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Can you smell that? The scent of blossoms blooming and popcorn being buttered is a sure sign that summer movie season is upon us.
This summer, movie theaters will brandish an array of outrageous action movies, stirring indies, wacky comedies, spooky horror stories, and rock-fueled romps. Yet even streaming has highlights ahead.
We’ve scoured the release schedules to bring you the very best of what’s coming as the weather warms. What kind of movie are you in the mood for? You want pulse-pounding action? How about side-splitting comedy? Mind-blowing twists? Tearjerking drama, or side-eyeing shade? Whether you want to take to the high skies, legendary realms, ravenous sinkholes, dino-plagued terrains, a posh tea party, or to infinity and beyond, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the movies Mashable is most excited to see this summer:
If you want mind-bending adventure: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6)
For years now, Marvel Entertainment has kicked off summer movie season with a big-budget tentpole that promises stars, spectacle, and sensational new turns in the ongoing saga of the MCU. This year’s entry is the long-awaited sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange. Following hard on the heels of the multiverse-bending of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness plunges its eponymous superhero (Benedict Cumberbatch) into peril, bringing him face-to-face with monsters, a post-WandaVision Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), a smirking (and potentially sinister) version of himself, and much, much more. On top of all this, director Sam Raimi (helmer of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy) returns to bring new levels of horror and madness to Marvel’s cinematic universe.
How to watch: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters May 6.
If kids creep you out: The Innocents (May 13)
As a screenwriter behind the haunting horror film Thelma and the daring drama The Worst Person in the World, Eskil Vogt has blown critics’ minds again and again. Now, the Norwegian writer takes the helm of The Innocents, which is set in a sunny Nordic summer, where it seems nothing should go wrong. Amid crowded apartment complexes and forgotten forests, four kids play and discover they have supernatural powers. At first, it’s fun. But then come the tantrums. Imagine Chronicle, but about little kids who have even less moral sense than teenage boys. You got chills yet?
How to watch: The Innocents is in theaters May 13.
If you’re thirsting for spilled tea: Downton Abbey: A New Era (May 20)
Julian Fellowes made historical dramas thrilling again with this critically heralded series turned movie franchise. For this summery sequel, the Crawley family sets forth on a grand adventure. Far from their regal home in the English countryside, they travel to the south of France to enjoy a villa, willed to the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). How did that come to pass? We can’t wait to find out. The romance and rapture we’ve come to love arrives in a new setting, but all our favorites are along for the ride! Plus, the glamor of American movies crashes into the titular estate when a film production poises to shoot on location. Give us glamor! Give us class! GIVE US DRAMA!
How to watch: Downton Abbey: A New Era is in theaters May 20.
IYKYK: Men (May 20)
Writer/director Alex Garland previously brought us the haunting robot fairytale of Ex Machina, then the trippy biological nightmare of Annihilation. Now, he spins a scary story in a beautiful English countryside, where a young widow (Jessie Buckley) desperately seeks peace and space to heal her hurting soul. Unfortunately, she is plagued by men. They come in all sizes, with all varieties of assaults, from awkward jokes to micro-aggressions to menacing and blatant misogyny. And somehow, all of these men have the same face (Rory Kinnear, excelling in creep vibes). We don’t know where this twisted tale might go, but we’re already feeling tingles up our spines.
How to watch: Men is in theaters May 20.
If you’re craving comedy: The Bob’s Burgers Movie (May 27)
The Belcher family is taking their lovable hijinks to the big screen! And after savoring every holiday episode from Halloween and Thanksgiving to Christmas, we can’t wait to see what they’ve got coming this Memorial Day. The titular restaurant is under threat by a growing sinkhole. While Bob (H. John Benjamin) and Linda (John Roberts) grapple with that, their kids, Louise (Kristen Schaal), Gene (Eugene Mirman), and Tina (Dan Mintz) aim to solve a mystery that just might save the day. Bob’s Burgers creators Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive have so far teased dancing, mayhem, robots, book throwing, and Linda in a bikini/burger-suit combo that — let’s be honest — we’re wondering if we could pull off. Simply put: We’re ravenous for this one.
How to watch: The Bob’s Burgers Movie is in theaters May 27.
If you desire the Danger Zone: Top Gun: Maverick (May 27)
Strap in for high-flying action and pulse-racing drama. In 1986, Tom Cruise awed audiences with the high-flying adventure of United States Naval Aviator LT Pete Mitchell — better known by his call sign “Maverick”. Now, Cruise is back, reprising the role that helped make him a Hollywood icon. 30 years into his career in the Navy, Maverick is training the next crop of top pilots, among them Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), aka Rooster, aka the son of Maverick’s gone-but-not-forgotten best friend Goose. (The mustache is a nice nod, Miles!) Together, this dashing duo is ready to soar.
How to watch: Top Gun: Maverick is in theaters May 27.
If you want to go back in time: Jurassic World Dominion (June 10)
Whether you have relished the new wave of Jurassic World movies or cling to the original Jurassic Park trilogy, you’re going to want to return to this dino-mite franchise for Jurassic World Dominion. Casts collide as director Colin Trevorrow unites reboot stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt with the OG trifecta of Laura Dern, Sam O’Neill, and Jeff Goldblum. With the island of Isla Nublar long destroyed, dinosaurs have spread across the globe, challenging mankind’s claim to the planet. Can we co-exist? Or are we doomed for extinction? Honestly, who cares — Dern and O’Neill’s flirty glances justify the ticket price here. But yeah, sure, action, scary dinos, and thrills are promised too.
How to watch: Jurassic World Dominion is in theaters June 10.
If you’re yearning for infinity and beyond: Lightyear (June 17)
With Toy Story, Pixar made its mark on animation — and delivered three sequels that filled us with childish glee and then giddily shattered our hearts with the plight of their dejected playthings. Now, the world of Toy Story gets wider and weirder with a prequel that asks us to imagine what “real-life” hero would have inspired an action figure like Buzz Lightyear. Director Angus MacLane invites audiences into the stars for an adventure about a Space Ranger (now voiced by Captain America star Chris Evans), who faces aggressive extraterrestrials, marooning on a far-off planet, a chatty robo-cat, and a mysterious horned foe. And hey, thanks to outcry from the LGBTQ community and our allies, this Pride Month release will even feature a same-sex kiss.
How to watch: Lightyear is in theaters June 17.
If you want to cut loose: Elvis (June 24)
Visionary director Baz Luhrmann has brought us such jaw-dropping cinematic spectacles as Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby, and Moulin Rouge! Now, he’s got his sights set on showcasing the life story of rock n’ roll legend Elvis Presley. Rising star Austin Butler headlines as the hip-swiveling sensation, while Tom Hanks plays Elvis’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. It might seem easy to compare this musician biopic to the likes of Walk The Line, Rocketman, or Bohemian Rhapsody. But never forget that Luhrmann is an auteur of the audacious. Will this be great? Garish? Glossy? Or lean goofy like Aline? It’s too soon to say, but we’re amped regardless. (Perhaps we too are “odd lonely children reaching for eternity?”)
How to watch: Elvis is in theaters June 24.
If you’re looking for something soft and sweet: Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (June 24)
Amid the big stars and blockbusters of summer comes an earnest indie that’s already stolen our hearts. Incredibly, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On’s journey to the big screen began online nearly 12 years ago, when writer/director Dean Fleischer-Camp and writer/comedian Jenny Slate teamed up to make short films about the titular mollusk. Continuing in the mockumentary style of those charming vids, the feature-length movie follows the one-inch-tall hero on a quest to reunite with her far-flung but long-lost family. With adorable stop-animation, a twee voice at its center, and a hilariously quirky brand of humor, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On looks to be a winsome standout this summer.
How to watch: Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is in theaters June 24.
If you’re ready to rock: Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8)
Step aside, The Northman, because our favorite Viking hunk is back in action. The last time we saw Thor in theaters was in Avengers: Endgame, when he was flying off with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now, Chris Hemsworth reunites with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi for a stupendous-looking sequel that has Tessa Thompson, Chris Pratt, and Natalie Portman reprising their MCU roles, but also introduces Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher. Whether you know the comics or not, Thor: Love and Thunder promises to rock our socks off with action, adventure, and so many sexy superhero makeovers that we’re already swooning.
How to watch: Thor: Love and Thunder is in theaters July 8.
If you need a tear-jerker: Don’t Make Me Go (July 15)
Credit: Amazon Studios
Be warned: the plot summary alone might make you tear up. John Cho stars as a father who, upon learning he has a fatal brain tumor, tries to cram in as much quality time with his teen daughter (Mia Isaac) as he can. So, instead of just driving lessons, he guides her on a road trip from California to New Orleans for his 20th college reunion…where he secretly hopes to reunite her with the mother who bailed on them both years before. Director Hannah Marks brings together this sure-to-hit-hard premise with a compelling cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, Stefania LaVie Owen, and Jemaine Clement.
How to watch: Don’t Make Me Go is on Prime Video on July 15.
If you love your crime thrillers Southern-fried: Where The Crawdads Sing (July 15)
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, Where The Crawdads Sing stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as Catherine “Kya” Clarke, an intrepid young woman who was raised in the marshlands of North Carolina. When she’s accused of murdering a man, her reputation is dragged through the mud. A tale of love, sex, jealousy, and betrayal is unearthed. From the looks of this trailer, director Olivia Newman is bringing plenty of style to this steamy whodunit. Bonus for Swifties: Taylor Swift has a new track tied to this movie. It’s called “Carolina.”
How to watch: Where the Crawdads Sing is in theaters July 15.
If you’re feeling oddly nostalgic: My Old School (July 22)
Is it cheating if we include a movie here we already know is awesome? Well, cheating is the very least of the concerns in this Sundance-selected documentary that blurs the lines between the personal and the sensational. Director Jono McLeod throws an unusual high school reunion, inviting his former classmates to join him in recollecting about a fellow student who hid an unusual secret. In candid interviews, they share stories silly, sentimental, and strange, trying to make sense of a news story that rocked Scotland in the ’90s. Giving the film a suitable nostalgic flair, My Old School features re-enactments animated in a Daria style. But arguably most compelling are the extraordinary circumstances that bring in actor Alan Cumming to play the central figure, who agreed to be interviewed…. but not to be seen.
How to watch: My Old School is in theaters July 22.
If you want to be scared senseless: Nope (July 22)
Comedian turned horror auteur Jordan Peele brought us Get Out and Us, and now he is back with the already menacing Nope. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya star as horse trainers, whose rural ranch is rattled by a strange event. What can it be? What can it mean? The horses are spooked and so are we. So join us in saying “Hell yeah” to Nope.
How to watch: Nope is in theaters July 22.
If you need unhinged action: Bullet Train (July 29)
David Leith had a hand in creating John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool 2. Now, he’s teamed up with Brad Pitt for a high-speed thrill ride, where several assassins face off against one handsome man in a bucket hat. Making the action all the more outrageous, they’re all confined to a speeding bullet train. There’s no escape. Ride or die. Sandra Bullock, Zazie Beetz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, Brian Tyree Henry, and Karen Fukuhara co-star.
How to watch: Bullet Train is in theaters July 29.
If you crave carnage: Bodies Bodies Bodies (Aug. 5)
A24 has brought audiences such distinctly disturbing horror movies as X, Lamb, The Witch, and Midsommar. So right off the bat, we’re intrigued by their upcoming offering, Bodies Bodies Bodies. Directed by Halina Reijn, this scary movie begins at a hurricane party in a remote mansion, where a gaggle of twenty-somethings whoop it up. That is, until a party game goes awry, spinning friendships into ferociousness. That seems lush terrain for terror. So, the cast is just gravy, boasting Dear Evan Hansen‘s Amandla Stenberg, Shiva Baby‘s Rachel Sennott, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm‘s Maria Bakalova, the ever-thirst-inspiring Lee Pace, and the one and only Pete Davidson. Come for the party. Stay for its attendees being torn apart.
How to watch: Bodies Bodies Bodies is in theaters Aug. 5.