At an hour and 46 minutes, Christopher Nolan’s World War II thriller Dunkirk is the director’s shortest feature film since his 69-minute 1998 debut Following. It may also be his most wholly satisfying. I’d suggest that maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here, but who gives a damn about lessons when confronted with a work this masterful, powerful, and emotionally overwhelming?

When, exactly, did romantic comedies become extinct? I’m not even talking about “classic” rom-coms such as When Harry Met Sally... or Sleepless in Seattle, or that exceptional Julia Louis-Dreyfus/James Gandolfini charmer Enough Said from 2013 (the most recent example of a truly topnotch one I can think of). I’m talking about the genre as a regular staple of moviegoing, with headliners such as Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lopez and, God help us, Katherine Heigl falling for lesser stars in vehicles that were once as abundant as Blumhouse horror flicks or crap reboots of ’80s TV shows. For anyone missing such offerings, I would direct you to director Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick, which just might stand as the most hysterical, moving, swoon-worthy rom-com of the millennium. For anyone not missing such offerings, I’d direct you to The Big Sick even more quickly, just so you can see what this genre is capable of when everything – and I mean everything – goes magically right.

<em>Spider-Man: Homecoming</em>

The first joke of Spider-Man: Homecoming is the prologue’s arrival of the U.S. Department of Damage Control to tidy up a mess made by the Avengers. Damage Control has apparently been part of the Marvel Comics universe for nearly three decades, but this is its first movie appearance, and the name is amusing for its unusual bureaucratic bluntness.

The last joke is a multifaceted nugget in the final seconds before the end credits roll – part intentionally premature cut, part nod to the movie’s PG-13 rating, and part capper to the teenage trials of poor Peter Parker. (He’s repeatedly called “Penis Parker” by one of his classmates, which was probably a major contributor to the MPAA’s decision.)

In between, Homecoming is an almost-constant steam of minor marvels contributing to a shapely whole brimming with pleasure. Like its protagonist when he’s Spider-Man, the movie has an infectiously exuberant youthful zing.

The opening shot of writer/director Sofia Coppola’s meticulously sumptuous The Beguiled shows a young girl carrying a basket and singing without a care in the world – her steps providing the tune’s rhythm – in a tunnel of trees. It’s sunny out, but the converging crowns mean she’s walking in the dark wood. When she happens upon an injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell) while picking mushrooms, it’s impossible to avoid a single thought: Big Bad Wolf.

The girl helps the man back to her secluded Virginia boarding school for girls – which just happens to have seven female residents. They’re not dwarves, but Corporal John McBurney (once his wounded leg is mostly healed) does help with some groundskeeping. So he’s also Snow White.

Ansel Elgort in Baby Driver

It has no traditional showstopper numbers or crooning chorus kids, and Baby Driver might still prove to be the movie musical of the year.

Transformers: The Last Knight

It can’t be easy directing solely with your middle finger, but somehow Bay has pulled it off; in one fell swoop here, he’s turned his humans into robots, his robots into pests, and his worldwide audiences into saps whose goodwill, patience, and money he appears all too willing to waste.

If asked to list Pixar features I felt more deserving of a second sequel than 2006’s Cars, I’d offer a simple “all of ’em except The Good Dinosaur.” So maybe it was low expectations that allowed me to find Cars 3 the best of its bunch, and by a considerable margin, to boot.

Why do bad bio-pics happen to good people?

Director Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy aims to be an action blockbuster, a supernatural freak-out, a tongue-in-cheek comedy, a tentpole-starter, and the ultimate Tom Cruise vehicle all at once, and I have to give it a weird kind of credit, because I never imagined a film could fail so spectacularly on quite so many levels.

Obviously, the summer months – by which I mean Hollywood’s May through August – bring with them superhero movies. On some weekends, they bring with them only superhero movies. But I can honestly say I never planned on a superhero two-fer quite as delightful, unexpected, and satisfying as this past weekend’s debuts of Wonder Woman and Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Despite their shared release date and origin-story setups, you wouldn’t think that much would connect director Patty Jenkins’ live-action blockbuster and director David Soren’s featherweight animated comedy. In truth, though, the works are nearly identical in basic yet crucial ways that too many costumed-crime-fighter sagas aren’t: They’re blessedly unpretentious, they’re (mostly) angst-free, and they’re entertaining as hell.

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