New year shows immense promise with upcoming films


Graphic by Reagan Hayes

2023 has some great films on the slate

2022 was a year of incredible success for the film industry. Movies such as Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever rocked the box office. The list of the most highly anticipated movies to be released in 2023 shows immense promise. 

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania– The third movie to Ant-Man (2015), Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, will be released at the beginning of this month. This will be the 31st film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe overall, and will be the first installment of “Phase 5”. Original cast members of the first and second movie such as Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp, will be returning. New characters will be introduced; William Jackson Harper will play Quaz, Bill Murray will play Krylar, and Jonathan Majors will star as Kang the Conqueror. Quantumania follows the journey of the Ant-Man crew as they explore the Quantum Realm in hopes of escape, after being sucked into it at the end of Avengers: Endgame (2019). Some critics have described Quantumania to be Marvel’s zaniest, most exciting film yet, while others have described it to be weird and to have too much going on all at once. Decide for yourself when it hits the big screens on the 17th.

The Super Mario Bros.- On April 7th The Super Mario Bros. will appear on the silver screen for the first time since the live action in 1993. Mario will be played by Chris Pratt, Luigi by Charlie Day, and Princess Peach by Anya Taylor-Joy. Jack Black will play Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key will play Toad, and Seth Rogen will play Donkey Kong. Charles Martinet — who has provided the voice of Mario and many other Nintendo video game characters — will appear in surprise cameos throughout the movie. The Super Mario Bros. will be an animated film that follows Mario and Princess Peach as they travel through the Mushroom Kingdom to find Mario’s brother, Luigi, and save the world from a fire breathing monster named Bowser. This movie is anticipated to be much more successful than the first adaptation, and to maybe even be one of the biggest movies of the year.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3– On May 5th the second movie installment of Marvel’s Phase 5, and the final movie to the Guardians of the Galaxy series will be released in theaters. All original cast members will be returning: Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill, Zoe Saldaña as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Vin Diesel as Groot, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket. Some new cast members will also be introduced: Sean Gunn, Will Poulter, Chukwudi Iwuji, and Maria Bakalova. Although little information has been released, Marvel has described this film to follow Peter “still reeling from the loss of Gamora”, which occurred in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), but he “must rally his team around him” in order to “defend the universe along with protecting one of their own. A mission that, if not completed successfully, could quite possibly lead to the end of the Guardians as we know them.” 

The Little Mermaid– On May 26th, nearly 34 years after the original cartoon film The Little Mermaid came out, the live action movie will be released. Ariel will be played by Halle Bailey, Prince Eric will be played by Jonah Hauer-King. Many beloved actors and actresses will be featured, such as Melissa McCarthy as Ursula, Daveed Diggs as Sebastian, and Awkwafina as Scuttle. Lin-Manuel Miranda will star as Le Chef Louis, and he will work alongside Alan Menken, who created the music from the original movie, to create the soundtrack for this film. The trailer, which was released on September 10th, 2022, shows the beautiful sea kingdom of Atlantica, and the lovely Halle Bailey as Ariel in her treasure trove. Fans’ expectations for this adaptation are very high, and Disney seems to so far have met them.

Barbie– The very first live-action depiction of Barbie will be released on July 21st. Barbie will be played by Margot Robbie, and Ken will be played by Ryan Gosling. Will Ferrell will star as a toy company CEO, and other well-known actors and actresses forming the cast include Anne Hathaway, Nicola Coughlan, and there have been rumors of Dua Lipa’s potential joining of the cast. The trailer, which was released December 16 2022, begins as an homage to the science fiction movie A Space Odyssey, explaining the tradition of young girls playing with baby dolls, until, one fateful day, the first Barbie doll appeared. Margot Robbie’s Barbie is shown looking over Barbieland, and there is a quick and colorful montage of dance parties, a clip of Ryan Gosling’s Ken in action, as well as a clip of Issa Rae cheering while wearing a sash that reads “President”. The plot is that of Barbie being expelled from Barbieland for being a “less-than perfect looking doll”, and her journey as she sets off to the human world to find true happiness. The revered actress, screenwriter, and director Greta Gerwig, known best for her works Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019), is the director of this film, so the iconic reputation of the world’s most famous doll is certainly in good hands.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes– The first prequel, but fifth overall Hunger Games movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, will be released on November 17th. The film will be an adaptation of the book which was released in May of 2020 by the original author of the three former books, Suzanne Collins. This film will feature a brand new cast, as there are all new characters in the book, except President Coriolanus Snow and his cousin Tigris, who will be played by different actors to play their younger form. The two lead characters will be played by Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow. The cast will also feature Hunter Schafer, Viola Davis, and Peter Dinklage. The film will follow a young Coriolanus Snow, the future tyrannical President of Panem, as he mentors a tribute for the 10th Hunger Games.

Wonka– On December 15th the third movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be released, following Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Timothée Chalamet will star as Willy Wonka, and other actors that will be featured include Rowan Atkinson, Matt Lucas, and Hugh Grant. Wonka will focus on the life of a young Willy Wonka before the events of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Not much information about the film has yet been released, but the official synopsis explains it to be “An origin story that explores the vivid, mythical beginnings of the imaginative young inventor before he becomes the renowned Mozart of chocolate.”