One of the great American traditions on the Fourth of July is going to the movies, because the movies are air-conditioned, all the fun explosions happen after dark anyway, and it's probably soul-meltingly hot. And there are plenty of movies for nerds in theaters right now, and since most of us take the week off anyway, you've probably got some time to kill.
So, what should you see? Let's break it down by film, shall we? We'll explain each movie that's likely to still be in theaters, how it's reviewed... and most importantly how long you can avoid sweltering.
The Plot: Basically this wants to do for the radio/comic book hero what Pirates of the Carribbean did for theme park rides, down to being directed by Gore Verbinski, written by the same team, and starring Johnny Depp as the far more interesting character than the nominal hero.
Is It Any Good?: So far reviews have been... less than generous, especially since this movie apparently dances right up to the line of a R-rating. We're reserving judgement, though, if for no other reason than Verbinski can really make a stupid, over-the-top action movie.
How Long Can I Expect To Sit In Air-Conditioning?: Two hours and twenty-nine minutes... and that's just the movie itself. With all the trailers and ads this will likely be tagged with as the Fourth's big action movie, you'll be out of the sun for three solid hours, easy.
The Plot: Essentially, Steve Carell playing a supervillain trying to save the world and go out on dates at the same time. Or basically, every movie Carell has made for the last six years or so, but with more villainy and yellow mooks.
Is It Any Good?: The critics think so: It's pulling an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Then again, the first one was pretty solid, so that's not a surprise.
How Long Can I Expect To Sit In Air-Conditioning?: About two hours. Keep in mind, though, that it'll be two hours, in a movie theater, with young children. Probably lots of them.
The Plot: Essentially Monsters Inc., but with more college jokes.
Is It Any Good?: It's up to the standards we expect from a Pixar movie. Honestly, the original was a more engaging fantasy movie, but this is still a lot of fun.
How Long Can I Expect To Sit In Air-Conditioning?: A little less than two hours, but again, there are probably going to be lots of kids. Plan accordingly.
The Plot: Brad Pitt goes hunting for the zombie virus infecting the world because otherwise his family will be deported to Canada. Along the way he gets a lot of people killed, when they're not busy being too dumb to live.
Is It Any Good?: It's not the book, and that seems to be a stumbling block for some people if our comments section is any indication. But for what it is, a zombie movie with an enormous budget, it's pretty good.
How Long Can I Expect To Sit In Air-Conditioning?: Two hours and change. The movie itself is surprisingly concise for a big-budget action flick; notice that it's the only major action movie in this slideshow that clocks in below the two-hour and twenty minute mark.
The Plot: A bunch of Hollywood types play themselves faced with the Biblical apocalypse. Complete with a lot of expensive and detailed special effects.
Is It Any Good?: Fantastic, actually. It both rips on its full cast, who are all varying species of douchebag in this movie, and the various apocalyptic horror movies that have come before, including the single most snarky parody of The Exorcist ever made and some truly hideous demons. It's even got a lot more spectacle and gore than you might think, especially the finale. Also, Emma Watson can swing a mean axe.
How Long Can I Expect To Sit In Air-Conditioning?: It's an hour and forty-six minutes, so likely two hours or so. It's best seen in a theater that serves beer.
The Plot: Superman discovers he's adopted and decides to pull a Thanos on what's left of Krypton. Although to be fair what's left of Krypton is a genocidal fanatic and the war criminals he was sent to space jail with, so it's kind of a wash.
Is It Any Good?: A few problems aside, we think so, but it's been a very polarizing movie, with complaints ranging from the sheer amounts of mass destruction to, well, it not being a sensitive art film. It currently sits at 56% on Rotten Tomatoes.
How Long Can I Expect To Sit In Air-Conditioning?: The movie itself clocks in at a beefy two hours and twenty-three minutes, but since it's been out since mid-June, don't expect a lot of trailers tied to it.