Old-school comics fans may have seen it coming, but for those less familiar with the storylines of “The Amazing Spider-Man” of yesteryear, the death of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” came as quite a surprise. Sure, it makes for some impressive cred when you stay that true to your source material (Gwen died via Green Goblin shenanigans in issue No. 121, released in June 1973), but whoa — you’ve got Emma Stone in your summer movie mega-franchise, and you kill her off? 15. Bill Murray, “Zombieland” (2009) Just when you thought “Zombieland” couldn’t get any more fun, along comes Woody Harrelson’s “Kingpin” co-star Bill Murray all done up as a zombie, wits still about him, blithely explaining his tactics (“Oh, I do it to blend in”) with a bemused, characteristic shrug. Unfortunately, his performance as one of the undead proves to be all too convincing to Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), who freaks out and blows him away with a shotgun.
It might seem like only yesterday that we took our seats for 2013’s “Iron Man 3,” “The Conjuring” and “World War Z,” but it’s time to do it again. The 2014 summer movie season kicks off this weekend with the arrival of the high-flying “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” The next few months at the cineplex have in store a fairly eclectic lineup of rollicking comedies, sci-fi extravaganzas, hopeful franchise reboots, indie darlings and, of course, plenty of superhero adventures. Really, when romances starring Shailene Woodley and Daniel Radcliffe share the season with Optimus Prime, Spider-Man and Godzilla, not even the sky’s the limit.
The first official trailer for Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' resurrection of "Godzilla" has finally been released, and with it comes proof that the big atomic lizard’s still got what it takes to be the King of the Monsters … even in the face of heavy competition provided by the many impressive beasties of the production company’s own "Pacific Rim." The trailer opens with an intense sequence in which David Strathairn delivers a grave speech to a group of military men (one of which is played by “Kick-Ass” himself, Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as they skydive from a plane and into a partially decimated city … and, seemingly right onto their target, Godzilla himself. From there we get glimpses of the film’s impressive supporting cast — including Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe and Elizabeth Olsen — as they frantically run all to and fro, surrounded by images of desperate military operations and mass monster destruction (Olsen and Taylor-Johnson are slated to reunite in 2015’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”).
Well, so much for 2013. This past year had its cinematic ups (“Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Gravity,” “This Is the End”), downs (“Gangster Squad,” “A Good Day to Die Hard”), in-betweens (“Man of Steel,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”), and sweet surprises (“The Conjuring,” “Blue Jasmine”). It was a fun year , but 2014 is looking to be even more of a thrill ride, filled with franchise-friendly sure things, swing-for-the-fences passion projects, sleeper hits waiting to be discovered and, of course, a few (okay, a lot of) superhero movies. And we can’t wait to get started.