The fun, action and great visuals of the first “Guardians” all return, but the story makes this...
As usual, you will not need your brain for most of the 2017 summer movie season.
Assembling this list is an annual exercise in familiarity, as sequels, franchise properties and R-rated comedies are clearly en vogue with moviegoers. Originality is only welcome in bits and pieces. This lighthearted look at what’s to come from May through July begins with the current Gods of the Box Office, Marvel Studios, it ends with, of all people, Al Gore.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) seeks his father with the help of the Guardians and an awesome soundtrack in this sequel to the breakout 2014 hit. Director James Gunn said there are five post credit scenes, which seems excessive, but if it’s half as fun as the original, we won’t be able to get enough.
“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”
On one hand it’s another “King Arthur” movie. On another hand it’s a Guy Ritchie flick, and if he can breathe life into “Sherlock Holmes,” imagine what he could do with the folklore here.
Goldie Hawn returns to the big screen for the first time since “The Banger Sisters” (2002) alongside Amy Schumer in this comedy. The trailers don’t look that funny, but Schumer is talented and we know how great Hawn can be. Or was.
“Prometheus” (2012) was a mess, so here’s hoping “Alien” director Ridley Scott is back on track to keeping the franchise relevant.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”
Oh god, another one? Rumor has it this is more of a personal journey for Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), which may help us give a damn.
The TV show gets big screen treatment with Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron and scores of other hotties. Expect big, dumb action and explosions involving pretty people trying to avoid the worst catastrophe of all: something happening to their faces.
It’s an origin story that shows how Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) got to Earth. Please, Patty Jenkins (“Monster”), salvage what you can of the DC Comics Extended Universe. Don’t let Zack Snyder (“Batman v. Superman”) ruin it for all of us.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned thousands of years ago. When an ancient princess is awakened from her tomb, the end of the world is nigh. It’s up to Tom Cruise to save the day. This is Universal’s attempt to get its “Monsters Universe” thriving, which perhaps explains why Russell Crowe’s character is Dr. Henry Jekyll.
Sam Elliott plays as an aging western movie star looking to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter) and get one last great role. Laura Prepon and Nick Offerman also star.
It probably isn’t your favorite Pixar franchise (ahem – “Toy Story”), but the trailer made this look like a serious sports drama as racecar Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) gets in a horrible accident. Intriguing.
Bawdy female comedy starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon and Zoe Kravitz at a bachelorette party in Miami with a dead male stripper. Girls have been bad at bachelorette parties before, but this cast can’t help but get you excited.
“The Book of Henry”
Director Colin Treverrow’s follow-up to the box office-smashing “Jurassic World” is notably different in terms of tone and scope, but may be a better movie. Naomi Watts stars as a single mother to precocious Henry (Jacob Tremblay, “Room”), and together they expose their neighbor (Dean Norris) for doing bad things.
“Transformers: The Last Knight”
How have we not had enough of this already? Oh yeah: The four franchise movies have earned more than $1.3 billion domestically since “Transformers” bowed in July 2007, so expect more of the same bigger, louder, and boom! that director Michael Bay does so well.
The buzz on this film, written and directed by Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz”), is through the roof. It’s about a getaway driver whose music becomes the soundtrack to the action scenes, and word is it’s an absolute blast. Ansel Elgort (below), Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Lily James and Jamie Foxx star.
“Despicable Me 3”
Gru (Steve Carell) reunites with his long lost brother Dru (Carell again) to stop an ‘80s-obsessed villain (Trey Parker). To their credit, it seems like Illumination Entertainment is trying to appeal to adults as well as kids. But that doesn’t mean the Minions will not play a prominent role.
Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler are two of the funniest people alive. Seeing them start an illegal casino in their basement to fund their daughter’s college? Yes please.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps truckin’ along…Now our new Spider-Man (Tom Holland) gets his own movie, with Michael Keaton as the villainous Vulture and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) trying to keep Spidey out of the Avengers.
“A Ghost Story”
Casey Affleck follows his Oscar winning turn in “Manchester By The Sea” with this creepy ghost/love story in which a ghost in a white sheet follows people around. That sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon, but the trailer looks like a heartbreaking drama. Keep two eyeholes poked in the sheet for this one.
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
What’s remarkable about this sequel is that ape Caesar (Andy Serkis), in addition to leading his army against dumb humans, is also studying for his PhD in international diplomacy.
It’s director Christopher Nolan’s (“Inception”) take on the famous WWII battle, starring Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance. Nolan’s movies usually end up amongst the best of the year, so I can’t wait for this one.
“The Dark Tower”
Years in the making, this adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey in a not-so “all right all right” world that needs to be saved. The movie has to at least be better than my lame “all right all right” joke, right?
It’s a Cold War spy game set in Berlin with Charlize Theron as a butt-kicking British secret agent. The fighting and action were so intense that Theron broke two front teeth and needed reconstructive surgery.
“An Inconvenient Sequel”
This follow-up to the Oscar-winning “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006) touches on where climate change stands today. Nothing says “summer movie season” like an Al Gore PowerPoint!
Photo Credits: "Summer Movies" image from the Washington Post; all movie images courtesy of their respective studios.