When some people think of summer, they picture bright afternoons filled with warm sunshine. They see a cool, blue pool and an ice-cold adult beverage with a paper umbrella. They imagine long days turning into longer nights that they’ll post about on their Instagrams, using hashtags such as #youonlyliveonce and #blessed.
When I think about summer, I see a cold, dark room. I picture buckets and buckets of starch and butter. I can almost feel the bass of an extra-large sound system, the glow of the screen radiating off of my face. When I think of summer, I think of movies.
This year, Hollywood is bringing it’s a-game, pumping out film after film after film. Here are my picks for this year’s winners, flops and wildcard. While I may not have the specs and facts regarding ratings, past profits, and cast accolades, what I do have is a solid background as a movie lover, a heart of gold, and the First Amendment backing up this article.
Batman V. Superman: I mean, really, who doubts this one? Regardless on whether or not the movie is actually good, I feel like there is enough of that something-in-it-for-everyone factor that will put bottoms in seats. Two of the most popular superheroes in the DC universe are going toe-to-toe due to some strange beef cooked up during their storylines. There is action in the form of excessive CGI effects. There is Wonder Woman and Lois Lane, so feminism. There is Lex Luthor and Doomsday and dark, moody lens filters. There are even rumors of Aquaman and The Flash making appearances! While I’m not 100% sold on the new armored Batsuit nor Superman’s glowing red eyes, I think the classic battle between maybe good and maybe evil will be entertaining enough for a summer flick.
Captain America: Civil War: Remember that something-in-it-for-everyone factor I was literally just talking about? This is Marvel’s version. I keep forgetting that this is actually a Captain America movie, because in my heart of hearts I just want it to be a really emotionally dark and complex Avengers movie. I think because it is so easily mistaken is part of its charm and future success. You don’t have to be all on the up-and-up about the Captain America canon to like this film. You come into it knowing the characters, knowing briefly about the back story, and can still leave the theater highly pleased. At this point, Marvel can do no wrong. If however many millions of people went to go see Guardians of the Galaxy unprovoked, Civil War is bound to be a hit.
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse: The sooner we understand that the summer was made for superhero movies, the better. There is just something about inhuman powers and exquisite costuming and grandiose special effects that makes a girl want to grab a trough full of popcorn. I’m super stoked about this film. They are working with the same winning formula that had me watch Days of Futures Past more frequently than I care to admit. Keeping with a majority of the same solid cast, the movie pushes the plot along, bringing in some of the mutants we know and love and have missed (here’s looking at you, Jean Grey).
Finding Dory: Pixar knows exactly what they are doing. They did it with Toy Story, they did it with Monster’s Inc., and now they’re doing it again. They wait a seemingly endless amount of time before releasing a sequel (or two) of a beloved childhood movie, so long of a time that you almost give up hope that there really will ever be such a movie. And then it comes. It comes with its flawless animation and its familiar characters and its strong storyline and it will pull at every last heartstring you have until you are weeping in the back of the theater into your Junior Mints. Weeping for your childhood, weeping for your cartoon friends, and weeping for the renewed hope you have in the world after the credits roll.
Star Trek Beyond: If you’re not seeing a movie about superheroes this summer, you’re probably at least seeing one about space. It looks like Star Trek is going back to its 60s roots with this new flick: more exploration of other planets and civilizations, less time travel and Leonard Nimoy (RIP).
Suicide Squad: When I first heard about this movie, I was as skeptical, as everyone else. The concept seemed a bit thrown together: a rack shamble team of villains brought together to dole out justice under government orders. It was like DC’s take on a Bad Guy Avengers. The first picture of Jared Leto’s Joker didn’t help the cause, so dramatically different from the version Heath Ledger had left us. But then other set pictures started surfacing. And then the trailers started rolling out, complete with that fantastic use of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The strange conglomeration of what initially seemed to be a bad decision has somehow come together as a movie that I might actually enjoy. We get to see a side of DC we don’t normally, see certain actors put their personal spins on the characters, and we have Margot Robbie playing what seems to be a flawless Harley Quinn. This may prove to be the Cinderella story of the summer in more ways than one.
Jason Bourne: Not much is known about this new chapter in the Bourne saga. The Super Bowl teaser trailer did not provide us with a lot of information other than Matt Damon has recovered from his emaciated Martian state, Jason Bourne remembers everything, and some serious action-packed ass-kicking is about to go down. Paul Greengrass is back to direct, which I think will bring a nice continuity to the filming styles in the series. The cast also has some strong players coming up to bat: Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel, Tommy Lee Jones, and the new Oscar winner, Alicia Vikander.
Zootopia: What do you do with your kids when it’s too hot out to play at the park, the pool is too crowded, and they’ve eaten so much frozen yogurt that it is coming out of their ears? You take them to see Zootopia. Talking animals always seem to win with children, especially when they are fluffy, and even more so when they are having human-like adventures. The sweet storyline may seem a bit preachy to some, but I think there is never enough we-can-all-be-different-and-all-be-good-people movies out there. There is also not enough buddy cop movies out there, and lucky for us, Zootopia is both.
The Jungle Book: What do you do with your kids when it’s too hot to play at the park, the pool is too crowded, frozen yogurt is spilling out of their ears, and they’ve already seen Zootopia? You take them to see The Jungle Book. The familiar story, talking animals, and young hero will be enough to keep a child’s attention for the entire runtime, while parents will get a kick out of the recognizable voice acting (including the likes of Scarlett Johannson, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, and Christopher Walkin). Jon Favreau has already directed and produced a solid collection of films, so I imagine that The Jungle Book will follow suit.
Allegiant: It’s good to see the kids-who-learn-martial-arts-to-try-and-take-down-an-oppresive-government genre is still alive and well. This is the third out of a four-part series, and although these films have not performed as well in the U.S. as they have in the U.K., viewers have stuck with Tris and Four this long so there’s very little chance they are going to abandon ship now. Shailene Woodley once again throws a strong female character into the normal, male-dominated action genre, and Jeff Daniels once again gets to be stone-faced and genuinely heebie-jeebie producing.
Angry Birds: Why did anyone in his or her right mind think it was a great idea for a mobile phone game to have an origin story? Is this catered to all of the children who are plopped down with their parents’ iPhones when they start making a ruckus instead of being let to play outside? Is this what kids find entertaining? Little to no plot and excruciatingly bad humor? I sort of feel bad for the parents that have to take their offspring to this piece of garbage but then I also don’t. They should have given the tykes a basketball or a hula hoop when they had the chance, you know?
Warcraft: As I was watching the trailer for this movie, the first thought that popped into my mind was, “No way this is a movie adaption for World of Warcraft. Not possible.” I consulted my good friend Google to find out that yes, dear friends, it is. Much like Angry Birds, I’m not sure why we need a movie version of an online game. I know, I know, Warcraft is a much bigger deal that just the online MMORPG. There are also the original computer games, the novels, the mangas, the tabletop games, and so on and so forth. But I honestly felt like I was watching a very long cut scene in between advancing levels. I don’t know how many people could sit through two hours of that.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: If this doesn’t flop, we should all be ashamed of ourselves. In fact, we should be ashamed of ourselves for supporting the first one enough to give hope that a second one would be a good idea. I feel like all of the fun has been taken out of these turtle movies. Where are my cowabungas? Where’s my endless pizza eating? I know that the TMNT gang is kind of superheroes when it all comes down to it, but I never thought them to be action heroes. And I’m sorry, but my April O’Neil would never tie up her shirt a la Britney Spears.
Ghostbusters: I know, right? I almost didn’t include this in my flop list. I almost left it out of either list altogether because I’m just not feeling the hype. In fact, the emotion I am really feeling is disappointment. All of the female leads are amazing comedic actresses, all of them have gone through the wringer proving their chops, but from what I see in the trailer, Ghostbusters does them dirty by providing a script full of shticky one-liners, weak slapstick, and flat characters. Paul Feig killed it with both Bridesmaids and The Heat but I’m afraid this remake is going to go the way of Spy.
Now You See Me 2: Confession time: I am really looking forward to this film. I was one of those with the unpopular opinion that the first one a fun romp into a rarely explored movie genre (Magician Thief Heist Crossover, to be exact). However, much like winning the lottery and/or dropping your toast butter side up, some things are just not meant to be. I know this movie is going to tank. I am well-aware and prepared for such reviews. I can almost see the words “loose plot,” “weak acting” and “why did they add Harry Potter?” gracing websites now. That being said, you best believe I will be snuggled deep into an empty movie theater when it comes out. A captain goes down with her ship.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War: Another movie that I don’t think particularly deserves to do well but will. Basically, it’s Frozen plus Hunger Games with enough dark imagery and “sensuality” to bring in the hoards of tweens and teens decked out in every piece of Hot Topic merchandise their allowances will allow. And with the nixing of Kristen Stewart, those who were dissuaded by the first movie may give its sequel the good ol’ college try.
What do you think will be the big movies of the summer?