Crash course: Summer blockbusters, from Star Trek Into Darkness to The Hangover Part III
The Avengers and Batman helped make 2012 the biggest box-office year on record. Can this summer’s popcorn movies repeat the trick?
Star Trek Into Darkness
JJ Abrams' sequel started the season – along with Iron Man 3 – with Benedict Cumberbatch in villainous form
The Hangover Part III
Comedy with a following this big means block- buster, with Bradley Cooper and co getting insensibly drunk (again)
Man of Steel
Superman returns, once more. Christopher Nolan produces, Zack Snyder directs, while little-known Brit Henry Cavill dons the red cape
World War Z
Produced by and starring Brad Pitt, and shot partly in the UK. Pitt is the UN agent saving us all from zombie apocalypse
Humanity battles ocean-dwelling beasts. Director Guillermo del Toro promises a "beautiful poem to giant monsters"
Pixar release their first prequel – about the undergraduate days of Monsters Inc heroes Mike and Sulley
300: Rise of an Empire
Much the same formula as the blood-and-guts, comic-book take on ancient warfare of 2007's 300. Eva Green stars
The Lone Ranger
Johnny Depp dons odd headgear and make-up – not another Jack Sparrow outing but as Tonto, in Disney's big-budget Western
Pain & Gain
Directed by Michael Bay, the reigning king of the summer blockbuster (see Profile), this is the true story of murderous Miami bodybuilders
How to: Be a baddie
By Simon Usborne
The greatest blockbuster baddies must be smarter, stronger and crazier than their hero nemeses (even if they have a massive fin) right until their inevitable demise.
Clever camerawork, 40 technicians and, crucially, the right music can turn even a lump of rubber and steel into the scariest thing in the world – and, in the case of Jaws, launch the era of the summer blockbuster.
Fancy being an intergalactic tyrant like Star Wars’ Darth Vader? Acquire dark latex clothing and a cape, add voice distortion and a personality disorder. A destructive father-son relationship helps too.
Are you a homicidal sadist with a brilliant mind, seeking Batman to taunt on the way to global destruction? Throw in a touch of camp and wild face paint and you can emulate the late Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson as the greatest villain of all, the Joker.
Profile: Action man Michael Bay
By Tim Walker
Michael Bay recently appeared to offer a mea culpa for his 1998 movie, Armageddon, in which an asteroid threatening to wipe out life on Earth was foiled by Bruce Willis. "I will apologise for Armageddon," the 48-year-old director told the Miami Herald. Before the bloggers could finish snarking, however, Bay recanted, claiming the interviewer "twisted [his] words".
There are several adjectives to describe Bay's oeuvre, but one of the few we can print here is: unapologetic.
Bay's name is a byword for Hollywood's crass, explosion-crammed summer output, which earns box-office dollars and critical derision in inverse proportion. As for his working practices, Megan Fox, sometime star of his Trans-formers trilogy, once likened the director to Hitler – she was fired.
His latest is Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg and The Rock as bodybuilders who kidnap and torture a wealthy local businessman. The film was made for $26m, which, by Bay's standards, makes it practically a home video.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Iain Duncan Smith's expenses credit card is suspended after he runs up £1,000 debt to taxpayer
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 French woman dies in freak bungee jumping accident
- 5 Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck to divorce and end their 10-year marriage
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?