"The Avengers" is just one week away. You know what that means: Aside from being the big payoff for years and years and years of waiting on the part of Marvel Comics fans, "Avengers" is also the opening act in what's sure to be one of the biggest summer movie seasons in quite some time. Batman, Spider-Man, Agent J and more are back in theaters after far too long a wait, while others — David 8, Roadblock, Alex Hopper — are showing up for the first time.
It's a crowded landscape to be sure; you'll want to spend your hard-earned theatergoing cash wisely if you want to weed out the fantastic, can't-miss movies from the fugly, must-miss ones. That's why the nerds at MTV News used this week's edition of Talk Nerdy to guide you through the upcoming blockbuster months with which movies you need to see, which ones you can skip, and which ones shouldn't slip under your radar.
Do Not Miss
» "Marvel's The Avengers": The movie that launches the summer season could very well be the biggest, greatest blockbuster of them all. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk and more, all together on one big screen with geek god Joss Whedon to guide them — how can it go wrong? Spoiler: It doesn't. It goes incredibly, incredibly right.
» "The Dark Knight Rises": Likewise, how can Christopher Nolan's final Batman movie be anything but spectacular? It's hard to imagine anything topping "The Dark Knight" both critically and commercially, but if any summer movie can do it, it's "Rises." Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... with a cast of Gotham City newcomers like that, and a trilogy-concluding story to boot, there is no room for failure.
» "Prometheus": As I've said repeatedly, "Prometheus" is the movie I'm looking forward to more than any other this year. Ridley Scott returning to the "Alien" universe — heck, to science fiction period — for the first time in three decades? Yeah, that's an event worth tuning in for. Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and others only further cement this sci-fi flick's potential status as a classic in the making.
Proceed With Caution
» "The Amazing Spider-Man": If "Avengers" is the Marvel movie to beat this summer, where does that leave your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? It leaves him in a land of uncertainty. Expectations are high for Marc Webb's "Spider-Man" reboot. Confidence in his vision? Considerably lower. Even with a compelling cast led by Andrew Garfield in tow, "Spider-Man" has more than a few obstacles to overcome if it wants to stand out as one of the summer's can't-miss flicks.
» "Dark Shadows": Tone, tone, tone. It's something that fans are very divided over when it comes to Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's latest collaboration. Some "Dark Shadows" purists are pining for a film that's more faithful to the spirit of the original gothic soap. Others are through the moon happy with Burton and Depp's whimsical approach. As for Team Nerdy, perhaps we have a bit of Burton-Depp fatigue, because we're not overly wild about this one.
» "Total Recall": Between "Fright Night" and now "Total Recall," Colin Farrell is quickly becoming the King of the Remake — but are these remakes that anyone's particularly clamoring for? In the case of the August-debuting "Recall," there is no Mars, and not a Schwarzenegger in sight. Not great signs for the upcoming remake, at least not by Nerdy co-host Brian Phares' standards.
» "G.I. Joe: Retaliation": Forget "Rise of Cobra." Dwayne Johnson, the franchise savior, is doing what he does best in "Retaliation": stepping in to restore the real American heroes to glory. Every single photo and bit of footage we've seen has us convinced that "Retaliation" will be one of the greatest action movies of the summer. But can it overcome the bad reputation it earned after "Rise of Cobra" hit in 2009? We'll see in June.
» "Battleship": Just because there are no new "Transformers" movies coming out this summer doesn't mean theaters won't be populated by robots in disguise. In a surprising turn of events, the big-screen adaptation of the board game "Battleship" contains aliens. Lots of 'em. Taylor Kitsch looks to the stars for the second time this year, hoping for a much better outcome this go-around than the commercial bomb known as "John Carter." Smart money says "Battleship" will fare much better at the box office. How it does critically? That's another story for another day.
» "Men in Black 3": Do not — I repeat, do not — discount Will Smith's box-office appeal. The man is a hit-making machine. Four years after his last starring role, Smith's back with his biggest franchise of all time. Anyone who expects this movie to do anything other than make an otherworldly amount of money is in for a rude awakening, production horror stories be damned.
Which summer movies are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!