Your essential guide to Hollywood's summer blockbusters

We explore what's in store for the next four months

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Over the past decade, Hollywood seems to have created a formulaic annual schedule for the silver screen.

Spring kicks off the year with a collection of indie movies to warm the heart, then summer brings out the big guns (quite literally, in the movies anyway) and thrills audiences with over-hyped-trailers and stellar action sequences.

Autumn brings in a slew of horror flicks before Oscar bait slowly creeps in for winter, along with the annual Star Wars, Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings thrown in to assure everyone it’s Christmas time. Rinse and repeat.

But 2018 feels different. The formula is broken, as we’ve already witnessed some of the biggest movies of the year – Black Panther gave people their Marvel fix, Steven Spielberg unleashed his much-anticipated Ready Player One and Jennifer Lawrence has already given her award-worthy performance in Red Sparrow.

What’s going on? With movies like these already giving crowds quality entertainment, the blockbusters of summer 2018 are sure to pack a bit more of a wallop than usual, and that ain’t a complaint.

Avengers: Infinity War
Let’s not kid ourselves, Infinity War is probably the biggest movie of the year, Marvel fan or not. Ever since Robert Downey Jr. rocked up on screen as Iron Man and introduced us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe a decade ago, every movie has been leading up to this event. Crowds have been waiting in anticipation for years, getting a glimpse of what’s to come by waiting an extra ten minutes for a post-credit scene. We know all about the big bad Thanos, an intergalactic overlord whose goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. We also know how strong he is, which is why the whole gang will be there to stop him – from the patriotic and now grizzly Captain America to our beloved gun-touting space raccoon, Rocket, and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy. With the Russo Brothers directing, who made the brilliant Captain America: Winter Soldier, we’re in for a treat. It’s also the very first Summer movie to kick off the season, so good luck to the rest of the films following this mash of our favourite superheroes saving the world.
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Zoe Saldana
Release Date:
April 26

Deadpool 2

Being true to his comic book character by constantly breaking the fourth wall, Deadpool was made for the big screen, and it’s box office takings of US$781 million (Dhs2.8 billion) only proves it. With the absolute crudest of jokes you can’t help but laugh at, poking fun at the studio that let the movie be made and the ridiculous amount of gore on display, this sequel seems to want to push it all further, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s also impossible to figure out what will actually go on in the movie, as the IMDb synopsis literally reads: “After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfil his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope.” While this is a great concept, we doubt this is the case. Expect to see a hyped up Josh Brolin play Cable, a time-travelling mutant who wants someone dead, and the quirky Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool trying to stop the madman.
Director: David Leitch
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller
Release date: May 17

Solo: A Star Wars Story

A Star Wars movie that’s not coming out in December? There seems to be an imbalance in the force, alright, but we’re not complaining. If there was ever a side character that could hold his own, it would of course be Han Solo (hence his name). Taking place years before joining the rebellion, audiences will get to see a young, arrogant Han meet the furry and loveable Chewbacca, along with the suave Lando Calrissian. Expect tons of snarky comments, witty comebacks and seemingly no Skywalker family drama (whew). Alden Ehrenreich looks just the part for a young Han, we just hope he does Harrison Ford proud. It’s also our chance to finally see if the man can actually make a Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, so he claims.
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton
Release date: May 24

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Long gone are the days of that first encounter with a dinosaur, that’s very much been there, done that. But Jurassic World cleverly put a spin on this and tried to commercialise dinosaurs, making them bigger and stronger, which inevitably was the downfall of the company when their creation ran rampant. Now, with the prehistoric amusement park abandoned, the dinosaurs are in danger of going extinct (again…) when a dormant volcano starts to erupt. It’s up to Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard to get them all off the island before history repeats itself. It seems a little far-fetched, but so did Pratt driving alongside a squad of raptors that he controls like a military team, and that turned out to be simply awesome. You’d think the main draw for Fallen Kingdom would be the T-Rex and other threats with teeth, we all know it’s Jeff Goldblum’s return as Ian Malcolm.
Director: J.A. Bayona
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, Rafe Spall
Release date: June 7

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
We start to question if these missions are actually impossible, seeing how Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has survived five other missions and is now going on to his sixth. Regardless, it’s always a welcome surprise to see the Mission Impossible franchise going on strong, and Fallout seems like it will continue that trend. This time, Ethan Hunt’s team find themselves racing against time after a mission goes wrong. We know, it sounds like every other Mission Impossible entry, but each one always puts a nice twist in the story to keep audiences on their toes. Expect to see a lot of death-defying stunts – with people flying through windows and, of course, Tom Cruise dangling from in the air at a very, very unsafe height. Apparently, Cruise even broke his foot while filming this one and, get this, continued on in order to get the shot. The film was partly shot in Abu Dhabi, too, so look out for some familar sights on the big screen.
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan
Release Date: July 26


Ocean’s 8

Ah, the summer heist movie. It wouldn’t be right to not have a group of smooth and charming crooks steal a bazillion dollar item from a snob. What makes this one stand out? It’s another Ocean’s movie, and this time, it’s an all-female cast. Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, and in good ol’ Ocean fashion, assembles a team of misfits from various professional backgrounds in order to steal a US$150 million necklace. The catch (of course there’s a catch), they have to steal it from the neck of a famous celebrity (Anne Hathaway) while at the New York Met Gala. Why at that particular time? We’re sure there’s a good reason. Ocean’s movies strive on each character’s cool manner, and a hilarious script depicting how the heist goes and all the little screw ups the cast make along the way. Lets just hope this isn’t another try-hard Ghostbusters overhaul. That wasn’t necessarily bad, it just wasn’t… good.
Director: Gary Ross
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
Release Date: June 7

Incredibles 2

Finally! Okay, in a midst of sequels, remakes and reboots, it doesn’t come as a surprise this Pixar gem got a follow-up, but people have been asking for this since 2004. For a lot of us, our nostalgia senses are off the charts. We find our favourite superhero family back right where we left them, taking on The Underminer and bringing the costumed vigilante name back into the spotlight. Now though, baby Jack-Jack needs to be taken care of properly with his powers awakening, so Mr. Incredible stays at home while Elastigirl does what she does best, kick supervillain keister and save the day. Like all Pixar movies, it looks like it will be about the hilarious struggles of a dad trying to handle a superpowered baby, but we all know there will be a tear inducing message to smack us right in the face. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only adult sitting in the cinema with a bunch of kids (we hope).
Director: Brad Bird
Cast: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophia Bush
Release Date: June 14

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
Could they have named the sequel anything else? The sensational musical that had everyone in movie theatres around the world dancing and singing along to every Abba song, returns. The whole cast will be making a comeback, except with more of a focus on their younger selves as Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) learns about her mother’s (Meryl Streep) past in Greece. While we may not get to see much of the faces we’ve come to know in the past film, we do get to see an energised younger cast dance and sing to the songs of Abba. Oh, and maybe, just maybe, if we wish hard enough, Pierce Brosnan won’t have to sing again in this one. At least he tried.
Director: Ol Parker
Cast: Lily James, Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan
Release date: July 19

Ant-Man and The Wasp
Another Marvel blockbuster! With Black Panther and Avengers Infinity War before it, our two mite-sized heroes will have a lot to carry on their shoulders. Or do they? Director Peyton Reed knows how Ant-Man is depicted – a strange hero with stranger powers – which is why he made his debut pure fun. A battle with a giant Thomas the Tank Engine is not something audiences often have an excuse to see, and this sequel will bring a host of new ideas Reed can play around with. The trailer already shows a building turn into a suitcase, and a giant Hello Kitty used as a weapon. Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly make for a comedic powerhouse of a duo, and they’re up against a villain called Ghost, who can (you guessed it) become intangible like a ghost. Call them a joke if you want, but Ant-Man and The Wasp probably have the coolest powers in all of Marvel and will be a spectacle to see.
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer
Release Date: July 5

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