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L-R: Ocean’s 8, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, and Sorry to Bother You
Photo illustration by Zac Freeland/Vox; Warner Bros.; Marvel Studios; Pixar; Annapurna Pictures

29 summer movies to get excited about

Something for every taste, from bonkers social issue comedies and creepy horror to the return of beloved cartoon superheroes.

The summer movie season may keep getting longer, but there’s an upside: more summer movies!

Sure, “summer movie” may scream loud, ’splodey blockbusters to some people, but there’s more variety to the season’s offerings than meets the eyes. This summer’s premieres range from hotly anticipated comic book movies to political documentaries to long-awaited sequels (Incredibles, anyone?). There’s something for every taste, whether you want to see the scariest horror movies of the year, revel in a very weird social issues comedy, or bask in the glory of a bunch of kick-ass ladies rocking a heist.

And so the Vox culture staff has rounded up 29 films to get excited about this summer, regardless of genre or scale. We’ll see you at the movies.

April

Avengers: Infinity War (April 27)

This is it. Avengers: Infinity War is what 10 years of Marvel moviemaking has been building toward, and now Earth’s Mightiest Heroes face off against the biggest, baddest villain they’ve ever seen. All of Marvel’s A-list superheroes are in Infinity War, but there’s no promise they’ll all make it out alive. —Alex Abad-Santos

May

RBG (May 4)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was appointed to be an associate justice of the US Supreme Court in 1993, has also of late become something of an icon, particularly to young, progressive women who see her as a hero. RBG is a romping biographical documentary that outlines her history, her long and fruitful marriage, her career, and her reputation as a dissenter with a bit of an attitude. And RBG herself appears in the film to talk about her life — and do a mean plank at the gym. —Alissa Wilkinson

Life of the Party (May 11)

For this comedy, Melissa McCarthy once again teamed up with her husband, Ben Falcone — the pair previously worked on movies like Tammy and The Boss — to write a movie about a woman who gets dumped by her husband, goes back to school, and winds up in the same college class as her displeased daughter. Falcone also directed the movie, which co-stars Gillian Jacobs, Debby Ryan, Julie Bowen, Adria Arjona, and Maya Rudolph, among others (including, apparently, Christina Aguilera as ... herself). —AW

Breaking In (May 11)

Here we have a kick-ass thriller starring Gabrielle Union taking matters into her own hands when a home invasion threatens her kids. Its tagline is “Payback is a mother.” Chances are this either doesn’t interest you or it is extremely your shit. —Caroline Framke

Deadpool 2 (May 18)

If you enjoy butts and murder, there’s a high probability that you will enjoy Deadpool 2, the sequel to the 2016’s anti-superhero superhero hit. This time, Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth, is joined by some superpowered individuals to help stop another superpowered individual named Cable. But as with the first movie, don’t expect this superpower business to get in the way of the butts and the murder. —AAS

Mary Shelley (May 25)

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, and Mary Shelley comes just in time to celebrate. It tells the story of 19-year-old Mary — here played by Elle Fanning — getting stuck at a house party with her much-older husband Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth, coiffed to the nines) and his threatening friend Lord Byron, and, in the midst of the ensuing tension and boredom, writing the book that would define a genre. The trailer promises something thoroughly dark, gothic, and twisty, which we hope the film makes good on. —Constance Grady

Solo (May 25)

The production process surrounding the latest Star Wars film, centered on the adventures of a young Han Solo, could not have been more troubled. The original directors (Phil Lord and Chris Miller of 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie fame) were fired late in production and subsequently replaced by Ron Howard, an Oscar winner but not the first guy you’d think of for a Star Wars movie. But all of that aside, the trailers have been fun, and the cast (including Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Chewbacca) is stacked. —Todd VanDerWerff

June

American Animals (June 1)

Mix the real and the constructed and you get American Animals, a kind of a heist film and one that I’m still not sure shouldn’t be categorized as a documentary. (In fact, it showed up at the documentary-focused True/False Film Festival a few months after its Sundance premiere.) Directed by Bart Layton, American Animals tells the story of four young men who decide they’re going to pull off one of wildest heists in American history. Why bother? They’d like the money, of course. But basically, they’re just bored and frustrated with their seemingly dead-end lives. Pulling off a heist will make them feel like they’re living in a movie — and that’s got to be better than their ordinary existence. —AW

Hotel Artemis (June 8)

Hotel Artemis sure looks a lot like a John Wick rip-off, with a concept (hospital for criminals) and style that resembles that action film. But that’s not entirely a bad thing! Besides, this has a great setup: Jodie Foster plays a woman who runs an exclusive hospital for criminals hidden away in an old hotel, and discovers that one of them wants to assassinate another. With a great cast that includes Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista, and, gloriously, Jeff Goldblum, this movie has a lot of potential to be awesome. —AW

Ocean’s 8 (June 8)

Finally, the lady heist movie we both need and deserve is upon us. The Ocean’s Eleven spinoff stars Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean (yes, she’s related to George Clooney’s Danny Ocean) and an all-star cast including Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, and, just in case you weren’t already on board, Rihanna. Who knows if it’ll be good, but at the very least, it should be incredibly fun. —CF

Hereditary (June 8)

Hereditary is creepy and terrifying, fixated on the supernatural and uncanny as hell. With Toni Collette in an unforgettable, no-holds-barred leading role, Hereditary is best when it leans on unsettling images (like a home rendered at first as a dollhouse, or a frozen, terrifying expression on a face) to make it feel like icy fingers are at your back. Even when it runs off the rails, it’s a hard film to shake, and as with recent films like It Comes at Night and Green Room, it’s destined to be the arthouse horror hit of the year. —AW

The Incredibles 2 (June 15)

It’s been a long wait for the sequel to Pixar’s electric 2004 animated superhero tale The Incredibles. While we’ve all aged 14 years, the Parr family, a.k.a. the Incredibles, are where we last left them: adjusting to the world of superheroing, learning to do it all while being a family, and taking care of Jack-Jack, the superpowered Parr baby. It’s impossible to tell which one will be the most difficult task. —AAS

Tag (June 15)

A Wall Street Journal article was the basis for this movie, which is not a thing you can say all that often. The article (and the movie) tells a story of a group of friends who have been playing an elaborate game of tag for decades. The resulting movie looks like it could be very fun (or at least entertaining), with a cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Rashida Jones, Leslie Bibb, and Hannibal Buress. —AW

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22)

The 2015 release Jurassic World was a pretty junky movie, but boy did it make a ton of money. So here’s a sequel in which the director — crackerjack Spanish lenser J.A. Bayona, of The Orphanage and A Monster Calls — is a pretty significant upgrade from the first film’s Colin Trevorrow, but the storyline appears to be yet another variation on “What if dinosaurs, but wandering around modern civilization?” So it could really go either way. —TV

July

The First Purge (July 4)

The unexpected relevance of the Purge franchise, which rapidly evolved from a standard home invasion one-off into an eerily prescient harbinger of our current political landscape, has always been undermined by its gleeful nihilism. Its vision of a near future in which Americans’ hyperviolent extremes are unleashed for one night a year has occasionally issued scathing indictments on racism, sexism, and especially classism. But to keep up its surprisingly okay social commentary game in the Trump era, its latest offering, a prequel that seems to paint the Purge’s beginnings as a truly American genocide, will have to do what none of its predecessors has quite managed: resist the temptation to revel in its own violence. —Aja Romano

Sorry to Bother You (July 6)

Careening from office comedy to something like horror, Sorry to Bother You is a weird and funny and unsettling debut feature from rapper Boots Riley. It’s a bonkers satirical comedy starring Lakeith Stanfield, who plays an Oakland native in desperate need of a job; ultimately, he winds up at a telemarketing firm, where he finds success by using his “white voice.”

It’s a live-wire comedy with a social conscience — a commentary on race, labor, and American capitalism (also starring Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer) that veers in so many directions that it’s best to just strap in and let it take you where it wants you to go. It’s about exploitation and profit, it’s about the fetishization of black bodies and the indignities of code switching, and it’s about giving up your dignity and trying to find love, all in a vaguely dystopian, magical-realist packaging. —AW

Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)

Just as it did in 2015, Marvel Studios follows up a big ol’ Avengers blowout with the smaller-scale (literally) capers of the Ant-Man. Only this time, the ever-charming Paul Rudd is joined in superheroics by the Wasp, played by Evangeline Lilly (who was in the first Ant-Man but mostly to roll her eyes when that Ant-Man got in over his head!!!). The film’s secret weapon might just be underrated comedy director Peyton Reed, who actually got to build this one from the ground up, instead of coming in at the last minute to take over from another director (as he did when replacing Edgar Wright on the first film). —TV

Eighth Grade (July 13)

Frankly, I have no idea why Eighth Grade is as good as it is. YouTube personality and comedian Bo Burnham has never, to my knowledge, been an eighth-grade girl, but he nails the experience in this film, which he wrote and directed. Elsie Fisher stars as Kayla, who’s in the final days of her hormonal eighth-grade year and desperate to have some friends and not feel like such a loser. Her story yields an understated film that doesn’t patronize Kayla’s interior life, but man does it know what it’s like to feel like the weird one in the room, with no idea how to fit in. And as a bonus, if you didn’t attend middle school in the age of YouTube, Eighth Grade’s portrayal of adolescence in the digital era will send you into fits of gratefulness. —AW

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (July 13)

Don’t laugh! The first Hotel Transylvania is a lot of fun, thanks to director Genndy Tartakovsky’s effervescent skill with cartoon physics and animated action, as well as some solid gags. The second wasn’t quite at that level, but it was still a lot of fun. And this third film promises to send a bunch of your favorite monsters on summer vacation, which is just enough of a premise on which to hang a bunch of Tartakovsky’s perfectly paced gags. —TV

Skyscraper (July 13)

The Rock? And Neve Campbell? In a pseudo-remake of both The Towering Inferno and Die Hard? You might ask, “Why?” to that question. But we ask, “Why not?” —TV

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (July 20)

My my, how can we resist Cher? —CF

Mission: Impossible Fallout (July 27)

The best summer action franchise is back with its sixth installment, once again starring the indefatigable Tom Cruise doing all sorts of ridiculous stunts (hanging out of a helicopter in this one) as Ethan Hunt, trying to outrace the CIA. Most of the cast is back, including Rebecca Ferguson and Simon Pegg, and if the series’ winning streak holds, this will be one of the summer’s most gloriously fun movies. —AW

Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (July 27)

The Cartoon Network series Teen Titans Go! is a raucous, unabashedly wacky animated DC spinoff that leans hard into comedy, particularly of the meta and self-referential variety (which has made it a surprisingly controversial series among some DC die-hards). That makes it an exciting prospect for the big-screen treatment, and what we’ve seen of Teen Titans Go! to the Movies indicates a refreshing willingness to color (with really, really bright crayons) outside the lines of the live-action DC cinematic universe. After realizing all the other DC heroes (including Superman, voiced by Nicolas Cage in a characteristically meta bit of casting) have their own films, the Teen Titans set out to make their own big-screen debut — and shatter the fourth wall in the process. —Genevieve Koski

August

Christopher Robin (August 3)

The real Christopher Robin Milne struggled his whole life to separate himself from the fictional little boy who bore his name, in the famed Winnie the Pooh books by Milne’s father, A.A. Milne. Does that complicated history inform Disney’s take on an adult Christopher Robin being visited again by that silly old bear? Of course not — and Milne always felt a slight discomfort at the commercialization of his father’s books. But try not to tear up when you hear Pooh’s familiar voice in the trailer above! You got us again, Disney corporation! —TV

The Spy Who Dumped Me (August 3)

Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon team up as best friends who find themselves in serious danger when one’s ex (Justin Theroux) turns out to have been a spy all along. With a cast and concept like that, it seems about as good a late summer shot of fun as any. —CF

The Meg (August 10)

Steve Alten’s book Meg was published in 1997, and its “man versus giant prehistoric shark” premise had many speculating a film version might be the next Jurassic Park. Well, 21 years after publication, the book is finally a movie, and it’s safe to say that with Jason Statham as that man and a computer-generated giant prehistoric shark as the giant prehistoric shark, we have a new frontrunner for Best Picture at the Oscars. —TV

Crazy Rich Asians (August 17)

Based on a novel by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is a glimpse into the life of luxury without the crippling fear of debt or economic depression (think: the best parts of The Devil Wears Prada or Sex and the City) that puts all that wealth and lavishness in the hands of Asian people — people that American cinema has often failed to include, let alone imagined as rich, cosmopolitan, and materialistic. The book this movie is based on has no qualms about diving into the sudsy, gossipy, melodramatic world of filthy rich Chinese families and the young woman unlucky enough to find herself in the middle of it all. —AAS

Slender Man (August 24)

The internet’s grandest collective myth, the Slender Man has inspired arson, been turned into a major web series phenomenon, been obliquely referenced in numerous horror films like The Tall Man, and profiled in an HBO documentary, Beware the Slenderman, about two real-life teens who famously attempted murder in his name. Incredibly, it’s taken a full decade for Slendy to make it into the title of his own horror film — a weirdly late take on our spindly-armed pied piper that might end up revealing how patchy the Slender Man mythos is. Still, for any Slender Man completists out there, here’s a thing you can pay to look at. —AR

The Little Stranger (August 31)

A still from The Little Stranger.
Focus Features

Not much is yet known about The Little Stranger outside of its enticing cast, which includes Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, and Will Poulter. What is known is that it’s adapting Sarah Waters’s extraordinarily compelling 2009 gothic novel of the same name. Waters knows her way around period-set genre stories (her novel Fingersmith was adapted into the irresistible 2016 erotic thriller The Handmaiden), and The Little Stranger wraps fascinating ideas about class, gender, and the nature of evil into a ghost story set in postwar Britain; in the hands of director Lenny Abrahamson, who directed 2015’s Room, it could be something really special. —GK

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