Summer 2013 In Review: The Best, And The Rest


Summer 2013 Header copy

Year by year, you can usually gage the quality of new releases based on the season. You don’t expect anything from the early months of January, February or March because that’s always been a dumping ground for some of the worst movies of the year. Fall and early winter are usually an embarrassment of riches with countless movies vying for awards consideration, with a few blockbusters sprinkled in. The real question every year is the summer, and if all the 3D superhero sequels will amount to anything more than the usual bland, forgettable garbage. With the final weekend of the summer season upon us, let’s take a look back at how the summer of 2013 fared (also, we’ll be focusing on blockbusters primarily, otherwise Before Midnight would be at the top of this list, alongside many other great indies like The Act of Killing or The Spectacular Now).

Let’s start things off with…

The Best

Take-Two-Iron-Man-3

Always best to start out positive, especially with a summer as monotonous as this. The biggest hit of the summer and one of the first was Marvel’s follow-up to The Avengers, bringing it all back to how they started the franchise. The latest Tony Stark solo outing could’ve easily been as dull and manufactured as his last, but for Iron Man 3 Marvel brought in a fresh voice to write and direct: Shane Black. Black, who worked with Downey Jr. on his previous film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, meshed his unique writing style with that of the Marvel universe, and it turned out about as well as you’d expect. There are the expected plot holes and blunders you get with movies of this scale, but Iron Man 3 managed to get past most of them and solidify the fact that The Avengers didn’t dry up Marvel’s resources.

Later in the month came Furious Six, which also had the challenge of following the biggest hit of its own franchise. The film understands what made Fast Five such a success with audiences and critics, so it amps that up to another level with more insane set pieces, more of The Rock, and of course more cars. The film is probably the least successful of those in this section, but it deserves a spot simply for having what may be the best post-credits scene in history.

There’s usually one movie that wins the summer with the most laughs, and this year it was This is the End, and deservedly so. In a summer with not just many apocalypse movies, but at least four different apocalypse comedies, this long-gestating project of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s made me laugh harder than anything since probably 2009’s In the Loop (which is still a much smarter, funnier movie) and on a clearly miniscule budget was far better than any of the huge effects driven end-of-the-world movies like World War Z and Oblivion.

Pixar came back strong after their last few lackluster efforts of Cars 2 and Brave with Monsters University, admittedly not their best film but one that has miles more charm and imagination in it than other animated fare of the summer.

Pacific_Rim_Coyote_New_Banner_

Certainly the biggest movie of the summer in terms of literal size, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim is certainly the best movie of the summer in terms of pure spectacle, and is a hell of a lot smarter than the “giant robots fighting giant monsters” logline makes it sound (although it sure is as awesome as that sounds).

This is already a great year for horror, with The Conjuring as one of the scariest of recent years, and You’re Next as one of the funniest. Neither reinvent the genre or anything like The Cabin in the Woods, but they both are very straightforward and effective while playing to an audience that knows how these movies usually go.

In the end though, one movie rises above the pack (although to be fair, it just barely gets to be in this article, getting a wide enough release at the very end of summer) and it’s another apocalypse movie: Edgar Wright’s capper to his Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz made the best movie of the summer, nor is it any surprise (although it is a big disappointment) that the film is on track to be one of the lowest grossing on this entire list. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

And now for…

The Rest

Man-of-Steel

Some of what were arguably the most anticipated movies of the summer turned out to be duds. Huge movies like Man of Steel, World War Z, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Lone Ranger and Elysium were at their best, forgettable, and at their worst, unpleasant slogs. I’m not going to get in deep about the excessive destruction and 9/11 imagery of Superman’s latest outing or the abundance of plot holes that threatened the crew of the Enterprise far more than phasers did.

Many of the movies we had more modest expectations for tended to meet those, movies like The Heat, The Wolverine, Olympus Has Fallen, Oblivion, 2 Guns and Turbo didn’t do all that much, but no one really expected them to anyway.

Of course, there were also those movies that met everyone’s very low expectations for them

Last were those few oddballs that no one really knew why they were even around in the summer. No one really expected R.I.P.D. or After Earth to be any good, and sequels like Red 2 and Kick-Ass 2 might have had a few people interested but disappeared quickly (aside from one particular moment of feces in Kick-Ass 2).

So how was summer 2013? Short answer seems to be: good thing it’s over. Now we’re done with superheroes for the year and we can finally get to the good stuff. Oh, wait, there’s still Thor: The Dark World. Crap. It’ll never end, will it?

- Wesley

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Wesley Emblidge

Wesley Emblidge has been a film/TV writer for Geek Binge since May 2013. He is also occasionally a guest on the Screen Bites podcast. He loves The Big Lebowski, Breaking Bad, and long walks on the beach before sunset.

  • merwanor

    This years best movie to me so far is a tie between Man of Steel and Pacific Rim and Star Trek is close 3rd with Kick Ass 2 as my fourth favorite this year.

    Elysium, World War Z, The Wolverine, Oblivion, After Earth and The Lone Ranger was also enjoyable.

    This years worst movie for me was Iron Man 3, biggest disappointment in a long time, especially because of the immensely stupid twist.

    But to each their own I guess, to me at least, there has been lots of good movies, but the one I anticipate the most is the next Hobbit movie, as the first one is my favorite movies since Return of The King.

  • Badger454

    Absolutely NO WAY Iron Man 3 is a better movie than Man of Steel. Man of Steel wasn’t perfect, the pacing was off and there wasn’t much emotion, but Iron Man 3 had HUGE plot hole that completely ruined it for me.

  • Trey

    Well this writer is an idiot. Iron Man 3? This is a joke.

  • Ted Knight’s Ghost

    lol 58 percent on Rotten tomatoes haha!! Man of Steel is just awful! Iron Man 3 doesn’t have plot holes….

    Why didn’t Tony get his other armors out to help him? Well they were covered by tons of rubble. It was explained when he asked Jarvis were they ready and he said not yet sir. Then a scene shows the rubble cleaned off so the doors can open for the armors. Try watching the film. Man of Steel is terrible!!

    Iron Man 3 holds a 78 percent and has a higher fan voting on Rotten Tomatoes and made 1 billion 200 or so odd dollars. Man of Steel didn’t even make 700 million lol.

    Face it, Man of Steel was a letdown.

  • Haku

    Man of Steel was NOT a losing film. It did have it’s problems, but all Superman films do! They have ALL been debated on if they’re good or bad, even the classic Christopher Reeve ones. When you look at Man of Steel, you can’t look at it an expect something like The Dark Knight, but more along the line of Batman Begins. It was a GREAT start to a new franchise, and hopefully a DC Cinematic Universe too.

  • lil rudeman

    I really enjoyed the movies this summer with Kick-Ass 2 being my favorite. Man of Steel, Great Gatsby, Pacific Rim, Wolverine, Star Trek, Conjuring, Fast 6, This is the End and Elysium were all really enjoyable for me. Iron Man 3 was good, but I am just so sick of hearing about it. The Purge was nothing special at all and the Hangover 3 had funny moments but was pretty stupid (same goes for We’re the Millers, but I enjoyed that movie much more). Good summer season and can’t wait for Riddick, Thor and The Hobbit along with the more “Oscar” type movies that usually start to come out in November or so

  • SmRtGye

    “….After Earth and The Lone Ranger was also enjoyable.”
    FAIL.

  • Ted Knight’s Ghost

    Lone Ranger had some decent parts but overall just bad. After Earth was just bad…

  • Joe Kerr

    Is the writer for real? Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim?? Seriously??

    Iron Man 3 was too corny, Pacific Rim was boring (monsters v robots for 2 hours gets dull), Olympus Has Fallen was one of the most unsung films of the year and was brilliant, whilst World War Z was also excellent. MOS wasn’t as good as expected, but still blew IM3 out of the water.

    Have you actually watched these films, or just sucked c*** like every writer to the big studios?

  • http://www.geekbinge.com/ Matthew Legarreta

    You can say cock you know. I’m not going to put you in time out or anything.

  • merwanor

    To each their own.
    I found them both entertaining at least.