By Rafer Guzman



If you’re looking for breezy, escapist fare this summer, you’ll find plenty. Judging by the trailers, however, you’ll also find themes of social collapse, apocalyptic scenarios and inner turmoil. The sun may be shining outside, but inside theaters, Iron Man has insomnia, Superman feels alienated and Captain Kirk is leading his crew on a “Star Trek Into Darkness.” You’ll see Will Smith wandering through “After Earth” and Brad Pitt battling zombies in “World War Z.” And could any story be darker than “The Great Gatsby,” a tale of money and unhappiness scheduled for release in the merry month of May?

Granted, most of the season’s movies are going for action and spectacle, not profound messages. Hollywood is probably just following an angsty fashion trend set by the successful “Dark Knight” movies. Still, there are hints of doomsday even in some of this season’s comedies: Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill will face the apocalypse in “This Is the End,” while Simon Pegg and Nick Frost will seek alcohol-fueled oblivion in “The World’s End.”

The summer won’t be a total bummer. Possible angst-free bright spots include “The Heat,” a buddy-cop flick with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, and chipper- looking children’s films such as “Despicable Me 2” and “Disney’s Planes” (a spinoff of Pixar’s “Cars”). And surely there won’t be much hand-wringing in “Fast & Furious 6.”

Here are the 27 biggest movies of the summer:


“Iron Man 3”

Robert Downey Jr. returns as billionaire superhero Tony Stark, with Ben Kingsley as new villain The Mandarin. Directed and co-written by Shane Black.

MAY 10

“The Great Gatsby”

Will this fourth adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel about wealth and scandal on Long Island be the first to become a hit? Leonardo DiCaprio takes the title role, supported by Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. Jay-Z collaborated on the music. Directed by Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”).


Craig Robinson plays an underachiever trying to impress his girlfriend’s posh family during a weekend in Sag Harbor. With Kerry Washington.

MAY 17

“Star Trek Into Darkness”

The youthful crew of the USS Enterprise returns in J.J. Abrams’ ominous-looking sequel. With Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and Benedict Cumberbatch. Opens in IMAX and 3-D May 15.

MAY 24


A computer-animated adventure about a human girl who shrinks to a tiny size and discovers a whole new micro-world. With the voices of Amanda Seyfried and Josh Hutcherson.

“Fast & Furious 6”

With movie No. 6, this car-flick franchise is becoming almost as venerable as James Bond. With Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez.

“The Hangover Part III”

Members of the Wolf Pack come full circle to Las Vegas for their final(?) blowout. With Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Ken Jeong. Directed by Dix Hills’ Todd Phillips.

“Before Midnight”

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy continue the 18-year onscreen love affair that began with 1995’s “Before Sunrise.” Directed by Richard Linklater.

MAY 31

“After Earth”

Will Smith and his son, Jaden, play father and son on-screen as well in this sci-fi adventure set on a not-quite- abandoned planet. Directed and co-written by M. Night Shyamalan from a story by the elder Smith.

“Now You See Me”

Four illusionists, whose act includes bank robbery, plan their biggest trick yet. With Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher and Woody Harrelson. Directed by Louis Leterrier.


“The Internship”

Two unemployed salesmen (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) talk their way into a Google internship, then find themselves competing with whiz kids half their age.


“This Is the End”

Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Danny McBride and many others play versions of themselves trying to survive an apocalypse in Los Angeles. Directed and written by Rogen and Evan Goldberg (“Superbad”).


“Man of Steel”

The long-awaited Superman reboot, with Henry Cavill — a Brit! — in the title role. With Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”) as General Zod. Directed by Zack Snyder (“Watchmen”).


“Monsters University”

The prequel to Disney-Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” goes back to the college days of monocular Mike (Billy Crystal) and fuzzy Sulley (John Goodman).

“World War Z”

Brad Pitt plays a United Nations employee trying to stop a global zombie pandemic. Based on the novel by Max Brooks (son of comedy legend Mel) and directed by Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace”).


“The Heat”

A humorless FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) and a volatile Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy) team up to crack a case. Directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).


“The Lone Ranger”

Johnny Depp makes for one strange-looking Tonto in this update of the classic Western yarn. With Armie Hammer (“J. Edgar”) in the title role.

“Despicable Me 2”

A sequel to the 2010 animated hit, with Steve Carell as the voice of not-so-super villain Gru. Al Pacino, Kristen Wiig and Ken Jeong provide voices.


“Grown Ups 2”

Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Stony Brook’s Kevin James return as old friends still hanging out and learning life lessons. Dennis Dugan directs.

“Pacific Rim”

The big-budget sci-fi spectacle from director Guillermo Del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) is about human-controlled robots battling giant aliens. With Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Ron Perlman and Rinko Kikuchi.


“RED 2”

Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich return as AARP-aged secret agents in this sequel to the 2010 action comedy “RED.” With new addition Anthony Hopkins.


“The Wolverine”

Hugh Jackman is back as the mutton-chopped X-Man, this time battling foes in modern-day Japan. Directed by James Mangold (“Knight and Day”).


“Disney’s Planes”

An airborne spinoff of “Cars,” with Dane Cook as the voice of Dusty, a little plane who is afraid of heights. With Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Stacy Keach.


In 2154, downtrodden Earthling Max (Matt Damon) must reach Elysium, a space-station reserved for the wealthy. With Jodie Foster, East Meadow’s William Fichtner and Sharlto Copley, reteaming with “District 9” director Neill Blom kamp.

AUG. 16

“Kick-Ass 2”

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is back as a DIY superhero, along with Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and a new colleague, Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey).

AUG. 23

“The World’s End”

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (“Shaun of the Dead”) star in a comedy about old friends trying to re-create a youthful pub crawl. With Martin Freeman (“The Hobbit”) and Rosamund Pike.

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones”

A normal-seeming New York City teenager (Lily Collins) discovers Downworld, an “alternate New York” populated by vampires and werewolves. Based on Cassandra Clare’s young-adult novel.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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