Once again we’re in a summer of sequels – or to be more accurate, sequels, prequels, reboots and what one filmmaker calls “inbetweenquels.” For those who don’t follow big tent-pole movies, it can be confusing. So we’ve compiled our own guide to a few of the summer’s most familiar franchises. (Opening dates are subject to change.)
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”
Director: Marc Webb
The story: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” sees Andrew Garfield’s wall-crawling hero face off against several foes, including Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich, an Eastern bloc criminal who becomes the Rhino, and Dane DeHaan as Oscorp heir Harry Osborn, who is poised to inherit the mantle of the Green Goblin. But it’s Jamie Foxx’s Electro, who begins the movie as the meek Oscorp employee Max Dillon, who has the most showstopping moments thanks to his masterful control of the power grid.
Timeline: “Spider-Man 2” is the sequel to Webb’s 2012 hit “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which rebooted the Sony franchise just five years after the concluding installment in Sam Raimi’s Spidey trilogy, 2007’s “Spider-Man 3,” which starred Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker.
What’s next: The studio already has announced that the third and fourth installments in the saga are set for release on June 10, 2016, and May 4, 2018.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Opening: May 16
The story: Edwards had directed only the low-budget indie “Monsters” before he was tapped to resurrect the King of All Monsters for the big screen. The new model “Godzilla” stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston as a family torn apart by natural disaster.
“This is a complete rebirth,” Edwards said. “We tried to put a lot of Easter eggs and things in for the fans, but really it’s for people who have never seen a Godzilla movie. It’s the origin story, but it has elements that, I think if you’re a fan, you’ll be happy.”
Timeline: Godzilla has starred in 28 movies for Japanese studio Toho, which unleashed the beast on the world in 1954.
What’s next: Will largely depend on how Edwards’ update fares at the box office, but the film has generated positive buzz in advance of its release. Fans seem cheered by the serious approach, which wasn’t necessarily shared by the most recent “Godzilla” reboot, the critically maligned 1998 version directed by Roland Emmerich.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”
Director: Bryan Singer
Opening: May 23
The story: Seeking to prevent a dystopia ruled by robots known as Sentinels, who have rounded up mutants in camps for extermination, the X-Men send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time so that his younger self can help broker peace between friends-turned-adversaries Charles Xavier and Magneto. Uniting the enemies is key to averting the events that lead to the rise of the Sentinels.
Timeline: The time-travel element unites the casts of both the original “X-Men” trilogy – including Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as professor Charles Xavier and Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr, better known as Magneto – and Matthew Vaughn’s 2011 prequel, “X-Men: First Class,” which featured James McAvoy as a younger Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto and “Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique, a role played in the original films by Rebecca Romijn.
What’s next: “Future Past” lays the groundwork for a subsequent film, 2016’s “X-Men: Apocalypse,” announced late last year.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction”
Director: Michael Bay
Opening: June 27
The story: Mark Wahlberg replaces Shia LaBeouf as the Autobots’ primary human bulwark against the marauding Decepticons. Complicating matters is the arrival of the Dinobots, another race of warring alien creatures long believed to have faded into history.
Timeline: Bay gave the beloved animated series the live-action blockbuster movie makeover with 2007’s “Transformers.” That film spawned two sequels that have combined to gross a staggering $2.7 billion worldwide.
What’s next: Bay had said that this film would be his last “Transformers” movie, but the outspoken director subsequently stated that “Age of Extinction” marks the beginning of a new trilogy.
Los Angeles Times