Summer Blockbuster Season
Hurrah or Nah?
Each summer, school-aged children anticipate the last bell announcing the school’s closing for a three-month break. Adults look forward to barbecues, swimming pools, and summer vacations. Together, we all rejoice in the glory of the summer blockbuster season. 1975 promised we’d never go back in the water with the threat of Jaws. 1993 made us question everything we knew about science and actually WANT dinosaurs to roam the Earth again. 2000 introduced us to Logan/Wolverine and the whole X-Men crew. Has this year lived up to the expectations of the summer blockbuster season?
To hear some people tell it, this year is the best of the past five with superhero movies winning over audiences from box office to box office. If you listen to others, it’s been a massive disappointment and it should be better known as the Not-Buster season. Okay, so if you’re not into superpowers, this wasn’t a great year for movie watching, as most of the features were based on those with otherworldly abilities. There were some definite winners in the bunch, however, and some outright losers.
All Hail Girl Power, Gru, and Spiderman
Since the seventies, little girls have been engaged in the private worship of Wonder Woman and her amazing lasso whipping prowess. She was the original girl power icon, and the movie apparently did her some justice. With a solid 92% fresh certification on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8/10 on IMDb, it looks like Gal Gadot earned her paycheck. With a nearly 8 million dollar box office, the moviemakers have to be pretty pleased with themselves as well. However, there are also conflicting reports that this movie was boring and slow and Chris Pine was its saving grace. What do you think?
If we’ve learned anything, it is to never underestimate the power of Steve Carrell and animation, but maybe we were wrong about that. According to most critics, Despicable Me 3 took a bunch of different ideas and threw them all into one movie. However, Steve Carrell is noted as being the movie’s saving grace. What appealed to people about the first two movies and the Minions spinoff is that it had enough humor to keep adults interested while entertaining the kids. According to popular opinion, this one couldn’t keep up. Don’t worry, your kids will probably love it and it made enough money that the franchise will live on, but people are unlikely to forget this effort.
If you’ve lost count of all of the Spider-Man movies and how many different actors have portrayed him, you’re not alone. However, Spider-Man Homecoming was supposed to be a major player in the blockbuster summer season, and for 90% of people who saw it, it was. Critics loved it, viewers seemed to enjoy it, and the studio made 500 million dollars over what it cost to make so this one is a definite hit. The problem, though, is that no one is talking about it. When people left the theater after seeing Jaws, they talked about it. When Star Wars released in the summer of ’77, it launched a realm of fandom that’s been since unheard of. So yes, Spiderman was a great success and it kept people’s attention, but was it memorable?
Think back to Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark Night. Could you forget what he did with that role? That film earned its status as a summer blockbuster and not just in terms of what it grossed, but the fact that it stayed with you. Certainly, some of the acclaim was as a result of his untimely death, but the magnitude of his performance cannot be denied. When Speed dropped in 1994, even the ridiculousness of the plot line was overshadowed by how intensely that movie affected people. Yeah, monetary gains declare these movies successful, but how many of them stayed with you or inspired something within you?
Films That Didn’t Make as Big of a Bang
There are some lesser-hyped films that released thus far in 2017 that provide some substance and will at least make you think about them when you walk out the theater doors. Detroit, for example, was a critical darling that has performed poorly. The Mummy re-imagining with Tom Cruise was supposed to outperform everything else at the box office and ended up with an approval rating of less than forty per cent.
Of course, some of the biggest movies of the year have yet to hit the big screen so we shall see if the season is not so noteworthy or it’s just a bad year for the silver screen.