Explosions and Popcorn: My Favorite Summer Movies

By Justin Schultz

Last week, I went over what I thought was some of the best TV show that I watched over the summer, so that means that this week, I’m going to tackle the movies I saw over the summer.  I’m going to follow the same format that I did last week, giving you all a quick rundown of why I liked the movie, and why I think you should go see it, plus any links that I am able to find for you all.  So let’s get this show on the road shall we?

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS 

I love the X-Men. I always have, from a young age on.  I have seen, owned, and loved all of the movies released, watched all of the cartoons, and recently, read all the comics I could get my hands on.  This movie, it was everything I wanted it to be and so much more. 

When I first heard press about this movie, I will admit, I was incredibly nervous, I mean, all the X-Men I grew up with already had their moments on the big screen and this movie was a prequel, not a reboot, so I had no idea what to expect.  When I went to the theater, I was blown away by two things, the dynamic between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), and the sheer villainy of Sebastian Shaw, portrayed by Kevin Bacon.

The only real place to begin with this movie is the relationship between Erik and Charles.  James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender play off each other so well, that I believed that they were the characters of Charles and Erik.  They acted as friends the entire time, never fighting with one another, but being respectful and debating.  I know, it sounds boring to some, but on screen, it makes for some amazing chemistry. 

Kevin Bacon, always adding to his Six Degrees, is amazing in this movie.  I never would have thought of him playing a villain, but his portrayal of Sebastian Shaw, the leader of the Hellfire Club is pretty damn good.  I love the fact that, like Magneto from the previous/future films, he feels that he is doing the right thing for mutant kind. 

The rest of the cast is great too, they play their roles perfectly.  I wouldn’t change a single one of them, and that is saying something since I am always picky about something in a movie.

I highly recommend this movie, go out to a Redbox or your local store and get this movie, it’s great.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER 

It is inevitable that this film was going to end up on my list.  I love superhero films, and this movie was, without a doubt, the superhero film of the summer.  A wonderful telling of the origins of Captain America, set during the conflict that created him, World War Two.

This movie is a flat out adventure from the opening credits till the end.  We see Steve Rodgers go from a skinny kid with a heart of gold living, to becoming the greatest soldier, still living with his heart of gold.  That’s why I loved this movie so much, the fact that even though Steve changed physically, he never changed on the inside, and you can see that in every scene.  It’s a perfect transition of his character from panel to screen, and that is part of what makes this film so amazing.

Another notable feature of this film is the special effects, between Steve Rodger’s pre-Captain America appearance and Hugo Weaving’s appearance as the Red Skull, again, you feel like you’re in the pages of the comics.  Hugo Weaving’s Red Skull is a seamless effect looking completely natural, something I consider pretty hard to accomplish, considering his appearance.

This film should still be playing in most theaters, if not, try to find some way to see this fun movie.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES:

Holy crap, did anyone think that this movie would be amazing as it was when it was first announced?  After the fairly mediocre offering from Tim Burton in 2001, I thought that this movie would get lost in the massive offerings that this summer had to offer.  I’m glad to say I was wrong.  This film stole the last leg of the summer movie season with its special effects and damn compelling story.

This film shows the ape revolution that lead to the world we saw in the Planet of the Apes.  Normally, I would be a little reluctant to see this movie since I haven’t seen all of the original movies, so I was afraid that I wouldn’t understand a lot of the references and themes of the movie.  However, this film serves as a perfect entry point into the series.  No knowledge of the past films is needed to enjoy this film, but if you do know something about the other films, you will enjoy many of the little nods to the originals throughout.

Normally, I would talk about the actors and how I feel they did in this movie, but the real reason that pretty much everyone saw this movie is the apes, and wow, were they amazing.  The special effects team really outdid themselves with their models of all the apes.  Every facial expression portrayed the emotion that would normally be left to the delivery of the lines from the actors.  I don’t want to discredit the actors in this film, they were great, but the apes blew them away. 

If, or rather, when this movie gets a sequel, I will eagerly be waiting in the theater to see where all the characters go next in their journey to the original films.  I highly suggest that you go to see this film, it should still be playing in theaters near you.

Well, there you all have it.  Those were my top picks for movies of the summer.  I know that this summer had a lot of good movies, and that maybe your favorite wasn’t on the list, so if I missed it, feel free to leave a comment and tell everyone what your movies of the summer were.

Until next time.

Justin

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