I love summer movies. I love the hype and the excitement. I love explosions and mindless action tales filled with gun-toting heroes and kick-ass heroines. So it should come as no surprise that the movies of summer 2012 have me shaking with anticipation. This summer offers us (potentially) some of the greatest action/hero movies ever. Since there are too many to name, I’m going to list my top 5 most anticipated movies for Summer 2012.
Pixar Animation Studios is known for its excellence. Their animated films have had the rare combination of consistent critical and commercial success. Their films are also famous for never losing the Best Animated Feature Oscar at the Academy Awards. That was, until last year. With movies like The Incredibles, Wall-E, Up, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, and the Toy Story franchise under their belts, it was hard to see how the studio could ever produce a dud. Well they did just that last summer when they released Cars 2, a sequel to perhaps the least popular of all the Pixar movies. The movie tanked with critics, who called it a moving advertisement, and it performed far below expectations at the box office. On top of that it wasn’t even nominated in the Animated Feature category at either the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards. This has made the anticipation for its next movie, Brave, gigantic. This is the film that is tasked with bringing Pixar back to excellence. But that’s not all; I’ve written before about how Brave will be the very first Pixar film to feature a female as its main character. Talk about high expectations. The reason its on my list is because not only do I believe it will surpass those expectations, but I predict it will leave them in the dust. From all the promotional material out so far, the animation looks beautiful, the story exciting, the plot action-packed (yet emotional), and the characters funny, heartfelt, and real. Mix that in with the fact that heroine Merida is a red-headed fireball who takes crap from no one and is sick with a bow… come on, I’m SO in!
Release Date: June 22, 2012
4. The Amazing Spiderman
This one is probably the riskiest choice on my list. First, I still have nightmares about the botch job that was Spiderman 3, and second, Andrew Garfield is a 27 year-old Brit playing a 16 year-old New Yorker. Ummmm… All that aside, I am still massively excited for this project. Part of that excitement has to do with Miss Emma Stone. Emma has quickly risen to the A-list thanks to the success of her films such as Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love, and The Help. She is among the most in-demand actresses right now for good reason. Not only is she straight up hilarious, but she also has real acting chops and is beautiful to boot. And although Garfield may seem like an unconventional choice, he has shown his acting brilliance in projects like Never Let Me Go and The Social Network. I also think that this movie stays truer to the source material (i.e. the comics) than any of Toby McGuire’s. Judging from the two or three official trailers, Garfield’s Peter Parker is like the comic Parker as well, he seems sarcastic and brash and just a tad reckless. And although I’m a little disappointed Mary Jane won’t make an appearance, Stone’s Gwen Stacey should kick ass. It also doesn’t hurt that Garfield and Stone are a real-life couple, so the chemistry is obviously gonna rock. With updated technology, the action sequences seem better than ever. There was a section of one of the trailers that was shot from the perspective of Spiderman as he swung through Manhattan and it honestly felt like I was on a thrill ride. I also love myself a good villain, and Rhys Ifans is definitely creepy enough to pull of the Lizard. The final reason I’m excited for this movie is because Marc Webb is directing it. I thought this was a very unconventional choice seeing as how Webb’s last movie was the now iconic hipster pseudo love story 500 Days of Summer. He’s not exactly the first guy that comes to mind when one say Spiderman. But I think his presence will makes this film a very different kind of superhero movie. It’s not going to be hopelessly bleak like The Dark Knight or overly flashy like Thor or classic like Captain America. It’s going to be something entirely different, and in a summer saturated with heroes, that may be enough to make The Amazing Spiderman stand out.
Release Date: July 3, 2012
3. Snow White and The Huntsman
After the epic fail that was Mirror Mirror, SWATH is our last chance to see a cool re-imagining of Snow White on the big screen. I absolutely love fairytales and I’m a huge Disney nerd. Although Snow White may not be my favorite princess (that honor goes to The Little Mermaid herself, Ariel), I do want to see a fairytale / princess movie succeed at the box office. That alone would be enough for me to see it, but, if the trailers are to be believed, this movie looks freakin’ awesome. The story follows much like the original fairytale, but changes when Snow White (played by Kristen Stewart, yes, Twilight Kristen Stewart) escapes The Evil Queen’s castle and the man tasked with finding her, The Huntsman, switches allegiance and teams up the beautiful princess to defeat the Queen. In this movie, Snow White becomes a warrior who takes on the responsibility of leading an army into battle. Cool stuff, right? Even cooler, The Evil Queen is played by the always brilliant not to mention Academy Award winner Charlize Theron (Julia Roberts who?) Also, the huntsman is being portrayed by Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth (dude has come a long way from playing Papa Kirk in Star Trek ). The cinematography in this movie, from what I’ve seen, is beautiful and although people have doubts that Stewart has the chops to carry the film, I’m here saying that she doesn’t have to. Theron’s Evil Queen seems like the main character judging from the sneak peeks and early chatter, and Hemsworth will also have a major role to play (and he proved himself more than capable with Thor). On top of that, the seven dwarves are a literal who’s who of British acting (Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Stephen Graham, Eddie Izzard, Ray Winstone, and Nick Frost) who have been CGIed down to “small people” size. The fight sequences have that epic war movie feel to them and the film makers are not holding back when it comes to the creepiness of the villains. I’m hoping this film washes out the bad memories of its rival and I have the utmost confidence it will.
Release Date: June 1, 2012
2. The Dark Knight Rises
So just about nothing is known about the plot of this movie, but it gets this spot based on pure hype, that, and the fact that its predecessor was one of the best movies of the last decade. Christopher Nolan returns to Gotham in what he’s said is the final installment of his Batman franchise. I think out of all the movies on the list, this is the once that has the most to live up to. The greatness of The Dark Knight is so much that it seems impossible to ever match it; but you can be damn sure Nolan will try. The main villain for TDKR is Bane; most famous in the comics for breaking Batman’s back (he did say this was the last one after all, you might as well go big). Tom Hardy, character actor extraordinaire and previously seen in Nolan’s other epic, Inception, snagged the role. I love Hardy, and I think he’ll be fantastic as the jacked and genius ubervillain. Other casting news includes Anne Hathaway as Catwoman (still unsure about this one but willing to give it a shot because I love her and trust Nolan), Marion Cotillard as a yet unnamed Wayne Enterprise’s board member (though there are rumors she might play something a little more, hmm, villainous), and Joseph Gordon Levitt as a rookie cop in Gotham’s police force (also rumored to be something more important *ahem* Robin perhaps?). Beyond that, literally nothing has been released by Warner Brothers regarding the film. We will be going into this one pretty much blind. I don’t doubt that this movie will be fantastic and that Batman will get a fitting end, but I do have trouble seeing how it can surpass the previous one. As great as Tom Hardy is, can he realistically live up to Ledger’s Joker? Probably not. But honestly, I don’t think it matters. Millions and millions of people will line up to see the movie, it will be disgustingly successful and probably a great film on its own. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.
Release Date: July 20, 2012
1. The Avengers
At the beginning I said I like superhero movies, and this is shaping up to be the king of them all. Bringing together some of Marvel’s biggest stars (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk) into one singular film is a HUGE risk. The potential for disaster is uncharacteristically high with so many personalities to juggle and this movie has a very small window between brilliance and crap. Well, the premier for the film was a couple days ago, and the overwhelming response was… BRILLIANCE! Joss Whedon, best known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the cult hit Firefly (cancelled too soon!!!) took on this massive project (both the writer and director) and the film’s success is entirely on him. His risks seemed to have paid off big time if the twitter reactions are to be believed. But even before the premier, this film looked downright epic. Although having that many heroes in one movie could be a curse, its also a gift. There really isn’t anywhere too big for this movie to go. It’s also entirely unique seeing as how no one in Hollywood has gotten that many stand alone heroes in one place before. I think that’s what makes the public so excited. That and the fact that I can’t see a single trailer for the thing without getting massive chills. At first I was skeptical of the villain choice (Loki, really?) but the sneak peeks have quelled those fears and Tom Hiddleston has proven he’s a top notch actor. I think many people were surprised at how well both Thor and Captain America did last summer, and that has only made anticipation of this project even higher. Although Iron Man 2 didn’t exactly reach the greatness of the first one, I have complete trust that Robert Downey Jr. will bring the house down. This is the ultimate summer popcorn movie, and that is the main reason why it tops my list. But this movie could have come out in February and it wouldn’t have mattered, America would still be lining up in droves to catch this one.
Release Date: May 4, 2012