Summer Movie Report Card
The summer is over. Face it. We’ve had sweltering hot days, pool parties, BBQ’s, and of course, awesome summer movies. But with so many hitting our multiplexes this year, which ones came out on top? And more importantly, which comic book film is going to rule the school? NOTE: These are movies I SAW this summer, hence why some “major” ones (like Battleship) are left out. Even I have my limits.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Yes, Amazing Spider-man rebooted a movie universe that was barely five years old, but director Marc Webb absolutely nailed Peter Parker’s teenage years. In my opinion, The Amazing Spider-man skewed closer to the comics than any previous film. The inclusion of mechanical web shooters, Peter’s science background, and the classic “Spidey banter” made this a more enjoyable experience for me than Spidey’s last big screen adventure. It goes without saying that Andrew Garfield is waaaay more in line with who Peter Parker is than Tobey Maguire. The action scenes could’ve been a little tighter, but watching Parker meet Gwen Stacy was one of the best things to see this summer, and Martin Sheen was heartbreaking as Uncle Ben. Emma Stone was perfection as Gwen Stacy, and the 3-D of Spider-Man swinging through New York City was spectacular. It wasn’t a perfect film, and the “during credits scene” was confusing, but with Spidey’s origin out of the way, I strongly believe that Amazing Spider-Man 2 (or Spectacular Spider-Man) will be even better, as long as Green Goblin doesn’t look like a power ranger.
Final Grade: A-
The Expendables 2
Expendables 2 is everything the original movie should’ve been. From the cast to the size of the explosions, everything in Stallone’s second action opus is bigger, louder, and bloodier. This film is crazy amounts of fun, and seeing Stallone, Schwarzenegger, and Willis on the big screen together is a blast. Chuck your film theory classes out the door, cause this film will blow a rocket through your theories.
Final Grade: B+
Pixar’s latest film did something no other Pixar film could: it failed to make me blubber like a baby. Yes, this grown man somehow emotionally shuts down every summer Pixar releases a new film. Brave featured the first female lead in a Pixar film, and while any Pixar film is still better than most movies released in a given year, it failed to live up to the instant classic status of Up or Wall-E. Still, it’s the best animated movie I’ve seen this far this year.
Final Grade: B
The Dark Knight Rises
There was no way Christopher Nolan could top The Dark Knight. There just wasn’t. What Nolan could do though was deliver a satisfying conclusion to his take on the Dark Knight. Rises is an epic film, covering nearly 3 hours, and introduces a ton of new characters into Bruce Wayne’s world. Yes, there are some instances where characters show up in convenient places, but at the same time, this is an anomaly of the film world: a big budget franchise where the director had complete freedom for the entire series. Nolan’s films have given us something we’ll never get in Batman comics: an ending.
Final grade: A
Will Ferrell vs. Zach Galifianakis. What more needs to be said? Step Brothers and Anchorman may be the crown jewels of the Ferrell comedies, but with time The Campaign will probably fit right in. Definitely a must see, but be warned: it’s much raunchier than the trailers ever let on.
Final grade: B
Yes, I saw Dark Shadows. My mom is a HUGE fan of the show, and seeing as how I had no idea what to get her on Mother’s Day, I took her to this. Having only a rudimentary knowledge of the Shadows universe, I enjoyed the film, but definitely see that there were too many cooks in the kitchen plot wise. With numerous plots going on at once, none are really given time to breathe. Plus the b-plot involving Johnny Depp’s Barnabus’ ladylove being reincarnated as the new maid of the house really should’ve been a larger story than it was.
Final Grade: C+
The movie that kicked off the summer remains the best of the summer. Really the only movie that comes close to it from this season was Dark Knight Rises, and while Nolan’s swan song is an incredible film, watching The Avengers is something that we’ll tell our grandkids about. In many ways, seeing Avengers was probably very similar to seeing the original Star Wars for the first time. Full of fantastic moments and excellent characters, The Avengers not only showed the world how awesome comic books are, but also what a mad genius Joss Whedon is.
Final Grade: A+