JoBlo.com's 2013 Summer Movie Preview!

Some people think the summer movie season kicked off last weekend with the opening of OBLIVION, but for those of us that track the summer box office like March Madness, it only really starts with the first weekend in May, once IRON MAN 3 lands in about a billion theaters. While last year boasted THE AVENGERS and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and seemed to be the most packed season ever, summer of 2013 looks just as heavy (maybe even more so). The following is a list of twenty movies that have us here JoBlo.com pretty excited about the next few months of movie-watching. Agree or disagree with the picks? Strike back below! NOTE: Once you're doing going through our picks, let us know which summer you want to see in our poll here.

1. Man of Steel- June 14th

When the first MAN OF STEEL trailer hit with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, I was intrigued by the almost lyrical, Terrence Mallick vibe director Zack Snyder seemed to be going for. I guess a lot of us thought that with Christopher Nolan producing, MAN OF STEEL would be heavily patterned on his DARK KNIGHT trilogy, but here it seemed Snyder was doing his own thing, and even the naysayers that complained about his hiring (I was kinda one of them) were impressed. The second trailer was even better, but the third was a game-changer. There’s very few of us hardcore fanboys that aren’t expecting this to be the Summer 2013 champ. This trailer showed Snyder’s eye for spectacle (obviously it’s not too Mallick-y), along with some deeply affecting dialogue for Kevin Costner’s Jonathan Kent, and a look at a terrifying Michael Shannon as General Zod. Everything about this, from Henry Cavill as Superman, to Amy Adams as Lois Lane, to the production design, to Hans Zimmer’s score seems like this will be an absolutely incredible flick, and a radical re-invigoration of the franchise. I’m expecting great things from this.

2- Star Trek Into Darkness- May 17th

If that new trailer for MAN OF STEEL hadn’t come along, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS would have been my most anticipated Summer 2013 movie. While I think the title is goofy, the movie itself looks great. I loved the 2009 reboot, and it’s taken a cruelly long four years for us to finally get a follow-up. Good things come to those who wait, and I can’t wait to see more from Chris Pine’s Kirk, Zachary Quinto’s Spock, Karl Urban’s McCoy, etc. And Benedict Cumberbatch looks really cool as the villain, regardless of whether he’s Khan or not.

3. Iron Man 3- May 3rd

My mixed review of IRON MAN 2 aside, I’ve been pretty anxious for this, the latest installment in the ever-expending Marvel Universe. Like everyone else, I loved THE AVENGERS, but what’s really got me pumped is the fact that Robert Downey Jr., brought in his KISS KISS BANG BANG director Shane Black to helm this one. The trailers are great, and hint at a much darker take on the Tony Stark saga than the other movies, although if I know Black’s work, they’ll be plenty of humor for Downey Jr., to sink his teeth into. Ben Kingsely also looks great as The Mandarin (summer 2013 seems to be nailing it in terms of villains).

4. Only God Forgives- July 19th

Nicholas Winding Refn’s DRIVE was my favorite film of 2011. Heck, it was maybe my favorite movie of the last few years, and to say I’m jazzed for his follow-up is an understatement. It’s playing Cannes in a few weeks, and hopefully heading to theaters in July. It’s a Radius-TWC release, which usually puts its movies out on VOD, but hopefully Gosling’s star-power will get this a wide release, as Refn’s visuals cry out for the big screen treatment. Apparently ONLY GOD FORGIVES makes the ultra-violent DRIVE look tame. This will be one that no doubt sparks lots of debate.

5. Pacific Rim- July 12th

I’m thinking that Guillermo del Toro’s PACIFIC RIM is going to be the sleeper, non-franchise hit of the summer, if you can call a movie that cost at least 150 million a sleeper. The premise- soldiers battle monsters by controlling giant robots- is goofy but fun. From anyone else, I’d be wary, but del Toro is a master. I also think the two leads, Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba are future superstars, and PACIFIC RIM will no doubt test their mettle.

6. Elysium- August 9th

Neill Bloomkamp’s DISTRICT 9 blew a lot of us away back in 2009, and we’ve been patiently waiting for his follow-up, ELYSIUM. Not only is DISTRICT 9’s breakout star Sharlto Copley back, but Bloomkamp’s also enlisted heavy hitters Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, in what looks like another winner. Bloomkamp managed to make 30 million look like 100 million on DISTRICT 9. Just imagine what he’ll be able to do with ELYSIUM’s big studio budget.

7. The Wolverine- July 28th

THE WOLVERINE’s going to have a bit of an uphill battle convincing fans that it’s more worthwhile than its predecessor, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. Granted, THE WOLVERINE looks much better, and its director James Mangold has a decent track record (good- COPLAND, 3:10 TO YUMA, WALK THE LINE, bad- KATE & LEOPLOD, KNIGHT & DAY). The early trailers are so-so, but hopefully this will deliver a solid Wolverine flick, although probably not as lean and mean as Darren Aronofsky’s version would have been. Even if THE WOLVERINE is bad, Jackman is already due back next summer with DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, so Logan’s not going anywhere.

8. Kick-Ass 2- August 16th

A lot of us here loved the first KICK-ASS. While he's still on-board as a producer, Matthew Vaughn is not back as director, but judging from the trailers, it looks like he's left the franchise in good hands with director Jeff Wadlow. Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz are back as Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl respectively, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse also returns as the villainous Red Mist, rechristened "The Mother-Fucker". Coolest of all is Jim Carrey in a huge change-of-pace as Colonel Stars & Stripes Forever. I'm really looking forward to this late-summer treat.

9. The World's End- August 23rd

Edgar Wright, and stars Simon Pegg & Nick Frost return to finish their "Three Flavors: Cornetto" series, with their most ambitious entry to date- THE WORLD'S END. SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ stand as two of the funniest films of the last decade, and I can't wait to see their take on the "apocalypse" genre. While we've had no shortage of "end of the world" movies lately, knowing Wright and co., this one will be the best of the bunch.

10. Fast & Furious 6- May 24th

If you had told me way back in the summer of 2001 that THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise would still be going strong twelve years later, I would have thought you were nuts. After a few underwhelming entries, the saga has been steadily getting better and better, and I'd wager that FAST FIVE was the best of the series to date. Sure, these films are absolutely ridiculous, but they're fun as heck, especially with Dwayne Johnson added to the mix. Johnson's back, along with Vin Dielsel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang and Michelle Rodriguez, even though she was killed off two movies ago. And, if this is good, we have a seventh film coming in summer 2014. Hopefully this will be as much fun as the last one.

11. This is the End- June 12th

Seth Rogan, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and more play highly fictionalized versions of themselves in this ultra-raunchy end-of-the-world comedy. This summer seems a little light on laughs, and mid-June sis probably the perfect time for this to hit. The early trailers are hilarious, although hopefully the premise will be able to sustain a ninety minute movie. I'm willing to give this gang the benefit of the doubt, and I fully expect this to be one of the big comedy hits of the summer.

12. The Hangover Part 3- May 24th

OK, so, THE HANGOVER PART 2 wasn't all that great. It was kinda what we all thought it would be, basically the first one all over again, with the only real difference being the Thailand setting. For the presumably final installment of the franchise, director Todd Phillips takes the Wolfpack back to where it all started, Las Vegas. Phillips has promised that this will be radically different than the last two movies, although the trailer seemed curiously light on laughs (the giraffe gag was funny though). Hopefully the series will go out with a bang rather than a whimper.

13. Now You See Me - May 31st

A few months ago, director Louis Letterier's NOW YOU SEE ME probably wouldn't have made my summer list. However, the most recent trailer changed all that, and now I'm really looking forward to seeing what looks like a really fun high-concept caper. The ensemble cast, which includes Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman is excellent, and with THE INCREDIBLE HULK, Letterier proved he could pull off large-scale action. Granted, his CLASH OF THE TITANS reboot was weak, but I'm thinking this is going to come off really well.

14. Lone Ranger- July 3rd

Gore Verbinski's LONE RANGER reboot is one a lot of us here on JoBlo.com are unsure of. Verbinski did a great job with PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN (although less so with the bloated sequels), but a LONE RANGER movie? This was actually tried back in the eighties with disastrous results, although with Johnny Depp as Tonto, and Jerry Bruckheimer producing, you can bet this will be massive. Armie Hammer seems like a fine choice for the titular part, and I'm sure Depp will have fun as Tonto, but I'm still not really sold on this. Hopefully it'll be good enough to launch a fun new franchise.

15. World War Z- June 21st

Marc Foster's tentpole film of Max Brooks' WORLD WAR Z has had no shortage of horror stories emerging from the set, with re-shoots galore adding up to a major delay in this hitting theaters. Hopefully the end result will be worth it. I'm intrigued by Brad Pitt putting in a rare appearance in a genre film, and the trailers seem pretty cool. While it doesn't look like it has too much in common with Brooks' book, I'm hoping WWZ will be a classy zombie flick, although this seems like it could go either way.

16. White House Down - June 28th

OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN defied all expectations and emerged as one of winter 2013's big sleeper hits. However, it's arguably the smaller of the two "DIE HARD IN THE WHITE HOUSE" movies out this year, with this coming from disaster movie maestro Roland Emmerich. While his movies are frequently dumb, they're often also very entertaining. With newly minted megastar Channing Tatum playing the reluctant, John McClane-esque hero (complete with undershirt) and Jamie Foxx as a very Obama-styled president, this one looks like goofy fun- just what you'd expect from Emmerich.

17. Red 2- July 19th

While RED was a nifty little sleeper hit, I'm still not convinced it merits a sequel. However, after grossing nearly 100 million in the US alone, a follow-up seemed like a given, and Bruce Willis is back, along with the whole gang of retired spies, including Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox and an always entertaining John Malkovich. Willis' G.I JOE_ RETALIATION co-star Lee Byung-hun, along with Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones are also on board, and hopefully RED 2 will deliver the goods. At the very least, it unites two Hannibal Lecter's with Hopkins apparently sharing a few scenes with MANHUNTER's Cox.

18. R.I.P.D- July 19th

It's odd that Robert Schwentke's R.I.P.D opens opposite RED 2, as he directed the original RED, and is now pitted against a franchise he helped launch. Until last week R.I.P.D seemed like a big question mark, as the trailer only hit a few days ago. How does it look? Not great actually, with it seeming a little too much like MEN IN BLACK of the afterlife, although I have faith that Jeff Briges, playing a very-Rooster Cogburn-esque hero, alongside Ryan Reynolds will make this worth watching. We'll see.

19. Monsters University- June 21st

Another year, another Pixar movie. While their recent run has been curiously weak (for Pixar anyway) with CARS 2 and BRAVE opening to surprisingly mixed-reviews, I have no doubt MONSTERS UNIVERSITY will another mega-hit. Billy Crystal and John Goodman are back as the most cuddly movie monsters of all time, Mike and Sulley, with this being a prequel to MONSTERS INC., set in their college days. While I'm not sure MONSTERS INC., needed a sequel, I have no doubt this will at least be pretty good, and heck, coming from Pixar it has a better than average chance of being great.

20. 2 Guns - August 2nd

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg team up for the first time in 2 GUNS, a movie that reunites Wahlberg with his CONTRABAND director Baltasar Kormakur. I'm all for a good buddy-action movie, and I'm sure Washington and Wahlberg are going to nail the love/hate chemistry. Hopefully this will be a cool, R-rated action flick that will be a nice break from some of the more teen-oriented tent-pole movies. Washington's a pretty consistent draw, and his movies are always worth checking out. Wahlberg is a little more hit-and-miss, but when he's good, he's damn good, This looks like fun.

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