OUR resident film buffs Tom Parry and Stefan Bradley discuss which blockbusters they’re most looking forward to over the next 12 months.

TP: Last year was a huge year for cinema – there were many films that the two of us enjoyed – and 2023 looks even more promising. What are you most looking forward to in the coming months, Stefan?

SB: Well, when I look at the list of upcoming releases – gee, there are many franchises and sequels. But for anybody who knows me, my pick is obvious: The Super Mario Bros. Movie. I’m been waiting my entire life to see the Super Mario franchise adapted into an animated film, and the trailers are suggesting a fun time. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania looks great, as does Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse; the Mission: Impossible movies haven’t missed these past few years, so I’m sure the new chapter – Dead Reckoning, Part One – will deliver.

TP: As for me, the movie I’m most anticipating this year is Christopher Nolan’s new blockbuster: Oppenheimer. This is a biographical drama centred on J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is more or less known as the father of the atomic bomb. A teaser trailer for the film has been released, which doesn’t give too much away; but, this being a Nolan picture, you can expect plenty of incredible visuals and practical effects – it’s been reported that Nolan simulated an atomic bomb explosion especially for the film. He’s also got collaborators like composer Ludwig Göransson and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema on board, who both did excellent work in his last film, Tenet. Yet the most exciting aspect for me is the inclusion of Cillian Murphy as the title character, who is leading an American feature for the first time.

Cillian Murphy plays the lead in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’, coming to cinemas in July. Image: Universal Pictures

SB: Elsewhere, I think Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will be top-notch, but I am feeling a bit of franchise fatigue with these superhero movies. Marvel’s blockbusters have always been comfort food to me, but in 2022 they went overboard with the amount of stuff they put out. That includes the Disney+ shows. I’m hoping for more original projects in 2023.

TP: If it’s originality you’re after, Elemental might be more to your tastes. This comes from Pixar Animation Studios, and it’s a completely original screenplay not based on an existing franchise or property. It’s based in a world where all the elements – water, earth, fire, air, heart, all the favourites – are personified, with its two lead characters being complete opposites who find themselves attracted to each other.

SB: Coming back to the topic of superheroes, it looks as though DC Studios are taking a different direction in 2023, and their extended universe in its current form comes to an end – Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom might be the last time Jason Momoa plays Aquaman/Arthur Curry, but we’ll see. In terms of trends, we learnt recently that Sanity is closing its brick-and-mortar stores in the coming weeks – they’re going to be an online retailer only, which means that as a society, we’re one step closer to going completely digital. With DVDs and Blu-Rays continuing to decline, these movies aren’t going to make nearly as much money as they once did. But, I think streaming has peaked, because now the services and providers – think Netflix, Stan, Disney+ and the like – are competing with each other, and I think people are tired of having four, five or even six different services to subscribe to. What do you think?

TP: I agree with you – I know of friends who have cancelled their streaming subscriptions because they have too many services which they never utilise. As for Sanity going exclusively online, I think people have been devaluing physical media for several years now, and the closure of stores like Sanity’s is just another nail in that coffin. But on the plus side, I think this move will reinvigorate people’s interest in the cinema, because if they’re unable to watch a film at home on DVD or Blu-Ray and it’s not available on streaming yet, then they may be more more inclined to view it in a theatre.

SB: In short: cinema is back!

Pixar’s upcoming film ‘Elemental’ has got our critics excited. Image: Disney/Pixar

Stefan & Tom’s films to watch in 2023
M3GAN (out now – review coming this Friday)
Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania (February 16)
Cocaine Bear (February 23)
Creed III (March 2)
Shazam! Fury of the Gods (March 16)
John Wick: Chapter 4 (March 23)
The Super Mario Bros. Movie (March 30)
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 3 (May 4)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (June 1)
Elemental (June 15)
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 29)
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, Part One (July 13)
Oppenheimer (July 20)
The Marvels (July 27)
Blue Beetle (August 17)
Next Goal Wins (September 21)
Dune: Part Two (November 2)
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (Boxing Day)

These release dates are correct as of the time of publication, and subject to change without notice.


Superhero movies will once again be a constant, with ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania’ the first to arrive in February.
Image: Marvel Studios