Iron Man 3 has just come to the big screen, and you know what that means; The Summer movie season has officially begun!
The biggest, flashiest and generally most hyped big screen blockbusters of the year are exclusively saved for the period between May and August, and since 2007’s kick-off release of Spider-Man 3, Marvel has made it tradition to begin every Summer season with their most hyped blockbuster offering of the year. This tradition isn’t in danger of going by the wayside either, as 2014’s Summer will begin with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and 2015’s Summer will be opened with The Avengers 2.
Iron Man 3 is already turning heads, with many audiences lauding it as the best of the trilogy (and we’ll have a review for it posted ASAP), but in case you’re out of the loop with the rest, we’ve put together a handy guide of this year’s hottest Summer movies. We’ll be assembling what’s releasing and when, so you’ll be fully prepared to beat that Summer heat as we see another big screen season of superheroes, monsters, fast cars, comedic shenanigans, and of course, more than a few CG crowd-pleasers. Let’s get to it!
- Iron Man 3 has already started Summer with Marvel’s usual bang, so as usual, you can scratch your superhero fix early! In this third solo movie for the Armored Avenger, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds his post-Avengers world turned upside-down by international crime lord, The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), leaving Tony destitute and face-to-face with his personal demons like never before. Despite a change in director, Iron Man 3 has already enjoyed massive commercial success in both domestic and international territories, appearing to maintain the series’ usual top-quality standard of high-flying action, showstopping visual effects and Robert Downey Jr.’s reliable rapier wit! It’s also the first Iron Man movie to be released in 3D and IMAX 3D. Excelsior!
- On May 10th, Moulin Rouge! director, Baz Luhrmann is giving his own 3D makeover to a literary classic, The Great Gatsby. With the heavy duty cast of Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan behind it, this cinematic re-telling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s emotional epic is sure to be the flashiest and sexiest version of the story yet! It will make for a more artistic and thought-provoking interlude to go between the effects-driven crowd-pleasers Iron Man 3 and Star Trek into Darkness. Speaking of that long-awaited sequel…
- After some delays, Star Trek into Darkness is finally seeing a North American release on May 17th, though the movie has already had an international premiere in Sydney, where, like Iron Man 3, it’s enjoyed highly positive feedback, being declared an improvement over its already superb predecessor. Also like Iron Man 3, European audiences are getting this one a week early, where it starts on May 9th, but the wait will surely be worth it for us North Americans, particularly those who enjoyed the exclusive nine-minute preview of this movie before IMAX 3D screenings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Most of Star Trek into Darkness’s plot details are being kept under a very tight lid, but we know that the Enterprise Crew is being hit home after a human terrorist, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) puts Starfleet directly in his sights! This movie’s also being released in 3D and IMAX 3D, which is sure to make the gorgeous visuals of the preceding 2009 movie all the better in its sequel!
- As usual, the long weekend shared by both Canadians and Americans, between Canadian Victoria Day and American Memorial Day, is going to be a box office bloodbath, even moreso this year! Struggling for ticket sales, after Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby and Star Trek into Darkness will already be doing so, are the triple threat of new May 24th releases, Epic, The Hangover Part III and Fast and Furious 6. One for the kids, one for the adults and one for the adolescent crowd seems like a strong bet, but it’s anyone’s guess as to which one will come out on top! Epic is an animated 3D offering by Ice Age maker, Blue Sky Studios, telling the story of a little girl shrunken down to fight a war for the forest with some leaf men (it’s probably cooler than it sounds). The Hangover Part III will be concluding the saga of the Wolf Pack, after an attempt to bring Alan to an extended care facility goes horribly, horribly wrong. Lastly, Fast and Furious 6 reunites the crew after their so-called ‘last job’ in Rio during the events of Fast Five, this time to aid DSS agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) take down an international criminal who has found a lieutenant in the not-quite-so-much-dead Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez). Car chases and mayhem will predictably be the course of the day, once again. Needless to say, moviegoers are more than spoiled for choice!
- On May 30th, M. Night Shyamalan will be trying to redeem his flagging filmmaking resume yet again with the combined power of Will and Jaden Smith in After Earth, where the father-son duo has to try and survive on a hostile version of our planet in the far future, which has evolved to kill anything to do with humankind. He’ll be getting competition in the long-delayed magician thriller, Now You See Me, where a group of stage illusionists (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Isla Fisher) use elaborate tricks to rob corrupt banks and corporate criminals, showering the spoils on their audiences. Sporting an all-star cast that also includes the likes of Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent, Now You See Me could very well be the sleeper hit of this Summer, so magic enthusiasts and thriller fans alike should certainly keep an eye on it!
- June 7th will allow for a box office breather, focusing on the comedic one-two punch of The Avengers director, Joss Whedon’s Shakespeare modernization, Much Ado About Nothing, as well as frat pack comedy, The Internship, reuniting Wedding Crashers duo Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in a bid for an internship at Google. Whether low-brow or high-brow, your funny bone will be covered, especially if you need to brace for one of the biggest blockbusters of the Summer the following week!
- June 14th will see the wide release of all-star apocalyptic comedy, This is the End, and limited screenings will also be opening for Sofia Coppola’s anticipated Emma Watson vehicle, The Bling Ring. Most eyes however will be set squarely on the blockbuster release of Man of Steel, delivering a reboot to the Superman film franchise, with Immortals’ Henry Cavill in the title role, doing battle against the diabolical General Zod (Michael Shannon), a fellow surviving Kryptonian with identical powers that stands as Earth’s greatest threat! As expected, the bulk of Man of Steel’s plot details are being kept under a very strict embargo, but controversial changes to Superman’s mythology have been confirmed, including a costume revamp, a complete lack of Kryptonite, and not even so much of a whisper regarding Supes’ archenemy, the iconic Lex Luthor. Early reports and buzz to unfinished preview cuts have been overwhelmingly positive nonetheless, with more than one insider declaring that this will be the best movie of the entire year, let alone the best Superman movie yet. It could also be a benchmark to a prospective crossover Justice League film as well, allowing DC Entertainment to directly compete with Marvel’s landmark shared film universe. Needless to say, superhero and/or blockbuster enthusiasts won’t want to miss it, especially in sure-to-be-stunning 3D and IMAX 3D cuts!
- June 21st will see Pixar try to get back into the classic territory that’s eluded them since Toy Story 3 in 2010, this time with a 3D Monsters Inc. prequel, Monsters University, detailing how Mike and Sully met and befriended one another, after initially being academic rivals. It will be up against the troubled and long-postponed Brad Pitt headliner, World War Z, about initial attempts to contain a zombie apocalypse, assuming it doesn’t get delayed again.
- June 28th is a slower conclusion to the month. Female-driven buddy cop comedy, The Heat has been generating buzz for this date, after being delayed from its initial planned April release, as another gender barrier-smashing offering to ride off of the success of 2011’s Bridesmaids, with whom it shares a director, as well as the return of crowd favourite, Melissa McCarthy in a lead role. Sandra Bullock plays her foil, returning to yet another tightly wound FBI agent role, following the likes of the Miss Congeniality movies, likely making it a ‘safe bet‘ for Summer comedy options. It will be competing against Channing Tatum-starring thriller, White House Down, the second ‘White House takeover’ movie to follow in the footsteps of March’s Olympus has Fallen. Ironically, the exact same release points more or less housed two competing Snow White movies last year, inviting more jabs and comparisons about Hollywood’s increasing apathy towards movies with identical premises in the same year.
- July 3rd sees another holiday weekend for both Canadians and Americans to share, this time with 3D animated sequel, Despicable Me 2, and the long-delayed Disney adaptation, The Lone Ranger competing for box office attention. Disney’s risky project, a Western once indefinitely postponed before being re-tooled and extensively tweaked, will find itself against the odds even moreso, since hype for Despicable Me 2 is quite extensive. Despite this, Johnny Depp’s box office appeal may be enough to compete against the return of Gru and the Minions, with the latter gearing up for a solo film next year. Both movies have most plot details predictably under wraps, but we can ascertain that Despicable Me 2 sees Gru (Steve Carell) working as a consultant for an anti-super-villain league, while The Lone Ranger sees lawman-turned-outlaw, John Reid (Armie Hammer) cheat death to team up with native American warrior, Tonto (Johnny Depp) and battle against an evil railroad tycoon. Genre fans are sure to be pleased with the results, either way!
- On July 12th, Adam Sandler breaks his track record of no sequels with Grown Ups 2, reuniting the cast of the original, sans Rob Schneider. It will face very stiff competition however from Guillermo Del Toro’s hotly anticipated original new monsters-vs.-robots flick, Pacific Rim, which will have 3D and IMAX 3D cuts. If it lives up to the hype, Pacific Rim could trigger a renaissance of the monster movie. The fact that Portal’s Ellen McClain, the highly beloved voice of homicidal A.I., GLaDOS, brings her adored A.I. personality into the movie, should be more than enough to sell nerd tickets by the thousands!
- July 19th stands as the most crowded and chaotic release day of the Summer season! Beyond limited releases such as Ryan Gosling’s Only God Forgives, and Kristen Wiig’s Girl Most Likely, hotly anticipated follow-ups are dropping at every corner! RED 2 continues the story of the highly beloved 2010 action-comedy, about retired government agents raising hell together (and poised to do it again in the sequel, which now adds Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins to its ranks). Turbo stands with it as Dreamworks Animation’s lone Summer offering, a 3D animated movie starring the titular snail, Turbo (Ryan Reynolds), who dreams of racing in the Indy 500, and may just get his chance after accidentally developing powers of super speed! Ironically, Ryan Reynolds will be competing against himself in another movie on this date (as will Mary-Louise Parker, who also has a lead role in RED 2), since he’ll also be starring with Jeff Bridges in the long-delayed graphic novel adaptation, R.I.P.D. In R.I.P.D., which will be screened in 3D, the two play a pair of undead police officers tasked with stopping rogue ghosts, and like the loose adaptation of RED, the movie will have a more comedic slant than the source material, essentially acting as a mash-up of Men in Black and Ghostbusters. Lastly, Saw and Insidious director, James Wan will be delivering his next highly anticipated horror opus, The Conjuring, one of the only true horror movies to drop over the course of the entire Summer! It’ll be a busy time for moviegoers, straining wallets and presenting some tough decisions, especially for genre fans!
- Opening a couple of days early on Wednesday, July 24th, The Wolverine will try to redeem 2009’s ill-received X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and attempt to continue riding on the positive feedback of 2011’s X-Men: First Class. Acting as a sequel to the main X-Men movie trilogy, The Wolverine brings the titular character, again played by Hugh Jackman, to Japan, where he is rendered powerless and mortal for the first time. Pitted against the Yakuza and the power of the lethal Silver Samurai (Will Yun Lee), Wolverine will be pushed to his limits in this promising new chapter of the X-Men saga, which will also be the first X-Men movie to be screened in 3D!
- Hogging July 31st all to itself, family audiences will no doubt want to make time for The Smurfs 2, the 3D sequel to the much-beloved 2011 adaptation, which brings the titular Smurfs back to our world, this time pitted against The Naughties, doppelganger creations devised by the evil wizard, Gargamel (Hank Azaria), and set loose upon Paris, France. It’s likely to once again paint many box office receipts blue!
- August 2nd will see two graphic novel adaptations do battle, between the Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington-starring action flick, 2 Guns, about two government agents played against each other, who must then team up for revenge, and 300: Rise of an Empire, a prequel to the 2007 hit, 300, detailing the rise to power of Egyptian villain, Xerxes. The Summer may be winding down for some, but genre fans will still find a duo of good options here, particularly with 300: Rise of an Empire getting some slick 3D and IMAX 3D cuts!
- August 7th will see the early release of fantasy sequel, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, returning Logan Lerman to the titular role, this time to track down the Golden Fleece after braving the trials of the titular Sea of Monsters. With Harry Potter still leaving a fantasy power vacuum, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire not capitalizing on a current fad until the Fall, Percy Jackson may be the one to call to keep flagging box offices afloat for the month.
- August 9th is yet another date that genre fans and movie geeks will want to mark on their calendars, as it will see the release of Neill Blomkamp’s immensely anticipated successor to District 9, Elysium. Now with an actual budget and well-known actors brought to the table, Elysium stars Matt Damon as an ailing man living on a dying, over-polluted Earth. He is forced to try and travel to Elysium, a perfect society orbiting the planet, exclusively for the rich and powerful, and managed by the ruthless Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster). It will be contested by Disney’s Cars spin-off, Planes, which will not see the involvement of Pixar, particularly after it was initially planned as a made-for-TV movie. Also, to a lesser extent, releasing here is sleeper comedy, We’re the Millers, about a pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis) who must convince a cynical stripper (Jennifer Aniston) and two unattended teens to pose as his fake family so that he can move a heap of drugs across the border. Well, if nothing else, it all presents a fine dose of originality!
- August 16th will continue winding down the Summer with two more sleeper offerings, between Liam Neeson-starring suspense-thriller, Paranoia, and Aubrey Plaza-starring R-rated romantic comedy, The To-Do List. Genre fans will be in for yet another treat however, as the long-awaited cult superhero sequel, Kick-Ass 2, will be making its highly anticipated big screen debut! Reuniting the original cast, now with Jim Carrey giving the movie even more star power, it’s sure to be the same irreverent, ultra-violent and politically incorrect great time that the original was, and hopefully with better box office results!
- Teen novel adaptation, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones will be arriving fashionably late on August 23rd, joined by Simon Pegg/Nick Frost team-up comedy, The World’s End, about a pub crawl that presents more than a group of men bargain for! For those not closing off the Summer with Kick-Ass 2, either should hopefully present a worthy finale to the Summer season this year.
As you can see, it’s going to be yet another busy Summer for moviegoers this year! For more coverage on these and other movies, as well as reviews of the biggest and best, keep your browsers coming back to Eggplante!