Ahoy, Renegades!

Summer 2013 was a movie season of surprises all-around, critically and commercially. Certain films launched into orbit while others faceplanted and disappeared into the aisle of misfit failed tentpoles.

My list doesn’t fully agree with my list of Most Anticipated 2013 Summer films, and that’s a good thing – cinematic surprise is one of the most rewarding feelings a cinephile can have.

Anyways, on with the list!


#5: Pacific Rim

Top 5 Films of Summer

“Where is my goddamn shoe?!”

Every geek knew how this would turn out – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim was perhaps Summer 2013’s most underappreciated gem, a blazingly fun film that made us geeks warm and fuzzy inside and went otherwise unsupported by the popcorn-munching drones that fill most theaters. Hopefully its overseas grosses satisfy the studio’s pocketbook so that we can return to Del Toro’s earnest, colorful univserse, and soon – it’d be another welcome detour from the snarkiness and ironic self-importance that permeate most modern summer blockbusters.

Kaiju dead ahead!

#4: Star Trek Into Darkness

Top 5 Films of Summer

“Intellect alone is useless in a fight, Mr. Spock – you, you can’t even break a rule, how would you be expected to break bone?”

Here’s another film this Renegade absolutely adored. Since I’m not teathered to the original series like a lot of my geek compatriots are (I’m a Star Wars guy, what can I say), I went into JJ Abrams’s Star Trek Into Darkness ready to embrace whatever he threw at me – and man, did he deliver. The film’s main draw for me is ironically its most divisive quality, and that’s its quasi-reverence for the original series while putting a new, modern spin on it. Cumberbatch is a force of nature as the film’s antagonist, and like any great sequel, it stands alone on more than capable footing while deepening its characters. It’s a rollicking good time and a great example of big, quality modern filmmaking.

Here’s to Star Wars Episode VII!

#3: The Wolverine

Top 5 Films of Summer

“Don’t make me do this….”

Here was perhaps the Summer’s biggest surprise – I caught the midnight release of The Wolverine on an unenthused whim with fellow Renegade writer Brandon Groppi, and it blew us the hell away. I hesitate to say I’d given up on the character by the time I plopped down to watch this film, but I didn’t expect much at all. What I got was a thoughtful, deliberate, and serious iteration of our favorite adamantium-coated mutant. Though the third act loses its footing a bit (succumbing to the silliness of cartoon robots and the consequence-free, over-the-top action that made X-Men Origins: Wolverine a failure), its first two acts are so bloody and brilliant – bloody brilliant – that I forgive it for its slight wrongdoings.

Read my full Wolverine review here.

#2: The World’s End

Top 5 Films of Summer

“What the F**K does WTF mean?!”

I’m writing this with a big, sheepish grin on my face, and it’s all thanks to the man himself, Edgar Wright. Expertly bringing his brilliant Cornetto trilogy to a close is The World’s End, Wright’s most thoughtful and grown-up film to date.

I’m not going to even attempt to expound on how dense, layered, and well thought-out the script is – just read my full The World’s End review here.

#1: Man of Steel

Top 5 Films of Summer

“You can save her, Kal. You can save all of them.”

Mammoth. Exhilirating. Massively cathartic. I went home and checked Rotten Tomatoes after catching the world premiere of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and my heart dropped – judging by the reaction at the screening I attended, the last reaction I guessed this film would receive is underappreciation. I walked into this film with the least anticipation of any on this list, and left changed – Superman was made relevant, important, powerful again to me. Apparently my reaction was a rare one, and while I wish more people cherished this film and its importance to America’s only mythology – Superman – its lack of mainstream support somehow makes it more special to me.

Read my “Movies That Deserve More Love” article on the film here.

Read my full Man of Steel review here.


And that’s all, Renegades! Let me know what you thought of my Top 5 films of summer. Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below.