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Get ready for a jam-packed season of summer box office hits

POSTED: May 1, 2014 10:24 a.m.

Spider-Man slings us into the summer season this weekend.

Yes, I know this is less meaningful now that Disney/Marvel are releasing blockbusters in April, but that’s a completely different column.

Here are the films promising to be worth either your money or your attention. Mark your calendars and buy your earplugs, because it’s about to get loud.

Thrills

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

May 2: And so it begins. See Jeff Marker’s review on page 11.

“Godzilla”

May 16: The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. I would ignore this completely if not for the presence of Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, Sally Hawkins and David Strathairn.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

May 23: The beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, “X-Men: First Class,” to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future. Recent accusations against director Bryan Singer will unfortunately force us to talk (again) about separating the art from the artist, but that doesn’t change the fact that this movie shows the most promise of any other summer release.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

July 11: A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species. The preceding film was surprisingly moving, and while the director is new, the same writing team returns for the sequel.

“Jupiter Ascending”

July 18: Jupiter Jones was born under a night sky, with signs predicting she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along. Her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos. Andy and Lana Wachowski’s work (“The Matrix,” “Speed Racer,” “Cloud Atlas”) is stunningly inconsistent, but constantly daring. And here they are releasing a sci-fi blockbuster in July based on their own original screenplay. They do know how to keep things interesting.

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Aug. 1: Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” finds space adventurer Peter Quill the object of a bounty hunt after stealing an orb coveted by a treacherous villain. But when Quill discovers the power it holds, he must find a way to rally the quartet of ragtag rivals hot on his trail to save the universe. Early promotional materials make it clear Marvel allowed writer/director James Gunn to bring some of the same bizarre sense of humor he displayed in “Super” to this movie. Might want to leave the kids home for this one, though.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

Aug. 8: Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) to save the city and unravel Shredder’s diabolical plan. The words “produced by Michael Bay” and “starring Megan Fox” don’t inspire much confidence, but many people still love the Ninja Turtles. We’ll see.

Family

“Maleficent

May 30: “Maleficent,” the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty,” reveals the events that hardened Maleficent’s heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora. She only later realizes the child may hold the key to peace in the land. It would be easy to disregard this one as Disney continuing to cash in on the same old fantasy characters. But one glimpse of Angelina Jolie in the trailer should erase all cynicism. I want to see what she does with this character.

“How To Train Your Dragon 2”

June 13: The second chapter of a planned trilogy returns to the fantastical world of the heroic Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless. The inseparable duo must protect the peace and save the future of men and dragons from the power-hungry Drago. The first film offered an engaging story and flawless animation. Let’s hope for more of the same.

Jeff Marker is head of the Communication, Media & Journalism Department at the University of North Georgia. His reviews appear weekly in Get Out and on gainesvilletimes.com/getout.


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