A Summer in Movies

Brace yourselves, the fall is coming. And with the fall comes school, classes and tests galore. Thankfully, we have the summer to look back on, including a number of movies that kept us entertained.

“The Avengers” was the first film to hit the summer box office. The entire cast was fantastic, but special praise must be given to Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Tom Hiddleston for their pitch perfect portrayals of Iron Man, Bruce Banner/The Hulk and Loki, respectively. An infectiously entertaining film that thrilled from beginning to end, “The Avengers” never forgot the humanity of its super powered cast.

“Prometheus” was highly anticipated by many a sci-fi aficionado, marking the return of auteur director Ridley Scott to the “Alien” universe in a prequel film. Unfortunately, while the movie delivered its fair share of visual flair in the form of alien tombs and high tech starships, it was bogged down by a downright confusing story and a cast of so-called “scientists” who act like idiots from the minute they touch foreign soil. While it had genuine scares and a top-notch performance from Michael Fassbender as the android David; gaping plot holes and a disappointing ending made “Prometheus” a visually stunning misfire.

“Brave” was the thirteenth film to come out of the lucrative Disney/Pixar combo, but this film had more “Disney” than “Pixar” ingrained in its story. Pixar’s first female lead, Princess Merida, was a splendid break from the traditional Disney princess, caring more for her archery than royalty. The film featured stunning animation, certainly some of Pixar’s best, and the story was at its best when dealing with the complex relationship between Merida and her mother. But all that Pixar really did here was build a predictable fairy tale. Not the best in Pixar’s canon, but a worthy entry nonetheless.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” was quite a surprise, given that of the three superhero films this was the one with the lowest expectations. While certain elements of the story were definitely familiar to fans of the original trilogy, this new take on the origin of the Wall Crawler focused more on the relationships that drive Peter Parker’s life. Andrew Garfield’s take on Peter conveyed more depth and emotion than Tobey Maguire, and his chemistry with everyone from Rhys Ifan’s Connors/Lizard to Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben and Emma Stone’s standout Gwen Stacy elevated the film above its predecessors.

“The Dark Knight Rises” had a lot to live up to following Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning Joker and the overall brilliance of its previous two entries. Thankfully, director Christopher Nolan did the impossible and delivered to us the first perfect superhero trilogy. Everyone was in top form here, but praise must be given to Tom Hardy’s Bane, who conveyed brute force and masterful intelligence all from body language. Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman was the perfect female foil to Batman who walks the grey area between good and evil. “Rises” was a perfect mix of action, drama and characterization that furiously built to an emotional conclusion, one that provided a definitive end to the legend of the Batman.