With Blue Monday now been and gone, it’s officially time to start looking forward to the year ahead. And with Oscar season approaching rapidly, we thought we’d give you a flavour of what’s to come in cinema. So from summer blockbusters to critically hyped indies, here’s a comprehensive guide to all the films you need to look out for in 2018.

All the Films You Need to Watch in 2018

Black Panther

UK Release Date: 16th February
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman

The first Marvel Studios film of 2018, Black Panther is arguably their most interesting and most important yet. Set in the technologically advanced fictional African country of Wakanda, Black Panther will be the first solo outing for Chadwick Boseman’s athletic superhero after debuting in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. The film will be directed by Creed filmmaker Ryan Coogler as he pairs up with Creed star Michael B. Jordan as the villainous ‘Killmonger’. The trailer for Black Panther alone should get you primed with a load of action sequences, stylised cinematography and a killer soundtrack. Black Panther could just be the modern black superhero the universe has been crying out for.

The Shape of Water

UK Release Date: 16th February
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer

Written and Directed by Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water stars the always superb Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a lonely and mute cleaning lady who works in a high-security government laboratory. Set in 1962 with the Soviet spies around every corner, a new specimen arrives into the lab: a mysterious amphibian man, played by an unrecognisable Doug Jones. Alongside her co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer), Elisa discovers the classified fish man and strikes up an unlikely friendship with him. After witnessing a terrifying Michael Shannon and his co-workers perform experiments on the creature, she decides to stage an intervention… The film has some serious awards season buzz around it and Guillermo del Toro is one of the few directors in Hollywood working today we’re always going to pay attention anyway. So this is a must see. del Toro will be working double time this year with Pacific Rim Uprising, starring John Boyega, set for release in March too.

Lady Bird

UK Release Date: 16th February
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Lucas Hedges, Laurie Metcalf, Timothée Chalamet

From Writer/Director Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird is set to be 2018’s indie darling. The film stars the always superb Saoirse Ronan as an outspoken teen who must navigate a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother over the course of an eventful and poignant senior year of high school. Lady Bird has the highest rating possible on Rotten Tomatoes (along with the brilliant Paddington 2), so it’s not to be missed.

Annihilation

UK Release Date: 23rd February
Cast: Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Annihilation stars Natalie Portman as a biologist whose husband (played by Oscar Isaac) disappears in a mysterious, remote and sealed-off zone known simply as ‘Area X’. Nature has begun to reclaim the uninhabited area with some mysterious goings on. For 30 years Area X has been monitored by a secret agency called the Southern Reach, who have been sending in expeditions to try to discover the truth about the area. Having put her name forward for a final expedition aiming to discover the truth about the ‘environmental disaster zone’, Portman’s Lena has no clue what she’s expecting to find. Based on the best-selling Southern Reach book trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, the Annihilation teaser promises something truly atmospheric. It looks perfectly creepy and almost terrifying, while the cinematography looks beautiful and suitably other-worldly.

I, Tonya

UK Release Date: 23rd February
Cast: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan

In 1994, one of the best female figure skaters in the US was attacked after practice by a masked assailant while training for the Olympics. The accused? None other than her bitter rival and fellow American skater, Tonya Harding. Craig Gillespie’s film, I, Tonya, dramatises the scandal in all its chaotic beauty with Margot Robbie starring as the bad girl of ice skating.

Ready Player One

UK Release Date: 30th March
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance

Having taken a break to complete The Post (check out the True Story of The Pentagon Papers here), Steven Spielberg’s next 2018 adventure is right up our street. An adaptation of Ernest Cline’s sci-fi novel, Ready Player One sees a young man engaged in a treasure hunt for an Easter Egg in a virtual reality universe called OASIS. The prize? Control of said universe and untold wealth. We’ve got high hopes for Ready Player One, and if the film is anything like the book, it’ll be packed with classic film, TV, music, and gaming references, which makes it ideal for Spielberg who practically invented nostalgia in cinema. Not to mention its got a Van Halen soundtrack…

Untitled Cloverfield Sequel

UK Release Date: 20th April
Cast: Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd

Each film loosely connected to the Cloverfield series has been a complete mystery until its release, with titles and even association to Cloverfield hidden until the very last minute. But the film formerly known as ‘God Particle’ has finally been unveiled as the next in the series – though, naturally the actual title hasn’t been revealed yet. What we do know about the latest of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions mystery is that it’s set on the International Space Station and revolves around an experiment with a particle accelerator going really, really wrong. How it fits into the Cloverfield sort-of-franchise? Your guess is as good as ours!

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Avengers: Infinity War

UK Release Date: 27th April
Cast: Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Benedict Cumberbatch

Arguably the most anticipated film of the year, Avengers: Infinity War is undoubtedly going to be Marvel’s biggest film to date – that alone makes it a must-not-miss. The universe has grown hugely since the first Avengers in 2012 and there’s been some massive developments since Age of Ultron in 2015 too. As such, Infinity War is the first film to feature all of the expanded Marv gang, including the players from Guardians of the Galaxy. So what’s it about? This time around, the villain is the tyrant Thanos. And he’s looking to take out every man, woman and android during an almighty brawl.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

UK Release Date: 25th May
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover

Though we’ve become accustomed to a new Star Wars film every December, Disney and Lucasfilm are returning to the traditional May release for Solo: A Star Wars Story. The second standalone Star Wars film following Rogue One in 2016, Solo will be exploring the origins of the saga’s most popular smugglers. How did he acquire the Millennium Falcon? And where did he met his Wookiee co-pilot? Relative unknown Alden Ehrenreich has been cast as a young Han Solo, with Donald Glover playing a young Lando and Game of Thrones’ Emilia ‘Khaleesi’ Clarke also set for a starring role.

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Ocean’s 8

UK Release Date: 22nd June
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway

If you’ve watched Ocean’s 11, 12 or 13, you probably know the score by now; a crew of A-list actors team up to steel stuff from the super-rich bad guy. But rather than being headed by Danny Ocean (George Clooney), Ocean’s 8 crew will be led by his estranged sister, Debbie, played by Sandra Bullock. Her crew is packed full of greats with Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, and Awkwafina joining the party. Their objective? To pull off the heist of the century at New York City’s annual Met Gala and get back Debbie’s ex, played by Homeland’s Damian Lewis.

Incredibles 2

UK Release Date: 22nd June
Cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson

Believe it or not, it’s actually been 13 years since Pixar’s The Incredibles hit cinemas. And though it may have taken a little longer than usual, Elastigirl, Mr. Incredible, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack will be back for a sequel this summer where it’ll reportedly pick up right where it left off — with villain The Underminer enacting his plan for world domination.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

UK Release Date: 22nd June
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum

There were a few jitters among fans of the original Jurassic Park before Chris Pratt’s reboot hit the big screen. But rather incredibly the film went on to become the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time. No pressure on Fallen Kingdom then which brings Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s characters back to the island for a dino-rescue mission. Jeff Goldblum is also set to cameo as Dr Malcolm is the sequel which will be worth the admission fee alone.

Alita: Battle Angel

UK Release Date: 20th July
Cast: Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali

Fans of anime are going to be treated to a real cinema landmark this summer when Alita: Battle Angel finally gets its live action/CGI debut. The film has been in development for almost two decades now with Robert Rodriguez on directing duty and (unsurprisingly) James Cameron producing the adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga series. The film tells the story of a powerful female cyborg with a mysterious past who’s given a new life by a friendly scientist. The film looks unique to say the least with hyper-real CG interacting with human actors. This could be one for IMAX!

Venom

UK Release Date: 5th October
Cast: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams

After a rather lacklustre introduction in 2007’s Spider-Man 3, the alien symbiote known as Venom is finally getting its own standalone film with Tom Hardy cast as the alien’s unwilling host. Very few details have been revealed yet with next to nothing known about the plot. But we’d be surprised if Venom wasn’t a) very dark and b) very violent.

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X-Men: Dark Pheonix

UK Release Date: 2nd November
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, Nicholas Hoult, Jessica Chastain

It may be quite far away but we actually know a fair bit about X-Men: Dark Pheonix. Firstly, it will be set a decade after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse. The X-Men are now national heroes, but when a solar flare hits the crew during a rescue mission in space, Jean Grey loses control of her abilities and unleashes the Phoenix. Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner will be back as Jean Grey, while James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender and Nicholas Hoult will also be reprising their roles from Apocalypse. Jessica Chastain is also on board.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

UK Release Date: 16th November
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp, Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, Jude Law

A Harry Potter spin-off was always going to be met with lots of hype as well as heaps of cynicism, but Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them couldn’t really have been more successful for JK Rowling. The film was largely lauded by audiences and critics, so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock that the film series will now be delivered in five installments. As the name suggests, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will focus heavily on the villainous Grindelwald, who ‘has been busy gathering more followers to his cause – elevating wizards above all non-magical beings.’ The only slight problem the series could have is the controversial casting of Johnny Depp as said villain.

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Mortal Engines

UK Release Date: 14th November
Cast: Robert Sheehan, Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has a brand new epic on the way just in time for Christmas 2018. Moving on from orcs and elves, Jackson now turns his attention to the apocalypse and giant steampunk city-sized monster trucks with Mortal Engines. An adaptation of a novel series written by Phillip Reeve, the saga is set thousands of years in the future and involves the city of London – just not as we know it. St Paul’s Cathedral does exist, but rather than sitting across from Millennium Bridge, it now sits on top of a travelling steampunk machine trying to survive after an apocalyptic war. The cities travel around eliminating one another each – especially smaller towns – for fuel and ‘old tech’: a system brilliantly called Municipal Darwinism. With plans for future installments, this could be the next big franchise.

Aquaman

UK Release Date: 21st December
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Willam Defoe

We’re going temper our expectations – Warner Bros. and DC Comics have burned us one too many times – but we are hoping the direction of James Wan will result in Aquaman becoming more of a Wonder Woman than a Justice League. Jason Momoa’s ‘aqua-bro’ take on the water-hero was one of the few positives in Justice League, so it’ll be interesting whether Khal Drogo can finish 2018 off with a bang.

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Also don’t forget to check out our run-down of the TV shows you need to look out for in 2018!

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