From Memorial Day to Labor Day, moviegoers get the usual assortment of hit blockbusters and IP franchise expansions — your sequels, your prequels, your chapter 117 of the cinematic universe’s ongoing, ever-metastasizing saga. Marvel. This summer is no different, with everything new Superior gun movie (finally!) to a new one Thor entry, the origin story of Buzz Lightyear to the final entry in the Jurassic World Trilogy. Have you always wanted to see Brad Pitt shoot a train full of assassins or discover the adventures of Superman’s dog? You’re in luck, friends!
But step back a bit to see the bigger picture, and you’ll notice there’s actually a wider variety of things to check out besides the usual superheroes and marquee characters you know and love. In the next three months you will also get family comedies, costume dramas, tender romances, important biopics, sports stories about triumphing over the underdog, truly scary horror films, documentaries on topics ranging from Leonard Cohen’s best-known song to a long love affair between volcanologists, not one but of them Idris Elba’s joints and a few things that really defy description but definitely deserve your attention.
Here are the 40 movies you should pay attention to — and see in an honest-to-goodness theater; the bigger the screen, the better — this summer. There is something here for everyone.