Whether it's because it's a reboot, or an adaptation of a popular comic book series, or a sequel, or a sequel to an adaptation of a popular comic book series, almost all of this summer's action-blockbuster contenders will ring familiar.

Rather than thinking of this summer's action offerings as retreads, though, think of them comfort food, tried and true. Read on for our list of the biggest action releases this summer.

'Thor'
Opening: Friday, May 6

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston

What It's About: Shakespeare guy Kenneth Branagh directs this Marvel Studio adaptation of the Thor comic book series. True to the comic, Thor (Hemsworth), the Norse God of Thunder, and his mighty hammer find themselves in present-day America (New Mexico, to be exact) after being cast out of Asgard. Hemsworth is relatively unknown outside of his native Australia, where he was a soap opera star, but he passes the Norse God eye test.



Opening: Friday, May 20

Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Geoffrey Rush

What It's About: We're up to the fourth installment in the $2.5-billion-plus franchise that was based on a frickin' theme park ride. This time around, Penelope Cruz plays a mysterious and ruthless con-woman / love interest, and Ian "[expletive deleted]" McShane plays Blackbeard, and everybody gets to ham it up with Johnny Depp's now-iconic Jack Sparrow. And it's all in 3D!



'X-Men First Class'
Opening: Friday, June 3

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, January Jones

What It's About: A prequel to the first three 'X-Men' movies, 'First Class' is set in the politically tumultuous 1960s, when a young Professor Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender), aka Magneto, work together to save the world from an unprecedented threat. The stress of world-saving turns the friends into bitter rivals, setting up the ongoing conflict between Xavier's X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that continues to the present day.



'Super 8'
Opening: Friday, June 10

Starring: Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Elle Fanning

What It's About: Director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg came up with the story to this Abrams-directed science-fiction offering. 'Super 8''s marketing has been suggestive of the 1982 Spielberg classic 'E.T.,' and the top-secret plot of the film concerns an extra-terrestrial discovery six children make while using a Super 8 film camera to shoot a zombie movie.



'Green Lantern'
Opening: Friday, June 17

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Tim Robbins

What It's About: Sometime-X-Man Ryan Reynolds two-times Marvel by taking his abs to the DC Comics universe as the title character in 'Green Lantern.' Actually, Reynolds' Hal Jordan is one of many Green Lanterns -- which is an intergalactic order tasked with protecting the universe -- but the fighter pilot is the first human to be so chosen. Thus completes Reynolds' long and improbable journey from pizza place employee to Earth's last hope. Where have you gone, Richard Ruccolo?



Click here for Part 2 of our Summer Action Preview: July & August -- featuring giant robots, patriotic superheroes, cowboys, aliens and more.