25 Must-See Summer Movies

25 Must-See Summer Movies by Common Sense Media

Get the scoop on all the sequels, comic book-hero adventures, and big-budget animated movies coming out between May and August.

From the sure-to-be-blockbuster Iron Man 3 to a look at Mike and Sulley’s college days in Monsters University, here’s a cheat sheet to help you decide which high-profile summer movies are appropriate for your family.

Lets start with May movies first! 🙂

MAY MOVIES

  • Iron Man 3 (May 5)
    Target Age: Older Tweens and Teens
    Buzz Factor: As usual, the summer movie season kicks off with a big-budget action flick; this time it’s the much-anticipated third film in the Iron Man franchise. Robert Downey Jr.‘s Tony Stark is back to face his toughest foe to date — one who has the power to destroy the one thing Tony loves more than himself: his beloved Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow). Expect the usual mix of explosive action and arrogant humor but with a considerably darker tone.
  • The Great Gatsby (May 13)
    Target Age: Teens
    Buzz Factor: Baz Luhrmann is the sort of stylish director who can make any material sparkle and shine with vivid colors and unforgettable music, so it’s no wonder even teens who’ve yet to read The Great Gatsby are eager to see Leonardo DiCaprioCarey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire star in this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. But be prepared, given the literary source and Luhrmann’s love of drama, for loads of passion and a good bit of violence, as well as a lot of social drinking.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness (May 15)
    Target Age: Older Tweens and Teens
    Buzz Factor: The second installment in director J.J. Abrams‘ phenomenally successfulStar Trek reboot finds Chris Pine‘s James T. Kirk settling, with a great deal of uncertainty, into his captain’s chair. But the real buzz is the guy on the other side of the viewscreen:Benedict Cumberbach‘s ultrasuave ultravillain has the message boards lit up with rumors that he’s playing Khan, the nemesis from 1982’s Star Trek II. Expect lots of sci-fi action violence and peril.
  • Epic (May 24)
    Target Age: Young Kids
    Buzz Factor: The summer’s first big animated adventure is a nature lover’s dream, courtesy of the team responsible for Ice Age and Rio. Teen protagonist Mary Katherine (voiced by Amanda Seyfried) is the daughter of a kooky professor (Jason Sudeikis) who’s convinced there are miniature guardians of the forest. She finds out he’s right when she’s magically shrunken and encounters the Leafmen and their enchanted world. Mary Katherine could be this year’s Merida as she helps the Leafmen defend the woods from evil.
  • Fast & Furious 6 (May 24)
    Target Age: Teens
    Buzz Factor: There’s no end in sight for this 12-year-old high-octane racing franchise. After five movies that concentrated on the underground car racing scene, Fast 6 features a broader, around-the-world action-adventure that promises military-grade explosions more typically seen in the Bond or Mission: Impossible series. Wrestler-turned-movie starDwayne “The Rock” Johnson co-stars as the agent assigned to reassemble the team.
  • Penguins 3D (May 24)
    Target Age: All Ages
    Buzz Factor: What is it about the adorable black-and-white birds of Antarctica that we find so irresistible? No matter how many documentaries or animated movies come out about them, everyone still yearns for more about penguins and their lifestyle. David Attenborough‘s documentary follows a male King penguin as he attempts to keep his baby fledgling alive, and we can guarantee penguin cuteness overload (as well as the strong possibility of some poignant moments).
  • Now You See Me (May 31)
    Target Age: Teens
    Buzz Factor: Combining the satisfying suspense of a heist thriller, the outsized personalities of an ensemble cast, and the promise of something more — out-of-this world science? actual magic? — Now You See Me follows four young stage magicians who manage to rob a Parisian bank while performing in a Vegas auditorium. Jesse Eisenberg, a member of the magician’s quartet, reprises his fast-talking performance from The Social Network.
  • After Earth (May 31)
    Target Age: Older Tweens and Teens
    Buzz Factor: Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith reunite on screen for the first time sinceThe Pursuit of Happyness. They play a stern general and his mischievous son in a post-apocalyptic future where humans have taken up residence on a planet light years away from a ruined Earth. In addition to the Smiths, the big reason to see After Earth is to find out whether director M. Night Shyamalan can redeem his reputation with a commercial or critical success. Expect sci-fi action and some intense moments.

Then, with JUNE movies!

JUNE MOVIES

  • Man of Steel (June 14)
    Target Age: Older Tweens and Teens
    Buzz Factor: Any reboot of this pillar of the American comic book canon is going to get the fanboys excited. With Zack Snyder (300) directing and Christopher Nolan (the Dark Knight trilogy) producing, hopes are high that this latest version of the Superman origin story will relaunch a durable franchise. British import Henry Cavill anchors this version of the Man of Steel story, mentored by Krypton father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and earth father Jonathan (Kevin Costner). It promises to be darker and moodier than previous incarnations.
  • Monsters University (June 21)
    Target Age: Young Kids
    Buzz Factor: Monsters, Inc. was one of Pixar’s early fan favorites, so we expect everyone — even teens who pretend they’re too old for animated movies — to line up to see one-eyed Mike Wazowski (again voiced by Billy Crystal) and larger than life Sulley (John Goodman) as college “frenemies” before they became best buddies. The campus pranks and dorm-room jokes should appeal to everyone, from parents to preschoolers.
  • World War Z (June 21)
    Target Age: Teens
    Buzz Factor: Who will survive the zombie apocalypse? If the trailer for this adaptation of Max Brooks’ book is any indication, almost no one but Brad Pitt and his family. Pitt stars as a United Nations employee who’s tasked with searching the world for a way to stop the inexplicable outbreak that’s turning people into the bloodthirsty undead. Although it’s rated PG-13, the unrelenting violence of this post-apocalyptic thriller is likely best suited for mature teens and adults.
  • White House Down (June 28)
    Target Age: Teens
    Buzz Factor: This might seem like a retread of this spring’s R-rated bullet-fest Olympus Has Fallen, but star Channing Tatum gives this Washington, D.C.-set action-thriller a (hopefully) somewhat less graphically violent spin. Jamie Foxx plays the besieged president, and director Roland Emmerich, master of the disaster film (Independence Day,2012) promises some spectacular explosions.

And the rest for July and August….check it out by just clicking the link up there! 🙂

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