Last May, records were broken and the landscape for superhero films was changed for the better. Marvel’s The Avengers set the tone for Summer 2012, and they hope to repeat that in 2013 with Iron Man 3. However, unlike last year, Marvel has some very stiff competition.

Some huge franchise sequels are hitting theaters this month, and there’s little breathing room between them. In fact, this Memorial Day weekend could easily be a record-breaker based solely on the number of films that will be available, and the wide variety of audiences they appeal to. Will any of the May releases break Avengers‘ opening weekend record? Probably not, but most have the potential to make a ton of money.

Here are the 7 movies we’re looking forward to in May 2013:

As the follow-up to the wildly successful, superhero team-up film The Avengers, Iron Man 3 has some big shoes to fill. Not only that, the film kicks off the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Two, which promises to be more ambitious (and more cosmic) than Phase One. Thankfully, as international box office numbers and early reviews have shown, Iron Man 3 is more than up to the challenge.

Iron Man 3 tackles some of Tony Stark’s most memorable adversaries (including The Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley), and includes a fan-favorite storyline (Extremis). However, something that has us really excited is the addition of Shane Black, a director who has an eye for action-comedy. More importantly, the guy knows how to use Robert Downey Jr., as evidenced by their work together in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. With a skilled wordsmith like Black feeding lines to RDJ, Iron Man 3 could easily take the title of best written (if not outright best) entry in the series.

Check out the trailer for Iron Man 3.

After a delay into 2013, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby took itself out of the Oscar conversation and into the summer movie competition. With that delay also came the decision to add 3D to the film, which should (literally) add a new dynamic to Luhrmann’s potent visual style. To go along with the flashy visuals, The Great Gatsby boasts a star-studded cast that includes Joel Edgerton, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel more than stands up on its own, but we’re curious to see what talent like this can bring to a classic story. Say what you will about the quality of Romeo + Juliet (another Luhrmann/DiCaprio collaboration), at the very least that film was not a by-the-numbers adaptation, and neither should this film.

Check out the trailer for The Great Gatsby.

For the foreseeable future, the name J.J. Abrams will be synonymous with the sci-fi genre. After resuscitating the Star Trek franchise in 2009, Abrams is now tasked with pulling a similar Heimlich maneuver on the Star Wars franchise beginning with Episode 7 in 2015. Before that, though, is Star Trek Into Darkness – Abrams’ darker follow-up to his playful reboot.

Star Trek Into Darkness not only looks bigger and bolder, it also has one very important piece its 2009 predecessor was missing: a memorable villain. While there has been a lot of debate over whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch is Khan, or some other character from Star Trek lore, few moviegoers are debating whether Cumberbatch will make a great villain. And that’s all that matters, right?

Check out the trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness.

The Fast and Furious franchise has come a long way since the flashy import-tuner cars and the quarter mile races. In Fast & Furious 6, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his band of criminally inclined gearheads are no longer running from the law; they are working for the law. Dwayne Johnson’s character returns to recruit the Fast and Furious crew to take down a group that, not unlike Toretto’s crew, uses elaborate vehicle maneuvers to pull off heists. It’s the classic bad-guys-become-the-good-guys scenario, only with planes, tanks, and automobiles.

Although the franchise has moved further and further away from street racing, it continues to draw crowds in bigger and bigger numbers. And based on the film’s Super Bowl spot and trailers, this franchise entry might just be the biggest one yet – at least in terms of all-out mayhem.

Check out the trailer for Fast & Furious 6.

The Hangover Part II was a huge box office success, but it didn’t do much to evolve the concepts of the first film. The Hangover Part III, however, seeks to bring some finality to the story of The Wolfpack, as indicated by the film’s promotional materials. Part III takes the characters back to where it all started, Las Vegas, and puts them into what we can only imagine will be some of the craziest scenarios put to film. Moreover, all of the film’s iconic characters are back, this time at odds with John Goodman.

Hangover Part III is director Todd Phillips’ chance to get the band back together and put them in the trenches one last time, before sending Phil, Alan, and Stu off in style. It will be sad to see these characters go, but we suspect The Hangover‘s impact on R-rated comedies will be felt for a long time.

Check out the trailer for The Hangover Part III.

There are a lot of question marks hanging over Warner Bros’ After Earth, not the least of which is the presence of director M. Night Shyamalan. After bursting on the scene with a string of successes, the filmmaker’s potential has seemingly tapered off quite a bit.

That being said, After Earth does have an intriguing, post-apocalyptic premise: The planet fought back, humans fled, and now a father and son have returned to discover a much more savage environment. Will the Smith family’s star power propel the film to a stellar opening weekend? Or will the Shyamalan name turn a large portion of moviegoers off?

Check out the trailer for After Earth.

If you’ve listened to the Screen Rant Underground, you know that a few of us are quite fond of magic. So, when a movie like Now You See Me – about a group of magicians that use magic tricks to pull off heists – comes around, it’s hard not to get excited. And even if you’re not fond of magic, there appears to be something grander at work in the heists than just smoke and mirrors.

To be fair, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone had a similar allure with magic – albeit with a comedic slant – and that didn’t turn out so well. Luckily, Now You See Me isn’t built solely on a gimmick (at least we hope it’s not) but has some talent both in front of and behind the camera. We’re not willing to bet any money on it, but maybe with a strong marketing push, Now You See Me can pull off a little magic trick of its own and stand out amidst the summer blockbusters.

Check out the trailer for Now You See Me.

Iron Man 3 is already in theaters overseas, and is already shaping up to be another home run for Marvel. But what about Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hangover Part III, and Fast & Furious 6? How will those films perform domestically and internationally?

There are also two more May releases that did not make our list: Tyler Perry Presents Peeples (May 10th) and the animated film Epic (May 24th). Even if they aren’t big draws like Iron Man or Star Trek, we’re still curious to know how they will fare at the box office.

And most importantly, we want to know which of the May 2013 releases you are most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below.

Once again, here are the 7 movies we’re looking forward to this month:

  • May 3rd: Iron Man 3
  • May 10th: The Great Gatsby
  • May 17th: Star Trek Into Darkness
  • May 24th: Fast & Furious 6, The Hangover Part III
  • May 31st: After Earth, Now You See Me