Each summer comes packed with must-see movies, and 2010 is no exception. (Iron Man 2! The A-Team! The Twilight Saga: Eclipse!) But how will you choose between them all? Movies.com film critics Dave White and Jen Yamato are here to help you sort through this season's tastiest offerings and tell you which ones will (probably) rock your summer…
Iron Man 2 (May 7)
Dave: You know, every time a big summer tentpole sequel comes along, I get this creeping sense of dread. And then the closer it gets it, it becomes like a book report on The Brothers Karamazov that I’ve been putting off. Not a great feeling. I feel the opposite about this movie. I want him to smash a lot of things.
Jen: Yes, but who can resist seeing Robert Downey Jr. quip and fight alongside War Machine (Don Cheadle), flirt with a femme fatale (Scarlett Johannson), and battle the tattooed Russian baddie, Whiplash (Mickey Rourke)? Cue the AC/DC and load up on popcorn.
Robin Hood (May 14)
Dave: Russell Crowe practiced a lot of bow-and-arrowing for this movie. And he’s got the right accent, more or less. And there aren’t going to be any Bryan Adams songs. So those are three things it’s got going for it over that last one.
Jen: While I'm partial to men in tights and princes of thieves, Ridley Scott's take on the vigilante hero tale promises to give us everything we've been missing in our Robin Hood mythology: Violence! Sex! Russell Crowe! Camera shots that circle dramatically around characters while they emote!
Shrek Forever After/Shrek the Final Chapter in 3D (May 21)
Dave: Do they promise this will be last time? Or are we all being tricked again and we’re just going to have to listen to Mike Myers do a Scottish accent for THE REST OF OUR LIVES?
Jen: The pop-culture regurgitating ogre hero returns, only this time he's stuck in an alternate universe where nobody knows who he is! Okay, DreamWorks, I'll bite; as long as it's better than Shrek 3. Just promise me there's no Smashmouth. Or Ricky Martin covers sung by cartoon animals.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (May 28)
Dave: I’m told there will be a lot of parkouring from Jake in this movie. I really like it when people parkour. Did you see the District B-13 movies? They parkour like crazy in those. That’s sort of the only thing I care about from this film, lots of jumping around. So that part better be good.
Jen: Jake Gyllenhaal buffed up and power-tanned to play the titular video game prince, so who am I to let all of his gym efforts go to waste? I'll be there, popcorn in hand, to ogle every second of Jake's long-haired, sword-fighting, parkour-jumping glory -- and hope for decent storytelling and fantastic visuals to boot.
Sex and the City 2 (May 28)
Dave: My extremely gay friend Aaron is so flipped out to see this movie that he demanded to be my plus-one guest for the press screening over a year ago. Dude is crazy.
Jen: Another Sex and the City movie, another fantasy about fabulously clothed Manhattanites whose lives you don't have. Here's to hoping Michael Patrick King has toned down Carrie & Co's estrogen-laced whining and fashioned a decent script that justifies that pricey couture budget.
The A-Team (June 11)
Dave: I’m excited for this one because I’m just like Mr. T and I’m terrified to fly in airplanes and need to be bonked on the head and unconscious first. Except Mr. T isn’t in this movie and in real life he’s also not afraid to fly from what I hear. So I’m not really like Mr. T at all. But dang, I can’t wait for this.
Jen: I'm sad Mr. T won't be around to pity any fools as B.A. Baracus. But fans should love seeing their beloved characters back in action in a big, slick, gritty 21st century adventure. Expect Bradley Cooper's man-crush quotient to grow after fans see him as Templeton "Face" Peck, the suave ladies man of the bunch.
Toy Story 3 (June 18)
Dave: This is going to be just like Sex and the City 2. But for kids. Total frenzy on opening weekend. If you hate people—or children—you should just wait it out for a couple weeks.
Jen: If Pixar's third Toy Story outing is even half as heartwarming and well-told a tale as its predecessors, families will be delighted this summer at the multiplex -- and the kiddies will clamor for all-new characters like Trixie the Triceratops and Mr. Pricklepants (and their merchandising tie-ins) to boot. Ka-ching!
Knight and Day (June 25)
Dave: Tom Cruise gets one more stab at making people not think he’s a megafreakazoid. Comedy always helps with that. So does being seen with super-pretty and seemingly fun gal Cameron Diaz. Well played, Tom Cruise.
Jen: How does Tom Cruise bounce back from playing a big-nosed Nazi in 2008's Valkryie? By playing a super-slick secret agent who pulls his goofy blind date (Cameron Diaz) into a spy adventure, of course! Expect high-octane hijinks, comedy, and (gag) romance in this June action pic.
Twilight: Eclipse (June 30)
Dave: I can’t decide if I should experience this movie by myself off in a corner of the theater so I can pay attention to it or if I should sit next to Jen and enjoy watching her squeal. I’m leaning heavily toward the latter.
Jen: I'm unapologetically excited about the dark and action-packed third film based on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novels, and here's why you should be, too: an army of newborn vampires, a huge wolf-on-vamp-on-vamp brawl, moody direction by David Slade, and more of that torrid love triangle between Bella, Jacob, and Edward. Swoon!
Inception (July 16)
Dave: Based on the trailer, I can’t even figure out what’s supposed to be happening in this movie. The last few times that happened to me was when I saw the trailers for Transformers 2, The Room and Dreamgirls. So that’s a good sign.
Jen: Chris Nolan never disappoints, even if he's taking his sweet time giving us the sequel to The Dark Knight. In the meantime, Inception will treat fans to mind-bending visuals and a Matrix-esque plot involving pseudo realities and dream-stealing that looks to be, in a nutshell, simply amazing. One of my most anticipated movies of the summer.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (July 16)
Dave: Nicolas Cage’s career needs your help. The guy might have to auction off his Euro-Castle if things get worse. You have failed him this year so far thanks to your own laziness concerning your Kick-Ass box office duties. So come July it’s gonna be go-time. And another thing, why haven’t you seen Ghost Rider yet?
Jen: Let's be real: This Sorcerer's Apprentice has very little to do with Mickey Mouse and dancing brooms and a lot to do with giving Nic Cage and director Jon Turteltaub another family-friendly vehicle that's not titled National Treasure 3. But I have a thing for Jay Baruchel and a curiosity for Nic Cage, and their student-master repartee could yield very entertaining results.
Salt (July 23)
Dave: I like it when Angelina Jolie has a gun and she’s hurting people. She looks like she likes herself best then, too. And if this is a big hit then it’ll be a franchise and we’ll never have to watch her act in high-fiber movies like A Mighty Heart ever again. Let’s all work together on this one.
Jen: Angelina Jolie plays a wrongfully accused CIA operative on the lam in a role originally intended to be played by Tom Cruise. But he was busy playing spies with Cameron Diaz in Knight and Day, so you know who wins? Everyone!
Step Up 3D (Aug. 6)
Dave: If it’s even half as bugged-out and dance-frenzied as Step Up 2 The Streets was, this is going to be the most fun you’ll have at a summer movie that isn’t from Pixar or featuring an Iron Man or 400 pairs of Louboutin shoes.
Jen: Step Up gave us Channing Tatum, Step Up 2 gave us awesome street battles in the rain and songs about about Apple Bottom jeans, and Step Up 3D takes us even further… into another dimension! Get your So You Think You Can Dance and America's Best Dance Crew-watching buddies together and krump your way into the multiplex for a guaranteed good time. (Dave and I will do the same.)
The Expendables (Aug. 13)
Dave: The title is ironic because Dolph Lundgren has never been and never will be expendable. My one concern for this movie is that I’m primed for an even higher body count than that last Rambo movie and I’m sort of a worrier when it comes to anticipating disappointment.
Jen: Action fans, prepare to get your minds exploded. With Sly Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Randy Couture, Bruce Willis, AND the Governator of California, there's more testosterone in this homage to '80s muscle than at a bodybuilding competition, a demolition derby, and your local meathead gym combined.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Aug. 13)
Jen: Edgar Wright + comic book Scott Pilgrim + Michael Cera = a massive, kung-fu fighting explosion of geekery. Also, nerds.