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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

From Superheroes To Minions: Summer 2013 Blockbuster Preview

Jennifer Joh |
April 21, 2013 | 9:17 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Lurhmann's The Great Gatsby, released May 10. (Warner Bros.)
Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Lurhmann's The Great Gatsby, released May 10. (Warner Bros.)
Summer is a highly anticipated season, and fittingly, summer movies happen to be the most highly anticipated of the year. Awards season was exciting but chaotic, with tear-jerking, mind-blowing films trying to outdo one another and the Academy dictating what's worth watching; the months that followed were slow. In a few weeks, families, couples and friends alike can finally get excited to go to the movies again. This summer is especially promising; the array of sequels, action and comedy films, and all-star casts is sure to draw massive audiences into air-conditioned theaters. Some films will undoubtedly blow you away, and let's face it: you'll probably end up watching Iron Man 3 multiple times and clap until your hands sting every time it ends. But what films are bound to fall flat like a soda that's been sitting out for too long? Neon Tommy previews the big blockbusters audiences will be raving about in the heat, chronogically.


The month of May is off to a super start with Iron Man 3 (May 3). Tony Stark is coming back in this final installment of the much-loved Marvel series, and he won't disappoint. As trilogies always go, it'll be highly emotional and full of epic plot twists and extra-evil antagonists. Storyline and special effects aside, it's hard to go wrong with Robert Downey Jr.'s charm, wit, confidence and God-given talents. Exactly a week later, a film that's been talked about since before its conception will be released: Baz Lurhmann's high-budget adaptation of The Great Gatsby is finally hitting theaters on May 10. This film is unpredictable; while many are about to go nuts from waiting, others are skeptical about its potential to be a truly successful adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's original classic. Various elements of the film will most likely bring mixed reviews (even the trailers are causing buzz), but you can be sure of two things: the theaters will be filled with fanatics and skeptics alike, and it's Leo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan blended in one wild, colorful movie. What's not to be excited about? 

Star Trek fans are currently trekking into madness in their anticipation for Star Trek Into Darkness, to be released on May 17 (so far, a blockbuster to watch every week. Exciting!) The original crew of the Enterprise returns after four years, but all eyes have been on its dark and dangerous enemy, played by Sherlock's beloved Benedict Cumberbatch. Following the popular trend of compelling and multi-faceted bad guys of today's hero films, Cumberbatch is sure to give a stellar performance that audiences will eat up. As far as sequels go, this one looks promising. However, there is one sequel coming out on May 24 that's far more questionable: The Hangover Part III. Let's face it: we were asking for it. The second Hangover installment was a definite letdown, but director Todd Phillips promises something different this time. It's exciting to see the whole cast come back (and to see Bradley Cooper in comedy again), but will these actors bring something fresh to the table? Expect more ridiculous surprises, incongruous events and some good laughs--but don't expect too much. Let's just hope that there's something worth remembering the next day.

Coming out on the same day is yet another sequel: Fast and Furious 6, for all who are thirsty for more action and less brainwork. This film franchise boasts an ever-growing cast and hugely successful sequels. This summer, you'll meet a new villain, played by Luke Evans. It's pure action and a lot of fun, and with the testosterone-packed cast of Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson and Paul Walker, it's sure to be a fast and furiously awesome crowd-pleaser. 

An important category of films we can't forget is animation. Epic is another movie that will enter theaters on May 24, but it's more family-friendly and a great alternative to the intense sequels mentioned above. It's fantasy, comedy and drama brought to you by Chris Wedge, the acclaimed director of Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). The film's a heartwarming tale of a teenage girl who gets lost in a forest and finds herself shrunken into a minuscule person in a secret world. The movie stars an interesting cast of voices including Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz, Pitbull, Beyonce Knowles and more. Though it's always hard to see where an animation will go before its release, there's no doubt that Epic will attract audiences of all ages. 


The month of June brings back our favorite off-screen and on-screen father-son duo, the beginning of a new DC Comics universe on film, and a prequel that little girls and grown men alike are anticipating. The weather will be warmer and the movies will only be getting hotter in the box office. On June 7, Will Smith and son Jaden Smith will be playing father and son in After Earth as lone survivors in a perilous Earth after a mission trip gone wrong. This science-fiction thriller is a perfect time for Jaden Smith to show his continuing growth as a young actor, though we've seen him in plenty of mature roles before. The dynamic between Jaden and Will Smith is sure to be electric and emotional, but it seems a bit too familiar and easy-- and though it has potential, After Earth is already stuck in a place that will be overshadowed by other, more highly-anticipated blockbusters. And speaking of stuck, it seems that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are stuck in the same roles and personalities in The Internship, a comedy released on the same day. Seeing as there will be plenty of other films to catch up on, this one is pretty much a box-office miss. Talk about bad timing. 

What's really on our minds is Man of Steel (June 14), a new take on the classic American superhero story of Superman. This is the big one of the summer; the climax, if you will. Produced by Christopher Nolan, scripted by David S. Goyer and directed by Zack Snyder, Man of Steel centers on Clark Kent's origin story and stars Henry Cavill in the title role, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe. The seriously dramatic trailer is merely a suggestion of the grand and glorious adventure that will play out on the big screen. And it will only be the beginning of a shared fictional universe of DC Comics characters, launching a heightened film rivalry with Marvel Comics. For movie-goers, this is something to be very excited about. 

Ten years after Monsters, Inc., Pixar's Monsters University is set to release on June 21. John Goodman and Billy Crystal return as young Mike and Sully, who are now students at the University of Fear. Because it's a prequel rather than a sequel, the film tells the story of how the famous friendship begins rather than an extension of their adventures, which would have inevitably fallen short of Monsters, Inc. Many fans are hoping for an appearance of Boo somewhere along the way, and whether Boo shows up or not, Mike and Sully are likable enough to give the movie lots of life. 

Other big movies coming out in June include This is the End (June 14), a comedy featuring celebrities as themselves, World War Z (June 21), White House Down (June 28), which stars a very hot Channing Tatum alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jamie Foxx, and The Heat (June 28), which seems hilarious already thanks to the unlikely duo of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. While these films risk being pushed aside by many moviegoers, the road ahead doesn't look too bad for them, as they will provide a decadent menu of movies for a wide range of audiences. Their ticket sales won't be off the charts but some of these films may be surprising successes. 


Summer is still in full swing, and with the coming of July also comes Despicable Me 2 (July 3). This animated sequel is already overloaded with cuteness, which is promising. The Smurfs 2 isn't going to be nearly as successful as Despicable Me 2, but it won't be a complete miss since we'll be seeing more of Neil Patrick Harris. Will yet another sequel - Grown Ups 2 (July 12) - be prove juts as acceptable? Let's just say that we've all seen too much of the same humor devices from Adam Sandler. Fortunately, this film just might be able to get away with all the self-deprecating humor it offers.


As for Hugh Jackman, he's in the best shape of his life for The Wolverine, to be released on July 26. He bellowed through Les Miserables terrifically and movingly, but Jackman's back for the fifth time as Logan the Wolverine, and it'll be gratifying enough to see him back on the big screen after a long-winded awards season. Another figure people have been itching to see again is Johnny Depp, who takes on the character of Native American spirit warrior Tonto in The Lone Ranger (July 3). Depp and Armie Hammer join to embark on adventures to help the needy, becoming legends of justice. The producer, director and writers who created the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy reunite, and thankfully so: their classic and satisfying blend of action and humor has been absent from theaters for too long.


Summer is now winding to a close, but the movie season isn't done yet. August brings sequel after sequel, from 300: Rise of an Empire (August 2) to Kick-Ass 2 (August 16). A familiar character also returns in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (August 16). These action-filled fantasy films will take one's mind off the impending end of summer and for many students, the beginning of another academic year. Along with the slew of gigantic blockbusters that preceded these movies, movie lovers and critics will have performances, plot turns, and drama to talk about for the rest of the year. 

Reach Staff Reporter Jennifer Joh here. Follow her on Twitter here. 



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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