Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Revisiting the 2012 Blockbuster Season

It has been a strange Blockbuster season hasn't it? It feels unbelievably short, and yet one can track it from back in April, with the release of American Reunion, Battleship and The Avengers, to the end of August. There are several that I am yet to see - Total Recall, The Bourne Legacy, The Campaign for example - but of all of the wide release films in cinemas over the last four months, here's how I'd rank them.

Great (4.5-5) - The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. I don't know which one I like more. Ask me today and I'll say The Dark Knight Rises, ask me tomorrow and I'll say The Avengers.

Good (3.5-4) - Prometheus, Brave, ted. and Magic Mike. I am aware that ted. is probably a pretty bad film, but I laughed a lot, and genuinely enjoyed myself.

Okay (2.5-3) - The Five-Year Engagement, Dark Shadows, Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and The Sapphires. Some of these were surprisingly okay (Dark Shadows, Men In Black 3 and Abe Lincoln). Others were disappointingly average (Spidey).

Ugly (0.5-2) - Battleship, American Reunion, Safe, Iron Sky, What To Expect When You're Expecting and Snow White and the Huntsman. To quote Mark Kermode these were all varying degrees of 'stinky'.

At the beginning of the year, this blockbuster season was highly anticipated with the release of The Avengers, the culmination of the Marvel Universe that has been in development for the last three years, The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's epic conclusion to his Batman trilogy, and Prometheus, Ridley Scott's new addition to the Alien universe.

The Avengers was released first, and was very well received. Fans could not have asked for a better film, I think. Prometheus, riding on one of the best first trailers in some time, had Alien franchise fans excited by the thought of a direct prequel to Alien. Many were disappointed by the fact that it was not so much a direct prequel, but its own individual narrative set within the same universe. Ridley Scott nailed the visual spectacle and it becomes an extremely intense film, but it was let down by silly characters, poor dialogue and a script that consistently defied logic. I still liked it a lot. Less on a re-watch, however.

One film that improved significantly on re-watch was The Dark Knight Rises. I can admit I am not a big fan of The Dark Knight anymore - without Ledger its actually really boring - but I was impressed by the wave of dark gloom placed upon Gotham in Rises. Features great work from new cast additions - Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon-Levitt - and the spectacular final hour makes up for the convoluted/confusing narrative. Oh yeah, and Pixar returned to form after the completely unnecessary indulgence in Cars 2 with their delightful and moving princess tale, Brave.

So overall, it wasn't a bad blockbuster season. There were no genuine surprises like Rise of the Planet of the Apes last year, but there were a couple of films that will be part of my Top 20 at the end of the year, and several enormous releases to get excited about. There are always duds - Battleship wasn't as bad as expected, but I swear Snow White and the Huntsman looked decent - and I hope I don't see too many films worse than American Reunion, Safe, Iron Sky and What To Expect When You're Expecting.


  1. Yeah maybe on the whole it was a pretty blah blockbuster season, but the shining gems like The Avengers (which I love!) and TDKR are going to be remembered for a v. long time.

  2. It was pretty good season even if it only was TDKR and a bunch of crap. TDKR actually has a shot at being my favorite by the year's end. I did enjoy Avengers, though it was forgettable. I hated Five Year Engagement and new Spiderman movie, though.

  3. The Dark Knight Rises is my favorite of the summer as well, and, like Margaret, possibly of the year.

  4. Solid rundown Buckle. Glad you're having a good summer besides films.

  5. I loved Avengers, more than TDKR, so that's my highlight! I still want to see Brave, and I will, soon!