By GJ Frye
Every movie season has highs and lows. Summer blockbusters are usually action heavy and light on plot. They are never taken seriously by many critics.
However, this past summer produced a fair amount of substance in movies such as “Super 8” and “X-Men: First Class.” Both were examples of the way summer movies should be done: story-driven with plenty of action to satisfy the common moviegoer’s appetite.
“Super 8” was a beautiful, nostalgic glimpse at the past for many people who grew to love Spielberg’s Amblin era, the era which birthed such movies as “E.T.” “Super 8,” a science fiction piece directed by J.J. Abram, showed strong talent from young actors Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney, whose range of emotions were phenomenally broad. The movie also contained a deeper storyline woven among several of the characters with an expertise not found in the normal blockbusters that grace silver screens.
However, movies with little substance also appeared on the silver screens. One example would be a sequel to a former hit about a bachelor party gone wrong in Vegas. The sequel was far more vulgar with the same basic plot as the first, therefore, much less entertaining than the original.
Many R-rated films, especially comedies, follow that same pattern of excessive and unnecesary explicit material, which makes them unentertaining for a moral public.
Other films that turned out to be less than satisfying were “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” To clarify, I am a “Potter” fan, but after reading the book series, I felt as if the final movie was almost anticlimactic since the book ended better than the movie. The book helped the reader be comfortable with the endings of the characters’ stories, while the movie failed to do this.
More superhero and comic book movies graced theaters than in any other summer so far. “X-Men: First Class” was a topnotch movie with a fantastic cast portraying younger versions of the X-Men viewers have grown to love throughout the other films. Though it wasn’t a true comic book adaptation, since it didn’t stay true to comics, it was still an interesting reinterpretation of the origins of some of the X-Men.
“Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” were two more well known superheroes to join in Marvel’s lead up to the highly anticipated “The Avengers.” Both were very enjoyable, with one movie at the beginning of the summer and one at the end.
“Thor” was fun, but “Captain America” stood out for the truth, justice and goodness embodied by the title character.
DC Comics also tried to join Marvel with its own summer blockbusters but “Green Lantern” was green in more ways than one. Although a valid attempt, it was too heavy with CGI, and the script did not play to the actors’ strengths. Viewing online discussions and reviews about the movie, the general consensus was disappointment.
Though some Oscar worthy films such as “The Tree of Life” came out of this summer, the season was no better than average.