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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.