The 2013 summer movie season is almost here and you know what that means: big blockbuster movies and lots of them. As the days grow warmer and the school year grows shorter, the studios unleash their big dogs: the films that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and push the envelope in terms of scope and special effects (if not always originality). This summer will see about thirty major releases over 4 months, from superhero adventures to action comedies to little horror movies to animated kids' films - each of them battling to win over audiences in the most gladiatorial of movie seasons.
But what should you be most excited for? Well, we can't speak for you, but we can certainly speak for ourselves. Right now, here are the 2013 summer movies that we're looking forward to the most.
[Note: we've excluded movies we've already seen, otherwise the terrific 'You're Next' would have made the cut.]
The 2013 summer movie season officially begins on May 3rd with the arrival of 'Iron Man 3,' which is looking like an early contender for "Summer Movie Most Likely To Make All Of The Money." Riding high off the success of 'The Avengers,' the sky is the limit for Marvel Studios as their most popular character embarks on his third adventure. Like 'Iron Man 2,' it's hard to imagine 'Iron Man 3' not being a smash hit, but with director Shane Black at the helm, it'll most likely differentiate from its predecessor in that it'll be a good movie.
There are two reasons we're excited to see 'White House Down.' First, it's a Channing Tatum action movie directed by Roland Emmerich, which means we'll get to see one of our favorite actors narrowly escape sequences of mass devastation. Secondly, it'll give us the chance to obsessively compare it to the year's other White House siege action movie, 'Olympus Has Fallen.' Emmerich has made his fair share of deplorable movies, but there is no one out there better at making movies where things explode for popcorn-munching crowds -- the man has turned destruction of American landmarks into something of an art form. Even if it's not good, we can't imagine 'White House Down' not being a blast.
In a summer filled with big action, a glossy, star-studded adaptation of a century old novel known for its quiet and melancholic introspection sticks out like a sore thumb. But there's no denying it: we're pumped for 'The Great Gatsby' which sees F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel brought to the big screen in a lavish fashion by director Baz Luhrmann. The jury's still out on whether or not the big screen version will capture what has made the novel endure for nine decades, but the trailers promise a gaudy and visually incredible spectacle. If Luhrmann finds the core of the story amidst his trademark chaos, this could be one of the best films of 2013.
'Star Trek Into Darkness'
Despite a release that's only a month and a half away, we still know precious little about the major details of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'…and that's okay, really. There are movies on this list that we can describe in great detail just from the trailers, but JJ Abrams' follow-up to his smash hit reboot remains cloaked in mystery, from the identity of Benedict Cumberbatch's villain to the actual details of the plot. And how exciting is that? If every movie was sold like this one we'd all go crazy, but every so often, it's fun to sit down in a theater and feel like you don't have the basic template of the film already in your head. Abrams has us: we have to see it opening weekend so we can keep that surprise intact.
The 'Fast and Furious' franchise started off in a relatively grounded world, but each entry in this increasingly lengthy series has left reality a little more behind. The result? This series has gotten steadily more ludicrous and steadily more awesome. Last year's 'Fast Five' was the highlight of the series, mashing together every character from the series into one big adventure and then adding Dwayne Johnson, as if to say "And you thought this couldn't get more insane?!" Well, everyone's back for 'Fast and Furious 6' and if early buzz is any indication, things are only going to get loonier. Pardon the pun, but this is one franchise the refuses to slow down.
Sure, Melissa McCarthy already has one hit this year in 'Identity Thief,' but what happens when you put her in a movie that looks, uh, good? 'The Heat' happens, and if the trailer and the pedigree behind the camera are any indication, it could be the funniest movie of 2013. A raunchy R-rated mismatched buddy cop comedy is nothing new, but not every raunchy R-rated mismatched buddy cop comedy teams McCarthy with Sandra Bullock, has a screenplay by 'Parks and Recreation' writer Kate Dippold and finds Paul Feig of 'Bridesmaids' and 'Freaks and Geeks' fame behind the camera. Forget about 'The Hangover Part III.' This is the summer comedy to look out for.
It's easy to forget that a new Superman movie is on the way since Warner Bros. has been so skimpy with the trailers for far, but everything we've seen from 'Man of Steel' has us almost absurdly pumped. Although the title and the tone of the trailer suggests a film that will fit alongside Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, director Zack Snyder is a man with a completely different set of skills. Skills that, to be honest, feel perfect for a character like Superman. This is a big, bold, slightly silly character who is all about his iconoclasm and there is no filmmaker working today who fits all of those traits quite as well as Snyder. Plus, we'll get to see Henry Cavill fight Michael Shannon, which pretty much sounds like the cinematic highlight of the year.
There's no getting around it -- 'The Conjuring' looks scary. After all, this was a film that was shot as a PG-13 but was branded with an R by the MPAA after they said it was simply too frightening to get any other rating. That's gotta' get your blood pumping, horror fans. Like the best horror movies, 'The Conjuring' has a cast of extremely capable actors (including Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) to lend weight to the scares and director James Wan (truly free of the 'Saw' series) is emphasizing atmosphere and chills over blood and gore. Is it weird to say that 'The Conjuring' just looks really classy for a summer horror movie? Because it does.
The last time we saw director Neill Blomkamp, his 'District 9' was in theaters, making a bunch of money and blowing a lot of minds. This Summer, he's back with 'Elysium' and seems intent to claim the throne vacated by Paul Verhoeven by making wickedly funny, biting satiric, extremely violent sci-fi action movies. While 'District 9' starred mostly unknown actors, 'Elysium' is anchored by two genuine movie stars in Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, with the former playing a dying man on a future Earth who is hellbent on breaking into a luxury space station orbiting the planet and the latter as the woman who plans to stop him. Early word has promised political satire, bloody action and Matt Damon getting transformed into a cyborg. In other words, let's get in line now.
We could sit here and tell you that we're excited for 'Pacific Rim' because it's the next film from the brilliant Guillermo del Toro and that we're happy to see artists with such imaginations being allowed to run wild in the world of commercial blockbusters. However, the truth is much simpler than that: 'Pacific Rim' is about giant robots fight giant monsters for dominion over the Earth. There. Done. Nothing more to talk about, really. No film this summer looks bigger and no film this summer appears to have been prepared with more love. It looks like a movie that'll blow young kids away, tickle the imaginations of geeks and provide less discriminating audiences with big action and impressive special effects. Yeah, we're ready.