2013 Summer Movie Recap ~ May Reviews

 So summer is essentially over. School is back in and movies are starting to get less entertaining. So now is a perfect time to recap some of the summer movie season’s biggest films. Here are just a few quick hits from the month of May. Most of these will be out on DVD soon so if you haven’t seen them for your self, definitely check them out. Don’t let my bashing keep you from forming your own opinion. Ok, first up…

Iron Man 3

For the record, if I had never seen any trailer or TV spot for this movie, I probably would’ve loved it. Unfortunately, I did watch them and so, like just about everyone, I was exposed to the coolest moments (Tony Stark being able to point and send his armor anywhere he wants, Tony’s army of suits, Pepper Potts wearing the Iron Man armor) before I even saw the movie. This killed the wow factor that made the first Iron Man stand out. Couple that with Don Cheadle doing basically nothing in his revamped War Machine armor and this movie just felt like a let down. Not to mention the mockery the film made of, historically, Iron Man’s arch villain. I get what they were trying to convey with The Mandarin, but c’mon… that’s like turning the Joker or Lex Luthor into a fake. You just don’t do that! The comic book nerd in me just can’t let that fly. FINAL GRADE: C

The Great Gatsby (in 3D for some reason)

I’ve always been a huge fan of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novel. It was even a major inspiration for my own novel (insert shameless plug here –> http://www.amazon.com/dp/1432792059). So I was initially excited about this movie. Even when I’d heard that the film was being directed by Baz Luhrmann (Romeo+Juliet, Moulin Rouge), I still had faith that the source material and fantastic cast would overcome the presence of one of my least favorite directors. I was wrong. The movie is just too over the top. Is it necessary to have 3 Jay-Z songs playing in a movie set in the 1920’s? Not in the background, but in the actual movie!?!? And why the hell was it in 3D?? It just felt like a long music video, which is a shame, because the story itself carries enough weight to entertain. There are times to make a movie visually OTT. This shouldn’t have been one of them. FINAL GRADE: C

Star Trek into Darkness

Before you go thinking I hated every movie in 2013… along comes Star Trek. I’ve never been a Trekky, but after 2009’s Star Trek reboot, I became a fan. The first film is one of the best examples of how to put together a movie with an ensemble cast of characters. It’s also a great example of how to recreate a world that will appease old fans as well as newcomers to the series. The sequel manages to not only successfully replicate that formula, but also build on those characters’ relationships with each other. The partnership/reluctant best friends dynamic that Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) have is captivating from start to finish. It adds up to being the summer’s best blend of action, adventure, humor, suspense, and emotion without being overly cheesy like many sci-fi movies. Side note: It was also one of the best IMAX 3D films I’ve seen in years. FINAL GRADE: A

Hangover 3

*Sigh*…. If ever there were a poster child for not making sequels… this series is it. The first Hangover is one of the funniest movies of my generation. The second, while it has its moments, is mostly a failed attempt to reproduce the exact same formula as its predecessor. Hangover 3, however, is a failure in a completely different way. It’s just not very funny. Sure, there are some snickers here and there, but nothing memorable. Even the franchise’s best characters, Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), crossover into the realm of annoying rather than funny. The movie was so forgettable, that I literally forgot I saw it until I was looking back over the movies released in May. FINAL GRADE: D    

Now You See Me

Every summer there is at least one pleasant surprise. For 2013, it was Now You See Me. Sure, the movie has it’s flaws… many of the films’ tricks are impossible without the help of movie magic… but in the end, the movie should be treated like any magic trick. If you can suspend your sense of what’s possible for just a moment, you’re left with one of the wittiest and most entertaining movies of the year. Here’s hoping the recently announced (and unnecessary) sequel doesn’t suck. FINAL GRADE: A-

 

As always, feel free to leave comments and share. June recap coming soon as well as my first set of full reviews (Kick Ass 2, Fruitvale Station)

 

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