2014's Summer Blockbusters: Previews

How this year's big releases are shaping up so far

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Cinema: one mankind's most important, powerful and transformative artforms.

Except when it isn't. Except when it's an excuse to rally up some pals, hit your local multiplex, blow 6 quid on Time Crisis then head into the darkness to enjoy having your face torn off by two and half hours of computer generated nonsense.

Blockbuster season, in other words – or 'Summer', as it is also known. 

Here, we look ahead to this year's web-slinging, planet exploding silliness to judge how each of the big releases are shaping up so far. The trailers are all here, too.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – 18 April

Reasons to be excited
Jamie Foxx should bring some menace to this year’s line up of bad guys as Electro. Paul Giamatti is an interesting choice as The Rhino.

Reason to be worried
This is the fifth Spidey film since 2002. We can feel the fatigue setting in already. Also, we know PP is meant to be a ‘nice guy’ but Andrew Garfield makes Tobey Maguire look like Vinnie Jones.

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Godzilla – 16 May

Reasons to be excited
British director Gareth Edwards has promising disaster movie credentials: if Godzilla is half as inventive as 2010’s Monsters, he’ll be onto a winner. This is also the first time post-Breaking Bad we’ll get to spend some quality time with Bryan Cranston, which may be worth the admission price alone.

Reasons to worry
Is there really much mileage left in a giant radioactive monster franchise that peaking during the 60s, when special effects (and the threat of nuclear war) were a far bigger deal? Hopefully. But we’re still scarred by 1998’s Puff Daddy-soundtracked effort.


X-Men: Days Of Future Past – 22 May

Reasons to be excited
An embarrassment of riches on the casting front: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and old pals Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart return, while James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and – best of all – Jennifer Lawrence join. Most importantly, Matthew Vaughn has stayed on as director after a strong showing whith X-Men: First Class in 2011.

Reasons to worry
Have you ever seen a more depressing trailer for a superhero movie? Also, the name makes it sound like a quaint BBC sitcom about the antics in a Blackpool retirement home. Otherwise, we’re optimistic.


The Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes – 23 May

Reasons to be excited
Director Matt Reeve’s last two films – Let Me In (2010) and Cloverfield (2008) – showed an ability to subvert genre formulas, so this shouldn’t be killer-apes-by-numbers. Also, the monkeys look great. Also: Gary Oldman.

Reasons to worry
Aside from a strange lack of hype, none as yet.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – 6 June

Reasons to be excited
Megan Fox. Aside from that we’re struggling. Nostalgia? Waiting to see who they cast as Bebop and Rocksteady?

Reasons to be worried
Where to start. TMNT was such a ludicrous premise in the first place, giving it even a semi-serious make over seems like certain folly (an early draft of screenplay leaked online and was met by wide spread derision). Michael Bay produces, which hasn’t been a good sign for a long time. And it’s directed by the guy who brought us Battle: Los Angeles. Finally, in the trailer, Raphael and the boys look sort of, well, rubbish.


Jupiter Ascending – 25 July

Reasons to be excited
First off it’s not a sequel, reboot or superhero movie, which, combined with the fact it’s the first original screenplay by the Wachowski Brothers since their last Matrix installment, could mean it contains an original idea or two. Mila Kunis stars as a woman from earth who may be royalty on another planet.

Reasons to worry
The Brothers, fresh on the heels of the disappointing Cloud Atlas, have described this as a ‘sci-fi space opera’, which we hate for a reason we can’t quite put our fingers on yet.


Guardians Of The Galaxy – 1 August

Reasons to be excited
Now here’s an interesting one. No, not just because it’s about a set of Marvel characters you haven’t heard of yet, but because it’s clearly a comic book movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which in the post-Christopher Nolan Batman era is refreshing to say the least. Good cast too: John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close and the gorgeous Zoe Saldana to name but a few.

Reasons to worry
From what we know so far: none. But if this attempt to launch a new superhero franchise flops, expect the studios to scuttle back to their financial comfort zones and churn out Spider / Bat / Super men films until they’re in double digits.


The Expendable 3 – 15 August

Reasons to be excited
It’s easy to be cynical about Stallone’s never ending last hurrah for himself and his 80s action movie buddies, but tell us this teaser trailer doesn’t put a smile on your face. And just try and read this cast list without getting a little bit excited: Statham, Li, Lundgren, Schwarzenegger, Gibson, Ford, Snipes, Banderas. Oh, and Kelsey Grammer.

Reasons to worry
As predictable and comforting as popping round your nans, there is little to fear from this series besides one of the cast keeling over with a heart attack halfway through the action. But they’d surely edit that bit out.


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