Your guide to summer blockbuster season for August 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)

Remember when you could watch a Marvel movie without it being a direct tie-in with something larger like The Avengers or Agents of Shield?  When Iron Man was just Iron Man, and the Hulk was just the Hulk?  Things were so much simpler back then, when you didn’t feel forced to keep up with the entire Marvel universe to get the full experience.  That’s what makes a standalone movie like Guardians of the Galaxy such a welcome anomaly.  With early reviews on the positive side of the spectrum, this could be one of Marvel’s most unique movies yet.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8)

If last month’s Transformers fiasco taught us anything, it’s that we should be extremely wary of the words “from producer Michael Bay.”  It also taught us that—quality aside—his films makes a ridiculous amount of money.  So if audiences can stomach seeing their childhoods once again being completely turned upside down under Bay’s watchful eye, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a pretty good shot at following this moneymaking trend.

Step Up: All In (August 8)

Step Up: All In sees the all-star cast members of the previous Step Up films reuniting for yet another helping of choreographed bliss.  They converge in Las Vegas for a dance battle of the centuries (or something) that could potentially define their dreams and their careers.  Sounds pretty much on par for the rest of the Step Up movies, which is just about all anyone could ask for in a franchise like this.

Into the Storm (August 8)

I’m going to be perfectly honest—watching the trailer for Into the Storm, I was half expecting to see a shark come flying out of one of those tornadoes.  Sure, it may have better animation and Lori from The Walking Dead, but you can no doubt expect the same level of cheese that came with Sharknado.  Of course, people never seem to grow tired of disaster movies like this, and there’s nothing wrong with watching just for the heck of it.  You need a movie to make fun of every once in a while.

Let’s Be Cops (August 8)

The premise: two buddies go to a costume party dressed as cops.  The only thing is, people actually start to think they’re cops.  See where this is going?  Soon enough, they’re taking full advantage of their newfound authority.  It’s basically 22 Jump Street starring the cast of New Girl.

The Expendables 3 (August 15)

Promoted as the last in the trilogy, The Expendables 3 reunites its cast members for one more ride.  With a new director and several new cast members, this one aims to be one of the biggest action flicks of the summer.  On a side note, how many big name actors can you put in a single movie before you have a glorified version of Anchorman 2’s ending?

The Giver (August 15)

Based off a YA novel of the same name, The Giver tells of a perfect society—free of pain and suffering—which is not all it seems to be.  With a cast featuring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and a brief cameo from Taylor Swift, this movie seems to have a pretty good shot at grabbing both younger and older audiences.  I’ve never read the book, but the trailer has me intrigued!