The summer movie season seems to begin earlier and earlier each year. Though summer doesn’t officially start for a couple of months Hollywood has already commenced the corresponding cinematic period with big tent pole blockbusters being released basically every single week for the next several months. The summer movie season is always hotly anticipated by both cinephiles and the more mainstream cinema-goer alike. However amongst all the superhero movies, animated features, and raunchy comedies that dominate the season, there’s always a few that fail to live up to expectations.
The following are the 5 blockbusters due to be released this summer that might just end up sucking.
Warcraft (10th June)
Duncan Jones may be the mastermind behind cult hit Moon and the very underrated Source Code, but his next project has lacklustre written all over it. Putting aside the fact that the Warcraft brand is completely lacking the pop culture relevance it had a decade ago, this movie adaptation of the video game franchise is giving off so many red flags that I’ve lost count.
Firstly, the film has been in development since 2006. Though it’s possible to go through production hell and come out with a quality product – Mad Max: Fury Road is proof – typically the end result is a movie with so many fingerprints that it feels completely disjointed. Secondly the plot, which sees humans and orcs reluctantly join together to stop a greater threat, is dripping in fantasy clichés and is the embodiment of an uninspired narrative. Though it’d be foolish to expect a hugely complex tale from a movie based on the Warcraft franchise it’s still disheartening to see that after a decade of development such a well-worn idea was the best they could come up with.
The real warning sign that Warcraft may well be a movie you’ll want to skip is how CGI heavy the film looks. Practical effects have slowly been making a comeback but Warcraft is firmly built around computer generated models. It’s understandable that the Orcs would have to be CGI but from the looks of the multiple trailers released it appears that almost every set was merely a green screen. Warcraft is giving off a distinct vibe that reminds me of movies such as Seventh Son and Gods of Egypt. Both movies relied on large budgets rather than strong characters or interesting narratives, and both were painfully bad. If I was a betting man I’d put money on Warcraft joining their ranks.
Finding Dory (17th June)
Pixar’s untarnished reputation is long gone. A few years ago the studios’ name was such a guarantee of quality that appearing on a list such as this was practically blasphemy. However after a string of average to bad movies such as The Good Dinosaur, Monsters University, Brave, and Cars 2, it’s hard to go into a Pixar movie now without at least a tad of scepticism. In their earlier days Pixar nearly split from Disney such was their aversion to making sequels, yet now it seems they have little interest in anything else.
Considering Pixar’s poor track record with non-Toy Story sequels and the fact that Finding Nemo doesn’t exactly warrant a sequel, there’s definitely reason to be concerned about Finding Dory. The first trailer seems to hint that this sequel will hit many of the same story beats as its predecessor, even a new fish tank in a dentist’s office. There’s very little worse in the world of cinema than a lazy sequel that attempts to mimic what came before it for the sake of a quick buck – and all signs point to Finding Dory being just that.
Dory herself is also a concern. While the little blue fish is most definitely beloved across the globe, much like the Minions from the Despicable Me franchise she works better as a side character and not the lead. A full ninety minutes of Dory’s shtick sounds like a recipe for a headache rather than an excellent family movie. Hopefully this sequel is more Toy Story 3 than Cars 2, but I’m not holding my breath based on what we’ve seen so far.
Ghostbusters (15th July)
Though Melissa McCarthy and director/screenwriter Paul Fieg are usually a winning combination, there’s a lingering sense that this Ghostbusters reboot is a film nobody wants. Fans of the eighties original want their beloved franchise left alone and everybody else appears to be generally apathetic towards the movie. The Ghostbusters name hardly carries much weight with modern audiences and the entirely new cast has irritated those who hold the brand in high regard.
There’s been a social media storm surrounding this reboot since day one. Supporters of the project claim that the lukewarm reaction to the casting of McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as a foursome of paranormal investigators is purely because of their gender. Though the constant teasing of a true Ghostbusters 3 only for it to be swiftly cancelled in favour of a cynical reboot may be more to blame for the harsh reception that has met almost every scrap of information that has trickled out from the studio. However it wasn’t until the first trailer dropped earlier this year that the mood really shifted to overwhelmingly negative.
It’s hard to summon much excitement for Ghostbusters after viewing the trailers released so far. Between the cringe inducing lines (“Erin, no one’s better at quantum physics than you”) and the often flat humour that appears to rely on cliché female character tropes, even the most optimistic of movie goers must surely be planning to give this one a miss. The portrayal of Jones’ character Patty Tolan, who is the only women of colour on the team, has drawn substantial criticism for being insensitive and borderline racist. There’s already a cloud of negativity surrounding Ghostbusters and unless the movie really defies expectations it’s looking like this could be one of the summer’s most talked about releases, for all the wrong reasons.
Star Trek: Beyond (22nd July)
Three films into the rebooted Star Trek franchise and we’ve yet to see anything of truly substantial quality. Instead we’ve been subjected to a mediocre origins story and an even more mediocre sequel. Trekkies will be hoping it’ll be third time’s the charm for the series, and with a new director in Justin Lin perhaps it could be, but the early signs aren’t exactly spectacular. In fact from the previews Star Trek: Beyond is looking as questionable as Captain Kirk’s new hairdo.
Similarly to most of the films on this list, the first trailer for Beyond has done very little to impress. In fact, it’s hard core fans of the Star Trek universe who seem most disappointed in the direction this second sequel is taking. The rebooted franchise has consistently struggled with tone and capturing the exploration elements of the classic television series. Beyond looks to be falling into the same trap as its predecessors with the focus placed squarely on action set pieces much to the disappointment of audiences. Although star and partial screenwriter Simon Pegg claims it’s merely a poorly cut trailer that doesn’t accurately reflect the quality of the final product. Good thing he doesn’t have a vested interested in turning around the negative stigma surrounding the film!
Justin Lin is taking over directing duties from J.J. Abrams. A risky move considering Lin directed four of the last five films in the Fast and Furious series, movies which embody big action over pretty much everything else. However its been clear that the franchise was stalling under Abrams, so perhaps Lin will be the fresh blood Star Trek desperately needs to compete with the revitalized juggernaut that is Star Wars. Into Darkness was not a huge money spinner so Beyond may be Star Trek’s last chance saloon; unfortunately, another mediocre entry in the franchise is looking likely.
Suicide Squad (5th August)
After the utter mess that was Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice it’s hard to have faith in anything that’s a part of the DC Cinematic Universe. Unlike the previous movies on this list Suicide Squad has had nothing but immensely positive reactions to every trailer released so far. However the aforementioned showdown between the caped crusader and the man of steel also received a largely positive reaction to each drip of media released before opening day. While a good trailer is generally an indication of a quality movie, it’s far from a guarantee.
One of the biggest problems with Batman v Superman was how it struggled to handle multiple characters, and those were characters that the public is already largely familiar with. Suicide Squad is attempting to introduce us to a whole new crew of villains including a new take on the iconic Joker, plus Batman thrown into the mix. It sounds like a recipe for disaster with far too many characters all competing for screen time. There is very little doubt that at least a few members of the squad are going to feel underdeveloped.
A few of the cast members are also cause for concern. Cara Delevingne and Joel Kinnaman aren’t exactly names to get excited about and truthfully when was the last time Will Smith was good in a movie? The most troubling name featured is of course the infamously awful Jai Courtney who must have a killer agent because they keep getting one of the worst actors currently working into big blockbusters. Sure Margot Robbie and Jared Leto look like inspired choices for Harley Quinn and the Joker but they can’t carry the movie on their own.
The positively received trailers have also thrived off strong musical choices from Queen and Beastie Boys. The few glimpses of the film we’ve seen without an iconic track accompanying them have seemed a little muted and failed to quite hit the mark. Of all the film’s featured on this list Suicide Squad is the one I’m most confident will live up the hype, but I’ve learnt my lesson from previous DC disappointments and will be keeping my expectations firmly in check.