I get it: you have Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, you have the Purge franchise, of course you take advantage of it. But why take advantage of it with a prequel? There’s nothing that The First Purge is likely to cover that we don’t already know, and it’s likely indulge in some pretty tasteless real-world political commentary while not-covering it. But what do I know, I’ll obviously go see it.
The math is basic as hell: if Ant-Man and the Wasp has a scene where Michael Peña’s character tells a shaggy dog story in which he voices all of the characters, I’ll be content. If he does it more than once, I’ll be happy. If he doesn’t do it at all, I’ll be pissed. The other variable: if Michelle Pfeiffer shows up more often than the ad campaign makes it seem, that will come as an extremely gratifying surprise, given that I’m currently assuming that she’s probably only in a couple of scenes at the very start and end of the film.
Fans of cartoons get a double-dose this weekend. First, we have Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, in which the curiously durable series that mixes striking character animation with goddamnably stupid comic screenplays. As long as Genndy Tartakovsky keeps directing, I will remain at least not-uninterested, though “Dracula on a cruise ship” is a clear sign that the idea well has run dry if ever there was one. Second, we have Skyscraper, a film that is technically live-action, though “Dwayne Johnson with a robot leg fights a burning skyscraper” sounds like a cartoon by any measure I know.
Last and most definitely least, a week after making its limited debut, Sorry to Bother You makes its nationwide release, and as a fan of unhinged movies, I’m getting more excited by the minute. You perhaps recall that I declared this to be one of my most-anticipated films of the summer, and if anything, my anticipation has gone up since then.
And now, three films in wildly different genres for wildly different audiences, for which my immediate response in all cases is “…they made a sequel to that?” The existence of The Equalizer 2 almost makes a kind of sense; Denzel Washington films are an extremely safe bet, and The Equalizer has an ’80s-style flexibility to its concept where, in principle, you could make sequels for the next hundred years. I have no such kind words for the other two films. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a follow-up that jettisons Meryl Streep and hooks its wagon to the ten-year-old star Mamma Mia!, an egregiously ill-made “fun” movie that about as much real joy as a waiter singing “Happy Birthday” for the fourth time in one the evening. And Unfriended: Dark Web… I mean, this one I just don’t get at all. Did the first Unfriended actually have some kind of impact? Enough to use its brand name for an apparently unrelated new story of ghosts in the internet? I am deeply and truly baffled, though I’ll admit it’s also the only one of these that I have any actual desire to see.
Near as I can tell, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is nothing but an exercise in meta-humor for the fans of a TV series that is apparently best-known for being aggressively overscheduled on Cartoon Network. At any rate, it’s self-evidently going to be the worst of 2018’s three big animated superhero movies.
So with that, we’ve saved the best for last: Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which disappoints me on one level: on its sixth entry, the Mission: Impossible franchise finally repeats a director in the form of Christopher McQuarrie. On the other hand, if there is literally nothing at all to this than “yep, they did Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation yet again, only this time with a halo jump”, that will still easily be enough to make it my favorite popcorn movie of the season, and it was with that exact thought in mind that Rob and I both put it on our most-anticipated lists. Yep, it looks totally unsurprising, and for this series, at this point in its evolution, I will consider that to be just fine.