OPINION – ’twas mostly the summer of suck at the box office

Truly a summer fling that went sour. Box office, you broke my heart.

A warning that some of the hyperlinks contain spoilers — so read at your own risk!

I don’t really remember a personal standout summer for films in my life to date. If I go far enough back in my personal books, it might have been the year Spiderman 2 came out: 2004, with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst’s faces slapped on posters all over Metro Vancouver (or for me, in the Philippines). I hated that film; the only saving grace for me there was that Dashboard Confessional had one of their best songs with “Vindicated,” which made it onto the soundtrack. Maybe it was the year that 2007 Transformers movie with Shia LaBoeuf and Megan Fox came out. Again, I wasn’t too into the movie (though I did have a bit of a crush on Shia LaBoeuf), but I loved the song “What I’ve Done” by Linkin Park, which fueled a good five or six playlists between then and university (and actually remains in my library to this day).

I’m still waiting for a summer to be as solid as those of yesteryear: with tech becoming more intricate, and movies being made from exceptionally interesting callbacks, there shouldn’t be an excuse, right?

Guess what? This summer sucked. Let’s take a look back, shall we? I apologize in advance for any bitter tastes in your mouth and some of the ugly throwbacks you may be subjected to in this piece. And hey, if you haven’t seen some of these films I’ve deemed crappy, then you’re welcome. Let this be a warning to you to stay away.

Wonder Woman

You know something is up when you’re pulling something from May into the mix. May. Think about what you were doing in May: you were voting in the provincial election (then waiting weeks for the official results), you were starting to hear about wildfires burning in the province, it was spring, and you might have been one of the people celebrating a (finally!) solid entry from the DC Universe. Starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, this film is Diana Prince’s origin story. I went in with the lowest of expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Read my review by clicking here.

Atomic Blonde

I’d said in my review that the film goes from brassy to platinum for the most part — well, weeks later, and I’m not satisfied with the colour results after processing my thoughts. This was  simply a Charlize Theron star vehicle. There were gaps in the plot, the writing could have been better, and I didn’t really care much for the characters. The twists were mediocre, and I find myself wishing there was more to feast on aside from the pretty impressive fight scenes.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Aside from the fact it was visually impressive, and it had some #bcfilm credits, the latest entry from Luc Besson was a let-down. I explained why in my review, which you can find here. To sum it up though, the film had a plot with gaping holes, and Dane DeHaan’s “acting.”

The Dark Tower

When I said “point, shoot and a miss,” I meant it. Idris Elba was the closest thing to a redeeming quality in this movie, while everyone else was white noise. Read more about my disappointment with this Stephen King-based film here. 

Despicable Me 3

Probably the closest thing to a solid summer film, everyone rolled their eyes when they heard Illumination was making a third Despicable Me film. This is a stand-out, though: with its callbacks to the 80’s, and just the right amount of Minion action, it’s a good way to siphon the air conditioning at a movie theatre, all the while being entertained.

There are also a bunch of films I won’t even bother getting into, but am happy to give you a recap of: we had The Emoji Movie, which opened up the Pandora’s Box of studio complaints against review sites like Rotten Tomatoes. We also had The Nut Job 2, which I went to go see (and found a massive waste of time), but I can guarantee it’ll no doubt thrive at the international box office.

Some silver linings…

Dunkirk

It’s been referred to by many people I’ve spoken to as Oscar bait. This war film was directed by Christopher Nolan and stars some big names like Tom Hardy, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Harry Styles in his feature film debut. Some critics have gone on to call it Nolan’s best film to date; others taking that a step further and calling it the best film of 2017. While I’ve been itching to see this, I’ve partially been put off by a busy schedule, and also by the fact that that this is a war film that you generally have to be in a particular mood to watch.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Marvel’s Spider-Man franchise has actually been plagued by many a problem: I’d argue Tobey Maguire was way too old in the role the first time around, and Andrew Garfield was too underwhelming. A balance seems to have been struck here with Tom Holland, who has been praised by critics and audiences alike as fitting the build in most categories to play Spider-Man/Peter Parker. A sequel has been green-lit for a 2019 release. What’s stopped me from going to see this is, once again, a busy schedule, but it’s on my list!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

Like Wonder Woman, this was a holdover from the May months, but is still showing at a number of theatres across North America. The entire crew is back, and this time, some are arguing they are better than ever. I personally enjoyed the soundtrack to this movie more than I did the first one, and I’d argue a lot of my ‘songs of the summer’ were found in this movie. Also — I did see this film twice, once in early showings, and once in June. If you haven’t seen it yet then I strongly recommend you watch it.

What did you enjoy at the movies this summer? Did you take a trip to the theatre? Think I’ve missed the mark? Leave a comment here or tweet at me by clicking here.

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