Avengers: Age of Ultron is out, which means the summer movie season is officially underway. And while the Marvel flick will likely dominate the box office for weeks to come, there are many other great movies still scheduled to hit theaters over the next few months. Looking at the list, it’s one of the better seasons in a while, featuring films such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Ant-Man, Jurassic World and Fantastic Four, just to name a few.
If you consider yourself part of the sci-fi, horror, action and fantasy crowd, there are dozens of great movies set to come out over the next half-decade, so consider this summer a taste of what’s to come. I know a lot of you folks are eagerly anticipating the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but that won’t be included on this list. Instead, we’ll talk about the films you should check out this month on through the end of August. (Don’t worry, we’ll have another list this fall.)
Mad Max: Fury Road
I can’t get enough of Fury Road’s visuals. It looks like director George Miller is relying heavily on the use of practical effects, and it makes for a very compelling, very convincing post-apocalyptic landscape. Oh, and the action doesn’t look half-bad, either. I was onboard the moment I watched the first trailer, and I’ve gotten even more excited as the release has drawn near. Fury Road is my early favorite for surprise of the year; the trailer above should show you why.
Release: May 15
Actors: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron
Director: George Miller
Does the pressure to conform stunt our creativity? Do big companies curb the growth of medical breakthroughs? Perhaps I’m reading into Tomorrowland’s premise a little too much, but the new action flick seems to explore these themes. On the surface, it looks like good, fun entertainment, and features a great cast led by beloved director Brad Bird. This will be Disney’s second live-action film in a month, followed by two animated films later this year.
Release: May 22
Actors: George Clooney, Britt Robertson
Director: Brad Bird
It didn’t need a remake, nor did it need some sort of far-fetched spiritual successor. But, like it or not, Poltergeist is getting a contemporary re-imagining, and it looks… [insert bored emoji]. If you didn’t know this was a remake, you’d think, Ok, sure, this doesn’t look like an awful horror movie. But that’s the thing: it’s relying on our nostalgia for the original, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Release: May 22
Actors: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt
Director: Gil Kenan
A movie about an earthquake that completely devastates California—and the world. There’s something oddly fascinating about disaster movies, and San Andreas looks like it completely satisfies our morbid curiosity for human extinction. That, and we like to see The Rock’s abnormally large muscles conquer the odds. Only he can descend from the sky and single-handedly save the human race.
Release: May 29:
Actors: The Rock, The Rock’s muscles, Carla Gugino
Director: Brad Peyton
I’m of two minds; on one hand, I’m happy to see the Jurassic Park franchise finally return to the big screen. It’s been a long, winding, difficult journey, and finally a new movie about dinosaurs in captivity is here. Second, nothing will ever, ever, EVER beat the first film. That one was a perfect balance of humor, adventure, and horror, and it holds a special place in my heart. The odds are against Jurassic World, what with Chris Pratt’s crew of raptors, and the genetically modified mutant Indominus Rex. But, I mean, dinosaurs, am I right?
Release: June 12
Actors: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard
Director: Colin Trevorrow
It’s been a few years since the last Pixar movie, so it’s a welcome return for the beloved studio. Pixar can pretty much take any subject and make it entertaining, and the premise of Inside Out looks like the most endearing yet. It’ll be difficult to top films like Toy Story and Up, but this one is primed to be Pixar’s new darling. And, hey, if this doesn’t do it for you, there’s always Pixar’s other movie, The Good Dinosaur, that’s set to come out later this fall.
Release: June 19
Actors: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader
Director: Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
The first two Terminator movies were basically perfect. The ones that followed, not so much, which means we have some major reservations about Genisys. But after a series of some truly awesome trailers, including one that revealed a major twist, this one actually does look pretty decent (decent being the keyword). I don’t think we’ll ever reach the heights of Terminator 2, but, if anything, Genisys looks like good, mindless fun.
Release: July 1
Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney
Director: Alan Taylor
I know we’re all pumped for Inside Out, but let’s all take a moment to recognize how wonderfully adorable the Minions movie looks. I was skeptical they could make an entire movie dedicated to the little yellow cheese puffs, but the trailers have more than proved there’s ample material to work with. And even if there wasn’t, there’s no denying the charm and humor these guys exude. You know you can’t resist.
Release: July 10
Actors: Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton
Director: Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
Would you live forever at the expense of another person’s life? That’s the question being asked by this mysterious sci-fi thriller. It has a stellar cast and a very creative director, so this could wind up being the sleeper of the summer. And Reynolds is in need of some box office love.
Release: July 10
Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Matthew Goode, Ben Kingsley
Director: Tarsem Singh
Ah, yes, Ant-Man. I have very mixed feelings about seeing this tiny hero on the big screen, and honestly think it doesn’t stand a chance next to a movie like Avengers: Age of Ultron. But it’s so weird and quirky that it just might work. This one hinges quite a bit on Paul Rudd’s star power, so I’m very curious to see what the response is like when it hits theaters.
Release: July 17
Actors: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly
Director: Peyton Reed
Despite my better judgement, I’m including Pixels on the list. We all know Adam Sandler movies are about as funny as ripping a band-aid off a hairy leg, but the general premise of Pixels has us very excited. And the visual effects look absolutely bonkers. It might be a good idea to just put on your best pair of noise-canceling headphones and simply enjoy the visual beauty of what Pixels has to offer.
Release: July 24
Actors: Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Monaghan
Director: Chris Columbus
Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation
Mission Impossible is essentially comprised of Tom Cruise running really fast and doing insane stunts, and judging by the most recent trailer, we’ll see plenty of that—and then some. MI continues to get better as the movies go on, and Rogue Nation looks like it’ll be the best one yet.
Release: July 31
Actors: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
This couldn’t be farther from the Fantastic Four films that came out (and were quickly forgotten) in the mid-2000s. Josh Trank, who directed Chronicle, is bringing a much darker tone to the Fantastic Four world, so fans should anticipate a very emotional ride when the film hits.
Release: August 7
Actors: Kate Mara, Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell
Director: Josh Trank
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Henry Cavill will take a break as Superman to lend his talents to The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a slick new spy thriller based on the 1960s TV show. Directed by Guy Ritchie, it has all the characteristics of an instant cult classic, including beautiful visuals, spot on humor and explosive action. And, come on, has there been a bad Guy Ritchie movie? Don’t answer that.
Release: August 14
Actors: Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Armie Hammer
Director: Guy Ritchie
Hitman: Agent 47
The first Hitman movie wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t horrible, either. You have to give some credit to Timothy Olyphant for turning in a decent performance as the bald killer. Agent 47 looks a lot like the first film, except now we have a different cast and a new director.
Release: August 21
Actors: Rupert Friend, Zachary Quinto
Director: Aleksander Bach
There are many more movies set to come out this summer, such as Pitch Perfect 2, Spy, Entourage, Ted 2, Trainwreck, Straight Outta Compton, and on and on and on. It’s going to be a busy and exciting few months, so start making plans now. Things are about to get real crazy.