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TBTS Top Five Summer Movies I’m Excited About in 2013

May 1, 2013
Top 5

Lots of goodies in the pipe for moviegoers this summer. Let me count the ways…

Iron Man 3
Oh, please. You know you’re going to see this. Don’t even front. The first one was great. The second… okay, slightly less great. Despite the director’s chair being occupied by Shane Black (all of the Lethal Weapons, plus the grossly underrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) instead of Jon Favreau this time around, Iron Man 3 promises to be an Avengers-level blockbuster. Early international reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The trailer looks amazing. And it’s got Sir Ben Kingsley as the baddie. (I love the way he says, “you’ll neverrrr sssseee meee coming!”) There’s pretty much no way this one will not be awesome and not make a poop-ton of money. Studios call these “tentpole” movies because they make enough money to allow the studio to prop up other, lesser films. But also because they make a tentpole in m’pants…

Star Trek: Into Darkness
Speaking of tentpoles in m’pants… JJ Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise turns another page with a brand new adventure for Kirk, Spock, Shaggy, and Scooby as they all pile into the Mystery Machine and… wait… never mind. The first post-reboot movie was damn good, despite a script that was a teensy bit confused. But what’s a plot hole or two between old friends? The new blood all manage to embody these old characters and everything feels familiar, if a little shinier. Our good guys have to defeat a mass-destructive terrorist who seeks to destroy the Federation from the inside. Add a Whedonesque hyper-charismatic bad guy played by Benedict Horatio Smootington Cumberbatch III (who my wife assures me is “totes hot”) and baby, you’ve got a stew going!

Much Ado About Nothing
Speaking of Whedon… Apparently, when you’re friends with Joss Whedon, you get to go over to his house regularly, hang out, drink lots of wine, and then do impromptu Shakespeare in his living room. That’s basically how this crazy, under-the-radar project came about. All the Whedon Regulars are there: Fillion, Acker, Gregg, Kranz, among others. Personally financed and filmed under a shroud of secrecy… in black and white… over a period of 12 days… at Whedon’s home in California, Much Ado has received gushing praise from all who have seen it. Whedon fans should see it because Joss Whedon is awesome. Non-fans should see it because Joss Whedon is awesome.

Pacific Rim
Speaking of awesome… I imagine the “elevator pitch” for Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was a mere 7 words: “giant frickin’ robots fighting giant frickin’ aliens.” Instant green-light! Get this man a cigar! Put aside the fact that del Toro’s production and directorial work is utterly above reproach, that his visual style and insistence on practical effects (as opposed to CGI) in films like Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth made those movies memorable, and that the trailer will make your nipples hard… it’s giant frickin’ robots fighting giant frickin’ aliens!

Man of Steel
Speaking of aliens… Ordinarily I would scoff at reboots of reboots. Even if the 2nd Ghost Rider movie had been any good (it wasn’t), I would still be leery of any attempt at a mulligan. And maybe this summer’s iteration of Superman, brought to us by the misunderstood king of slicker’n snot action movies, Zack Snyder, isn’t a reboot of 2006’s disappointing Superman Returns (cue The Price is Right failure music) per se. It certainly doesn’t look like one, and from what I’ve been able to glean of the story it doesn’t read like one either. This time around, ol’ Supes struggles with his identity as an actual alien on Earth. (Possible spoilers follow… Also I may be totally wrong, this is just how I interpret the few details I’ve read about the script. You have been warned!) It seems his Kryptonian father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), and mother are somewhat radical and chose to conceive their son naturally, eschewing the genetic manipulations dictated by Kryptonian law. This effectively makes them heretics and social outcasts, and makes their offspring an abomination in the eyes of Krypton’s leaders who send General Zod to retrieve him, dead or alive. If I’m right, this is a narrative with all kinds of possibilities: Superman is special in a bad way on Krypton, but special in a good way on Earth; he has powers he’s discouraged from using because they’ll identify him as alien; how far will a society (in this case, Kryptonian society) go to erase that which offends their mores and sensibilities and which they see as a threat to their way of life? I’m not a Snyder-hater, but I see the potential pitfalls and, assuming the screenplay is of decent quality, I hope he handles everything properly. Regardless, I’ll be there opening weekend.

This is a Top Five, but there are certainly to be more than 5 great summer blockbusters this year. For now I’ll merely give an “honorable mention” nod to ElysiumDespicable Me 2, and Kick-Ass 2. Elysium is Neill Blomkamp’s first directorial effort since 2009’s excellent District 9, and features Matt Damon kicking Jodie Foster’s ass… or something. 2010′ s Despicable Me is perhaps the best non-Pixar CGI animated feature in recent memory. It was hilarious and had a lot of heart. Here’s hoping its sequel will be equally entertaining. (Also, I like to walk around my house singing “POH-TAY-TOH-OH-OH!” at the top of my lungs. The wife loves it.) Kick-Ass 2 features a nearly-unrecognizable Jim Carrey. ‘Nuff said.

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