The 10 Must-See Movies of May 2013

By  · Published on May 2nd, 2013

The Oscar season is long gone. Long gone, I say. Movies about old presidents and singing about your horrible life are over. As are the early dumping ground months, which weren’t all that horrible this year, thankfully. Now the summer movie season has begun. Marvel, once again, is starting things off on what won’t be a tough act to follow, but a pretty darn good one. Seeing Tony Stark crack jokes for two hours isn’t the only highlight of this month or this summer.

Summer 2013 is packed with plenty of movies to act giddy over, both big and small. May represents what we should come to expect over the next three months with a nice amount of variety. There are ten films this month which are must-sees:

Iron Man 3

Opens May 3rd

Shane Black makes up for the many mistakes made by Iron Man 2. The director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and writer behind some of your favorite 90s action movies has crafted his biggest movie to date, and his voice is still loudly present. Tony Stark and Shane Black were made for each other. From Stark’s sense of humor to his heroics, Black’s talents suit the heroes’ unrelenting charms. The action rivals Black’s wit until a thud of a third act, but, even after more than a few elements fall apart, Black’s blockbuster satisfies.

The Iceman

Opens May 3rd

Some have compared Michael Shannon’s performance to the work we would’ve seen from De Niro and Pacino back in the day, and those were some accurate comparisons. Shannon, playing contract killer Richard Kuklinski, a.k.a.”The Iceman,” breathes humanity in a guy that, by all rights, is a monster. It’s a role that Shannon really bites into, giving Kuklinski the right amount of intimacy and menace as the family man killer. The movie itself is quite good, avoiding the general disjointed bio narrative, but see it for Shannon’s work, first and foremost.

The Great Gatsby

Opens May 10th

When F. Scott Fitzgerarld wrote “The Great Gatsby,” we all know what words were floating around his head: 3D, $100m+ budget, summer blockbuster, and Leonardo…DiCaprio. That’s all one can takeaway from Fritzerald’s novel, right? That’s how director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!) interpreted it, who, believe or not, is an inspired match for this material. His energetic eye along with the assistance of some three-dimensional imagery could paint Gatsby’s larger than life presence in some dramatically compelling, and fun, ways.

Frances Ha

Opens May 17th

Another movie from Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) and Greta Gerwig? Sign me up. Their last collaboration, Greenberg, was one of the finest films of 2010. This time, with Frances Ha, they both penned the script together, making what appears to be more inline with Baumbach’s more charming and less emotionally cringe-y side. The trailer has joy written all over it, considering struggling New York girls are always fun to watch.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Opens May 17th

Stark Trek Into Darkness is the no-brainer of the summer. J.J. Abrams & Co. nailed the crew dynamic with the first film, making for an extremely charismatic blockbuster. All they need for improvement is a more well-rounded script and a villain who doesn’t sit around in space for over 20 years. Writers Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci didn’t have to deal with a writer’s strike this time and there’s Benedict Cumberbatch stepping into (maybe) Khan’s shoes, so Abrams certainly has plenty going for him with this sequel.

Before Midnight

Opens May 24th

Admittedly, I have not seen Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. From what everyone says who has seen them, I should watch them immediately. Those people are, understandably, excited to revisit the series’ two characters, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy). Based on Kate’s Sundance review, fans of Richard Linklater’s past two Jesse and Celine outings won’t be disappointed.

Fast & Furious 6

Opens May 24th

The Fast & Furious series was kind of a joke before Fast Five. The series had its moments, but it wasn’t until a sweaty hulk named Hobbs (The Rock) came along to breath fiery testosterone into the franchise that things got legit. Whenever Dom and Brian’s romance lagged in the film, The Rock appeared to make it tolerable. Let’s hope for the same with Hobbs and this series’ newbie villain, played by up and comer Luke Evans. Director Justin Lin has cars flying out of planes in this one, so expect no shortage in scope, at the very least.

Shadow Dancer

Opens May 31st and now on VOD

In a few years, or hopefully sooner, Andrea Riseborough will become a household name. After Welcome to the Punch and Oblivion, she’s proven herself capable of bringing dramatic weight to roles without much there on the page. Riseborough managed to standout in those two films, despite a notable lack of screen time. She’s the lead in Shadow Dancer – a film about an IRA member who begins spying for MI5 – and it shows what she can do with a movie resting on her shoulders.

Now You See Me

Opens May 31st

“It’s a movie about badass, bank robbing magicians!” Roll your eyes at that idea on paper, but then try scoffing at Now You See Me when you read who’s in this picture: Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fischer, and more. That ain’t a bad cast and the right guy is behind the camera for this type of movie, Louis Leterrier (The Incredible Hulk). Leterrier has a playful sense of fun as a director which should gel with this cast and concept.

After Earth

Opens May 31st

Some of us haven’t given up on M. Night Shyamalan. The Last Airbender and The Happening worsened an image already damaged by The Village and The Lady in the Water. The two latter movies are better than they’re given credit for, and despite the two former bombs in quality, Shyamalan can’t be dismissed. He returns with After Earth, an original science-fiction movie he co-wrote with Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli). Shyamalan is only as good as his scripts, so with Whitta’s hand in After Earth, don’t be surprised if this marks the director’s critical and fandom comeback. With the right script, Shyamalan still has it him to make a great movie. And, if you recall, Shyamalan’s best films involve father-son dynamics, a territory he’s revisiting here with Will Smith and Jaden Smith.

Honorable Mentions: What Maisie Knew, The Stories We Tell, Sightseers

What’s your must-see of May?

Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.