This weekend, the release of the big-budget action spectacle Furious 7 kicks off blockbuster season to an early start. Movies released from now until the fall aren’t all the types of films you’ll be hearing about during Oscar season, but even if they’re not exactly critical darlings, you can still have a good time at the movies.
Here’s a look at some summer blockbusters we’re actually looking forward to seeing. Get your popcorn ready.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel’s Avengers franchise knows exactly what it is and what its fans want: Star-studded, action-scene eye candy, laced with witty one-liners and superhero banter. Age of Ultron probably won’t be the next Dark Knight, but it should still be a lot of fun.
For a film based on a dated Disney park, Tomorrowland looks promising. And, considering Lost mastermind Damon Lindelof is the script’s co-writer, the George Clooney sci-fi epic could have some darker twists than your average Disney adventure.
Let Hope Rise
Worship band Hillsong United is coming to the big screen in this music doc directed by Michael John Warren (a filmmaker who has made music documentaries about Jay-Z, Drake, Nicki Minaj and others). Along with live music and concert footage, the film also examines how Sydney’s Hillsong church gained such massive global influence, attracting tens of thousands of attendees every week.
Cameron Crowe’s first major movie since 2011, Aloha has all the makings of another Crowe classic: A great cast (Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, Danny McBride), great music (as evidenced by The Cold War Kids playing song playing during the trailer) and a protagonist trying to make a comeback (ala his acclaimed Jerry Maguire).
San Andreas has everything you could possibly want in a guilty pleasure summer disaster movie: Huge special effects; wide-spread destruction; The Rock. Seriously, did you see him host SNL? The Rock can do no wrong.
Love & Mercy
Not all biopics are created equal, but this one telling the story of Beach Boys songwriter and leader Brian Wilson is unconventional in the best way possible. Wilson remains one of rock and roll’s most fascinating figures, and if there’s any musician’s life that warrants a Hollywood adaptation, it’s him.
Dinosaurs. Chris Pratt. Motorcycles. What more does a summer blockbuster need?
Disney/Pixar’s latest may be their most creative idea yet, starring the personified emotions inside the head of a young girl. Pixar has a knack for making animated films that are kid-friendly, but also really fun for adults, and with a fantastic cast of voices (Amy Poehler as joy, The Office‘s Phyllis Smith as sadness, Bill Hader as fear, Lewis Black as anger and Mindy Kaling as disgust), it looks like Inside Out will be no exception.
Let’s face it, a man that can shrink and control ants is an incredibly lame superhero. But, with a sense of self-awareness and the always affable Paul Rudd in the lead roll, it’s hard not to at least be curious as to how Ant-Man will play out.
In an era of superhero endless epics and superhero reboots, its not easy to create one that stands out. But thanks to a decidedly young cast of rising stars—Michael B. Jordan (Parenthood, Friday Night Lights), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Miles Teller (Whiplash)—Fantastic Four is maybe the next generation’s great Marvel franchise.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.