There are many different films coming out in 2018 that should warrant mention on this list, but the intention here is to focus on some of the ones I feel could be both the most interesting in terms of style and direction, and also ones based on pre-existing work from the filmmakers that might hopefully speak for the quality of the upcoming production.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This is certainly one of the oddest major releases of the upcoming year; allegedly based on the 2014 Spider-Verse storyline, little is known about the Phil Lord written production beyond its unique animation style, its focus on fan favourite Spider-Man Miles Morales, and its position as a separate entity to the MCU that will juggle multiple different iterations of the character from across different media. However this turns out it’ll certainly be an interesting and notable take for finally bringing Morales to the screen.
Proclaimed as one of the strangest and most shocking Palme d'Or winners in recent memory, Ruben Östlund’s satirical takedown of the modern art scene and high-minded bourgeois will absolutely outrage and challenge in some form if his previous work on Force Majeure promised anything further. The cast looks great and the film looks exquisitely sharp and scathing. This could be a major talking point come the official release.
A Quiet Place
Horror is at the peak of its power in western mainstream cinema at the moment, and A Quiet Place has one of those insidiously clever gimmicks to its premise that immediately grabs your attention; a family living on a farm hides from a supernatural evil attracted to sound by avoiding making sound and communicating in sign language. Much like 2016’s Don’t Breath this could be a great tension building exercise, and if director and star John Krasinski can pull it off in execution this could be his calling as a genre filmmaker to watch.
Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon, The Monster Squad, Lethal Weapon 2, The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. He wrote and directed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. If that roster isn’t enough to get anyone pumped up for his long-gestating sequel to the Predator franchise, then I don’t know what I can tell you to change your mind.
The original film was probably the only feature in the Pixar canon that practically demanded a sequel or continuation in some form. It might be over a decade late, but we’re finally getting one and all the main players and creative’s are coming back. Continuing right where the original left off with a shift in focus to Holly Hunter’s Elastigirl, this might not have been what people were expecting but a Brad Bird film is always something to celebrate and look forward too.
You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsay’s latest feature, her first since 2011’s We Need to Talk about Kevin, received lavish praise at Cannes 2017 with a seven-minute standing ovation at its premiere. Even given Cannes tendencies to overreact to films to extreme degrees, the cast list is excellent, the premise is strong and to anyone who saw and loved her previous film this is going to be a phenomenal treat for the senses.
Ryan Coogler’s work on Creed proved his adept ability to weave genuine thrill and spectacle out of trusted and revered material, and his back catalogue dealing with African-American characters and casts makes him more than reasonably suited to launching the Black Panther franchise. This is going to be a genuinely interesting piece of work as a major Hollywood blockbuster that is one of the first to tackle Afrofuturism on such a massive scale.
The Shape of Water
It shouldn’t be a shock to see a Guillermo del Toro on any most anticipated list anymore, he’s had a more consistent run of genuinely unique and excellent pictures than any modern filmmaker. But The Shape of Water is the kind of marriage of Lovecraftian fantasy and serious-minded drama that we haven’t seen from him in well over a decade, and if the general response from across the pond is anything to go on then this could be another absolute winner.
Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins holds a very personal place in my heart as not only a childhood favourite but also one of the best and most emotionally involving cinematic experiences ever produced. There are so many different reasons as to why I should be concerned about this decades later follow-up to a beloved classic, mainly down to the choice of director in Rob Marshall and his consistently inconsistent filmography. That being said, I couldn’t not be excited for this given the talent involved, the picture-perfect casting of Emily Blunt in the lead role and the best possible choice of title for a sequel of this calibre. Fingers and legs crossed for this one.
Avengers: Infinity War
What else was possibly going to be the most anticipated film of 2018? The culmination of 10 years worth of storytelling and the supposed payoff to one of the biggest and most expansive studio gambles in cinematic history, a cornerstone for generations and the creative force and star power the likes of which western cinema hasn’t seen in decades. Superhero fatigue may be setting in as the genre continues to reign supreme over the industry for the forseeable future, but if they can pull this off, this could be one of the biggest, wildest and most satisfying blockbusters ever made.