Could this be the biggest movie summer of all time? It's sure looking like it. Almost every weekend features at least one, and maybe two or three, movies with a science fiction, fantasy or comics pedigree.
There are superheroes, mutants, alien invasions, barbarians, monsters, tributes to Steven Spielberg, giant robots, boy wizards, weird horror films, and a slew of art films that dabble in magic or the cosmic. Seriously, if you can't find anything at the movie theater that appeals to you this summer, then you hate movies.
Here's our list of the 28 films that you might want to check out this summer.
Actually, we'll admit it — there are about 23 movies on this list that might actually be decent, and another five that are pretty much guaranteed to be massive trainwrecks. We'll let you decide which are which.
Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (April 29)
Based on the cult comic book. Brandon "Superman" Routh plays a peacekeeper who has to mediate among the vampires, zombies and werewolves of the world, and it's not always pretty. And Sam Huntington plays Routh's undead assistant, as he copes with his toughest case yet — a case that has him facing the Guardian of Hell. Apparently the original comic was Umberto Eco's favorite comic book, which he could read for days.
Thor (May 6)
The Thunder God cometh! Here's where Marvel finds out whether you're as willing to greet some of its other lesser-known characters with the same enthusiasm you gave Iron Man. Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh directed an all-start cast, including Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, and Natalie Portman, so fingers crossed. Thor is cast down to Earth by Odin, and has to learn humility before he can reclaim his Uru hammer, Mjolnir.
I'm Not Jesus Mommy (May 6)
We'll just quote from the official synopsis:
The film centers around a human cloning project which takes a turn for the worse with only one cloned pregnancy making it to term, a boy named David.Seven years after David's birth, wars, famine and natural disasters of every kind plague the Earth. As Kimberly struggles to survive her biggest challenge is raising her son. Strange occurrences surrounding the young boy are only becoming worse and more mysterious.Roger, the head researcher of the cloning project returns to reveal that David was cloned from DNA taken from the Shroud of Turin...from blood of Christ.
Come on... doesn't that sound pretty great? That's not the only weird religious movie coming this summer though. Stay tuned.
Priest (May 13)
Oh, and speaking of religious weirdness, there's this film, based on the Tokyopop comic. It's a post-apocalyptic future, and humans have made an uneasy truce with vampires, who live on reservations. Until the vampires kidnap Phil Collins' daughter, and it's up to one vampire-fighting priest to disobey his orders and go rescue her. There are crucifix throwing stars. And Maggie "Nikita" Q slices a guy into tiny pieces while riding on a motorcycle. That's probably all you need to know right there.
The Big Bang (May 13)
We're sort of weirdly fascinated with this movie, in which Antonio Banderas is a private investigator who takes on his strangest case yet — in which some scientists are trying to recreate the Big Bang, and it's led to a lot of noirish consequences. The trailer includes weird earthquakes and apocalyptic happenings, so it looks like playing God turns out about as well as it usually does in the movies. It'll be fascinating to see the scientific disaster movie blended with film noir — wonder how it'll turn out.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20)
Captain Jack Sparrow is back one more time, and this time there are zombies and evil mermaids and the fountain of youth. Everybody involved with the series keeps insisting that this one will make more sense than the last two, and they've pared back the subplots and excesses to a manageable level. Plus Keith Richards is making a return appearance as Jack's dad, and Penelope Cruz has sexual tension with Johnny Depp. Could be fun.
The Tree of Life (May 27)
No, we still don't know whether, or how, this Terence Malick film belongs on this list. On one level, it seems like just a plain old coming-of-age story about a boy dealing with his relationship with his mother and father. But there are all sorts of hints that there's a cosmic aspect to the story, dealing with the birth and death of the universe. And apparently the film has really gorgeous looking dinosaurs in it. Are these just metaphors for the human soul, or do they impact the story somehow? We'll find out soon enough. (You can barely glimpse a dinosaur here.)
X-Men: First Class (June 3)
The fifth X-Men movie takes us back to 1962, when Charles Xavier was a young rake, and Erik Lensherr was slightly less of a total bastard. It's the genesis of the X-Men, wrapped in with the Cuban Missile Crisis, and although the movies' continuity may make almost no sense, it should still be fun to watch. The main worry is that, like a lot of other movies coming soon, this film was rushed through production so fast that the actors even commented on it in interviews.
Super 8 (June 10)
J.J. Abrams pays tribute to Steven Spielberg with this movie set in 1979, about a group of kids who are making a DIY zombie movie — until a train crashes and unleashes... something. And whatever that something is, it changes everything for the people living in a small town, including a troubled deputy sheriff and his young son. The trailer looked gorgeous, and it definitely seems like it has a bit of an early Spielberg feel to it.
The Troll Hunter (June 10)
This Norwegian horror mockumentary is getting a U.S. release this summer — a group of students are making a documentary about a bear-poacher named Hans. But then Hans encounters something scarier than a bear. He comes running back to the students, screaming "Troll!" (Now that's a screencap we'll be seeing on the Internet soon enough.) The students decide to help Hans the bear poacher hunt the Troll... with the sort of consequences you expect in a movie like this.
Green Lantern (June 17)
The movie that won Wondercon, this is Warner Bros.' first real attempt to do a big-budget movie of one of its second-tier superheroes. Hal Jordan is an irresponsible test pilot who gets a magic ring from space — and suddenly finds himself with the weight of the whole cosmos on his shoulders. This film will either be the next Avatar, with its colorful space creatures and full-on sense of wonder, or it'll be just too goofy for regular moviegoers. Fingers crossed.
Transformers: The Dark of the Moon (July 1)
Just like with the new Pirates of the Caribbean, everybody associated with Transformers 3 has been swearing up and down that this time, they'll tell a proper story. Both director Michael Bay and star Shia LaBoeuf have come out and admitted that Transformers: ROTF was perhaps not the movie they want to be remembered for. But this time, with a story that includes a giant robot greeting Apollo astronauts on the moon and the Decepticons trashing Chicago, Bay and company are confident they'll regain their mojo.
Zookeeper (July 8)
This is a fantasy in the same weird quasi-genre as Toy Story and Gnomeo and Juliet, except live-action. All of the animals can talk, but they never do it when humans are around. But when one particularly hapless zookeeper is striking out with the woman he loves, all the zoo animals decide to get together and get him laid. (I mean, help him find love. That is what I meant.)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (July 15)
The final Harry Potter film is here. The only real question is: Can it live up to the first part, and prove a fitting end to the eight-movie epic series in which a young wizard finds himself by facing the monster who killed his parents?
Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22)
Just as Thor is a weird blend of cosmic warfare, Norse gods, Shakespearean theatrics and superheroes, this film is a mix of a World War II war movie and a superheroic origin story. Can Chris Evans win everyone over as the truest, bluest American hero, who undergoes an experimental procedure to become the perfect human? So far, the trailers look fun — if a bit oversaturated with Easter eggs referencing every other World War II Marvel hero.
Another Earth (July 22)
This movie, about a young astrophysicist whose life is affected by the discovery of a duplicate Earth in our solar system, was possibly the most acclaimed movie at Sundance. The Hollywood Reporter described it as "science fiction at its best." The astrophysicist's life becomes intertwined with that of a brilliant composer, due to a tragedy — and then one of them has an opportunity to travel to this other Earth.
Cowboys & Aliens (July 29)
Another genre mash-up, this time without superheroes per se. Director Jon Favreau and producer Steven Spielberg, along with writer Orci and Kurtzman, worked really hard to pay homage to the Western genre — before adding alien invaders who attack a small town in the Wild West. Probably worth it just for the crackling tension between Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.
The Smurfs (July 29)
We'll just lay it out right up front: Neil Patrick Harris. He's really the only reason to think this movie will be anything other than a smurftastrophe. After all, he made Beastly surprisingly not forehead-stabby.
The Future (July 29)
Another Sundance fave — this is the new film from Miranda July (Me, You, and Everyone We Know). It's supposedly just about a couple who are going to adopt a kitten in a month, and are thus facing their last month without responsibility. But all the early reviews stress that this film goes pretty far into magical realism and superheroics, among other things. Expect quirky weirdness with hints of the other-worldly mixed in.
The Change-Up (August 5)
This is the summer's second movie starring Ryan Reynolds — he and Jason Bateman are former best friends who have grown apart. Bateman's an uptight family man with a lovely wife. Reynolds is — wait for it — an overgrown man-child who has never taken responsibility for anything. They both envy each other, and wish they could switch places. Until one night... they do. Mostly this gives Bateman (in Reynolds' body) the opportunity to mack on Olivia Wilde. So the cast is pretty great, anyway.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 5)
We've finally gotten our first glimpse of this film, in which a scientist (James Franco) is trying to cure Alzheimer's disease — but instead, he winds up turning one of his laboratory animals, a chimp named Caesar, super-intelligent. And soon Caesar is plotting an escape... and a revolution. The scenes of apes on the rampage look fun, and it's a good sign that the studio moved this one back from the fall to the summer on the strength of the footage they were seeing.
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (August 12)
This remake of the classic 1973 TV movie, produced and co-written by Guillermo Del Toro, got a lot of buzz at Comic Con last summer — but we haven't heard much about it since then. Here's hoping it lives up to the Del Toro pedigree and the early buzz. It's about a young girl who moves into a new house with her father and his girlfriend — but some weird creatures are in the house too, and they come out at night.
Conan the Barbarian (August 19)
You've already fallen in love with Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, so are you ready to see him as the Cimmerian? The first trailer was, admittedly, a bit underwhelming. But we're still hopeful for some good clean barbaric fun, with the lamentation and all that.
Fright Night (August 19)
Colin Farrell is a menacing vampire, in this remake of the 1980s classic, and his next door neighbor (Anton Yelchin, aka Chekov from Star Trek) begins to suspect the truth. But the main reason to see this film, almost certainly, will be David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor, as cheesy Vegas magician Peter Vincent, who dispenses razmatazz and vampire wisdom.
Spy Kids 4: All The Time in the World (August 19)
Besides having Jessica Alba in a catsuit and Robert Rodriguez being silly, what does this fourth venture into Spy Kids-land have to offer? For one thing, a ridiculously scifi plot, in which a villain known as the Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) wants to stop time for some unknown reason. Sort of makes other villains' penny-ante schemes fall into proportion.
Final Destination 5 (August 26)
Otherwise known as 5nal Destination. This time, it's that flying kid from Heroes and The Walking Dead's Emma Bell who survive a disaster, only to learn that death has a really long attention span. But do you?
Suing The Devil (August 26)
Sorry, yes. We are totally obsessed with this movie, in which a man tries to sue Satan for 8 trillion dollars — and Satan shows up. And Satan is Malcolm McDowell, chewing the scenery like nobody has ever chewed it before. We posted some clips a while back, and we can't wait to see more.
Untitled 3-D Shark Thriller (Sept. 5)
I know September is pushing it, but I had to include this film because it has the greatest title ever. That's really the official title, and some sources suggest it may not actually change. This film is from the director of Snakes on a Plane, who feels as though "Untitled 3-D Shark Thriller" tells you everything you need to know. His aim is to make "Jaws for the 3-D generation." No clue exactly why sharks are attacking college students in a freshwater lake, and whether these are mutant sharks or what. But this film already has the best title of any movie this year. (Although there is an alternate title, Shark Night 3-D, which the director is opposed to using.)