2023 is now one-third of the way complete, and so far, the year has provided a series of entertaining movies that have made headlines. April belonged to The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which should hit the $1 billion milestone at the box office by the first week of May. April also featured more wide releases (15), including Air and Evil Dead Rise, than in 2019 (11) before the pandemic, signaling a sign of normalcy.
May is now the start of summer blockbuster season as Marvel will kick off the month with the ending of one of its most famous trilogies. Other movies on tap for May include a thriller from a famous pop star, a live-action remake of a Disney classic, and the next entry into The Fast Saga. Here are five movies you need to watch in May.
It’s time to say goodbye to the lovable group of misfits in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The journey from a relatively unknown superhero group to Marvel standouts is one of the more surprising sagas in the MCU. Think of where the cast was in their careers heading into 2014. Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) was the funny guy in Parks and Recreation. Zoe Saldaña (Avatar: The Way of Water) was best known for Avatar, but that film garnered more praise for its technical prowess than its performances. Dave Bautista (Dune) was still trying to shed his WWE image. The film’s two biggest stars — The Hangover’s Bradley Cooper and Fast X’s Vin Diesel — were playing a raccoon and a tree, respectively.
Yet, these actors banded together to form an imperfect, but charming team that audiences could support. Vol. 3 is the end of the trilogy as many of the actors, such as Bautista and Saldaña, are moving on from the MCU. James Gunn (The Suicide Squad) is also leaving Marvel to run DC Studios. This will be the final version of the Guardians with this cast and crew. For their final mission, the team set out to protect Rocket and prevent the demise of the universe. It’s an emotional sendoff for the underdogs of the MCU.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on May 5.
The year is 2023, and Jennifer Lopez (Marry Me) is still one of the most popular American movie stars. After starring in a string of dramas and romantic comedies (Second Act, Hustlers, and Marry Me), Lopez grabbed a gun and embraced her inner action hero in 2023. In January, the Grammy-nominated artist starred in Prime Video’s Shotgun Wedding, the surprisingly entertaining action comedy where Lopez stars as a bride that takes on the gunmen holding her guests hostage at a wedding.
Now, Lopez is an assassin in the action-packed thriller, The Mother. Lopez plays the titular Mother, an ex-assassin who leaves her deadly profession to protect her daughter after a deal with the FBI goes haywire. However, her 12-year-old daughter is kidnapped to entice the Mother out of hiding. Bad move as the Mother shoots, stabs, and tortures her way back to her past life, hunting down the captors who took her daughter. With Lopez as an action hero, The Mother has a chance to open at No. 1 on the Netflix charts.
The Mother streams via Netflix on May 12.
There are friends. There is family. And then, there is your Fast and Furious family, arguably the most important of the three. It’s hard to fathom that the main storyline in 2001’s The Fast and the Furious revolved around a group of street racers stealing electronics off a truck. For comparison, F9 had a scene where Tej (Furious 7’s Ludacris) and Roman (Transformers’ Tyrese Gibson) flew to the International Space Station in a modified Pontiac Fiero. It was awesome.
The family will be tested once again in Fast X, the 10th film in The Fast Saga. Dom Toretto (Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Vin Diesel) is faced with another challenger from his past. Dante Reyes (Aquaman’s Jason Momoa), the son of drug lord Hernan Reyes, seeks to avenge the death of his father at the end of Fast Five. Dante joins forces with Cipher (Long Shot’s Charlize Theron), a cyberterrorist and villain from the previous two films, to hurt Dom and his loved ones. In true Fast and Furious fashion, the action-packed trailer promises to be as ridiculous and fun as ever, as Dom rallies his team once again to protect his family.
Fast X opens in theaters on May 19.
Reboots tend to have a negative connotation in Hollywood, a mostly warranted reputation. 1968’s Planet of the Apes, 1976’s Carrie, and 1991’s Point Break are all classic movies whose reputations took a hit after they received reboots in the 21st century. I’d like to believe that reboots are driven by creativity and the challenge to reimagine a famous story in modern times. Unfortunately, reboots are usually financially driven and viewed as a cash grab to capitalize on preexisting intellectual property.
I say this all to introduce the next movie to see in May, White Men Can’t Jump, the reboot of the 1992 film of the same name. The 2023 version stars Sinqua Walls (American Soul) as Kamal and Jack Harlow (The Instigators) as Jeremy, the reimagined roles played by Wesley Snipes (Blade) and Woody Harrelson (Champions) in the original. Like the first film, Kamal and Jeremy hustle players to earn money, culminating with a lucrative basketball tournament with a grand prize of $500,000. Walls and Harlow have real chemistry in the trailer, providing just enough intrigue to make this film worthy of your time.
White Men Can’t Jump streams via Hulu on May 19.
Disney has been creating live-action remakes of their animated classics since the 1990s. Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, and 102 Dalmatians proved that audiences were interested in seeing Disney animation come to life with human actors. The strategy slowly started to take off in 2010 after the success of Alice in Wonderland. However, 2019 proved to be the turning point for Disney after the live-action remakes of Aladdin and The Lion King each grossed over $1 billion worldwide. Now, seemingly every animated movie from Disney has a live-action remake.
The next Disney animated film to receive the live-action treatment is The Little Mermaid. Halle Bailey (The Color Purple) stars as Ariel, the mermaid princess who wants to be part of the human world. Ariel makes the deal with the evil sea witch Ursula (Bridesmaid’s Melissa McCarthy) to trade her voice for human legs to explore her potential love interest, Prince Eric (World on Fire’s Jonah Hauer-King). Initially, the trailer received mixed reactions due to its shaky CGI and commitment to making realistic animals. However, the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid is fantastic, and children are going to gravitate to this story, so I would bet money that it becomes Disney’s next billion-dollar success.
The Little Mermaid opens in theaters on May 26.