Summer Movie Preview

by Alan Rapp on April 18, 2013

in Top Tens & Lists


The beginning of May, which is now less than two weeks away, officially starts the Summer movie season with big budget action flicks, comedies, and sci-fi films hitting the theaters every week until the end of August. This year’s crop brings us the end of the world (at least three times), post-apocalyptic futures, zombies, giant robots, sequels, monsters, super-heroes, aliens, Greek mythology, men of steel and iron, action, Minions, animated racing snails and planes, old spies back in the game, a hearty Hi-Yo Silver, and new takes on the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Shakespeare. Here’s a look at the big movies of the summer (with a handful of smaller films that just may be worth a look, too).



Iron Man 3

The summer season starts out with Shane Black taking over the helm of the Iron Man franchise (although Jon Favreau is scheduled to make an appearance as Happy Hogan) with a darker turn that pits Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) against the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) and Aldrich Killian‘s (Guy Pearce) Extremis virus. Gwyneth PaltrowRebecca HallDon CheadleWilliam SadlerJames Badge DaleYvonne Zima, and Stephanie Szostak also star. Here’s hoping the third entry doesn’t include any more scenes of drunk Iron Man partying in his armor (Iron Man 2). Opens May 3rd.

The Great Gatsby

One week later (and five months later than planned) director Baz Luhrmann directs Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, and Isla Fisher in this lavish adaptation F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel that includes songs performed by Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Andre 3000, Gotye, Jack White, and Fergie. Opens May 10th.


Star Trek Into Darkness

Director J.J. Abrams and the cast of the first film (Chris PineZachary QuintoZoe SaldanaKarl UrbanSimon PeggAnton YelchinJohn Cho, and Bruce Greenwood) return as Benedict Cumberbatch steps in as the sequel’s villain (who has been rumored to be everyone from Khan Noonien Singh to Gary Mitchell). Peter WellerTom Archdeacon, and Alice Eve (as Dr. Carol Marcus) also star. Opens May 17th

Fast & Furious 6

The first of three sequels opening this weekend, Fast & Furious 6 brings back all the usual suspects for one more (hopefully fun) ride. Throwing Dwayne “It’s Okay to Call Me The Rock Again” Johnson into the last installment of the series injected some much-needed excitement in the fun, but relatively shallow, Fast Five. The Rock, Vin Diesel Paul WalkerGal GadotJordana BrewsterTyrese GibsonLudacrisSung Kang all return, as does Michelle Rodriguez as part of a skilled mercenary crew led by Luke Evans who the group are tasked to stop. Opens May 24th

The Hangover Part III

Once more into the breach as Bradley CooperZach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms return to Las Vegas. Melissa McCarthyJamie ChungJohn GoodmanKen JeongHeather Graham Jeffrey Tambor, and Justin Bartha (who it appears will once again be left out of the shenanigans) also star. We’ll have to wait and see if there’s any fun left to be squeezed out of the franchise after the disappointing Part II. Opens May 24th


Before Midnight

One of the more intriguing independent movies of the summer reunites writer/director Richard Linklater with stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy nearly a decade after the events of Before Sunset and 18 years after the Jesse and Celine met during Before Sunrise. The sequel may not have been quite as good as the original, but it was certainly enough to pique my curiosity about the further experiences of these star-crossed lovers. Opens May 24th.

Now You See Me

The final weekend of May offers a star-studded affair which stars Jesse EisenbergIsla FisherDave Franco, and Woody Harrelson as a group of talented magicinans pulling off impossible robberies. Morgan FreemanMark RuffaloMichael CaineMélanie Laurent, and Michael Kelly also star. Opens May 31st.



Much Ado About Nothing

While working on bringing The Avengers to the screen last summer director Joss Whedon gathered some old friends for a 12 day shoot in his own home. The result is this black & white adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The film stars Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof as Beatrice and Benedick, and Nathan FillionClark GreggReed DiamondJillian MorgeseFran KranzSean MaherSpencer Treat ClarkAshley Johnson, and Riki Lindhome also star. Opens June 7th.

After Earth

From director M. Night ShyamalanWill Smith and Jaden Smith star in this sci-fi flick about a father and son stranded on a harsh futuristic version of Earth 1,000 years after humans abandoned the planet. The twist? Knowing Smith’s love of blatant product placement, I’m guessing Starbucks and Converse survived. Opens June 7th.

This is the End

It’s the end of the world (for the first, but certainly not last, time on this list)! A group of actors (Seth RogenJonah HillJay BaruchelDanny McBrideCraig RobinsonMartin StarrMichael CeraJason SegelPaul RuddMindy KalingDavid Krumholtz, and Rihanna) all playing themselves find themselves at a party at James Franco‘s house during the end of the world. Opens June 12th.


Man of Steel

Zack Snyder attempts what Bryan Singer failed to do a few years ago, breathe new life into the Superman franchise with a new origin tale for the Man of Steel. Armed with a new Superman (Henry Cavill) and costume ribbed for Lois Lane‘s (Amy Adams) pleasure, Snyder’s new take on the hero casts Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as Ma and Pa Kent, Russell Crowe as Jor-ElLaurence Fishburne as Daily Planet Editor Perry White, and Michael Shannon as the film’s villain General Zod. Opens June 14th.

The Bling Ring

Based on true events, the latest from writer/director Sofia Coppola stars Emma WatsonTaissa FarmigaIsrael BroussardKatie Chang, and Claire Julien a group of teenagers who burglarized several celebrity homes over the course of a year. It will be interesting to see if Coppola’s film, which was finished during the same time as Spring Breakers but hits theaters three months later, is helped or hurt by the buzz surrounding Korine‘s film. Opens June 14th.

World War Z

Brad Pitt vs. the zombie apocalypse (and, you guessed it, the possible end of the world). Adapted from the post-apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks, Pitt stars as an agent of the United Nations who tries to stop the zombie pandemic spreading across the globe. Mireille EnosDavid MorseJames Badge Dale, and Matthew Fox also star. Opens June 21st.


Monsters University

John Goodman and Billy Crystal return as the voices of Sulley and Mike Wazowski in this Monsters, Inc. prequel about the pair’s misadventures at college. Steve BuscemiBen KingsleyHelen MirrenDavid SpadeAlfred MolinaCharlie DayRicky GervaisFrank Oz, and Dave Foley provide voices as well. Opens June 21st.

White House Down

It seems one movie about terrorists laying siege to the White House in 2013 wasn’t enough. This version comes courtesy of disaster director Roland Emmerich and stars Channing Tatum as D.C. policeman who is the only one who can save the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx) from armed insurgents inside the White House. Maggie GyllenhaalRichard JenkinsJoey King, and James Woods also star. Opens June 28th.



The Lone Ranger

Our third month kicks off with a fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty Hi-ho, Silver! Director Gore Verbinski reunites with his Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp in this retelling of the origins of the Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) from Tonto’s (Depp) point of view. Helena Bonham CarterBarry PepperWilliam FichtnerTom WilkinsonRuth Wilson, and James Badge Dale also star. Opens July 3rd.

Despicable Me 2

Gru (Steve Carell), the Minions, and his adopted daughters (Miranda CosgroveDana GaierElsie Kate Fisher) return in this sequel where for former super-villain is recruited to help save the world from a new super-villain (Al Pacino). Opens July 3rd.

Pacific Rim

Giant robots vs. aliens? Sounds like the the kind of dumb CGI-heavy action flick that could make for an enjoyable summer popcorn movie (or a disaster on the scale of Battleship). The fact that this one is coming from director Guillermo del Toro makes me hope it’s the former. Charlie HunnamIdris ElbaCharlie DayRinko KikuchiCharlie Day, and Max Martini star. Opens July 12th.



DreamWorks Animation offers up this animated adventure of a snail (Ryan Reynolds) who lives out his dream as an Indy 500 racer after a freak accident (which I assume included a lighting bolt and a rack of chemicals in the Central City crime lab) grants him increased speed. Paul GiamattiMichael Peña, Luis GuzmánBill HaderRichard Jenkins, Red ForemanMichelle Rodriguez, and Samuel L. Jackson also lend their voices to the project. Opens July 17th.

Red 2

Bruce WillisJohn MalkovichHelen Mirren and Mary-Louise Parker are all back for the sequel as the retired spies return for mores shoot ’em up fun. Anthony HopkinsByung-hun LeeCatherine Zeta-JonesNeal McDonough, and David Thewlis also star. Opens July 19th.


The same weekend the geriatric spies return the director of the first Red reunites with Mary-Louise Parker to give us this film based on the Dark Horse comic starring  as a cop killed in the line of duty who joins the ranks of the undead police force known as the Rest In Peace Department in order to find his killer. Kevin BaconJeff BridgesJames Hong, and Robert Knepper also star. Opens July 19th.


The Wolvernine

Based on the 1982 mini-seriesWolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels to Japan where he encounters friends and enemies from his past and an offer of mortality. Hiroyuki SanadaTao OkamotoRila FukushimaHal YamanouchiBrian TeeSvetlana KhodchenkovaFamke Janssen, and Will Yun Lee (as the Silver Samurai) also star. Opens July 26th.

Blue Jasmine

Writer/director Woody Allen‘s latest (and the first to be filmed in New York in years) stars Cate BlanchettAlec BaldwinPeter SarsgaardLouis C.K.Bobby CannavaleAndrew Dice Clay, and Sally Hawkins in a story about the life crisis of a New York housewife. Opens July 26th.



300: Rise of an Empire

Six years after the original, and without Gerard Butler or director Zack Snyder (who only produces this time around), the sequel (set concurrent to the events of the first movie) centers on the Greek general Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and the Greek naval battle with the Persians under the command of Artemesia (Eva Green) and Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro). Jack O’ConnellAndrew TiernanCallan MulveyMark KilleenAndrew Pleavin, and Ashraf Barhom also star. Opens August 2nd.

2 Guns

In what sounds like a very Tango & Cash-style set-up, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington star as rival investigators who have to learn to work together when the pair are framed by the mobsters they are trying to take down. Paula PattonJames MarsdenBill PaxtonEdward James OlmosRobert John BurkeEvie Thompson, and Fred Ward also star. Opens August 2nd.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Logan LermanBrandon T. Jackson, and Alexandra Daddario return in this sequel to Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as Percy and his two best friends set out to find the Golden Fleece which is the only thing that can stop the return of KronosStanley TucciNathan FillionJake AbelLeven RambinAnthony Head, and Paloma Kwiatkowski also star. Opens August 7th.



Matt Damon stars as the man destined to “bring equality to the polarized worlds” in this sci-fi futuristic class warfare flick from writer/director Neill BlomkampJodie FosterSharlto CopleyWilliam FichtnerJose Pablo CantilloAlice BragaDiego Luna, and former Bond Girl Talisa Soto also star. Opens August 9th.


Pixar’s latest casts Dane Cook in the role of Dusty Crophopper who, with the help of some new friends (voiced by Stacy KeachBrad GarrettTeri HatcherCedric the Entertainer), overcomes his fear of heights to compete in an aerial race. On the surface this looks to be Pixar’s most uninspired film yet, but I’m sure it will be gorgeous to look at (and I’ll give them points for casting Top Gun stars Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer as Naval jets Bravo and Echo). Opens August 9th.


Kick-Ass 2

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz return as Kick-Ass and Hit Girl in this sequel to the 2010 film. Adapted from the second mini-series from Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr., with some of the more objectionable material removed (thankfully no gang rape scene for Lyndsy Fonseca), the sequel focuses on the growing number of real-life super-heroes inspired by Kick-Ass and the return of Crimson Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) as the world’s first super-villain The Mother Fucker. Jim CarreyJohn LeguizamoDonald FaisonYancy ButlerClark DukeLindy Booth, and Morris Chestnut also star. Opens August 16th.


After struggling for ten years to bring it to the screen, director Kar Wai Wong offers his unique look at the life of Yip Man (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), the Wing Chun master who trained Bruce LeeZiyi ZhangCung LeHye-kyo SongChen Chang, and Woo-ping Yuen also star. Opens August 23rd.


The World’s End

The end of the world is the focus of yet another summer film, this time from director Edgar Wright who casts Simon PeggNick Frost, Martin FreemanPaddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan as five friends who reunite to recapture the glory of their old pub crawling days only to become mankind’s best hope for survival. Opens August 23rd.


Not related to either the Steve McQueen original or the Alec Baldwin remakeEthan Hawke stars as a driver forced to do the bidding of the mystery man who has kidnapped his wife. Selena GomezJon VoightPaul Freeman, and Rebecca Budig also star. Opens August 30th.

chin April 23, 2013 at 6:12 pm

It looks like a good summer for movies. Thank you for providing this list.

geeok May 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Man of Steel and Wolverine are the only two I’m really excited about but some of these others sound like they could be okay, too.

Bailey May 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

This summer is gonna rock

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