Furious 7, Spectre, and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation appear to be going head to head (to head) for our attention this year. For the less picky among us, we're likely to see all three.
However, for the critical moviegoers, each film will likely have different reasons to be at the top of our "must see" lists.
Furious 7 is probably least likely to make it past the critics, simply because it stars Vin Diesel and he's not voicing a CG animated tree (Guardians of the Galaxy). His movies rarely even receive an Oscar nod due to the focus on fun and adrenaline driving the plot more than a story.
Things are different for Fast and Furious fans this time though. The film marks the last time we will see Brian O'Conner in the story, due to the tragic loss of the actor who portrayed him, Paul Walker. This is also the first time since The Expendables that so many muscle-bound actors shared the big screen for a story that goes beyond the street races. An aging Kurt Russell comes back alongside Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, and Jason Statham in what appears to be an attempt to take car stunts beyond the point of being ridiculous, as it takes the story past the events of Tokyo Drift for the first time.
The Furious 7 release date has been slated as April 3, making it the first of the rivals to compete for your moviegoing dollar.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation was a surprise announcement this year, and could explain why we hadn't heard much from Tom Cruise aside from his work on Edge of Tomorrow. This movie series is a action-based spin-off of the popular classic TV series, in which Jim Phelps assigned missions to a team (which originally included the late Leonard Nimoy stepping out of his Spock role).
Tom Cruise attempted to take the rubber masks, self-destructing messages, and spy scenarios to a new level when he made the first film much like the show. You had to pay attention or you would miss something. Aside from the critically slammed M:I 2, the series has gotten better and even given us an outstanding performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.
The Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation trailer looks to take the cerebral action to new heights, if you don't mind watching Tom Cruise again.
The Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation release date is planned to hit July 31.
Spectre is the fourth in a series that rebooted the James Bond series for a new generation. This series was originally based on books written by Ian Fleming, and has gained notoriety for switching actors for the main character every few movies. After a couple of weak installments starring Pierce Brosnan, and a fourth with laughable CG effects, Daniel Craig became part of an effort to reinvent the series.
Spectre is likely to appeal most to die-hard fans of the British secret agent with a taste for vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred) and a routine defiance of authority to get the job done. It's also the most likely of the three to get an Oscar nod, like some of its predecessors. The Spectre release date is slated for December 8.
With each film boasting its own pros and cons, this year's latest releases appear to be going head-to-head.
Between Furious 7, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, and Spectre, which action series do you think will be the most satisfying this year?