By Drew Taylor | The Playlist April 29, 2013 at 12:03PM
Ah, summer. That time of year marked by long days, short skirts, and the application of sunscreen. It’s the season where even the most hardened cineaste can put aside their Criterion Collection discs, if only for a moment, and get excited about the jazzy, visual effects-driven blockbusters coming down the pike. The line between “summer” and “any other time of the year,” in terms of movies, keeps getting blurrier and blurrier, with big-budget studio fare like “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Oblivion” coming out in the spring (we had a Michael Bay movie open in April, for crying out loud – before this it was questionable whether or not he even existed outside of June or July).
But even with the shakier distinction of what a summer movie is as the blockbuster creep goes earlier and earlier, and with a glutted with would-be warriors, this summer looks like it’s stacking up to be a pretty spectacular one with a number of high-profile reboots, sequels, and spin-offs making their way to the big screen. There are even – gasp! – a couple of high-profile original properties, too.
So before the season swallows us up, we thought we’d run through the most promising of the summertime juggernauts. Get your giant glass of iced tea, put on your biggest, floppiest hat, and remember, spending time indoors in a darkened room is the best sunscreen of all.
"Iron Man 3"
Synopsis: Picking up a year after the events of last summer's billion-dollar-grossing "The Avengers," "Iron Man 3" follows a disillusioned, slightly obsessed genius billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), as he deals with his strained relationship with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and maybe his most fearsome adversary to date – the power-mad terrorist known simply as The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
What You Need To Know: While having "Iron Man 3" come so quickly after "The Avengers" (which was pretty Iron Man-heavy in its own right) might seem like overkill that could result in audience disinterest, there's something to be said about striking while the iron is hot (pun very much intended). But what makes "Iron Man 3" such an exciting proposition, at least to our ears, is that it's an epic reteaming of Downey Jr. with his "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" writer/director Shane Black, who at one point was the highest paid screenwriter on planet earth ("Lethal Weapon," "The Long Kiss Goodnight," etc). Marvel movies aren't exactly known for their sense of directorial authorship, so it'll be interesting to see if a personality as big as Black's can make his mark on one of these franchise entries. (Read our early review here.)
When? May 3rd
Synopsis: A whiz-bang adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel, it centers around the titular Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) a self-styled baron of new money wealth and his relationship with his shabby next-door neighbor (Tobey Maguire) and that neighbor's cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan), who has a prior relationship with Gatsby.
What You Need To Know: Bad buzz plagued this costly adaptation since it slid from its original opening date of Christmas Day, 2012. The reasons for the reshuffle are seemingly myriad – more time to tinker with the troublesome 3D effects, Warner Bros not wanting to cannibalize 3D screens from its own "The Hobbit," and Leonardo DiCaprio going up against himself in "Django Unchained." Whatever the reason, "The Great Gatsby" promises first and foremost a visual feast, with director Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge!") indulging in every audio/visual whim that he fancies, and if you want to gorge yourself on roaring '20s excess, then this is the place to indulge. As far as razzamatazz goes, there certainly isn't a movie that will rival 'Gatsby.'
When? May 13th