With nine movies across three different studios and two different comic book universes coming in 2023, which ones are fans most excited about?
2021 and 2022 were the biggest volume years in comic book movie history. With Marvel Studios expanding beyond The Infinity Saga, Warner Bros. implementing fresh blood into the DC Universe, and Sony holding tight to their Spider-Man movie rights, there is a lot going on in the world of capes and tights.
Not to mention everything happening on the streaming side of things with series, animation, and special presentations.
Looking ahead to the theaters, nine superhero movies released in 2023. 3 MCU sequels, two Sony-Spider-Man entries, and the last remaining projects of the pre-James Gunn era of DC.
Here is a look at every movie in order of excitement from least to most.
If at first you don't succeed, keep doing the same thing over and over and over again because people love Spider-Man. That is what is on the walls at Sony Pictures on the Peter Parker floor.
Venom, Venom: Let Their Be Carnage and 2022's Morbius have progressively proven that Marvel's most important player, Spider-Man, should be in the hands of Marvel Studios full-time.
But because of the connection to the friendly neighborhood MCU freelancer, people keep showing up and buying tickets. While Morbius did not live up to the box office of the Venom franchise, that plan remains the same.
Kraven is the next entry into the Sony Spider-Man Universe, hitting theaters on October 6, 2023, with Marvel Studios alumni Aaron Taylor Johnson leading the way. The last place spot for Kraven is less about the character, actor, or anything about the movie itself, and more about hesitation to trust Sony with such an interesting property.
8. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom
James Gunn and Peter Safran have taken control of the DC Universe at Warner Bros. Studio. And while there are promises of a bright future and new stories being told, the wheels of the previous regime are too much in motion to scrap.
The lack of excitement for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is not a reflection of the character or movie. People are excited for December 25, 2023, when they finally get to see Jason Mamoa back on screen as the fish man.
There is just a lack of certainty about how much the events will matter in the long run and if this is going to be something that receives a soft reboot.
Nonetheless, Aquaman made a billion dollars on the back of big colorful sets, charismatic characterizations, and fun action. Look for plenty more of that here.
7. Blue Beetle
Blue Beetle is a project that seems like an outlier on this list. The Warner Bros. Discovery merger came with a huge wave of cancellations for fringe DC projects. Most notably Batgirl was scrapped from being released when it was already nearly completed.
Blue Beetle seemed to be on the same level of importance as Batgirl but remained to finish production and is scheduled to release on August 18, 2023.
There must be something here that execs couldn't let go of, so optimism is percolating. One thing Blue Beetle has going for it that Aquaman, Batgirl, and even other DC movies on this list do not have is a complete disconnect from the former DCEU.
If WBD can hit a fresh slate vibe with a new unexpecting character, that could be a huge boost for the future of the franchise. The same way The Guardians of the Galaxy took the MCU up another level in 2014.
6. Shazam! Fury of the Gods
Some would say Shazam! Fury of the Gods is the second Shazam! movie in the DCU. The letter of the law says it is the third with Black Adam being 100% a Shazam! movie despite a blatant refusal to embrace it.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is an interesting one. Fans are excited to get back to the family when the film hits theaters on March 17, 2023. It is going to be fun, action-packed, and surprisingly emotional just like its predecessor.
Where does this franchise go after this? No one knows. I think Superman has something to do with it. Sounds fun.
5. The Flash
The general consensus is less excitement for The Flash and more curiosity. One could argue the reason that every DC movie on this list is below every Marvel Studios movie is because of The Flash and the feeling that this is going to be a reset point for the blue brand.
New management, continuity confusion (Michael Keaton), and one of the most problematic stars in recent history all point to this being the first and last Flash movie for Ezra Miller.
With Flashpoint being an inspiration for this movie the time travel/multiversal potential here is an opportunity for James Gunn and co. to reset the DCU. Or at least give it the Days of Future Past treatment with a soft reboot.
More and more fans are getting on board with this idea as it would give a clean slate to the DCU for new stories to be told. And everything that releases before The Flash's June 23 debut is on the hot seat to fall victim to that.
4. The Marvels
In the voting for this rankings list, there is a HUGE gap between The Flash and The Marvels to show the bias of excitement toward Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Marvels has all of the pieces in place to be that franchise glow-up the MCU has shown with Captain America and Thor. New director, an infusion of established MCU characters, and a story that could impact the entire cinematic universe.
Brie Larson teams up with Phase 4 standouts Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan to triple-lead another sequel to a billion-dollar movie. And while anticipation is already high, The Marvels get the benefit of a prelude with Secret Invasion releasing just months before its July 28 release date, set to impact this movie in a major way.
3. Ant-Man and The Wasp Quantumania
The excitement for Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania his three-fold. The trailer is incredible and shows off a tone and scale (pun totally intended) that this franchise has never seen. This is the beginning of Phase 5, with Phase 4 being a true rebuilding season. And of course... the big bad is back with Jonathan Majors set for his first movie role as Kang The Conqueror.
This is arguably the most important movie in the MCU looking ahead as one of the two climatic events of the Multiverse Saga is Avengers: Kang Dynasty. It also features fan-favorite Scott Lang back in a leading role, which is always fun.
After a preamble from Majors in the Loki Season One finale, fans will have a more clear picture of the oncoming threat than ever before.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hits theaters on February 17, 2023.
2. Spider-Man Across The Spider-Verse
There is nothing more important to Sony Pictures than Spider-Man. And there is nothing more exciting for Spider-Man fans than the sequel to one of the most beloved animated movies of all time, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.
With this franchise getting an Avengers treatment with two movies in two years, it is all gas no breaks for Phil Lord and Chris Miller as they are positioned to continue their impact on the comic book movie genre.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is going to be what everyone wanted Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness to be with trips across the multiverse with every single Spider-Man cameo and possibility on the table.
No one moves the needle like Spider-Man. True in the 1960s, true in the early 2000s, true in December 2021, and true heading into June 2, 2023, for Across the Spider-Verse.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Everyone loves an underdog.
After shocking the world in 2014 and becoming one of the most important franchises in comic book movie history, here fans sit with the finale of James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy being the most anticipated comic book film of 2023.
Gunn is leading the charge at DC but his encore is the final chapter of one of the most colorful, musical, emotional, and hilarious stories ever told with a bucket of popcorn.
Set for a theatrical debut on May 5, 2023, everyone thinks they know what to expect from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Great music. Amazing set pieces. Chemistry and charm across the board, and emotion that comes out of nowhere.
The most exciting thing, though? Everything fans don't expect to be great about this movie because that is what James Gunn and this crew do. They surprise everyone at every turn with something awesome.
Comic Book Movies in 2023
Will The Flash be the start-over point for James Gunn's DCU? Will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 put The Guardians in the conversation for the best MCU trilogy? Will Across the Spider-Verse live up to the mountainous expectations?
All questions will be answered in 2023.