Summer Season Brings Back Fan-Favorites

Each and every year, we are fortunate enough to get what is now known as the “summer movie season,” spanning from the beginning of April to the end of August. This year’s summer movie slate is bringing the heat and its wide array of genres should allow you to keep returning to the theaters for a new experience every time. This summer seems to be the one in which franchises return after long periods of waiting. The following are some of the summer movies to keep on your radar.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 premiered May 5 and continued the epic adventure of Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and Baby Groot in their quest to save the galaxy. After speculating about him his entire life, Peter encounters his long-lost father, Ego the Living Planet, but after a not-so-graceful family reunion, the Guardians find themselves in the position where they have to decide who their true family is. Although past Marvel sequels have had trouble continuing the same humor seen in their respective prequels, Vol. 2 naturally continues the same level of laugh-out-loud humor, without sacrificing the personalities of its characters. With not one, but two cameos from Howard the Duck and five end credit scenes, the movie catered to the audience’s nerdom. The music reflects the 1970s feel, and once again plays a crucial role in the mood of the film and the plotline captured the complexity of the characters’ relationships while not sacrificing a suspenseful story. Overall, the film was extremely well done and makes for a humorous addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

Alien: Covenant

On May 19, director Ridley Scott transported audiences back to the “Alien” universe with “Alien: Covenant,” 38 years after the first film premiered. After Scott’s prequel to the series, 2012’s “Prometheus,” received mixed reviews, he decided to return the franchise to its roots as more horror than science fiction through his famous camerawork and cinematography style to make the film feel tight and claustrophobic. Fans of the original movie will be excited to see this tone shift and Scott’s familiar placement of gore and jump scares, but sometimes, the plot felt uninnovative and copied those of the first two movies. Full of nostalgia disguised by today’s advanced visuals, “Alien: Covenant” represented an iconic franchise in a familiar though at times, too familiar way.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean 5

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise made its return with its fifth installment, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” After six years of waiting, fans were once again able to ride the high seas with everyone’s favorite pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, played by none other than Johnny Depp. Though the fourth film was a disappointment critically, the newest film promised viewers a return to the glory of the original trilogy with the much-anticipated returns of characters Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), and a plotline revolving around revenge-seeking ghost pirates, led by Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem). As soon as Hans Zimmer’s iconic, swashbuckling theme played again, moviegoers rooted for “Dead Men Tell No Tales” to return the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise back to prominence. While it was nice to experience the Pirates’ universe again and the action set pieces were some of the best in the franchise, the plot became muddled and Depp’s performance as Sparrow became too over-the-top. Though probably the best film in the franchise since the first, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” will not make anyone’s “Top 10” list.

 

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman comes out today, June 2, where Gal Gadot reprises her role as Diana Prince from the film “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” In this period piece set during World War I, Diana meets American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who tells her of the conflict going on. Diana is determined to help and engages herself in the violence. Judging from the trailers, this movie will be action filled, while still obtaining quirky characters and humor as the Amazon princess tries to fit into 1910s London society. After the box office success of “Suicide Squad”, this movie is likely to be equally successful monetarily, though hopefully, it attains more critical success.

 

The Mummy

Another cult-favorite franchise is renewed in “The Mummy”, releasing June 9, and starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Russell Crowe. As the likely first film in Universal Pictures’ planned shared monster universe, “The Mummy” reboot looks to change the tone from what fans knew in Brendan Fraser’s “The Mummy” films by introducing horror elements and more action than adventure. The choice of Tom Cruise alone shows how Universal is committed to the long-term game for this franchise, so you can expect that they will be looking to put their best foot forward before they establish the “Dark Universe” that is slated to include Frankenstein, the Bride of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, Van Helsing and the Invisible Man.

 

All Eyez on Me

On June 16, director Benny Boom is releasing a biographical picture, detailing the life of one of the greatest rappers to ever live, Tupac Shakur. This film promises to depict Tupac’s rise through the ranks of the hip-hop industry into cultural stardom and the power struggle that came along with being an activist voice for such a wide audience. In the vein of 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” “All Eyez on Me” looks to tell the story of Tupac, a somewhat polarizing figure, to the masses who may not be as familiar with his timeline. Demetrius Shipp Jr. looks like he was born to play this role and as soon as “California Love” played in the second trailer, the countdown began. Unlike other musical biopics like “Jimi: All Is by My Side,” about Jimi Hendrix, “All Eyez on Me” was able to attain the actual music of its respective artist, so fans will be able to see Shakur’s music paired with his life events the way he meant it to be. Fans of biopics (biographical movies) and rap music should be thrilled to be getting a movie about Tupac, a rich personality who has never been put on the big screen before.

 

Cars 3

“Cars 3” races into theaters on June 16, and will once again feature Owen Wilson voicing the race car (which is the same backwards and forwards), Lightning McQueen. McQueen plans to compete in a race. However, as a “surprising” twist, there is a car faster than McQueen and he starts to feel inadequate. Following the same character development as the first movie, McQueen feels the need to prove that he is better than the new car. The plotline feels used and the characters feel worn out. Hopefully, the movie adopts a surprising turn or two, rather than all lefts (racetrack joke), but it seems unlikely.

 

Transformers: The Last Knight

A week after Lightning McQueen takes over theaters, on June 23, Michael Bay brings back more “cartoon” cars in “Transformers: The Last Knight.” As much as people hate and criticize the Transformers movies, they are some of my guilty pleasures, and the first and third installments are a fun time that can be watched multiple times. In contrast, the second and fourth installments are horrendous films that replace actual plotline with slow-motion explosions and CGI galore. The trailers for this movie have been really cringe worthy, especially when compared to the awesome trailers that the other films in the series had, and “The Last Knight” already looks like it may be falling into the same tropes that weighed the other films down, so expectations have been lowered. Nonetheless, I am still oddly looking forward to it as that summer blockbuster after school gets out. At its best, “The Last Knight” will revive this lackluster franchise that has so much potential, and at its worst, it will be so atrocious, that it will still be entertaining and unintentionally comedic with some explosive action set pieces and cheesy dialogue thrown in.

 

Despicable Me 3

June 30 sees the release of the third addition to the “Despicable Me” franchise. After the success of the first two films and the spin-off movie “Minions,” “Despicable Me 3” is expected to make a splash at the box office. After the appearance of his twin brother Dru, Gru must not only handle the imminent threat of world supervillain and child star, Balthazar Bratt, but also must handle new found sibling rivalries.  Although the first movie in the franchise was humorous and new at its time, the sequels have begun to feel stale, reusing the same cheap jokes and awkward character development, or in the cases of some characters, character stagnation. Hopefully the third in the series breaks this trend, but it seems unlikely that we will get anything overly surprising in the way of comedy.

 

Spiderman: Homecoming

On July 7, “Spiderman: Homecoming” swings into theaters and into our hearts, marking Spider Man’s long-awaited solo appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ever since his fresh and exciting debut in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” fans from all across the world have been clamoring for his standalone film and from the looks of the trailers and all of the information that director Jon Watts has dropped, “Homecoming” will not disappoint. This is my most-anticipated film of the year and for those who are complaining of “Spidey fatigue,” rest assured this will be an entirely new experience that includes Iron Man as the Web Head’s mentor. Watts and lead actor, Tom Holland, have both described this film as having a John Hughes-1980’s teen comedy feel along the lines of “The Breakfast Club,” and audiences will actually believe that Peter Parker is a high-school kid this time around. Sure to be the most relatable for high-school students and the most street-level of all of the MCU films to date, “Spiderman: Homecoming” looks like a classic in the making and could help kickstart Phase 4 of the MCU by stealing the summer.

 

War for the Planet of the Apes

Just one week later, on July 14, the new “Planet of the Apes” trilogy reaches its conclusion with “War for the Planet of the Apes”. After the universal critical and commercial acclaim of both “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, audiences everywhere have been looking forward to the conclusion, but more importantly to the long-promised war. It is simply amazing how Andy Serkis and director Matt Reeves have been able to bring such realism and emotion to the apes to the point that most viewers actually root for the apes against the humans. The previous two movies have set up the stakes well for this film and it truly does feel that both sides have a valid argument, posing an interesting philosophical debate between audience members, similar to “Captain America: Civil War”. The action looks top-notch, the soundtrack sounds epic, and if this movie is as successful as the last two “Apes” films have been, it could be in the conversation among the best trilogies we have ever witnessed in film history. Also, there are apes riding tanks, so why would you not want to watch this?

 

Dunkirk

On July 21, a different kind of war film takes place in Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk”, a depiction of the struggles that stranded soldiers faced in the European Theater during World War II. A maestro of film, every one of Nolan’s films feels like an event and each seems that it could be even more thought-provoking and engaging than his previous one. Though his films are normally met with high praise from critics and fans alike, Nolan’s last work, “Interstellar”, was met with luke-warm reception, so you can bet that he will be even more motivated to show us more cinematic greatness. Nolan has proven that he can take on almost any genre as seen in his renditions of the superhero genre in his “Dark Knight” Batman trilogy, so audiences should be excited for him to tackle the war genre next. Dunkirk is one of the main WWII battles to yet be deeply explored on the silver screen, and with a stellar cast that includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, and even, Harry Styles, Nolan’s imagining could carry some serious Oscar buzz through the summer season.

 

The summer of 2017 includes so many different genres: superhero, science-fiction, comedy, action-adventure, horror, biopic, animated, and war, so it seems that all audience members will have something to look forward to. On those long, hot summer days, when you don’t have homework weighing you down, take some time to see a movie, because you won’t regret it.

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