This summer promised to be full of blockbuster hits that would break box office records. While a few films shine through the summer haze, most fell flat on their faces, adding up to what is the lowest grossing box office in several years. As studio executives and critics argue about whether the medium of film is dying out, let’s ignore the bad and walk through the best films of the summer.
Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” ranks number one. Set in World War II, the film follows the story of the evacuation of Allied soldiers from France by a fleet of British civilian vessels. “Dunkirk” scored a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, reaffirming that Nolan is the definitive film director of the modern era.
Coming up next is “War for the Planet of the Apes.” The conclusion to the rebooted “Planet of the Apes” trilogy, “War for the Planet of the Apes” is a blockbuster finale to a blockbuster series. Unlike other recent action movies, “War” is intelligent, trusting the audience more than most. Scoring another 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, “War for the Planet of the Apes” locks itself in at number two this summer, through no fault of its own. Sorry Matt Reeves. It’s hard to compete with Christopher Nolan.
The third best movie of the summer is “Wonder Woman.” A breath of fresh air in the world of superhero movies, Patty Jenkins takes everything that’s wrong with modern action movies and fixes it. “Wonder Woman” has quick action, snappy dialogue, and fun characters that enliven a tired genre. With a 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, “Wonder Woman” becomes the first “Certified Fresh” film in the DC Expanded Universe and hopefully its saving grace.
“Baby Driver” races in and steals number four this summer with a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Who would have thought that a good cast, a good story, a good writer-director, and a good soundtrack would make a good film? Take notes, “Fast & Furious” – this is how you make a movie with cars.
Not all superhero films are bad. Most of them are just repeating the same material time and time again. A Spider-Man movie should be no different, especially since “Spider- Man: Homecoming” is the third Spider-Man iteration that we’ve gotten in recent years. But it’s finally the one that we deserve. “Homecoming” offers a street-level look into the ever-expanding, getting-repetitive Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spidey and the rest of the cast of young characters are well-written and fun to watch – as well as delivering a villain that finally measures up to the likes of Winter Soldier and Loki. Another 92 percent on the “Tomatometer” puts this young Spider-Man in the “best-of ” category this summer.
“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” is another entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That sounds bland, and the universe building part of the movie is, but as a standalone, “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” is a fantastic film with more of the same heroic comedy that audiences have come to expect from this cast. “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” relies more on character interaction and development than the previous “Guardians of the Galaxy” title did, capturing audiences with quick-fire jokes and snappy humor more than trying to draw us in with expansive fight scenes. That’s not to say that there isn’t any action — there’s plenty, and it’s awesome. The whole film is colorful and fun. Bringing in an 82 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” is still some of the best work that James Gunn has done.
While the bad films vastly outnumbered the good films this summer with disappointing flops like “Hitman’s Bodyguard” and movies that just shouldn’t have made it past the studio executives like “The Emoji Movie,” these six films shined through.
Whether you like them or not, superhero films are still on top of the industry and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Other films like “Dunkirk” and “Baby Driver” have their places to shine as well. Whether you like these films or hated them, this summer still had plenty of entertainment to go around.