The cinematic calender of 2013 might not have the great weight of expectation that The Dark Knight Rises brought in 2012 and it doesn't come close to the ridiculous trio of Star Wars: Episode VII, The Avengers sequel and the Justice League movie proposed for 2015, but there's more than enough film fodder to keep the most ardent blockbuster lover happy over the next 12 months.
Could it be a case of every odd numbered Die Hard movie is good? Possibly. While Die Hard 4.0 had many moments of lunacy – for instance, launching a car into a helicopter – if it didn't have to live up to being a John McClane outing the tech-fear inspired storyline might not have been half bad. The lack of faith in the fifth film's director, John Moore, whose last efforts include the tolerable Omen remake and the risible Max Payne, might finally put Bruce's vest to bed.
The adaptation of David “no, not that one” Mitchell's much loved book was always going to be a tough novel to crack. The critical reaction to Cloud Atlas from the US late last year tipped heavily in favour of the negative and taunting, even if the praise for some phenomenal special effects work was universal. Standouts in the standout cast include Doona Bae and Ben Whishaw, and as tiresome and nonsensical as the film does get in it's final third, you can have tonnes of fun playing the big-screen equivalent of Guess Who?
After ignominiously closing his Spider-man trilogy Sam Raimi's last outing saw him return to his horror background with the wonderfully pukey Drag Me To Hell. Oz: The Great and Powerful sees the director taking another left turn in a film that has been described as a possible prequel to Dorothy's original adventure but not by any of Disney's law department.
The first outing for an Avenger since they assembled a billion dollars last year, Iron Man 3 has the potential to be the most adult blockbuster in years thanks to Robert Downey Jr. teaming up again with his Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director Shane Black. Black, who also happens to be the man responsible for the excellent Last Boy Scout and for creating Lethal Weapon just doesn't seem capable of family friendly fare. After Iron Man 2 was said to be mangled due to excessive studio interference, could the powers that be have learnt a lesson and kept their distance from Black? Here's hoping.
Despite the touch too punny title, the first sequel to the new parallel Star Trek universe is destined for big things. With the “first” Trek, JJ Abrams made the world of Vulcans and phasers accessible to the masses like never before. Doing so without alienating the faithful was like blitzing his own personal Kobayashi Maru test. The possibility of Benedict Cumberbatch going full-villain will have his fans – the delightfully titled “Cumberbitches” - beaming. Up. Sorry.
This post-apocalyptic world is bought to you by Smith and son, namely Will and Jaden. Like a couple of less cute Wall-E's, Will and his kin mosey about a planet vacated by humans thousands of years before. What you might not garner from the impressive trailer below is the fact that After Earth is bought to you by M. Night Shyamalan. After the appalling double whammy of The Happening and The Last Airbender here's hoping the writer/director's career has a twist of it's own.
Held back from an initial Christmas 2012 release, you'd be forgiven for thinking the curse of Superman might strike again. The promotional material thus far has suggested as sizeable a gulf in tone between this new Zack Snyder redo and Bryan Singer's reboot as there was between Batman and Robin and Batman Begins. The Watchmen director finds himself in a bit of no-win scenario however, as all praise will no doubt fall on story scribe and producer Christopher Nolan's shoulders, while any blame will be targeted heavily at the man who made us suffer Sucker Punch.
Shrouded in more secrecy than the world's most secret shroud, no one really knows what Pacific Rim will bring except giant robots. And aliens. And giant robots fighting aliens. And Idris Elba. So, to recap; Giant Robots, Aliens and Idris Elba. Those who aren't yelling “Sold!” at their monitors right now shouldn't really be reading a list on which Blockbusters to watch.
Pixar does college comedy? While we doubt Sulley will be sipping semen from a red plastic cup, setting two of Pixar's most loveable creations in the same world as Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds and Old School has huge comic potential. Whatever the plot might be we'll hazard a guess it won't focus on Mike and Sulley's attempts to lose their V-Plates.
Add a 'The', it's cleaner. Well that's the hope with this sixth (including the First Class cameo) outing for Hugh Jackman's Logan. A fan favourite storyline of Weapon X in Japan initially attracted Darren Aronofsky before he ran off to direct Russell Crowe in Noah citing family reasons. A more cynical cynic would suggest he baulked at – watch out for that phrase again – too much studio interference. Hopefully James Mangold will be able to deliver a movie part Kill Bill Vol. Two and part Dark Knight in the Nippon.
The second Avenger outing of the year sees Chris Hemsworth rehandle his mighty hammer with Alan Taylor taking over from Kenneth Branagh in the director's chair. Considering The Avengers ended with the teaser of the not-of-this-world Thanos there's a good chance of some linkage between Thor: The Dark World and The Avengers sequel, especially given that Iron Man 3 is rumoured to be 100 per cent stand alone.
Battle Royale 2! Or the continuing adventures of Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Haymitch Abernathy, Effie Trinket and Crumblechops Barkytime. OK, that last one may have been stolen from stand-up Andrew O'Neill but if you're looking for best character names of the year look no further than the sequel to Lionsgate's most successful film of all time. An honour Hunger Games achieved in Week One of release. Joining Jennifer Lawrence and the returning cast will be Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Any mild disappointment brought about by An Unexpected Journey was perfectly understandable - but much smaller scale and story than The Lord of the Rings and repetition of key elements weren't enough to make The Hobbit: Part One anywhere near a bad film. And so this time next year, we'll line-up all over again to see how film two of the trilogy pans out.