Comic book movies in 2023: everything from Ant-Man to Aquaman

Mapping out your movie calendar for 2023? Allow us to step in and do the job for you.

As we build towards the new year, here's your essential round-up of next year's comic book releases.


1. Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania

  • Franchise Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kathryn Newton, Jonathan Majors
  • Released February 17 ,2023

The pitch Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) commences with the third Ant-Man movie. Both of the previous films have been relatively breezy and flippant additions to the MCU, a nice counter-point to the gloomy sturm-und-drang that has been dominating of late.

That said, Ant-Man 3, helmed once again by Peyton Reed, ups the ante by taking us into the much-discussed Quantum Realm, where Paul Rudd's Scott Lang was suspended in the five years between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The magenta-tinged conception of the realm, where time and space as we know it ceases to exist, resembles one of the far-off planets seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. And a new threat is incoming.

Enter Jonathan Majors as the new uber-bad Kang the Conqueror. We've already met one of his multiversal variants, named He Who Remains, in the Loki series. Now Kang makes the jump to the big screen and sets the scene for Marvel Phase Six – but is he friend or foe? Based on his comic book history, we reckon the latter. But then again, Quantumania could have a completely different antagonist waiting in the wings...

2. Shazam! Fury of the Gods

  • Franchise DC Extended Universe
  • Starring Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, Rachel Zegler
  • Released March 17, 2023

The pitch Released in 2019, Shazam! was a likeable and upbeat course correction for the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). In fusing the theatrics of DC's Superman with the old/young body swap comedy of Big, the movie became one of the biggest hits in the franchise so far, milking the premise for both laughs (it's easier to buy beer when you're a kid in a superhero's body) and poignancy (never let it be said that an adult exterior means you're lacking in the coming-of-age department).

As before, Asher Angel plays teenager Billy Batson whose superheroic alter-ego Shazam manifests upon saying that very word. The latter is once again played by the goofily entertaining Zachary Levi, and the threat quotient has been upped this time. Billy/Shazam must now confront a duo of all-powerful Greek gods, played in wrathful fashion by Oscar winner Helen Mirren and Kill Bill's Lucy Liu.

Luckily, Bill and his cadre of body-swapped superhero allies find a powerful figure willing to fight their corner: Anthea, played by West Side Story break-out Rachel Zegler. With director David F. Sandberg back at the helm, expect more of the same mixture of broad comedy and franchise world-building.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

  • Franchise Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Will Poulter
  • Released May 5, 2023

The pitch Phase Five of the MCU continues apace with the third (and reputedly final) Guardians of the Galaxy movie. This particular series has defined itself via its irreverent, throwaway humour, band of eccentric, oddball characters and rockingly retro needle drops. Rest assured, we can expect all of these winning elements to be in play again, marshalled by returning writer-director James Gunn (who was restored to the project after being temporarily fired in 2018 by the powers that be).

Chris Pratt's laconic Peter Quill/Star-Lord is back to lead his band of intergalactic mercenaries: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). Guardians 3 is set to pay off that almost-forgotten mid-credits stinger from 2017's Guardians 2: the tease of the powerful, genetically engineered Adam Warlock.

The fan-favourite Marvel character will be played by the versatile Will Poulter and we can't wait to see how well he jibes with the Guardians' anything-goes aesthetic.


4. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

  • Franchise Sony Spider-Man multiverse
  • Starring Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Daniel Kaluuya, Oscar Isaac, Brian Tyree Henry, Jake Johnson
  • Released June 2, 2023

The pitch Released in 2018, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was one of the most entertaining and inventive comic book adventures of recent times. Spearheaded by LEGO Movie creatives Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the movie used eye-popping animation that was welded to a funny and emotional story that pushed the boundaries of our perception of Spider-Man. 

The prospect of a sequel is, therefore, enormously exciting. Spider-Man 'alternate' Miles Morales is centre stage again, voiced one more by Shameik Moore. Across the Spider-Verse promises to expand on his nascent relationship with multiversal Spidey variant Spider-Gwen (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) and there's plenty of room for more alternates. This includes Oscar Isaac's Spider-Man 2099 and Daniel Kaluuya's Spider-Punk.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is due to be followed by Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, released in 2024.


5. The Flash

  • Franchise DC Extended Universe
  • Starring Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck
  • Released June 23, 2023

Despite his much-documented legal troubles, Ezra Miller is set to make his solo DCEU debut in The Flash. Said character was first introduced in the theatrical cut of Justice League and his presence was expanded in the Zack Snyder cut of said film.

The Flash will put the titular Barry Allen's quicksilver-fast abilities front and centre, although we're more intrigued by the presence of two Batmen in the cast. Michael Keaton is poised to return to his signature role, more than 30 years after he last donned the cape in 1992's Batman Returns. There's also room for Ben Affleck's Batman in there as well.


6. The Marvels

  • Franchise Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Starring Brie Larson, Lashana Lynch, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris
  • Released July 28, 2023

The pitch The final Phase Five MCU movie of 2023, The Marvels is the sequel to 2019's blockbuster hit Captain Marvel. You'll remember the latter movie for introducing Brie Larson's all-powerful Kree warrior Vers who recalls her past life as human air force pilot Carol Danvers. With her allegiances to the Kree wobbling, further accentuated by a revelation over her supposed enemies the Skrulls, Vers hastened her transformation into heroic world-saver Captain Marvel.

The character has made intermittent appearances since then, most notably during Avengers: Endgame's final battle. There, she lent an assist when the struggling Avengers were fighting back against Thanos (Josh Brolin). The character's formidable abilities have meant that she's largely been distant from the rest of the MCU squad, lest she solves all their problems in one fell swoop.

The Marvels is helmed by Candyman director Nia DaCosta and will transfer Iman Vellani's Ms Marvel from her small-screen home to the big screen. How she will interact with Larson's title character and Lashana Lynch's returning Maria Rambeau remains to be seen. Given that the latter's daughter Monica is now grown-up and played by Teyonah Parris, we're expecting some kind of a time gap between the events of the first movie and this one.


7. Blue Beetle

  • Franchise DC Extended Universe
  • Starring Xolo Maridueña, Bruna Marquezine, Susan Sarandon
  • Released August 18, 2023

Cobra-Kai's rising star Xolo Maridueña joins the DCEU with his title role as Mexican super-hero Blue Beetle. The character begins life as teenager Jamie Reyes whose exposure to an extraterrestrial scarab grants him extraordinary abilities.

Brazilian actor Bruna Marquezine is set to portray Jamie's partner Jenny and the diversification of the DCEU also continues behind the camera. Puerto Rican filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto takes the lead from the director's chair. 


8. Kraven the Hunter

  • Franchise Sony Spider-Man Universe
  • Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Russell Crowe, Ariana DeBose
  • Released October 6, 2023

Aaron Taylor-Johnson first blasted onto the comic book scene with the irreverent and taboo-busting Kick-Ass. (The less said about its sequel, the better.) Having also dabbled in a violent and irreverent genre action in the Brad Pitt vehicle Bullet Train, Taylor-Johnson now gets his own superhero movie to play with.

Kraven the Hunter adapts the Marvel Comics character of the same name, and the movie occupies the same universe as the Sony-owned, Marvel-themed Venom and Morbius movies. The titular Kraven, also known by his human epithet Sergei Kravinoff, has long been one of Spider-Man's most dreaded nemeses and was one of the founding members of the infamous villain's collective the Sinister Six. Again, this poses the question: will Tom Holland's Spidey make a substantial appearance in this particular universe? And when will the seeds of the Sinister Six movie start to take shape?


9. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

  • Franchise DC Extended Universe
  • Starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
  • Released December 29, 2023

The pitch DC's Aquaman was a monster hit for the franchise, grossing more than $1 billion worldwide and cementing Jason Momoa as a charismatic defender of truth, justice and the American way. His sardonic Atlantean defender Aquaman is back to defend his kingdom, and indeed others, in the long-awaited sequel.

Aquaman has now embraced his destiny as the King of Atlantis and the movie reinstates several of the earlier movie's cast members, including Amber Heard as Mera, Willem Dafoe as Nuidius Valko, Patrick Wilson as Orm, Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus, Nicole Kidman as Atlanna and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the villainous Black Manta. Given where the original film left him, expect Black Manta to step up and become a real threat this time around.


Which of these comic book movies are you most excited about? Don't forget that with a Cineworld Unlimited membership, you can feast on all these blockbusters, and lots more besides, from just £9.99 a month. Find out more about Unlimited here.