Summer movie preview: Our superhero sense is tingling
BY CINDY PEARLMAN April 19, 2012 8:16PM
Updated: May 23, 2012 8:08AM
To get a job in Hollywood for this summer’s movies, no ordinary mortal need apply.
The requirements are as follows: You have to have the shoulders to support a cape, the legs for tights and the mortal fortitude to not look at small, indie films as your personal kryptonite.
It’s the Summer of the Superhero.
The roll call is pretty super duper. Showing up for what they hope is extended duty at the multiplex are Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk and a little estrogen in the form of Anne Hathaway’s seriously toned Catwoman.
It’s safe to say spandex demand has never been higher in Hollywood.
In the mere mortal department, there are big stars with big budgets who plan to give these super-beings a run for their box-office money. This summer features the return of hefty A-listers including Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Together, those last three make a superhero and a half.
Beloved characters are back, including those “Men in Black,” plus Snow White in the movie that audiences truly have been waiting to see. Sorry, Julia Roberts, but your “Mirror Mirror” preening can’t compare to Charlize Theron with a serious case of the wickeds.
Cruise is singing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” as ’80s rock icon Stacee Jaxx in “Rock of Ages.” We also have our eye on Ridley Scott’s mysterious “Prometheus,” sort of a prequel to “Alien,” and we’re also wondering about how Jeremy Renner will shake off the image of Matt Damon in “The Bourne Legacy.”
Ladies have some serious eye candy as Channing Tatum explores his pre-Hollywood male stripper days in “Magic Mike,” while men get to see Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez being as big as houses in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”
Well, if that doesn’t exactly seem fair, well, it’s summer and there are always six more new movies the following weekend.
Here are the summer movies of 2012 that have supersized expectations … and the rest.
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo. Directed by Joss Whedon.
OPENS: May 4.
BIG PLOT: How many superheroes does it take to save the day? A lot, because Thor has a bad-guy brother named Loki (Tom Hiddleston) who has decided to wreak havoc on Earth. Enter Iron Man (Downey), Thor (Hemsworth), Captain America (Evans), Hawkeye (Renner) and the Hulk (Ruffalo), plus their fearless leader Nick Fury (Jackson) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) to save the deal. The emotional undercurrent is that being a superhero is solitary business, and it’s nice for once to have some backup who understands your plight.
LITTLE FACT: When asked his most memorable moment on the set, a reflective Renner opined, “Getting to play with Thor’s hammer while he stoked my bow.” Then he paused and added, “Oh, here we go. That’s gonna get me in trouble.”
STARRING: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter and Chloe Grace Moretz. Directed by Tim Burton.
OPENS: May 11.
BIG PLOT: Move over, Edward and Bella. Now, it’s Johnny Depp’s turn to get out his fangs as fan favorite Barnabas Collins, a vampire who finds out that waking up in the year 1972 after two centuries of slumber isn’t exactly a dream scenario. Carter is the shrink to an eclectic family that includes Pfeiffer, Miller and “Hit-Girl” Moretz.
LITTLE FACT: Depp couldn’t wait to sink his teeth in. “I was a huge fan of the original series and watched it all the time,” he says. “Instead of it being so somber, I wanted to show that Barnabas also had a wicked sense of humor. I love his classic, iconic look, too.”
“Men in Black 3”
STARRING: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson and Jemaine Clement. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
OPENS: May 25
BIG PLOT: This time around, Agent J (Smith) jumps back in time to 1969, where they must vaporize an alien named Boris (Jemaine Clement) for killing K (played young by Josh Brolin).
LITTLE FACT: Will Smith says it was easy getting back in Black. “The movie not only has aliens, but time travel. So, it sets the movie in a time and place that gives it a whole new look and feel, plus new situations that are so much funnier because of the time period.” What was it like to put on those Ray-Bans again? He says, joking, “I was really surprised that after all these years, I still make those look good.”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”
STARRING: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron. Directed by Rupert Sanders.
OPENS: June 1
BIG PLOT: Fairy tales are supposed to be dark, so enter Charlize Theron as the killer Queen Ravenna who wants to murder her stepdaughter Snow White (Stewart). She hires a tough, hard-drinking huntsman (Hemsworth) to find Snow in the Dark Forest and off her. It’s a major medieval battle.
LITTLE FACT: Ask Kristen Stewart if her Snow White is tougher than her other movie alter ego, Bella, and she says, “I think they’re both the same in the way that both are very strong women who are searching for their place in society.”
STARRING: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender. Directed by Ridley Scott.
OPENS: June 8.
BIG PLOT: Who knows? The story has been kept super secret and the two-minute trailer doesn’t really reveal much. Will there be those “Alien” buggers implanting into chests and bursting out? We do know that the action lurks with the crew of a ship that jettisons off to a planet in space. That’s where things go crazy.
LITTLE FACT: Scott is already thinking about a sequel.
“Rock of Ages”
STARRING: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta and Tom Cruise. Directed by Adam Shankman.
OPENS: June 15
BIG PLOT: You gotta love the image of Tom Cruise in a fur coat and blue bandana. It’s the Broadway musical hitting the big screen with Cruise as spoiled rocker Stacee Jaxx, who rules the charts in 1987.
LITTLE FACT: Julianne Hough (”Footloose”) says that there was one benefit of doing the film. “The women of the ’80s filled out their clothes. So, I went back to my old self with more curves. I loved playing a woman who was voluptuous and sexy.”
STARRING: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.
OPENS: June 29
BIG PLOT: Tatum stars in a story based loosely on his life before stardom, where he did a stint taking it all off. Mike has been stripping for some time and has to work with a newbie (played by Alex Pettyfer) for a crazy club owner (played by Matthew McConaughey). Will it be this summer’s “Sex and the City”?
LITTLE FACT: Tatum didn’t worry about wardrobe in the film because he does many scenes wearing next to nothing. Nakedness was just a fact of life for a guy who grew up in a swimsuit in sunny Florida. “What’s hard is acting sexy,” he admits. “It’s so hard to be sexy as a guy, anyways. Girls just walk, and they’re sexy. Guys have to do something.”
“The Amazing Spider-Man”
STARRING: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans. Directed by Marc Webb.
OPENS: July 3
BIG PLOT: New summer, new Spidey. Now that Tobey Maguire has hung up his web spinners, it’s newbie Andrew Garfield shooting the 3-D film about a younger Peter Parker struggling to fit in with the teens in high school. Emma Stone is his love interest Gwen Stacy, while screen legends Martin Sheen and Sally Field are Uncle Ben and Aunt May. The baddie is Dr. Curt Connors, or the Lizard (Rhys Ifans).
LITTLE FACT: Forget about another upside-down Spidey lip lock with Stone’s real-life boyfriend Garfield. “I’m a new girl, and I don’t kiss upside-down,” huffs Stone with a laugh. “This is a more down-to-earth love story that offsets all the craziness.”
“The Dark Knight Rises”
STARRING: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy. Directed by Christopher Nolan.
OPENS: July 20
BIG PLOT: After “The Dark Knight” earned $1 billion at the box office, one last film in the reinvented franchise was a sure thing. There’s an exploding football field and a mob racing through Gotham City. It’s all set eight years post-“Dark Knight” with an emotionally wounded Bruce Wayne (also suffering a few physical issues) called back into action when Selina Kyle — or Catwoman — starts to pounce. He also has to deal with a terrorist named Bane, played by a deliciously evil Tom Hardy.
LITTLE FACT: Michael Caine, returning as the lovable Alfred, says he’s sad that the franchise is done, “but I know we saved the best for last. It’s an amazing story. If I tell you anything more, Christopher Nolan will be calling me to say, ‘Why did you talk to her?’ ”