Innovation is on the horizon for 2020 cinema


Photo credit: Ren Rader

illustration by Ren Rader

Last year was a massive year for movies. Alongside several bounds in cinematography with movies like “1917,” “Lighthouse,” “Lion King” and “Joker,” audiences saw three major sagas come to a partial close: Avengers, Star Wars and Fox’s X-Men. And then there were several hidden gems and Netflix titles like “El Camino,” “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story.”

Of course, I am not implying that all of these movies were necessarily good, but I will definitively say that 2019 was a good year for cinema.That leaves us with the majority of 2020 and what it has in store for us.

As per usual, superhero flicks continue to be prevalent, but this year the stars are female superheroes, with Black Widow receiving her own movie, Wonder Woman getting a neon-filled sequel set in the 80s and “Birds of Prey” bringing together some of the most iconic DC female antiheroes.

I must say that I am excited for each of these and look forward to writing reviews on their contributions to the superhero genre.

Other franchises also return to the spotlight, with Daniel Craig taking on the role of James Bond one last time in “No Time To Die,” arguably one of the most Bondiest of Bond titles.

“Fast and Furious” also continues to pump out movies with F9 coming out in May. Thirty-four years later, Tom Cruise is bringing back “Top Gun” in June.

Aside from big franchises and superhero narratives, horror fans can rejoice at the upcoming release of “Quiet Place II,” “The Lodge” and “Antlers.” But for every good horror movie, there come about 10 bad ones, and 2020 already has a few candidates lined up with modern takes of “The Invisible Man” and “Gretel and Hansel.”

Finally, 2020 has a few surprises in store. Christopher Nolan is dropping another movie centered around what seems to be time travel, titled “Tenet,” but Christopher Nolan alone is reason to head over to the nearest movie theater on a Friday night. “Snake Eyes,” the only good part of those “new” GI Joe movies that dropped off the map, is supposedly getting his own movie.

Additionally, there is “Sonic,” which I must say looks … interesting.

All in all, 2020 looks like it’s going to deliver on relatively the same caliber as 2019, at least with the big-budget titles (indie titles usually are announced much closer to their actual release). That leaves me thinking what kind of year 2020 is going to be in terms of the type of movies it brings.

What I mean by that is that each year, at least with blockbuster releases, tends to follow a sort of theme or enough of one that I can argue for it.

I like to think of 2019 movies as sharing a common theme of closure and the beginning of innovation.

With all the sagas that closed in 2019 as well as releases of several nostalgic titles like “Lion King” and “Aladdin” (despite their own criticisms), it seems that 2019 was bringing a close to the decades before it.

Similarly, titles like “Joker” and “1917” broke new bounds in their respective genres hinting at a more innovative turn in filmmaking.

That idea of innovation, taking something audiences are already familiar with and making it fresh, is what I hope 2020 brings.

The past decade has been littered with repetitive tropes and lackluster plot-lines, and while I do not think that will necessarily go away, I do believe that 2020 will bring about some innovative ideas that will drive cinema forward.

Black Widow and Wonder Woman, for instance, are already reshaping how we see superhero movies.

Of course, we cannot forget about the more independent filmmakers.

While these movies do not really follow any pattern besides occasional social criticisms, they have recently been given a more deserving spotlight in the past few years.

What I mean by that is that they have become movies that people actively mark their calendars to see rather than the movies you default to when major franchises have no releases.

That is, indie movies are beginning to be treated with the same level of regard as blockbuster titles, a trend which I hope to see continue in 2020.

Ultimately, I have a fairly positive outlook on the movies releasing in 2020, both in the announced films and on those that are unannounced.

Not only do I think 2020 will present us with several entertaining titles, but it looks to be ushering in a relatively new era of moviemaking that I cannot wait to see.