Mutant Roundtable: What did you think of the summer 2011 movie season?

What did the Mutants think of the summer 2011 movie season?  Was it everything it promised to be, a massive let-down, or something in-between?

Justin: Generally, I think it was a fairly blah movie season.  Harry Potter was OK, but nothing near the epic awesomeness I was hoping for, and most of the other major releases failed to excite.  It’s interesting that there were four superhero flicks (X-Men, Green Lantern, Thor, and Captain America) but no massive standouts, at least for me.  Maybe X-Men comes out on top there.  Maybe.

Probably the best part of the summer movie season was its comedies.  Bridesmaids was a surprisingly hilarious hit, and I’m looking forward to seeing Horrible Bosses, which I’ve also heard is funny.

Louise: I would agree that Harry Potter was an Event, but not really a great picture. I felt it really suffered by being ‘part 2’, and therefore missing out on all the build-up story. As it was, I thought it was both too long (battles in films exhaust me!) and too short (nothing else happened!) but Warwick Davis was excellent in his double role of Griphook and Prof. Flitwick. Someone give that guy a Lifetime Achievement Award, please! I was also amused that Ciaran Hinds played Aberforth Dumbledore. Who thinks that Michael Gambon has been putting on a wandering Irish accent all this time *just so* that casting would make sense? Just me? Okay… Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by Captain America – turns out that a 1940s setting makes a superhero flick seem fresh and new all over again (rather like applying extra soy sauce to old and cold Chinese food).

And, that’s all I’ve seen in the cinema this summer… apart from One Day. Anyone seen One Day?

Deneb: To my great disgruntlement, I have little to say about this summer’s movies, because I didn’t see many of them. See, the local movie theater is a bit far away, and has an irritating habit of shuttling its movies in and out before I can come up with another valid reason to go over there, hence saving gas – so I missed several flicks I was really looking forward to, like Captain America and Green Lantern. Bleh.

Oh well, there’s always DVD. I did see a few, though – Thor was pretty good, I thought (and I’ll be reviewing it shortly, so hands off, fellas), as was Cowboys and Aliens (although I understand some folks disagree with me there). X-Men: First Class was OK, but I don’t think I got as much out of it as some – there were some plot decisions that seemed a little arbitrary, like Mystique being on the side of the good guys until, uh, she wasn’t (spoilers, but not big ones; I mean, you’ve all seen the original movie, right?).

One of the ones I did catch, and actually really enjoyed, was the Winnie the Pooh movie. I know I’m far from the age bracket they were aiming for, but the heck with it – I’ve been a Pooh fan since I was in that bracket, and I’m still one now. And this was damn good Pooh. Come on, I’m not the only one, am I? Who else digs Pooh?

Justin: Ew… digging through Pooh…

Deneb: That’s… not exactly what I meant.

Mike: I gotta take umbridge with Justin’s “no standouts” comment. I think the super-hero genre overall was the standout among the 2011 summer season. Thor was every bit as epic as I was hoping for (they absolutely nailed The Warriors Three), and made a terrific continuation of the ongoing buildup to Avengers. Captain America was pitch perfect. First Class was probably the best comic property/sleeper hit since Blade, and even Green Lantern was really entertaining, and nowhere near as bad as the critics made it out to be. I think the quality of the acting, directing, effects and writing of these films was a step above most of the rest of the films this season. Not that it matters since the hordes are still turning out in droves to spend all their hard-earned money to watch Michael Bay crap out another substandard Transformers flick. I weep for the future. I really do

As far as the end of the rampaging motion picture juggernaut that was Harry Potter, maybe it was just that I was at a midnight show along with all the other fanboys and girls, but I definitely felt that it was an event. This was one of the few franchises where I’ve managed to catch every single film in the theater…and I can’t even say that about Star Wars. Was there the same level of melancholy  that we felt when the credits rolled at The Return of the King, and we realized there would be no more Lord of the Rings movies? Well no, but even so, it was the end of a really entertaining and ground-breaking era. Ask yourself, has any other movie franchise (*not* starring a stab-happy maniac) ever lasted for eight straight films and stayed this fresh?

Al:  I’m pretty much with Mike, here.  X-Men and Thor were way, way better than they had any right to be.  Captain America defied my expectations, as did Green Lantern (read: GL sucked, but did not suck hard). Cowboys and Aliens didn’t get a lot of critical love and I certainly had my doubts, but it turned out to be a fun little film.  Heck, I even even enjoyed Transformers 3! It was long (so very, very long) and crazily violent (PG-13 my butt!), but I was entertained, dagnabbit!

In fact, I’m planting myself in direct opposition to Justin’s “blah”!  I was totally onboard with films this summer!  Rise of the Planet of the Apes?  Phenomenal!  30 Minutes or Less? Fantastic!

There will always be some garbage, of course, *cough*Conan*cough* but my only real letdown was that I didn’t have time to see more of them.  Me and the cool kids over here say this was a *great* summer for movies!

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