Top ten summer blockbusters: sequels, superheroes, and animation

The summer's lineup of films looks like a traffic jam of sequels, prequels, remakes, and comic book heroes, as well as loads of comedies and animated kids' movies, with most of the fare in 3D and with a sci-fi theme.

Big offerings in May jumpstart the season with Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kung Fu Panda II and The Hangover II indicating what's in store at the box office.

Among the bonanza of blockbusters, Harry Potter's finale is arriving, and the beginning of successful new franchises such as Green Lantern follow.

X-Men: First Class
Release dates: June 1-3 internationally, June 11 in Japan
The fifth installment in the superhero series, this X-Men prequel, the first of a trilogy, freshens the franchise with a younger cast to tell the origin story. Set during the 1960s' Cuban missile crisis, X-Men: First Class stars James McAvoy ( Atonement) as the young Charles Xavier/Professor X and Michael Fassbender ( Inglourious Basterds) as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. Directed by Matt Vaughn ( Kick-Ass), it also features January Jones ( Mad Men) as Emma Frost and Jennifer Lawrence ( Winter's Bone) as Raven Darkholme/Mystique.

Super 8
Release dates: June 9-10 in Australia and North America; July in Scandinavia; August in France, the UK, Brazil and other countries
From J.J. Abrams ( Star Trek) and produced by Steven Spielberg, this sci-fi thriller stars Kyle Chandler ( King Kong), Elle Fanning ( The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and newcomer Joel Courtney. Set in 1979, the story follows a group of kids in a small town who witness a train from Area 51 crash while making a home movie and soon discover that the supposed accident brings mysterious disappearances and a terrifying truth.

Green Lantern
Release dates: June 16-17 in North America and the UK; Japan, Asian and South American territories on July 22; European countries in August
This DC Comics superhero follows Hal Jordan, the first human Green Lantern played by Ryan Reynolds ( The Proposal). Directed by Martin Campbell ( Casino Royale) with lots of 3D special effects, the cast features Mark Strong ( Robin Hood) as Sinesto, Peter Sarsgaard ( An Education) as Hector Hammond, and Blake Lively ( The Town). The story follows a test pilot recruited by an intergalactic squadron keeping peace in the universe.

Cars 2
Release dates: June 24 in North America and Australia; July in the UK, France and Japan; other markets through August
Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson ( Midnight in Paris), revs up to race around the world with the fastest cars in the World Grand Prix in 3D. With Mater in tow, an international espionage theme is at play in this sequel, costarring Michael Caine's Finn McMissile as well as Cheech Marin, Eddie Izzard and Emily Mortimer ( Shutter Island).

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Release dates: June 29 - July 1 internationally; Japan on July 29
Michael Bay's epic robot extravaganza returns for a third go-round with Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson. In 3D this time, the Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft on the moon and race against the Decepticons for the Transformers' final battle. Joining the cast are model Rosie Huntington-Whitely and the team of John Turturro, Patrick Dempsey, Frances McDormand and John Malkovich for one of the year's biggest.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Release date: July 15 worldwide
The eighth film in the phenomenal franchise adapted from J.K. Rowling's best-selling book series about the boy wizard draws to a close after a decade. In this epic 3D finale, Harry, Hermione and Ron seek to destroy the last Horcruxes in order to stop Lord Voldemort, who possesses of one of the Deathly Hallows, and to save Harry's life. Directed by David Yates, who helmed the last three films, this ending stars Daniel Radcliff, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldham, and Helena Bonham Carter.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Release dates: July 22 in North America, July 29 in the UK and India, further roll-out in August
This Marvel story in 3D follows a World War II soldier who participates in a military experiment that turns him into a superhuman fighter. Stars Chris Evans ( Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as Steve Rogers/Captain America, plus Hugo Weaving ( Transformers) and Tommy Lee Jones ( Men in Black). Directed by Joe Johnston ( The Wolfman), the film sets up 2012's The Avengers, which will gather superheroes from Iron Man to the Incredible Hulk.

Cowboys & Aliens
Release dates: July 29 in North America; August in the UK, India, Malaysia and more; September in Germany and Japan
This sci-fi Western hybrid stars Daniel Craig ( Quantum of Solace) as a mysterious loner and Harrison Ford ( Indiana Jones) as a colonel who battle an alien invasion in 1800s Arizona. Costars Olivia Wilde ( Tron:Legacy) and Sam Rockwell ( Moon). Produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Jon Favreau ( Iron Man), it is based on a graphic novel.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Release dates: August 5 in North America, Russia and Scandinavia
This prequel to the Planet of the Apes series (1968-73) uses motion capture instead of costumes and is set in the present day. Experiments in genetic engineering create intelligence in apes, leading to a war against humans for supremacy of earth. Stars James Franco ( Milk), Frieda Pinto ( Slumdog Millionaire), Tom Felton ( Harry Potter), and Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings) as Ceasar, the chimp who leads the revolt.

Conan the Barbarian
Release dates: August 19 in North America and the UK; France on August 24; other markets through September
A 3D remake of the 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger action-adventure sword and sorcery fantasy, the tale tells of Conan meeting with monsters and witches as he sets out on a rampage across the continent of Hyboria to avenge the murder of his father and slaughter of his village. Starring Jason Momoa ( Baywatch), Ron Perlman ( Hellboy), Stephen Lang ( Avatar) and Rose McGowan ( Grindhouse), it is directed by Marcus Nispel ( Friday the 13th).


Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?