Let the Summer Movie Countdown Begin!

Yesterday, after weeks of punishing ice/snow/sleet/snice storms that turned the city into several thousand amateur productions of The Shining, my family (and every other family in the metropolitan area) participated in a proud Midwestern tradition, the Collective Losing of the Minds the First Time It Gets Above Fifty Degrees. Every year, the sun shines for a straight hour and millions of people burst from their homes and immediately descend on the park, struggling to remember how to conduct themselves in society or talk to other people. You hear them as you frantically drag your child through the zoo as if it’s going away; they’re blurting things like “It’s fifty-eight degrees; why isn’t the ice cream stand open?” or “I’m outside!” Many of these people will be wearing shorts and flip-flops.

They’re not overcompensating. They haven’t just lost all perspective. They are doing psychic earth-magic. They are trying to will Summer into existence.

While I didn’t break out the shorts this weekend, I’ve officially rocketed over the line between “getting tired of snow” and “getting palpably angry at clouds.” I’m ready for sunshine, I’m ready to read my comics in the breeze on the porch, and most importantly I’m ready to start seeing some of these movies, already.

This is going to be yet another big year for the comic book adaptation: this summer there are at least six (well, five and a half) movies with roots in your longbox coming out in the span of ninety days or so. I’ve had an app on my phone counting down some of these for months. Here’s what you have to look forward to, and how long you have to look forward to it:

Thor. May 6th (81 days). Otherwise known as Kenneth Branagh’s Marvel Comics’ William Shakespeare’s Avenger 3D. Every time I think about this movie, I imagine Branagh backstage at Comic Con waiting to be announced and reflecting on the direction his life has taken like Dewey Cox in Walk Hard. “What the…? How on earth did I end up…?”

That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to the movie; the cast seems solid, the characters have been entertaining people for decades, and I’ve never seen a Branagh film that wasn’t at least interesting. I’m also curious about this one as an Avengers prelude; whenever I hear about these interconnected Marvel movies, there’s a nagging voice whispering in my head, “Yeah, but how do you put the Favreau and the Branagh and the Sam Jackson and the Ruffalo-whatever into the same movie? How do all those tones come together?” The biggest variable in that equation, it seems to me, is our friend the Odinson. I can’t wait to get a look-see.

X-Men: First Class. June 3rd (109 days). This one went from zero to must-see in the span of a month, didn’t it? I don’t know about you, but until the stills and the trailer came out I used to think about seeing this movie like it was a dental appointment. “Huh boy. Well, let’s get this over with.” That was mostly because I forgot it was from the director of Kick-Ass, and partly because I didn’t stop to think about when it was set. Now, I’ve been fooled by a frenetically-cut trailer or two in my day—the warning that was the Gungans didn’t register even after multiple viewings—but this one may be my most anticipated Friday night of the summer now.

Green Lantern. June 17th (123 days). I’m going to level with you, because I don’t like there to be secrets between us: there are long stretches of time when I forget this is happening. Everything I’ve seen of it looks fine; I have no problems with the costumes or the talent involved or anything like that; it’s just that, if they’re hyping this movie somewhere right now, it’s a place I don’t spend much time. (And I’m on a comic book web site as I say this, I realize.) I’ll still be there with rings on; I’m just due for another trailer to stoke the fires, or a collectible Slurpee cup or something.

Green Lantern poster Ryan Reynolds

Transformers: Dark of the Moon. July 1st (137 days). Sorry. You’re on your own. I hope you have a good time!

Captain America: The First Avenger. July 22nd (158 days). Forget that he directed Jumanji. Remember that he directed The Rocketeer.

Yes, the Super Bowl ad was another dialogue-free series of quick cuts, but every image I’ve seen from this movie is saying all the right things to me. It seems to be striking just the right tone with material that could very easily have gotten the primary-color, winky-winky, Richard-Pryor-Superman treatment. If snapping my fingers could make Captain America and Thor switch dates, I wouldn’t be able to type this right now.

Cowboys and Aliens. July 29th (165 days). I’ve only seen the title. I know nothing about this movie, and I know everything about this movie. Favreau, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell, and the Star Trek writers? Are you kidding me with this? Don’t tell me anything else; I’ll just meet you at the theater.

Am I forgetting anything? That’s already a lot of popcorn for one summer. This is a heavy enough concentration that, if a couple of these aren’t good or don’t make money, we’re going to end up having that conversation again: “Is this the end of Our Movies? Is this the end of geek dominance in popular culture?” I may go dig up my article from two summers ago and start doing a find-and-replace on the titles, just to get a jump on things.


Jim Mroczkowski talks a good game on Twitter, but in real life this smooth operator has slipped on ice three times in the past week.


  1. I agree about the Green Lantern movie. Its like they hit the pause button on the marketing. 

    I’m interested in that JJ Abrams/Speilburg thing…i don’t think its a comic property though. 

  2. y’know aside from the GL and the X-men posters all of these are just dudes standing there, odd.

  3. @RoiVampire –yeah its formulaic, but thats what movie poster “design” is today…especially for these kinds of movies. 

  4. @RoiVampire  Haha, good observation. 🙂

  5. I had forgotten about a couple of these.  Looks like another great summer for movies.

  6. Win for Jimski on the Transformers 3 comments.  They’ve been playing the first one TNT or TBS or someplace.  God, that movie is awful.

  7. X-Men: First Class, definitely. The rest, I’ll wait for word of mouth reviews. Except Transformers. NO Transformers.

  8. Keep in mind that yes, the writers of Cowboy’s & Aliens are the writers of Star Trek, but they’re also the writers of Transformers 1 & 2, so it could go either way.

    Most of these movies have me worried. Thor’s merely a rental for me, and always has been, but Green Lantern, I love. I was worried as soon as they announced Ryan Reynolds and thanks to the trailer, I might have to bump it down to rental-status as well. Transformers 2 is the only time I’ve ever felt anger toward a movie while watching it, so I’m out for 3. Too soon to call on Captain America. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing First Class in theatres, but I’m not dying to see it.

  9. green lantern and captin america look quite interesting will the sinestro corps be in the fillm at all or will we just see the build up to it ???

  10. I want Captain America to be fantastic.  I can’t get a read on any of the rest of these.

  11. The scariest thing to me about the Avengers movie is that if just one of these next Marvel films epically BOMB, it will cast a horrible black cloud over the ensemble piece.

  12. Don’t forget Conan on 8/19/11!

  13. RE: Avengers. “How do all those tones come together?”

    Joss Whedon is a genius, that’s how. 

  14. @Unoob  Good point- if cap and thor tank….bad tidings for the ensemble
    what about the spidey reboot?  2012?

  15. X-men set in the 60’s and Captain America set in the 40’s. I don’t know how they will fare in the box office, but that’s awesome. Green Lantern I’ve almost forgotten about.

  16. I live in Canada, there is twelve feet of snow in my front yard. There is a snowstorm raging outside. It will never go above -5 celsius until april. I have a head cold. You’re puny american winters do not impress me.

  17. Damn, it feels good to be a fanboy.

    Super hyped for Thor and Cap, surprisingly excited for X-Men after seeing that short teaser, physically vibrating in anticipation of Cowboys & Aliens, already angry about Transformers, and Green Lantern…. REALLY hoping my instincts are wrong.

  18. I’m most psyched for Cowboys Vs. Aliens. I saw the trailer on Superbowl Sunday and the premise just blew my mind! Looks like great fun, and it’ll be the most surprising(to me)

  19. I will definitely see Cap, GL, X-men, and Thor. Will probably get dragged to Transformers by my kids. Cowboys looks kind of interesting, but I may wait for the video unless I hear good things.

  20. Jumanji doesn’t deserve your ire Jimski. The effects don’t hold up, but it’s a fun, interesting flick for the younger set. DAG, Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt and Kirsten Dunst. Dig it.

  21. I’ll be watching Captain America, Thor, X-Men: First Class, and in the same vein, Pirates of the Carribean. I’m not sure about Green Lantern.

  22. With Johns involved you would think everyone (myself included) would be resting easy, but it seems like this is the one most of us are scared of. Or afraid for.

  23. Captain America opens San Diego Comic Con weekend.  That plus the 80 degree weather this last Saturday are two reasons I love living in this city!

  24. I can’t believe I am saying this but I am way more excited to see X-Men First Class than any of the other movies coming out. It’s going to take a really good trailer from Cap & GL to change my mind.

  25. Other then, maybe, hearing yet another classic critique of a Transformers film by Josh and/or Paul; I am in no rush to see it.

    Everything else is something I’m excited to see whether it be more Marvel films, DC giving a shot with Green Lantern, or seeing an indie turn into a huge blockbuster film. Seriously, I really think that Cowboys & Aliens has a shot of being the biggest hit of the summer.

  26. Level of excitement as ranked by nearly random gut feeling:

    1 Thor
    2 X-Men: First Class
    3 Captain America
    4 Cowboys vs Aliens
    5 Green Lantern
    {divide_by_zero_error} Transformers 3 (I can’t figure out how to rank this lower.)

  27. @ghettojourno – I’m not afraid to say it: Jumanji freaks the crap out of me. Don’t know why; it’s just one of those things.

  28. LMFAO!

    Yeah… if I want to be brain dead I’ll go watch TF3.

  29. my list goes like this

    Green Lantern
    Captain america
    xmen first class
    Tf3 because it was shot in chicago