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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
I’ve decided to write about a few films I am looking forward to seeing this summer and perhaps put into words why I’m looking forward to them. I can’t promise this won’t be an incoherent write-up, but I’ve not yet done anything resembling a “Summer ’14 Preview,” so I’m counting this. You may see a few notable films not on the list – that was done purposely, as I’ve decided this is going to be the summer I’m pretty much not going to see any more damn comic movies for quite some time (with a notable exception). Anyway, sound off in the comments if you agree or disagree with some of my choices.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
This is the one comic book movie I am allowing to see, for reasons covered in the linked post above. I’ve been following the X-Men since early 90s and I’ve seen all of the X-Men films in theaters with the exception of 2011’s First Class (which I later caught on DVD). That is a movie I have liked more and more each time I watch it, with Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy anchoring a mostly good cast. This new installment adds the Hugh Jackman/Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellan original cast to the First Class actors in an attempt to seamlessly blend the timelines and create a better continuity. The trailers have been decent and the film looks like it’s going to be a blast.
Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore – yeah, no. I’m not going to see this. It looks like total garbage.
Transformers: Age of Extinction
The Transformers series of movies are big dumb fun. I don’t care how badly acted and scripted they are, I’ve had a blast with them. Even the notoriously bad second movie is entertaining and watchable. 2011’s Dark of the Moon was a huge step in the right direction for the series and a legitimately good action film. In this fourth installment, Mark Wahlberg replaces Shia LaBeouf in what is certainly a trade that no one in the history of movie-going audiences will mind. The trailers have been strong thus far, the script seems like it’s going to be leagues beyond the first few films, and the special effects obviously look eye-popping. It remains to be seen if this will be as good as or better than Dark of the Moon, but I get a feeling this is going to surprise more than a few people by being a quality summer blockbuster.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
I really liked 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes when I saw it in theaters. Watching it again on home video, I don’t think it held up as well. That being said, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes looks absolutely tremendous so far. It’s the kind of film that could end up like The Dark Knight – a stunning second entry after a well-liked first film. Trailers have done a great job helping to build anticipation for this sequel, and the added human characters (played by Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman) are a bonus for sure. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. It has a chance to be the best movie of the summer by far, and also one of the only films that has the potential to truly surprise audiences. Fox is doing a great job rebooting this series. Other film studios could learn a thing or two from how this is being handled.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I almost want to see this solely because of all the unfair hate and criticism it has drawn online, hate and criticism that began well before a completed script had been written, a character had been cast, or a single frame of film had been story-boarded or shot. It has been referred to, over and over, as “Michael Bay’s Ninja Turtles movie” which makes about as much sense as saying that Transformers are “Steven Spielberg’s movies” (Bay is NOT directing TMNT). The first teaser trailer did a fine job of introducing the film and it seems to have some pretty funny moments. If anything, this will be a perfectly disposable entertaining summer movie. It is in no way worthy of all the incredibly harsh and unfair criticism internet trolls have lodged against it solely because it happens to be produced by Michael Bay.
I really thought Expendables 2 was a huge improvement over the first film, which was drab and slow when it should have been exciting and peppy. The second film injected a bunch of self-referential humor into the series, which some people didn’t like but I absolutely expected and wanted. These films are playing off of the 1980s roles of the primary stars. I want to hear Schwarzenegger and Stallone make dumb references to their glory years. That’s what I’m paying to see. Though Willis sadly isn’t involved in part three, Stallone has given us Kelsey Grammar, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes and Harrison Ford, who are all more than welcome. Gibson, a Hollywood punching bag (rightfully so) these past few years, looks absolutely deranged and hilarious as the big bad. I expect this will be the last film in the franchise, and if so then I really hope they go out with a bang. This is my number one most anticipated movie of the summer.