It’s about time that Wonder Woman gets her big-screen debut, alongside the tough female protagonists of “Atomic Blonde,” “Megan Leavey” and “The Beguiled.” R-rated comedy fans will find a gold mine of raunchy, estrogen-centric humor with “Snatched,” “Rough Night” and “Girls Trip.”
Even the mummy in “The Mummy” is a woman.
Is it wrong to get your hopes up? That’s what moviegoers do when a new crop of summer movies loom, the weather turns warm, and the A/C is cranked up inside the theater. Here’s our guide to some of the season’s top prospects, representing every gender and genre — and a few choices for those who’d rather Netflix and chill.
Our critic’s picks are marked by ♥.
Opening dates and ratings are subject to change.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
(May 5, PG-13)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel
The details: Marvel’s team of bickering super-antiheroes, led by Pratt’s smart-mounted Star-Lord, return — with the now-babyfied talking tree, Groot, still voiced by Diesel, but sounding like he’s on helium. It’s a story about finding family, both literal and figurative.
“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”
(May 12, PG-13)
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou
The details: If his irreverent takes on the Sherlock Holmes canon are any indication, director Guy Ritchie’s approach to musty Arthurian legend — here represented by Hunnam as the Once and Future King, and Law as Vortigern, the monarch he means to overthrow — will be just as cheeky (and prone to tick off purists).
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”
(May 26, PG-13)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush
The details: The fifth voyage of the durable Disney adventure franchise, originally inspired by the company’s buccaneer-themed amusement park ride, features Bardem as a new — and, judging by the trailer, legitimately scary — villain, Salazar, who seeks revenge on Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. It will be interesting to see how this matchup shapes up between what looks like an over-the-top Anton Chigurh with a Keith Richards impersonation.
(June 2, PG-13)
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston
The details: The DC Comics heroine (Gadot) gets her own movie, set during World War I. Pairing up with a handsome American intelligence officer (Pine) in the first big-budget movie from director Patty Jenkins (“Monster”), the Amazon princess from remote Themyscira reluctantly engages with the modern world to stop a German general (Huston) from using weapons of mass destruction.
(June 9, PG-13)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe
The details: This isn’t your grandfather’s mummy movie. Or even your father’s. Departing from tradition (even the 1999 update with Brendan Fraser and its sequels), “The Mummy” boasts a female version of the shroud-wrapped antagonist (Boutella). And that’s not all. There’s also an appearance by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Crowe) — presiding over a monster-finding agency — in a cross between Marvel Comics and a classic-monster mash-up. As for what Tom Cruise is doing here, I have no idea.
“Transformers: The Last Knight”
(June 21, not PG-13)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Laura Haddock, Anthony Hopkins
The details: Hot Rod the Autobot — a lovable mechanical warrior that transforms from a French sports car into a protective colossus — is just one of the nonhuman heroes in the fifth installment of this money-minting action franchise, based on Hasbro toys. Wahlberg, Haddock and Hopkins play mere mortals who, much to their surprise, discover a mysterious connection between the Autobots and medieval legend. Hmmm. Maybe a double feature with “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”?
♥ “Baby Driver”
(June 28, R)
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx
The details: The song “Bellbottoms,” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, reportedly inspired Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”) to want to film a car chase around it. That idea was the seed of “Baby Driver,” which takes its name from a Simon and Garfunkel tune. The movie about a getaway-car diver (Elgort) who listens to music constantly, but wants to break away from his life of crime, should have a soundtrack to die for, if nothing else.
(July 7, not yet rated)
Starring: Tom Holland, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton
The details: “Fresh” is the watchword in this reboot of a reboot of the Marvel webslinger saga. Meaning that, yes, Spidey’s creaky old Aunt May is played by Marisa Tomei — meow — but also that Holland’s Peter Parker is only 15 years old. (By comparison, both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of Spidey are several years older in those earlier films.) That leaves plenty of opportunity for jokes at the expense of Holland’s scrawny physique and squeaky voice — in other words, a return to the wisecracking humor for which the original comic is known.
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
(July 14, PG-13)
Starring: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Amiah Miller
The details: In the new chapter of the simian sci-fi saga, the world of highly evolved apes, led by Caesar the chimpanzee (Serkis, via motion-capture technology), goes to battle against humans, lead by Harrelson’s nameless Colonel. In between the opposing forces comes a mute girl (Miller), who befriends the apes. (With a Pepsi can? Surely not.)
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”
(July 21, PG-13)
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen
The details: Sleepy-eyed space-cop Valerian (DeHaan) and his svelte sidekick Laureline (Delevingne) investigate a mysterious force that threatens the kumbaya harmony of their titular metropolis, a giant floating space station populated by humans, aliens and robots, in this adaptation (by writer-director Luc Besson) of the French-language comic series. Although the source material is little known outside Europe, a seven-minute clip of the film received a standing ovation when it was shown at last year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.
(July 28, not yet R)
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella
The details: Stunt man-turned-director David Leitch, who cut his teeth on the thrillingly kinetic “John Wick” movies, directs Theron in this graphic-novel-inspired tale of a badass secret agent. Theron, who prepared for the physically demanding role with four to five hours of gym time every day for three months — and the aid of eight personal trainers — cracked two teeth while filming the fight scenes.
(June 9, PG-13)
Starring: Kate Mara
The details: Is is too much to ask — after “A Dog’s Purpose” — for a movie about the canine-human bond that moves the heart without being sappy? If anyone can find the right balance of sentiment and grit — in this fact-based story about a bomb-sniffing German Shepherd and his former Marine handler, who tries to adopt him — it’s Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Who’s she? The director of the great documentary “Blackfish,” about SeaWorld’s mistreatment of orcas, that’s who.
“The Bad Batch”
(June 23, R)
Starring: Suki Waterhouse, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves
The details: Director Ana Lily Amirpour’s follow-up to “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” her Farsi-language vampire Western, is a post-apocalyptic romance set in a “Mad Max”-esque wasteland where cannibals prowl. Waterhouse, an English actress-model, plays the heroine, an amputee who has been unceremoniously classified by society as undesirable, gets dumped into this desert prison and ultimately makes her way to a sanctuary presided over by a character called, appropriately enough in the nightmarish scenario, the Dream (Reeves). The film also features a cameo by a wordless — and virtually unrecognizable — Jim Carrey.
(June 30, not yet rated)
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst
The details: Sofia Coppola wrote and directed this remake of the eccentric 1971 Civil War thriller, in which a wounded Union soldier, played by Clint Eastwood, sexually manipulates the students and staff of a Southern boarding school for girls where he is being nursed back to health. As in the original movie, based on Thomas Cullinan’s 1966 novel, the girls and women turn the tables on their patient (here played by Farrell) in a twist that should give Coppola a chance to combine her taste for offbeat female empowerment (“Marie Antoinette”) and the macabre (“The Virgin Suicides”).
“A Ghost Story”
(July 14, R)
Starring: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck
The details: The stars of “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” reunite with their director from that 2013 film, David Lowery, who shifts gears here from “Pete’s Dragon” to a different kind of supernatural tale. Mara plays a new widow, and Affleck (draped in a Halloween-like white sheet with two eye holes) is her late husband who — a la “Truly Madly Deeply” and “Ghost” — just can’t let go.
(July 21, PG-13)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh
The details: The cast and crew of this World War II drama, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight” saga), looks impressive. And the story, about more than 300,000 Allied soldiers who were hemmed in by Nazis on a French beach and then rescued by volunteers on fishing boats, fire ships, barges, and other private vessels, is both amazing and true.
(Aug. 4, not yet rated)
Starring: John Boyega, Algee Smith, Will Poulter
The details: The fact-based drama by Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty”) looks at the infamous 1967 riot in Detroit, in which police, the National Guard patrols and soldiers clashed violently with the city’s black residents, leading to dozens of deaths, more than 1,000 injuries and widespread destruction. It looks intense and timely.
“Beatriz at Dinner”
(Date TBD, R)
Starring: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Chloë Sevigny, Connie Britton
The details: Busy screenwriter Mike White (“The Emoji Movie”) reunites with director Miguel Arteta, his collaborator on “Chuck & Buck” and “The Good Girl,” for a politics-infused drama in which Hayek’s alternative healer — a Mexican immigrant — butts heads, over a fancy dinner, with Lithgow’s jerky billionaire.
♥ “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”
(June 2, PG)
Starring: The voices of Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms
The details: DreamWorks Animation gives the feature-film treatment to the best-selling series in children’s literature by author and illustrator Dav Pilkey. In this slick animation of Pilkey’s simply drawn books — which follow the misadventures of a pair of fourth-grade rebels (voiced by Hart and Middleditch) — the boys hypnotize their principal (Helms) into thinking he’s the titular superhero of their homemade comic books: a powerless man in tighty-whities and a cape.
(June 16, G)
Starring: The voices of Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer
The details: Wilson reprises his role as cocky talking race car Lightning McQueen, now all but washed up in the face of stiff competition from faster, higher-tech vehicles, including the evil Jackson Storm (Hammer). In this third chapter of the animated Pixar saga, Lightning gets a little help from a business-class coupe named Sterling (Nathan Fillion).
“Despicable Me 3”
(June 30, PG)
Starring: The voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker
The details: Reluctant super-villain-turned-hero Gru (Carell) and his new wife (Wiig) pursue a has-been former child star (Parker) who can’t let go of the 1980s — or the fact that his fans have turned their backs on him. Carell works twice as hard in this third outing of Illumination Entertainment’s animated franchise (or, if you the count “Minions,” the fourth): both as Gru and his long-lost twin brother, Dru.
“The Emoji Movie”
(July 28, PG)
Starring: The voices of T.J. Miller, James Corden, Ilana Glazer
The details: After “The Angry Birds Movie,” it was, I suppose, inevitable. In this animated comedy, based on anthropomorphic texting icons, Miller plays a misfit emoji whose problem is that he is capable of expressing too many emotions. The good news? Patrick Stewart plays the poop emoji. The bad news? The trailer — which has already received tens of thousands of “thumbs down” on YouTube — is narrated by the meh emoji.
(May 12, R)
Starring: Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn
The details: Schumer, on a roll since 2015’s “Trainwreck,” partners with Hawn, who’s been out of the public eye since 2002’s “The Banger Sisters,” as a young woman who drags her homebody mother on a South American vacation after a bad breakup. While there, the two are kidnapped, leading to high jinks — and charges of ethnic stereotyping against the comedian on social media. Oh well. It wouldn’t be a Schumer project without a little controversy, right?
(May 25, R)
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Alexandra Daddario, Priyanka Chopra
The details: This spoofy retread of the silly TV series — part parody and part embrace of the show’s corny mash-up of sex and sleuthing — pits a crew of crime-fighting California lifeguards against Chopra’s drug smuggler. Coming from director Seth Gordon (“Horrible Bosses”), it’s got to be better than “CHiPs,” right?
(June 16, R)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer
The details: Five friends accidentally kill a male stripper during a wild bachelorette party, leading to what sounds like a female version of “The Hangover”: bawdy, inappropriate and — with any luck — funny.
(June 30, R)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler
The details: The name alone sounds scary. (In fact, there has been more than one horror film called “House.”) But “The House” is a raunchy adult comedy starring “SNL” alums Ferrell and Poehler as cash-strapped parents of a college-bound daughter (Ryan Simpkins). On the advice of a scumbag opportunist, played by — who else? — Jason Mantzoukas, they transform their suburban home into a sleazy casino. Be afraid.
(July 21, R)
Starring: Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kate Walsh, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish
The details: It may not be a mirror image of “Rough Night” — there’s no dead stripper that I know of — but like that other female-centric comedy, “Girls Trip” features five old friends out for a good time during New Orleans’s annual Essence Music Festival. Gather up your girls for a raunchy road trip, but leave any actual children with the sitter.
(May 19, R)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston
The details: Set, chronologically, after the action of the 2012 prequel “Prometheus” but before the timeline of the original 1979 “Alien,” this sixth installment in the sci-fi franchise is only the third film to be directed by Ridley Scott. It features a reprise of Fassbender’s android character from “Prometheus,” along with, of course, hostile E.T.s.
“The Book of Henry”
(June 16, PG-13)
Starring: Naomi Watts, Jaden Lieberher, Jacob Tremblay, Dean Norris
The details: Lieberher (“St. Vincent”) plays the 11-year-old title character: a genius who takes care of his single mom (Watts) and little brother (“Room’s” Tremblay). But what feels like a setup for a wacky/touching family dramedy sidles along darker territory when Henry develops a potentially violent remedy to address his theory that a neighbor girl (Maddie Ziegler) is being abused by her creepy stepfather (Norris).
“The Dark Tower”
(Aug. 4, not yet rated)
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor
The details: Unanswered questions surround the adaptation of Stephen King’s sci-fi-Western-fantasy book series. Is it a sequel? A faithful but not slavish reimagining? They have clouded its history, as different directors have come and gone: first J.J. Abrams, then Ron Howard, and now Nikolaj Arcel. But the bones of King’s plot appear to be intact, with the Gunslinger (Elba) and a young boy (Taylor) fleeing across the picturesque desert to reach the titular, mystical tower as they are pursued by McConaughey’s Man in Black.
(Aug. 11, R)
Starring: Talitha Bateman, Miranda Otto, Anthony LaPaglia
The details: David F. Sandberg isn’t exactly a household name. But the short track record of the Swedish filmmaker — who’s reported to be in the running to direct DC Comics’s forthcoming “Shazam!” project — includes the hit “Lights Out,” Sandberg’s excellent feature adaptation of his not-quite-three-minute calling card. Produced by horror maestro James Wan, “Annabelle: Creation” is the origin story of the demonic doll that first appeared in Wan’s deliciously unsettling “The Conjuring.”
♥ “It Comes at Night”
(June 9, R)
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Christopher Abbott
The details: Filmmaker Trey Edward Shults’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2015 feature debut “Krisha” — an indie character study about a recovering addict reuniting with her family over Thanksgiving — explores more otherworldly territory, in a creepily dystopian horror story about a pandemic-ravaged world and a mysterious traveler (Abbott) who seeks refuge in the hideout of a wary family (Edgerton, Ejogo and Harrison).
♥ “War Machine”
(May 26, TV-MA)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Ben Kingsley, Tilda Swinton, Will Poulter
The details: Fresh off work on last year’s acclaimed “Hell or High Water,” the composing duo of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis — go-to cinematic scorers for such smart, dark fare as “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “The Road” — lend their mood music to this satire inspired by the war in Afghanistan. Pitt plays a cocksure general, and Kingsley is President Hamid Karzai, in “Animal Kingdom” director David Michôd’s cheeky adaptation of Michael Hastings’s 2012 nonfiction bestseller, “The Operators.”
(June 28, TV-MA)
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano
The details: Swinton plays the image-obsessed CEO of an organic food and research corporation that captures the titular Okja, a massive, wild piglike creature that is the companion of a little girl (An Seo Hyun) — who promptly sets out to rescue the CGI beast. Expect equal elements of stylish science fiction, old-school monster movies and biting social critique in this fantasia from Korean director Bong Joon Ho (“Snowpiercer” and “The Host”).
(Aug. 11, not yet rated)
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Regina Hall
The details: Director Michael Tiddes and co-writer/star Wayans, who previously worked together on such quickie parodies as “Fifty Shades of Black” and “A Haunted House,” turn their attention to a “Groundhog Day”-esque comedy. Wayans plays a soon-to-be-married screw-up who is forced to relive his wedding day — which starts with him waking up naked in an elevator — over and over, until he makes things right with his bride (Hall).