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'The Avengers,' 'The Dark Knight Rises' Headline Blockbuster Summer

'The Avengers,' 'The Dark Knight Rises' Headline Blockbuster Summer

From the beginning of May through the end of July, movie studios unveil a steady string of big-budget movies designed to pack mainstream audiences into theaters around the globe. Though every summer has its fair share of highly anticipated movies, this summer seems to have more than usual, and it all gets underway in just a couple of weeks with the launch of star-studded "The Avengers." Here's a month-by-month look at the biggest and most anticipated releases of this upcoming summer.

May:

1) "The Avengers," May 4th

Loaded with just about every Marvel superhero you can imagine, Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" is sure to have a little bit of everything for action lovers, as long as it doesn't get bogged down by too large of a cast. The early trailers pull no punches and "The Avengers" should get the summer movie season off with a bang, though Disney could have a hard time bringing the enormous A-list cast back for a second helping no matter how well it does at the box office.

2) Dark Shadows, May 11th

Director Tim Burton and Johnny Depp have a long history and "Dark Shadows" looks like it could be one of their most interesting films together. Though they have combined for some nice but watered down films like "Charlie and the Chocolate Family" and "Alice in Wonderland," both huge box office hits, "Dark Shadows" promises to take audiences back to their "Ed Wood" roots. The tale of a vampire who awakens to a changed world, "Dark Shadows" should have the dark sense of humor that has been mostly missing in Burton's recent films outside of "Sweeney Todd."

3) The Dictator, May 16th

This one could definitely go either way, but that's the case whenever Sacha Baron Cohen is on camera. At his best, Cohen is one of the funniest satirists we have, and there is plenty of potential in playing a clueless Middle Eastern dictator who doesn't hide his distaste for the U.S.

4) Men in Black III, May 25th

Hopefully a ten-year gap since the release of the second "MIB" sent the creators back to the drawing board to find some new material. Josh Brolin looks like a humorous fit as a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones' agent K, though those jokes will get old if there isn't a surrounding plot worth watching. If nothing else, Will Smith should be good for a few laughs as he heads back in time to save the planet once again.

5) Battleship, May 18th

The makers of "Battleship" desperately want to conjure up the "Transformers" series, which will probably be enough to pack the theaters for at least a weekend or two. Whether there is a story beneath the special effects and screeching robotics is the million-dollar question.

June:

1) Brave, June 22nd

Don't count on animation giant Pixar to put out two disappointing features in a row. Fresh off "Cars 2," Pixar's "Brave" looks like a unique take on familiar themes, which has been Disney's winning formula for years. "Brave" tells the story of a Scottish princess not content with her predictable life, leading her to find an adventure of her own. A green and lush medieval Scotland should give Pixar plenty of time to show off their A-list animation, and "Brave" promises to have something for movie lovers of all ages.

2) Prometheus, June 8th

It's good to see director Ridley Scott heading back to his roots, and this "Alien" prequel seems to have some serious potential. Starring Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, "Prometheus" looks like a terrifying ride into outer space much like the first two in the "Alien" series, though we'll see if Scott can conjure up the same harrowing tone that helped launch his career in the late 1970s.

3) Snow White and the Huntsman, June 1st

While Tarsem Singh's Snow White tale "Mirror Mirror" was a light-hearted comedy, "Snow White and the Huntsman" promises to be all fire and brimstone. Charlize Theron, another actress who is everywhere these days, looks sufficiently creepy as the Evil Queen and Kristen Stewart has a chance to show that she can actually act as her arch-rival Snow White.

July:

1) The Dark Knight Rises, July 20th

Far away the most anticipated movie of the summer, "The Dark Knight Rises" promises a riveting conclusion to one of the most acclaimed action franchises in recent memory. Director Christopher Nolan's morality tale of crime and corruption in Gotham City is packed to the brim with big names, including new additions like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway. Though it may be an impossible task for "The Dark Knight Rises" to live up the hype, Nolan's thinking man's action franchise has already changed big-budget moviemaking for the better. We'll see if he can stick the landing.

2) The Amazing Spider-Man, July 3rd

Not too many fans are likely to complain about ditching the Tobey Maguire franchise for a new start, and "The Amazing Spider-Man" has an interesting new direction with Andrew Garfield of "The Social Network" stepping in as Spidey. Fresh of indie hit "500 Days of Summer," director Marc Webb is an interesting fit for a mega action movie and his presence suggests that we'll get more than a conglomeration of special effects.

3) Neighborhood Watch, July 27th

From writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the scribes behind "Superbad" and "Pineapple Express," "Neighborhood Watch" looks like a potentially big comedy hit in a summer mostly filled with action movies. Starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, "Neighborhood Watch" is a high-concept screwball comedy that audiences should be able to easily grasp, though the recent neighborhood watch tragedy in Florida could make the marketing aspect a difficult one for distributor Fox.

by RTT Staff Writer

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