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The Cinema Kings of Summer: Top 5 Blockbusters

Now that the summer sun has set and winter is on the way, it's as good a time as any to reflect on the best that cinemas had to offer for those who wished to hide away from the heat in darkened screening rooms. Without further ado, here are my top five kings of summer blockbusters 2014. 5.

Now that the summer sun has set and winter is on the way, it’s as good a time as any to reflect on the best that cinemas had to offer for those who wished to hide away from the heat in darkened screening rooms. Without further ado, here are my top five kings of summer blockbusters 2014.

5. Godzilla

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

While not to everyone’s liking, Gareth Edward‘s re-imagining of this most iconic of movie monsters was an ambitious and at times breathtaking piece of blockbuster cinema. As well as containing one of the best scenes of any film this year (the descent through the clouds to the burning city below) and a truly titanic climax, it was perhaps most impressive for the way in which it so patiently built up the apprehension before unleashing the beast itself. Plus, after the success he made of the low-budget Monstersit was a pleasure to see Edwards be trusted with such a grand task on the basis of his infinitely smaller-scale success.

4. Edge of Tomorrow

source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite the strange lack of pre-release excitement and much musing on its somewhat underwhelming box-office returns, Edge of Tomorrow turned out to be a thoroughly and effortlessly entertaining piece of pop science-fiction. Essentially Groundhog Day meets Starship Troopersit packed as many laughs as it did thrills from its fantastical yet absorbing concept and boasted fine performances from both Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Not only was it director Doug Liman‘s best film since The Bourne Identitybut also a reminder that, when on form, Cruise can deliver some of the best big-budget fun in the business.

3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

source: 20th Century Fox

By far and away the most intelligent blockbuster of the summer, Dawn was a wonderful piece of work that, as all the best Planet of the Apes films have done, touched on profound political and militaristic issues from within an engrossing fantasy drama. Issues of uneasy peace in the face of tribal differences and the power of fear over public policy rang terrifying true with today’s political climate and served as a powerful spine to the film’s emotional, character-driven narrative. Also, it was hard to judge which was the more sublime: the digital effects of the apes or the human performances that were behind them.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy

source: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

What could well have been Marvel’s greatest cinematic gamble turned out to be one of the best films the studio has ever produced. Grounded by universally commendable performances and a script packed full of laughs, this film felt like a breath of fresh yet familiar air; a film that conjured up memories of a past age of Lucas/Spielberg blockbusters while simultaneously feeling witty, energetic and innovative. In terms of sheer joy, Guardians was amongst the very best films of the whole year… and what a soundtrack, as well.

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past

source: 20th Century Fox

From the moment the credits rolled on Bryan Singer‘s triumphant return to the X-Men franchise, I knew I had watched not just the best summer film, but possibly my favorite motion picture of 2014. On its own merit, it was a richly-textured, adventurous and ceaselessly arresting epic of a superhero movie that expertly handled its enormous character set (spanning two time-frames) while all the while maintaining a perfect balance between dramatic exploration and eye-popping spectacle.

More than that however, it felt like a film made with the desire and strength of will to re-right past wrongs. The woes of The Last Stand and the underwhelming Wolverine prequels were deliberately wiped clean and so, more than just being a fantastic film, it felt like a sincere and deliberate attempt to apologize for prior mistakes – such a move was both bold and hugely appreciated.

Over To You…

Lists such as these are of course entirely subjective, and so the real joy is finding out what other films people loved or hated.

What were your favorite films of this summer? Do you agree/disagree with this list? Was there any one film that particularly disappointed or surprised?

All responses will be included in a response article later this month and so comment below or tweet @ChrisDWorrall & @FilmInquiry with your suggestions – we look forward to hearing from you!

(top image source: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – 20th Century Fox)

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Opinions expressed in our articles are those of the authors and not of the Film Inquiry magazine.

Based in the UK and currently embarking on postgraduate research in Sheffield, Christopher has been writing prolifically about film for as long as it has taken him to alienate many old friends. Having previously written an award-winning column for a student newspaper, he is delighted to be a part of the excellent Film Inquiry team. He may love and analyse Inception a little too much, but he does have a broad appreciation of most things cinematic.

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