With all of the best of the year and best of the decade lists coming out as we close on 2019. It’s also time to look forward to the year ahead and to start our most anticipated of the year lists. I know some people aren’t fans of doing these sort of lists because for the most part a lot of people have some of the same movies on their list just in a different order. Personally, I like making this sort of list and then comparing it to my end of the year list to see if any of these movies made it or not, or just to compare with my eventual review of the movie. It is tough though because there are so many movies that don’t have release dates yet or just aren’t even announced yet that will drop next year. Normally many of the movies on your end of the year top ten you never even knew or heard about at this time, but we work with what we got and with that I will now go into my top ten most anticipated movies of 2020.
10. Top Gun: Maverick
It’s never a safe bet to make a sequel of a movie that came out decades ago, and it’s especially never a safe bet when the movie is a beloved movie that never really needed a sequel. Surprisingly, it seems that nothing can stop the inevitable hype train for Top Gun lovers and newcomers alike when Top Gun: Maverick is released next summer. In taking a modern reboot/sequel approach like that of The Force Awakens or some other big budget revivals. Top Gun: Maverick is bringing our beloved character “Maverick” back as a teacher for new pilots. In an age where it seems drones are taking their jobs, we get an interesting new perspective on the need for fighter pilots from the view of someone who was in a time where he was actually needed. The trailer has also done wonders by giving us some stunning aerial shots of the fighter jets and many scenes that immediately make you think back to the original film. There’s a lot that can go wrong with this movie, but so far everything seems to be lining up and looking right for this sequel to hit every mark and I can’t wait for this ride.
Normally a Pixar movie wouldn’t make this list. I’m a huge fan of Pixar and many of their projects, most of which I group up watching through my childhood. Toy Story has always been one of my favorite series of movies and A Bug’s Life and Inside Out are some of my favorite animated movies of all time. Pixar has been on such a streak that is only hurt by its subpar entries of Cars 2 and Monsters University. Both of those movies are good animated movies, but they’re just not good Pixar movies. Outside of those, Pixar has been cranking out some of the best movies of the year every year. 2020 doesn’t look to be a year where they’re going to slow down either as they’re coming out with their first of two new original films. This one being Onward. It takes place in modern time, but if the people and setting were all in a fairy tale like world. It essentially made me think of the Netflix film Bright that came out a few years ago, but obviously this one is animated and more kid friendly. From the trailers we can see that it’s about two brothers that want to spend one more day with their dead father and go on a quest to bring him back. It quickly seems to have a lot of heart and could be another emotional impact movie from the studio. It also has some great animation and character and setting designs. Everything about this seems to be another hit for the studio and even has some stellar actors for our two main characters with Chris Pratt and Tom Holland. It may not make my end of the year list but certainly seems to be a fun and heartfelt adventure for adults and kids.
8. A Quiet Place Part II
In the beginning quarter of 2018, we were given a directorial debut by an actor turned director, John Krasinski. He gave us his original horror film A Quiet Place which ended up making many top lists of the year for that year. It’s a movie that on paper and in concept would be extremely difficult to pull off and to become critically and financially successful with audiences given the nature of the concept. He give us a world where there are monsters that have come from who knows where and attack people. We are introduced at a point that seems long after the monsters first arrived and it’s shown early on that sounds is what attracts these monsters. Short way of explaining this is that if you make a sound you die. For the most part the first film was a silent movie, save for the very few moments when the characters are whispering and it really doesn’t seem like something that the modern audience would be easily on board with. It’s Krasinski’s direction and use of visuals that keep you hooked and keep the suspense on such a level that you find yourself on the edge of your seat for the majority of the movie. It was a fantastic outing for a first time director and with how the first one ended, we know that we’ll be going in a new direction away from what we got before. It will be most interesting to see how much of the world they continue to explore if any at all and what direction he can take this story to. He seems to have a firm grip on this project and doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would make a sequel if he didn’t feel confident in the story. I’m not sure if it will make my list at the end of the year, but the intrigue of what he can do with this second movie really makes me excited.
7. Wonder Woman 1984
Patty Jenkins gave us a breath of fresh air into the DC Cinematic Universe with the first Wonder Woman movie. She really set a ton for the studio that they need to focus more on the story and quality of these single movies rather than try to build up for something like they did with Justice League and Batman v Superman. Wonder Woman took us back to the origins of the greatest female hero in comics history. This is something we have never seen on the big screen and certainly gave us everything we were wanting and more. It took us to World War 1 and used the war as a good backdrop for everything going on in the world. Patty Jenkins returns for the sequel that brings us up several decades to the 1980’s. It’s a different time period than where we were in the first film and from where we were when we saw her in the other movies. It gives this movie a sense of being able to tell its own individual story that isn’t affected by any of the other big superheroes. What gets me most excited is that Patty Jenkins is returning and looks to be giving us a great sequel and an interesting story with the return of Steve Trevor who we all believed to be dead. We also have the addition of Pedro Pascal and Kristen Wiig to the supporting cast and both of which seem to be villains. There’s really a lot going for this movie and seems to be the most hyped movie of next year for many people. I’m not as big of a fan of the DC movies right now which is why it isn’t higher on my list, but I am very excited for it. It could make my top list of the year, but we’ll see.
6. Halloween Kills
David Gordon Green returns for this sequel of a sequel/reboot in Halloween from 2018. He surprised many people by giving us the best entry into the series since the original. It was also a movie that was playing out as a direct sequel to the original disregarding any of the other movies. They also took a similar approach to that of The Force Awakens and Top Gun: Maverick. It brings back the old characters in a mentor type role for our new characters while also continuing the previous story. The first Halloween by Gordon Green gave us that fantastic feel of terror for the character of Michael Meyers that we hadn’t felt since the original. It had a clear direction and pace that made me feel like this team of creators know exactly what they want to do and executed on it perfectly. Sure, there were some problems that aren’t going to please everyone, but for the most part it hit every note for me. It was one of my favorite movies of that year and instantly got me excited for the sequel that brings the whole team back together for the second in a planned trilogy. What gets me most excited is that it’s very clear that this team has a clear vision for a story they want to tell over the course of three movies and since the quality was there in the first film, it seems unlikely that the next one will be any less than the first. Of course anything can happen, so this is more of a let’s see how they do like it is for my feelings with Krasinski and A Quiet Place Part II. If it can even match how good the first one was then I think we’re in for a real treat, the first trailer that has yet to be released should give us a sense as to where exactly the story is going to go and we may have a better idea of whether this sequel will work or not. Either way this is my most anticipated horror movie of 2020.
5. Godzilla vs. Kong
I don’t care what anyone says about anything about these new Godzilla and King Kong movies. I know they aren’t the best made movies and I know there are a lot of people that don’t like them. I will gladly be in the minority of those who like these movies. The first Godzilla is my least favorite only because we didn’t get to see much of the King himself, but the direction by Gareth Edwards was unique in how it showed the true scale of the beast. Kong: Skull Island gave us another take on the giant ape and gave a cool direction and visual style that for sure isn’t for everyone, but was a fun ride for me. This then led to the Godzilla sequel, King of the Monsters. This is a movie that seemed to be the most divisive of all of the movies made so far in this new connected monster universe. Some people it didn’t work for them and then there are others like me that had such an absolute balls to the wall blast with the CGI explosion of monster fighting monster visuals that it became an instant guilty pleasure. It has a lot of story and logic problems that come down to the lack of a good script, but honestly that’s not why I watch these movies. King of the Monsters gave me the best monster vs monster action that I’ve ever seen in a movie and it also gave us some of the best visuals for these monsters that I had the biggest smile and the most fun with it than maybe any other movie from 2019. The unfortunate thing going into this next film that brings us Godzilla vs Kong, is that the movie was delayed from coming out in a few months to coming out at the end of the year. There could be many reasons why this decision was made and I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but it usually isn’t a great sign for a movie to be moved that far out so I am going into it a little skeptical. However, if it can be anywhere near as fun as King of the Monsters was for me than I really don’t care about the quality of the story. For me it’s all about how much fun I have in the theatre with it.
4. No Time To Die
The sequel to 2015’s Spectre and the last film for Daniel Craig as the suave spy James Bond is finally coming in April with the release of Cary Fukunaga’s No Time To Die. The Craig series of Bond movies have really been the first for an actor playing the part to have his movies be somewhat cohesive where events or characters that happen are brought back into play in the sequels. His films have provided some of the best outings for the Bond character with Casino Royale and Skyfall while also giving some middle of the road outings like Spectre and Quantum of Solace. This movie brings on a new director in Fukunaga who has the directing chops to give us a fantastic end to this version of the character. He has some stellar directing credits like True Detective and Beasts of No Nation so he’s proved his ability to direct compelling stories. The real question is how exactly do they wrap everything up. With the movies all being some kind of cohesive through line through each film, this one seems to have to make everything come together while also introducing a new villain played by Rami Malek. Rami is an actor that I first watched in the show Mr. Robot who hit the mainstream playing Freddy Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. He is my most excited part for the new movie as I can’t wait to see him chew through his lines as a villain, something that he hasn’t done yet. From the trailers it seems that we’ll be getting another great action globetrotting mission with returning characters like Blofeld, but also some interesting new angle that could be a focus point for the further direction of the series. I’m sure that there are many mysteries in this film that will slowly unravel as we realize the connections between it and the other entries. The best thing would be for Craig to go out on a high note and with his disdain for doing another film after Spectre, I would bet that this movie with its director and story is going to give us just that.
I never made a list for best directors of the decade, but if I did or if I do end up making that list, I think it would be very difficult not to include Denis Villeneuve. He has given us some of the best films of the decade with Prisoners, Arrival, Sicario, and Blade Runner 2049. None of them actually made my favorite of the decade list, but I tend to pick movies that I have more fun with. All of his movies for the most part are incredibly made and incredibly directed and he has been a name that has been on the rise with every film he releases. He now decided to go big budget, but with a very unlikely property. Dune. He decided to be the man to helm a Dune reboot, a movie based off of a sci-fi classic book that has been muddied by the issues it had being made back in the day. It’s a project that normally would garner extreme skepticism by anybody brought on to direct it and there is still some skepticism going into this one. The one difference that separates him from everyone else, is that he’s one of the very few names that brings the least amount of skepticism. The majority of people who know who he is and the movies he’s made are very understanding of how good he actually is and are excited for the movie strictly because he’s attached. The craziest thing about this movie though that gets me more excited than him directing is the cast that he’s put together. He may have put together one of the all time most talented casts for a big budget project like this. Some of those names are Timothy Chamalet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Mamoa, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, and many others. Just looking at the absolute A+ talent on that cast list makes you try to even fathom how you could even get all of these people together. I’m not very well in tune with the story of Dune and I don’t have much knowledge about it, but it’s sci-fi and is being directed by one of my favorite working directors and I hope it ends up being a home run and sets off a new franchise.
With Avengers: Endgame bringing an end to an era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we look forward now to the future and a new era of this universe starting with the introduction of new characters and new stories. In May, we will be getting a Black Widow movie, that seems like one last tip of the cap to the old era in giving Scar Jo her own movie with her beloved Black Widow character, but it’s towards the end of the year that we get our first entry into this new era of the MCU. Eternals brings us a movie directed by Chloe Zhao. An Asian woman who has some lesser known credits on her resume, but is clearly loved by Kevin Feige who decided to give her this new group of heroes to introduce into the MCU. It gives us a look of a group of immortals with a mix of the cosmic feel to it in what seems to be a different kind of Avengers like team. It reminds me of the Inhumans in a way, but obviously that was a busted projected with how terribly it was received. I’m definitely interested in the story and these characters that I really don’t know anything about. I’m excited for the director and what she is going to do with these characters and what potential they may have for the future of the MCU, but what gets me the most excited is that cast. You can thank Game of Thrones for this because it plays a big part in why I’m so excited about this cast. It was announced that Richard Madden would be playing the lead in this movie and if you don’t know his name and you’ve seen Game of Thrones then just think of Robb Stark. He plays him. On top of playing Robb and being one of my favorite characters of the series, he also came out with a new show called Bodyguard that is currently on Netflix. He garnered critical acclaim for the show and his performance, so it’s never a bad thing to bring on quality talent. If he wasn’t enough, it was the most recent of casting announcements that made me the most excited. Jon Snow himself, Kit Harrington was announced to be a part of the film and what I want more than anything is to see a scene with these two characters facing off just because of the connection they had in Game of Thrones. It’s my own selfish reasons for being that excited, but it is easily one of my most anticipated movies and moments of 2020.
Another director who has dominated as being one of the best constant quality directors over the last two decades has been Christopher Nolan. He has challenged the viewers time and time again in every movie by pushing the limits of what the audience can process. He also gave us a genre defining film in The Dark Knight and really set his style with Inception. He has ventured out to sci-fi with Interstellar and even war movies with Dunkirk. He’s a director that for many always delivers and his next project seems to bring us back to the Inception days of Nolan. I’m always excited for a project that he’s working on, but recently the trailer was released and gave us a sense of the story and how it has something to do with time with some people moving forward while certain things are moving backwards. I really don’t even know how to explain what is that’s going on, but it’s going to be another mind bender in the vein of Inception. It has a stellar cast and I was on board right from watching the trailer for the first time, but that wasn’t what made this my most anticipated movie of next year. No. It was the five or six minute scene that was shown to me before The Rise of Skywalker on the IMAX screen. There was no context as to what was going on, but it gave a feel of how the movie is going to be and the intensity and tension that’s going to be a focus. The music and sound seemed to be directly made for the IMAX setup and immerses you right in. I’m a huge fan of Star Wars, but after watching that scene I almost forgot what I was actually there to watch, it was that one scene that got me so hooked and ready to watch the rest that I can’t help but put this at the top of my list.
2020 is the start of a new decade and a new year that will kick off with some great movies that we have a certain awareness of. Like every year, we’re going to have movies released before us that we had no idea were coming out. Some of these movies that we are excited for are going to disappoint us and others will surprise us. This is simply a list of movies that I am personally excited for and can’t wait to see on the big screen. It’s a list that gives an awareness of some of the big movies being released that some people aren’t aware of and it’s a list that will differ from many others. The most I can hope for is that these movies will at the very least be enjoyable enough that I won’t hate them. I don’t want to hate any movies or dislike any movies, but the nature of the business is that not everything is made well. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best as we kick off this new year and new decade.