As far as I’m concerned, the summer movie season starts NOW! Summer is easily my favorite time of the year for movies because they’re usually huge blockbusters that have massive appeal so talking with others about them is easy. There’s just so much to look forward to this year I had to make a list. But while coming up with a list I couldn’t restrict it to just a top 5 or 10 or even 15. This summer is going to be one to remember. A lot of money for tickets, popcorn and pop will go toward these blockbusters. But I think that we’ll get our bang for our buck because these movies are either sequels that step up from their predecessors, re-envisionings, strong adaptations, or original ideas that will take us to new and exciting places. Let’s start!
1) Kick-Ass 2- August 16
I have been following this movie ever since the release of the original. I’ve bought and read the comics and wishing and watching for the sequel to be announced. Kick-Ass brought a touch of realism, violence and over-the-top fun which sets up the sequel to go above what the first set up. With the addition of comic genius Jim Carey, who is returning to his great character work, it’s sure to entertain and thrill.
2) Man of Steel- June 14
The DC Universe is taking a page out of Batman’s book and approaching Superman with the dark and serious tone that made The Dark Knight trilogy such a cinematic wonder. Which is no surprise since patron saint of comic nerds Christopher Nolan is producing. The draw back is the direction of Zach Snyder (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch) who has a tendency to go over the top with visuals. Hopefully Nolan’s rein will set this re-envisioning of Superman to the right tone.
3) Only God Forgives- July 19
I think the only way to express why I’m excited for this movie is to watch the trailer. Only God Forgives is director Nicolas Winding Refn’s follow-up to 2011’s Drive with Ryan Gosling starring. The mise-en-scene (meaning the camera angles, colors, tones) is truly what gets me excited to witness this on the big screen.
4) Iron Man 3- May 3
Begins tonight and we already have our tickets for tomorrow! Iron Man 3 is the first follow up to The Avengers and is the one to kick off the summer season this weekend. From the look and feel of the marketing, the franchise is going to take a deep dip in tone and seriousness, putting our hero, Tony Stark, into serious danger of a foreign terrorist. It’ll be fast, thrilling, dark, but hopefully funny.
5) Star Trek Into Darkness- May 15
I’ve never been a Trekkie in any sense of the word. But J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot made me a fan of at least the new direction the franchise is taking. The mystery behind the villain, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and plot has me intrigued. No set up needed, just straight to action, adventure and drama. Should be great fun.
6) The Great Gatsby- May 10
This movie is this high on my list no thanks to the high school reading assignment because I never did it. But what has me this interested is the director and the star. Baz Lurhmann directed my guilty pleasures Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet. What made those movies great in my eyes was the look, pace and acting that elevated the tone of the movie to a whole other level. The other factor is Leonardo DiCaprio who, in my opinion, is one of the greatest actors of our time. Hopefully this gets him the Oscar attention he deserves.
7) Elysium- August 9
I’ve been hearing about this movie through the grapevine but the trailer is what really won me over. District 9’s director, Neill Blomkamp, is teaming up with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster to deliver this sci-fi epic of class warfare through an action set piece. The big screen is just the right format for such content.
8) After Earth- May 31
I’m an M. Night Shyamalan apologist. I think his self-written movies have compelling premises and suspenseful directing and editing techniques. I just think the public got tired of his plot twists and made a joke out of him because of it. But After Earth, a post-apocalyptic father-son tale, will change his reputation. Starring and partly produced by Will Smith, also starring his son Jaden, gives me faith that it won’t be a rehash of Shyamalan’s formula.
9) The Bling Ring- June 14
Written and directed by Sofia Coppola (Marie Antoinette, Lost in Translation) and starring Emma Watson has me already in my seat. A group of teens obsessed with the Beverly Hills life go on a robbing spree of celebrity’s houses to live vicariously through them. Sounds good to me!
10) Much Ado About Nothing- June 7
I haven’t seen a trailer or screenshot of this at all. All I know is that it is directed by Joss Wheadon (The Avengers), filmed in 12 days, and takes straight from Shakspeare’s play. Yes please.
11) Pacific Rim- July 12
Ever since the premise and director was released, the hype was everywhere. Directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hell Boy, Pan’s Labyrinth) Pacific Rim follows the efforts against underwater monster invaders by using giant Robot Jock-like robots to defend all of mankind. In another other director’s hand it would look hokey and like any other action set piece. But del Toro’s monster and robot design and action choreography looks like a fun ride.
12) The World’s End- August 23
The last in Edgar Wright’s “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy,” preceded by Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz is about friends attempting an epic “pub crawl” in an apocalyptic setting. That’s all all I know, but I’m willing to watch.
13) World War Z- June 21
Loosely adapted from the cult hit novel of the same name, World War Z is a zombie movie that takes the genre to the next level. Fans of the source material are skeptical about how close it will be to the novel. Through various reshoots and rewrites, it’s been a long and windy road, but having Brad Pitt on board to star may be the saving grace.
14) The Wolverine- July 26
I’m one of the few fans of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but I know its flaws; especially those amateur CG claws Wolverine has. This new chapter will put our buff and clawed hero back on the right track as he travels to Japan to go under some training. That’s pretty much all I know of the plot and that’s all I need.
15) The Lone Ranger- July 3
From the same team of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy (I don’t count the train wreck that is On Stranger Tides), brings us Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer, who was incredible as both Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, brings us the re-imaginary of The Lone Ranger. I like director Gore Verbinski style and cinematography choice; it makes for a cinematic thrill. The action set pieces and comedy that Depp can bring to the screen should be a sight to behold.
16) Monsters University- June 21
My favorite of all Pixar movies has to be Monsters Inc. It’s charm, humor and concept was the great combination to make a lasting impression. And that’s the only reason I’m remotely excited to see the prequel. Does anyone really know what this movie is about yet? With the exception of the Toy Story movies, Pixar really needs to get off the sequel/prequel trend and make original content once again.
17) Now You See Me- May 31
Robin Hood magicians. If that’s not enough to put you in your seat it’s starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Cool concept with good actors. Let’s see if it pays off.
18) This is the End- June 12
Okay, I was really excited about the concept of this movie when I first heard of it. Famous actors playing themselves in an apocalyptic episode got me laughing before I heard anything else. Then… the trailer hit the web and my excitement want down. The vulgarity and raw humor put a damper on my enthusiasm. I could pass on this one but I don’t think I will.
And that’s it. After this summer has passed we will have big talking points for the movie industry.
What are you excited for this summer season? Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments.