We’ve already been treated to a handful of cinematic gems this year, my favorite of which (by far) is Logan. With the summer months fast approaching—technically, summer officially starts on June 20—it’s time to sit down and start planning out what movies we’ll watch.
Believe me, it’s going to be a chaotic few months, highlighted by a new Pixar film, Spider-Man’s next solo outing, and Tom Cruise furiously running. Here are all the movies worth checking out in theaters this summer.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians 2 is shaping up to be Marvel’s best effort yet, taking audiences back into the wild, dangerous vastness of space. Early reviews have been largely positive, and the trailers have been a delight. With the addition of Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff, and Elizabeth Debicki, there was no way the movie was ever going to be bad. And, come on, who can resist the puppy dog eyes of Baby Groot?
- Director: James Gunn
- Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Kurt Russell
- Release: May 5
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Guy Ritchie hasn’t made a “Guy Ritchie Movie” in a while, instead opting for genre and period pieces. That being said, I was a huge fan of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and I actually think King Arthur: Legend of the Sword looks like a fun fantasy escape. The film has been pushed back several times, which may or may not be a bad sign. We’ll find out if it was worth the wait soon enough.
- Director: Guy Ritchie
- Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou
- Release: May 12
The sequel to Prometheus will finally reveal what happened to the survivors of the doomed Prometheus expedition. We’ll also come uncomfortably close with the terrifying creature made famous in Alien. If you’re a fan of the 1979 original, Covenant looks to be a return to the movie’s horror roots.
- Director: Ridley Scott
- Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
- Release: May 19
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Any movie is made a hundred times better when Javier Bardem is involved. It just so happens he plays a vengeful ghost pirate in the latest installment of Pirates of the Caribbean. In addition to Johnny Depp returning as Captain Jack Sparrow, Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner is also making an appearance. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
- Director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
- Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Geoffrey Rush
- Release: May 26
DC really needs one of its movies to do well, and not just financially. We’re optimistic about Wonder Woman and really like what we’ve seen so far. After all, Wonder Woman was the best part of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Hopefully, her solo turn will give her a proper origin while building on what we already know. And, yes, the film is still relatively dark and grimy, a staple of DC’s films.
- Director: Patty Jenkins
- Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston
- Release: June 2
Tom Cruise runs and yells in a new take on the classic monster. In this version, Universal is hoping the film will kick off a shared universe, complete with monsters such as Dracula, Invisible Man, Frankenstein, Werewolf, and more. So, basically, The Mummy better be good, or else nobody will care that this is basically setup for several more movies to come.
- Director: Alex Kurtzman
- Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis
- Release: June 9
Pixar is looking to make a clean break from Cars 2 by turning Cars 3 into a grittier take on the beloved franchise. I mean, anytime you release a teaser that shows your main character in a horrific car wreck, you know the movie is headed in a new direction. Owen Wilson returns as Lightning McQueen, as does Larry the Cable Guy as Mater.
- Director: Brian Fee
- Starring: Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Cristela Alonzo
- Release: June 16
Transformers: The Last Knight
I’m not sure what The Last Knight is supposed to be about—and I’m not sure director Michael Bay knows either. Still, you can count on there being plenty of explosions, over-the-top action, and jaw-dropping camera tricks. Bay has a reputation for spectacle, and The Last Knight looks to be the most visually insane Transformers movie yet.
- Director: Michael Bay
- Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Isabela Moner, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson
- Release: June 23
Edgar Wright. That’s pretty much all you need to know about Baby Driver, an action comedy starring Ansel Elgort as a young and talented getaway driver. Baby Driver looks like somewhat of a departure from Wright’s previous films, which includes The World’s End and Shaun of the Dead, but it looks to feature his signature style, blending action and humor into a frenetic and hilarious subversion of genre movies.
- Director: Edgar Wright
- Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal
- Release: June 28
Despicable Me 3
Not only does Gru face of against a former child star (played by Trey Parker), but he comes face-to-face with Dru, his long-lost twin brother. Expect a lot of physical comedy, vibrant colors, and over-the-top characters. Oh, and don’t forget about the Minions; those guys will outlast us all.
- Director: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda, Eric Guillon
- Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker
- Release: June 30
Spider-Man is officially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But how will he do now that’s he back to his normal life? This is the second reboot of the film franchise in the last 15 years, so the pressure is on for it to perform well, both with critics and fans. Is a younger take on the character what we needed? We’ll find out soon enough.
- Director: Jon Watts
- Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon
- Release: July 7
War for the Planet of the Apes
The third film in the Planet of the Apes reboot series, War for the Planet of the Apes will see an all-out war with apes and humans. Things are not looking good for either side as Caesar, an intelligent leader of a tribe of enhanced apes, confronts his darker instincts. Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, and Steve Zahn star.
- Director: Matt Reeves
- Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn
- Release: July 14
Christopher Nolan’s first project since 2014’s Interstellar will focus on a key moment during the early stages of the second World War. The first footage we’ve seen has been hauntingly beautiful, showing off the camaraderie, cruelty, and horrors of war. No doubt, Dunkirk will be every bit as intense and emotional as Nolan’s earlier works.
- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Starring: Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy
- Release: July 21
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson is no stranger to the sci-fi genre, and Valerian looks to be his most ambitious project yet. It makes The Fifth Element (another Besson project) look like child’s play. Based on a French science fiction comics series, Valerian is as sweeping and imaginative as space operas get. Hopefully, the story matches the gorgeous visuals.
- Director: Luc Besson
- Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen
- Release: July 21
Charlize Theron proved to be a bonafide action star in Mad Max: Fury Road, and she’s kicking it up a notch in Atomic Blonde. The film, directed by David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool 2), will see Theron play an MI6 spy who’s tasked with exposing an espionage ring. Atomic Blonde essentially looks like John Wick, but better. Buzz for this is already through the roof following early screenings.
- Director: David Leitch
- Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Sofia Boutella
- Release: July 28
The Dark Tower
Based on the acclaimed series of novels written by Stephen King, The Dark Tower is one of those movies that’s going to be either really good or really bad. The casting is there—Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey star—and there’s already an established fanbase. We still have yet to see an official trailer for the film (unless you count the unfinished footage that leaked last year), so we’re not entirely sure what to expect.
- Director: Nikolaj Arcel
- Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey
- Release: August 4
A summer list wouldn’t be complete without a horror film. Annabelle: Creation is set in The Conjuring universe, and will tell the origin of the possessed Annabelle doll. Obviously, if you hate dolls, you’ll probably want to skip this one. The first Annabelle movie was met with mostly mixed reviews. Hopefully, the upcoming prequel doesn’t disappoint.
- Director: David F. Sandberg
- Starring: Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto
- Release: August 11