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The rise of blockbusters: From ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Jurassic World’ to Buzz Lightyear and Elvis, this summer movie season looks promising

UPDATED: Thu., May 12, 2022

By Paul R. Sell For The Spokesman-Review

Summer blockbusters are back in full force and better than ever. There promises to be no shortage of noteworthy films this summer, with only a couple of superhero films and more variety than last summer.

There will certainly be enough to please everyone’s movie palates even if you haven’t been to the theaters in years. Here are 12 blockbusters being released this summer that I’m excited to see:

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ (May 27)

It has been 36 years since the original “Top Gun” wowed audiences, and now the sequel promises to do the same thing for a new generation. Part of me is glad they waited so long to make a sequel because filmmaking technology has advanced so far in the past 40 years, which should make these aerial dogfights more immersive than any in the first film.

‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ (June 10)

Dinosaurs are now freely roaming the Earth, and humans must find a way to coexist with them or else we face our own extinction. Serving as the finale to the two previous “Jurassic World” movies, this film will bring back Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, while also reintroducing Sam Neill and Laura Dern’s characters from the first “Jurassic Park.”

‘Lightyear’ (June 17)

There are quite a few noteworthy animated films on the schedule this summer, and this one should be the most interesting. While not a true sequel to “Toy Story,” this sci-fi adventure will give an origin for Buzz Lightyear about how he became a space ranger and helped create Star Command. Plus, this is Pixar, and they’ve always made amazing work.

‘Elvis’ (June 24)

Musical bio pics have certainly been worth checking out in recent years, especially when paired with great performances like in “Rocketman” and “Respect.” This one should do the same thing about one of the most iconic musical talents of the 20th century while also introducing the world to Austin Butler, who certainly has the makings of a future star.

‘Marcel the Shell With Shoes on’ (June 24)

Regarding independent movies, this one appears to be the most noteworthy. It is a stop-motion animation mockumentary about a 1-inch shell named Marcel searching for his family. The trailer alone pulled at my heartstrings with its adorable warmth, so I cannot wait to see this one.

‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ (July 1)

The minions are back at it again, and this time they’re following around Gru as a child on his way to becoming a famous supervillain. The minions have their unique charm, similar to the Three Stooges mixed with Bunsen and Beaker from the Muppets, and this new film should offer more of what we love about them.

‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ (July 8)

The one big remaining superhero release of the summer, the next Marvel film puts Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarök”) back in the driver’s seat. Building off the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” Thor has to rediscover who he is now that he’s one of the last Asgardians, all while being hunted by a villain attempting to kill every God.

‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ (July 15)

Based off the worldwide hit novel, Olivia Newman directs Daisy Edgar-Jones in a thrilling drama. It follows Kya, who has always had to fend for herself alone in the marshes of North Carolina, as she becomes the lead suspect in the murder of a man who once pursued her.

‘Nope’ (July 22)

Jordan Peele has quickly become one of the most creative minds in horror, easily able to hook audiences while giving away hardly anything about what happens in his movies. “Nope” follows the trend that “Get Out” and “Us” started, with bizarre, almost “Twilight Zone”-like scenarios. It stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun.

‘League of Superpets’ (July 29)

Part animated family movie, part superhero, and a lot of celebrity voices (Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Keanu Reeves, just to name a few). Made by the same creators as “The Secret Life of Pets,” this is set in an animated version of the DC superhero universe following the pets of the Justice League, especially Superman’s loyal dog, Krypto.

‘Bullet Train’ (July 29)

If “League of Superpets” doesn’t interest you, there is a high-paced action thriller being released the same weekend. Set aboard a Japanese bullet train, Brad Pitt plays a hitman who wants out of the game as he faces a horde of trained assassins and yakuza who all want the briefcase he’s carrying.

‘Three Thousand Years of Longing’ (Aug. 31)

Out of all the films set for August, this one is the most interesting. George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) directs Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton in a fantasy romance. Swinton’s character happens upon a Djinn (played by Elba), who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom.

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