Pop Off: Summer Movie Preview

Paul Rudd, who helped write the screenplay, is replacing Simon Pegg as the lead in Marvel's Ant-Man. Photo courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com.
Paul Rudd, who helped write the screenplay, is replacing Simon Pegg as the lead in Marvel’s Ant-Man. Photo courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com.

 

Are there really only two weeks left until finals week, a.k.a. the end of year a.k.a. my graduation and the end of my tenure at The Daily Campus? That came up faster than the death of the parents in a Disney movie. Normally for the last column of every semester, I do a summer or winter preview and pick a few movies that, from trailers and news, seem to be worth seeing. Half the time I’m terribly wrong, and this is my last chance not to be. Because I would like to write something a little more sentimental next week, the look ahead will be this week. So here are a few upcoming flicks you should (probably) make time to see once school lets out.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” Okay fine, technically this one comes out May 1, but since that’s the Friday before finals begin, you’re not going to have time to see it anyway. In case you haven’t heard, the sequel to the highest grossing movie of all time is coming out. This time around Tony Stark has programmed an omnipotent piece of artificial intelligence named Ultron to maintain peace on Earth by any means necessary. Being a program that learns as it goes, guess what realization it comes to about the cause of destruction on the planet. Yup, it’s good ol’ mankind. Now The Avengers, along with newcomers Quicksilver (Aaron-Taylor Johnson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) are back to bicker amongst themselves and save the day.

More than just a sequel, “Age of Ultron” marks another step in the growth of the juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which allows characters to hop about between franchises and series. Anthony Mackie, who appeared as Falcon in the second “Captain America” film will reprise his role here, as will other recurring Marvel figures including Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill and Nick Fury. In terms of anticipating quality, of all the blockbusters coming out, this one is the safest best.

“Ant-Man” Hey look, another Marvel superhero movie. At least this one does something new, sort of. “Ant-Man” is the story of Scott Lang, a professional thief who is granted his ticket to freedom to take part in an experiment that will give him abnormal power and a shot at redemption. That old and tired formula is saved by his superpower being the ability the shrink in size to that of, well, an ant, and gain strength for every cubic inch he loses in size. Lang’s mentor is an entomologist played by Michael Douglas, which means we do get to see him literally leading an army of ants. “Ant-Man” is being directed by the very talented Edgar Wright, who made “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” and “Shaun of the Dead.” It’s a bummer that the original lead, Simon Pegg, withdrew from the film. But his replacement, the ageless Paul Rudd, who also played a role in writing the screenplay, is equally worth getting excited about.

“Inside Out” After last year saw a rare absence of Pixar in the release schedule and two sequels the years prior, they are back with “Inside Out.” Joining “Brave” as the only Pixar films with female leads, “Inside Out” takes place primarily within the mind of young girl struggling to cope with the stresses of moving to a new city and school. Her emotions program her thoughts and reactions, until two, Joy and Sadness, get lost in the other machinations of her brain. The casting of the emotions is so perfect it’s almost obvious. Amy Poehler voices Joy, Lewis Black is Anger, and Mindy Kaling is Disgust. Pixar has an unmatched ability of making viewers melt in their seats with the emotion they draw from their characters. I look forward “Inside Out” making my insides feel like the feathers of a worn pillow.

“Pan” There have been numerous incarnations of Peter Pan in film, but the new fantasy epic coming in July looks like the classic story’s equivalent to the original “Star Wars.” An origin story beginning with Peter (Levi Miller) as a rebellious orphan, the new “Pan” gives us a more comprehensive look at Neverland, the Picaninny tribe (with Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily) and their clashes with pirates. Hugh Jackman plays Blackbeard, while the role of Hook, beginning as a much more innocent character, will be played by Garrett Hedlund. Director Joe Wight (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Atonement”) will be making his first family film, and if nothing else, “Pan” looks more visually stunning than “Avatar” and “Interstellar” combined.

“Jurassic World” I’m so happy to have this as the next “Jurassic Park” film instead of the “Jurassic Park 4” that was talked about throughout the 2000s, that would have had to build off of two underperforming sequels. Chris Pratt, maybe the most likeable actor working today, has yet another lead role that will earn him millions of dollars and fans. The plot doesn’t look to be all that dissimilar from the beloved original, with the dinosaur theme park actually open and functioning when a new hybrid species of dinosaur (which draws from the same initial moral of messing with the fabric of nature) decides to go on a feeding spree. Even two kids are involved in the chaos due to a family relation with a park executive. Thin story aside, I have little doubt Pratt will be able to carry the film, and if the dinosaur effects were as great as they were in 1993, it’s hard to perceive how jaw dropping they will be in 2015.

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