10 Summer Movies You Need To See
There is nothing like kickin’ back in a recliner with some popcorn, a soda, some candy, and catching a great summer flick at the theaters. The summer movie season has become an American institution. This is the time of the year to relax and enjoy some of the best blockbusters on the calendar. Will these movies win awards in the winter? Who cares! Oscar bait doesn’t start to open until the fall. Summer tent pole movies are supposed to be fun, and here are our ten must-see movies for this summer. Quick note, these movies are being listed according to release date.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — May 5th
Since this film came out last week, I have already had the benefit of seeing this one and discussing my thoughts about this movie here. I think Guardians 2 was a great jumping off point for the summer tent pole scene, and although it’s not a perfect film, it was a lot of fun.
Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their valuable batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter’s parentage is revealed.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, and Kurt Russell.
2. Alien: Covenant — May 19th
As I have said in other articles, this film is one of my most anticipated movies of the Summer. I enjoyed Prometheus and thought it was a pretty good introduction to the Engineers. I’m also interested in learning more about David and Elizabeth Shaw’s fate, even if it’s just a quick mention. I think everyone is excited to see Ridley Scott directing a proper Alien prequel, and the trailers for Alien: Covenant have been fantastic. This strategy is an excellent case study on how to market a film. When Alien: Covenant was first announced as a sequel to Prometheus, many people were divided on whether or not this was a good idea. As the marketing campaign unfolded, you could see the tide shift as piece by piece great trailers and shorts were released. If this movie is a success, they will owe a big portion of that success to the marketing.
Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, members (Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup) of the colony ship Covenant discover what they think to be an uncharted paradise. While there, they meet David (Michael Fassbender), the synthetic survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival.
Alien: Covenant is directed by Ridley Scott, and stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, and Demián Bichir.
3. Wonder Woman — June 2nd
If there are two things people have wanted from Hollywood, it’s more female directors on big budget films, and original stories. For those people, I give you Wonder Woman! Patty Jenkins (Monster, 2003) is directing this movie, and unless I’m mistaken this is the first time Wonder Woman has ever been on the silver screen. I’m looking forward to seeing how she directs Wonder Woman if she succeeds it could open a lot more opportunities for her and may give studios a serious reason to consider utilizing more great female directors.
In addition to the directing, I’m looking forward to this movie because it could be the first DCEU movie to garner good reviews with both fans and critics. If there’s one blemish on the DCEU to date, it’s that Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, and Suicide Squad have at best been critically divisive movies. It just seems like the execs at DC/Warner Bros. have yet to find the right tone for their movies. I think this will end with Wonder Woman. Every trailer to date has drawn me further into the universe and made me more and more interested in the WWI era in which this film is taking place. One question remains for me: Gal Gadot seems to be nailing the action scenes as Wonder Woman, but can she also drive it home during the more dramatic parts of this movie? Does she have the acting chops to create a well-rounded heroine? I hope she does, and I hope this film will be the movie that years from now we’ll be saying turned around the DCEU.
Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins and stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya.
4. The Mummy — June 9th
The Mummy his is Universal Studios’ second attempt to get their Universal Monsters universe off the ground, after their first attempt Dracula Untold crashed and burned in theaters in 2014. You might be wondering then, ‘why did this make the Top 10 list?’ Simple, Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe. These guys don’t know how to phone in a role. I’ll tune in to see Tom Cruise just out of mild curiosity to see what insane stunt he’s trying in any given film. We also don’t know to what capacity these two will be in this movie. We are aware of almost nothing about Cruise’s character, and only that Crowe is playing Dr. Jekyll. I want to know where this series is going, and the mystery behind how all of these things join to create a cinematic universe is intriguing. The trailers have also been very compelling in selling The Mummy. I love how they are updating the lore to make Sophia Boutella’s character the Mummy. Combine that with the mystery surrounding Cruises’ character, and this has all the setup needed for a good summer thriller.
Thought safely entombed in a crypt deep beneath the desert, an ancient princess whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in the modern era, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.
The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman and stars Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, and Russell Crowe.
5. The Big Sick — June 23rd
This movie flew right under my radar; it hadn’t heard anything about it at all until the first trailer was released a few weeks ago. The Big Sick is selling itself as romantic comedy and is loosely based on the real-life events in Kumail Nanjiani’s life. The trailer looks fantastic, Nanjiani and Romano had me laughing through it, and I am looking forward to seeing this The Big Sick in theaters this summer.
Bickering parents and a serious health scare threaten the budding relationship between a Pakistani stand-up comic (Kumail Nanjiani) and his American girlfriend (Zoe Kazan).
The Big Sick is directed by Michael Showalter and stars Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano.
6. Baby Driver — June 28th
I love everything so far about this movie. I think the premise is unique and entertaining, the music I’ve heard from this film is phenomenal, and the cast is superb. It’s also written and directed by the wildly talented Edgar Wright. What else is there is to say? Go. See. This. Movie.
Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.
Baby Driver is written and directed by Edgar Wright and stars Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, and Jamie Foxx.
7. A Ghost Story — July 7th
This movie makes the Top 10 because the trailer and story are very intriguing, and also because it is an A24 film starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck. Full disclaimer, this has all the makings of an art film, it may not be for everyone. A24 has been killing over the past year bringing us films like Free Fire, The Lobster, The Green Room, Ex Machina, Room, and the upcoming It Comes At Night. This studio knows how to produce original, entertaining movies. I am really into this concept too, and how they will explore the passage of time, and tackle questions of existence. A Ghost Story is shaping up to be a cerebral, thought-provoking film.
Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to console his bereft wife, only to find that in his spectral state, he has become unstuck in time, forced to watch passively as the life he knew and the woman he loves slowly slip away. Increasingly unmoored, the ghost embarks on a cosmic journey through memory and history, confronting life’s ineffable questions and the enormity of existence.
A Ghost Story is directed by David Lowery and stars Casey Affleck
8. Spider-Man Homecoming — July 7th
I want this movie to be good for so many reasons. First, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was terrible; the villains were weak, and the story was lacking. It felt like a movie that existed only as a setup for the next film. Second, I love how they used Spider-Man in Civil War. They made him as a 14-year-old kid, and when combined with the other heroes it worked. Third, I want this movie to do well because I want the Sony/Marvel partnership to continue throughout this franchise.
I think casting Michael Keaton to play the Vulture was a stroke of genius; this guy can act and brings the right gravitas to this movie. You have to be excited to see Tony Stark included in the film as well; it is a great tie-in to the MCU, his character has a lot of experience being a hero, and I expect him to be a good mentor to Peter. The trailers have been pretty good, I think we might have seen too much of the plot in the last one, but I am looking forward to seeing this movie.
Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns home to live with his Aunt May. Under the watchful eye of mentor Tony Stark, Parker starts to embrace his newfound identity as Spider-Man. He also tries to return to his normal daily routine — distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just a friendly neighborhood superhero. Peter must soon put his powers to the test when the evil Vulture emerges to threaten everything that he holds dear.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is directed by Jon Watts, and stars Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Jacob Batalon, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Tyne Daly, Bokeem Woodbine, Marisa Tomei, and Robert Downey Jr.
9. Dunkirk — July 27th
Before I heard about the movie, I wasn’t completely aware of the events of Dunkirk. After having seen the trailers and doing some reading, however, this has become one of my more anticipated movies to see this summer. Whether you are a fan of the last installment in the Dark Knight Trilogy or not, you have to admit that Nolan is a talented director, maybe even one of the best working today. They have also put together an amazing cast in Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphey. The story told from the viewpoint of troops on land, pilots in the air, and the civilian boaters in the sea. Dunkirk is another movie that will be an experience to see in theaters, and I think this is one you won’t want to miss.
In May 1940, Germany advanced into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. Under air and ground cover from British and French forces, troops were slowly and methodically evacuated from the beach using every serviceable naval and civilian vessel that could be found. At the end of this heroic mission, 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.
Dunkirk is directed by Christopher Nolan and stars Tom Hardy,
Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, and Cillian Murphy.
10. Detroit — August 4th
Detroit is another movie helmed by a female director, in this case, Kathyrn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty). Detriot, based on the 1967 police raid that resulted in one of the largest citizen uprisings in the United States, resulted in the death of 3 people and the brutal beating of 9 others.
Detroit is a must-see movie for me because not only does it look like a fantastic film, it is also a raw, visceral look at our history. It is sometimes a hard history to examine, but watch it we must because it reveals to us how far we have come, but also reminds us that we still have a long way to go.
Police and the military spring into action when rioting and civil unrest rocks Detroit during the summer of 1967.
Detroit is directed by Kathryn Bigelow and stars John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Kaitlyn Dever, Jack Reynor, Ben O’Toole, John Krasinski, and Anthony Mackie.