Summer 2013: The Headliners

When the summer movie season comes around I usually put together a list of ten or so films I'm really excited to see, but I'm going to try something a little different this year. This is mainly due to the fact that when I tried to sit down and make a list of the ten films I really wanted to see this summer I came up with twenty and was still upset I couldn't include more. There is such a vast array of films coming out in the next four months and with more diverse flavors than you might expect. Granted, it has probably been like this in the past as well (maybe not every year, but often enough) and I might just be coming around to the full world of film, but regardless I'd still like to look on the positive side and believe that there are just too many great-looking summer tentpoles and small films that are hitting theaters this year to break it down to a simple top ten list. If I were forced to pick my personal top five or so it would probably consist of two big comic book flicks (Man of Steel and Iron Man 3) along with The Hangover Part III (say what you will, but I'm a big fan of the chemistry between the Wolfpack), and then top it off with a couple science fiction flicks like say Star Trek Into Darkness and Elysium. I feel somewhat bad making that list though because it is so biased to my personal tastes and doesn't really give a good indication of what variety there will be to choose from this summer. And so, for your reading pleasure I've divided the summer of 2013 into eight categories and will posting one each day for the next week. I hope you find the one that suits you best and find five exciting films you'll be especially ecstatic about.

The Headliners

Clockwise from top: Kick-Ass 2, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Wolverine, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel.
We'll start with the biggest films of the summer, the headliners as I like to call them as they are the ones you are most likely to see when people start talking about what the biggest movies of the summer are supposed to be. Oddly enough, four out of the five are based on comics, three are definite sequels, one is a kind of sequel/stand alone story, and the third is a re-boot for a studio depserate to compete with their rival comic book adaptations. What I would consider the biggest film of the summer and maybe even the year is Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. If the latest trailer didn't convince you this was going to be an epic tale and one more focused on the struggle of being a God among men rather than with perfection than you probably have no interest in this iteration and view it as nothing more than Hollywood re-making another valued property to get a good amount of money back on it. Don't be so quick to judge though as Chris Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy) is producing and overseeing the film as well as his long time writing partner David Goyer penning the script here. There may be cause for skepticism at the thought of Snyder's direction but the footage we've seen so far causes no sense of alarm, but instead only amazement. Though I'm excited for the rest of these comic book adaptations including the one that will kick off the summer, Iron Man 3, the man with the "S" on his chest easily takes the crown for most anticipated.

As the first film in Marvel Studios Phase Two and with previous director Jon Favreau passing the reigns onto Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) there is cause for excitement in this third installment of Robert Downey Jr.'s comeback series. He's been playing Iron Man for five years now and it seems the tones have changed for the character and while recovering from the events of The Avengers it seems things become a bit more psychological while dealing with his latest threat, The Mandarin (Sir Ben Kingsley). The other Marvel property coming to theaters this summer, but isn't associated with The Avengers universe due to 20th Century Fox still owning the rights is not so much an attempt to re-boot the Wolverine origin story, but more a continuation of Logan's story after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand. Hugh Jackman once again returns as the adamantium-clawed hero in this James Mangold directed solo story simply titled, The Wolverine. Though not overly impressed with the films first trailer I am still very much looking forward to the film as I've enjoyed most of the X-Men films that have come before and like Mangold as a director. Though it might have been more interesting to see original director Darren Aronofsky's vision of a super hero film, I'm still interested in Hugh Jackman's breakout role and where it takes him next.

While the final comic book adaptation on here could be up for debate as to if it is actually a headliner for the summer, I'd consider it a rather high profile sequel with plenty of star power and a good amount of anticipation from audiences after the 2010 original was a surprise hit and one of my favorite films that year. Though director Matthew Vaughn has not returned for Kick-Ass 2 but instead has been replaced by Jeff Wadlow (Never Back Down) I tend to be rather optimistic about the outcome. The trailers look promising and Jim Carrey's turn as Colonel Stars and Stripes looks to steal the show while Chris Mintz-Plasse hams it up as the ultimate bad guy with a crude and sinister name. While some aspects of the film do seem to be rushed and thrown together simply due to the time constraints and when the cast could get together and knock this out I sincerely hope each of them paid enough respect to the film that gave the majority of them a kick start to their careers (namely leads Aaron Taylor Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz). I don't have doubts they wouldn't have made a mark regardless, but this was the film that opened doors for them and so I hope they return the favor by opening the doors for this series to continue and present a satire of sorts on the genre we all see so much of in the summer months.

The final film in this category is also the only one not associated with a comic book, though it does draw its inspiration from a classic TV show and features what you could easily call a group of super heroes. In 2009 J.J. Abrams brought the U.S.S. Enterprise back to the mainstream and served up a Star Trek movie that appealed to life-long fans and new ones alike. I was in that former category and had never before seen an episode or previous feature film and so I went in blind and could not have been more thrilled with the final result of what I was experiencing on screen. Not only was it a gorgeous looking film, but it had an ensemble cast of fun actors playing appealing characters with the perfect amount of adventure melded with a light tone and fresh perspective on how to tell a new story of a series nearly forty years old. It took four years for Abrams to complete the follow-up and it seems, like many of the films in this genre, the second installment has a darker story to tell. With Star Trek Into Darkness the marketing campaign has seemingly focused on the mysterious villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) who many think will turn out to be Khan. Abrams has always taken pride in shrouding his projects in secrecy and this is no exception. I only hope that while Cumberbatch provides a fine villain for the film that the emphasis remains on the team and crew that pilot the Enterprise as that was the real source of magic the first time around. If the first nine minutes of the film that screened before The Hobbit last December were any indication I'd say we're in good hands.

Check back tomorrow for The Classic Examples...

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