Iron Man 3

Harmony Korine and friends already gave us a taste of sand, sun and heavy weaponry, but it doesn’t quite feel like summer yet. Maybe that’s because global warming is making everything so cool or because President Obama keeps delaying all of our vacation planes, but the hugeness of the season still hasn’t fully descended.

That’ll change this weekend when Iron Man 3 drops an arc reactor into theaters.

Then, the parade of unbelievably massive summer movies commences with buddy cops, mischievous teens, people probably named Khan, bald Matt Damons, super men, and the end of the world itself in tow. It’s a tight race this year. Optimism runs high, and the next few months are packed full with studios and indie outfits hoping to entertain and score big, so the task of naming the 13 most-anticipated summer movies was a tough one.

So instead of hurting our brains over it, we let math do the work by putting the question to the whole staff and tallying up the results. It’s a slightly eclectic mix, displaying the powerful potential of cinematic storytelling to bring us into the cool, dark room with a single light source. As luck would have it, we found a fittingly seasonal place to start:

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13. The Heat

Release Date: June 28th

So the concept of two unlikable cops teaming up to fight bad guys isn’t even close to new, but it’s what Paul Feig has done with it that counts. Bridesmaids was a breakout moment for him and for Melissa McCarthy, so it’s great to see them back in action together. Although, it looks like it’s the comedic partnership between McCarthy and Sandra Bullock that will make this stand out with a bullet. At the very least it’s great to see Bullock’s character from Miss Congeniality enter another movie universe, and to get a studio comedy option that doesn’t involve hangovers. -Scott Beggs

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12. The Bling Ring

Release Date: May 16th

A group of teenagers grow bored of their normal lives and decide to become burglars, but this being Los Angeles, the teens choose to specifically target the homes of celebrities. Writer/director Sofia Coppola‘s latest continues her interest in the idea of celebrity, this time with a true story that indicts a culture that elevates success and popularity over responsibility. It’s less bombastic to be sure, but the latest trailer is comparable to the twisted American dreams on display in Spring Breakers and Pain & Gain. Sure, its most recognizable face belongs to a Brit, but Emma Watson seems intent on becoming an honorary American teen, and I say we let her. -Rob Hunter

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11. Frances Ha

Release Date: May 17th (limited)

Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig back together again! Yet another pairing worthy of celebration, and Frances Ha looks to be joyous enough for the occasion. Probably intent on charming your ballet slippers off, there’s a danger here of overwhelming amounts of twee, but it’s Gerwig, so deal with it. She can overcome. Just never try to imagine her and Zooey Deschanel as buddy cops. -Scott Beggs

Read our review

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10. The Purge

Release Date: June 7th

Crime in America has dropped to near-zero levels thanks to a law that makes any and all illegal activity perfectly acceptable for a 12-hour period once a year. It’s a night where anything goes, leading most people to lock up tight while the maliciously-minded among us express their bloodlust, but when one family opens their door to a stranger they also make themselves a target for the crazies. Interesting but absurd premise aside, this looks to be a straight-forward home invasion flick, but it also looks to channel some of the terrifying elements found in The Strangers. My prediction? Ethan Hawke kills the final intruder one minute past the cutoff and gets arrested. -Rob Hunter

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9. Fast & Furious Six

Release Date: May 24th

Who could have guessed after the third entry in the franchise nearly choked on fumes that it would come back this strong? They’re going to make these things forever, and they’d better hope that The Rock is immortal because he was no small part of the series’ new boom. Universal seemed to know that, as they found a way to bring his Agents Hobbs back. This time around, the bad guys (which includes one bad guy turned cop turned bad guy again) will turn good guy in order to take down a bigger bad guy. This is definitely going to get confusing by the 26th movie, but for now, let’s just enjoy the smack talk and physics-defying car tank stunts. -Scott Beggs

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8. The World’s End

Release Date: August 23rd

Five friends reunite twenty years after a failed pub crawl, but their plans to recreate and finally finish the crawl are interrupted by the realization that their success may well determine the fate of all of humanity. What does that mean? Hell if I know, but the fact that this is a new Edgar Wright joint is all that really matters. Okay, fine, the other awesome thing about it is that Wright co-wrote it with Simon Pegg who stars alongside Nick Frost, Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan. I would watch Wright directing this cast in an infomercial for Ginsu steak knives. -Rob Hunter

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7. You’re Next

Release Date: August 23rd

Finally. Finally, finally, finally. After terrifying and delighting festival audiences on an international scale, this horror flick from Adam Wingard gets released into polite society.

When a gang of animal mask enthusiasts attacks a dysfunctional family reunion, they discover that one of the guests is pretty damned good at fighting back. Filled with great little twists on the home invasion genre, a brisk scene of blood-filled fun and (maybe most of all) big entertainment value, You’re Next is set up to make Sharni Vinson a new favorite badass. -Scott Beggs

Read our review

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6. Man of Steel

Release Date: June 14th

Clark Kent’s life has been one big secret, but after traveling the world in an attempt to hide from the truth he’s forced to reveal himself to save Earth from a terrible fate. Look, Superman is easily the most boring superhero there is, and his secret identity shtick (glasses on! glasses off!) is just stupid, but this movie looks pretty damn spectacular. To be fair, director Zack Snyder‘s movies always look great but end up lacking real emotional weight. Judging by the most recent trailer this just may be the movie that changes that. If nothing else though at least we get to see Kevin Costner on the big screen again. -Rob Hunter

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5. Pacific Rim

Release Date: July 12th

For whatever reason, Guillermo del Toro couldn’t get financing for his giant monster movie at the North Pole, so he went out and got financing for a giant monster movie in the Pacific. Whatever works. Now he’s canceling the apocalypse (hopefully Edgar Wright is helping out from a pub in Britain) by sending gargantuan robots to do battle with Godzilla’s godchildren. So far the trailers have been dense with bravado speeches, CGI and ships being used as weapons, but del Toro has never been one to miss out on the human story going on beneath the special effects. Plus, it’s good to know that if we’re ever attacked by massive inter-dimensional beings that we’ve at least thought about how to fight back. The people of earth owe you one, Mr. del Toro. -Scott Beggs

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4. The Great Gatsby

Release Date: May 10th

A small, coastal community gets a new resident by the name of Jay Gatsby, and it’s not long before his extravagant lifestyle becomes the talk of the town. One of his neighbors finds himself drawn to the man and the mystery at the heart of it all. I’ve always felt that what F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel needed was a 3D adaptation with anachronistic musical choices, and now thanks to director Baz Luhrmann that dream has become a reality. Add in a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton and Carey Mulligan, and you have a movie that with any luck will encourage our teens to actually pick up a damn book. -Rob Hunter

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3. Star Trek Into Darkness

Release Date: May 17th

J.J. Abrams pulled even non-fans (like myself) into the Trek universe with his reboot, and now I’m at least deep enough to know about The Picard Maneuver. After launching that modern universe so successfully, he now intends to burn it all down — or at least to allow Benedict Cumberbatch to light the match. Some great casting additions, including Cumberbatch and Alice Eve, to the original crew  as well as the intimate high stakes feel of the trailers promise an intensity that’s been turned up to 11. -Scott Beggs

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2. Iron Man 3

Release Date: May 3rd

Tony Stark finds himself suffering from insomnia and anxiety attacks in the months following the NYC attack in The Avengers, but when a terrorist known only as The Mandarin begins blowing up Americans, Iron Man is forced back into the fray. His personal demons get the better of him, leading to a confrontation that may just take away everything he holds dear. Robert Downey Jr. returns as the titular superhero this time facing off against Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce, but the most exciting name here is co-writer/director Shane Black. The Kiss Kiss Bang Bang-helmer steps into the big leagues to deliver what may be (but most likely won’t be) the final stand-alone Iron Man film. -Rob Hunter

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1. Elysium

Release Date: August 9th

Last summer, Brian explained why Neill Blomkamp‘s District 9 follow-up should be everyone’s most anticipated movie of 2013, and it looks like the bulk of our team still agrees. In Elysium, the Haves and Have Nots are starkly divided. The rich live on a stately space station where all their needs and extravagances are met while the poor live on the husk of a scorched earth. Matt Damon plays a man undertaking a dangerous mission to try to restore equilibrium to the social order even as Sharlto Copely and his weird finger-flick weapon try to stop him. Right there you’ve got a killer concept, a great cast, the threat of gorgeous action, and an original sci-fi sandbox that Blomkamp excelled at playing in. No wonder we’re clawing at the walls of the asylum to let us see this thing. -Scott Beggs

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What summer movie are you looking forward to the most?


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