Looking Back at This Summer's Movies

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Looking Back at This Summer's Movies

Summer has come to an end once again, which means it's time to recap the season's most notable cinematic moments.

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I was actually a Production Assistant for Kings of Summer. Any way I can get your brief opinion of it, MovieBob?

My biggest problem with the "tryout" movies is that a lot of them just end up feeling really bland and lacking in personality. I've always attributed this (although I admit I have no evidence) to the actual director needing to leave a lot of the big special effects stuff to others and the movie lacking a cohesive feel as a result.

I want seasoned veterans with a track record of making masterpieces behind the CGI blockbusters. Yes, Prometheus' writing sucked, but it sure seemed like a much more artistically unique movie than something like Godzilla.

Not sure I understand why Lucy was a surprise - Luc Besson and Scarlett johansson don't exactly seem like an under-the-radar combination, and their competition for non-superhero action adventure was... Expendables 3, a franchise which is literally about actions stars that are past their primes?

*shug* I'd give Lucy even odds, is all I'm saying.

I never expected to see Thanos on the big screen. I've always liked the character. Say what you will about big "event" comic books, 19 year old me LOVED the Infinity Gauntlet when it came out.

That a series of films are now building towards that, showing off one of the more prominent villains from the Marvel "cosmic" side, and apparently rushing headlong into an Infinity Gauntlet arc is both awesome and terrifying.

I've heard Bob say the Infinity Gauntlet doesn't hold up today, but I never went back and reread it. I don't want to spoil the memory if he's right. I'd rather wallow in my nostalgic bliss, thankyouverymuch. Regardless of whether it holds up or not however, I still think it's exciting to have a potential huge crossover arc playing out in the theaters over the next few years.

Nooners:
I was actually a Production Assistant for Kings of Summer. Any way I can get your brief opinion of it, MovieBob?

If he doesn't get back to you, my 2 cents (probably worth even less): A lot of it was charming and I'd recommend a view but as a Dad, I sweated a lot about how the parents were dealing with this and as the world's greatest indoors man, I sweated a lot about how these kids would actually live, deal with discomforts and bugs and being damp and dirty etc.

Again, worth a watch. Not cookie cutter and well done.

Grace_Omega:
My biggest problem with the "tryout" movies is that a lot of them just end up feeling really bland and lacking in personality. I've always attributed this (although I admit I have no evidence) to the actual director needing to leave a lot of the big special effects stuff to others and the movie lacking a cohesive feel as a result.

I want seasoned veterans with a track record of making masterpieces behind the CGI blockbusters. Yes, Prometheus' writing sucked, but it sure seemed like a much more artistically unique movie than something like Godzilla.

A big issue that is going to undermine these big movies: they are being made before they have even finished the story/script and too often, it shows a lot.

But the end of the tryout is huge. It's a major blow to established directors. Guy makes a semi-compete movie, they give him a big budget, big crew and decent script and the movie comes out good? Could turn out like another dying breed in the Hollywood power game: actors. (Writers never had any power to begin with).

What i dont get with superhero movies is why reboot it? Why not just continue. With Spiderman movies, why not just continue with a Spiderman 4 with a new director and new actors playing the roll. Thing that annoyed me was another damn origin movie for a character that doesnt need it. Its the one thing that BVS is doing well, they are not bringing a new Batman reboot - they are continuing with a older and more grizzled Batman instead of another origin movie for him. Funny thing is Marvel are doing this as well with their movies like Dr Strange and Antman (i think) where the character is already that character and you may only get a flashback or something showing how they became a hero. Tim Burtons Batman did that and it worked really well.

"Sony needs to get out of the Spider-Man business -- but it's hard to see how they actually do it."

I've been saying for a while that what Sony needs to do is license Spider-Man back to Disney/Marvel. Give up the rights for a piece of the next X movies with the promise of relinquishing the rights at the end of the deal. That way, if/when Marvel Studios makes a Spider-Man movie that's a giant hit, Sony still gets a tidy profit without having had to invest anything. Seems like a win-win-win for Sony, Marvel, and the fans.

PS. I'm also sorta sick of Spider-Man, but I'd LOVE for this sort of deal to happen for the Fantastic Four. FF, Silver Surfer, and Galactus in the MCU would be the best thing ever.

Grace_Omega:
My biggest problem with the "tryout" movies is that a lot of them just end up feeling really bland and lacking in personality. I've always attributed this (although I admit I have no evidence) to the actual director needing to leave a lot of the big special effects stuff to others and the movie lacking a cohesive feel as a result.

I want seasoned veterans with a track record of making masterpieces behind the CGI blockbusters. Yes, Prometheus' writing sucked, but it sure seemed like a much more artistically unique movie than something like Godzilla.

Haha, I Feel like Godzilla's disapointment had less to do with Bad CGI directing (what was there was great) and more because the director's only known movie was called "Monsters" but revolved around never showing actual monsters. It was certainly a neat movie, but I never would have looked at that director and said, "I trust this man to make a film that consistently shows monsters on screen in badass fighting poses." From what I've heard, there was a fair amount of footage cut that centered around the monster origins, heavily featuring Ken Watanabe, the films main solid actor. This is the type of directing that Edwards excels at.

TL;DR
They hired a guy known for emotional monster stories, let him film that, and then cut it out in favor of generic 'MERIKA action, leaving their best actor as a racial stereotype.

Huh, so Lucy did alright? Glad to hear that, I was worried that the movie wouldn't do very well, which would be a shame because it was unexpectedly good, at least to me. I got the feeling that half the people who saw it got stuck on the whole "10% of the brain" thing and couldn't let it go or just interpret is as a generic "untapped psionic potential of the human brain" and go with that (we accept far more preposterous premises all the time), while the other half couldn't wrap their heads around the direction the movie ended up going in.

And it really was a sweet film...

WaltIsFrozen:
"Sony needs to get out of the Spider-Man business -- but it's hard to see how they actually do it."

I've been saying for a while that what Sony needs to do is license Spider-Man back to Disney/Marvel. Give up the rights for a piece of the next X movies with the promise of relinquishing the rights at the end of the deal. That way, if/when Marvel Studios makes a Spider-Man movie that's a giant hit, Sony still gets a tidy profit without having had to invest anything. Seems like a win-win-win for Sony, Marvel, and the fans.

PS. I'm also sorta sick of Spider-Man, but I'd LOVE for this sort of deal to happen for the Fantastic Four. FF, Silver Surfer, and Galactus in the MCU would be the best thing ever.

Marvel has been proving they don't need their big franchises, so I can't see them paying anything to get the licenses back especially if they aren't going to go bring Robert Downy Jr. back for more then his six movie contract. Heck even with the X-Men instead of getting the X-Men back it sounds like they are going to make an Inhumans movie, which is X-Men, but not.

I really don't understand the reboot culture either, then again I don't understand why Sony keeps meddling with Spider-Man either, we don't keep needing a new Origin story if you get a new actor, just continue the franchise with what is there.

Lucy was... interesting, but not great. It's a little dispiriting to see it become a mini-blockbuster, honestly. No disrespect to the actors, who were fine, or to the "woman-fronted superhero movie, yay!" crowd, as I can certainly understand if they feel under-represented (though I think classifying Lucy as a superhero movie is a mistake.) It does some neat things visually, but it plays with some "Big Ideas" yet drops the ball on actually handling them. And all the action, carnage, and tension in the second half of the movie would have been completely unnecessary if the heroine had killed a character when she had the opportunity to do so (and said character dies anyway, after killing and/or injuring a significant number of sympathetic characters, so... what the hell?!)

It's a dumb movie with smart trappings, in a way. And I didn't want to see it fail- it wasn't a bad movie- but it was the sort of movie that, in its exaggerated success, makes one wonder what messages the suits are getting.

I also have to comment that, in retrospect, I liked Thor 2. It was in some ways a calmer Marvel movie; it got good work out of its leads (especially Hiddleston), and left the world in which it took place significantly altered by the end. I appreciated that.

...So in a similar sense, I'm hoping said suits aren't getting the idea that it was a failure. Certainly it seems to have done all right, but one wonders how good is good enough in a line of successes like Marvel has had.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Grace_Omega:
My biggest problem with the "tryout" movies is that a lot of them just end up feeling really bland and lacking in personality. I've always attributed this (although I admit I have no evidence) to the actual director needing to leave a lot of the big special effects stuff to others and the movie lacking a cohesive feel as a result.

I want seasoned veterans with a track record of making masterpieces behind the CGI blockbusters. Yes, Prometheus' writing sucked, but it sure seemed like a much more artistically unique movie than something like Godzilla.

Haha, I Feel like Godzilla's disapointment had less to do with Bad CGI directing (what was there was great) and more because the director's only known movie was called "Monsters" but revolved around never showing actual monsters. It was certainly a neat movie, but I never would have looked at that director and said, "I trust this man to make a film that consistently shows monsters on screen in badass fighting poses." From what I've heard, there was a fair amount of footage cut that centered around the monster origins, heavily featuring Ken Watanabe, the films main solid actor. This is the type of directing that Edwards excels at.

TL;DR
They hired a guy known for emotional monster stories, let him film that, and then cut it out in favor of generic 'MERIKA action, leaving their best actor as a racial stereotype.

I feel increasingly alone in my belief that this year's Godzilla was actually damn good. I was iffy on it after my first watch, mainly because I expected a take on the original Godzilla's premise or a grimdark Pacific Rim and got neither, but for whatever reason I found myself really liking it after a second watch.

One thing that's helping Marvel is the sheer number of bankable characters in the pipeline. If people get tired of Iron Man movies, they'll just sideline him and introduce somebody else while going with the rest. Hell, if people got tired of the entire Avengers cast after Avengers 2, they'd still have the Guardians and whatever else they've got in development. Honestly, the only real weakness in their plan so far is that none of the Guardians characters really feel like they could hold up their own movies in the way the Avengers characters can, aside from maybe Peter Quill. There's strength in diversity.

The only thing that could really break it is if we had a Star Wars moment where somebody redefines the cultural zeitgeist on Speculative Fiction film, or if people just got sick of comic book movies altogether. But that seems unlikely in the next 5-10 years, especially since they have proven international appeal and box office draw in an age where the monetary streams for films is consolidating down to

1. Theater revenue
2. Merchandise revenue
3. Streaming/TV rights

From the many different sources it used to be.

I feel increasingly alone in my belief that this year's Godzilla was actually damn good. I was iffy on it after my first watch, mainly because I expected a take on the original Godzilla's premise or a grimdark Pacific Rim and got neither, but for whatever reason I found myself really liking it after a second watch.

I really liked it, although it was pretty flawed. They focused on the wrong characters, and it was rather interesting to see a monster movie where the monster itself basically has its own storyline that only depends on something a character in the "human" storyline does once in the entire movie.

RiseUp:

TiberiusEsuriens:
Haha, I Feel like Godzilla's disapointment had less to do with Bad CGI directing (what was there was great) and more because the director's only known movie was called "Monsters" but revolved around never showing actual monsters. It was certainly a neat movie, but I never would have looked at that director and said, "I trust this man to make a film that consistently shows monsters on screen in badass fighting poses." From what I've heard, there was a fair amount of footage cut that centered around the monster origins, heavily featuring Ken Watanabe, the films main solid actor. This is the type of directing that Edwards excels at.

TL;DR
They hired a guy known for emotional monster stories, let him film that, and then cut it out in favor of generic 'MERIKA action, leaving their best actor as a racial stereotype.

I feel increasingly alone in my belief that this year's Godzilla was actually damn good. I was iffy on it after my first watch, mainly because I expected a take on the original Godzilla's premise or a grimdark Pacific Rim and got neither, but for whatever reason I found myself really liking it after a second watch.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed a good chunk of it... just not a single scene that involved "America McBlanderson trying to reach Wife and 2.5 kids." There's trappings of a strong Godzilla movie in it, but management clearly stripped a lot of "monster movie" material in favor of something that was supposed to appeal to non-monster movie fans. Most people I talked to that saw it seemed to agree that it ended up crazily pleasing neither target audience.

The biggest kicker though was that they make sure to remind us that there's this really cool monster fight happening just off screen but then ignore it. More importantly, that it's happening THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE MOVIE. Imagine showing up to a really hyped sporting event, but there's this really loud, tall, fat guy sitting directly in front of you. You keep trying to peek around him, but only ever get to see the beginning of a play every half hour. At the end of this big event, the fat guys leaves a tad early. It's exciting, you'll finally get to see some action! Nope. Instead, it's just in time to only catch the the final touchdown, or an opponent pinned to the ground with the final countdown happening, or most appropriately a Mortal Kombat fatality without the dramatic buildup. It's a good play and looked great. but there's no cathartic payoff. After the game marketing approaches you to ask how great the game was. The game was a close, riveting, dramatic event between two great rivals. You could have said it was great, but you'd be lying, because you spend the majority of the time staring at a fat guy's neck flaps. That is not what you went to the event for.

Is it bad? Not really, but it could have been SO SO SO much better, just by actually being about Godzilla. Otherwise the movie should not have been named Godzilla.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Haha, I Feel like Godzilla's disapointment had less to do with Bad CGI directing (what was there was great) and more because the director's only known movie was called "Monsters" but revolved around never showing actual monsters. It was certainly a neat movie, but I never would have looked at that director and said, "I trust this man to make a film that consistently shows monsters on screen in badass fighting poses." From what I've heard, there was a fair amount of footage cut that centered around the monster origins, heavily featuring Ken Watanabe, the films main solid actor. This is the type of directing that Edwards excels at.

TL;DR
They hired a guy known for emotional monster stories, let him film that, and then cut it out in favor of generic 'MERIKA action, leaving their best actor as a racial stereotype.

I dunno, I thought Godzilla had just the right amount of monster stuff; any more and the spectacle would likely have worn off, leaving me bored.

But on the flipside, the human element that made up the rest of the movie was incredibly weak, at least once Bryan Cranston's character was no longer involved in the story.

Grace_Omega:

TiberiusEsuriens:

Haha, I Feel like Godzilla's disapointment had less to do with Bad CGI directing (what was there was great) and more because the director's only known movie was called "Monsters" but revolved around never showing actual monsters. It was certainly a neat movie, but I never would have looked at that director and said, "I trust this man to make a film that consistently shows monsters on screen in badass fighting poses." From what I've heard, there was a fair amount of footage cut that centered around the monster origins, heavily featuring Ken Watanabe, the films main solid actor. This is the type of directing that Edwards excels at.

TL;DR
They hired a guy known for emotional monster stories, let him film that, and then cut it out in favor of generic 'MERIKA action, leaving their best actor as a racial stereotype.

I dunno, I thought Godzilla had just the right amount of monster stuff; any more and the spectacle would likely have worn off, leaving me bored.

But on the flipside, the human element that made up the rest of the movie was incredibly weak, at least once Bryan Cranston's character was no longer involved in the story.

I went in expecting 2/3rds of it to be monster fights, so that is certainly what broke it for me. It wasn't that they had to be non-stop, but that we'd see any at all before the last 30 minutes. The movie felt like a really bad monster striptease, asking "You'd really like to see me fight would you? ;)" only to change scenes any time there was a hint of action about to start.

I agree that the early human characters were great. The science stuff was cool, the caves and broken zones were cool - Cranston and Watanabe really made the idea of Godzilla believable. I dug it. The SECOND the movie turned to "US military saves the day" tropes was where it tanked in my eyes. Humanity is the lens in which Godzilla movies have always been framed, but instead of guiding us through the monster mashups, this time around they just replaced it with something irrelevant in my eyes.

TiberiusEsuriens:

RiseUp:

TiberiusEsuriens:
Haha, I Feel like Godzilla's disapointment had less to do with Bad CGI directing (what was there was great) and more because the director's only known movie was called "Monsters" but revolved around never showing actual monsters. It was certainly a neat movie, but I never would have looked at that director and said, "I trust this man to make a film that consistently shows monsters on screen in badass fighting poses." From what I've heard, there was a fair amount of footage cut that centered around the monster origins, heavily featuring Ken Watanabe, the films main solid actor. This is the type of directing that Edwards excels at.

TL;DR
They hired a guy known for emotional monster stories, let him film that, and then cut it out in favor of generic 'MERIKA action, leaving their best actor as a racial stereotype.

I feel increasingly alone in my belief that this year's Godzilla was actually damn good. I was iffy on it after my first watch, mainly because I expected a take on the original Godzilla's premise or a grimdark Pacific Rim and got neither, but for whatever reason I found myself really liking it after a second watch.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed a good chunk of it... just not a single scene that involved "America McBlanderson trying to reach Wife and 2.5 kids." There's trappings of a strong Godzilla movie in it, but management clearly stripped a lot of "monster movie" material in favor of something that was supposed to appeal to non-monster movie fans. Most people I talked to that saw it seemed to agree that it ended up crazily pleasing neither target audience.

The biggest kicker though was that they make sure to remind us that there's this really cool monster fight happening just off screen but then ignore it. More importantly, that it's happening THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE MOVIE.

While teasing fights got a bit annoying, I respect that directorial decision. Keeping the monsters largely off camera and suggesting their size and power by the destruction they cause made for some really good use of the "nothing is scarier" trope, and helped to keep their scale real to the audience. Most of the time the monsters are on camera, parts of them are obscured, and the camera almost always observes them from inside a building or from ground level. Like I said, my initial view of the movie was harmed by the expectation I brought to it. Seeing it a second time, knowing what to expect (I tend to do that a lot when I'm iffy on a movie, i helps to have a friend that works at a theater and can get me free tickets) I liked it a lot more.

Aaron Taylor Johnson's character was boring as hell though, I'll give you that. There's a character in there somewhere, but never does the movie make me care about him (aside from the Hawaiian airport, that was nice) or whatever danger his family might be in. Whatever your complaints about the military aspect of the film, it functioned as a great way to always observe the monsters from a human perspective with minimal contrivance.

RiseUp:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed a good chunk of it... just not a single scene that involved "America McBlanderson trying to reach Wife and 2.5 kids." There's trappings of a strong Godzilla movie in it, but management clearly stripped a lot of "monster movie" material in favor of something that was supposed to appeal to non-monster movie fans. Most people I talked to that saw it seemed to agree that it ended up crazily pleasing neither target audience.

The biggest kicker though was that they make sure to remind us that there's this really cool monster fight happening just off screen but then ignore it. More importantly, that it's happening THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE MOVIE.

While teasing fights got a bit annoying, I respect that directorial decision. Keeping the monsters largely off camera and suggesting their size and power by the destruction they cause made for some really good use of the "nothing is scarier" trope, and helped to keep their scale real to the audience. Most of the time the monsters are on camera, parts of them are obscured, and the camera almost always observes them from inside a building or from ground level. Like I said, my initial view of the movie was harmed by the expectation I brought to it. Seeing it a second time, knowing what to expect (I tend to do that a lot when I'm iffy on a movie, i helps to have a friend that works at a theater and can get me free tickets) I liked it a lot more.

Aaron Taylor Johnson's character was boring as hell though, I'll give you that. There's a character in there somewhere, but never does the movie make me care about him (aside from the Hawaiian airport, that was nice) or whatever danger his family might be in. Whatever your complaints about the military aspect of the film, it functioned as a great way to always observe the monsters from a human perspective with minimal contrivance.[/quote]

Have you gotten around to seeing Edward's original movie "Monsters"? It's pretty solid, albeit slow, but that is mainly because it does much of the same. It might be titled Monsters, but it is very much about people trying to live in a monster filled world. Very rarely are they shown fully on screen, but they still give off very strong vibes. It has me confused by the upcoming sequel, which looks to be a more generic military action movie.

TiberiusEsuriens:

RiseUp:
While teasing fights got a bit annoying, I respect that directorial decision. Keeping the monsters largely off camera and suggesting their size and power by the destruction they cause made for some really good use of the "nothing is scarier" trope, and helped to keep their scale real to the audience. Most of the time the monsters are on camera, parts of them are obscured, and the camera almost always observes them from inside a building or from ground level. Like I said, my initial view of the movie was harmed by the expectation I brought to it. Seeing it a second time, knowing what to expect (I tend to do that a lot when I'm iffy on a movie, i helps to have a friend that works at a theater and can get me free tickets) I liked it a lot more.

Aaron Taylor Johnson's character was boring as hell though, I'll give you that. There's a character in there somewhere, but never does the movie make me care about him (aside from the Hawaiian airport, that was nice) or whatever danger his family might be in. Whatever your complaints about the military aspect of the film, it functioned as a great way to always observe the monsters from a human perspective with minimal contrivance.

Have you gotten around to seeing Edward's original movie "Monsters"? It's pretty solid, albeit slow, but that is mainly because it does much of the same. It might be titled Monsters, but it is very much about people trying to live in a monster filled world. Very rarely are they shown fully on screen, but they still give off very strong vibes. It has me confused by the upcoming sequel, which looks to be a more generic military action movie.

I haven't seen Monsters, but it's on the ever-growing watch list.

I don't think Godzilla is perfect, but I still really like it. It falls flat in the character department after Cranston is killed off, but its real strengths are tone and scale, the way it conveys how small humans are in the face of kaiju, the way these creatures render us almost irrelevant, and how the military's stupid use of a nuke in San Francisco serves a motif that even the nuclear energy these monsters feed on is beyond our ability to wisely control.

To that end, I found it pretty successful. Not as an action movie, but as an eerie, cosmic horror-inflected movie. The last half hour or so did a great job blending that tone with the action that I feel a lot of people (myself included) walked in expecting.

So ASM2 did more money globally than Guardians.

I mean, it made less than ASM 1 (and was a worse movie, too, despite looking much better), but it still broke 700 million. Studios don't like spending more and making less, so I have no question that people are rethinking the franchise plans they had for the Spider-verse, but I wonder if it's all financially motivated or maybe they... just don't sound like very good plans, so with a franchise shrinking, however incrementally, dissenting voices may be gaining strength.

I'll still take an ASM 3. The cast is still strong, and abstracted from the weird need to build up a mythology, that series can still produce a truly great Spidey film. I'm in the camp that thinks the first ASM is easily better than the first and last Raimi attempts, so if ASM 3 wrapped things up on a level close to Spider-Man 2, I'd consider that franchise validated as a whole, personally.

All I remember from this summer was Eva Green and some guy called Groot :P ...

Well from movies that is :P

captcha: chuck norris
F*ck!

Based on the comments about Godzilla, that movie's ad campaign was an execs in false advertising. It led me to believe Brian Cranston and Godzilla (THE FREAKING TITLE CHARACTER!) would have a ton of screen time, and that wound up not being the case.
So if I read what Bob said about "tryout movies" correctly, he said directors of small-budget indie flicks are being handed the keys to the big-budget effects-driven star-studded franchises without doing something in between beforehand. I'm not really comfortable with that trend.

I think we could add a few more lessons to contemplate from this summer season:

*) Shockingly, Tom Cruise can still carry a film - you just need to convince more people to watch him again.

*) More Godzilla... seriously, just add more Godzilla. You'll make almost everyone happy.

*) This is the summer that proved that, yes, sometimes an ape can do a better job than an actor.

*) It's funny how people lambasted ASM2 for its plot-holes and story problems, yet give How To Train Your Dragon 2 a pass despite having similar issues. In a world where people hold up Pixar films for both mature storytelling and kid-friendly visuals, it's rather surprising. Then again, no one talks about this film at all. Maybe the lesson here is that unless your animated film is made by Disney or Pixar, don't expect people to care that much about it.

And finally...

*) Michael Bay still makes bad movies. Bad movies that make money, but bad movies nonetheless. And that's never going to change.

Mr.Evil:

*) It's funny how people lambasted ASM2 for its plot-holes and story problems, yet give How To Train Your Dragon 2 a pass despite having similar issues. In a world where people hold up Pixar films for both mature storytelling and kid-friendly visuals, it's rather surprising. Then again, no one talks about this film at all. Maybe the lesson here is that unless your animated film is made by Disney or Pixar, don't expect people to care that much about it.

Plot holes are one thing, an almost complete lack of any cohesive plot is another. ASM2 fell into the second camp, focusing instead on a web of subplots it can't seem to prioritize.

Minor correction to your post, How to Train Your Dragon 2 was made by Dreamworks.

Wait a second:

Did I just hear him say there's gonna be a Metal Gear Solid movie?

WHY?!?!?!?!??!?!?!

RiseUp:

Mr.Evil:

*) It's funny how people lambasted ASM2 for its plot-holes and story problems, yet give How To Train Your Dragon 2 a pass despite having similar issues. In a world where people hold up Pixar films for both mature storytelling and kid-friendly visuals, it's rather surprising. Then again, no one talks about this film at all. Maybe the lesson here is that unless your animated film is made by Disney or Pixar, don't expect people to care that much about it.

Plot holes are one thing, an almost complete lack of any cohesive plot is another. ASM2 fell into the second camp, focusing instead on a web of subplots it can't seem to prioritize.

Minor correction to your post, How to Train Your Dragon 2 was made by Dreamworks.

I was actually referring to how Pixar films tend to be both commercial and critical successes (with some obvious exceptions *cough Cars cough*), so I have a hard time believing that critics don't hold "kid flicks* up to a certain standard. Yet I honestly feel that HTTYD2 somehow got "easy A'd" because its problems were hidden under a layer of good character scenes, dragon flying, and "oh, wow, that got dark" moments. I was aware it came from DreamWorks. Sorry for the confusion.

I do agree the ASM2 has major problems. Believe me, I agree. I watched ASM2 a couple of weeks ago, and I genuinely feel Bob's pain on the matter. I just think HTTYD2 has serious story problems as well, a few of which are similar to ASM2 (chiefly rushed resolutions), but certainly not to the same degree, and that no one discusses it because not many people seem to care. My theory is that it's because it's a DreamWorks film, where audiences are used to satire and comedy but not more serious-minded fare.

If not for Guardians and 21 Jump Street ripping the heck out of sequel films I'd say it was a totally forgettable summer.

One of the things that has me worried about the direction of films is China having too much influence over Hollywood. Dialog already seems dumbed down so things don't get lost in translation. But things seem to be going beyond that where studios fear doing anything that might offend the Chinese officials who will approve the release of a film in China. With our entertainment and media being so connected it even seems that if I want to hear any sort of negative story about China I have to get it from the BBC because in the US no network will touch something like the anniversary of Tiananmen Square for fear that a film from the parent company will get banned from China in retaliation for any reminders about what a brutal repressive government the government of China can be.

The one slight glimmer of hope I have coming out of the summer is that with doom and gloom not burning up the box office and the big summer hit being a fun film is that maybe just maybe it shake Hollywood out of the idea that people only want films chocked with doom, gloom, angst, and "realism". I really want to have fun at the movie theater again but far too many films are "no fun for you".

I'm just going to put this out there because it cannot be repeated enough.

Watching Guardians of the Galaxy was like watching Star Wars (Ep. IV) and The Fifth Element for the first time. Is it incredible that the upcoming JJ Abrams Star Wars: A New Lens Flare Filter movies have to live up to the expectations that Guardians established and not the other way around?

Goodbye old establishment. Sweet sweet irony.

So, as far as summer movies (or winter for me) go, only seen two in cinemas this season:

-Calvary: In the realm of "good" for me, easily one of the best written and most intelligent movies I've seen this year. If one discounts movies that were released last year but I didn't see until this year ('Frozen' and 'The Wolf of Wall Street' for example), probably the best cinema film I've seen this year overall.

-Guardians of the Galaxy: If Calvary gets the distinction of being the best film I've seen this year, GotG gets the distinction of being...no, not the worst, but I'm giving it the strange reward of being the most average. It's "okay." It's "fine." It's everything I expect of an MCU film and this therefore an average popcorn flick (and I don't eat popcorn anyway) Perhaps the most memorable moment for me came after the film when I was trying to sum up my thoughts to family members, and literally couldn't get any words out of my mouth bar saying "it was okay," and struggling to find anything else to say about it outside giving a plot summary. Heck, even a bad film would leave me with something to talk about.

But that's just me. I'll get my flame shields up now.

Triality:
I'm just going to put this out there because it cannot be repeated enough.

Watching Guardians of the Galaxy was like watching Star Wars (Ep. IV) and The Fifth Element for the first time. Is it incredible that the upcoming JJ Abrams Star Wars: A New Lens Flare Filter movies have to live up to the expectations that Guardians established and not the other way around?

Goodbye old establishment. Sweet sweet irony.

Expectations for the new Star Wars movie might have been higher if Star Wars hadn't been selling out for the past thirty years.

Being very very continental European, even though I intellectually understand many of the concerns raised in the article I cannot "feel" them apparently. I absolutely dislike the transformers movie franchise, the last one didn't feel that bad and I think it has a lot to do with making it more accessible to non-american audiences. Likewise the pace and and structure of Lucy, by the grace of Besson, felt more familiar to me in regards to pacing and subject matter.

I think this also is a huge factor in the popularity of Disney's Frozen, considering that the most oft repeated actual criticism of the movie is that again the pacing was off and "all over the place" while I found the movie perfectly palatable.

To reiterate I think Bob hit the nail on the head when he surmised that many of the big money releases do not have a solely american audience in kind anymore and hence start maybe to feel different to the moviegoers.

That's an interesting line of thought. Certainly pacing in GotG was one of the issues for me (similar to 'The Dark Knight Rises') - it always seemed so eager to get to the next scene, the next plot point without giving the plot/characters/audience time to breathe. As for 'Frozen', I didn't have any pacing problems with it. True, filler existed IMO (e.g. the "Fixer Upper" song...gah) but that was a blip in otherwise solid material.

Thank God movies now don't need american audience so much to be considered a success or failure. Is annoying how people liked to dismiss international box office as if people outside of the US can't decide if a movie should succeed.

Hawki:
-Guardians of the Galaxy: If Calvary gets the distinction of being the best film I've seen this year, GotG gets the distinction of being...no, not the worst, but I'm giving it the strange reward of being the most average. It's "okay." It's "fine." It's everything I expect of an MCU film and this therefore an average popcorn flick (and I don't eat popcorn anyway) Perhaps the most memorable moment for me came after the film when I was trying to sum up my thoughts to family members, and literally couldn't get any words out of my mouth bar saying "it was okay," and struggling to find anything else to say about it outside giving a plot summary. Heck, even a bad film would leave me with something to talk about.

But that's just me. I'll get my flame shields up now.

Christ, this. This summer I learned that Marvel's key to making money is to stop even pretending to make something worth remembering. Sure, The Winter Soldier had "brilliant" 9/11 commentary rivaling Star Trek: Into Darkness, but at least it was trying to do something interesting.

Also Live, Die Repeat/Edge of Tomorrow was surprisingly enjoyable, so I guess I'll be keeping an eye on anything that comes out of that talent pool in the future.

Also also I'm looking forward to Neill Blomkamp's next movie, which I believe is coming out next year.

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