If there’s a big-screen character you liked a few years ago, chances are that person is back for this summer of sequels. “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley can’t escape embarrassment in “The Long Haul.” The web-slinging superhero returns – but younger this time – for “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” And Jack Sparrow is still alive for the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film, “Dead Men Tell No Tales.”
With so many sequels – and a few new kids movies – we had to narrow our list of recommendations. We’ve picked a half-dozen that offer action, laughs and maybe a bit of drama.
“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul”(Opens May 19, rated PG)
There’s more summer adventures for Greg, the awkward middle-schooler with the cringe-worthy family. The Heffleys are on a road trip to Grandma’s 90th birthday, but Greg and big brother Rodrick are plotting to go to a nearby video-game conference. Not all goes as planned.
“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”(June 2, PG)
Twenty years after Dav Pilkey published the first in his series of hugely popular books, the captain stars in an animated movie. In it, comics-loving pranksters Harold Hutchins and George Beard hypnotize their mean principal and make him think he’s a superhero they invented. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have superpowers to go with his super (strange) get-up.
“Wonder Woman”(June 2, PG-13)
Score one for girl power: DC Comics’ warrior princess finally gets a title role. The story has an American pilot crash-landing near the isolated island where Diana is part of a tribe of Amazon women. The pilot tells her that the outside world is fighting “the war to end all wars.” She heads to London to put an end to World War I.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming”(July 7, not yet rated)
Comics action continues with the return of Spider-Man, who has to balance web-slinging with the challenging classes at his STEM high school. (That’s science, technology, engineering and math, of course.) Will he be able to defeat the evil Vulture and still ace his finals?
“The Emoji Movie”(July 28, not yet rated)
Imagine “The Secret Life of Pets,” but with the tiny digital images. The little guys are leading busy lives in the city of Textopolis. One, named Gene, isn’t like the others, who express just one emotion. Gene wants a single facial expression, so he and two emoji friends travel through phone apps to find the code to fix him.
“Leap!”(August 30, PG)
Félicie, a French orphan, hopes to be a ballerina one day. She teams up with a fellow orphan, Victor, and escapes their small town for Paris. Félicie gets into the famous Paris Opera Ballet School by pretending to be someone else. But her dreams and talent take her only so far. Victor, who has his own dreams, and an unlikely mentor encourage her not to give up.