Mini Recaps of This Summer’s Mega Movies

AvengersThis summer brought us a huge amount of movies, but what was worth seeing? Here are a few snapshots of the good and the bad from this past season.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

This sequel was a well-crafted story bolstered by an amazing cast. The chemistry between the titular heroes (and heroine) really shined through, creating a relatable group that is as great during downtime as they are on the battlefield. The Avengers find themselves facing Ultron, an advanced AI bent on wiping out mankind, who is flanked by Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Even the slower moments of the movie are enjoyable, as they include a post-battle party where Thor lets the others try to lift his hammer, and a far more depressing scene where the crew tries to shake off the after-effects of Scarlet Witch’s mind control.

The visual effects were, as with The Avengers, impressive, and the budget was clearly high, though the sound felt lackluster and the music was forgettable. There were also a few predictable fatal flaws that screwed characters over in dramatic but clichéd ways. Overall, a 9.5 out of 10 viewing experience.


Ant Man

I never expected to laugh this much at a super hero movie. Marvel is known for being the funnier film studio (compared to DC, which perpetually makes me ask, “Why so serious?”), but Paul Rudd clearly had a huge part of the writing. It perfectly utilized his comedic style, even during action sequences, giving his character a deep and consistent portrayal. This was helped by the clever use of visual effects, props, and settings, allowing this insect-sized hero to get into some funny situations.

However, the story arc was a bit overdone. It fell into a number of Marvel’s well-worn plot devices, including: a genius scientist who hides—but refuses to destroy—his invention to prevent a greedy corporation from getting it; an evil villain who claims he just wants to prove he is better than the genius scientist; and, of course, a father figure saying, “Don’t ever do this one thing!” only for the hero do to that one thing at a critical moment, which allows him to defeat the villain and save the day.

A well-used, minimally distracting sound track combined with great character writing helps to overlook some of the lackluster elements of the story. I give this another 9.5 out of 10.

Jurassic WorldJurassic World

This movie really butts its head against the viewer’s ability to tolerate annoying tropes. Not only is this set on the same island as Jurassic Park, but it is set in the same universe, with characters openly acknowledging the horrible events of its predecessor movies. However, no one seems to care. The staff once again opens a dinosaur theme park, only this time they have genetically engineered a super dinosaur because—somehow—people have actually gotten tired of the old dinosaurs. The two main child characters are even shown laughing and high fiving after almost being devoured, like imminent death is the hottest thing since ditching last period to go to the mall.

Chris Pratt takes on the helm of Star Lord—sorry, Owen, the velociraptor… trainer? It’s never explained what his role actually is, and training them appears to be more accidental than part of his job description. Regardless, he plays the role well, even when facing down Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) who takes over the park halfway through in order to sell the dino-DNA to the highest bidder. I almost wanted to slap the writers for falling into so many overused ideas.

Don’t let my comments get you down, though! It was a visually stunning film, and as much as I disliked many of the human characters, the dinosaurs were portrayed very well. Many of them even had personalities, acting and interacting in ways that were both believable and endearing. A 7.5 film, but still, I’d see it again.

Fantastic Four

If you looked at the Rotten Tomatoes score for this movie, you’ll know where this review is going. Regardless, it is surprising to say there is a movie out there worse than the original Fantastic Four. Sadly, this movie is almost nonsensical. Interdimensional travel is apparently so easy that a child can do it, and the Four really do not get to be fantastic, ever. They spend most of the movie in an underground bunker being tested instead of out in the real world, doing literally anything else.

That’s not to mention that the film, for some reason, refused to let Sue Storm (Kate Mara) actually go to the interdimensional world where everyone else gets their powers. After Victor von Doom (Toby Kebbell), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), and Reed Richards (Miles Teller)  realize NASA won’t let them actually use their interdimensional transport device, they decide to use it themselves. Richards invites Ben Grimm, a childhood friend, rather than his fellow researcher and love interest, Sue Storm. Johnny, her brother, also doesn’t think of her. Doom doesn’t bother with her either. I can only surmise this was because the prop department spent thousands designing the transport device, realized it only had four seats, and had the cast draw straws to see which person had to get left out.

My rating? See Mad Max: Fury Road instead. It’s got much better action, the DVD just came out, Charlize Theron was great in it, and living in a car-obsessed nuclear wasteland is probably a more pleasant alternative to watching Fantastic Four anyway.

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