The Top Five Blockbusters To Watch For This Summer

OK people, its official.  With Thor having come out last week (look for our review on the new episode of the podcast),  we are officially in summer movie season!  This is the time of year cinephiles like us look forward to.  Summer always brings the big blockbusters and as we delve headfirst into this onslaught of cinematic endeavors, there is a lot to get excited about.  There is a lot coming out and some begin to question which movies will be worth making it out to the local theater to see and so here, I present to you, my top five blockbusters to get excited about.

5.  X-Men: First Class

I’ve already sort of talked about this one on the blog a bit, but I’m going to do it again.  I love the idea of this movie, but for the longest time I was concerned about its execution.  The fact that so little promotional material was released before now didn’t help that notion, but the trailer released two weeks as well all of the pictures and artwork I’m starting to see give me a lot more faith.  Director Matthew Vaughn has limited experience behind the lens, but what he has delivered so far is impressive.  From Layer Cake, to Stardust to Kick-Ass, it seems there is no style Vaughn can’t handle.

I think the choice to set the dissolution of the relationship between Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier against the backdrop of the Cold War is a brilliant direction.  It allows for the perfect balance of big action set pieces and political struggle that leads to people taking sides against those they hold dearest.  Add to that an amazing cast featuring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne (who I’ve got a bit of a crush on), January Jones, Kevin Bacon and the very underrated Jason Flemyng, and you’ve got the makings of the cinematic reboot the X-Men have been waiting for since Brett Ratner drove the franchise into the ground with X3.

4.  Cowboys & Aliens

Since Iron Man back in 2008, director Jon Favreau has been a go-to guy for fun action movies.  This summer, he brings us Cowboys & Aliens which is exactly what it sounds like.  The year is 1873.  Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), a stranger with a wicked case of amnesia and a weird metal bracelet, stumbles into the town of Absolution, led by the iron jawed Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), who don’t look kindly upon strangers.  But when the town finds itself under attack from a mysterious force from the sky, Jake becomes their only hope for survival.

I am so excited about this one because its the kind of movie I never thought I would get to see brought to the big screen in any sort of serious fashion.  Sure, you expect Corman to make a movie about cowboys fighting aliens, but Favreau making a big summer blockbuster out of it?  Hell yes!  The idea of combining so many things I love into one movie has me pumped up to see what they deliver.  The fact that it was written by Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman, two of the masterminds behind Fringe, just makes it even better.  Plus, I hear the gorgeous Olivia Wilde shows some skin.  How can you not be excited for that?

3.  Green Lantern

The Green Lantern has always been one of my absolute favorite heroes.  Imagine having the power of that ring.  Anything you can imagine can be brought into existence by sheer will.  Its a kids dream power.  But that has also been its biggest obstacle in getting it to the big screen.  Even with Justice League, a show that fanboys all praise as having “gotten it right,” we accept Green Lantern shooting beams out of his ring because we know how unrealistic it is to have to animate all of the nonsense a Green Lantern is capable of.

But that is part of why I am so excited about this film.  Not only will we see Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) using his ring, but we will see the whole damn corps!  And from the looks of things, they aren’t shying away from the idea of the construct, showing us swords, mini-guns, giant fists and more in the trailer alone.  With the rumored 1400 effects shots, this may easily be the big special effects heavy movie it needs to be to truly bring the Green Lantern to the screen.

2.  Captain America: The First Avenger

We met Iron Man three summers ago.  We met Thor last weekend.  Now, its time to meet the man who started it all, Captain America.  Of the Avengers, Captain America has always been my favorite.  Not because of the Costume or the shield, but because he was the America of World War II.  The marriage of sheer determination and science, tempered with extreme bravery and garnered with an “Awe, shucks,” attitude, Captain America was a symbol for the country we were during World War II.

Joe Johnston, who directed The Rocketeer (yeah, I said it), seems like a perfect fit for this hero.  His films have a certain innocence to them that very much fits the personality of the Captain.  Add to that his ability to juggle special effects, larger then life stories and action set pieces and you’ve got the making of the perfect choice for Captain America.  Sure, the man has taken a few stray steps (last years The Wolfman being one of them), but overall, he feels like the right choice.  Chris Evans, though not my first choice (I much preferred the idea of casting Mark Valley), feels great in the part.  I adore the way that they are explaining the origin of Captain America and his costume and I love that they are setting almost the entirety of the film in World War II as opposed to trying to do a modernized version of the character.  By making him a man of the past, it will only make his journey into the world of today in Joss Whedon‘s Avengers movie all the better.

1.  Super 8

Lets face it, it’s J.J. Abrams‘ world, we just live in it.  And how lucky for us.  The man has his finger on the pulse of what makes all of us tick which is why he has been so successful in so many genres.  From Felicity to Alias to LOST to Fringe to the reboot of Star Trek, J.J. has delivered top notch storytelling on all fronts.  Some are calling him the Spielberg of the future.  Fitting then that Steven Spielberg himself is producing this picture, J.J.’s clear homage to Spielberg’s early career.

The story focuses on a group of small town kids in Ohio who witness a train crash while filming a Super 8 movie.  Soon afterwards, inexplicable events start happening and its clear that whatever was on that train is responsible.  There is so much working for this movie already.  Beyond the involvement of J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, I think there is something magical about adult movies starring kids.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it has the potential to be a film that will live forever.  Look at movies like The Goonies and Stand By Me.  There is a wonderful power in the magic of children facing serious adversity.  The imagination at play allows them to see things in a way adults are incapable of seeing them, and through them, we get to experience the world through their eyes.  I have every hope in the world that Super 8 will be the film that people will cite as the film that made JJ Abrams one of the fundamental storytellers of our time.

~ by Andrew Craig on May 9, 2011.

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