It’s not summer yet, according to the calendar, but the summer movie season began with the May 5 release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Every weekend for the next three months will be filled with a big-budget blockbuster with franchise aspirations. (Though some will fall short. Sorry, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.) With so many movies vying for our attention and ticket money, which stand out from the pack as the most eagerly anticipated?
Technically, we’re already two weeks into the summer movie season. But we asked The Comeback staff to pick the movie they’re most excited to see this summer. (And since Guardians Vol. 2 and King Arthur are part of that season, those films could be included. Although if either of those movies were picked, that means you still have a whole summer’s worth of blockbusters to go. Will that be a letdown?)
The leading choice among our small sampling may surprise you, but superheroes and sci-fi still make a strong showing. We hope you’ll join in the conversation as well.
Which summer movie are you most excited about?
Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets. In the late 90s, while Luc Besson was working on his sci-fi classic, The Fifth Element, he hired Valerian co-creator Jean-Claude Mezieres as a design consultant. Mezieres asked why Besson was working on The Fifth Element instead of Valerian, and the director told him the beloved 50-year-old, French comic series was unfilmable at the time.
Fast-forward 20 years, and thanks to advances in special effects (Besson cites Avatar as the turning point), we’ll finally see the intergalactic adventures of Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) on the big screen. The trailer, sadly, makes Valerian look a bit like a Guardians of the Galaxy rip-off, and with most Americans having little to no knowledge of the influential source material, that may hurt it at the box office. But Valerian also looks like the type of sci-fi spectacle that needs to be enjoyed in a theater.
While I’ll watch anything Christopher Nolan does, and Dunkirk is sure to be a heck of a cinematic exercise, it’s hard to get excited for what looks like a potentially punishing movie experience.
So instead, I’ll say I’m most looking forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming. The approach to the character demonstrated in Captain America: Civil War is one which more reboots should go for. The Andrew Garfield efforts felt too much like a pale, needless imitation of the Sam Raimi films, while this felt new, different, and like a character worth getting to know.
Plus, we don’t know how many more times we’ll get to see Robert Downey Jr. don the Iron Man suit onscreen, and the dynamic he had with Tom Holland looks well-worth exploring further. More than anything, it should be a lot of fun, which is what a summer movie should offer.
I have to go with Dunkirk. I am absolutely fascinated to see how Christopher Nolan handles a war story, particularly one which has such an interesting historical background. I personally love a good war movie, and though I’ve heard that Dunkirk may be more suspense than action, I found I was completely captivated simply from the trailer. Some have been trying to compare Dunkirk to Saving Private Ryan, but I think Dunkirk will make its own mark for what (I hope) is a unique style and tone.
Anything by Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, and Quentin Tarantino moves to the front of the line. They’re arguably the best directors working today. The best compliment you can give Nolan is that even his mediocre movies (Insomnia, Interstellar) raise interesting and ethical questions.
Interstellar was too convoluted, too clunky. Dunkirk is more down to earth (no pun intended). In the hands of a master storyteller, this real-life World War II tale should make for a compelling movie. The Miracle of Dunkirk was the evacuation of 338,000 Allied troops from Dunkirk, France. It was a massive operation and hailed as a stunning achievement. The cast of this movie includes Nolan film regulars like Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy. The most interesting casting choice is former One Direction singer Harry Styles who will be making his debut.
Nolan’s two best movies are Memento and The Prestige. It’ll be fun to see where Dunkirk stacks up.
I know next to nothing about Dunkirk and don’t plan on learning anything until I see it. But I LOVE Christopher Nolan movies. He is easily my favorite director and I’ve seen Inception, Interstellar, Memento, The Prestige, and his Batman movies at least three times each. Honestly, I’ve seen Inception at least 10 times and Interstellar five or six and neither of them gets old. I’m obsessed with his movies and seek out every article written about them to learn as much about Nolan’s process for creating the movie as possible.
All I know about Dunkirk is that it’s based on a real WWII battle. I don’t know who fought in the battle, I don’t know where it took place, and I don’t know who won. I refuse to watch any trailers (except for the first teaser that is basically nothing) or read anything about the movie. One of my closest friends took that approach with Interstellar and absolutely loved it. So in short, I want to do the same with Dunkirk. Rarely in this day and age can you see a movie or show knowing next to nothing about it, but I’m sure it’ll pay off in the end.
I want to say Wonder Woman, because I think it could be a pivotal movie for Warner Brothers and DC Films. Not just for making the DC Extended Universe viable, but distinguishing itself from Marvel with a female-led superhero blockbuster.
However, the movie I’m looking most forward to this summer is War for the Planet of the Apes. This rebooted franchise has been one of the most amazing surprises of this era’s remake craze, telling the story that the original five Apes films never did. (We’re overlooking Tim Burton’s 2001 remake.) But rather than try to be clever by connecting these prequels to the original series, director Matt Reeves (and Rupert Wyatt before him), along with writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, have created a longer origin story that stands on its own. Andy Serkis has also helped create the most compelling CGI character on film in Caesar, the leader of the apes’ uprising. This is a smart, dramatic, and emotional action franchise.
I’ll admit my answer would have been Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I will omit that from the conversation for now. Instead, I’ll flip over to the DC cinematic universe as Wonder Woman is quickly approaching. I am not as hard on the DC Universe as others, but I am hopeful Wonder Woman can breathe some life into the whole lineup. Gal Gadot was the perfect person to fill the role and having Chris Pine along for the ride seems like a good move. I’m crossing my fingers on this one, and think I will come away pleased with the effort.
I hate myself for saying this, but Wonder Woman. It’s truly insane, as this is the third straight DC film I’ve convinced myself will be good. I’m hoping it bucks the trend of good trailer/messy movie. Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot and Geoff Johns? Color me hopeful. It’s not a summer movie, but I’m also excited to see Planet Hulk plus the God of Thunder, in Thor: Ragnarok. Taika Waititi is brilliantly funny and hopefully can make Thor a must-watch instead of most forgettable Marvel franchise. I loved the trailer’s humor and colorfulness.