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.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt gives intriguing performance as unsympathetic war hero
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage