Summer 2015 was not a great time for movies. In fact, it was downright disappointing with films like “Pixels” and “Fant4stic.” However, that’s not to say that even a summer like this was without some entertainment to help moviegoers escape the heat.
5. “Avengers: Age of Ultron”
A result of a rather paltry presentation of summer films, “Age of Ultron” is not as good as the original “Avengers” — not even close. This seems like an attempt to recycle the tropes from the first film. A villain uses a doomsday machine fueled by rare metal, someone makes the Hulk mad and takes advantage of his rage, a final battle in a ruined city. However, this is still a Marvel movie so it still has all of the usual charm and character quirks. “Age of Ultron” also features new locations, with certain scenes taking place in Korea, South Africa, Norway and a fictional Eastern European country. In spite of this, “Age of Ultron” only gets the softest possible yes.
4. “Inside Out”
Pixar’s newest full length feature “Inside Out” is an ideal representation of the disappointing caliber of the summer’s films. This film was a dent in Pixar’s armor outmatched only by those of “Cars” and “Cars 2.” With that in mind, disappointing is in no way equal to bad, and the absolute worst that Pixar has to offer is leagues above most features. The strength of this picture is owed to the dazzling animation, along with an excellent turn by Phyllis Smith as Sadness, and Richard Kind as Bing Bong, an imaginary friend who provides a good bit of the film’s poignancy. “Inside Out” is another good reminder why everyone loves Pixar, at least when they’re not making sequels to “Cars.”
3. “Jurassic World”
“Jurassic World” is a movie as unnecessary as it is inexplicably good. Chris Pratt does play the leading man, Owen Grady, and “Jurassic World” is worth seeing if for nothing else than to see Chris Pratt on screen. This film has an extremely rare charm to it; all of its flaws and one dimensional characters can easily be ignored due to the excellent special effects and action beats. Not to mention that the final action scene made the movie worth watching over and over just for those last fifteen minutes. Nothing special, but undeniably entertaining.
Before the release of “Ant-Man,” fans of the classic Marvel stories believed that “Iron Man 2″ would no longer be the first movie that they would tell their friends to skip when they started delving into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Ant-Man” was, instead, a pleasant surprise. In this movie, one can find a performance that is both hilarious and poignant by Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man. Furthermore, a complex father-daughter relationship between Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas, and Hope van Dyne, portrayed by Evangeline Lily, manages to be touching without descending into casual father-knows-best-style misogyny. “Ant-Man” serves as an excellent heist movie that could stand on its own without the comic book elements, although an act 2 fight scene and the obligatory post credits scene will leave fans of the comic book elements giddy with glee, and is another great entry in Marvel Studios’ shared universe experiment.
1. “Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Mad Max: Fury Road” is undoubtedly the best film of the summer and arguably the best film of 2015. Audiences were fooled into thinking that this film would be about a freshly casted Tom Hardy filling the titular role. Instead, this turned out to be a proving ground for Imperator Furiosa, played by Charlize Theron, and saying she proved herself is an understatement. This is an example of a film that manages to be a masterful action movie while remaining philosophical, illustrating that a patriarchy is harmful for everyone involved, with the exception of the patriarch. Full of nuance and unrivaled action scenes, to only call this film the best that this summer has to offer could be considered an insult.