Sizzling summer blockbusters to look forward to

The summer has traditionally been a season dense with entertainment, and 2016 is no exception. Hollywood, as per usual, is rolling out its heavy hitters just as the weather starts to get warm, and audiences can expect a crop of pictures brimming with CGI, pyrotechnics and often so-so acting. Cerebral these films are not, but there is an undeniable appeal to watching super heroes save the world from maniacal villains and enormous robots punch each other. The Daily recommends that you see at least some of these movies in between job hunting, interning or even just to add variety to an aggressive relaxation schedule.

Suicide Squad

Release Date: Aug. 5

Directed by “Fury” (2015) maestro David Ayer, “Suicide Squad” follows a band of supervillains from the DC universe who are sent on a secret, world-saving mission by the government in exchange for clemency.

The premise of the film is intriguing, as villains are often forced to play second fiddle to heroes who inevitably defeat them. “Suicide Squad” also features an all-star cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie are stand outs, but this list of Hollywood heavyweights is sullied by the unfortunate addition of the painfully wooden Jai Courtney.

With the exception of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman”(2005 – 2012) trilogy, DC’s cinematic efforts have been undeniably heinous and have paled in comparison to the sprawling and adored film universe that Marvel has crafted over the past decade. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016), DC’s latest attempt at cinematic competence, received a critical kicking after its release in March and raised the question of why DC continues to squander its roster of fantastic characters.

Despite DC’s awful cinematic record, there is hope that “Suicide Squad” could break the litany of train wrecks that proceeded it.  If Jared Leto can put his own spin on the Joker, a character that Heath Ledger built into a cultural phenomenon, and, if Ayer can bring the gritty intensity that defined “Fury,” “Suicide Squad” might actually be worth watching. Or it could degenerate into ham-fisted character studies and meditations on why villains are villainous; only time will tell.

X-Men Apocalypse

Release Date: May 27

The “X-Men” films have been a mixed bag since the series debuted in 2000. Bryan Singer directed the first two excellent films in the series before director Brett Ratner took over and bungled “X-Men: The Last Stand” in 2006. The fourth “X-Men” film, a spin-off entitled “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” was a cinematic crime.

Thankfully, the series turned itself around in 2011 with the release of “X-Men: First Class,” a surprisingly fun prequel set during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Follow-up “X-Men: Days of Future Past” was also well received, despite having perhaps the silliest (and most accurate) title of all time.

The next installment in the series, “X-Men: Apocalypse,” sees the X-Men face off against Apocalypse, the first mutant. The film stars James McAvoy, as professor Charles Xavier, and Michael Fassbender, as Magneto, as they take the reins respectively from series stalwarts Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who were featured in “First Class” as alternate timeline versions of the characters.

Director Bryan Singer’s record with the “X-Men” series is unimpeachable, and, hence, moviegoers can be rest assured that “Apocalypse” will be worth the price of admission.

Warcraft

Release Date: June 10

The outrageous success of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game “World of Warcraft” (2004) sparked a moral panic among the uninformed and turned the series into the butt of many jokes. Despite being overshadowed by “World Of Warcraft’s” success, the “Warcraft” series has a rich lore primarily woven by writer and voice actor Chris Metzen, meaning the series is chock-full of stories aching to play out on the big screen. The upcoming “Warcraft” movie chronicles events that happened prior to those depicted in “World of Warcraft” and features the series’ signature eternal conflict between orcs and humans.

Directed by “Moon” (2009) director Duncan Jones and with a script by Metzen, “Warcraft” has looked visually impressive in the trailers released to date and is certainly based on exciting source material. While there has never been a good video game movie to date, “Warcraft” may change that — or enrage a legion of fans while also disappointing the general public.

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