Big burst of a cloud in white all fluffy on top coming off of the ground

It’s that time of year again: Another summer movie season is nearly upon us.

You could certainly be forgiven for not being up to date on what special effects extravaganzas are coming to theaters in the next few months. After all, we’re kind of busy dealing with the existential horror of everyday life in America in 2018. The usual buzz-factories of social media are too busy with the constant stream of news to give more than a minute or two to the latest Avengers trailer. And how excited can you manage to get about movies that may never be released thanks to petulant man-children with their fingers on the nuclear triggers?

So let’s start with the movies most of us will likely live to see, assuming we don’t get gunned down by AR-15-wielding white conservative terrorists or held in indefinite detention by ICE agents.

The season kicks off on May 4th with Avengers: Infinity War, which brings together a ridiculous number of heroes to fight a big purple man with a giant chin. While a throw-down with Thanos is pretty exciting, the real selling point is seeing Thor hang out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Russo brothers have proven they understand the kind of fun character interactions fans want to see.

And since it’s the first big superhero movie of the season, Free Comic Book Day is that weekend, on May 5th, so be sure to drop in at your favorite comic shop and pick up a graphic novel or two while you’re getting freebies. Those digital comics will be useless in a post-nuclear wasteland.

If we can make it through the rest of May, we’ll have two more big geek movies to distract us from whatever idiotic things our country’s leaders said that morning. Deadpool 2 brings in his buddies from X-Force, but with Deadpool himself still in the title role, expect more intentional humor and less of the unintentionally silly uber-seriousness of early 90s comics. And Solo: A Star Wars Story may have Han’s name in the title, but the real selling point is Donald Glover as a young Lando Calrissian, complete with his stylish half-cape.

By the time June comes around it’ll likely feel like a decade has passed, but there’ll be a couple more big movies to look forward to. Pixar’s Incredibles 2 brings original writer/director Brad Bird back for a more family-friendly take on superheroes, and hopes are high that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will at the very least be a better sequel than The Lost World. Jeff Goldblum has improved with age, but focusing less on his super punchable Ian Malcolm would be a good start.

It’s almost impossible to imagine what will be going on in the world by July, but at the very least we’ll have Marvel Studios’ requisite second summer movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

If that seems like an awful lot of franchise sequels, well, that’s what the summer movie season has become. But if America’s alleged leadership can make it through the summer without starting a war with another nuclear-armed nation, keep an eye out for two smaller original movies: The Happytime Murders, a Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for the Sesame Street generation, and the sci-fi alien invasion thriller Captive State.

In the meantime, it’s time to dust off Fallout 4 and practice living in an irradiated America.

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