Last updateWed, 16 Sep 2020 2pm


Captain America Claims Victory at Summer Box Office

default article imageWith films like Thor and Bridesmaids coming out on DVD/Blu-Ray, it’s like the summer movie season is happening all over again.  Based on what was viewed, here are my top and bottom five summer 2011 films.

Top Five

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger

Director Joe Johnston with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely crafted a fast-paced origin story for Steve Rogers/Captain America that managed to feel new again.  The WWII setting offered action and brought Cap to life as a soldier fighting against the evil Hydra.

Chris Evans personifies Rogers with self-confidence and a strong spirit to make him a hero but remain a regular guy in an incredible situation.  Hugo Weaving is chilling as Hydra commander, Johan Schmidt/The Red Skull and created a worthy adversary for Captain America.

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (3D)

The best was saved for last with an action-packed, exciting, and heartwarming finale.  Daniel Radcliffe has Harry come full circle by confronting threats and accepting his destiny. This also goes for Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Ron and Hermione.  Alan Rickman still made Snape interesting until the end while Ralph Fiennes has never been creepier as Voldermort. 

Director David Yates balanced the film’s hopeful aspects with its evil ones.  The action scenes were wonderfully captured, but the emotion of the film is never lost as the care these characters share is evident. 

It’s sad to say goodbye to Mr.  Potter, but felt good knowing he left theaters fantastically.


  1. X-Men: First Class

This film showed the best way to move forward was by taking a step back to present the origins of Charles/Prof. X. and Erik/Magneto.  The cast was terrific, especially James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who showed great determination in presenting their versions of Charles and Erik respectively.

Director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriters Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stenz and Jane Goldman & Vaughn, do well taking the original trilogy to spring board their origin story. 

The addition of history plays well by using the Cuban Missile Crisis to allow the 60’s based storyline to flow naturally and use the Civil Rights Era to symbolize these mutants. 

  1. Kung-Fu Panda 2

DreamWorks Animation beat Pixar this summer for top animated movie.  The story was charming as Po the Panda discovered his origins and generated excitement fighting with the Furious Four against an evil peacock voiced by Gary Oldman. 

The action was well-handled and smooth, keeping the attention on what was going on instead of being hastily edited.  The addition of 2D animation was nicely illustrated and looked like Japanese artwork.  Jack Black’s voice continued to shape Po into the lovable but skillful Dragon Warrior, never losing any charisma. 

  1. Crazy, Stupid, Love

This romantic comedy felt genuine under directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. They showed how love looked from three perspectives: first love, true love, and soulmates. Screenwriter Dan Fogelman presented his script with such honesty as to be unique and deferred from clichés.  Fogelman worked in a number of twists that changed the story completely and showed surprises happen all the time.    

The all-star cast of Steve Carrell, Julian Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon, and Marissa Tomei were amazing and brought depth to their roles.  I loved it!

Bottom Five

  1. Apollo 18

The found footage genre is interesting but this wasn’t Paranormal Activity in Space.

The actors helped move a slow story and gave a sense of realism when the story didn’t. 

  1. Conan: The Barbarian (2011) (3D)

While the filmmakers showed a Conan more in line with Robert E. Howard’s novels, the storyline staggered, centering on finding a magical artifact. 

Director Marcus Nispel captures as much blood and guts as possible with people getting gutted, beheaded, or having a finger shoved in one’s nose socket.  Violence and danger is a part of Howard’s mythical world but it would have helped to have a more exciting adventure. 

  1. Green Lantern

Green Lantern succeeded in presenting a new DC hero but the story was okay and the acting was fair.  The special effects were amazing but that can’t just be it. 

Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan fit the role by the end, but Peter Skarsgaard as Hector Hammond was more humorous than villainous.  Meanwhile, Green Lanterns Sinestro (Mark Strong), Michael Clarke Duncan (Kilowog), and Geoffrey Rush (TomarRe) deserved more screen time. 

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

While this fourth film installment had a new story, it was one of those films that you either like or do not. Depp was still fun as Jack Sparrow and made it the catch of the film while Penelope Cruz was fine as his love interest.  Geoffrey Rush and Ian McShane both chewed up their scenes. 

The story jumped around at times and didn’t touch upon all its elements as characters searched for the Fountain of Youth Meanwhile, a love story blooms between a clergyman and mermaid that felt unnecessary. 

  1. Cars 2

Pixar’s first disappointment. While Cars had an emotional thread, this sequel was tiring.  Yes, this franchise is geared to kids, but what makes Pixar great is how it transcends the generations.  The film was like an animated Larry the Cable Guy movie since his character, Motor, was the main focus.

Sure, there was a message about being proud to be different and had some terrific animation but in the end, Pixar did okay.

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