by JACOB TRASK
There’s no question that Hollywood has had a successful year, and this summer has been a memorable time for moviegoers, unlike last year. The summer of 2016 was a three-month dry spell, when blockbusters like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice bored my roommate to sleep in theaters, and The Avengers: Civil War was the highest-earning film of the year. It was a dull time, and it seems like the Hollywood producers took note, because this summer has been one for the books.
Marvel and DC were back this year, but in new form. Spider-Man: Homecoming and WonderWoman kicked off the summer on the right foot, easily showing up last year’s superhero films.
Tom Holland made a perfect young Spider-Man, accompanied by the film’s lifeline to the Marvel universe, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. The film had a ton of heart, along with some pretty fun action scenes and a really dynamic villain played by Michael Keaton. It received a 7.9/10 rating on IMDB after two months, and will like stay there due to it’s initial success. It is currently the fourth highest grossing film of 2017 with $320 million.
Gal Gadot made a perfect Wonder Woman. She owned the role and put up the best and most important performance of her career so far. The film had a supporting cast led by Chris Pine that was funny, entertaining and just enough to not become annoying. It was lighthearted and fun, but it had an intricate storyline that remained engaging throughout, with some fantasy World War II battles and god fights, and enough dramatic tension to not be hokey. The movie has a 7.8/10 rating on IMDB. It is the second highest grossing film of the year with $407 million.
The superhero films started the summer with a bang, and they were accompanied by some very solid films for so early on in the year. One of the more notable films was Baby Driver, starring Ansel Elgort as a young getaway driver who finds himself in a sticky situation with a crime boss who’s forcing him to work. The film was directed by Scott Pilgrim vs. The World director, Edgar Wright, and has a creative vibe with a distinct cinematic style and some incredible sound editing that matched perfectly with the film’s music. The talented supporting cast included Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm and Jaime Foxx. It currently has an 8.1/10 on IMDB, and could possibly stay above an eight, due to its well executed but simplistic story structure and Wright’s saavy directing skills.
Exciting releases continued into July with War for the Planet of the Apes, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and the Sundance Festival film A Ghost Story, starring last year’s Oscar winner for best actor, Casey Affleck.
On July 21 the most exciting film of the year was released: Dunkirk, the most recent Christopher Nolan film since Interstellar. The movie tells a story of three different sets of characters in the Battle of Dunkirk in World War II. Although it faces slight historical scrutiny from try-hard Facebook film buffs and complaints from fans who set their expectations on Wolf Edmunds’ planet, Dunkirk is an awesome film, and although Nolan didn’t necessarily outdo himself, it’s the best film of 2017 so far.
Nolan stayed extremely true to his style, and created a plot that connects three stories in a unique and intense way. Along with a dynamic cast that included several talented unknowns and a few veterans like Tom Hardy and Mark Rylance, the movie flexes some serious special effects and sound editing that could likely win it an Oscar. It currently sports a proud 8.4/10 on IMDB and has earned over $180 million dollars.
Even after the peak of the summer, well-regarded movies continued to be released into August. Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde released the last weekend of July, and Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit was released the first weekend of August.
The summer is behind us now, and we can only hope that the quality of summer blockbusters will continue after such a successful year. But now the attention will turn to Oscar Season. As the next few months approach, the best directors of the year will start to make their films known, but only time will tell which acclaimed directors will come out swinging or which unknown filmmakers will surprise Hollywood.
Jacob Track can be reached at Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org