Summer box office: a polarizing cinema season

Photo by Marvel/DC/Paramount

Will Patterson

This summer’s box office promised plenty and delivered an unusual mix. Reflection on this past movie season reveals what happens to cinema when saturated in franchises and sequels.
Despite a plethora of sequels seeking to ring out the last bit of money left in their franchises, the summer did bring several critically acclaimed films—and some impressive sequels.
Starting the summer off to a good start was the return of Star Lord and his crew in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” The addition to the ever-expanding Marvel universe was met with positive reviews, and featured Kurt Russel as a surprising antagonist.
Another well executed addition to the Marvel collection is“Spider-Man: Homecoming.”Revisiting the adventures of Spider-Man in the third movie franchise rendition of the hero,Tom Holland stars in his break-through role as Spider-Man.
DC rose to the challenge of Marvel’s impressive summer flicks with “Wonder Woman.” Featuring Gal Gadot as Wonder Women, this movie gave the superhero genre the female lead it has been in desperate need of.
“Wonder Woman” explored a complex and frequently overlooked era of human history with World War I as the setting.
One of the most successful and critically acclaimed films of the summer is “Baby Driver.” Ansel Elgort returned to the big screen again in this film, now playing a getaway driver. In addition to the new talent brought by Elgort, viewers also get another chilling performance by Kevin Spacey, reminiscent of his character in “House of Cards.”
A less successful, but still noteworthy film of the summer is “Alien: Covenant.” Evolving the story within the “Alien” universe,this movie saw mixed reception from critics. Ultimately the film delivered on its promise of monster horror combined with the physiological horror of being trapped in space—despite struggling to draw connections to the previous film, “Prometheus.”
Another sequel that resonated with its target audience was “War for the Planet of the Apes.” Presenting a very different dilemma from the previous films, “War for the Planet of the Apes” shows a new civilization making difficult decisions in the name of survival.
The sequel game didn’t keep up as the summer unfolded, with movies such as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” and “Transformers: The Last Knight” being met with scathing reviews. Both the films shared the same mistakes of leaving out past characters, taking on obscure plots and ultimately giving their franchises dissatisfying conclusions.
It would be wrong to not mention the infamous “Emoji Movie,” which held a near record-low score on Rotten Tomatoes its first day in theaters. The film was denounced for a flimsy plot,desperate pandering and being bloated with advertisements. An alarming aspect of the movie was how it blurred the lines between content and shameless promotion.
In summary, the summer box office had a polarizing effect on audiences. Most movies were either a complete hit with critics or absolutely bombed. With the summer movie season coming to end, audiences can only hope that future productions take note from the many season short comings and successes.