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2017 summer movies preview: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2,’ ‘Alien: Covenant’ and many more

Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, Guardians of the Galaxy 2
'Wonder Woman,' 'Atomic Blonde' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' are some of the most anticipated movies of the summer. Warner Bros./Universal/Disney/Marvel

Ah, summer. The days of blistering hot temperatures, when you seek out any respite from the endless sweating and discomfort.

It turns out the movie theatre may be the best escape for the summer of 2017, judging by the movies coming out — and air-conditioning is a nice bonus.

There are a few sequels, including Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which starts off the summer with a bang. War for the Planet of the Apes, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and Transformers: The Last Knight are the next movies in their respective series, and the Minions are back for more in Despicable Me 3.

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We’ll revisit some old favourites — Baywatch, for one, and Alien: Covenant, for another — and bear witness to butt-kicking women in Wonder Woman and Atomic Blonde.

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All things considered, it looks like it’s going to be a great cinematic summer. Check out the top titles and movie trailers coming your way.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5)

Movie trailer: Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
Movie trailer: Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2

Easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year, you could say this summer’s movie lineup starts with a bang. Or at least a classic rock song. The comic-book-based space film promises to deliver the laughs, the action and perhaps even some romance its second time around. All we know is we can’t wait for more baby Groot. Because Groot.

Alien: Covenant (May 19)

Movie trailer: Alien: Covenant
Movie trailer: Alien: Covenant

Just when you manage to control your own personal Alien fear, the cinematic powers-that-be come out with a new iteration to reopen the wound, and this one looks particularly terrifying. After its predecessor, Prometheus (2012), received some less-than-kind reviews, it’s likely that this film will stick to the tried-and-true scares and amazing special effects.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)

Movie trailer: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Movie trailer: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

This franchise has been going on for a while now, so it’s no surprise that Dead Men switches gears and seems to focus more on the villain (a super-creepy Javier Bardem) than our hero, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp). Depp’s recent personal life events also haven’t helped the movie’s promotion, either, so it’s safe to guess that Disney is steering the ship (sorry) to calmer waters.

Baywatch (May 26)

Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron bring laughs, action to ‘Baywatch’ reboot
Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron bring laughs, action to ‘Baywatch’ reboot

We’re looking forward to this one strictly for the nostalgic value, but the various trailers released for this movie aren’t really clear on what its tone is. It looks like it’s a comedy (for the most part), where the lifeguards at this California beach will do anything to save their beach from developers. But how can you go wrong? The Rock, Zac Efron and a cameo by Pamela Anderson? See you at the beach!

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Wonder Woman (June 2)

Movie trailer: Wonder Woman
Movie trailer: Wonder Woman

Anticipation is high for this superhero movie, since there hasn’t been a non-campy version of Wonder Woman since, well, ever. That’s not to diss Lynda Carter’s supreme Wonder Woman depiction back on the ’70s TV show, but this is the first time Diana Prince will be a serious character (outside of the comic books) on the big screen. Exploring Prince’s backstory (for example, she doesn’t have a father, she was “created” by Zeus) will be popcorn-munching goodness from start to finish.

The Mummy (June 9)

Movie trailer: The Mummy
Movie trailer: The Mummy

No, this isn’t the Brendan Fraser franchise from back in the day, this is a reboot in the guise of a Tom Cruise action film. You can expect the usual Cruiseian aspects: he somehow survives a fiery plane crash, spends a lot of time running full-tilt, and is ensured to have a sexy, much younger female sidekick (in this case, Annabelle Wallis, 23 years his junior). Speaking of age, Cruise looks like he’s found the fountain of youth. Here’s hoping this film doesn’t go the way of 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, largely considered a massive flop.

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All Eyez on Me (June 16)

Movie trailer: All Eyez on Me
Movie trailer: All Eyez on Me

Fresh off the success of 2015’s Straight Outta Compton, a look at the formation and genesis of rap group N.W.A., comes this movie about the life of late rapper Tupac Shakur. Respected worldwide as one of the best rap musicians to ever walk the planet, the film is a deep dive into Shakur’s brief, troubled existence, and his impact on the world of music. Excellent casting here, by the way, with newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Shakur. Talk about doppelgängers!

Cars 3 (June 16)

Movie trailer: Cars 3
Movie trailer: Cars 3

The beloved animated franchise is back for a third movie, and if you’ve seen either of the first two, you can probably guess the plot. Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is being overshadowed and outperformed by a hotter, faster car, Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), so he has to return home to reinvigorate himself with the help of his friends. Natch. Maybe not the most exciting film for adults, but kids eat this franchise up like candy.

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Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)

Movie trailer: Transformers: The Last Knight
Movie trailer: Transformers: The Last Knight

Starring a long-haired Mark Wahlberg (who also falls under that “ageless” category) and 16-year-old Isabela Moner, the latest Transformers movie on offer is a bit of a question mark. Revolving around the disappearance and return (?) of Optimus Prime, long considered the “biggest” Transformer, the film’s plot is murky. With Michael Bay at the helm, we can expect a lot of explosions and action, which will work to distract us from the empty — and most likely predictable — story.

Despicable Me 3 (June 30)

‘Despicable Me 3’ reveals Gru’s evil twin brother
‘Despicable Me 3’ reveals Gru’s evil twin brother

As the little yellow Minions have succeeded in taking over the kids’ toy industry, so too have they taken over kids’ cinema. Like the Smurfs, Chipmunks and the Care Bears in their time, the Minions are lovable, silly and a joy to watch, even if you can’t understand what they’re saying most of the time. The beauty of the Despicable Me films is their humour: way over the heads of children, adults can quell boredom by laughing along with the jokes, which are clearly there for that exact purpose. In this third movie of the franchise, Gru’s irrepressible brother, Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell), comes on the scene to mess everything up.

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The Beguiled (June 30)

Movie trailer: The Beguiled
Movie trailer: The Beguiled

Not your typical summer fare, Cannes selection The Beguiled looks to be part thriller and part drama, revolving around a mysterious girls’ school in Virginia during the Civil War. When injured Union soldier John McBurney (Colin Farrell) stumbles upon the school, everything goes awry and things get ugly. The women at the school (Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, among others) do battle over Farrell’s character, both sexually and literally, judging by the amount of blood splashed on Kidman’s petticoats in the trailer.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)

Movie trailer: Spider-Man Homecoming
Movie trailer: Spider-Man Homecoming

You might get a serious case of déjà vu watching the trailer for the latest Spider-Man film — its plot is achingly similar to the last Andrew Garfield iteration (and the one before it and the one before that), and quite simply, the studio should have given the franchise some off-screen time before rolling another one out. Well, too late now! Tom Holland takes over the role of Peter Parker/Spidey, and once again, we’ll see how his teenage angst and desire impacts his superhero life, and vice-versa.

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War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)

Movie trailer: War for the Planet of the Apes
Movie trailer: War for the Planet of the Apes

There sure are a lot of sequels this summer, aren’t there? A mere three years after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes roared into the box office, the studio is returning with this follow-up, which features yet another human vs. apes war. At the helm is Woody Harrelson, who admittedly looks strange with camo on his face, brandishing an automatic machine gun. King of performance-capture, Andy Serkis, reprises his role as Caesar, the talking ape.

Dunkirk (July 21)

Movie trailer: Dunkirk
Movie trailer: Dunkirk

In the spirit of other war films like Saving Private Ryan, Dunkirk is a visceral, heart-pounding look at the so-called Dunkirk beach evacuation that took place during the Second World War. Surrounded by German troops on the beach, the Allies (among them Canadian, British, Belgian and French soldiers) are evacuated in Operation Dynamo, trying to escape to their homes — and for their lives. Directed by Dark Knight mastermind Christopher Nolan, expect darkness, outstanding special effects (it’s shot in IMAX) and a harrowing journey into war.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (July 21)

Movie trailer: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Movie trailer: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this sci-fi/fantasy/space movie is directed by Luc Besson, who brought us past classics like The Fifth Element, La Femme Nikita and Lucy. If we can expect anything from Besson, it’ll be colourful aliens, eye-popping visuals and engaging stories. Dane DeHaan, respected in the industry as a high-brow actor, seems to be having the time of his life as Valerian. Joined by relative newcomer, model-turned-actor Cara Delevingne, the lead pair is refreshing and interesting. Now all the plot has to do is hold up.

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Atomic Blonde (July 28)

Movie trailer: Atomic Blonde
Movie trailer: Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron, kicking a** and taking names. After her terrific action-y turn in Mad Max: Fury Road, movie audiences are thirsting for more, and studios aren’t stupid. Not much has been given away in terms of Atomic Blonde‘s plot, aside from Theron shooting and fighting with every person who crosses her path. A thrill a minute, audiences will be panting for air if the entire film runs at this pace. Bonus points for the addition of John Goodman to the cast.

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An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (July 28)

Movie trailer: An Inconvenient Sequel
Movie trailer: An Inconvenient Sequel

Al Gore’s follow-up to the mind-blowing An Inconvenient Truth, this sequel is even more urgent in its storytelling. Buoyed by getting many predictions right in his first film, Gore is absolutely on the warpath now. He is declaring all-out war on climate change and presents more scary statistics and environmental info for our acceptance or denial. He insists we’re running out of time to save our planet, “our only home,” and pleads with us to make changes or face the unpleasant consequences. It’s not every day a documentary trailer gives us goosebumps, but here we are.

Detroit (Aug. 4)

Gripping ‘Detroit’ trailer tells story of deadly 1967 riots
Gripping ‘Detroit’ trailer tells story of deadly 1967 riots

Racial tension is escalating in the U.S. at the moment, so what better time to document the Detroit riots of 1967 on the big screen? Star-on-the-rise John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) plays a cop in the volatile urban environment, and lines are drawn between police and civilians as well as black and white citizens. A disturbing chapter in America’s history, it serves as an informative backdrop (and possible catalyst) for the current situation south of the border.

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The Dark Tower (Aug. 4)

Movie trailer: The Dark Tower
Movie trailer: The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower is a series of eight books written by horror master Stephen King, and to say this movie is one of the hot tickets of the summer is an understatement. Starring Idris Elba as main character Roland Deschain/The Gunslinger, the movie will be unique in that it explores multiple genres — sci-fi, horror (obviously), fantasy and believe it or not, Western. Deschain spends the film searching for the “man in black” (played here by Matthew McConaughey) and for the Dark Tower, which may hold the key to saving the world.

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