The Year of the Fan Movie

It’s certainly true that consumers drive the content that shows up on our screens, big and small.

The simplistic principle of “make something people will want to watch” is an age-old one, honored by content creators since the dawn of the film age. However, recently it seems that there has never been a time wherein multimillion dollar franchises are catering to their fanbase quite so much, or with such vigor. If the 2010s marked the beginnings of fandom finally being brought into the main stream, then 2018 will be the year it finally comes to flourish, with the plethora of movies coming out this year that will satisfy all of our nerdy cravings.

Marvel: “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Black Panther,” “Deadpool 2” and “Venom”

Far and away the best-known fan franchise out there, Marvel single-handedly revamped the superhero movie genre with the modern masterpiece, “Iron Man,” and is finally beginning the final descent toward wrapping up the Avengers. “Infinity War” will be the first of two movies that will deal with the Avengers (and some intergalactic Guardians) as they fight to retain ownership of the Infinity Stones and destroy their ultimate villain, Thanos, once and for all. Though they’ve had a few rocky steps (everyone remembers Age of Ultron and the robot with teeth – much as we’d all like to forget), “Infinity War” seems

like an epic that’s worthy of the lofty abilities and goals of our heroes. But that’s not the only thing Marvel has coming to the big screen this year. They’ve gone all-out, and are releasing “Black Panther,” one of the year’s most promising new films in preparation for “Infinity War.” For the compelling story of T’Challa, aka Black Panther, the king of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, ticket pre-orders have already outpaced “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the franchise’s reigning champion of pre-order sales. Later in the year, we’re being promised a second Deadpool film – for those of you who didn’t see the first one, watch it – as well as a new take on Venom, the story of Eddie Brock, a complex character that becomes host to an alien symbiote that gives him amazing powers, and who was last seen in 2007’s “Spider-Man 3.”

Sci-Fi: “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” and “Ready Player One”

I know what you’re thinking. “Ready Player One” isn’t in a franchise, how can it possibly be included in this list?! An understandable, but incorrect notion, as “Ready Player One” is an adaptation of an incredibly popular novel of the same name, and also one of the most promising sci-fi epics in a movie landscape dominated by superheroes and heavy-handed dramatic romances. In the midst of an energy crisis, economic collapse and widespread social problems, the world turns to the OASIS, a VR simulation of society, and it’s up to Wade Watts, a normal teen, to save the OASIS once its founder perishes. The trailers for “Ready Player One” look excellent; an everyman-type hero in a fascinating, alien world. Invariably, the same will go for “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” where the theme of an average person going against strong odds in a dystopian future world is prevalent, if not the norm. While I personally have never seen the “Maze Runner” series, I’m definitely excited for “Solo,” even if it feels a little like a cash grab – Han deserves an origin story!

Other: “Ocean’s Eight,” “The Incredibles 2,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”

If you’re looking for the next installment in the wildly popular blockbuster that you saw last summer, look no further. Of the movies listed, “Ocean’s Eight,” the all-female reboot of the “Ocean’s” series looks the most promising, alongside “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” which seems to be a more environmentally themed sequel to the original. If you were a kid when the first “Incredibles” came out, get excited for the new one, “Incredibles 2,” coming this June. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the second installment of the Harry Potter spin-off is due out in November and we’re sure you’d get your tickets now if you could!

Bronwyn Davila

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2018-01-01 digital edition