Cap­tain Mar­vel, other he­roes to light up screens

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Brian Truitt

Brie Lar­son’s star turn is one of 10 tasty com­ing at­trac­tions; an­other is the long-awaited re­turn of “Dumbo.”

The next year is go­ing to be spent talk­ing a lot about “Avengers: Endgame” in April, “Toy Story 4” in June and “Star Wars: Episode IX” in De­cem­ber. Just give us the tick­ets al­ready, be­cause we’re be­yond stoked. But there are many more in­trigu­ing en­tries com­ing in 2019, from re­vamped Dis­ney clas­sics and awe­some as­sas­sins to the re­turn of one lov­able mon­strous lizard and Mar­vel’s first head­lin­ing su­per­heroine. ❚ Here are ex­clu­sive looks at the 10 movies we can’t wait to see in the months ahead:

1. ‘Cap­tain Mar­vel’ (March 8)

Be­fore Brie Lar­son’s en­ergy-blast­ing hero­ine plays a role in “Endgame,” Carol Dan­vers gets a proper in­tro­duc­tion as the fighter pi­lot/space war­rior in a 1990s-era solo ad­ven­ture. “It’s so cool to play a su­per­hero wear­ing a Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, ripped jeans and Doc Martens,” Lar­son says. A pro­tag­o­nist who needs to fig­ure out her own mys­te­ri­ous back­story (plus fight shapeshift­ing Skrulls), Carol’s “not this per­fect ideal of a woman. She’s my per­fect ideal be­cause she’s flawed and she owns those and learns to work with them, and is mak­ing mis­takes over the course of this movie find­ing her­self – fig­ur­ing out her past, but also dis­cov­er­ing her own strength and power.”

2. ‘Us’ (March 15)

“Get Out” writer/di­rec­tor Jor­dan Peele prom­ises a “scarier” ex­pe­ri­ence with his new hor­ror film, which fol­lows a fam­ily (Lupita Ny­ong’o, Win­ston Duke, Sha­hadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) tor­mented by mys­te­ri­ous, creepy ver­sions of them­selves dur­ing a beach get­away. “As a coun­try that seems ob­sessed with the idea of the out­sider com­ing to take what’s ours, it felt ap­pro­pri­ate to tell a story where the en­e­mies have our face and the in­vader is not what we ex­pect or tend to fear,” Peele says, adding that he’s pay­ing homage to all his he­roes: “Hitch­cock, Spiel­berg, Kubrick – ev­ery­body’s in there in some way.”

3. ‘Dumbo’ (March 29)

In Tim Bur­ton’s live-ac­tion take on the Dis­ney clas­sic, the fly­ing ele­phant in the ti­tle has a way of bring­ing out the fun­da­men­tal truth of ev­ery hu­man char­ac­ter. In the case of Holt Far­rier (Colin Far­rell), the horse show­man who lost both his wife and left arm while fight­ing in World War I, he gets his life back on track tak­ing care of new­born Dumbo with his two chil­dren. The lit­tle cir­cus ele­phant awak­ens Holt “as a man who can trust in sweet­ness and who doesn’t just see the world through the

lens of the vi­o­lence and the in­hu­man­ity that he ob­served while he was away at the war,” Far­rell says. “That’s a huge thing.”

4. ‘Shazam!’ (April 5)

The main man of DC’s comedic su­per­hero movie is right in star Zachary Levi’s wheel­house. “I’ve al­ways been drawn to char­ac­ters with big hearts, or they’re drawn to me,” says Levi, who plays the mus­cle­bound re­sult when 14-year-old Billy Bat­son (Asher An­gel) ut­ters the magic word “Shazam!” Like “Big” meets “Su­per­man,” the movie taps into uni­ver­sal child­hood imag­i­na­tion. “At some point, we all thought, ‘If I just be­lieve hard enough, then I can fly or run across the wa­ter or read some­body’s thoughts.’ This is a kid get­ting to live out those dreams. It’s a tale as old as time but of all the su­per­hero movies, it has yet to be told.”

5. ‘Hell­boy’ (April 12)

The half-de­mon, all-sar­cas­tic su­per­hero gets a re­boot with David Har­bour (re­plac­ing Ron Perl­man in the role) wear­ing cut-off horns and the Right Hand of Doom as Hell­boy bat­tles su­per­nat­u­ral threats like the deadly Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) while also try­ing to fit into so­ci­ety. “I love that he is sort of des­tined to bring about the apoc­a­lypse, and yet he him­self just wants to be, like, a good guy,” Har­bour says. The new film leans into blood, guts and a morally com­pli­cated hero. “Hell­boy is fun­da­men­tally a sweet-hearted guy but also a big old killer, just whack­ing peo­ple. We ex­plore the hor­ror of what it must be like to be from hell and to strug­gle to find your place among hu­man be­ings.”

6. ‘John Wick: Chap­ter 3’ (May 17)

Keanu Reeves’ semi-re­tired as­sas­sin just can’t catch a break, with a global com­mu­nity of killers out to get him as Wick trav­els from New York to Mo­rocco and back, seek­ing any help he can find to sur­vive. “I’m a big fan of Joseph Camp­bell’s mytholo­gies of the hero and what he would have de­fined as the theater of pain, or some­times we call it ‘The Die Hard Co­nun­drum’: We just to like to beat the (stuff­ing) out of our he­roes,” di­rec­tor Chad Sta­hel­ski says, promis­ing that more of Wick’s ori­gins will be re­vealed. “If you choose that kind of life­style, you’re go­ing to be pretty beat up. So we like John Wick to suf­fer and think Keanu loves for John Wick to suf­fer, too.”

7. ‘Aladdin’ (May 24)

Guy Ritchie’s mu­si­cal redo is a “big­ger and brighter” take on the Dis­ney car­toon, says Naomi Scott, who her­self is adding di­men­sion to Princess Jas­mine by em­pha­siz­ing the strength and in­tel­li­gence of the iconic char­ac­ter she loved grow­ing up. Jas­mine’s arc ob­vi­ously in­volves fall­ing for street rat Aladdin (Mena Mas­soud): “They’re the per­fect part­ner­ship be­cause they both need each other and teach each other.” But it’s also about “find­ing her voice” and want­ing the best for the peo­ple of Agrabah. “She grad­u­ally finds the courage to speak out against in­jus­tice, and that’s kind of her ob­jec­tive from the start of the movie: ‘I see these peo­ple, I love them.’ ”

8. ‘Godzilla: King of the Mon­sters’ (May 31)

When he was 4, di­rec­tor Michael Dougherty says his pri­mary “se­cu­rity blan­ket” was a Godzilla toy. “I would take him to church. That’s how much I loved him.” And with the new se­quel, he’s putting the “god” in the “Godzilla” fran­chise, bring­ing back the likes of three-headed golden dragon Ghi­do­rah and winged moth Mothra from the old Ja­pa­nese mon­ster films. In the movie’s world, “they’re not just big dumb an­i­mals. They were wor­shipped back in the day,” Dougherty says. The ti­tanic crea­tures once co-ex­isted with hu­mans, yet when they and Godzilla rise once again to find out who truly rules in “King,” that un­der­stand­ing be­tween man and mon­ster has been for­got­ten. “There’s a fan­tas­ti­cal el­e­ment that comes into that. It’s not just pure sci­ence fic­tion.”

9. ‘Rock­et­man’ (May 31)

Taron Eger­ton truly em­braced all things El­ton John in this mu­si­cal fan­tasy in­spired by the pop leg­end’s life from the late 1950s to the end of the ’80s, singing about a dozen of his most fa­mous num­bers and wear­ing a va­ri­ety of ul­tra-flam­boy­ant looks. “I wear a Queen El­iz­abeth I cos­tume at one point; that was a lot of fun. There’s a lot of hot pants and not much else. It was a bap­tism of fire,” Eger­ton says. As much as it’s based in re­al­ity, he adds, “Rock­et­man” also uses height­ened fan­tasy el­e­ments to make the story “mag­i­cal, kind of trippy, a bit oth­er­worldly and quite dark.”

10. ‘The Kitchen’ (Sept. 20)

In the 1970s-set crime drama, Melissa McCarthy, Tif­fany Had­dish and Elis­a­beth Moss play wives who take over the Ir­ish Mob in Hell’s Kitchen when their hus­bands are nabbed by the FBI. Putting women in po­si­tions they’re not nor­mally found be­came a theme, from its comedic ac­tresses to a fe­male di­rec­tor mak­ing her de­but in a male-dom­i­nated genre. “Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate peo­ple” was the main idea for An­drea Berloff, adding that “Thelma & Louise” proved in­flu­en­tial with “two re­ally tough women who are ‘crim­i­nals’ and yet we love them.” Berloff was “raised and reared” on Mob movies, “so they’re in there some­where, but I re­ally wanted to find my own voice in my own way.”

CLAUDETTE BARIUS

Win­ston Duke, top, Lupita Ny­ong’o and Evan Alex are fam­ily mem­bers fight­ing their malev­o­lent dop­pel­gangers in “Us.”

CHUCK ZLOTNICK

Brie Lar­son’s space war­rior has to un­lock her past in “Cap­tain Mar­vel,” ar­riv­ing March 8.

DIS­NEY

For­mer cir­cus star Holt Far­rier (Colin Far­rell, left) and his chil­dren Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Fin­ley Hob­bins) care for a very spe­cial new­born ele­phant in Tim Bur­ton’s “Dumbo.”

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