Written By: Dan Geer

Terminator Genisys

Okay, so Star Wars: Episode VII has broken away from the franchise’s traditional May release time frame, so what else is out there in the meantime that can keep movie geeks at bay until The Force Awakens this December? Oh wait, what did you say? Killer robots from the future? Avenging superheroes? Dinosaurs unleashed in a theme park?! A dude named Max that’s apparently still raving mad?!

YES, my friends, there is plenty to look forward to to hold us over, and you can read all about it in PopcornMonster.com’s top 10 list of movies to see this summer!

10. Maggie – U.S. Release Date: May 22nd

Maggie 2015

Synopsis (via IMDB):

A teenage girl in the Midwest becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father stays by her side.

On the one hand, Maggie doesn’t have much at all going for as far as the people behind the camera are concerned. Director Henry Hobson and writer John Scott III don’t really have anything of note on their résumés, with both of them making their film debuts here as director and writer, respectively. Sure, Hobson did direct the 84th Annual Academy Awards, but that doesn’t really count as qualification for directing a good film, let alone a zombie movie.

But on the other hand, who wouldn’t want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger star in a zombie movie?! While he has certainly proven himself in the action genre, this is an area the actor has never explored in his career before. So this makes the list just out of sheer curiosity. Seriously, the mere idea of Schwarzenegger just existing in a world of zombies could be pure gold here. Plus, the film actually does seem to have some sort of drama and character development going on, which is a definite plus. The trailer definitely takes itself very seriously. If the story is actually compelling, then it’s the vanilla ice cream on top of the already delicious dutch apple pie.

9. Pan – U.S. Release Date: July 24th Postponed to October 9th

Pan 2015

Synopsis (via IMDB):

The story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.

Instead of just remaking/rebooting Peter Pan again, a story that we all grew up with and know inside and out, we’re getting the origin story of Peter Pan, which is something that hasn’t really been explored before in film (not on this level of detail anyway). I have always wanted to know this story inside and out. Who was he before Neverland? How did he get there? What was that journey even like for him, venturing to Neverland and becoming “The Pan”? Was Captain Hook always the bad guy (I do really hope we get to see his hand get cut off by Pan, and some shot of the crocodile getting its first taste).

Plus, how can you not love Hugh Jackman playing the pirate Black Beard? Perfect casting. This just looks like a really fun kids movie, but one that can appeal to the kid in all of us.

 8. Tomorrowland – U.S. Release Date: May 22nd


Synopsis (via IMDB):

Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.

Tomorrowland in Disney World is a fun place to visit, just to see what Walt Disney imagined the future could be like. But what if that was just a cover for some version of a futuristic world that actually exists in an alternate reality? How did that place even come into existence? And if people knew about it all this time, why do they deny its existence?

To me, this is one of the most original premises to ever come out of Disney, and we should expect great things from the film. Directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles) and written/produced by Damon Lindelof (Lost), this one’s sure to capture the imaginations of audiences all summer long. You won’t see anything else quite like it this summer.

Below is the American trailer for the film, but if you really want more insight on the plot, check out the Japanese trailer here.

7. Mad Max: Fury Road – U.S. Release Date: May 15th

Mad Max: Fury Road

Synopsis (via IMDB):

In a post-apocalyptic world, in which people fight to the death, Max teams up with a mysterious woman, Furiousa, to try and survive.

Looks like actor Tom Hardy just can’t escape getting his face imprisoned (wink wink).

We’ve had tons of dystopian post-apocalyptic movies since the original Mad Max film, created and brought to life from a story by George Miller and Byron Kennedy. That film later spawned two sequels, with all three films starring Mel Gibson as the go-nuts Australian action hero. This type of vision of the future has been ripped off time and time again, with some films being great, and others pretty terrible.

But for the first time in 30 years, we’re actually going back to that world that Miller and Kennedy created all those years ago, and it’ll be the first time where Gibson isn’t portraying Max. I have no doubt that under George Miller’s direction and vision for the film, Tom Hardy will do amazingly well, and may even rival Gibson’s portrayal of the character (we can only hope). The trailer kicks all sorts of butts, and appears to be a definite return to form for Miller (we all know Beyond Thunderdome wasn’t that great), who somehow went on to direct such features as the Happy Feet films and Babe: Pig in the City.

6. Fantastic Four – U.S. Release Date: August 7th

Fantastic Four 2015

Synopsis (via IMDB):

Four young scientists achieve superhuman abilities through a teleportation experiment gone haywire. They must now use these abilities to save the world from an uprising tyrant.

This film could very well be the surprise hit of the summer. People were generally underwhelmed by the first two Fantastic Four films (they were flawed, but I rather enjoyed them, and thought the second one was a vast improvement). First off, you’ve got Josh Trank, director of the surprisingly good film Chronicle, which is actually kind of similar in some ways to the story of the Fantastic Four. These characters are a perfect fit for him. Secondly, you’ve got Simon Kinberg, who wrote X-Men: Days of Future Past and produced X-Men: First Class – both really great comic book films. And of course it has to be mentioned that these two have been chosen to helm the second stand-alone Star Wars film (currently untitled) due out in 2018. This reboot is in really good hands (Update: Josh Trank has left the Star Wars project after this article was published).

This new take on Fantastic Four also looks much darker, and is said to have a more “creepy” vibe to it (whatever that means). Judging from the trailer, I can sort of see why. This just looks really cool overall, and even though I enjoyed the previous Fantastic Four movies, I really hope this film blows them out of the water.

  5. Ant-Man – U.S. Release Date: July 17th


Synopsis (via IMDB):

Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

To be completely honest, I have no idea how Marvel is going to pull off this movie. The first teaser was interesting to say the least, and sure, the latest trailer made it somewhat more convincing to me that an insect-sized superhero can join the ranks of the Avengers – but not by much. Comic books and animation are one thing, where Ant-Man has proven to work quite well. But live-action is something else entirely.

Sure, some characters such as Iron Man and Captain America can make the transition from those mediums to live-action form and totally work, and Joss Whedon’s The Avengers proved more than we realized. I even think Ant-Man could maybe work on its own (it still seems more ridiculous than anything we’ve seen so far). What my mind cannot wrap itself around right now is the notion that this type of superhero will jive well when the attempt is made to make him a part of the Avengers. Like I’ve pointed out before, it’s all fantasy, and not real life. But when accepted as real in the minds of audiences for a two-hour period of time within the walls of a theater, Ant-Man just seems out of place when compared to the other characters in the Avengers, at least when comparing what we’ve seen so far in the trailers to what we’ve already witnessed within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

However, this is Marvel we’re talking about here, and the studio has had way more hits than misses in the MCU. So if any studio is going to pull off such a silly concept (even with a few mishaps along the way), it’s Marvel, and I really cannot wait to see what’s in store for us with this movie, how it all ties in with the rest of the Avengers films, and how they’re going to make it work. It’s definitely apparent that they’re taking more of a serious approach than what was done with Guardians of the Galaxy. I just wonder if that’s really the right approach for this movie. I guess it has to be, since that’s the approach that was taken for the rest of the Avengers films. It’d be amazing for Paul Rudd of all actors to pull off a superhero role.

4. Poltergeist – U.S. Release Date: May 22nd

Poltergeist 2015

Synopsis (via IMDB):

A family’s suburban home is invaded by evil forces.

I am definitely not the first person to say that the original Poltergeist film from 1982 still holds up very well today, and that it does not need to be remade, rebooted, re-imagined, etc. But I am also not the first person to say that despite this, the remake coming this summer looks surprisingly good – and terrifying. It’ll never replace the original in my mind, but it appears something quite good is in store for us with the new film nonetheless.

And while director Gil Kenan’s films haven’t really caught the public eye all that much, I loved Monster House, and that’s proof enough for me that he’s a capable director. Plus, writer David Lindsay-Abaire, as well as actors Sam Rockwell and Jarid Harris have all proven themselves worthy of the careers they have. Even if their films were sometimes less than stellar, Rockwell and Harris are always great in the roles they choose.

And, of course the clown here is already more creepy than the one in the original 1982 film…

3. Terminator Genisys – U.S. Release Date: July 1st

Terminator Genisys

Synopsis (via IMDB):

After finding himself in a new time-line, Kyle Reese teams up with John Connor’s mother Sarah and an aging terminator to try and stop the one thing that the future fears, “Judgement Day”.

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek worked so well in that it did not pretend that the previous films did not exist. It created an alternate timeline where anything’s possible, and anyone’s destiny can change (Kirk doesn’t have to die in the lame way he did in Generations!). It was a fantastic way to reboot the series and breathe new life into what was otherwise a dead franchise. So it is quite comforting to know that Game of Thrones and Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor will be taking us down a similar journey with the latest Terminator flick, essentially re-writing history all over again in terms of story, hopefully bringing something new to the table that can revive the series.

While I am a fan of the last two Terminator films, I’ll admit to their shortcomings. I mean, how could they not fall short after the masterpiece that is T2: Judgement Day? However, while Terminator Genisys will almost certainly not be as great as that film was (and still is), I actually have faith that the talent behind this film, as well as the fresh concept of an alternative timeline and an aging Terminator will help this one to at least be better than the last two films. That has to be good enough for us. No Terminator sequel will ever amount to what T2 did for the franchise, and for movie sequels in general – essentially raising the bar on how great a sequel can actually be. So as long as we don’t expect another ground-breaking phenomenon like T2, I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised by this one.

 2. Jurassic World – U.S. Release Date: June 12th

Jurassic World

Synopsis (via IMDB):

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park (1993), Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor’s interest, which backfires horribly.

While Jurassic Park III has its fans, it really seemed to be the nail in the coffin for the series back in 2001. It was just okay (although the pteranodons were awesome). But the original Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg, captivated audiences all around the world when it made its debut back in 1993, and ushered in a new era of special effects film making with CG that actually still holds up even today for the most part. To kids growing up in the early 90s, Jurassic Park was to them what Star Wars was to the kids of the 70s. That generation has always held out hope that maybe one day, another film could come along that would revive that childlike sense of wonder they had when they first saw Jurassic Park, and enough time has passed to where they’re craving it more than ever.

This is one long-awaited film, and hopefully the one we’ve all been wanting for over a decade now. The talent is all in place, with great actors like Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). The only thing “in question” at the moment is whether or not director Colin Trevorrow can pull this off. Sure, he has proven himself to be a good director, but will that be enough to handle this genre? We’ll just have to wait and see. It certainly appears he’s got the chops for it, and he has made it apparent how much he cares about the franchise. I just hope it shows.

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron – U.S. Release Date: May 1st

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Synopsis (via IMDB):

When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

You knew this had to be number one, right? The first Avengers film was one of the most successful comic book movies of all time, both critically and financially, sealing the deal on whether or not the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even going to work. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor were all preparing us for this ultimate clash of the titans, so to speak, and director Joss Whedon nailed it perfectly, somehow uniting six very different comic book characters together in one film. Marvel’s The Avengers is arguably the greatest comic book movie of all time.

Now, Whedon is back in the directors chair to close out Phase 2 of the MCU, and advanced buzz is indicating that Marvel’s nearly flawless reputation will remain in tact with Avengers: Age of Ultron. The film is apparently darker, all of the original cast is back, James Spader is the villain, and the Hulk will rage even more this time around. What’s there not to be excited about with this?


But of course, if Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens were getting a traditional summer release, it’d easily be number one on the list. So, just for kicks, I’m embedding the latest trailer for the film here anyway, because, well, it’s definitely the most anticipated movie of the year by far…

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