BY DARIAN SABLON
Summer is known universally as the time for big blockbuster movies to be released, the films meant to attract the most amount of people and make the largest amount of box office revenue. Although movies of the summer season are usually the most anticipated of the year, often times they fall flat despite the hype surrounding them, while only a few actually live up to expectations. 2017 was no different, full of ups and downs and jam-packed with enough movies to satisfy all tastes. The movies on this list were especially hyped prior to the summer season and have gained considerable media attention and the order in which they are listed is in relation to their release date.
- “Wonder Woman”- June 2
There was a lot of buzz surrounding “Wonder Woman,” and although there were some worries that the film would fail to perform well, all doubts were blown away once the movie was released. The acting is superb with both Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, who play Wonder Woman and World War I soldier Steve Trevor respectively, doing the famous comic book characters justice. The chemistry between the entire cast was excellent and gave the film a sense of realism – a feat that can be attributed to not only the actors but also to Patty Jenkins, who became director after the original director, Michelle MacLaren, left due to creative differences. Despite a host of problems surrounding the project, Jenkins was able to expertly navigate them and bring about a picture that encompasses the essential qualities of Wonder Woman while also giving it a fresh new take that will help bring in viewers.
The action choreography was also very well executed, with most of the fighting sequences being realistic, or as much one could be when dealing with a fictional super hero. This ‘realism’ is accomplished mostly through the cinematography, which helps paint the world in which “Wonder Woman” exists.
Even with all of these positive aspects, “Wonder Woman” falls apart mostly by the third act, in which the main protagonist fights against the big bad of the movie. Much like its predecessors in the DC Cinematic Universe, “Wonder Woman” becomes essentially a CGI mess of bright lights and fighting, with a conclusion that leaves the viewer asking for more or at least something better. This is not to take away from the film as a whole, which is a well-directed movie with excellent acting, a good plot and great cinematography.
- “Transformers: The Last Knight”- June 21
The Transformers film franchise, infamous for its horrible quality, rampant product placement and incoherent storytelling, reached a new low this summer. “Transformers: The Last Knight” is an absolute mess, even when comparing it to previous installments of the series. Following the end of the “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the world is pretty much tired of dealing with the Transformers (an analogy for how people have grown weary of this franchise) and have come to despise them because of the destruction of Chicago. Yet whether they like it or not, a new threat from the Decepticons arises and threatens the Earth once again, forcing the remaining Autobots to band together again to stop the attack.
The acting is absolutely horrendous, with bland performances from most of the cast, which includes Mark Wahlberg and more shockingly, renowned award winner Anthony Hopkins, who seems to have been dragged onto the set and forced to film scenes. The plot seems to be going in all directions, poorly balancing the acts and falling apart, especially towards the third act, which should not be anything new considering that this franchise depends mostly on huge explosions rather than meaningful storylines. Also, for a movie that calls itself Transformers, there is little to no transforming at all, which is basically the only attractive quality of the Transformers in the first place.
In the end, fans of the series will enjoy this movie as much as the other installments – “Transformers: The Last Knight” brings nothing new to the table, remaining uninteresting and hard to watch.
- “Baby Driver”- June 28
Edgar Wright is one of the few directors in today’s Hollywood that has truly mastered the art of filmmaking, creating masterpieces like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” that showcase his attention to detail and willingness to work towards making the audience feel truly immersed. “Baby Driver” is no different, and while there are some flaws in its execution, it is an exciting thrill ride.
The movie revolves around Baby, played by Ansel Elgort, a driver working for the crime boss Doc, as he tries to start anew but finds out that in doing so, he threatens everyone that he loves. Ansel Elgort plays Baby very well, fitting into the role of the guy who has the need for speed, although his acting is definitely supplemented by the chemistry between him and Lily James, who is great in her role as the music-loving Deborah.
Much like the rest of his filmography, Edgar Wright uses his unique storytelling style to his advantage, crafting a story that is very interesting and fun to watch through balancing both the fast-paced car scenes with the much heavier themes that run throughout the film.
However, there are a few negative aspects to “Baby Driver.” Major parts of the film rely heavily on the “one last job” trope, where the protagonist wants to pull one last caper before retirement. Or the cliché where the evil mastermind forces the main protagonist to do something by threatening to harm their loved ones. While this may not seem to be such a big deal, it is unusual for a director like Edgar Wright to favor simplicity over complexity.
In spite of its shortcomings, “Baby Driver” is successful, combining mostly interesting storytelling techniques with good acting and great car action sequences to boot.
- “Spiderman: Homecoming”- July 7
“Spiderman: Homecoming” is the Spider-Man movie that comic book movie fans have been waiting for since the downward spiral of Spider-Man movies in 2007 with the infamous “Spider-Man 3.” This new installment embodies what makes Spider-Man such a great character in the comics: the relatability of a character trying to juggle everyday things while also being lighthearted and fun.
Much like the other movies in this summer season recap, the actors are a particular strong suit, with Tom Holland shining as the titular character Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Holland portrays the character of Peter Parker in a way that his predecessors never did, balancing the nerdy high school kid with the witty inexperienced superhero quite well. The surrounding cast is also spot on and helps build the world surrounding “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” with Michael Keaton who plays the primary antagonist of the film, the Vulture, shining in his own right. Keaton is terrifying and captivating as the Vulture, easily being one of the best villains that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to offer.
That being said, there are parts of the movie that are not as well carried out. One particular problem relates to the decision to relate two characters that have no connection in the comics and although delving into it will spoil the movie, it has proved divisive amongst many viewers. The action was also very boring, though that can probably be attributed to the fact that in the days leading to the film, Sony released a lot of footage as part of its marketing campaign, reducing the suspense of the action.
At the end of the day, “Spiderman: Homecoming” is a definite score for the MCU and Sony. Even with its pitfalls, it proves to be an excellent example of what a Spider-Man movie should look like.
Features photo courtesy of DC Comics “Wonder Woman” franchise.