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14 Blockbusters and Studio Films to See This Season, From ‘Venom’ to ‘Creed 2’ to ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and Many More

Next up in our fall preview: blockbusters and popcorn fare for even the pickiest of cinephiles.

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (November 2)

O_163_wem_1360_comp_v003_01,1159 2 – L-R: Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), and Joe Mazzello (John Deacon) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Between Bryan Singer being dishonorably replaced, and a trailer that left a lot to be desired, our excitement for this long-gestating Freddie Mercury biopic has withered into a morbid curiosity over the last few months (our enthusiasm, you could say, is in retrograde). All the same, there’s no denying the raw potential for a great movie about the legendary Queen frontman, or that Rami Malek is a brilliant choice to play him. “Eddie the Eagle” director Dexter Fletcher was brought in to replace Singer, and he certainly knows how to fashion an effective crowdpleaser from leftover fragments of the ’80s, and it might be worth the price of admission just to hear some of those classic Queen bangers wailing out of the speakers of your local multiplex. —DE

The Girl in the Spider’s Web” (November 9)

"The Girl in the Spider's Web"

“The Girl in the Spider’s Web”

Sony/Youtube Screenshot

The most exciting thing about “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” is that it’s not a direct sequel to David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” a terribly underrated thriller that transformed the first novel of Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium” trilogy into a self-contained epic about two people saving each other from a world that’s out to destroy them both. Now that Fincher has been replaced by “Don’t Breathe” director Fede Álvarez, and Rooney Mara has been swapped out for “The Crown” star Claire Foy, we’re just glad they’re not trying to pick up where “Dragon Tattoo” left off. Instead, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” is based on the fourth novel in the saga, and marks the first time the book has been adapted to the screen. Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) are still trying to avenge the world’s battered women, but this time they’re squaring off against an elite group of Russian criminals led by someone who goes by the name of — wait for it — “Thanos.” Let’s see if they fare better than the Avengers. —DE

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (November 16)

“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”

Warner Bros.

Non-Harry Potter fans must be exasperated by the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise: what more could possibly be said about Hogwarts and muggles after seven books, Warner Bros.’ film octet, and a smash hit play (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”) that went on to win a half-dozen Tonys? Lots; J.K. Rowling’s imagination knows no bounds. Other screenwriters adapted the “Harry Potter” tomes into movies, but the sleeker, less family-friendly “Fantastic Beasts” scripts are brand new Rowling originals. With these, her protagonist is magizoologist Newt Scamander (Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne), who was born about 80 years before Potter and expelled from his alma mater, but still authored one of its textbooks, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (the name of the 2016 film). In that tale, disguised dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) framed Scamander, but was discovered and sent to prison; in the sequel, he’s a fugitive. Depp’s continued presence in the franchise has been controversial — his ex-wife, Amber Heard, accused him of abuse, and Global Road just nixed his “City of Lies” from the September release calendar. Perhaps to downplay the glare on Depp, Warner Bros. roped Jude Law into “Crimes of Grindelwald” as young Albus Dumbledore, the future Hogwarts headmaster who once lusted after Grindelwald, and knows how to defeat him. —JM   

“Creed 2” (November 21)

The hotly-anticipated follow-up to Ryan Coogler’s “Creed,” which revived the “Rocky” franchise in 2015, “Creed II” puts “The Land” director Steven Caple Jr. behind the camera, and the pressure is one for the young filmmaker. Earning $170 million worldwide, “Creed” was a box-office hit and critical darling which also earned Sylvester Stallone his third Oscar nomination. Firecracker stars Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson return as Adonis Creed prepares to step into the ring with Viktor Drago (real-life professional boxer Florian Munteanu), son of the infamous boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). With Rocky by his side, the two boxing legends must confront their shared history — as the legacy of the franchise also hangs in the balance. -JD

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” (November 21)

Disney’s sequel to the 2012 animated film “Wreck-It Ralph,” John C. Reilly reprises his role as the giant with a heart of gold in this internet-savvy comedy. Set six years after the original, the sequel follows Ralph and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) on a foray into the depths of the Internet when a Wi-Fi router gets plugged into the arcade. The film is already making waves surrounding news that every Disney princess will appear in the film, showcasing Disney’s savvy — if a bit heavy-handed —marketing. In addition to Reilly and Silverman, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” features the vocal stylings of comedic heavy-hitters Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Bill Hader, Taraji P. Henson, Alan Tudyk, and James Corden. -JD

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (December 14)

The year’s other Spider-Man movie that kinda, sorta, maybe is its own thing but is definitely not a part of the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe, this animated offering promises a high-energy, big-laugh introduction to a new incarnation of the beloved web-slinger: young Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), another whipsmart NYC teen who is literally pulled into crime-fighting by a rogue spider (this is really becoming a problem). The intricacies of Miles’ place in comic book lore are complex, but the first film about the Afro-Latino superhero seems intent on both explaining them away and playing them up, as first looks at the film have introduced both Miles and Peter Parker, thanks to a cross-universe mix-up that puts both of the Spider-Men in each other’s paths, seemingly for the better of both of them. Produced and written by “LEGO Movie” geniuses Phil Lord and Chris Miller (in their first big screen foray since the “Solo” debacle), the film also gleefully embraces the look and feel of comic books, down to the way conversations are had (bubbles!) to the stippling, outlining, and coloring that makes action feel so propulsive. A comic book movie that looks like a comic book? Now we have seen everything. -KE

“Mary Poppins Returns” (December 19)

Jane (Emily Mortimer), John (Nathanael Saleh), Annabel (Pixie Davies), Ellen (Julie Walters). Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) Georgie (Joel Dawson) and Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) in Disney’s original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically-perfect nanny and the Banks family.

“Mary Poppins Returns”

Jay Maidment

Whether or not you think everyone’s favorite doggedly charming British nanny needed to return, return she will this fall — with all new songs and an all new Mary. Emily Blunt steps into the enormous and impeccably kempt shoes left by Julie Andrews in 1964, as Mary Poppins tends to the children of the all-grown-up (sing it with me now): Jane and Michael Banks. Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw star as their adult versions, with “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda filling in as apprentice to Dick Van Dyke’s Bert. The film also features Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury, as well as an appearance by Van Dyke. Directed by Rob Marshall and with music by Mark Shaiman, “Mary Poppins Returns” will introduce a whole new generation to the medicinal properties of a spoonful of sugar. -JD

“Alita: Battle Angel” (December 21)

“Alita: Battle Angel”

Fox

In 1990, Yukito Kishiro began publishing a manga series about an amnesiac cyborg girl who’s forced to fight her way through a post-apocalyptic future. And seemingly ever since then, James Cameron has been determined to adapt the manga into a blockbuster movie. With “Alita: Battle Angel,” his dream is finally going to become a reality. …Kind of. Cameron may not have been able to get behind the camera himself (he’s stuck on Pandora for the foreseeable future), but he wrote and produced a mega-budget adaptation of Alita’s origin story, and hired “Sin City” director Robert Rodriguez to take things the rest of the way. “The Maze Runner” breakout Rosa Salazar stars as the title character, with Christoph Waltz playing the kindly doctor who brings her back online, Michelle Rodriguez as a fellow cyborg warrior, and Mahershala Ali portraying two different roles in the sci-fi universe. The trailer, which drew all sorts of iffy attention to Alita’s alarmingly oversized eyes, suggests that Rodriguez is hoping to thread the needle between hard sci-fi and a Saturday morning cartoon. Easier said than done, but we’re eager to see him try. —DE

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