Comic books dominate this action-packed summer

Iron Man, May 2: Kicking off the summer is a superhero with a big suit of iron who can fly and blow stuff up. As amazingly macho and overdone as Iron Man sounds, the trailer looks awesome and even makes a chick-flick girl like me want to go watch it. It seems to have everything a good Marvel Comics movie should: cute people, a decent storyline, a little comedy, a lot of action, and kick-ass special effects. Robert Downey Jr. plays an unlikely but believable Iron Man, Gywneth Paltrow the adoring damsel, and an army tank the sad victim of a huge explosion.

Speed Racer, May 9: The latest venture from the Wachowski brothers (the Matrix trilogy), Speed Racer is an adaptation of the Japanese anime-esque series about a racecar driver named Speed Racer who motors his way to the top in order to expose rigged races. Shot almost entirely in front of the green screen, it’s got all the CGI, fighting, racing, famous actors, and romance that a summer blockbuster should, and all the cocky, arrogant, kung-fu fighting confidence and “coolness” that Matrix and anime cultists love and pretend to have.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, May 16: The second installment in the Narnia series looks to be slightly better, and much darker, than the first film. For the children, only a year has gone by, but when they return to Narnia, 1300 years have passed and the world they left is in ruins. In this new world, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy have to help Prince Caspian take his rightful place at the throne from his evil uncle. My guess is that if you’re really looking for the kiddie version of LOTR, it should knock your socks off.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, May 22: Almost 20 years after the last Indiana Jones film was released, IJ4 returns in all its Steven Speilberg/George Lucas/Harrison Ford glory. The cute little annoying Asian kid has been replaced by Shia Lebouf (Transformers), but that doesn’t stop me from getting excited when I hear John Williams’ famous theme song playing in the trailer. Nobody has any idea what the plot is about (except that it has a crystal skull), but this is definitely going to be one of the top must-see films of the summer. Who cares if Indiana Jones is entirely too old? If Rambo, Rocky, and John McClane can do it, so can he!

Sex and the City: The Movie, May 30: In case all the action-hero guy movies are getting to you, here’s one just for the girls — Carrie Bradshaw is back! The film picks up four years after the HBO series laid out its fairytale ending, and pretty much seems like it will be a two-hour-long episode (which can be a good or a bad thing). Carrie fails at marrying Mr. Big, Charlotte’s pregnant, Steve has cheated on Miranda, and Samantha is, well, Samantha. Mix in a lot of appearances by a cute Asian and a conversation about Brazilian waxing, and there’s your movie.

WALL·E, June 27: WALL·E is probably the most adorable film coming out this summer. From the creators of The Incredibles, WALL·E is proving to be just as good as — if not better than — their previous films. The Disney-Pixar film features WALL·E, the last and loneliest little trash-compacting robot on an abandoned Earth. When a robot from human society comes in from outer space, WALL·E follows it looking for love. The film is cute, funny, family-oriented, completely Disney, and it restores your faith in society. Not to love this film pretty much means you have no soul.

The Dark Knight, July 18: It is my firm belief that Heath Ledger did not die; he’s just hiding out on some island in the tropics. Either way, he is (was?) spectacular in the trailers for this next Batman movie. Even if Ledger hadn’t “died,” this film would still have gotten tons of hype, as Ledger’s version of the Joker competes with Jack Nicholson’s legendary character. I wasn’t crazy about the first of Christian Bale’s Batman movies (Batman Begins), but just watching the trailer for The Dark Knight gives me chills. If there’s one movie you watch this season, make it this one.

The Midnight Meat Train, Aug. 1: The trailer for this movie freaks me out and makes me never want to take the subway. A photographer trying to “capture the city” sees a girl murdered on the subway. After this, he learns of more and more girls who have been killed and becomes obsessed with finding the murderer. Scenes of dead cows hanging in a meat factory, subway trains moving, and lots of blood make this an exciting thriller.

Tropic Thunder, Aug. 15: Finishing off the summer is what critics are calling the return of Ben Stiller to decent comedy. The trailer is pretty funny, mocking war movies like Apocalypse Now in ways that Epic Movie never could. Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. star — in African-American makeup — in a movie within a movie. In other words, the film is about a bunch of people filming a Vietnam war movie and making some semi-controversial jokes.