The real world has given us plenty of reasons to be cynical, so I’m going to try to keep that from creeping into my take on the summer movies we’re getting. As always, it’s dominated by sequels and comic book movies, but these look to be the best of what’s on deck.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (May 5)
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Kurt Russell
Screenplay by James Gunn
Directed by James Gunn
Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite MCU movie that doesn’t begin with Captain America. So why am I slightly worried, even though nearly everyone involved with the original is back? Maybe it’s just superhero fatigue, but the best I’m hoping for is just that it’s fun, even though I know it’s just going to be a springboard into the next six movies. At least the soundtrack rules.
Alien: Covenant (May 19)
Starring Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Michael Fassbender
Screen story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green
Screenplay by John Logan and Dante Harper
Directed by Ridley Scott
As a Prometheus defender, I am probably more excited about this sequel than I should be. The cast is phenomenal (including Demián Bichir, James Franco and Noomi Rapace) and might end up being the scariest film in the series, which is almost 40 years old now.
The Big Sick (June 23)
Starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Directed by Michael Showalter
The biggest film out of Sundance is this comedy based on the real (and complicated) courtship of the writers, whom I both love and would just want to hang out with. Plus, it’s given Ray Romano the best reviews of his career.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei
Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts
The fact that this film – the first co-production between Sony and Marvel Studios – has six(!) credited writers gives me pause, but I appreciate that it’s dispensing with the origin story, has a young, diverse cast, and features Michael Keaton as a villain we haven’t seen on-screen yet. I was an apologist for both Amazing Spider-Man films (especially the first, which I think is almost as good as Sam Raimi’s take), but this may finally be the definitive Spider-Man.
War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)
Starring Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, Steve Zahn
Screenplay by Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves
Directed by Matt Reeves
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was one of the most pleasant surprises in the ho-hum summer of 2014, a brutal, thought-provoking blockbuster. Matt Reeves is back to direct this sequel, which might actually close out an honest-to-God trilogy, instead of an endlessly sprawling franchise.