When the sun finally reemerges and the weather warms up, many people jump at the opportunity to spend their free time doing things like grilling out, swimming, and golfing. But we cinephiles jump for joy over summer for a different, more air conditioned, popcorn-scented reason. It’s blockbuster season friends, and 2016 has more excuses than ever to pass on the vitamin D and ask for extra butter. Let’s take a look at the films our AE staff is looking forward to most this summer.

Captain America: Civil War (Release Date: May 6th- U.S.)

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

What makes Captain America: Civil War look incredible to me is how Marvel has been able to sell not only the huge, exciting action of the conflict but also the emotion that drives it. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen a ton of truly awesome action in the trailers (Black Panther tackling Bucky off his motorcycle, Rhodey getting shot out of the sky, Ant-Man riding on Hawkeye’s Arrow), but the movie is more than that. Civil War is the culmination of everything Marvel built over the past eight years. It is the payoff of almost a decade’s worth of relationships and world-building, a result of the near-meticulously crafted longform storytelling present in the MCU’s shared universe. So while anyone going to see stuff Falcon spin-kicking two gunmen while flying or Bucky and Cap team up on Iron Man will likely not walk away disappointed, the major draw for many is not only going to be the personal stakes between these characters, not just the physical stakes. For anyone, myself included, who loves these characters, Captain America: Civil War is going to be the movie to beat this summer. – Ryan MacLean

The Nice Guys (Release Date: May 20th – U.S.)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

It’s not something I’ve ever considered, but The Nice Guys preview proves that movie trailers can be increasingly enjoyable upon rewatch. I think this exponential increase in enjoyment is created by two factors: 1.) I miss peak Gosling and peak Crowe so it’s good to see them back in focused central and starring roles, with touch of self-effacing humor that always looks good on these gentlemen and 2.) it’s even better to see Shane Black return to his own creative visions. With Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Black announced his arrival as an up-and-coming talent of informed principles and progressive vision. Then, Iron Man 3. Many directors of comparative description have been swept into the superhero factory that is modern day Hollywood so, even if it’s only temporary, it’s a nice remedy to my superhero fatigue to see Black escape that trap and return to his own devices. – David Shreve 

 Warcraft (Release Date: June 10th)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

Video game adaptations have had a rough go of it since their inception. Duncan Jones is looking to change that with a delayed and heavily CG’d Warcraft, a story of orcs, humans, sorcery, and really outlandish nerd shit. Seriously, have you seen the trailer? This is going to be the dorkiest movie ever. As a big fan of the original games, Warcraft 3 in particular (Greedisgood is for noobs), I’m wondering how this material will fare on the big screen. The storylines have always been ripe for cinematic adaptation, with imagery that is sure to explore on IMAX screen across the globe. My only concern is whether or not people will turn out to watch the damn thing. Sure, World of Warcraft remains the most popular MMORPG in the history of the industry but people will need to sit down in theaters to make sure this movie does well enough to kickstart a franchise. Few video game adaptations would be more deserving of a cinematic universe. – Diego Crespo

Finding Dory (Release Date: June 17, 2016)

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

I’m as excited for Finding Dory as I am nervous for this followup to the 2003 classic, Finding Nemo. While Pixar can do no wrong in my eyes (their wrong is still far superior to anyone else’s most right), it’s still a sequel, and it’s still a Pixar sequel. The expectations couldn’t be higher. Since I refuse to willingly seek out any trailer or read anything about any film I plan to see (weird, I’m told), I know little more about this one than its title. But knowing nothing only amps up the anticipation. I mean, this is the studio who brought us the perfect trilogy. If anyone is capable of making a worthy sequel, it’s these guys…or so I tell myself every time I remember they’re making a fourth installment of my favorite movie. But we’ll save that anxious rambling for a different post. – Grace Porter

The Purge: Election Year (Release Date: July 1st)

Universal Studios

Universal Pictures

The Purge: Election Year is a strong case of art mimicking life. Surely one of cinema’s coolest and simplest concepts: a 24 hour period in which all laws (including murder, as the announcement always seems to emphasize, as if clarifying the high stakes of the matter), the film will undeniably be an exciting and entertaining watch regardless of quality. And anyways–even if the original wasted the concept, Anarchy was definitely an improvement; of all the movies released this summer, Election Year is the only one that seems guaranteed to continue this upward trend. James DeMonaco is at the helm for the third time with what looks like even more developed political commentary, and Frank Grillo’s undeniably awesome “Sergeant” returns to chew bubblegum and kick more entitled ass. Third time’s the charm! – Jason Ooi

Ghostbusters (Release Date: July 15th)

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

There’s not much left to say about this all female revamp of the 30 year old cheesy, classic comedy legend that is the original Ghostbusters. The hype has been plastered all over the internet for the last year, with everything from sexist slander to premature praise. And while the more excitement this film builds, the more hesitant I am to assume its greatness, I’ll go ahead and admit that I’m downright giddy about this one. I’m choosing to ignore the existence of Melissa McCarthy’s latest comedic garbage dump that was The Boss and pretend it’s a guarantee that the brand of humor she brings to this venture will fall more along the lines of last year’s Spy. But the one whose on screen presence I’m most looking forward to seeing is Kate McKinnon, who has churned out nothing but gold on Saturday Night Live since she joined the cast. Movie fans are well overdue for another smart, female comedy, so here’s to hoping Ghostbusters delivers the goods. – Beth Reynolds

Star Trek Beyond (Release Date: July 22nd)

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

While not a fan of Into Darkness, I still find these movies enjoyable as all hell when they’re operating at top gear. Justin Lin directing with Simon Pegg having a hand in the script and Idris Elba as the villain. What’s not to like? The trailer looked wild and fun and this cast is a delight to watch anyway. There has oddly been a shortage of marketing for this movie post the first teaser, which was derided for being too fun. Hopefully that doesn’t mean they’re cooking up a full trailer that is just the character’s telling stories about getting bullied in High School while they do science experiments and watch Shoah. I’m looking forward to this, and I hope it has all the first movie’s crazy spirit, action, and adventure. – Sean Fallon

 Jason Bourne (Release Date: July 29th)

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

The Bourne Ultimatum gave a satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogies of all time, one that proved that action could be intelligently written as well as thrilling, and redefined the modern blockbuster. Even if the original trilogy works as its own complete story, I’m looking forward to getting back into this world. In the end, the plot revelations were secondary to the character interactions – which is why I’m excited for Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to return to the franchise. Greengrass’ last film Captain Phillips was incredible, and Damon showed he’s on the top of his game in The Martian last year. To round out the cast, Julia Stiles will be returning, alongside new characters played by Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel. Despite (loosely) drawing on the material of Robert Ludlum’s books, each Bourne film has felt connected but individual. They don’t feel like they were made with the assumptions of sequels, so each gave it their all. I expect no less from Jason Bourne this year. – Jack Godwin

 Suicide Squad (Release Date: August 5th)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. Pictures

When Warner Bros. first announced it would be building a cinematic universe, the source material at the top of my wish-list was Suicide Squad, because it would finally allow filmmakers to explore a corner of the DC Universe outside of Batman and Superman. Now, here we are a few months away from seeing David Ayer’s acid-splashed take on some of DC’S most iconic A, B, and C-listers, and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about how the film is shaping up in every aspect from the costumes to Leto’s take on the Joker. The marketing so far has suggested that Suicide Squad will be unlike any comic adaptation we’ve seen before and the stylistic mix of urban grittiness and dark fantasy hold the promise of imaginative action sequences and set-pieces. But at the center of all this film’s promised madness is Ayer and his historied ability to craft honest, and sometimes heartbreaking stories of America’s most morally-divided heroes and villains. Coupled with that is Ayer’s commitment to diversity and it looks like Suicide Squad may be one of the most diverse comic book adaptations. Come August, don’t be surprised to find me splitting my writing duties between editing YouTube videos of Suicide Squad footage set to songs by The Used, Alkaline Trio, and Senses Fail because I fully expect this movie to be nothing short of a post-punk masterpiece of superhero films. – Richard Newby