Though summer hasn’t officially started, this month has already produced a couple of summer movie hits: “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3″ unofficially launched the season May 5, while the just-released “Fast X” is off to a running start.
Action star Vin Diesel’s latest ode to “fammmm’ly” is one of a number of sequels you can choose from between now and Labor Day. This summer brings, among other things, return appearances by sharks, Transformers, the unlucky couple from the “Insidious” horror series, Spider-Man, a CGI-altered Indiana Jones, and Denzel Washington’s super-violent Equalizer.
Not psyched about these sequels? Maybe a comedy will get you into the theater. Try a raunchy one, “No Hard Feelings,” featuring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence taking a job to deflower a 19-year-old, soon-to-be college student. Or check out Robert De Niro in “About My Father,” meeting potential in-laws and embarrassing his onscreen adult son with his usual tough-guy act. If you miss Julia Louis-Dreyfus, you’ll find her in a new cringe comedy, “You Hurt My Feelings,” about the consequences of lying to one’s spouse.
Want a scary literary adaptation instead? Well, you’ve got new films based on works by Stephen King and Bram Stoker.
Disney fans, rejoice: There’s also a new Pixar film, “Elemental,” as well as a remake of “The Little Mermaid” featuring fresh songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
You know I’m a betting man, so I’m placing all my money on what I think will be the biggest movie of the summer: Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” Granted, we know very little about the plot, but Margot Robbie appears to be perfectly cast as Barbie. And how can one resist Ryan Gosling saying “hey girl, I’m Ken” with his eyes? You’ll have to wait until July 21 to see it. If it makes enough money, Hollywood might make my dream summer blockbuster, “Barbie vs. M3GAN.”
I reviewed the somewhat unsatisfying “Fast X,” which continues the franchise’s fusion of car chases and soap opera. I’ve also seen “The Little Mermaid,” “You Hurt My Feelings,” and the documentary “Being Mary Tyler Moore.”
Here’s what else is in store on screens large and small. Some dates are subject to change.
THE LITTLE MERMAID Singer Halle Bailey is Ariel, Daveed Diggs is Sebastian, and Melissa McCarthy is Ursula. I’d love to tell you how it is, but I sold my voice to Ursula in exchange for Ryan Gosling’s Ken doll abs in “Barbie.”
BEING MARY TYLER MOORE This documentary about the late TV legend will be catnip for Moore fans. Good, but at two hours it gets a bit repetitive.
YOU HURT MY FEELINGS A hilarious, gentle cringe comedy about the little white lies couples tell to keep the peace. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies star as the lied-to wife and the lying husband, respectively.
ABOUT MY FATHER Robert De Niro in yet another comedy where he plays a father embarrassing his son in polite company. This time, the kid is comedian and co-writer Sebastian Maniscalco.
Also coming: Kandahar
SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE This sequel to the Oscar-winning best animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018) finds titular superhero Miles Morales web-slinging through multiple universes to battle a new foe. Fingers crossed for the return of Nic Cage as the Spider-Man of the Noir universe.
THE BOOGEYMAN Originally slated for Hulu, this Stephen King adaptation of his “Night Shift” short story is getting a theatrical release based on strong word-of-mouth. Sophie Thatcher from Showtime’s “Yellowjackets” stars.
TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE BEASTS “In the Heights” and “Hamilton” star Anthony Ramos mingles with Transformers voiced by a slew of recognizable actors including Michelle Yeoh and Pete Davidson. Here’s hoping for more than meets the eye.
PAST LIVES Writer-director Celine Song’s buzzy feature debut moved audiences at Sundance. Two friends who had childhood crushes on each other are separated, then reunited at different stages in their lives.
ELEMENTAL Pixar’s entry in the summer movie sweepstakes is an animated rom-com about the attraction between a guy made of water and a woman made of fire. They live in a city where, to quote the trailer, “the elements do not mix.” My “blatant symbolism alarm” chimes louder than Big Ben.
THE FLASH Sing along with the Queen song from that other Flash movie, 1980′s “Flash Gordon”! “FLASH! AH-AHHHH! Defended in the Twitterverse! FLASH! AH-AHHHH! Can’t wait for the film discourse!” Ezra Miller stars as the lightning-fast superhero. Ben Affleck and Michael Keaton both show up as Batman.
EXTRACTION 2 Chris Hemsworth’s commando, Tyler Rake, is back for more carnage in this Netflix sequel. Features a new iteration of the one-take action centerpiece that was “Extraction”’s best feature.
THE BLACKENING This horror-comedy with a Black cast mocks the “Black characters die first in horror movies” trope. Upside: Sounds like a clever take on slashers. Downside: It’s directed by Tim “Tom & Jerry” Story.
Also coming: Stan Lee
ASTEROID CITY Writer-director Wes Anderson adds aliens to his oeuvre in this comedy starring Jason Schwartzman, Tom Hanks, and Scarlett Johansson.
NO HARD FEELINGS Parents place ad for woman to deflower their 19-year old son before he goes to college. Jennifer Lawrence answers ad. Can director Gene Stupnitsky work the same comic magic he did with the similarly raunchy “Good Boys”?
Also coming: God is a Bullet, The Perfect Find
INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY After a 15-year absence, Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones. In one sequence, the 80-year-old actor is de-aged to look like he did in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” An even more powerful magic will be needed to make this sequel as good as that one was. James Mangold steps in for Steven Spielberg as director.
RUBY GILLMAN, TEENAGE KRAKEN This DreamWorks Animation feature is the FOURTH 2023 movie starring Jane Fonda. She’s The Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas, helping her titular granddaughter fight an evil mermaid who looks a lot like Ariel. Throw that shade, DreamWorks!
Also coming: Harold and the Purple Crayon, Every Body
INSIDIOUS: THE RED DOOR This fifth installment in the “Insidious” franchise brings back Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as the Lamberts, victims of paranormal activity. May the spirits help Wilson in his directorial debut.
BIOSPHERE Sterling K. Brown and Mark Duplass play the last two men on Earth. I’m glad I’m already dead in this scenario.
Also coming: Joy Ride, Summer Gold
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - DEAD RECKONING PART ONE Did you know Lucille Ball greenlit the original TV show that all seven of these movies are based on? Think about that while Tom Cruise cheats death for the gazillionth time.
THEATER CAMP Mockumentary about a theater camp for all ages is being called a kinder, gentler “Waiting for Guffman.” If you know what that movie is, this might be for you.
THE YOUTUBE EFFECT Alex Winter, the Bill to Keanu Reeves’s Ted, directs this documentary examining YouTube’s influence on the world. Sounds intriguing and terrifying.
BARBIE Margot Robbie is Barbie and Ryan Gosling is “just Ken,” as the ads say. Mark my words: Greta Gerwig’s take on the Mattel icon will either be one of the best movies of 2023 or so terrible it will rip a hole in the space-time continuum. There will be no in-between.
OPPENHEIMER Christopher Nolan directs a biopic about the father of the atomic bomb. Practically everyone who has acted for Nolan is in this movie, from Cillian Murphy to Kenneth Branagh. Nolan’s notoriously muddled sound mixes won’t work for this one — we need to hear the bomb and the dialogue, dude.
STEPHEN CURRY: UNDERRATED Following films about Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, and Bill Russell, it’s Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry’s turn in the sports documentary barrel.
Also coming: They Cloned Tyrone, Coyote v. Acme, Cobweb
HAUNTED MANSION “Dear White People” director Justin Simien guides Rosario Dawson, Winona Ryder, and Jamie Lee Curtis through yet another movie based on the Disney attraction. A movie ticket is cheaper than visiting Disney World, I suppose, though not by much.
TALK TO ME YouTube sensation RackaRacka (Danny and Michael Philippou) scared the pants off audiences at Sundance with their theatrical debut. My former colleague Robert Daniels called it “‘Flatliners’ for the viral era,” which means it’s a bunch of stupid kids screwing around with death and suffering horribly for it. I’m in!
SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL Nicolas Cage is The Passenger. Joel Kinnaman is The Driver. One of them will have a very bad time in this thriller.
THE MEG 2: THE TRENCH Jason Statham once again faces off against a ginormous prehistoric shark in this sequel to 2018′s “The Meg.” The first movie was dumb fun. This one’s directed by Ben Wheatley, whose horror movies are designed to torture viewers.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM Seth Rogen brings back the comic book reptiles for a new generation. Jackie Chan voices Master Splinter. Cowabunga, dude.
Also coming: Dreamin’ Wild
GRAN TURISMO Teen players of the titular PlayStation racing game get an opportunity to race cars for real. Based on a true story. And, no, I’m not kidding.
LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” director André Øvredal adapts Chapter 7, the captain’s log chapter of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.” Corey Hawkins stars.
Also coming: Jules, Red White and Royal Blue
STRAYS A bunch of dogs voiced by comedians including Jamie Foxx and Will Ferrell cuss up a storm while embarking on a vengeful quest to find Ferrell’s evil owner, Doug, who abandoned him in the middle of nowhere. Their plan is to neuter him. Shoulda gotten a cat, Doug.
BACK ON THE STRIP Wesley Snipes stars in what looks like a Black take on “The Full Monty.” Former strippers decide to come out of retirement decades after they quit dancing.
Also coming: Blue Beetle, The Hill
BOTTOMS Writer-director Emma Seligman reteams with her “Shiva Baby” star Rachel Sennott for this raunchy comedy that shocked audiences at SXSW. Queer girls start a fight club in order to lose their virginity to cheerleaders. It works. Soon everyone is beating the Lydia Tar out of each other.
Also coming: Bad Things, Golda
THE EQUALIZER 3 Denzel Washington is back for his third turn as avenger Robert McCall in Antoine Fuqua’s action series. Denzel plus extremely graphic violence equals box office success. Reunites Washington with Dakota Fanning, whom he defended with the same level of brutality in 2004′s “Man on Fire.”
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Odie Henderson is the Boston Globe's film critic.