By Tyler Hicks
‘TIS THE SEASON FOR SUNBLOCK AND BLOCKBUSTERS, as another summer of sequels and super-sized epics is set to begin. With so many viewing options bombarding your local multiplex, we’re here to help you narrow down your watch list to 10 noteworthy films.
Captain America: Civil War (May 6)
Everybody’s favorite patriot kicks the summer off with a follow-up to 2014’s Winter Soldier, and this time he’s going toe to toe with Tony Stark aka Iron Man. When the pesky government attempts to reign in the nation’s superheroes, the Cap rebels, creating a rift between him and his arrogant, ironclad friend. With Black Panther and yet another new Spider-Man in the fray, Civil War aims to please both comic fans and action movie lovers. But when will our heroes stop fighting each other? First Batman and Superman, now this? Super friends can’t get along these days…
The Nice Guys (May 20)
When we hear the names Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, “hilarious” is not the first word that comes to mind. But if the trailers are any indicator, then these veteran thespians bring the acting chops and the laughs in the latest crime caper from writer-director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon). Hijinks ensue when Crowe’s hawkish enforcer teams up with Gosling’s goofy private eye to solve a missing person’s case, and, as if it weren’t cool enough already, the film is set in 1970s Los Angeles. Throw in some Rolling Stones and AC/DC on the soundtrack, and we’ll buy our tickets right now.
X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27)
Deadpool said it best: “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines are so confusing.” We couldn’t agree more, but, given the additions of Oscar Isaac and Olivia Munn, we’re willing to let the confusion slide and line up for this McAvoy-led X-Men flick. This time around, a terrifying villain who goes by the subtle moniker of Apocalypse threatens Professor X, Magneto and the whole gang with, well, the apocalypse. Expect plenty of explosions, melodrama, and the obligatory “whose side is he on?” mystery about Magneto. In short, it’s your typical, extra-entertaining X-Men movie.
Finding Dory (June 17)
If you’re in need of a reprieve from the clash and flash of this summer’s superheroes, take a dive with Dory, the beloved Blue Tang from 2003’s acclaimed Finding Nemo. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks return to bring the laughs for the whole family, but don’t expect the same vast ocean setting: director Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) recently confirmed that most of the film will take place in an aquarium. Still, he’s promised that many of the first film’s beloved characters will make appearances, and, this being Pixar, Finding Dory probably will blow every other film out of the water.
Independence Day: Resurgence (June 24)
This sequel 20 years in the making has one noticeable blemish: no Will Smith. That being said, Jeff Goldblum returns, joined by Liam Hemsworth (aka Thor’s little brother), and, of course, a horde of peeved aliens ready for payback after their 1996 plans went awry. While the premise doesn’t drift too far from its predecessor’s story, that may be a good thing. Why mess with a winning formula, right? But let’s hope no one cops the famous “Welcome to Earth” line, because come on, no one can top Will.
Ghostbusters (July 15)
Who ya gonna call? The new, all-female, all-badass Ghostbusters team! If anyone can match the caliber of the original 1984 cast, it’s the superb comedy quartet of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and SNL performers Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Plus, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver all make cameo appearances, and Chris Hemsworth tries to outdo his lil’ brother’s big summer with his role as the new team’s sexy secretary. With Paul Feig (Spy) directing, we’re confident that “reboot” won’t be a four-letter word for Ghostbuster fans this summer.
Star Trek: Beyond (July 22)
While J.J. Abrams may have moved from Trek to Wars, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and the rest of the rebooted Enterprise crew are back to take on a new batch of baddies. In Beyond, the third in the new Trek trilogy, the baddie is an alien Idris Elba, who looks to prove yet again that he really can play anyone – or, in this case, any thing. Plus, even without Abrams, the franchise is in capable hands: frequent Fast & Furious series director Justin Lin is in the driver’s seat, ensuring a wild, intergalactic ride for all.
Jason Bourne (July 29)
Maybe, just maybe, this long-awaited follow-up will rid our collective memory of the letdown that was 2012’s unnecessary “companion film” The Bourne Legacy. You can count me among the people who thought that The Bourne Ultimatum perfectly wrapped up the original Jason Bourne trilogy, but with the dynamic duo of Matt Damon and talented director Paul Greengrass returning to the franchise, the sky is the limit. Plus, Julia Stiles returns, joined by Tommy Lee Jones, recent Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander, and Riz Ahmed from the 2014 thriller Nightcrawler. Looks like Bourne’s legacy will regain some much-needed luster.
Suicide Squad (August 5)
By now, you’ve probably heard plenty of creepy anecdotes about Jared Leto’s near-psychopathic method acting as The Joker. But the Oscar winner’s maniacal turn as DC Comics’ most terrifying villain is only one reason to get excited for this dour thriller. The star-studded ensemble includes Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman and Cara Delevingne, and, with Will Smith as the assassin Deadshot, this Squad has that extra dose of awesome that Independence Day: Resurgence will surely miss. Furthermore, the film’s biggest asset may be the man behind the camera: David Ayer of Fury and End of Watch fame. This’ll be crazy fun.
Sausage Party (August 12)
This laugher may have the best cast of any summer flick even if they’re all playing assorted grocery store goods. In this R-rated extravaganza, the Frat Pack of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Danny McBride and Company voice fruits, veggies and hot dogs who desperately try to avoid being eaten by merciless humans. The film stirred up laughs and praise at the SXSW film fest earlier this year, and it’ll be a great companion piece to all of the dramatic offerings on this list and in the theaters. Just don’t take the kiddos to see this one.