by Luke Hickman
Summer is upon us, apparently. 'Fast Five' kicked it off last week and 'Thor' smashes his way into theaters this weekend. From now until the end of August, at least one expensive major blockbuster will hit the big screen each week. While some titles automatically have "success" written all over them, others do not.
Below is my list of the Top 10 blockbusters I look forward to the most. Yes, there are plenty of smaller "non-blockbusters" that I'm excited for, but this post is dedicated to The Big Ones.
10. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1)
Unlike many critics, I actually really enjoyed the first of Michael Bay's 'Transformers' movies. The way he brought the robotic aliens to life on the big screen is exactly how I saw them in my head when I played with the toys as a kid. But 'Revenge of the Fallen' was another story. The 2009 sequel was atrocious, so much so that I dreaded 'Dark of the Moon' until the latest trailer was released. Now donning an alien invasion feel, I once again have a glimmer of interest in the series. Let's hope it's nothing like 'Skyline' and avoids the way-too-long 'Transformers' runtime.
9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5)
I've never really been a fan of the 'Planet of the Apes' movies, but the unique pre-takeover story of 'Rise' looks interesting, almost like the unseen 28 days of '28 Days Later.' The potential that this invasion holds is great. Considering the director has little known directing experience, cross your fingers that he pulls a Neill Blomkamp ('District 9') and works some big screen magic.
8. Kung Fu Panda 2 (May 27)
The original 'Kung Fu Panda' took everyone by surprise. It worked on a level better than the worst Pixar movie, 'Cars' (don't expect to find 'Cars 2' on this list). Few animated films have reached the Pixar level of quality and entertainment, but 'Kung Fu Panda' did. Filled with heart, laughs, tender moments and a good message, how can you not be excited for 'Kung Fu Panda 2?'
7. Green Lantern (June17)
The first 'Green Lantern' trailer had me cringing. It tried to wow with visuals, but sorely missed the mark by showing too much disconnected content. And while Ryan Reynolds is a funny guy, he is dabbling on the edge of Vince Vaughn status. If he isn't muzzled and forced to stay on script, we will all start to loath him. The 4-minute Wondercon footage changed my opinion for the better, and the second official trailer reinforced it by revealing a bit of the plot. Before, I was skeptical. Now I see the green light.
6. Cowboys & Aliens (July 29)
The director of 'Iron Man.' Daniel Craig. Harrison Ford. The gorgeous Olivia Wilde. An alien invasion in the Wild West. There isn't a single element working against 'Cowboys & Aliens!' Had the original teaser trailer been the only promotional footage released, 'Cowboys & Aliens' would still pull huge box office numbers. The first trailer barely hinted at more of the story than the teaser did. Hopefully future TV spots and trailers won't reveal anything about the story.
5. X-Men: First Class (June 3)
I'm a purist when it comes to any franchise. All source material must be adapted for the big screen. Forgetting that fact, die-hard 'X-Men' fans have been disgruntled with the movie series because it hasn't stayed true to the comics at all. Not knowing the comics, my beef has nothing to do with authenticity. No, my disdain for the series came from 2006's 'The Last Stand' and 2009's 'Wolverine,' both terrible movies. I never expected to anticipate an 'X-Men' movie's release again, but with 'Kick-Ass' director Matthew Vaughn at the helm, I cannot wait for 'First Class.' If the average moviegoer doesn't have Vaughn's potential in mind, with the hangovers from the last two movies still fresh in their minds, 'First Class' may not stand a box office chance. As for me, I'm staying positive.
4. Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22)
Setting up the final franchise before the superhero-mixing team effort 'The Avengers' is 'Captain America' (why the sub-title 'The First Avenger' is included is beyond me). Chris Evans plays the title character, his second in the Marvel universe after The Human Torch. Included in the awesome cast are Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, and Tommy Lee Jones. Setting a superhero movie during WWII has a lot of unpredictable potential.
3. Thor (May 6)
Setting 'Iron Man' and the other 'Avengers' stories in our reality, I have no idea how they are going to ground the God of Thunder in our world - but I don't doubt that they can do it perfectly. With Shakespearean master Kenneth Branagh at the helm, anything is possible. And if Natalie Portman signed on because of Branagh and a strong script, I'm signing on too - not that I would ever miss out on the chance to see Natalie on the big screen.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two (July 15)
I have never read the 'Harry Potter' books, but I've turned into quite the fan over the last decade because of the constantly improving movies. Although Alfonso Cuaron stole the saga directing 'The Prisoner of Azkaban,' David Yates has done a damn fine job with the last three films. Nobody expects 'Part Two' to be a letdown. Considering how intense he made 'Part One,' a film wherefor 50 percent of the time our central characters are camping, 'Part Two' will only be better.
1. Super 8 (June 10)
If any film is ever going to wisp me away to my childhood, it will be 'Super 8.' The trailer gives me the chills. Directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg, 'Super 8' looks like a brilliant mix of 'E.T.' and 'Goonies.' I hope they never reveal another bit of plot or action through trailers or TV spots prior to its release. My hope is that the events of 'Super 8' tie into Abrams-produced 'Cloverfield' universe. June 10 cannot come quick enough!
What about you? What are the potential blockbusters you just can't wait to see this summer? Please join the discussion in the forum thread below!