2017 was a great year for films. There was the return of franchises (Fast and Furious, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), the hard-to-classify Jordan Peele’s Get Out, 80’s nostalgia of queer romance film Call Me By Your Name, and the highest-grossing superhero blockbuster Wonder Woman. It’s a lengthy list than that of course, some of them rich and complex and subversive and representative. And 2018 also brings its own robust slate of films: Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan finally bring an end to their erotic saga with Fifty Shades Freed (Feb. 9); the Han Solo Star Wars spin off Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25); the return of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22). But I have narrowed down the offerings because, face it, you just can’t see them all. So here are the eleven must-see films of 2018.
Black Panther (Feb. 16)
I’m yet to meet a human being who isn’t anticipating this Marvel stand-alone superhero adventure, directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Brown, Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Gurira, Angela Bassett, amongst others. If its official trailer is anything to go by, we already know that Wakanda is astoundingly cool.
Red Sparrow (March 2)
An adaptation of Jason Matthews’ novel of the same name, we see Jennifer Lawrence seduce and destroy men as Russian intelligence operative Dominika Egorova. It feels like J. Law’s version of Angelina Jolie’s Salt, directed by Francis Lawrence whose only connection to Lawrence is his helming of the Hunger Games films. They both reunite in this spy thriller and for a much older audience.
A Wrinkle in Time (March 9)
Director Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of the classic children’s sci-fi novel casts 14-year-old Storm Reid as Meg Murray, a young girl who goes on an epic adventure through time and space searching for her astrophysicist father (Chris Pine). She encounters three travellers who become vital to Meg’s mission: the kind Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), the wise Mrs. Who (Mindy Making) and the grandmotherly Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon).
Ready Player One (March 30)
In Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi fantasy based on Ernest Cline’s novel, the director describes it as a “cautionary tale but also an exhilarating adventure.” Ready Player One is set in a dystopian world where almost everyone spends a majority of their time in a virtual reality system called OASIS, where players can visit any conceivable world.
The New Mutants (April 13)
I didn’t know what to expect before I watched the trailer for The New Mutants last year. Some sites had described it as “the scary thing you would see today,” and why I always don’t fall for such clickbaits, I marvelled at the what played out in the trailer. The New Mutants pulls from the haunted house trope and revolves around five teenage X-Men mutants, held in a secret facility fight to save themselves. In other words, it’s a superhero horror film and it doesn’t get better than that.
Avengers: Infinity War (May 4)
After bringing together the likes of Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye in the first two Avengers flicks, Marvel is upping the ante considerably in Avengers: Infinity War, which brings together a massive number of the studio’s heroes, from Doctor Strange to Black Panther to Spider-Man as they battle the evil Thanos. It’s going to be a super-sized spectacle.
Ocean’s 8 (June 8)
Even if you decide not to see any film on this list, you really can not ignore the all-female splendour of Ocean’s 8, starring Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the incarcerated sister of Danny Ocean (played in the first set of films by George Colony). As a criminal mastermind, Debbie recruits seven other female thieves as they try to pull off the heist of the century at the annual Met Gala. Joining Bullock are Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, and many more.
A Star Is Born (Oct. 5)
Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and Ally (Lady Gaga) are the only characters that care about in the Bradley Cooper-directed remake of the 1937 original film. There’s nothing better than to put two strangers in a vulnerable situation to get to know each other, which means we are also to expect a love story, right? It’s a musical romantic drama, by the way, and Cooper plays a country rocket and Lady Gaga is a singer on the rise. It’s also not your fault if you are thinking of La La Land.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Nov. 16)
The first film introduced magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) into the Harry Potter movie universe, and the action shifts from 1920s New York to Europe in his next adventure, which debuts Jude Law as a young Albums Dumbledore. But they will find a formidable for in the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), whose casting was embroiled in public backlash last year.
Aquaman (Dec. 21)
Finally, DC Comic’s aquatic superhero gets his own solo feature after appearing first in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and then again in Justice League. The films follows Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) as he is forced to reconcile his loyalties to the surface world with his role in the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, which has become increasingly hostile to the humans polluting the oceans.
Mary Poppins Returns (Dec. 25)
Julie Andrews first played Mary Poppins in 1964 and now the flying umbrella has been passed to Emily Blunt for a sequel set in 1930s Depression-era London, where Poppins revisits a now-grown Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer) when their family needs her again following a tragedy that leaves them joyless and numb.
A good number of these films will premiere in Nigerian cinemas so you’d do well to mark your calendars.