Written By: Dan Geer


The summer blockbuster season seems to have already started with Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which was amazing, by the way), but we still have a steady diet of highly-anticipated movies heading our way to feed every geek craving that nags at us all the way through August. Summer is just around the corner, at least when it comes to movies, just waiting for all of us to hang out with mutants, apes, giant monsters… well, just so long as it is behind the safety of the silver screen. Hit the jump to check out this year’s Top 10 Movies to See This Summer!

10. Transformers: Age of Extinction – U.S. Release Date: June 27, 2014

Transformers_Age of Extinction

Synopsis (via IMDB):

An automobile mechanic and his daughter make a discovery that brings down the Autobots and Decepticons – and a paranoid government official – on them.

The era of Sam Witwicky is over, another character arc begins – with that of Mark Wahlberg’s character “Cade Yeager” (what kind of name is that anyway?!) as he takes his daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) on a journey along with the Autobots to battle the Decepticons in this year’s Transformers quasi-reboot sequel.

Honestly, while I actually thought the last film, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, was a vast improvement over Revenge of the Fallen, I’m not entirely sure how much I am actually looking forward to another Transformers movie. I’ve had my fill, and they wrapped everything up quite nicely in the last film. Not saying Age of Extinction will be bad, but rather that there is a reason this film is last on the list this year. It’s getting old, and there are nine other films I want to see more. My only hope is that the film will be so great that I’ll be willing to tag along for the ride over the course of a couple more films – because you know they’re just going to keep paying Michael Bay more money to make them.

9. Edge of Tomorrow – U.S. Release Date: June 6, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

Synopsis (via IMDB):

A soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, though he becomes better skilled along the way.

There’s a shortage of original sci-fi films these days, so it brings a smile to my face whenever someone tries to bring some originality to the scene, even if it ends up not being as good as one hoped, like with last year’s Oblivion (which was good, but could have been better), because at least someone is making the effort.

This year, Tom Cruise stars in another sci-fi project, Edge of Tomorrow, a film that sports a wonderful trailer to help promote it as an epic sci-fi war movie with an intriguing premise (Battle: Los Angeles meets Groundhog Day, maybe?). Yes, it could be just another Oblivion, but we have different people helming the project, so this could be an entirely different deal. Director Doug Liman brought us The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which are both highly regarded as solid films. Who knows, maybe this will be a surprise hit this summer?

8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – U.S. Release Date: August 8, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Synopsis (via IMDB):

From their home in the storm sewers of Manhattan, four Ninjitsu-trained turtles, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello and their sensei, Master Splinter, battle evil.

I have been waiting for this film ever since the 90s failed to deliver any sequels that lived up to the flawed, but still highly-enjoyable first live-action movie that started it all. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a part of my treasured childhood in both animated and live-action form, and it was the last kid franchise I was in to before I became a teenager and thought I was too cool for “kids stuff” (so glad I’m an old fart now that just doesn’t care).

Yes, Michael Bay has a hand in this franchise, but he’s not the director (personally, I like Bay’s style for the most part, so it doesn’t bother me that he’s involved, directing or not). The first trailer that debuted for the first live-action TMNT film in over two decades did not disappoint, at least not this fan – despite the various changes to the look of the characters. I think they look incredible, and can’t wait to see the finished product unleashed this August.

I’m suddenly craving pepperoni pizza…

7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – U.S. Release Date: May 2, 2014

amazing spider-man 2

Synopsis (via IMDB):

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

It’s no secret that most people were scratching their heads when it was first announced that a Spider-Man reboot was in the works, telling the character’s origin story all over again. When the announcement was made, only a couple of years had passed after director Sam Raimi gave us the much-maligned Spider-Man 3. Despite fan reaction to that film, most were still open to Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, and so a reboot was quite a surprising course of action for the studio to take, and it really did seem premature.

Nevertheless, as time passed by, the idea seemed more acceptable, and The Amazing Spider-Man swung into theaters with a new actor in the title role (Andrew Garfield), and did well enough to warrant a sequel. Now, while I don’t think he was as good in the role as Tobey Maguire, Garfield still pulled it off, and the film as a whole proved to be quite an entertaining piece of comic-book cinema. The sequel looks good, but it does look a little cartoony and crowded, so that’s concerning. All we can do is wait and see if it will live up to what has come before.

Jamie Fox does look cool as Electro anyway.

6. Jupiter Ascending – U.S. Release Date: July 18, 2014
(Film now delayed to February 6, 2015)

Jupiter Ascending

Synopsis (via IMDB):

In the future, a young destitute human woman gets targeted for assassination by the Queen of the Universe, and begins her destiny to finish the Queen’s reign.

This is another seemingly original science fiction movie heading our way this summer, and it is the one that I am looking forward to the most. Directors Andy and Lana Wachowski, best known for The Matrix Trilogy, are back at it again, hopefully producing a film that lives up to what they brought to the table so long ago with the first Matrix film. The Matrix was such an original concept at the time that hadn’t really been done before, at least not on that level, and the Wachowskis have been challenged by the reputation of that film ever since, producing lackluster sequels to the film, as well as other movies that just never made the same cultural impact as The Matrix did.

But, to be fair, it really is a lot to ask them to produce another film that captures the world by storm. All we can really ask is that they do what they always do, which is try and create the best movie possible and hope it’s a hit. That’s all any creative person can do. The trailers really do make the film look quite promising. Incredible, even. While we cannot expect them to make another film that becomes a phenomenon, perhaps this will at least put them back on the map as A-list directors again in the minds of the movie-going public. I cannot wait to see this!

5. The Expendables 3 – U.S. Release Date: August 15, 2014

Expendables 3

Synopsis (via IMDB):

Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables — but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.

No one does action like Stallone, and I mean no one. Even Schwarzenegger is having a hard time in his comeback career, and it seems like he always needs Stallone these days to make a fun action movie, whether it’d be last year’s Escape Plan or the next Expendables movie. I would argue that The Expendables films were two of the best old-school action movies to be released in the last couple of decades, and Stallone’s Rambo was another. The action film genre owes its comeback to Stallone.

But we still love all of the other action stars that play a role in The Expendables, and seeing them banter back and forth as they take out enemy combatants is always a joy. Anyone I know who loves and appreciates the genre always has a great time with these films. Yes, they are ridiculous, but they’re also ridiculously fun. That’s all that matters here.

Nope, I just heard you try and apply a critical eye to the first two films. Just stop. Right now. You’re wrong.

4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – U.S. Release Date: July 11, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Synopsis (via IMDB):

Survivors of the simian plague trigger an all-out war between humanity and Caesar’s growing forces.

Boy was everyone skeptical when it was announced a few years ago that there would be a Planet of the Apes prequel. Tim Burton’s “re-imagining” of Planet of the Apes didn’t quite float the boat, so the notion of trying again, even with other creatives behind the project, wasn’t enough to get people excited.

However, the casting of Andy Serkis to create the ape character Caesar through motion-capture started getting people’s attention. He revolutionized what could be done with the medium through his portrayal of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, so it was obvious that at least he could bring something to the table worthy of the franchise’s reputation. Once the trailers for the film were released, the public was on board, and the film itself proved to be a massive hit.

I love the idea that the story really only begins with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and that we still have much farther to go before we reach the point where apes take over the world. Even though this isn’t a direct prequel to the original Charlton Heston film from 1968, we still know generally where this is all leading to – the near-extinction of mankind (it’ll just be a viral outbreak instead of a nuclear holocaust), which means that we could be getting many more Planet of the Apes movies even after the apocalypse takes place. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes looks wonderful so far, and I for one cannot wait to see it all go down!

3. Guardians of the Galaxy – U.S. Release Date: August 1, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

Synopsis (via IMDB):

In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I really don’t think I had ever heard of Guardians of the Galaxy until it was announced that Marvel was producing it. So I have only become vaguely familiar with how the characters and stories of this series tie in with The Avengers. Somehow, these characters from an alternative timeline in the 31st century eventually meet up with The Avengers and join forces (I think). Don’t as me how, or even why.

The only thing I know is that Marvel has produced the best cinematic universe anyone could ever ask for, and the trailer for this film looks highly entertaining on so many levels, just like the many trailers we’ve seen for all of Marvel’s other Avengers films. We should expect nothing but the best once again, and I have the feeling it will deliver. One might even say I’m hooked on this feeling…

2. X-Men: Days of Future Past – U.S. Release Date: May 23, 2014

X_Men_Days of Future Past

Synopsis (via IMDB):

The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

It would be an understatement to say that this film is ambitious. This has to be the most ambitious X-Men film of all time, bringing together the characters from 2011’s X-Men: First Class and their counterparts from the future in an effort to thwart the famous sentinels of comic-book lore from exterminating all mutant-kind. It’s a massive story with massive expectations surrounding it, but our first previews for the film really make this look like they want the X-Men to hold their own against Marvel’s The Avengers and its corresponding spin-off films, which have all surpassed the X-Men franchise in popularity on the big screen in recent years.

Do not go into this film expecting a literal translation of the comics or TV series. This is the movie version inspired by those mediums. Go in with this expecation, and you’re probably going to have a great time. Bryan Singer, who directed the first two X-Men films and produced First Class, returns to the director’s chair to hopefully surpass the great work he and his creative writers did with X2, a movie highly-regarded as the best X-Men film to date (I’d argue that First Class was on par, or even better). Judging from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like they are on the right track. I can’t tell you the last time I was more excited for an X-Men film than anything else Marvel is putting out in the theaters. It looks incredible.

1. Godzilla – U.S. Release Date: May 16, 2014

Godzilla 2014

Synopsis (via IMDB):

The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

1998 was a dark year for Godzilla fans. If I had a nickel for every time a Godzilla fan mentioned that they hated the film because the creature was only Godzilla “by name only,” I’d be retired in Hawaii somewhere living off the royalties. It really pissed off a ton of fans. The look of Godzilla seems to be so frickin’ important to them that a fun monster movie gets immediately dismissed as terrible altogether because of this purist attitude. Sure, I’ve certainly seen better monster movies, and the film is not without its faults, but it wasn’t a terrible monster film, and he looked enough like Godzilla to grant him a pass. I don’t care what anyone says, it sure felt like a modern Godzilla film to me.

Nevertheless, this new film looks like it’ll blow any other Godzilla movie out of the water. The trailer is haunting, the monster pretty much looks exactly like Godzilla, so if the film is good, then I had better not hear any more fans whining. This looks like the real deal for purists and non-purists alike, and I sincerely hope the giant lizard stomps out any competition he might have this summer.

Now, if Godzilla could just stomp his way into a Pacific Rim sequel, there may no longer be a need to make any new films. Like, what I mean is, if anyone has any other ideas for movies other than Godzilla meets Pacific Rim, they should just not even bother.

Long live Gojira!

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