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The 10 Most Blockbustery 2017 Summer Blockbusters
Memorial Day Weekend is here, which means summer is right around the corner, which means summer movie season will be the only oasis during three months of tyranny from an indifferent sun. I mean, I guess you could go to the beach or whatever, but then you'd be missing out on all that sweet free air conditioning.
The highly anticipated Wonder Woman will formally kick off the season on June 2nd (sorry Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and Aliens: Covenant, you're part of spring movie season) but that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to escapist fare.
All of these movies are superhero properties, action blockbusters, franchise starters, or the long-awaited latest work of marquee Oscar-winning directors. Most of them will make hundreds of millions at the box office, while a couple will inevitably bomb harder than John Carter (which is a VERY underrated, unfairly-maligned movie, but we can talk about that another time)—either way, these are the 10 films that will dominate the summer movie season conversation.
WONDER WOMAN (June 2nd): The movies released as part of the DC Cinematic Universe so far have left a lot to be desired, to put it kindly. They somehow made Superman more mopey than Batman in the lethally boring Men Of Steel 2: Batman v Superman: Yawn Of Justice: Batfleck Begins: The Spin-Offs Cometh. The best part of that film was Gal Gadot's extended cameo as Wonder Woman; whether she was fighting a giant rock monster thing or wordlessly watching videos on her computer, she breathed life into an otherwise dead on arrival film (her gnarly guitar theme wasn't so bad either). The really good news is that her solo showcase has been getting extremely good early buzz from critics, and looks like it will finally break DC's cinematic losing streak.
THE MUMMY (June 9th): The Brendan Fraser-starring late '90s Mummy movie series was an action/adventure romp with tongue extremely in cheek. Alas, all properties are subject to become franchise-building, continuity-driven cinematic universes now, hence Universal's decision to launch their own Dark Universe of classic movie monsters (Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll) with this film. On the plus side, Tom Cruise is pretty good at this whole movie star thing at this point, which gives us some hope.
ROUGH NIGHT (June 16th): On paper, this seems like the outlier of this batch of films. It's not based on an existing property, it features no big CGI action sequences as far as we know, and there is a lot of discussion of "dicks." However, look a little closer and you'll see the makings of a new franchise right here: it stars Black Widow herself Scarlett Johansson, it features a gang of females who might as well be comedy Avengers, and optimistically, the film could end up being the bastard lovechild of The Hangover movies and Bridesmaids.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT (June 21st): This is the latest film in Michael Bay's emotionally resonant saga about a billionaire Hollywood director/producer who fell in love with a toy and decided to create more movies to sell more toys. I have never seen one of these films and I probably never will, but Mark Wahlberg plays a character named "Cade Yeager" in them and these films keep a roof over Stanley Tucci's head, so who am I to judge.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (July 5th): Spider-Man Mach III (Tom Holland, RIP Tobey Maguire & Andrew Garfield) is obsessed with becoming an Avenger in Spider-Man: The High School Years: The Quest To Conjure Up The Spirit Of John Hughes. The latest extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems like the perfect melding of John Hughes with the MCU's steady output of colorful, likable heroes. It's really too bad about that poster though.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (July 14th): True story time: I liked the first Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes movie a lot, but I was out of the country when its sequel Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes came out. So I downloaded a bootleg copy and watched it with a friend. I thought it was an incredible, challenging cinematic feat, and was deeply moved by the performances of the motion-capture apes, who were able to get so much across by barely speaking a word. It was only months later that I realized there were supposed to be subtitles whenever the apes were on screen. These movies are so well-made you don't even need subtitles to understand the emotional journey Caesar (Andy Sirkis) goes on. And Woody Harrelson is the bad guy this time around, what more could you want?!
DUNKRIK (July 21st): Whenever Christopher Nolan releases a movie, it is a big event for cinephiles and mainstream audiences alike. Nolan is a bonafide rarity among modern filmmakers: someone who can appease (and sometimes annoy) the art school crowds and prestige movie lovers, while still bringing in bodies to see his challenging sci-fi/action films. He can meld the personal with the widescreen like few others (Interstellar, his last film from 2014, was a perfect example of that), and his latest, a WWII film about the evacuation of Allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, looks like it'll do the trick yet again.
ATOMIC BLONDE (July 28th): Charlize Theron, who is never not great, is the star of this trigger-happy, R-rated action/spy movie of the summer, playing a secret agent in 1989 Berlin on a secret mission that will include lots of...murder. This looks like it has the makings of becoming the next John Wick, and it doesn't hurt that it is directed by one-half of the team from that film, David Leitch.
THE DARK TOWER (August 4th): After years of attempts to bring Stephen King's epic dark fantasy/science fantasy/horror/Western series to cinematic life, and months of confusion over the stalled marketing campaign, The Dark Tower is really, truly coming out later this summer. Idris Elba will show off his ability to load guns very quickly, Matthew McConaughey will clench his jaw very menacingly, and beams of light will shoot into the sky over Manhattan with CGI splendor.
DETROIT (August 4): Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar-winning director of The Hurt Locker, hasn't made a film since she went on the hunt for Osama bin Ladin in Zero Dark Thirty. Her latest, which stars Star Wars: The Force Awakens' John Boyega, is set during the 1967 Detroit riots, focusing on deadly, racially-charged The Algiers Motel Incident.