7 Upcoming Movies to Set Cinemas on Fire

Warmer weather, longer days, and blossoming flowers will soon be here, as spring officially begins this week. Alongside the new plant growth from Mother Nature is a crop of new movies from Hollywood. While we won’t know the standouts from the stinkers until we actually see these films, here are seven promising titles to look out for in theaters this spring.

1. Divergent, March 21

Based on a novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, this science fiction action film tells the story of a dystopian future society in which people are classified and separated into factions based on their personality types. People who do not fit into any of the established factions are deemed “divergents” and are ostracized or killed. However, even the accepted recruits must battle each other during brutal martial training exercises. This highly anticipated movie has been compared to The Hunger Games series of films due to its similar themes of dystopia and ritualized violence.

2. Muppets Most Wanted, March 21

The resurgent popularity of the Muppets continues with this sequel to 2011’s highly successful and critically acclaimed film The Muppets. Although Jason Segel and Amy Adams won’t reprise their roles in this film, plenty of other notable stars make an appearance, including Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Ricky Gervais, Christoph Waltz, and Lady Gaga. The previous movie was widely considered to be the best Muppets film since the death of creator Jim Henson in 1990, and fans of the Muppets are hoping Disney can make lightning strike twice with Muppets Most Wanted.

3. Noah, March 28

Russell Crowe plays the title character in this film based on the biblical story of Noah. Although Hollywood biblical epics inevitably call to mind movies like Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments or Henry King’s David and Bathsheba, Noah is unlikely to have much in common with those films except for sharing the same source material. Noah is directed by Darren Aronofsky, who previously directed dark, introspective films like The Wrestler and Black Swan. The film also stars Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins as Methuselah. Aronofsky isn’t the only American director to attempt a Biblical epic this year. Famed science fiction director Ridley Scott’s version of the Moses story, Exodus, is scheduled for release this December.

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, April 4

America’s most patriotic superhero returns in this sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger. This film chronologically follows the events in The Avengers film after Captain America is reawakened from being frozen for seventy years. Besides starring Chris Evans in the title role, the film also features Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier, and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson aka the Falcon.

5. Under the Skin, April 4

Although this science fiction film starring Scarlett Johansson has been screened at various film festivals since last fall and was even released in the U.K. this week, it won’t land in American theaters until April 4. Jonathan Glazer, who previously won acclaim for his directorial debut, Sexy Beast, directs this film adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel of the same name. Under the Skin tells the story of a mysterious and beautiful female alien that preys on vulnerable men in Scotland. The film’s hypnotic visual style and Johansson’s chilling performance as the alien have been winning praise from critics. Under the Skin currently holds an 88 percent approval rating from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2, May 2

This sequel to the 2012 reboot of the well-worn Spider-Man franchise introduces several new super-villains for the webslinger to battle: Jamie Foxx as Electro, Dane DeHaan as Green Goblin, and Paul Giamatti as the Rhino. Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, while Emma Stone returns as Gwen Stacey. Like the previous film in this series, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is also directed by the appropriately named Marc Webb.

7. The Protector 2 (May 2)

Thai martial arts action star Tony Jaa returns in this sequel to 2005’s The Protector. Jaa reprises his role as Kham, the elephant owner who goes to extraordinary lengths to recover his favorite pet. Unfortunately, a group of unwise criminals have once again stolen Kham’s pet pachyderm, and once again Kham must use his formidable martial arts skills to recover it.

However, Kham’s quest becomes more complicated when he is framed for a murder and pursued by the victim’s twin nieces. Meanwhile, an evil crime lord played by RZA tries to force Kham into doing his bidding by using fighters he has recruited into his underground fighting ring. Fans of 2008’s Chocolate will be happy to know that JeeJa Yanin also appears in this movie as one of the nieces seeking vengeance against Kham.

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