Summer has long been the prime season for studios to release their biggest and best special-effects bonanzas. Which is why it’s been interesting to see spring and late fall also emerging as key times to release massive hits (such as last year’s “Doctor Strange” and this year’s live action “Beauty and the Beast”). Although we may continue to see this balance shift in the years ahead, summer is still a big time for blockbusters, with a major movie coming out pretty much every weekend between now and August. Here are the ones I’m most looking forward to this year:
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)
It’s hard to believe that when the first Guardians movie came out in 2014, it was an underdog and rumored to be Marvel’s first potential flop. Now, the sequel is the headliner for the summer movie season and likely the biggest blockbuster of the year, aside from Star Wars: Episode VIII. I don’t know a lot about the plot of this one (I want to be surprised), but I couldn’t resist peeking at Rotten Tomatoes to see what its score was. It sounds like this one is really fun, zany, and humorous, although it’s lacking that special surprise factor the first one had, since nobody knew what to expect that time around. It’s my most anticipated movie of the summer, and I’m hoping Star-Lord and crew won’t let me down (and will bring along another awesome soundtrack of retro tunes).
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)
I have a soft spot for the first three Pirates movies, even though the second and third movies were rather polarizing. But the fourth just didn’t have the same magic, and it felt like more of a cash-grab than a film that needed to be made. Perhaps I’m simply falling for the hype again, but I’m actually pretty excited about the fifth one. The trailers have been fun, and it looks like they actually are trying to do something different, by pulling in Will and Elizabeth Turner’s now grown-up son. I’m actually hoping Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow will be more of a supporting character in this one, which could help avoid the feeling that Disney is just retreading old ground.
Wonder Woman (June 2)
The DC Cinematic Universe has struggled to escape from the shadow cast by Marvel’s own cinematic universe and Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, the Dark Knight trilogy. But I am really, really rooting for “Wonder Woman” to succeed. We’re overdue for a female superhero movie (Marvel, please green-light that Black Widow solo film!), and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman stole all the scenes she appeared in during last year’s “Batman v. Superman.” “Wonder Woman” has all the right ingredients — great story, great cast, great concept (traveling back to World War I) — I just hope all those elements come together onscreen.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Spider-Man will return to the big screen this summer, this time as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (sort of). While I think Sony has rebooted Spider-Man far too many times in too short a time frame, I loved Tom Holland’s cameo as the character in “Captain America: Civil War.” I also think getting Robert Downey Jr. to appear as Iron Man in an extended cameo was a smart move. I hope this film sticks to a smaller scale and highlights the character’s high school experience; at least it appears to be skipping the origin story we’ve already seen twice!
War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)
I always kind of forget about this franchise, which makes me feel bad because the past two installments have been excellent, thought-provoking films. They’re great examples of action films that also work on a deeper philosophical level. This next chapter will see the balance of power shift even more towards the apes in their battle against the humans. Plus, having Woody Harrelson join the crew is always a bonus!
Dunkirk (July 21)
After just wrapping up the Christopher Nolan movie blog-a-thon, I’m definitely in the mood for a new Nolan movie! I’m especially curious as this World War II drama is such a departure from what Nolan has done in the past. One of the things I appreciate most about him is that he always seems to want to challenge himself as a director and take on new subject matter. This should be a really intense movie to see on the big screen.
I’m also keeping these other movies on my radar for the summer: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” (May 12); “Alien: Covenant” (May 19); “The Mummy” (June 9); “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (July 21); and “The Dark Tower” (Aug. 4).
So, what movies are you most looking forward to this summer? What will be the biggest hit, and the biggest flop?