Fast & Furious 9 to Black Widow: which blockbuster will triumph this summer?

Cinemas are about to reopen, and with them big, dumb epics involving lots of explosions. Here’s how the contenders stack up

Cinemas are about to reopen, but they remain in trouble. A year of closures, which have left the public more comfortable watching new releases at home, means the industry is on its knees. Chains urgently need bums back on seats. For that to happen, they require a certain type of film. It won’t be edgy or indie, and it won’t be anything as annoying as Tenet. What cinema needs now are big, dumb, summer movies. So which one should you be most excited about? Here’s a scientific analysis …

A Quiet Place Part II

Size of screen required It depends on the level of detail in which you’d like to see Emily Blunt scowl in silence. 5/10
Prestige factor The first film was nominated for an Oscar, so not exactly unprestigious. 6/10
Explosion potential One of the loudest scenes of the first film was a slow dance to a Neil Young ballad, so lower your expectations. 2/10
Simplicity level The genius of A Quiet Place is that the entire logline for the film is basically “Noise = Bad”. A child could follow it. 10/10
Will it save cinema? No, but it’ll be a nice enough diversion. 5/10
Anticipation rating 28/50
Released Friday 4 June

Space Jam: A New Legacy

Size of screen required Your children will be watching it on iPads for the next 18 months. 2/10
Prestige factor The trailer suggests a cameo by Bette Davis’s character from What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, so weirdly high. 8/10
Explosion potential Moderate, although the accompanying kooky sound effects will diminish the impact. 6/10
Simplicity level The sheer amount of Ready Player One-style cameos in the trailer suggests a level of complexity that makes Tenet look like Steamboat Willie. 1/10
Will it save cinema? God, let’s hope not. 3/10
Anticipation rating 20/50
Released Thursday 16 July

The Suicide Squad

Size of screen required This is likely to be the first big post-lockdown theatrical superhero movie solely in cinemas. Go big or stay home. 9/10
Prestige factor There’s as many as three Oscar winners in the cast. 8/10
Explosion potential Huge, and endless. 9/10
Simplicity level If it’s anything like the last Suicide Squad movie, it will be near-impossible to follow. But that probably isn’t the point. 5/10
Will it save cinema? It might save the DC Cinematic Universe from any more slow-motion Zack Snyder monochrome emo torment, which would be nice. 8/10
Anticipation rating 39/50
Released Friday 6 August

Black Widow

Size of screen required Small; after several delays, it is now being simultaneously released on Disney+, which makes it the perfect thing to watch in half-hour chunks after the kids have gone to bed. 1/10
Prestige factor Scarlett Johansson was nominated for two Oscars last year, although neither of them were for playing a tormented assassin in a lavatorially impractical leather jumpsuit. 6/10
Explosion potential Unless Marvel has decided to make an arthouse movie, massive. 10/10
Simplicity level Wait, didn’t– SPOILER ALERT – Black Widow die already? Is she a ghost? What’s going on? 2/10
Will it save cinema? Again, Disney+. 1/10
Anticipation rating 20/50
Released Friday 9 July

Jungle Cruise

Size of screen required It depends on the level of detail in which you’d like to see Emily Blunt roll her eyes at the Rock. 5/10
Prestige factor Well, it’s a film based on Disneyland’s equivalent of Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks. 2/10
Explosion potential Moderate, although probably without any sort of meaningful jeopardy whatsoever. 6/10
Simplicity level This is a clear effort to make a new Pirates of the Caribbean-style franchise, and you will remember that those films were an impenetrable mess. 2/10
Will it save cinema? Almost certainly not. 2/10
Anticipation rating 17/50
Released Friday 30 July

Fast & Furious 9

Size of screen required Massive. The biggest one possible. 10/10
Prestige Did you see Helen Mirren in the trailer, cackling with glee as she did a handbrake turn that destroyed a load of police cars? We’re in Citizen Kane territory here, guys. 10/10
Explosion potential If there is a single frame of this film that doesn’t contain at least one explosion, the producers will consider it a personal failure. 10/10
Simplicity level There are some cars. Some are magnetic. One of them has a rocket attached to it. What’s not to follow? 10/10
Will it save cinema? YES! 10/10
Anticipation rating 50/50
Released Thursday 8 July

• This article was amended on 4 May 2021. The previous version included a trailer for the original Suicide Squad film rather than the latest release.


Stuart Heritage

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