2011 Summer Movie Wrap-Up Part 1: The Positive
Folks this past weekend was the last weekend of the summer movie season. This summer had a surprising amount of blockbusters that were both fun and smart. Here I am going to take a look at the best of the best of those films. Heroes, villains, and moments will all be covered in this feature and at the end I will name the best movie of the summer. Unfortunately, due to my lack of a real job I can’t afford to see every movie out there so I did miss a few movies that have gotten positive reactions such as Bridesmaids, Friends With Benefits, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Also, I do not consider independent films like The Tree of Life or Midnight in Paris as summer movies because they at least started out with limited releases and aren’t what people look for in the summer. Without further ado, here is the best of the best of Summer 2011.
Best Hero: Summer movies are full of heroes who do good for a particular cause. This summer we had a handful of superheroes, a group of kids making a movie, a vampire hunting teenager, and some major returning heroes like Jack Sparrow, Optimus Prime, and of course, Harry Potter. Some fight because of an oath they took, some fight for the thrill, and some fight for love…
Winner: Severus Snape from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. After eight movies, we finally got to see where Snape’s loyalties lie. Harry could not have defeated Voldemort without the crucial information Snape gave him upon his death. Perhaps it doesn’t sound heroic, but we got a montage showing just how much of a hero Sanpe was throughout the entire series. Alan Rickman deserves an Oscar for his performance in this movie.
Best Villain: No hero is complete without a villain. Like the heroes they face off against, the best villains have motives for their dastardly actions. This summer, Colin Farrell played a terrifying vampire, Ralph Fiennes returned as Voldemort to rip apart Hogwarts, and Megatron battled his brother for the final time. But perhaps the best villain doesn’t start out evil.
Winner: Magneto from X-men: First Class. Michael Fassbender owned the role of a young Magneto who has yet to even master his powers. We understand him just as much as his friend Xavier does. He also indirectly causes the famous professor’s paralysis while trying to destroy two naval fleets with their own missiles. There is never a dull moment when Magneto is on screen. Matthew Vaughn should have directed the Star Wars prequels…
Funniest Performance: Summer isn’t just a season for action fans. Lately R-rated comedies have rained supreme with great hits like The Hangover showing how smart a raunchy comedy can be. But a comedy is nothing if its stars aren’t funny. Several up and coming comedic actors tried to rob a bank, while others tried to kill their bosses.
Winner: Jennifer Aniston from Horrible Bosses. Since the end of Friends, Aniston has struggled to find herself cast in smart comedies. Luckily that changed this summer with her hilarious performance as Charlie Day’s sex crazed boss. She gets some of the dirtiest lines ever written into a script and delivers them in such a dangerously playful manner. However, Ryan Gosling’s performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love is also worth mentioning and a close second.
Best Action Sequence: The summer movie season would be nothing without big set pieces to blow up. We got a spectacular mermaid attack from the new Pirates of the Caribbean. X-men: First Class wonderfully recreated the Cuban Missile Crisis with mutants. Chicago was ravaged in Transformers 3. The final Harry Potter movie set Hogwarts aflame in a massive battle. And Chris Evans kicked major butt in Captain America. However when an action sequence you’ve been anticipating for a full decade pays off it really, really pays off.
Winner: Harry vs. Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Remember in the book how Harry sends a single spell at Voldemort to defeat him? Yeah, not here. David Yates gave us a very physical brawl that took us all over the ground of Hogwarts. Meanwhile Bellatrix explodes by Molly’s wand and Neville chops the head off of Voldemort’s pet snake. Nothing come close to the amount of awesome in this final confrontation.
Funniest Moment: A lot of comedies have that one moment that leaves you in stitches all the way home from the movies. But who is to say that the funniest moment has to come from a comedy. Sure Horrible Bosses and Crazy, Stupid, Love has great moments but what about that hysterical cameo in X-men: First Class? Sometimes hilarious moments can come from movies that are trying to make a much larger point, yes, even poop jokes.
Winner: Minny’s special pie from The Help. Octavia Spencer stole the show as Minny in this adaptation of the best-selling novel. Her best moment comes when she desires revenge on the housewife that fired her (played terrifically menacing by Bryce Dallas Howard). Minny bakes her a very unique pie with an extra ingredient, her own sh*t. Then she watches her former boss eat it. Plus we get a hilarious reaction from the victim’s mother played by Sissy Spacek. It is easily the funniest thing I have seen in theaters all summer. If I ever watch The Help again it will be for this moment.
Best Overall Moment: A lot of iconic moments were seen this summer. We got to witness Xavier’s paralysis at the hand of his future nemesis. The first time Cap threw his shield made me feel all tingly. Not to mention the great twist towards the end of Crazy, Stupid, Love. But nothing compares to watching the climax of the Harry Potter series for two perfect hours of cinema. But which moment stood out the most?
Winner: Snape’s memories from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Snape dies looking into Harry’s eyes and commands him to look at him one last time. Harry collects the memories that Snape cries and head back to what was once Dumbledore’s office to view them. The whole sequence is incredible. We learn that Snape loved Harry’s mother Lily and are then taken on a clip show of sorts adding context to all of Snape’s actions throughout the series. How long will this sequence be remembered? Always.
Best Movie: Among this summer’s blockbuster there were several obvious standouts. The Help was a poignant story that had some of best performances of the summer. Horrible Bosses was an absolutely hilarious R-rated comedy. X-men: First Class and Captain America: The First Avenger showed that there are still some wonderful surprises in the superhero genre. However, the best movie of summer 2011 is obvious and it should be to you as well if you have read this whole thing.
Winner: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. “It all ends” the posters read, but who thought it would end this great? The final installment might just be the best of the eight. It had great action, great acting, and so many great moments that helped close out the legendary franchise in the best way possible.
Do you think that the final Harry Potter deserves all the recognition I am giving it? Are their any moments or performances from any movies that I missed that beat out the one’s I picked? What was your favorite movie of the summer? Post your thoughts in the comments section. Also, check back tomorrow for part 2 of my Summer Movie Wrap-Up where I will reflect on the worst movies of the season.
photo credit: http://www.bestgeekblogever.com/?p=1198