While the “event” movie season has grown to encompass the entire year (see Star Wars and Harry Potter dominating the Christmas season, and Logan and Deadpool showing that February can be great times for superhero films), there is no period of the year quite like the Summer.
The temperatures are high, the theaters are cool, and there are a ton of great movies with which to kick back, enjoy the air conditioning and an iced soda, and be transported away via the silver screen.
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicking things off this week (although some would argue The Fate of the Furious was the unofficial start of the season), I figured it was the perfect time to take a look at the Summer as a whole and start plotting out my weeks ahead.
I’m anticipating each one of these movies, and I recognize – this isn’t all encompassing, but that’s not what this is about. This is about the movies I’m gonna be making sure I catch in theaters.
I’ve linked to trailers where possible, so that you may get a taste of the movies, and written some brief thoughts on each flick.
All release dates are updated and correct as of the time of publication, on April 30th, 2017.
All dates come from the 2017 in Film page on Wikipedia.
When Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters in Summer 2014, we were all blown away by how deftly writer/director James Gunn took a mix of some of Marvel’s most obscure and underlined heroes and turned it into (arguably) the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. Three years later, the stakes are much higher, as the sequel gets to open up the Summer movie season. Thankfully, if the trailers have been any indication, Vol. 2 gets things right by focusing on the fractured family at the core of its story…plus some incredible needle drops from classic rock songs both beloved and obscure. Hopes are high for this one, but I think they’ll be delivered upon.
I might be alone on this, but I’m – to this day – still a big Guy Richie fan. He has definitely lost some fans from his Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels era, but I still love his movies – even the Sherlock Holmes movies. His interpretation of King Arthur looks like big, dumb fun, and I feel like this is going to be a movie – like say, Speed Racer – that will have a level of style over substance that will gain a cult following for some time to come.
While many had issues with Prometheus, I loved it, and the idea of a proper Alien sequel which builds off of its foundation and adds both Danny McBride as a cowboy hat wearing spaceship pilot and Katherine Waterston as an ersatz Ripley is very inviting. As one would expect from a Ridley Scott film, the footage so far promises a visual stunner, if nothing else, but I feel like this will be a wild and weird creature feature.
Many movies have tried to follow in the footsteps of the 21 Jump Street franchise and failed. (Looking at you, CHIPS.) But this Dwayne Johnson-starring take on the classic beach-based David Hasselhoff series seems to have learned all the right lessons. Add the fact that Zac Efron’s work in the Neighbors franchise made him a secret comedy weapon, and chances are, this will be the Summer comedy to deliver.
Thus far, the DC Extended Universe hasn’t really quite delivered the way that the fans, and the studio, would like. Yes, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad made far more money than I ever would, but let’s be honest – it’s not Marvel money, yet. The Patty Jenkins-directed solo debut for Wonder Woman is looking pretty great thus far, and while I’m not one of the folks handwringing about how much marketing has happened so far (they probably want Guardians of the Galaxy out of the way first), I do wonder if the reception of the first two films has people already counting this one out. I think it looks pretty good, and Gadot has been the highlight of the universe so far, so my hopes are high.
Sometimes, during the Summer, you want big, dumb fun. I think that The Mummy is going to be one such film. Hilariously edited trailer aside, with Tom Cruise in the lead, this movie looks to be Monster: Impossible. I just hope that they don’t try to jam in too much universe building.
The Big Sick
Sadly no trailer for this one yet, but the adaptation of the real life love story of Emily V. Gordon (The Meltdown) and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) won the hearts of Sundance and SXSW alike, and I can’t wait to see this hit the screen. Funny, heartwarming, romantic – this is the date movie to beat this Summer.
Baby Driver (June 28)
While the world never got to see the culmination of an Edgar Wright-directed Ant-Man movie, it sure feels like we’re about to get the next best thing – a brand new, original motion picture from the insane and kinetic mind of Wright, hands down my favorite director working today. A music driven blast of car racing action, this is my most anticipated movie of the Summer.
Last Summer, audiences worldwide were charmed by the debut of Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War. This July, he gets his first solo outing as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as the trailers have proven, everything we like about the MCU is here: awesome casting, a great adaptation mixing elements of all the different versions of the character over the years, and a true sense of heart. I am very very excited for this one.
Who would’ve thought how absolutely great the relaunched Planet of the Apes series would be? Taking a series that was, at best known as 70’s sci-fi schlock, and at worst remembered by the awful Tim Burton remake, and turning into intelligent, affecting sci-fi has been an incredible move to see happen, and War will end the trilogy with the same level of seriousness and pathos that the series has held so far. This is a dark horse candidate for best movie of the Summer.
Christopher Nolan has delivered countless great movies over the years: the Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar…and it’s on that track record that I am blindly trusting what feels like a pretty on-the-nose World War II film? I’m hoping that Nolan brings something truly awe-inspiring to the proceedings, especially given how much of it was filmed in IMAX. Fingers are crossed.
It’s been a very very long time since Luc Besson gave us the sci-fi fantasy of The Fifth Element, but he’s back at it with the graphic novel adaptation Valerian. The visuals for this film look absolutely breathtaking, but given Cara Delevingne’s performance in Suicide Squad, I hope you can be OK with me assuming that while the visuals will be sumptuous, the story and performances may leave something to be desired.
Lady John Wick is an easy layup to get me in the theaters. Thankfully, this movie seems to have something backing up its claims – and it’s not just the shared director. Atomic Blonde looks to be an awesome spy thriller with incredibly intense action, and Charlize Theron is fulfilling the destiny laid before her when she became etched into cult canon as Furiosa – she’s kicking ass, taking names, and looking awesome while doing it.
The Dark Tower
While I have no idea what is taking the trailer so long, this long-in-development Stephen King adaptation has all the right moves going for it on the casting side of things, so I’m there day one. I just hope they decide to, y’know, market it to people. And soon.
Director Kathryn Bigelow has a hell of a track record, including the Oscar nominated Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker. Her next movie, taking on the 1960’s Detroit riots, looks to be just as intense, eye-opening, and impossible to ignore as those films. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, watch it now – you’ll be hooked.
Steven Soderbergh is back, with a movie he’s describing as “an anti-glam version of an Ocean’s movie”. Pretty perfect for the guy who gave us the Ocean’s trilogy in the first place, right? The cast is incredible (Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum), the idea is sound. I’m there to wrap up my Summer.
That’s my list. Pretty good, right? I’m sure I might see some other movies this Summer, but these are the ones I am moving heaven and Earth for.
What are you looking forward to this Summer? Sound off in the comments.