Every year, the summer movie season seems to start a little sooner.
This year, it began in February with the massive release of ‘Black Panther.’ Just two months after that, the titular hero returned as part of the biggest team-up since the Traveling Wilburys in ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ which is still, weeks later, making more money in a weekend than I’ll ever see in my life. The sequel to the R-rated hit, ‘Deadpool,’ also released to great fanfare. Superheroes aside, the summer pre-season has hosted the yearly Star Wars flick, ‘Solo,’ the horror hit, ‘A Quiet Place,’ and Wes Anderson’s gift to weirdos, ‘Isle of Dogs.’ That last one contains a line that I’ve already implemented into my vernacular: “There’s no shampoo on trash island.”
Those five alone seem like a packed summer, but the actual season is still upon us. When fleeing the Texas sun, consider taking shelter with these upcomers:
Incredibles 2 (June 15)
Technically, this comes out before summer, but I wanted to make sure there was something here for the kiddos. It’s been many moons since the original film released—5,110 moons, if a calculator can be trusted. Many of the children going to see the film probably weren’t even alive back in 2004. Children aside, it is a Pixar film, and while their reputation isn’t as stainless as it used to be, they are known for layering their films with adult-friendly content, by which I mean there’s more to them than bright colors and funny voices.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (June 29)
If the title didn’t tip you off, this is the sequel to the phenomenal crime-drama, ‘Sicario,’ which released back in 2015. The talented director of that film, Denis Villeneuve, is not returning for the sequel, as he’s hard at work with his interpretation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, ‘Dune’—or so I’ve heard. Nonetheless, the film is still written by Texas-native, Taylor Sheridan (‘Hell or High Water,’ ‘Wind River’), so there’s reason to be excited.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)
There’s been plenty of talk about “superhero fatigue,” but the only people who seem to experiencing such a thing are those who were burned-out after 1978’s ‘Superman,’ because these movies keep emptying pockets. And while they’re not as deep or rewarding as a Michael Powell movie, they know how to have fun, especially Marvel Studios. This film looks to be no different. Sometimes you want a movie to rattle your convictions and drive a corkscrew through your heart, and other times you just want to see a giant man with satellite antennas on his head ride an 18-wheeler like a skateboard.
Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot (July 13)
Sure, the title is annoying because it’s lacking a comma, but the movie itself still holds my interest. First of all, Joaquin Phoenix remains one of the most consistently interesting actors out there. Whatever he does, it’s not going to be boring. Second of all, it’s an oasis of quiet, character-based storytelling in a season mired with adrenaline and brand awareness. In fact, it might be the only film on this list without its own dedicated Happy Meal, if they still do that sort of thing. I’ve been out of the Happy Meal game for a long time.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (July 27)
Whether or not he belongs among the ranks of Buster Keaton and Jackie Chan, you have to respect Tom Cruise. Not only is he a great actor with an eclectic range (‘Magnolia,’ ‘Tropic Thunder,’ ‘Eyes Wide Shut’) but he bypasses special effects to perform his own stunts. As the last couple of films in the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise have proven, the difference is noticeable. Most franchises treat action as a mindless distraction—like dangling keys over a baby—but this franchise gives it serious consideration, resulting in set-pieces that are visceral, stylish, clever and unparalleled among its popcorn movie peers.
Cover: Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Photo IMDB