5. THOR

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Rene Russo
Release Date: May 6
Why we’re excited: Similar to the early press surrounding Green Lantern, everything about Thor seemed worrisome at first. In the director’s chair, you have Kenneth Branagh, a Shakespeare-minded filmmaker whose closest thing to special effects wizardry was a Frankenstein adaptation starring Robert De Niro. Even more troublesome were the first production stills of Thor’s Asgard set, which looked like shiny variations on The Chronicles Of Riddick’s scenery.

Now that overwhelmingly positive word is popping up online from critics, we’re feeling like the first three letters of assumption. Most surprising is the thumbs-up buzz around star Chris Hemsworth, an unproven Australian heartthrob who’s been treated like a red-headed stepchild by Marvel Comics fans since the announcement of his casting. Apparently, the guy’s a breakout, as is Branagh’s ability to maneuver around lavish 3D sequences and the more personal character drama between Thor, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and poppa Odin (Anthony Hopkins).

Hitting theaters next Friday, Thor is this summer’s first blockbuster; by the looks of things, we couldn’t have asked for a better floodgate-opener.