Below is my list of which summer movies made a splash, for better or worse, this year.
The movies are not ranked based on how “bad” or “good” they are objectively. I factored my choices on how they turned out to be according to anticipation and my own opinion. The best movies were ones that exceeded already good expectations while the worst movies did the opposite.
For example, Smurfs 2 won’t be on this list because who was surprised that it was a cheap exploitation of a beloved property? At any rate, let’s start:
Leave it to Pixar to make an animated prequel that actually works on pretty much every level. Though some will give this slot to Despicable Me 2, I have to give Monsters credit for the smart decision to shift the story from Sully to Mike. The result was a movie that, although not as good as Monsters Inc., showed us that Pixar can still make a good sequel/prequel.
Man of Steel
My logic is weird here because Man of Steel isn’t bad, nor is it the worst movie of the summer. The movie is a major disappointment, but not “bad.” This is because the trailers gave me the perception that this movie would essentially rock our world, but it was Batman Begins (a decent movie) when it should’ve been The Dark Knight. The movie has bright spots, but they are coupled with a terrible screenplay and lack of good chemistry that a Superman movie absolutely needs. Hopefully the sequel will get it right.
Horror had a pretty decent summer this year, thanks to this one andYou’re Next being pleasant surprises. What really resonates with The Conjuring is the fact that we have horror film that received its “R” rating purely on the merit of it being scary. Not bloody or even nude. Scary. Well done.
The Lone Ranger
I already gave this film a bit of a tongue lashing recently, so I’ll save it this time. This movie is living testament to the fact that a recipe for success based purely on the its parts doesn’t guarantee a good movie. This film, while not horrendous, was a major disappointment and did not serve its source material justice, hence it receives the #4 slot.
The World’s End
I thought I would be giving the “best of August” slot to Elysium, but summer is funny that way. The World’s End is a movie that simultaneously understands itself, as well as its audience. The absurd premise layered with legitimate drama resulted in a fantastic third entry in the unofficial Pegg/Frost/Wright trilogy, along with Shaun of the Deadand Hot Fuzz.
White House Down
I’m not being harsh for the sake of it. I actually liked Olympus Has Fallenas a decent outing despite its stretch of reality. White House Down, on the other hand, replaces charm with preachy plot devices and cringeworthy characters. As much as I like Jaime Foxx and reasonably appreciate Channing Tatum, this movie was no fun.
Enough has been said about how much people love this movie. Though its characters were less than perfect and the third act was mismanaged, the premise and fight choreography were easily the most appealing and original this summer had to offer.
We didn’t expect much from this movie, but that’s just how bad it really is. Honestly, the most depressing fact is how Ryan Reynolds just can’t seem to catch a break.
Iron Man 3
You have to feel bad for all of the superhero movies that came out after this surprisingly great threequel. I picked this for #1 simply based on the fact that I had the most fun watching this, from beginning to end credits. I was also one of the big fans of how they treated the character of Mandarin, which I admit was hit-or-miss. Still, the best in this case goes to the first.
This was easily the worst movie I’ve seen all year, despite my hope that Jaden Smith (someone I saw potential in during Karate Kid) could do well alongside his father. Unfortunately, this was the one movie that came out this year that actually made me feel physical pain just by watching it.
18 thoughts on “Best (and Worst) Summer 2013 Movies”
Would have put Pacific Rim at the top, because I thought what with all the hype it was getting that it would be bad, and I was so pleased to be proved wrong. But yeah, blockbusters seemed to have missed something this year, especially Man of Steel. I was so disappointed with that film.
I agree. What put Iron Man 3 over Pacific Rim for me was how the two movies fared overall. I had almost no complaints about Iron Man, while I did dislike a few things about Pacific Rim, namely the third act.
Yes, I agree with you. I did a review about Pacific Rim and, although I didn’t want to give away any spoilers then, I did get annoyed at some of the logical fallacies that were left unattended in Pacific Rim. But it’s so damn entertaining you can look over that sort of stuff.
I really really want to watch pacific rim but cant
It’s been a weak year for movies, which happens. 2012 seems to have eaten up much of the quality that could have spilled over to this year. I do agree Iron Man 3 is a fun surprise. My brother and I love how it stays centered on the character, instead of being Massive and Huge for the sake of being Massive and Huge. Even in the climax, where a lot is going on, the action remains character-driven, which is an impressive feat on its own.
Just curious, what was painful about After Earth?
For one thing, the title makes no sense. It’s called “After Earth,” though it takes place on Earth. That would mean the movie takes place around a civilization that succeeds Earth, though it doesn’t. There are many painful inserts like that throughout the movie’s world-building. On top of that, Jaden Smith’s character was awful due to overacting and was completely unlikable. Here is my full review which goes into more detail: http://jonnegroni.com/2013/05/31/is-after-earth-worth-watching/
I agree, although I didn’t watch some of these movies in Brazil.
Iron Man 3 is the BEST.
The World’s End was the best movie I have seen this summer and is actually one of the best comedies I have seen in a long time. Iron Man 3 is good but not great, in my opinion but that’s just because it isn’t my kind of super hero movie. I didn’t see Man of Steel yet but comparing it to Batman Begins then the Dark Knight is actually a positive thing for me. I prefer Batman Begins over the Dark Knight.
Iron Man 3 sucks. They castrated The Mandarin, Iron Man’s arch-enemy by turning him from a dangerous diabolical mastermind of Chinese decent to a big fake used to distract the government. Plus, there was barely any Iron Man.
I’m sorry, what is 3rd act means? I hope you will answer it, thanks in advance…
A third act is a conclusion. Depending on the length, it can be the last 30-50 minutes of a film.
this is the end was actually one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen
The Way Way Back was an incredible surprise that I loved
Oh yes! I’m glad that you added The Way Way Back. That was a great movie and I really loved Sam Rockwell’s character in it. He seems to be able to do many different types of characters. Great article, by the way.
You love the way way back.too!!! That movie was funny, charming.g and just.made me cry. I absolutely loved it
F****g troll. How is Iron Man 3 the best? This movie is a childhood ruiner by turning a cool villain into a big phony. It is also boring. How are Man of Steel and White House Down worst? Man of Steel is what a real superhero film is. It is not boring and also does not castrate any characters. White House Down is a decent action thriller that really brings back the type of action movies that died down after the beginning of the new millennium. The characters have far more depth than those of 1997’s Air Force One.
I don’t think you understand what a troll is. Liking a movie someone else dislikes is a pretty normal phenomenon…Sorry you didn’t enjoy it!