Memorial Day used to be the traditional start of the summer blockbuster season. However, like a Victoria's Secret model's breasts, that date is getting pushed up every year. For 2013, the first quote-unquote summer entry is May 3's Iron Man 3, while no fewer than six movies will open on Memorial Day weekend proper (two of which will be discussed shortly).
Every summer there are hits (I think most people assumed Marvel's The Avengers would do well, just not *that* well) and disappointments (a less than Amazing Spider-Man), some are surprising, some not so much. Today I'm going to utilize my years of experience at jumping to conclusions based on minimal evidence to predict which of this year's summer offerings will disappoint.
No, seriously, I used science and stuff.
Iron Man 3 (May 3) The Pitch: Focus groups: "We're worried we're spinning our wheels with the millionaire playboy whose tech is so ridiculously advanced it's one step away from magic." Producers: "Add more iron men." Why It Will Suck: Ben Kingsley is capable of making Mickey Rourke look understated. Why It Won't Suck: After the unpleasant Iron Man 2, Jon Favreau is out and Shane Black (of Lethal Weapon and Last Boy Scout fame) is in. Expect lots of smart-assery in between explosions and personal redemption. Wild Card(s): After a harsh regimen of colonics and "cleanses," Paltrow really does need a robot exoskeleton to survive. Verdict: Will not suck.
The Great Gatsby (May 10) The Pitch: "Baz Luhrmann modernizes F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic critique of excess and the erosion of the American dream. Budget: $127 million." Why It Will Suck: After dingoes ate his baby (Australia), Luhrmann appears to be limping back to familiar territory. Why It Won't Suck: Maybe Zero Dark Thirty's Joel Edgerton and Jason Clarke will waterboard Leonardo DiCaprio. Wild Card(s): Will young people's lingering resentment at being forced to read the novel in school overwhelm their curiosity to see DiCaprio smirking for two and a half hours in a tux? Verdict: Will suck.
Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17) The Pitch: "Superhuman bad guy (who's totally not Khan) forces Captain Kirk and company to kick ass, as if they needed prompting." Why It Will Suck: It probably won't; I'm just annoyed we have to wait until the end of the year for the third season of Sherlock. Why It Won't Suck: The first movie, while not really Trek-like, was good fun. And aside from having the British-est name ever, Benedict Cumberbatch is all right. Wild Card(s): Alice Eve bravely continues the strong lingerie-clad heroine tradition started by Zoe Saldana and Diora Baird in the first movie. Verdict: Will not suck.
Fast and Furious 6 (May 24) The Pitch: "Pitch? Fast Five grossed more than $600 million. There's your pitch." Why It Will Suck: As I said in my review of F5, these movies exist outside the spectrum of what we commonly refer to as "good" or "bad." They simply "are." Why It Won't Suck: See above. Wild Card(s): Does Gina Carano beat the shit out of Vin Diesel? That would be a plus. Verdict: It will — and won't — suck. How zen.
The Hangover: Part III (May 24) The Pitch: "Hey, they still bought tickets to the second one, and it was *awful*. What have we got to lose?" Why It Will Suck: Because it wasn't funny the second time? Maybe there'll be a twist: They don't get hungover at all! Why It Won't Suck: Perhaps we'll all get amnesia before Memorial Day. Wild Card(s): The entire endeavor could hinge on the return of Mike Tyson. Or maybe not. Verdict: Will suck.
After Earth (June 7) The Pitch: "You thought the West was wild before, wait until you see it 1,000 years in the future!" Why It Will Suck: Three words (actually two words and an initial): M. Night Shyamalan. Why It Won't Suck: Will Smith plays "Cypher Raige." That was actually the name of my first Shadowrun character. Wild Card(s): Did we maniacs blow it up? Damn us all to hell. Verdict: Will suck.
Man of Steel (June 14) The Pitch: "The Superman movie that will make you forget that last Superman movie." Why It Will Suck: Far be it from us to judge a film by its trailer, but the Man of Steel doesn't appear to do a lot of leaping tall buildings, etc., etc. Why It Won't Suck: Michael Shannon as General Zod? Great Caesar's ghost! Wild Card(s): How good Man of Steel ultimately ends up being will be inversely proportional to how long Henry Cavill sports that beard. Verdict: Will not suck.
Monsters University (June 21) The Pitch: "It's been 12 years! Everybody must be wondering what happened to Mike and Sully and Boo!" "The film is a prequel taking place ten years earlier." "...well, shit." Why It Will Suck: The target audience for this wasn't even alive when the first movie came out, so I'm not bothered much by the prequel aspect. However, they shouldn't be trying to replace James Coburn as Mr. Waternoose. Why It Won't Suck: The Cars movies aside, Pixar's track record is pretty solid. Wild Card(s): Do we finally figure out why the Abominable Snowman was banished? Verdict: Will not suck.
World War Z (June 21) The Pitch: "Brad Pitt vs. zombies. Hold my calls while I use a rolled up sheet of ""inverted Jennys" to snort this eight ball." Why It Will Suck: Watching the trailer, I was reminded less of remorseless undead hordes and more of what would happen if someone spilled a few thousand Barrels of Monkeys. Why It Won't Suck: The book, written by Max Brooks, is solid. It remains to be seen how much screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan was allowed to leave in. Wild Card(s): They tried to hire Lost's David Lindelof to write the ending. You read that right. Verdict: Will suck. And bite.
The Lone Ranger (July 3) The Pitch: "Hollywood's so so bereft of ideas we're recycling 60-year-old politically incorrect TV shows. Next up: Hogan's Heroes!" Why It Will Suck: This movie has been in development hell, delayed, abandoned and shuffled around so much that I'm pretty sure the only thing keeping it from going straight to DVD is the fact Johnny Depp's in it. Why It Won't Suck: Depp was good in Dead Man, a seriously great Western. Wild Card(s): Helena Bonham-Carter's in this? Is Tim Burton a producer (no, he's not)? Verdict: Will hi-yo suck.
Grown Ups 2 (July 12) The Pitch: "Adult men peeing in a pool is never not hilarious. Wait; it's not never hilarious. No, give me a second..." Why It Will Suck: Because Adam Sandler hasn't done anything remotely funny since 1998, David Spade since 1995 and Kevin James since ever. Why It Won't Suck: You might be gut shot by a Juggalo on the way into the theater, who then proceeds to urinate on your rapidly cooling corpse, that could be worse. Or better, considering you wouldn't actually have to sit through Grown Ups 2. Wild Card(s): No Rob Schneider this time around. That's something. Verdict: Will suck a golf ball through a garden hose.
Pacific Rim (July 12) The Pitch: "Wait, why didn't we think of giant mechs fighting Godzilla before?" Why It Will Suck: Come on, it isn't like movies about giant robots have ever been terrible. Why It Won't Suck: If that shot of the Jaeger rocket punching a giant beast didn't make you squeal with delight, you obviously didn't play with the same toys I did as a kid. Wild Card(s): I just want this to be good so Guillermo Del Toro finally makes At the Mountains of Madness. Verdict: Please don't let it suck.
Turbo (July 17) The Pitch/Why It Will Suck: "The film features an ordinary garden snail whose dream to become the fastest snail in the world comes true." Why It Won't Suck: Paul Giamatti plays Turbo's "careful older brother" Chet. Wild Card(s): DreamWorks Animation is producing better movies of late, Rise of the Guardians notwithstanding. Verdict: Will suck. Slowly.
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The Wolverine (July 26) The Pitch: "Let's be honest, nobody cares about any of those other X-Men." Why It Will Suck: Have you seen this? Or this? Or this? Why It Won't Suck: It can't be worse than the first movie, but the more I see the less I like. Wild Card(s): Jean Grey is in it. Cyclops won't be happy about that. Verdict: Will suck. Or "snuckt."
Elysium (August 9) The Pitch: "The 1 Percent finally figured out how to avoid the unwashed masses: leave the planet." Why It Will Suck: Look, I like Matt Damon as much as anyone, but he's at his least effective when promoting his agenda (Green Zone). This one seems particularly blatant. Why It Won't Suck: It's directed by District 9's Neill Blomkamp. I remain optimistic. Wild Card(s): Bald Matt Damon: yea or nay? Also, Jodie Foster's previous foray into sci-fi wasn't very compelling. Verdict: Ask again later.