2017 Summer movie preview
Out first this summer is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 May 2. I wasn’t a fan of the first movie but am in the minority since the launch of these trash-talking, comedic space-faring heroes lead by Star Lord (Chris Pratt) quickly became a surprise mega-hit at the box office a few winters ago. This time, “Chris Pratt of the 1980s” Kurt Russell joins the cast as “Ego,” who in the comics anyway is quite literally a “living planet.” And what’s not to love about that?
May 19 sees the release of Alien: Covenant, the third Ridley Scott Alien film, and a direct sequel to Prometheus (2012). Prometheus got a bad rap by the critics but made more than $400 million at the box office hence Alien Covenant. What’s interesting here is that from the looks of things Scott has taken Alien: Covenant back to something a little more in the vein of Alien with the crew of a ship fighting the insect-like baddies and away from the more esoteric Prometheus, which I happened to like a great deal. Luckily, I also happen to like Alien a great deal too and couldn’t be more excited for this movie if I tried.
DC Entertainment tries to get their movie act together with the release of Wonder Woman on June 2, the fourth release of the modern DC movie universe. Originally appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and stealing the show, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) launches the Amazonian to the big-screen in her own movie set during WWI. My only concern for Wonder Woman is that she fought the monster Doomsday in Batman vs Superman and almost single-handedly took him down in an ultimate bad !#$ way. So whatever she faces in Wonder Woman has got to be as big or that movie might be disappointing.
The creators of The Mummy on June 9 are attempting to create their own franchise and so-called “shared universe” of movies with the Universal Monsters. Starring Tom Cruise not as the mummy but someone trying to stop her from destroying the world, early looks at The Mummy seem to indicate something like Mission Impossible crossed with Suicide Squad. The Mummy is the first movie of this interconnected film universe that will also include the likes of The Invisible Man, Wolf Man, Frankenstein and the Creature from the Black Lagoon in future films if this one’s a hit.
Spider-Man movies have had a really weird path to the big-screen the last few years. There were two Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man flicks a few years ago that failed to score billions at the office so that version was shelved. More recently Columbia Pictures, who owns the film rights to the character, had a new Spider-Man, this time played by Tom Holland, crossover in the Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War last year while still retaining the rights to make their own Spider-Man stand-alone films. Now comes that first film Spider-Man: Homecoming out July 7 this time with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) crossing over to this film.
A third Planet of the Apes film War for the Planet of the Apes is out July 14. The Apes film series is one of my favorites with the first chronicling why the apes got their smarts and the second what was happening with them just after the fall of man. This third film seems to be the story about the final apes vs man battle, with the winner taking claim to the planet. If you’ve seen the 1960s/1970s apes movies I’m sure you know how that works out.
Closing out the summer is the first movie based on the The Dark Tower Stephen King book series on July 28. Starring Idris Elba as the heroic gunslinger Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the evil sorcerer, the The Dark Tower movie series is being billed as a sequel or continuation of the books rather than a big-screen version of them. It’s hard to describe The Dark Tower without giving too much away, but there are alternate dimensions, monsters and magical powers and, best for Hollywood, if this first is successful a series of seven other books that can all be turned into films.
Summer movie preview
First up this year, as it has been every year since 2007, is a movie based on a character from Marvel Entertainment; this time The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on May 2. Totally skipping the notion that every super-hero movie sequel should feature just TWO villains, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) throwing down with Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti).
Three villains!? Do you think Spider-Man might, gulp!, lose this time!?
Bryan Cranston in Godzilla
On May 16 Godzilla returns to US theaters after an absence of 16 years. Like virtually every other Godzilla movie ever made, Godzilla is set to stomp unsuspecting cities, this time here in the US. Godzilla does have a few things going for it; the movie’s being directed by Gareth Edwards who also directed the underrated Monsters (2010) and stars a post-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston.
I can only hope that Godzilla finally settles the debate on the true fate of Dr. Niko Tatopoulos from the ’98 Godzilla.
Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past, really X-Men Part 5, “bamfs” into theaters May 23. Days of Future Past mingles characters from both the newer prequel X-Men: First Class film and the original X-Men trilogy of films from ’00-’06. This time, Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) from their time to their younger counterparts (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) in the past to head off doomsday in their timeline.
X-Men:Days of Future Past is a great comic story and this movie does look interesting if a bit character-heavy with a dozen + super-hero characters currently listed for the film in IMDB.
Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow
Edge of Tomorrow, out June 6, wins the award for best original movie title All You Need is Kill turned into something that sounds like more like a soap opera that sci-fi epic. Tomorrow features a futuristic battle-armored soldier, Tom Cruise, who’s sent to fight an invading alien army bent on world domination. In his first battle Cruise is killed almost immediately by the aliens but inexplicably wakes up to relive that battle over and over again. Think Groundhog Day but with heavy artillery and power-armor.
The “didn’t they promise us there’d be no more of these movies after the last one — they lied!” movie Transformers 4: The Age of Extinction stumbles into theaters June 27. This Transformers movie sets itself apart from every other Transformers movie in that it has dinosaur Transformers, the Dinobots. Which sure screams “let’s figure out what we can sell the most toys of THEN come up with a movie” to me.
One sequel I’m genuinely interested in this summer is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, or really Rise of the Planet of the Apes Part 2, or maybe really Planet of the Apes Part 8 on July 11. Taking place nearly a decade after the events of Rise, in Dawn most of mankind has been wiped out by the virus released in that film allowing the smart apes lead by Caesar to rise (get it?) to the dominant species on the planet. My worries here are that both the writers and director of the spectacular Dawn were oddly enough dumped from Rise. This doesn’t mean that Rise won’t be good, I’m just concerned that it won’t be as interesting or thought provoking as the first.
The Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy continues the Merry Marvel Marching Movie Machine in theaters August 1. Sort of X-Men meets Star Wars, Guardians follows a human (Chris Pratt) in the far off reaches of deep space who teams up with characters like a living tree and a raccoon (no joke) to battle the evils of the universe. Back in the ’90s Guardians was one of my favorite comic books and after seeing the trailer for this one I’m actually kind’a excited about the big screen Guardians.
On August 8 a fourth live-action version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles chops it’s way into theaters. Supposedly this version alters the history of the turtles a bit with an alien invasion being the cause of the genesis of said mutant ninja turtles. ALIEN INVASION!? Totally unrealistic when compared with the original explanation of turtles being exposed to radiation that turns them into kick punching crime fighters. Everyone knows radiation works wonders, just ask Daredevil.