The summer movie season is upon us yet again, and despite the somewhat lackluster theater going experiences of the last few years (with some notable exceptions, of course) 2011 promises to kick off a bright and promising future for fans of the superhero and sci-fi genres in particular.

Flicks like Thor, X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern and Captain America will keep our weekends full of excitement as we try to determine of the winner of this summer’s Superhero showdown. However, even with that whirlwind competition going on, the summer’s greatest event may in fact be the culmination of a decade-long cinematic journey with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. If you haven’t seen the first trailer for that film yet… prepare to get goosebumps. Sci-fi fans will be kept busy as well, thanks to films like Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Jon Favreau’s genre mashup Cowboys & Aliens.

In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize that there is a lot to get goose fleshed about this year in terms of movies – whether they’re the good kind of goose bumps or the bad kind will depend on the viewer.

What I do know is that even if you’re not a comic book, sci-fi or fantasy movie fan, summer 2011 still offers plenty of promising looking films. Action fans will get their motors running with films like Fast Five or Conan The Barbarian; comedy fans of both genders will get two ways to laugh at the idea of matrimony thanks to The Hangover Part II and Bridesmaids, respectively.

You can check out the list of summer films month by month by clicking any of the links below, or click “View All” at the bottom of the page to get a picture of the 2011 Summer Movie Season in its entirety. Being that we are an editorial site, we’ve included our impression about each film along with each movie’s synopsis. Feel free to debate our opinions in the comment section below.

The 2011 Summer Movie Preview

Also if you want a good look at what these movies are going to be like, be sure to check out our Ultimate 2011 Summer Movie Trailer, which combines trailers for at least two dozen of the movies listed below!

NOTE: Click on any movie title in the preview for more information on that film.



Fast Five

Fast Five Review Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

April 29th

Synopsis: Dominic (Vin Diesel) and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent (Dwayne Johnson). Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris co-star.

Our Take: Summer officially beings in April this year, and Fast Five looks to certainly kick things off in high gear (our review of Fast Five). By now you should know if you’re a fan of the franchise or not – but even if Fast and the Furious hasn’t been your cup of tea until now, you should know that the franchise is officially making the jump from street racing to general action. Take that how you will.

May 2011


Chris Hemsworth as Thor Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

May 6th

Synopsis: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders. Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Rene Russo, Jamie Alexander, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, and Colm Feore all co-star.

Our Take: From what we’ve seen, Thor looks to be another solid (maybe great) release from Marvel Studios. Early reviews claim the movie is close to Iron Man in terms of its balance of action and humor, featuring some standout performances by lead actors Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston (as Thor and Loki, respectively).

Something Borrowed

May 6th

Synopsis: Friendships are tested and secrets come to the surface when terminally single Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) falls for Dex (Colin Egglesfield), her best friend Darcy’s (Kate Hudson) fiancé. Based on the bestselling non-fiction book.

Our Take: The book has a lot of fans, but as far as the movie goes, Something Borrowed looks like your standard Kate Hudson rom-com to us.


Bridesmaids movie Cast Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

May 13th

Synopsis: Two women (Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne) compete to plan their friend’s wedding party.  Jon Hamm, Ellie Kemper, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey  and Maya Rudolph co-star.

Out Take: Comparisons to The Hangover are inevitable, but we have a sneaking suspicion that Bridesmaids could end up being the sleeper comedy hit of Summer 2011.


Priest trailer 3 with Paul Bettany Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

May 13th

Synopsis: In a dystopian future, a warrior priest (Paul Bettany) disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece. Karl Urban, Maggie Q and Christopher Plummer co-star.

Our Take: This movie has been sitting on the shelf for over a year, which means that the finished product is likely not all that great. The fact that the film was directed by the guy who did Legion doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence either.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean 4 featurette Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

May 20th

Synopsis: Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter (Penélope Cruz) are after it too.

Our Take: Director Rob Marshall (Chicago) is said to have done a good job taking the Pirates of the Caribbean back to what originally made it great: a focused standalone story mixing action and adventure, with comedic hijinks provided by Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. If that assessment is true, than On Stranger Tides will be a welcome addition to the summer movie season.

The Hangover Part II

The Hangover 2 tv spots Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

May 26th

Synopsis: Through a series of fantastic (and funny) events, the boys from The Hangover find themselves once again waking up from a blackout night of partying – this time in exotic locale of Thailand. Hilarity once again ensues.

Our Take: The first trailer painted The Hangover 2 as a basic rehash of its predecessor, only with slightly tweaked jokes and a new setting for the raunchy humor. Only question is: is there enough water left in this well to make audiences laugh out loud again?

Kung Fu Panda 2

kung fu panda 2 furious five Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

May 27th

Synopsis: Po (voice of Jack Black) joins forces with a group of new Kung Fu masters to take on an old enemy with a deadly new weapon. Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu, Jackie Chan, David Cross, James Woods, Jean-Cluade Van Damme, Victor Garber, James Hong, and Michelle Yeoh all lend their voices.

Our Take: The original Kung Fu Panda was an unexpected (and very pleasant) surprise from DreamWorks Animation. The sequel is facing the same challenge as The Hangover 2 (being a rehash of the original), but factors like Charlie Kaufman working on the script and some truly epic action featured in the trailer, make KFP2 one of the more intriguing releases of the summer.

Tree of Life

tree of life still 2 Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

May 27th (Limited Release)

Synopsis: Terrence Malick’s latest film centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain star.

Our Take: Malick is the sort of artistic director who tends to split audiences right down the love/hate divide. There’s a good chance that Tree of Life will continue that trend, though the imagery in the trailer is truly gorgeous for the most part.

June Movies…

June 2011

X-Men: First Class

X Men First Class Trailer 2 Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

June 3rd

Synopsis: Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were arch enemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

Our Take: First Class may be the biggest wildcard in the summer 2011 lineup. Most of the marketing and promotion for the film has been terrible (see the amateur-looking Photoshop posters) and the storyline takes many liberties with the X-Men movie/comic continuity… but still, the trailers have been somewhat impressive and McAvoy and Fassbender certainly seem to be the glue holding this film together.

Super 8

Elle Fanning in Super 8 movie Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

June 10th

Synopsis: In this J.J. Abrams homage to classic sci-fi films, a group of kids accidentally capture footage of a mysterious creature via 8 mm film. Action, mystery and adventure ensue.

Our Take: The latest trailers suggest that Super 8 is going to be that healthy mix of exciting thrills and genuine sentimentality that has defined the best of Steven Spielberg’s work, and is shaping J.J. Abrams’ career as well. Count us in.

Green Lantern

greenlanternmoviebanner Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

June 17th

Synopsis: A test pilot (Ryan Reynolds) is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe. Blake Lively, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard co-star.

Our Take: A few weeks back, we would’ve said that Green Lantern had all the hallmarks of a major disappointment. What a difference a trailer makes. With some noticeably improved CGI effects and a more serious tone being revealed, Green Lantern now has the potential to be THE blockbuster movie event of summer 2011.

Bad Teacher

June 17th

Synopsis: A comedy centered around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher (Cameron Diaz) who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague (Justin Timberlake) — a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher (Jason Segel).

Our Take: At first glance, this film looks like Bad Santa leftovers. Watching former off-screen couple Diaz and Timberlake feign onscreen romance isn’t the greatest selling point either…

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

June 17th

Synopsis: The life of a businessman (Jim Carrey) begins to change after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland, his professional side starts to unravel. Carla Gugino and Angela Lansbury co-star.

Our Take: Should be a cute, fun family film – one that allows Carrey to do what he does best (read: NOT dramatic roles).

Cars 2

June 24th

Synopsis: Racing star Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) teams up with his best friend Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) for an international adventure as they go up against the world’s fastest cars. Michael Keaton, Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Joe Mantegna, Cheech Marin and Jason Isaacs lend voices.

Our Take: In a summer filled with such promise, ironically enough this is one of the weakest Pixar offerings in years (which still makes it a good film). The Cars franchise appeals almost exclusively to kids, and Pixar’s usual penchant for telling poignant and profound stories in fun ways takes a back seat to a merchandising campaign. To be fair though, some clever spy movie satire should make Cars 2 more fun for adults than its predecessor was.

July Movies…

July 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers 3 Trailer 2 Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

July 1st

Synopsis: The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers’ final battle.

Our Take: Dark of the Moon appears to have the best action sequences of any Transformers movie to date. As for a coherent script and a better (read: less cheesy) tone? We’ll have to wait and see.  We want to be optimistic, but Michael Bay burned us pretty badly with Revenge of the Fallen. Consider us cautiously hopeful for now.

Larry Crowne

Larry Crowne Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

July 1st

Synopsis: After losing his job, a middle-aged man (Tom Hanks) reinvents himself by going back to college. Julia Roberts, Bryan Cranston, Wilmer Valderrama, Taraji P. Henson, Cedric the Entertainer and Pam Grier star.

Our Take: We don’t know much about this film, but it’s hard to go wrong with Hanks (and to a lesser extent, Roberts). The supporting cast is pretty great as well, so this one could be good.

Horrible Bosses

July 8th

Synopsis: Three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston and Donald Sutherland star.

Our Take: You never know which summer comedy is going to breakout and be a sleeper hit. Horrible Bosses may claim that prize with its solid cast of funny people…but for right now our money is on Bridesmaids.


July 8th

Synopsis: The animals at one particular zoo decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zookeeper (Kevin James) gain the attention of one particular woman. Rosario Dawson, Ken Jeong, Leslie Bibb and Donnie Wahlberg star; Sylvester Stallone, Adam Sandler, Jon Favreau, Cher, Judd Apatow and Faizon Love voice the animals.

Our Take: It’s a Kevin James comedy film. Should be fun if the entire family is looking for a good time at the movies. Plenty of other comedies this summer if you like your humor to be more edgy.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

deathly hallows part 2 header Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

July 15th

Synopsis: The end begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione go back to Hogwarts to find and destroy Voldemort’s final horcruxes, but when Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.

Our Take: This is going to be the epic, gut-wrenching finale to a decade-long cinematic journey. What else is there to say? Go get your tickets NOW!

Winnie the Pooh

July 15th

Synopsis: The beloved honey-loving Bear and his friends are back in a new big-screen adventure. Jim Cummings voices Pooh and Tigger, with Craig Ferguson, John Cleese and Tom Keeny also lending their voices.

Our Take: How can seeing Winnie the Pooh NOT fill you with a sense of nostalgia? This should be some good ol’ fashioned 2D animation fun for the kids.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America movie in Modern Era Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

July 22nd

Synopsis: After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America’s ideals. Samuel L. Jackson, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, Neal McDonough and Toby Jones co-star.

Our Take: This movie is another big wild card in the summer 2011 lineup. The trailers so far have hinted at a solid story, but we haven’t yet seen much in the way of action. For now, we remain optimistic – Chris Evans seems to be doing his role as Steve Rogers justice, so that’s a plus.

Friends With Benefits

Friends with Benefits trailer with Justin Timberlake and MIla Kunis Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

July 22nd

Synopsis: The relationship between two friends (Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake) gets complicated when they decide to get romantic. Emma Stone, Rashida Jones, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Clarkson, Andy Samberg, Richard Jenkins and Jenna Elfman co-star.

Our Take: This is basically another version of the Ashton Kutcher/Natalie Portman film No Strings Attached. If you are fan of the new “casual sex rom-com” sub-genre, then Friends With Benefits (and its two pretty leads) should be a good experience for you.

Cowboys & Aliens

July 29th

Synopsis: A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way. Daniel Craig, Olivia Wilde, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, Noah Ringer and Paul Dano star.

Our Take: Despite a silly title that may discourage movie-goers, Jon Favreau looks to have done a proper genre mashup that will be both pleasing as a Western and a sci-fi flick. The trailers have certainly made the film look pretty awesome. Should be some good popcorn fun.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

July 29th

Synopsis: A father’s life unravels while he deals with a marital crisis and tries to manage his relationship with his children. Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei and Julianne Moore star.

Our Take: An odd-pair like Gosling and Carell is just crazy (stupid?) enough to work. With supporting actors like Stone, Bacon, Tomei and Moore, you can bet that this film will deliver.

The Devil’s Double

The Devils Double trailer with Dominic Cooper Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

July 29th

Synopsis: Summoned from the frontline to Saddam Hussein’s palace, Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia (Dominic Cooper) is thrust into the highest echelons of the “royal family” when he’s ordered to become the ‘fiday’ – or body double – to Saddam’s son, the notorious “Black Prince” Uday Hussein (also Cooper), a reckless, sadistic party-boy with a rabid hunger for sex and brutality. With his and his family’s lives at stake, Latif must surrender his former self forever as he learns to walk, talk and act like Uday. But nothing could have prepared him for the horror of the Black Prince’s psychotic, drug-addled life of fast cars, easy women and impulsive violence.

Our Take: Sure, Cooper is going to have a role as Tony Stark’s dad in Captain America, but we think it’ll be this dual role in what looks to be a thrilling true-life story that will firmly establish him as a breakout star.

August Movies…

August 2011

The Smurfs

August 3rd

Synopsis: When the evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours — in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down. Neil Patrick Harris, Sofía Vergara and Jayma Mays star; Katy Perry, Anton Yelchin, Paul Reubens, Alan Cumming, B.J. Novak, Fred Armisen, George Lopez, Kenan Thompson and Jonathan Winters voice The Smurfs.

Our Take: Another CGI/Live-action hybrid trying to cash in on cartoon nostalgia. If The Chipmunks and Yogi Bear are any indication, the kids will flock to see the smurfs, inevitably spawning some worse squeakquels.

The Change-Up

the change up movie Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 5th

Synopsis: A comedy in which a married guy (Jason Bateman) switches bodies with his best friend (Ryan Reynolds) in order to woo his co-worker. Olivia Wilde and Leslie Mann co-star.

Our Take: Sure, by now we’ve seen so many variations of the Freaky Friday premise, but at worst, the Change-Up looks like a harmless cliche – at best, it will offer some good laughs.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

rise of the planet of the apes caesar andy serkis Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 5th

Synopsis: In this Planet of the Apes origin story, set in present day San Francisco, a scientist’s (James Franco) experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of a fiercely intelligent ape named Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Our Take: Rise of the Planet of the Apes is worth seeing solely based on the impressive motion-capture ape effects created by Peter Jackson’s WETA Workshop (the effects house behind the King Kong remake). A Shakespeare-meets-sci-fi story should be a fitting anchor for the F/X extravaganza, and who knows, overall this film may turn out to be excellent.

30 Minutes or Less

August 12th

Synopsis: Two fledgling criminals kidnap a pizza delivery driver and force him to rob a bank within 30 minutes. Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Nick Swardson, Aziz Ansari, Fred Ward, Bianca Kajlich and Micahel Peña star.

Our Take: Another comedy that hasn’t exactly earned too much of an early buzz, but the cast is impressive and the premise leaves room for a LOT of great laughs. Whether or not the filmmakers capitalize on that potential remains to be seen.

Final Destination 5

August 12th

Synopsis: Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there’s no way you can cheat Death. Emma Bell, Nicholas D’Agosto, Courtney B. Vance and Tony Todd star.

Our Take: This franchise burned itself out about 3 movies ago. Unless this new installment does something truly revolutionary, we’re already set to rent this on DVD.

The Help

The Help trailer Emma Stone Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 12th

Synopsis: A look at what happens when a southern town’s unspoken code of rules and behavior is shattered by three courageous women who strike up an unlikely friendship. Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis, and Sissy Spacek star. Based on the Kathryn Stockett novel.

Our Take: This looks to be a feel-good (if not slightly cliched) summer movie about tolerance and friendship. Nothing wrong with that in a season otherwise filled with slugfests and explosions.

Conan the Barbarian

conan jason momoa Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 19th

Synopsis: A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.

Our Take: Momoa is a quickly-rising star thanks to roles in Stargate: Atlantis and Game of Thrones. It’s become clear at this point that the actor will make for a good Conan, and his supporting cast (Pearlman and Lang in particular) seem just as well-suited to this material. If the director is on his game, Conan could close out the summer in spectacular fashion. At the very least, the trailer makes it look like good B-movie fun.

Fright Night

Fright Night Farrell Yelchin Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 19th

Synopsis: A remake of the comedy-horror picture about a Vegas teenager (Anton Yelchin) who discovers his new next-door neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire. David Tennant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Imogen Poots and Toni Collette co-star.

Our Take: Fright Night was a cult hit amongst horror movie fans of the ’80s era, so it’s been hard to muster much enthusiasm for this remake. It’s one of those cases where we’ll have to see it before we can believe that it is worthy.

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World

Spy Kids 4  All the Time in the World Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 19th

Synopsis: A mother (Jessica Alba) returns to her old profession — she’s a retired spy — in order to prevent a villain bent on stopping time. Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas, Jeremy Piven, and Daryl Sabara star.

Our Take: This franchise has a loyal following, and with Robert Rodriguez still running the show – plus the added draw of Alba headlining – Spy Kids 4 should be just as successful as its predecessors… if not more.

Apollo 18

apollo 18 trailer Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 26th

Synopsis: NASA’s canceled trip to the moon in the 1970s is the basis for this found-footage-style picture exploring the urban legend surrounding that mission — what if Apollo 18 actually did occur and the proof of extraterrestrial life exists on film? Wanted’s Timur Bekmambetov produces the film, with Spanish filmmaker Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego directing.

Our Take: This film has had its released date changed again and again, and word is the film is being re-cut in order to salvage it. We initially included it on our list of 20 Most Anticipated Films for 2011, but at this point, we’re not holding out much hope. Plus: opening against another horror film with the tagline “Guillermo del Toro presents”? Yeah, not the best idea.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

Dont Be Afraid of the Dark gets international distributor Screen Rants 2011 Summer Movie Preview

August 26th

Synopsis: Guillermo Del Toro presents DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, a horror film starring Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison, directed by Troy Nixey.  Based on the 1973 telefilm that Del Toro believes is the scariest TV production ever made, the story follows Sally (Madison), a young girl who moves to Rhode Island to live with her father (Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Holmes) in the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. While exploring the house, Sally starts to hear voices coming from creatures in the basement whose hidden agenda is to claim her as one of their own.

Our Take: “Guillermo del Toro presents” has become a strong endorsement for just about any film that’s released. The trailer for the film was effectively creepy, so if we have a choice between this film and Apollo 18 as our end of summer horror movie outing…just guess which one we’re going to pick.

That’s it for Screen Rant‘s Summer Movie Preview. What has you watching movie trailers in excitement this summer? Known franchise films like Transformer 3 or Harry Potter, first time superhero movies like Captain America, Green Lantern and Thor, or maybe some of the lesser known and possibly “smaller” films like Super 8 and Tree of Life? Let us know!