Summer is upon us again, and that means it's that time of year for those movies that once again deliver the jaw-dropping, mind-blowing, smile-inducing memories of a lifetime that only come with summer blockbusters. And, given the lineup of films in this year's Summer Movie Preview, the blockbuster movies of 2012 are going to deliver like never before.
From the superhero team-up event that will kick everything off (Marvel's The Avengers), to the grand finale in arguably one of the best movie trilogies of all time (Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises), to a master filmmaker returning to the sci-fi/horror sub-genre that catapulted him to fame (Ridley Scott's Prometheus), to the first princess fairy tale from the best animation studio in the business (Pixar's Brave) - this summer has something for everyone, and a whole lot extra in between.
Scroll down for Screen Rant's handy guide to your summer at the movies.
Feel free to scroll through the list below, or jump to any specific months to read about those films:
MAY 2012 MOVIES
The S.H.I.E.L.D. agency brings together a team of superheroes to help save the Earth from annihilation by extraterrestrial invaders. Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston star.
OUR TAKE: This is what it's all been leading to, folks. Early reviews of The Avengers say that the film lives up to all the hype, and millions of people will be heading to theaters to find out if that's true. Count us among them. Excelsior!
A gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) finally awakes from imprisonment in the 1970s to find his family legacy in shambles. Based on the cult TV series. Tim Burton directs, Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, and Christopher Lee star.
OUR TAKE: Fans of the original Dark Shadows TV show notwithstanding, this looks like a fun (and funny) creation by Burton and his "muse" Johnny Depp. Not saying it's going to be a modern classic - but some spooky fun with a dash of horror sounds like a good lead-in to the heart of summer.
May 11th (U.S.)
The heroic story of a dictator (Sacha Baron Cohen) who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed. Megan Fox, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, B.J. Novak and J.B. Smoove co-star.
OUR TAKE: Sacha Baron Cohen tends to inspire love/hate responses to his satirical characters (or rather, caricatures). The Dictator will actually have a plot - rich dictator becomes poor American immigrant - and will once again see Cohen working with comedy veteran Larry Charles (Seinfeld), who also helped craft both Borat and Brüno. Expect more of the same (the good, bad, and ugly) from Dictator.
A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals. Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna and Liam Neeson star.
OUR TAKE: Battleship maintains it's negative first impression as a Transformers knock-off that has nothing to do with the board game it's based on. Still, reports from overseas (where the film has already opened to $58 million and counting) are that director Peter Berg has made the epitome of a mindless, action-packed, summer popcorn blockbuster. Whether or not that's a good thing depends on your tastes.
What to Expect When You're Expecting
A look at the lives of five couples as they prepare to become parents. Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Dennis Quaid, Rodrigo Santoro, Brooklyn Decker, Chace Crawford, Joe Manganiello, Chris Rock, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Megan Mullally star.
OUR TAKE: With its trailers and marketing materials making a big effort to attract the male demographic, fellas are going to have little to object to if their lady suggests What to Expect as good date night viewing. Best of luck with that.
Men In Black III
Agent J (Will Smith) time-jumps back to the 1960s, where an alien with its sights on the younger version of Agent K (Josh Brolin) poses a threat to the future of the MIB organization -- and humankind's very existence.
OUR TAKE: Men In Black III has been plagued by so many script and production problems that it's hard to view it with anything but skepticism and wariness. After all, how long can a film skate by on Josh Brolin's uncanny impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones?
May 25th (U.S. - Limited Release)
In this Wes Anderson film, a pair of lovers flee their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them. Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Ed Norton, Frances McDormand, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray star.
OUR TAKE: Wes Anderson fans have plenty to get excited about: An Anderson film that actually deals with kids as opposed to just privileged (and often pretentious) adults; a cool '70s cinema look and vibe; a cast of superb actors and an ironic and winking love story at its core. Now that we mention it, Moonrise Kingdom may have enough potential to get even Anderson's detractors excited.