With the release of “The Expendables 2” in theaters this past weekend, the summer blockbuster season draws, for all intents and purposes, to a close. It was quite a summer at the box office, with some record-breaking successes (“The Avengers”) and some box office bombs (“Battleship” and “Total Recall”).
Overall, I was pleased with the films that were released this summer. Although not every film I saw rose to cinematic greatness, the movies I was most looking forward to didn’t disappoint me, and there also were a few nice surprises.
The most successful film this summer was undoubtedly “The Avengers,” which so far has pulled in about $1.5 billion worldwide and currently ranks No. 3 on the list of all-time highest grossing films. I’d have to say that “The Avengers” was my favorite movie this summer, as well. It was a fun, rousing blockbuster with both humor and heart, and a nice mix of character development and action sequences. Much of the magic of this film came from seeing so many superheroes from successful solo films (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc.) band together and have to learn to function as a team. I thought director Joss Whedon knocked it out of the park with this one, and the day it’s released on DVD — Sept. 25 — can’t come soon enough for me. 🙂
Although “The Avengers” was the film I liked best this summer, “The Dark Knight Rises” was a very close second. This film was a little more polarizing than “The Avengers,” with some fans seeming to love it and others walking away disappointed. I personally loved it, and I also will be adding this one to my DVD collection when it comes out. It’s a gritty, powerful and emotionally moving film, and I think it was a perfect ending to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
The third superhero movie released this summer, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” also made my list of favorites. It wasn’t a flawless film, and it could have benefited from a stronger villain character. However, stars Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man) and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) really sell this movie. Garfield and Stone have great chemistry, and the scenes where their characters are interacting are the best parts of the movie. Despite the fact the Spider-Man film franchise didn’t really need to be rebooted this soon, I like the direction Marc Webb is going with the story and would like to see Garfield return for another go-around as Spider-Man.
I liked the “Alien” quasi-prequel “Prometheus,” though like “The Dark Knight Rises,” it was a little polarizing. I think those who walked into the theater expecting a straight-up “Alien” prequel left feeling a little disappointed, and I definitely respect those opinions. However, I found the movie to be dark and thought-provoking, and I liked the fact it raised more questions than it answered. Sometimes the best science fiction stories just ask a question and let it linger, forcing the audience to speculate and come to their own conclusions.
For me, the surprise hit of the summer was “Snow White and the Huntsman.” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this movie, but I enjoyed seeing a darker, grittier take on a classic fairy tale. Charlize Theron as the sorceress Ravenna was the standout in the cast, and Chris Hemsworth also was great as the Huntsman. It was a solid follow-up to his role in “The Avengers” earlier in the summer, and I think he’s certainly earned himself a place on the list of up-and-coming Hollywood stars to watch. And on a side note, “Snow White and the Huntsman” is a much better film than the other Snow White film released this year, “Mirror Mirror.” I tried watching “Mirror Mirror” but only got through the first 10 minutes before I had to turn it off. Skip it, and rent “Snow White and the Huntsman” instead.
There were a couple films this summer that I enjoyed but thought could have been just a little bit better, including “The Bourne Legacy” and “Dark Shadows.” Both these films featured great casts and good concepts, but I thought film makers didn’t quite take these movies to the next level. I also loved the beginning and ending of the film “Brave” but personally would have liked to see more work on the middle of the film. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about how the curse is handled (where the queen turns into a bear), and I wish film makers maybe would have done something just a little bit more creative here. Still, these are all definitely films I’d recommend catching on DVD if you haven’t seen them yet. The film that disappointed me most was probably “Total Recall.” Visually, it’s great, but the plot and character development fell flat for me.
Finally, the film that got the most critical flak this summer was probably “Battleship,” which performed quite poorly at the U.S. box office. Don’t judge me, but I actually liked this film. 😉 It’s not deep, but it’s mindless, summer blockbuster fun.
So, what were your favorite films this summer? What movie did you like the best? What did you like the least?