Most-Anticipated Summer Movies of 2014

From time travel to space travel, web-swingers to gun-slingers, and aging robots to raging behemoths, this summer is already packed with excitement. Full of sequels, reboots, and original films, this summer blazes in with promises of growing franchises and rising actors. With films like May's X-Men: Days of Future Past and Amazing Spider-Man 2, along with August's Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios hopes to expand and conquer as they speed towards 2015's much-anticipated Avengers sequel. Also seeking bigger franchises and other sequels are Transformers: Age of Extinction, which features a new cast to clear the slate for a new possible trilogy, and also Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is already taking the world by storm with its fantastic new rebooted series that will definitely gain more films. As the sun comes out and the weather gets hot, this summer already looks perfect for a great movie season in a nice, air-conditioned theater. Here's a list of my most-anticipated films of this summer:

Yet Another Summer of Superheroes:

Beginning in May, the superheroes of the big screen return once again to amaze and intrigue us with their super-sized skills and massive comic-book connections. Ever since Robert Downey Jr. brought billionaire playboy Tony Stark to the big screen with a sleek suit of armor, superhero-franchise god Marvel Studios hasn't disappointed its audiences so far. With April delivering another Captain America film to cheer for, and May and August bringing us back in time and to the stars, Marvel is dominating this year yet again...and doesn't seem to be stopping anytime soon. First, May brings us the return of the mutant team known as the X-Men. When we last saw this crowded team of powerful people, it was 1962 and Charles Xavier was played by James McAvoy, instead of the known Professor X, Patrick Stewart. Of course, that was only because it was the prequel known as X-Men: First Class, that focused on the budding relationship between a young Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr aka Magneto. Now, acting as a sequel to both First Class and 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Days of Future Past unites both casts of the two films into one epic tale of time travel and killer robots. With the franchise returning for more mutant action, director Bryan Singer has a lot up his sleeve as he hopes to make Past a hit, and also expand the universe of the popular mutant team. With the amazing cast of both films uniting, this film is sure to deliver something fans have never seen on-screen before, with an even bigger team and a dystopian tale filled with conspiracy, mistrust, and...did I mention robots?

Next up on the superhero roster is the conflicted web-slinger of Spider-Man, Marvel serving up a new sequel for the hero next month. Amazing Spider-Man 2 finds Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) tangled in a web (pun intended) of lies and secrets, facing new foes from his comic days like the blue-man Electro (Jamie Foxx), best-friend turned psycho Harry Osborne/Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), and a Russian mobster who sports a bulky metal suit as Rhino (Paul Giamatti). After a decent reboot happened in 2012 for the webbed crime-fighter, Marvel hopes to right the wrongs of the previous series with a new actor as Spidey and a more structured set-up for future films. While still not among the likes of the Avengers yet, Spidey can still hold his own, protecting his loved ones and the people of New York City from harm. As Marvel continues to build its growing franchise, I am starting to have faith in the new series, bringing in more badass villains and upping the action for each go-around. Now, as the franchise promises more sequels and even some spin-offs, the hopes are high for the show-runners to deliver good films in order for the franchise to survive.

The last of the summer superheroes aren't really heroes, more like rebellious, arrogant misfits. Another project of Marvel Studios, August's Guardians of the Galaxy transports us to the far reaches of outer space, where we meet a dysfunctional team ranging from smart-ass pilots to talking trees. The team, consisting of green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), skilled pilot Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), sword-wielding brute Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), talking tree Groot (Vin Diesel), and a gun-blasting, joke-cracking raccoon-creature known as Rocket (Bradley Cooper), starts of a messy group of fighting misfits. But, as the film goes on and the risks grow, the team must come together to save the galaxy from unknown threats. Looking at this film, it looks very ambitious, bringing out something we've never seen from Marvel Studios before. In hopes of expanding the franchise further and further, Marvel shows no sign of stopping, planning out films to 2028. This film is sure to spark Marvel's intentions to bring superheroes to the stars and back, and continually explore a wide range of characters and stories.    

There Will Always Be Sequels and Reboots:

From another rehashing of Godzilla to a restart of-sorts for the Transformers franchise, summer movies always have their sequels and their reboots. While some may do okay in the end, others can be disastrous to the series. First up is our reboots, starting with the new Godzilla. With an excellent cast (including stars of Avengers: Age of Ultron) and some impressive CG, this reboot actually looks promising, as I wasn't much of a fan of the 1998 film. Starring Walter White himself Bryan Cranston, Kick-Ass's Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen (both who star in Avengers 2 together), Godzilla brings the audience back to the faithful style of the monster tale as it was in the Toho series of the franchise. Another reboot this year is the live-action take of the famous ninja turtles of New York. In August's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (a very well thought-out title indeed), we witness the birth of the skilled amphibians once again and their interactions with reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox). While the idea may be ambitious, to bring back these shelled heroes to the big-screen, it feels unneeded mainly because we know these characters well-enough through television shows, past films, and even graphic novels. Either way, I hope producer Micheal Bay, who seems to be running things, makes the film's story and action make up for the already-creepy looks of the pizza-eating shelled heroes we used to know and love.

When movies are so good (or decent enough) to make the audiences want more, they usually get sequels, bringing back the characters you loved in the first one. That's half the point in Transformers: Age of Extinction, that has scraped stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, and added an all-new cast of characters. However, even with new humans on-board, the main cast of Autobots is still around including Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Ratchet. I've always been a fan of the Transformers franchise, and I even liked Shia LaBeouf as the whiny protagonist in the first three films, but now, with an all-new cast including Mark Wahlberg, I feel like the franchise could be...transforming into something much better in the future. In this new film, we find the Autobots nearing the edge of extinction as humans lose their faith in the robot protectors, the Autobots later enlisting in the aid of a few helpful humans to stop the government and also a rising threat. Another sequel I'm really excited for is the lengthy-titled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which revamps the ape-revolting franchise as humans die of a deadly outbreak and apes, led by the menacing Caesar, take over humanity. The rebooted series that began with 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes has taken the world by storm as it retells the tale of an ape-uprising with incredible visual effects. With an amazing cast including Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Keri Russell, director Matt Reeves brings back the menacing apes we know and love who all have one single goal in mind: Become Earth's dominant species.

Sci-Fi and Comedy- Elements of a Summer Blockbuster:

With all great summer seasons, there are usually one or two really good science fiction films and comedy films. Some of the ones I think may be contenders include the explosive Groundhog Day flick Edge of Tomorrow, the college frat vs. family film Neighbors, and the college crime-stopping duo of 22 Jump Street. Based on the graphic novel called All You Need Is Kill, Tom Cruise returns to sci-fi with a story that never dies, about a man who never dies...completely anyway. Edge of Tomorrow gives off a Groundhog Day feel, but also throws in aliens, mech-suits, and all the action and explosions you can get, making it the perfect summer sci-fi flick to enjoy. Now, onto the comedies of the summer, we have two films that are so childlike and inappropriate, they're funny. Neighbors, which tells of a party-hard fraternity living beside a peaceful family, thrives on Seth Rogan's jokes and menacing pranks by Zac Efron and friends. However, it does look like it could be hilarious, as the two sides of a college fraternity and an innocent couple do battle. Another hopeful comedy is the 21 Jump Street sequel, that follows officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) in an undercover crime bust at a local college. Even though I never saw the first one, I think the sequel already looks hilarious with more college shenanigans and more funny performances by Tatum and Hill.     

Well, that's my list so far. This summer already looks like it will be a great movie season, from new superhero films to awesome new takes on old classics. What do you want to see this summer? Leave your answers in the comments. Check back later for new reviews and first looks at upcoming films.

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