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11 Blockbusters You Can’t Miss This Summer Season

Including much-anticipated sequels from Pixar, Marvel, and a crazy horror franchise; plus a best-selling book gets its own movie and a childhood hero comes to life.

This week, IndieWire will be rolling out our annual Summer Preview, including offerings that span genres, niche offerings for dedicated fans, a closer look at festival favorites finally headed to a theater near you, and plenty of special attention to all the new movies you need to get through a jam-packed summer movie-going season. Check back throughout the week for a new look at the best the season has to offer, and clear your schedule, because we’re going to fill it right up.

Read More: Check out our entire Summer Preview right here

Today — a look at eleven blockbusters (or would-be blockbusters) well worth your time and movie-going dollars.

“Deadpool 2,” May 18

"Deadpool 2"

“Deadpool 2”

Not content to be in just one superhero blockbuster this year, Josh Brolin will trade in Thanos for Cable, the time-traveling cybernetic mutant who seems poised to clash with Deadpool over “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” breakout Julian Dennison. And yes, that’s the X-Force you’ve seen in the trailer, a team of mutants traditionally led by Cable in the comics. With “Atlanta” star Zazie Beetz taking on the role of mercenary Domino, the return of Negasonic Teenage Warhead, and the additions of Terry Crews, Bill Skårsgard, Rob Delaney and others, “Deadpool 2” promises to build on the momentum of the wildly hilarious and successful original that surprised at the box office in 2016. No one does it better than Ryan Reynolds, so fry up some fucking chimichangas and get ready for even more Wade Wilson. -JR

“Solo: A Star Wars Story,” May 25

"Solo"

“Solo: A Star Wars Story”

Lucasfilm

The next film in the very rapidly expanding “Star Wars” universe might its most ambitious yet, at least when it comes to straddling a variety of different genres in service to one origin story. Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” a look at the early years of beloved scoundrel Han Solo (played in this iteration by Alden Ehrenreich), reportedly spans a wide variety of tones in service to telling a story expected to explain exactly how the legendary rogue became, well, a legend. The feature has, of course, not been without its controversy. When original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord were hired to helm the film, it was expected that they’d bring their signature humor and free-wheeling style to “Solo,” an idea that proved out in the worst possible way: They unexpectedly left the project in June, with weeks of production still left. Ron Howard soon took over, and early looks at the film’s marketing materials seem to hint at a film more in line with “Star Wars” expectations. As only the second standalone story to launch (and the first in May, buffeted by what should be a very starry Cannes premiere), a lot is riding on what Howard and his team can deliver. One thing not to worry too much about: a supporting cast that includes Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and “Fleabag” breakout Phoebe Waller-Bridge. -KE

“Ocean’s 8,” June 8

“Ocean’s 8”

Take the hardy perennial “Oceans” formula (which even Steven Soderbergh exploited yet again in his populist takeoff “Logan Lucky”), give it a female twist with two global movie stars leading a femme cast, and voila! Written by director Gary Ross (“Sea Biscuit,” “The Hunger Games”) and Olivia Milch, “Ocean’s 8” replaces George Clooney’s wily heist master Danny Ocean with Sandra Bullock as his fierce ex-con sister Debbie (“is it genetic?,” asks James Corden in the trailer. “Is the whole family like this?”). Cate Blanchett steps into the Brad Pitt gorgeous sidekick role as they assemble a team with five other women: a costume jewelry maker (Mindy Kaling), fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), reformed suburban housewife (Sarah Paulson), computer hacker (Rihanna), and street hustler and pickpocket (Awkwafina). Ocean’s calculated high-tech plot: to attend the annual Met Ball and snatch a $150-million diamond necklace from the downy neck of fashionista Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). “We will not be the prime suspects,” reassures Ocean. Right. -AT

“Incredibles 2,” June 15

The Incredibles 2 teaser trailer

“Incredibles 2”

Pixar delivers the long-awaited return of America’s favorite animated superhero family, with original writer/director Brad Bird at the wheel. Netting a whopping $600 million worldwide when it premiered 14 years ago, “The Incredibles” came along just before Hollywood was besieged by superhero movies. “Incredibles 2” will have to be very good to stand out amongst the crowd that has since followed, but Pixar isn’t one to balk at a challenge. The sequel puts Holly Hunter’s Elastigirl in the spotlight as part of a new campaign to improve superheroes’ image in the world, while Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) stays home with the kids. If it sounds a little too “Mr. Mom” and not enough “Avengers,” a new trailer promises plenty of those imaginative action sequences that made the original so timeless. Samuel L. Jackson returns as Frozone, as well as exciting new additions Catherine Keener, Isabella Rossellini, and Bob Odenkirk. -JD

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” June 22

Jurassic World 2 Fallen Kingdom

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Universal Pictures

Four years after the Jurassic World theme park was destroyed (thanks, “Jurassic World”), Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to Isla Nublar as the only hope to save the dinosaurs from an impending volcanic eruption. The set-up supplies incredible action potential with the ticking clock of the volcano versus the kindly stars trying to get the dinosaurs to trust them. Complicating matters further is the discovery of a terrifying new breed of gigantic dinosaurs and the uncovering of a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet. It’s not the plot though that has us excited, but rather the still yet-to-be-fully tapped potential of Spanish director J.A. Bayona. It’s been a decade since he blew us away with the horror intensity of  “The Orphanage,” and this might be the right match of filmmaker and content to allow him to return to greatness. -CO

“Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” June 29

Sicario 2: Soldado

“Sicario: Day of the Soldado”

Lionsgate

Following up the commercial and critical success of “Sicario” is going to be tough, especially without the involvement of director Denis Villeneuve, cinematographer Roger Deakins, and actress Emily Blunt, but that’s not stopping Sony from trying. The sequel, “Day of the Soldado,” reunites Josh Brolin’s CIA operative and Benicio del Toro’s assassin in a new story about the drug cartel wars on the U.S.-Mexican border. Italian filmmaker Stefano Sollima steps into the director’s chair, while original screenwriter Taylor Sheridan returns for a script he says makes the original look like a comedy. If that ends up being true, then “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” will be the most grim offering of the summer. -ZS

“The First Purge,” July 4

"The First Purge"

“The First Purge”

To call “The Purge” our finest ongoing horror franchise may seem an insult to such venerated enterprises as “Annabelle” and “Insidious,” but it’s true. The rare series to improve upon its first chapter, this dystopian vision of a near-future in which all crime is legal for 12 hours a year has wisely leaned into the fact that its premise no longer seems that outlandish. (Can you honestly say with 100% certainty that Donald Trump wouldn’t think this is a good idea?) After writing and directing the first three entries, James DeMonaco is allowing newcomer Gerard McMurray to helm “The First Purge,” a prequel in which the state-sanctioned bloodshed takes place in one secluded community as proof of concept before being implemented nationwide. What better way to spend the Fourth of July? -MN

“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” July 6

Marvel finally have their first sort of female-led film with “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” as Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Hank Pym’s daughter, takes on her mother’s iconic role of The Wasp. Although the film will be released after “Avengers: Infinity War,” it takes place after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” as Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) tries to balance fatherhood with his new responsibilities as the tiniest Avenger, Ant-Man. Most exciting of all is the chance to see the Wasp kick some ass and take charge in a new film after teasing her bad ass potential in “Ant-Man.” As one of the more lighthearted and funny off-shoots in the MCU, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is sure to pack in both the action and the laughs, making for a truly fun time at the movies this summer. -JR

“Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” July 27

Heading into the summer movie season, an argument could be made that the trailer for “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” is the most exciting thing we’ve seen in 2018. It has everything: Tom Cruise falling off a cliff, Henry Cavill’s mustache, Tom Cruise breaking his ankle, Angela Bassett saying “If your team had held on to the plutonium, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” and Tom Cruise flying a helicopter upside down or something. Continuing the franchise’s tradition of restoring a little bit old-fashioned, impractically practical action to a time of year when the multiplexes are pumped full of pixels, “Fallout” reunites Cruise with “Rogue Nation” director Christopher McQuarrie for another globe-hopping spy spectacular. If you want to watch one of the biggest movie stars in the world spend two hours narrowly skirting death for your amusement — and who doesn’t? — this should be at the very top of your list. -DE

“Christopher Robin,” August 3

“Christopher Robin”

screencap

Marc Forster’s live-action Winnie the Pooh film is one of few compelling summertime offerings for the whole family, from curious kiddos to adults who just can’t shake their love of that cuddly bear. Ewan McGregor stars as a grown-up version of the eponymous character, far removed from the joys of his animal pal-filled childhood in the Hundred Acre Wood and seemingly without a whole lot of magic in his life, who suddenly finds everything upended when his best childhood pal (a bear, of course) wanders back into his life. When the film’s delightful first trailer dropped earlier this spring, Forster told IndieWire that he hopes audiences “are delighted and feel excited and enjoy having Pooh back” especially when they get that first glimpse at the beloved bear, who is fully represented in the trailer. “I hope they will embrace the film, and that they will feel that we honored Pooh and celebrated Pooh, and feel delighted and inspired by it,” he said. “Hopefully their heart is tickled by it.” -KE

“Crazy Rich Asians,” August 17

America’s sextet of traditional major film studios has released a pitiful number of features focused on Asian characters in the past generation, among them “The Joy Luck Club” and “Memoirs of a Geisha” (Sony Pictures Classics also distributed four-time Oscar-winner “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” stateside in 2000). Yet in a promising turn, Warner Bros., Ivanhoe Pictures’ John Penotti, and future “Goldfinch” producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson fended off multiple eager bidders to acquire the film rights to the first installment of Kevin Kwan’s “Crazy Rich Asians” trilogy. Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat”) stars as Rachel, an NYU economics professors who accompanies her colleague/boyfriend (Henry Golding) home to Singapore for summer break. There she discovers that Nick’s a secret zillionaire, with a mother (Michelle Yeoh, “Star Trek Discovery”) intent on marrying him off to another heir. The cast includes the best part of the “Hangover” franchise, Ken Jeong, and rapper Awkwafina, who will also help rob the Met Gala this summer in “Ocean’s 8.” To clinch directing duties, Jon M. Chu (“Step Up 2 the Streets,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”) included his own family photos in his studio presentation, evidence that he plans to drape a heartfelt story in the requisite mansions, sports cars, and couture. -JM

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