It’s September, which means SUMMER IS OVER DUDE, but we can’t move on without taking a look back at a pretty solid summer movie season! From intergalactic superheroes to a society of talking apes to a teenage love story, this summer had lots to enjoy. Here are my Top 10 Summer Movies:
1. Guardians of the Galaxy
No surprise that Guardians is coming in first on this list. I waited patiently all summer for this movie to come out, totally engrossing myself in the hype that preceded it. I’ve never waited in line to see 17 minutes of a movie before, but I did for this one about a month before the whole thing came out and it was totally worth it. This movie has it all: action, comedy, epic space battles, and a killer soundtrack. “Awesome Mix Vol.1″ is the ultimate summer driving mix, and it instantly brings you back to your favourite moments from the film. And it feels pretty cool to live in a world where “Groot” and “Rocket Raccoon” are now household names.
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This movie actually came out at the beginning of April, which isn’t quite summer movie season, but close enough! Summer came early this year with the second solo outing for Captain America. I actually re-watched this movie yesterday, and although it may not have the charm and wit that Guardians has, it really is a great action movie. What I love about this modern incarnation of the character is that his name is Captain America, but it’s not like the movies are slapping you in the face with American patriotism. Solid performances from Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie and the gang.
3. X-Men: Days of Future Past
The X-Men franchise came back from the brink of irrelevance with this latest installment, which re-established that there is still places to go with this story. Setting the story in the 1970’s gave the whole film a cool retro vibe, while allowing us to spend time with our favourite mutants like Wolverine, Mystique, Magneto and a very cool Quicksilver. Add in a post-credits stinger featuring Apocalypse and this franchise is finally starting to become cool again.
4. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Apes. Apes. APES! If there’s one movie this summer that showed us blockbusters can be action packed AND tell an interesting, compelling story, it was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Very early on when watching this film, you will forget that you are watching CGI motion-capture apes and you just get lost in the characters. The battle between Caesar and Koba is serious stuff, and the struggle between apes and humans is even more so. This franchise has moved way beyond “damn dirty apes” and other one liners from the original films.
5. The Fault In Our Stars
My girlfriend says I only enjoy movies with explosions and CGI, and although that may be true most of the time (just take a look at the rest of this list), I am not made of stone and am a sucker for a good story and solid acting as much as anyone. The story of Hazel Grace and Augustus is a love story for the ages, and even I was holding back the tears for the last bit of the movie. I’ll admit it, after going to see all the big blockbusters this summer, it was nice to sit down with a great character story. I laughed, I (almost) cried, and there weren’t even any explosions. Talk about progress!
6. The Purge: Anarchy
There wasn’t much in terms of horror/thriller fare this summer, but the Purge: Anarchy delivered some good thrills and chills. My favourite thing about these kinds of films is that they’re short and to the point, an hour and a half and you’re outta there! I also really enjoyed Frank Grillo’s performance in this movie (his second of the summer after playing Crossbones in Cap America: TWS).
7. Edge of Tomorrow
I don’t care what you say: I enjoy Tom Cruise movies! There, it felt good to get that off my chest. I particularly enjoy Cruise’s forays into science fiction (Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, Oblivion), and this one is essentially a video game made into a movie; we watch as Tom Cruise works his way through the levels, dying a couple dozen times along the way. Emily Blunt co-stars as a kick ass military commander who shockingly does not have a romance sub-plot with Tom! That’s a thumbs up. Thumbs down? The title, or titles: All You Need Is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow, Live. Die. Repeat. Nobody knows what this movie is even called.
8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
I’ve never been a huge Spider-Man fan and this movie didn’t really do anything to change that fact. I stand by my belief that they rebooted this franchise too early and too haphazardly. Andrew Garfield is a good Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but the movie that surrounds him doesn’t match that. In 2014, the MCU is thriving with Cap 2 and Guardians, and X-Men made a resurgence with Days of Future Past; at least one superhero franchise had to go down, and sadly this summer it was poor Spidey.
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I lived and breathed Ninja Turtles as a kid, so like any guy my age I was totally down to see them up on the big screen again. This movie was kinda 50/50 for me, it had some cool moments and certainly LOOKED awesome, but it lacked the heart of the 1990 original. I didn’t connect with the Turtles as much in this incarnation, but the movie has done extremely well at the box office and introduced the Turtles to a whole new generation, and I’m down with that.
I was more into Bryan Cranston being in this movie than Godzilla itself. You add the Cran-Man to the mix, you’re bound to get some dramatic heft, and he does a good job in his role. Unfortunately the majority of the movie focuses on Aaron-Taylor Johnson’s character who does not excel in the heft department. Which is why I wish movies like this would just give up on trying to get me invested in the human conflict and just show me some damn monsters! When the title character was front and center, this movie was one heck of a great disaster flick! Godzilla for President!