Media Matters:Will’s Summer Movie Preview: Part Two
And we’re back. As I write this, I have no idea who the winners and losers of the first half of the summer have shaped up to be (though I suspect Guardians 2 has at least matched expectations while Pirates has underperformed, and I hope that Wonder Woman and The Mummy have found their audience). There are still some heavy hitters on the way, so let’s get to it.
Cars 3 (June 16, Not Yet Rated, though likely PG)
I’m far from an expert on the Cars franchise (I saw the first one only once and I skipped the second altogether), but I know it is often considered the weakest of Pixar’s usually stellar offerings. I admit, I’m mystified by these trailers, which seem to be taking the movies in an oddly dark and more realistic direction – though I suppose you could argue it’s all a metaphor for the series’ own slow crawl back up from mediocrity.
Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23, Not Yet Rated, but surely PG-13)
After the last film was mercilessly derided for stopping the story in its tracks to legally justify one of the character’s romance with an underage girl, this next installment seems to have surrendered any pretense and given an actress born just before the September 11 terrorist attacks the “covered-in-dirt-and-sexy-sweat” treatment the previous installments lavished on Megan Fox and a Victoria’s Secret model. But putting that bit of deviancy aside for a moment, I’ll admit the apparent introduction of the Nazis and the Knights of the Round Table actually has me interested, though the addition of Sir Anthony Hopkins makes me wary since the quality of these movies seems to go down as the caliber of the cast goes up. Still, the last one made over a billion dollars, much of it overseas, and I don’t see this one doing any less.
Despicable Me 3 (June 30, Not Yet Rated, but bet on a PG)
As much as I love Steve Carrell, I really didn’t like the first Despicable Me, but the second one deserved some kindof award for “Most Improved Entry in an Animated Franchise”. Imagine my disappointment then with the financially successful but creatively bankrupt follow-up Minions and my wariness around the trailers for this film, which look to have more in common with the series’ sagging ends than its surprisingly solid middle. To be fair, my two-year old son seems to like it. Every time the trailer started on my computer, he would stop what he was doing to come and find it (even abandoning Finding Dory, which currently occupies his favorite spot). For that, if for no other reason, I’m sure we’ll pick it up from Red Box, but I don’t plan on seeing it in the theater unless Frannie says I have to.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, Not Yet Rated, but certainly PG-13)
Something about Spider-Man hits me right in the feels. The first two installments in Sam Raimi’s trilogy seemed to parallel the events in my own life, with Peter graduating from high school in the first (a year after I had done the same) and then struggling to make ends meet in the second (right after I had lost my first job). I think I’ll probably find just as much resonance in this picture’s dynamic between a repentant Tony Stark trying (perhaps too hard) to spare Peter Parker from the mistakes that have put his own life (and many major metropolises) in ruins. I am a bit concerned that the second trailer has shown us too much of the final product, but on the other hand, it has me convinced that Michael Keaton will be Marvel’s first great villain that isn’t played by Tom Hiddleston.
War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14, Not Yet Rated, but a PG-13 is a given)
I really liked the first installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot series, but I loved the second. Dawn was a stealth masterpiece and this third entry looks to be cut from the same cloth with its wet, muddy muted palate and another epic confrontation between simians and the last bitter dregs of humanity. I’m happy to see Woody Harrelson taking on a meaty role and leading an awesome-looking night-time raid that promises to pack as much punch as a similar scene from the last film while reversing the roles. Returning director Matt Reeves has been on a roll since 2008, (check out his underappreciated remake of the Swedish vampire film, Let The Right One In) and I can’t wait to what he does here before taking the reins of the next Batman movie.
Dunkirk (July 21, I would have pegged this one as rated R, but right now, it’s listed as PG-13)
Like any student of history, the stark moral battle lines of WWII hold a unique and lasting fascination for me. The story of the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk in 1941 is one of those fantastic, nigh-unbelievable true life events from earth’s greatest conflict that has – to my knowledge – never been given a proper cinematic treatment. And who better to bring it to us than Christopher Nolan, an auteur without equal in his generation who seems to be following Spielberg’s career track, cutting his teeth with tense suspense pieces before moving to sci-fi fantasy and then working his way to meaty historical drama. Hopefully this will be more Schindler’s List and Amistad than Munich or Lincoln.
By Will Morgan