The time is upon us when the mouth-watering array of summer blockbusters hit our screens. From around May through August hit after hit descends upon cinemas, all attempting to earn millions of dollars and even possibly provoke enough interest to garner a few sequels to keep studios happy for years to come. In the U.K, without a huge sporting event occupying people’s attention, such as the World Cup last year, there will be increased attendances. However, are Hollywood’s offerings this year as good as previous summers?
The typical summer blockbuster season provides a selection of franchises and sequels intertwined with independent and innovative films. Last year offered a strong and varied selection of movies including Inception, Toy Story 3, Scott Pilgrim vs The World. In comparison is the selection of blockbusters at the cinema this year so great? So far we have been given the futile Pirates of the Caribbean 4, The Green Lantern which has underperformed at the box-office and Fast Five, which although is fun and exciting offers little more than a fleeting, hollow enjoyment. So far only The Hangover 2 and X-Men First Class have come out with much critical praise to match their box-office takings. However, it is still early days and the true verdict of a summer’s worth of films can only be determined following the June and July releases.
Looking at the films due for release in these months there seems to be somewhat of a mixed bag. Firstly there is the new Transformers movie. Coming so soon after the travesty that was Revenge of the Fallen it seems Michael Bay is attempting to salvage something from the franchise. So much was wrong with Fallen, from a dire plotline to rascist undertones that one can only hope that the third indeed does redeem Transformers, otherwise it could be a disaster.We have Cars 2, another sequel, but a sequel to arguably the weakest of the Pixar films. It defiantly won’t offer the same sense of wonder and intrigue that Toy Story 3 delivered last year and won’t have the same nostalgic charm as the new Winnie the Pooh.
Captain America is another million dollar production that must stand out amidst the myriad of comic book movies that have inundated audiences for a decade. I’m sure Captain America will be action-packed and Chris Evans will do a stellar job in the eponymous role. However, it is ten years since Bryan Singer bought us the first X-Men and since he has we have been inundated with hero after hero. Because of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, released in 2012, audiences will have to contend with more origin stories over the next few years and it is possible that the genre can become exhausted. If Captain America is fresh and innovative, only then can it acquire success. Other films that could go either way, but don’t look too promising to me so far include the Conan remake, The Smurfs and the Kunis/Timberlake Friends of Benefits which looks that exact clone of Portman/Kutcher film No Stings Attached. Its not that these films will be bad but none of them have provoked the same intrigue and anticipation as past summer films have.
Therefore the weighty expectations of the summer will have to rest on a few films. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part II is looking like the highlight of the summer. Super 8 is a tricky one to determine.What looked like a flat out adventure from the teaser trailer has now become a 1980s, semi-autobiography, sci-fi mix of genres that echoes E.T and Stand By Me. J.J. Abrams no longer has the mystery that accompanied Cloverfield or the brand power that supported Star Trek. Cowboys and Aliens does look like it could do very well with a formidable cast and innovative concept. It may be the smaller films that eventually rule the box-office. Comedies Horrible Bossess and 30 Minutes or Less and The Inbetweeners all look promising, and solid franchise features like Final Destination 5 and Rise of the Planet of the Apes will probably make a shedload of money. It will be a busy summer for films and only time will tell which are the most successful and if this is truly the weakest summer of film we have had for a long time.