Gird Your Loins: The 2017 Summer Movie Season Is Upon Us

With the upcoming release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, this weekend marks the beginning of Hollywood's summer blockbuster season. Traditionally, the most anticipated studio releases kicked off in late May, but this event has tracked earlier in recent years, with many films considered tentpoles hitting screens as early as March (Logan, Kong: Skull Island).

The reality is, only the dead winter of January/February and the end of summer — when kids are back in school and everyone has migraines from enduring several months of 3-D green-screen and Dolby Atmos — are generally free of big-budget releases. So stock up on your headache meds, because we're in for a loud four months.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (May 5)
I'll have a review up Friday, but I'll give you a little foreshadowing: If the amount of screen time Baby Groot had in the trailers made you cringe, you may want to find something else to do this weekend.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12)
Having only read the briefest of synopses concerning Guy Ritchie's reimagining of the origin of Arthur and his Knights of the Red Bull Round Table, I think it's safe to say Monty Python's version is probably more accurate. Though it still might be worth watching just to hear Charlie Hunnam's Arthur ask Bedivere, "Dost thou even lyft, brethere?"

Alien: Covenant (May 19)
There hasn't been a good movie set in the Alien universe since 1986, but I remain confident watching another group of astronauts and scientists behave with an utter lack of situational awareness and common sense will be just the thing to get the franchise back on track.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)
The continued existence of the PotC movies is explained both by their nearly $4 billion box-office gross and Johnny "Captain Jack Sparrow" Depp's startlingly profligate lifestyle. At this point, the only thing keeping me going is my belief that there's an alternate universe where Donald Trump was born in Kenya and Dredd has five sequels.

Baywatch (May 26)
In an episode of the IFC series Brockmire, the title character's moribund career is about to be revived by a prime-time interview that is pre-empted by the discovery of a Taylor Swift/Drake sex tape. My wife and I took the opportunity to talk about how David Hasselhoff's big comeback pay-per-view concert was similarly torpedoed by O.J. Simpson's Bronco chase. What I'm saying is, Hasselhoff has to have a cameo in this, right?

Wonder Woman (June 2)
We’re less than a month from the release of the first female superhero movie since 2005’s Elektra, and if you’re thinking, “Huh, I haven’t been seeing much about it,” you’re not wrong. Rumors of a troubled production and DC’s track record at the movies aren’t helping, but I’m still taking my daughters.

Meanwhile, I saw three Transformers ads during the Rockets-Spurs game Monday night.

The Mummy (June 9)
I understand this is the first of several planned “Universal Monsters” movies, so let me throw this out there: Mummies aren’t scary. Vampires? Werewolves? Modern Prometheus…es? All quite frightening. But mummies in their original form were so boring they had to be retconned (in 1999’s The Mummy and ever since) into having shapeshifting and meteorological abilities. But not to worry, Tom Cruise is joining forces with a mysterious organization to save us. I believe its initials are "AARP."

Cars 3 (June 16)
After a jaunt across the Atlantic in order to, well, nobody really knows what the hell was going on in Cars 2, Lightning McQueen, Mater and…the rest return to what they do best: perpetuate the myth that NASCAR is entertaining.

Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)
A friend of mine once said sitting through the Transformers movies was like “watching two junkyards fucking,” and every review I’ve written of any of those movies since has felt superfluous.

Despicable Me 3 (June 30)
The Minions have officially overtaken the Kardashians as the annoyingly ubiquitous pop-culture fixtures we’d like to see cleansed by holy fire, and you have the Despicable Me movies to thank for that. What's worse: you're still going to go see this.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
Despite the fact Marvel gave us the best wall-crawler since 2004 in Captain America: Civil War, maybe six Spidey entries in 15 years (and still no Black Widow movie, and Captain Marvel isn’t coming until 2019) is enough.

War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)
Guys, I’ll be honest: After the past few months, a planet of apes sounds like an improvement.

Dunkirk (July 21)
Every summer needs one movie considered for awards other than visual effects and sound editing, though Dunkirk will probably be nominated for a few of those as well. This is Christopher Nolan’s first feature since 2014’s Interstellar, so expectations are high (spoiler: Most of the BEF makes it back to England).

The Dark Tower (July 28)
Idris Elba straps on the six-guns in this long-anticipated adaptation of that Stephen King series I never finished reading. Matthew McConaughey is also on board as the Man in Black who smiles enigmatically at the rain and drives a Lincoln. Probably

Atomic Blonde (July 28)
David Leitch (co-director of John Wick) making a Cold War action/spy thriller with Charlize Theron is exactly the kind of project for which the expression “shut up and take my money” was invented. For me, anyway.

Baby Driver (August 11)
Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz director Edgard Wright’s latest has an unfortunate title, but promises more of Wright’s frenetic editing and unique eye for action. Ansel Elgort plays the titular getaway driver, Lily James is his true love, and Jon Hamm is also in it for some reason.

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