Writer Joseph J. Airdo // Photo Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Listen to the podcast version of this story, featuring interview soundbites and audio clips from this weekend’s new releases.

The summer movie season shifts into high gear this Memorial Day weekend as two long-awaited blockbusters soar onto the big screen.

First, Tom Cruise returns to the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell who, after more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, is pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him in “Top Gun: Maverick” — a sequel to the legendary 1986 motion picture.

When he finds himself training a detachment of graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters the son of his late friend Lt. Nick Bradshaw. Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it in the film, which is playing exclusively in theaters.

Meanwhile, the hit animated comedy series “Bob’s Burgers” makes the leap to the big screen, telling the story of a ruptured water main that creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of the television show’s namesake restaurant, blocking the entrance indefinitely and ruining everyone’s plans for a successful summer.

While Bob and Linda struggle to keep the business afloat, their kids try to solve a mystery that could save the family’s restaurant. As the dangers mount, these underdogs help each other find hope and fight to get back behind the counter, where they belong. The musical comedy-mystery-adventure is playing exclusively in theaters.

With both films fully embracing the fun that defines the genre of the summer movie blockbuster and Phoenix temperatures rising, this Memorial Day weekend may be best spent in a seat at the cineplex. Whether you choose to fly high with Maverick and his crew or flip burgers with Bob and his family, excitement, comedy and adventure are just one popcorn bucket away.