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The summer movie sequels and reboots to watch, and the ones nobody needed

All of this summer’s rehashes, retreads, and reimaginings, ranked by anticipation.

Images of characters from movie sequels and reboots
It’s that time of year again!
Javier Zarracina
Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

The summer movie season is dominated by two types of movie: sequels (a new installment in a story) and reboots (reimagined versions of previously told stories). And then there are sequels that are reboots. Se-boots? Re-quels?

Many movie lovers act like all sequels and reboots are garbage, but that’s not true: As with any type of movie, there are good ones, and then there are crashing, eye-poking duds. There’s even the rare sequel/reboot that supersedes the original. But figuring out which of these films is worth the time — and money — can be tricky, and the odds of being disappointed are high.

So to help sort it all out, Vox’s culture staff ranked this summer’s sequels and reboots from our most to least anticipated, then averaged our answers. At the top of the list are the movies we’ll buy tickets to on opening weekend; on the bottom of the list are — well, the others.

#1 most anticipated: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5)

Everyone’s favorite Star-Lord returns in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and after some early screenings, several of our writers claimed they liked it better than the first. Chris Pratt is still a charmer, the whole gang has returned, and this time around, Vin Diesel voices Baby Groot.

#2: Alien: Covenant (May 19)

The latest installment in the Alien series is especially promising for the return of director Ridley Scott, who made both the original Alien and the generally well-reviewed 2012 prequel Prometheus. And the trailer looks scary as hell.

#3: Wonder Woman (June 2)

Last summer, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was widely considered a bust, but its shining star was Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, who didn’t get nearly enough screen time. Now she’s got a whole movie to herself.

#4: Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 6)

We’ve got ourselves a new Spider-Man in Tom Holland, who made his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War last year. The trailer looks good, and it’s always exciting to see an actor breathe new life into a beloved character — and Spidey is nothing if not beloved.

#5: Baywatch (May 26)

Yes, this is probably going to be a big, dumb movie based on a pretty silly TV show. But the promise implicit in the comedy pairing of The Rock and Zac Efron is almost too much. And what if it’s brilliant? What if it both captures and skewers what made its source material so popular? We’ll have no idea till it happens, but we kind of can’t wait.

#6: War for the Planet of the Apes (July 14)

The Apes franchise might be the most consistently strong blockbuster series on the big screen right now, with ideas in its head and careful storytelling. That War for the Planet of the Apes is being directed by Matt Reeves (who also made 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is especially promising.

#7: The Mummy (June 9)

Nobody has any idea what is going on with this movie, and that’s to its advantage. The last time this story was told, it was pure, unadulterated camp. This time … it stars Tom Cruise.

#8: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (July 28)

It’s been 10 years since Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and the sequel follows him through what’s happened since then, including the Paris agreement on climate change (which has been in the news again lately). Whether or not the film will be as influential as its predecessor, it’s a refreshing change from the usual summer fare.

#9: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12)

It could be good! It could also be baaaad. Fresh off Sherlock Holmes, Guy Ritchie is setting his hand to another classic English story. Swords, stones, knights, romance — there are worse ingredients for a big blockbuster. It’s not a sequel, but the King Arthur story has been made enough times that this counts as a reboot.

#10: Terminator 2, rerelease in 3D (August 25)

Not only is it a sequel, but it’s sort of a mini reboot of a sequel, and an opportunity to see Ahnold say he’ll be back in several dimensions. These 3D versions of older movies (like Jurassic Park a few years ago) seem like a pretty obvious play for our wallets, but we’ll probably go anyhow.

#11: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26)

Now we’re starting to approach the bottom of the barrel. Was anyone clamoring for yet another Pirates of the Caribbean movie (this is the fifth)? No. But Disney’s going to keep making them as long as we keep showing up for them. At least this one has Golshifteh Farahani.

#12: Cars 3 (June 16)

If we didn’t want another Pirates, we really didn’t want another Cars, the most maligned franchise in Pixar history. But the talking vehicles are back anyhow. Who knows, maybe Pixar will manage to pull a U-turn with this sputtering series.

#13: Amityville: The Awakening (June 30)

Leave Amityville alone. They’ve been through enough already.

#14: Annabelle: Creation (August 11)

Scary dolls, you know the drill. This follows the 2014 film Annabelle, and it’s directed by David F. Sandberg, who also made the relatively well-reviewed Lights Out. But it’s not high on the list for most of us (though our horror aficionados are relatively excited for this one).

#15: Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)

Okay, nobody wanted another Pirates or Cars, but many would have actively campaigned against another Transformers if given the chance. Maybe we were lulled by the promise of the last installment’s subtitle, which suggested we’d reached an “age of extinction” (of these movies). No such luck, friends. No such luck.

#16: Despicable Me 3 (June 30)

They were always going to bring back the Minions, because Minions made a gazillion dollars. This is the future you chose, America.

#17: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (August 11)

Universally hated by critics, 2014’s The Nut Job nonetheless squirreled away enough at the box office (see what I did there) to guarantee a second installment. And, well — that time is now.