Top 5 Films of Summer 2013: Shawn’s Picks

Ben Kingsley Marvel
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Welcome to the final part of our Renegade Cinema staff’s Top 5 Films of Summer 2013 lists. With all that has come before, the final set comes from me, but before we get to my Top 5 movies of this summer, check out any of the previous entries you might have missed.

Now, before I get started I want to say that I apologize for none of my picks. A lot of people complained about some of my favorite movies this summer, and that is fine because everyone is entitled to their opinions no matter how wrong they are.

Also, there are spoilers in my write-ups below. Some major ones.

5.  World War Z

Top 5 Films of Summer

People who read the book, didn’t like the changes. Who cares. I didn’t read the book and I thought this movie was great. There was a lot of fear thanks to the big behind-the-scenes controversy where they came in and reshot the entire ending, but that ended up making the ending pretty damn great. I know what the original ending was supposed to look like, and while that would have been nice too, they needed to change it if they wanted this movie to work to a wide audience. That’s how the business works. As it is, World War Z is a fun apocalyptic zombie movie and is very similar to the great 28 Days Later, but on a global scale.  I liked it a lot and it sits at #5 on my Top 5 films of summer list (but only because I have not seen This is the End yet, from what D-Rock tells me).

4. Man of Steel

Top 5 Films of Summer

So many people are crying about Superman killing, about the “collateral damage” that was mostly caused by General Zod, and about the product placement that they completely missed the fact that this was a fantastically fun thrill ride and the Superman film people claimed they wanted after seeing Superman Returns. I call this the “Hulk syndrome.” People watched Ang Lee’s cerebral Hulk and complained about the lack of action. Then they watched The Incredible Hulk and complained about too much action. Comic book fans will NEVER be happy, so just make a great movie and ignore the Internet complaints. This movie was a great one. Michael Shannon was a fantastic General Zod, constantly at odds with what he was pre-destined to do. The opening stuff on Krypton was fantastic and the Superman coming-of-age story was well done. Yes, I was taken back by him killing Zod, but based on the story the movie was telling, he had no choice because Zod was becoming more powerful than Superman, and was immensely smarter as a military genius. If this death haunts Superman in future movies, it was very much needed and works great in the overall story.

3. The World’s End

Top 5 Films of Summer

Look, there is one thing that I will argue with until I am out of breath. Edgar Wright is one of the best filmmakers working in the business today. His first film, Shaun of the Dead, remains one of the best comedic horror movies of the last 20 years because it plays perfectly on the line of the horror and comedy genres. His second movie, Hot Fuzz, remains his masterpiece, a film that pays homage to the buddy cop genre while at the same time being one of the best buddy cop movies of the last decade. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was brilliant, complainers be damned. Now, here he returns with his friends Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and gives a beautiful, masterful, conclusion to their trilogy of films. I contend that – after four films – Edgar Wright can do no wrong and I can’t wait to see what he does with Marvel Comics Ant-Man.

2. Pacific Rim

Top 5 Films of Summer

Speaking of men who can do no wrong, I don’t care if you are talking about his Spanish-language masterpieces (Pan’s Labyrinth, Devil’s Backbone) or his comic book work (Hellboy, Blade II) or anything in between, Guillermo Del Toro is one of the most brilliantly creative director’s on the planet. With Pacific Rim, he took two fanboy fantasies with giant fighting robots and giant monsters and pitted them against each other like only he can. There were a lot of people complaining about this movie, but those people can just go whack off to Transformers since most of them called a GUILLERMO DEL TORO MOVIE a ripoff of a Michael Bay franchise based on toys. The word to describe those people is MORONS. Michael Bay can’t wipe Guillermo Del Toro’s ass and Pacific Rim sits easily as the #2 movie on my Top 5 Films of Summer list.

1. Iron Man 3

Top 5 Films of Summer

CONTROVERSY! Yeah, a lot of people hated on this movie from the moment it came out with two major complaints. The first was that The Mandarin was changed from a racist stereotype into a facade of an American terrorist organization. The second was that Tony Stark spent most of his time OUT of the Iron Man armor. Those are the two reasons I list this movie as #1 on my list of the Top 5 Films of Summer.

First, The Mandarin. If they had cast this iconic Marvel villain as he was in the comics, it would have hurt the movie. Mandarin is a racist stereotype that would have been laughed out of the theater by everyone except hardcore Iron Man fans. Then, there are people who hated the fact that the awesome Ben Kingsley Mandarin turned out to be a facade. In my eyes, that was a brilliant plot turn (as expected from the brilliant mind of Shane Black) and if it had not happened, Mandarin would have been just another Bane. They were too similar anyway until that brilliant twist.

Now, as for the Tony Stark complaint, here is my take. The first two Iron Man movies had Iron Man in his armor kicking some butt. The best part of the first movie was the first half where Iron Man didn’t even exist. In The Avengers, Stark almost died and in this movie he had PTSD and pretty much lost himself in building more and more armor to protect himself from that again. That meant that – the real story here – was Stark becoming a hero again – someone who could survive without his security blanket – his armor. Having Stark fight using only his brains and creativity was what was needed for him to finally overcome his fears and complete his journey.

Iron Man 3 was a great film, by one of cinema’s most brilliant writer-directors, it had a fantastic twist that no one saw coming (which is why it pissed so many people off) and it was a perfect ending for Tony Stark’s heroes journey. Haters be damned, this was my favorite movie of the summer, hands down.

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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