5 Perfect Summer Blockbusters
Ever since Jaws took a bite out of that boat, the summer blockbuster season has been the most highly anticipated time of the year for both Hollywood and fans of big, action heavy films. Summer blockbusters tend to be noisy affairs, sprawling in scope with an emphasis on adventure. Ideally they offer up excitement, fun and a respite from the sweltering weather outside. They often feature big stars and familiar characters (as we all know franchises reign supreme during the summer months), and though as a genre, blockbusters may not be known for producing the most challenging films, they do hold the title for producing the ones that are the most fun.
I’m not going to say the five summer blockbusters on this list are the very best the genre has to offer, but they are among the most satisfying films of the bunch. They each captivate the imagination, are packed with humor and action in equal measure and leave the viewer immediately wanting more–all hallmarks of a great blockbuster.
The Avengers smashed box office records and raised the bar in terms of what a superhero movie could do. While it had all of the jaw-dropping action sequences we’ve come to expect from a blockbuster, what made The Avengers stand out is the emphasis it places on the characters. Under the direction of Joss Whedon, the superheroes that populated the film weren’t just colorful set pieces; they were funny, complex human characters adept at quipping in the face of danger. Whedon delivered an action movie that was just as interested in telling a good story as it was in having aliens wreak havoc on New York City and it was his devotion to the heroes (and the terrific cast’s talent and chemistry) that elevated The Avengers to classic blockbuster status.
Say what you will about the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but it’s hard to deny the appeal of the first installment. From the moment he stepped off of his sinking boat it was clear Jack Sparrow was going to be unforgettable. Watching Johnny Depp’s iconic pirate is only half the fun though. Pirates of the Caribbean is guilty of having a meandering plot, but it creates such a vibrant world that I never mind spending nearly three hours with Jack, Will and Elizabeth. Plus there are sword fights and a truly epic score by Hans Zimmer, two things that I find impossible to resist.
Thanks to Back to the Future something as simple as hearing someone say the word “DeLorean” can put a smile on most movie fans’ faces. The time travel comedy is a true feel good movie, one that demands you pop some popcorn and watch it whenever it’s on, no matter how busy you are. It has something for everyone: it’s a love story, a buddy comedy and a sci-fi classic, and even if none of those things appeal to you, five minutes of watching Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly will make you a believer. He’s just that good.
Jurassic Park is a contender for the title of perfect summer blockbuster premise. Because if the idea of watching a group of scientists and adorable little kids run from a T-Rex in the world’s coolest/most dangerous theme park doesn’t scream summer to you then we are speaking two very different languages.
What is especially striking about Jurassic Park is just how well it continues to hold up. The film is coming up on its 20th anniversary and it still hasn’t lost its magic or its sense of wonder. It has proven over time that its appeal is enduring, and that’s no small accomplishment.
Not all summer blockbusters are about the action, sometimes they can be bittersweet odes to childhood and star snuggly aliens rather than scary ones bent on world domination. What makes E.T. so charming is the enthusiasm and sweetness that characterizes the film even with its undercurrents of sadness. Elliot may be struggling to deal with his parents’ divorce, but he still finds a way to help his new friend get home. E.T. is the rare blockbuster that leaves you both teary and exhilarated by the time the credits roll.
Those are the five summer blockbusters that I deem perfect specimens of the genre, but now I want to hear from you. Which summer blockbusters do you love the most?
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