As schools let out and temperatures rise, families and friends make plans to hit the cool, dark interiors of local movie theaters. Summer is the time when studios put it all on the line, casting nets of high-budget cinema in the hopes of drawing blockbuster crowds. Starting in early May, a number of anticipated films will make first-weekend runs, and there's a little something for every viewer's pleasure. The summer of 2013 is likely to be the summer of the superhero, the antihero, and the villain, with a few bits of extreme comedy, car racing, and apocalypse thrown in to keep things interesting.
Three of the movies slated to appear between May and August feature favorite characters from comic books who are no strangers to the big screen. First up is "Iron Man 3," which hit theaters May 3. After three movies, the charmingly cocky Tony Stark is on top of the world. He's even added a bit of depth to his character and won his dream girl; when epic comic-book villain the Mandarin makes an appearance, Stark's world is torn apart in a few minutes of screen time. Viewers are likely to flock to theaters in the presummer season to find out if Iron Man can rise from the metallic shreds and put right all the wrong the Mandarin is doing in the world.
How can writers make the gruff, well-explored character of Wolverine interesting to viewers for yet another X-Men inspired flick? The answer provided by "The Wolverine," which hits theaters on July 26, is to send him to Japan. As Hugh Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine has been a fan favorite since his first appearance, huge crowds are expected for this film. The Wolverine doesn't have a monopoly on fan love, though. Superman will make an appearance in "Man of Steel" on June 14. Although the superhero is always a crowd pleaser, this version of Superman is likely to be bolstered by Henry Cavill; women everywhere are already planning to see the movie based on the sexy Brit's role as Clark Kent/Superman.
Heroes don't always come from comic books, however, and "Star Trek Into Darkness" will be bringing back favorites like Kirk and Spock on May 17. Much of the buzz around this film is related to Benedict Cumberbatch's role as the villain. Fans of BBC's "Sherlock" are keeping their fingers crossed, while Trekkies everywhere are ready to line up for tickets regardless of casting.
The summer season is known for delivering family-friendly fare, and one heroic movie that will work for the whole family is "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters." Fans of the series of books by Rick Riordan will be delighted to see the young demigod back in action, and adults will be happy to take the family to a flick that doesn't involve constant booger jokes and high-pitched voices. The movie is scheduled for an early August release.
Not all summer movies are family friendly, a fact that is amply illustrated by "The Hangover: Part III," which hits theaters May 24. Viewers can expect more raunchy fun and over-the-top humor as the infamous group of not-quite-adult males takes a road trip. Viewers who are looking for a different type of summer fun might be more interested in "Fast and Furious 6," which will be released on the same day. The cast includes numerous fan favorites, including Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, and Paul Walker; the all-star group is likely to drive fast and wreck cars for the viewing pleasure of numerous summer moviegoers.
Couples looking for a date-night flick might consider "The Great Gatsby." The remake of this classic film had a May 10 release, and the excitement was bursting at the seams due to Leonardo DiCaprio's role as Jay Gatsby. If you like a bit more action in your date night, another option is "World War Z." The fast-paced zombie apocalypse flick stars Brad Pitt and tells the story of a plague of swift zombies that are unlike anything portrayed by popular zombie television.
Another possible blockbuster is "The Purge," which is likely to be a hit with those who like their summer movies dark and disturbing. The movie, which hits cinemas on June 7, delves into what might happen if there were no consequences associated with crime. When all consequences are suspended for twelve hours and all regulatory and protective offices are closed, a family must fight to save their lives, their relationships, and their own beliefs.
Dozens of other possible blockbusters are being released this summer. Every moviegoer will find something to spark the imagination in the dark cavern of the local movie theater. From heroes to villains, larger-than-life characters are coming to a theater near you this summer.