Summer guide: Potential blockbuster movie highlights and lowlights

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

With a couple of blockbuster-bait movies already out of the gate, "summer movie season" is in full swing, even if it isn't summer yet. Here's a guide to some of what you'll be seeing in theaters when it gets really hot.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" (May 23)

A time-travel tale brings together the two X-Men movie franchises, and a cast that combines old (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman) and new (Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender) is pretty formidable.

"Maleficent" (May 30)

Angelina Jolie will be bringing the classic Disney villainess from "Sleeping Beauty" to life in what looks to be a relatively dark tale (at least for Disney).

"22 Jump Street" (June 13)

The unexpectedly great comedic teamwork between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum gets another spin around the block in this sequel to the comedy based on the '80s TV show.

"How to Train Your Dragon 2" (June 13)

Dreamworks' first "Dragon" was a great kids flick (and also one of the best 3D animated features yet). More of the same would be fine with me.

"Transformers: Age of Extinction" (June 27)

"Godzilla" raised the bar on summer destruction, but the fourth installment of Michael Bay's Transformer movie franchise will have something to say about that.

"Fast & Furious 7" (July 11)

Franchise star Paul Walker was killed in a car crash (unrelated to shooting the film) during production, but the actor's brothers will be filling in the gaps so his character lives on through one more movie.

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (July 18)

The excellent "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" set this franchise reboot up with smarts and great effects. Maybe motion-capture artist/actor Andy Serkis will finally get Oscar consideration.

"Jupiter Ascending" (July 18)

Andy and Lana Wachowski haven't matched their "Matrix" success in the past decade, but this original sci-fi tale starring Mila Kunis is worth a shot.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" (Aug. 1)

The latest Marvel superhero team movie looks weird and wonderful in the hands of director James Gunn ("Slither").

"50 Shades of Grey" (Aug. 1)

Your mom is going to want to go to this. Do not go with her.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Aug. 8)

It's hard to say if more people will be going to this to actually enjoy it or to see what part of their childhood Michael Bay will smash.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" (Aug. 22)

It's been almost 10 years since Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to bring "Sin City" to the screen. This stylish sequel is overdue.

X-Men photo courtesy of Marvel

Maleficent photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios