Summer 2012's Top 5 Big Movie Franchises

Spider-Man, Batman and Matthew Bourne return to the big screen.

By Colin Bertram
|  Wednesday, May 23, 2012  |  Updated 10:44 AM EDT
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Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba and Charlize Theron star in Ridley Scott's hotly anticipated prequel to

Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba and Charlize Theron star in Ridley Scott's hotly anticipated prequel to "Alien," in which a group of scientists go in search of an ancient civilization in outer space--do these expeditions ever go well? Opens June 8.

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Summer 2012 is full of big names in big franchise movies. Here are five you'll want to see, whether you are new to the franchises or a long-time fan, in order of appearance:

Prometheus (June 8)

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he made famous in “Alien,” though the director (“Blade Runner,” “Thelma and Louise”) is adamant that this is not a prequel to the ground-breaking 1979 sci-fi film that was marketed with the tagline, "In space no one can hear you scream." The plot of the “Prometheus” has been heavily guarded, but what is known surrounds a group of research scientists sent to a distant planet that may reveal answers to the origins of mankind. Prequel or not, the film has many “Alien” hallmarks including: the company rep, Vickers (played by Charlize Theron); a robot-synthetic crew member David (Michael Fassbinder - check out his creepy trailer!); Elizabeth Shaw, a scientist with the mysterious past (Noomi Rapace); and of course, the creature that requires gestation within a living host. Watch the trailer

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3)

Andrew Garfield ("The Social Network") dons the red, black and blue bodysuit in this reboot of the Marvel comics’ franchise which revisits Peter Parker’s high school years and his quest to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of his parents. Rhys Ifans plays Spidey’s adversary Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, while Emma Stone - as Peter’s high school crush Gwen - gets caught in our titular hero’s romantic web. Martin Sheen and Sally Field round out the cast as Peter’s Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Director Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”) helms. Watch the trailer

The Dark Knight Rises (July 20)

“The legend ends” according to posters for this, the third and final installment in director Christopher Nolan’s menacing take on the caped crusader. It’s been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale) took the fall for Harvey Dent/Two Face’s crimes, and Gotham’s police still hunt him. But with the villainous Bane (Tom Hardy) overrunning the city and the aforementioned Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) – an associate of Bane – now scratching out her mark, Batman must once again return to save the lives of innocent citizens. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman reprise their roles as Batman’s tech-guru Lucius Fox, Wayne butler Alfred Pennyworth and police commissioner James Gordon, respectively. Watch the trailer

The Bourne Legacy (Aug. 3)

"The Avengers'" Jeremy Renner joins the espionage franchise as a new C.I.A. operative whose identity and story arc are tied to the first three “Bourne” films, which starred Matt Damon. Little is still known about the plot details other than that the new film kicks-off after the events of “Ultimatum,” the last film in the series. “Legacy” co-writer and director Tony Gilroy described Renner to MTV as “a physical freak” in regard to the actor’s on screen fight-work and ability to do his own stunts. Rachel Weisz and Ed Norton join Renner as “Bourne” freshmen while Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Straithairn and Scott Glen reprise their roles from the earlier films. Watch the trailer

Total Recall (Aug. 3)

An updated remake of the 1990 mind-bending, sci-fi action flick that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone, “Total Recall” stars Colin Farrell as factory worker Douglas Quaid who decides to add some spice to his dull life by visiting Rekall – a company that implants fake memories into your mind. Only problem is, as the procedure begins, it is revealed that Quaid has already been through the treatment before, masking memories that reveal his true life. In 1990 the action went off-world to Mars. In 2012, it stays planted on terra-firma and features heavier political overtones as Quaid joins the underground resistance battling the police controlled by future world leader Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). Kate Beckinsale, Bill Nighy and Jessica Biel are also on board for the action thriller. Watch the trailer

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