, how would a Venom movie without Spider-Man even work? Well, it didn’t, but it’s getting a sequel, and Venom’s success has spawned the development of similar antagonistic counterparts in the Spider-Man universe.
The last time Jared Leto was in a comic book movie, that did not work out well for him or for us. But Leto as a vampire? I could totally see that, and I am looking forward to seeing the world they have built for Morbius.
14. Eternals | 6 November 2020
The casting for Eternals was big news in 2019, since this is the first movie that will properly set off Marvel’s phase 4 (Black Widow is a prequel) and each new cast member added to the list shows that Marvel isn’t playing around when it comes to this movie. We have the likes of Angelina Jolie, Kit Harrington, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Don Lee and Gemma Chan on board for this movie.
Director Chloé Zhao is an interesting choice, given that her previous film was an indie movie, but hopefully this means she will bring something a little new to the MCU.
15. Dune | 18 December 2020
Has any book adaptation been more anticipated than the upcoming Dune? Can Denis Villeneuve succeed when others have failed? Especially when the directors of the previous adaptations include the likes of David Lynch and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Jodorowsky’s film never saw the light of day, though there was a documentary about the failed attempt. Dune is in great hands with Villeneuve, who achieved much success with sci-fi offerings Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival.
The cast is stacked as well, with the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson. Will the film live up to the expectations of Frank Herbert’s fans? I would say the product that is a stellar film is highly likely.