Massachusetts Daily Collegian

5 most anticipated summer movies

By Kevin Romani

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As the weather begins to heat up, so will the excitement at the box office.

This summer is potentially offering the most impressive and well-rounded lineup since the summer of 2008, which featured major hits like “The Dark Knight,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Iron Man” and “Wall-E.” Comic-book adaptations, sequels and prequels and animated films will all be present this summer, and most feature promising attributes.

Here are the five most anticipated films to look forward to this summer:

“Prometheus” – June 8

Director Ridley Scott made two of the greatest science-fiction films of all time in just a three-year span with “Alien” and “Blade Runner” from 1979 to 1982. Since then, the legendary filmmaker has been at the helm of several more successful films, but never returned to the science-fiction genre. That changes with the release of “Prometheus,” a prequel – even though they are trying to stay away from calling it that – to “Alien.”

This project went into to development back in 2009 after a script was written by Jon Spaihts, but excitement really hit “Prometheus” when Damon Lindelof (“Lost”) came on board for a rewrite. Lindelof’s script was greeted with glowing reviews, and helped bring on accomplished actors like Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron. “Prometheus” follows a team of explorers who are seeking the origin of human life on Earth, taking them to mysterious locations in space. Based on the trailer and word from the set, “Prometheus” will feature everything that made the original “Alien” so great, and will expand on questions that were never answered from that film.

“Brave” – June 22

Pixar has had an incredible run both artistically and financially with their string of animated films. Last year, however, “Cars 2” was the first Pixar film not to be nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar since the award was created by the Academy in 2002. “Cars 2” seemed more dedicated in making money through merchandising and tie-ins than in quality filmmaking.

Pixar’s newest film “Brave” looks to return the studio to its former glory as the leader in animation. “Brave” is a medieval fantasy that chronicles the life of Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald, “Boardwalk Empire”), who seeks thrills and adventures over the life of a princess. This is Pixar’s first period film, and the medieval fantasy genre feels like the perfect match for a Pixar film. “Brave” looks to be a film that will entertain and excite, but will also delve into the human condition, just as any true Pixar film would.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” – July 3

Sony Pictures shocked the film community when it cancelled a planned fourth Sam Rami directed “Spider-Man” film in favor of a franchise reboot with “The Amazing Spider-Man.” It was a bold move considering the first “Spider-Man” film is only 10 years old, and that “The Amazing Spider-Man” would again be telling the origin story. “The Amazing Spider-Man” will offer a slightly different take on Spidey’s origins, however, as it will include elements of an alternate Spider-Man tale found in the comic strip “Ultimate Spider-Man.”

While Rami’s “Spider-Man” trilogy grossed a tremendous amount of money, the series had a sense of campiness and laziness to it, particularly in the disappointing “Spider-Man 3.” Director Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer”) is committed to making a more realistic film with compelling plot-points, which includes questioning the role of a vigilante in society. The trailer makes it look like the film will be just that, as all of the excitement and impressive visual effects remain, combined with a more interesting story.

“The Avengers” – May 4

The unofficial summer season will kick off with “The Avengers,” Marvel Studio’s long-planned massive superhero-teamed film. It’s “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Thor” and “Captain America,” all in one film. The prospect of this type of movie seems comical, as team stories such as these are usually reserved for comic-books and cartoon series for children. Film is a difficult medium to feature so many star characters like this, as time constraints and multiple plot lines restrict the filmmakers.

If anyone could give a film like this justice, it would be writer and director Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Serenity”). Whedon has experience in both television and film, which is exactly what “The Avengers” needs. Whedon’s years in television have made him an expert on handling an ensemble of characters, which will be of the utmost importance in balancing the screen time with all of these superheroes. His time spent with film has given him an opportunity to work with a bigger budget in order to present a stronger visual presentation. Whedon’s strength has always been in portraying compelling characters, and if he is able to pull off that feat in this film with so much going on, “The Avengers” is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer.

“The Dark Knight Rises” – July 20

“The Dark Knight Rises” is not only the most anticipated film of the year, but perhaps of the entire 21st century thus far. Director Christopher Nolan was finally able to present Batman the proper way on film with his equally impressive “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight.” Nolan’s “Batman” pictures do not only entertain, but reflect on current societal issues that audience members can apply to the real world.

The third film of a trilogy is usually the most difficult to make, as a satisfying conclusion must be combined with a story that gives the previous two entries justice. For whatever reason, a variety of outside sources have negatively affected the productions of highly anticipated third films like “Return of the Jedi,” “The Godfather: Part III” and “Spider-Man 3.” Thus far, everything about “The Dark Knight Rises” has been positive.

The major cast and crew members are still present, and the cast has only gotten better with the additions of Tom Hardy (Bane), Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle) and Marion Cotillard (Miranda Tate). Because the buzz of Heath Ledger’s tragic death does not surround this film like it did “The Dark Knight,” this picture may not earn as much financially. Casual film goers who are not typically interested in comic-book films flocked to the theaters out of interest following Ledger’s passing. This will not reflect the quality of the film, however, nor the interest and unprecedented excitement of true fans.

“The Dark Knight Rises” takes place eight years after the end of “The Dark Knight,” and may find Bruce Wayne in semi-retirement as the Bat. But the arrival of the physically dominant and meticulous “Bane” may be what forces Wayne to down the cowl again, and to protect Gotham once more. Cast and crew members have spoken of the epic nature of the film, some even describing it as a “war” film. The trailers and set photos confirm this feeling, as Nolan is giving everything he has with his final take on Batman. “The Dark Knight Rises” has a chance to be the greatest third film of all time, and may make Nolan’s three “Dark Knight” pictures the most balanced of all film trilogies.

When taking cover from the scorching hot sun this summer, stop at a local movie theater and select one of the above films for what is sure to be anything but a wasted afternoon.

Kevin Romani can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Kevin on Twitter @KevinRomani.

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