5. Thor: The Dark World.
Christopher Eccleston plays Malekith, leader of the dark Elves of Svartelfheim, plus Mr. Eko from Lost is Kurse, another evil elf, with horns on his head. If director Alan Taylor can pull that off while being even halfway serious, I'm onboard.
4. Ender's Game.
The kid from Hugo and the girl from the True Grit remake go through military space school while Harrison Ford yells at them, all in preparation for an alien insect attack that may or may not ever happen? These are the things of which classic sci-fi is made. I was going to say it's like a younger skewing Starship Troopers minus the shower scene, except that one of the key setpieces of both book and movie is a shower scene, albeit one in which people get hurt rather than made happy. Not exactly the movie you'd expect to reunite Ben Kingsley and his underage Hugo costar Asa Butterfield, but here it is.
3. Star Trek Into Darkness.
Even though its director has pissed off to master the franchise he prefers, let us not forget how warm the reboot made us feel three years ago the moment we realized it hadn't been irrevocably fucked up. Benedict Cumberbatch may not look much like Khan, and may or may not actually be Khan, but whatever his space birth certificate turns out to reveal, we know he's no match for the patented Kirk dropkick. Can Chris Pine pull that off? Fire him up by telling him he's Rob Liefeld's choice to star as Rob in the Image movie, and he'll find the motivation for sure.
2. Pacific Rim.
I still prefer Guillermo del Toro's name for this film, Giant Fucking Robots Against Giant Fucking Monsters. And I'd rather Charlie Hunnam, who lost me immediately as the star of Nicholas Nickleby (and is probably here as a favor to del Toro regular and Sons of Anarchy costar Ron Perlman), weren't involved. But will it matter? Doubtful. Plus Idris Elba and Rinko Kikuchi are pretty kickass, and the apparent determination to make "kaiju" a household word is yet another step in the global nerd conquest of everything. Godzilla may be in the works, but they're not likely to get to Jet Jaguar until a few sequels in, so this is the rumble you want in theory if it isn't quite in name yet.
Another stylish sci-fi class-struggle parable from District 9 director Neill Blomkamp, with Matt Damon as a shaven-headed working-class guy on an overpopulated earth in which downtown LA is shown covered with tent encampments, even atop the skyscrapers. Inadvertently exposed to toxic radiation, he's given a mechanical exoskeleton to help him capture a rich bureaucrat played by William Fichtner and infiltrate Elysium, an off-world space station created for the richest 1%, where disease can be eradicated and everything is perfect. When the Saw sequels took on our health care system, the franchise got some late-in-the-game steam, so a bigger and more ambitious project with that issue at its heart may do even better. Rumor is there'll be screenings of the entire movie at Comic-Con 2013, given how well that strategy paid off for District 9. The Comic-Con presentation last summer felt like a bid to seize the Occupy Wall Street momentum, but movies react slowly to change; I'm hoping the economy won't tank again to make it more relevant, but if it does, more ticket sales could happen.