This is pretty much the last week of the blockbuster season of this Summer that kicked off with Thor, an unassuming and seemingly silly superhero film that many wrote off within the first trailer. Admittedly, I did to. I realize how wrong I was, and in fact Thor is still the most competent blockbuster of this year. Since then things have been hardly keeping themselves afloat, at least in this viewer's opinion. I know many who were more than pleased with Super 8, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and X-Men: First Class, even if I wasn't. Hell, I even found Captain America of all things to be a somewhat welcome and campy reprieve from all the disappointment.
And that's just scraping the surface of what the viewing public critically approved of. How can we forget about all the warranted cynicism surrounding Priest, the blatant distaste of On Stranger Tides, and the unimaginable stupidity of The Hangover: Part II. And I almost forgot to mention Green Lantern, but it managed to disgust even the most hardcore of fanboys. And (dis)honorable mentions are needed for Zookeeper, Cars 2, Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, and others I'm too tired to list. All this hatred makes me forget the few real successes of the year.
Remember Kung Fu Panda 2, and how it brought us the greatest supporting actor performance of the year out of the mouth of a peacock? If Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy bottoms out, unlikely as it is, I'd suggest Gary Oldman just be nominated for that. How about Bridesmaids? Absolutely hilarious for almost two straight hours, and surprising depth from Kristen Wiig of all nutty characters. And I know this isn't a common opinion, but Transformers: Dark of the Moon was the most guiltily enjoyable romp of the summer. I feel no shame in admitting my enjoyment of Bay's loud stupidity.
So the season effectively ends this weekend with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which is about as unassuming as film as Thor was at the start of the year. Fittingly enough, both films look to feature fantastically strong leading performances from unlikely actors. Having seen just seen it now, I can say that it keeps up this summer's streak of being adequate but not at all outstanding. I'll get to that later, but I didn't hate everything about the film. In particular, one thing is truly amazing.