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Summer 2018 Movie Preview

Nor’easters may be blasting their way across the Eastern coast, but, believe it or not, the summer movie season is right around the corner. Blockbusters will begin churning out on weekly basis, starting with Spielberg’s READY PLAYER ONE which opened on March 30. From that point on, some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and most popular franchises will be gracing the silver screen in rapid succession. There are too many exciting productions to hit upon here, but listed below are a few of the standouts that I cannot wait to see.

Deadpool 2 (May 18)

One of the most surprising films of 2016, and perhaps even the decade, was the original DEADPOOL. What was expected to be yet another chapter in the overstuffed superhero genre ended up being far more than anyone had bargained for. The R-rated, ultra-bloody, consistently hilarious action centered around the fast-talking, profanity spewing Wade Wilson, played to perfection by the incredible Ryan Reynolds. For the first time, audiences saw what would happen on the highway if there were actual car chases with dozens of causalities, and what it would look like if the bloodless comic-book violence we were accustomed to was shown in all of its messy, pulpy horror.

Reportedly, test screenings for the DEADPOOL sequel, which features Josh Brolin as Cable, did not go spectacularly well. After a number of reshoots, however, it tested much more positively. It can be difficult to gauge a film based on early buzz and knee-jerk reactions, but I certainly do have a number of questions going in. The most pressing of which, is how to craft a successful follow-up to such a ground-breaking film. The plot has been kept largely under wraps, but one has to believe the content this time around will be even more delightfully offensive than it was two years ago. Reynolds and company already made our collective jaws drop open once, and audiences around the country will likely come out in droves to see if they can do it again.

Solo: A Star Wars Story (May 25)

Since Disney took over the reins of the STAR WARS empire in 2015, the franchise has enjoyed a colossal resurgence in popularity, and in quality. There were many, myself included, who feared that the family-friendly corporation would churn out by-the-numbers productions that would fail to illicit any of the same sense of wonderment as the original trilogy. After three highly entertaining and thrilling adventures (THE FORCE AWAKENS, ROGUE ONE, and THE LAST JEDI) there is a limitless hope for the future, yet the fear is always there that eventually, the series will crash back down to earth.

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY has had its share of red flags. Not only did the film lose its original directors (Phil Lord and Chris Miller) but for months, there was very little released in the form of plot lines or footage. While some fans were terrified that this meant that the production was an impending disaster with little hope of success, others assumed that new director Ron Howard and the rest of his cast were just keeping their secrets close to the vest.

Howard has already shown a prowess for action, with films like
BACKDRAFT and RUSH providing thrills and excitement with relative ease. There is little reason that to doubt his ability to deliver dazzling visuals that will stand alongside its three recent predecessors. The real mystery that surrounds the production, is whether or not Alden Ehrenreich can fill the legendary shoes of Harrison Ford. Han Solo is one of the most iconic
characters in all of cinema, and there are obviously countless stories to tell of his exploits that occurred long before the events of A NEW HOPE. ROGUE ONE was an excellent lead-in to HOPE, and delivered a tale that was enthralling despite the fact that you knew how it was going to end. With an exploration of the budding friendship between Solo and Lando Calrissian (ATLANTA’S Donald Glover) and Han’s fateful meeting with Chewbacca, STAR WARS fans are certainly entitled to their lofty expectations.

The Incredibles 2 (June 15)

When THE INCREDIBLES was released in 2004, it was a colossal step forward for Pixar. Directed by Brad Bird, it was the first PG-rated film from the studio, and was a production that was just as appealing for adults as it was for children. Though it was in the guise of fun-filled animated adventure, it was also, at the time, one of the best superhero films that had yet been produced. Featuring mind-boggling animation, plenty of humor, and a storyline that was every bit as engaging as its X-MEN and SPIDER-MAN counterparts, it served as an ingenious homage to its cape-clad

Fans have been clamoring for a sequel for the past 14 years, and this summer, they will finally get their wish. Writer/Director Bird is back, and despite the formidable foes that the film is going up against the summer, INCREDIBLES 2 may be the most buzz-worthy title of them all. Original cast members Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, and Brad Bird are reprising their iconic roles, and BETTER CALL SAUL newcomers Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks are also hopping on board. The story will revolve around the Parr family who, despite the emergence of baby Jack-Jack’s superpowers, have settled into a life of domestic normalcy. When a new villain emerges, however, the family and their pal Frozone (Jackson) must don the suits once again, and save the world from peril and destruction.

Considering that more than a decade has passed since the release of the original, I find it hard to believe that Bird and company would ever revisit the Parr family unless they had a spectacular story to tell. And, also considering that my kids watch THE INCREDIBLES once every two weeks or so, I find it hard to believe that we won’t be the first in line to check out this much-anticipated sequel.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)

Before the release of JURASSIC WORLD in 2015, it appeared that the JURASSIC
cinematic universe was officially extinct. JURASSIC PARK 3 had been released 14 years prior, and was a complete disaster. Limp, lifeless, and borderline unwatchable, it was unmitigated failure on virtually every level.

Despite the multitude of reservations I had heading into WORLD, I couldn’t have been more impressed with the end result. Thanks to performances by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, in addition to a slew of new, dangerous dinosaurs and the action that surrounded them, the film was a popcorn delight. Thrilling and massively entertaining, it was everything that any JURASSIC fan could possibly hope for.

Admittedly, the plot of FALLEN KINGDOM seems more outlandish than all four of the other films combined. When a volcano on Isla Nubar threatens to destroy the island and all of its inhabitants, Claire (Howard) and Grady (Pratt) head back to Costa Rica in attempt to save the dinosaurs from extinction. The sheer logistics of  attempting to save dinosaurs and transporting them to safety is pretty
unfathomable, even by blockbuster standards. That’s without even taking a moment to ponder why anyone would ever want to tackle a mission such as this. At the same time, the trailers boast some spectacular sequences, and the fact that Jeff Goldblum is reprising his role as the eccentric Dr. Ian Malcolm, allows this film to be far more intriguing that it might otherwise be.

A special thanks goes to Regal Cinemas at Destiny USA for allowing me to attend this summer’s blockbusters.

Brian Miller