I could not be much happier with the summer of 2011 summer blockbuster season! If you are anything like the nerd I am, you just had one hell of a time at the theaters this summer! Extra points are awarded to nerds who love their comic book movie adaptations because a whopping 4 out of 10 movies on this list originated as a comic! Neat. Without further ado, I present the Never Ending Radical Dude “Top 10 Summer Blockbusters of 2011”!
10. FRIGHT NIGHT
This remake of the 1985 cult classic proved to be a very worthwhile and fun re-imagining. FRIGHT NIGHT turned out to be a uniquely awesome vampire flick that boasted awesome visuals that were complimented by an amazing cast, a great sense of humor, and some kick ass action. This movie would not be what it was without the awesome Colin Farrell who gives one of his most fun performances to date. A fun thrill ride definitely worth taking.
THOR was a pretty big commercial success for Marvel and deservedly so. I think this was one of the hardest Marvel movies to not only adapt into a good movie but to make fit into the whole universe established by IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK. The characters are fun, the visuals are stellar, and when the action is on it really delivers! While THOR ultimately may not have been as cool as it could have been it was still a damn fine summer blockbuster. Fun stuff!
8. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
Michael Bay sure does know how to make a kick ass summer blockbuster and TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is no slouch. The second half of this movie is seriously a non-stop robot war! Never have I seen so much crazy action in one movie besides previous installments in the Transformers series. So awesome. Also, it is worth noting that this movie actually boasted an awesome sense of humor thanks to a wonderful supporting cast and Shia Lebeouf’s best performance in a Transformers movie. What will likely be Bay’s last Transformers movie kicked ass in all the right ways and has ended one hell of an awesome robot action trilogy!
7. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2
The final installment in the Harry Potter franchise has been building up for the past 10 years and boy did it pay off! While this movie is technically the second part of the book it is adapted from it still shines bright as an amazing stand alone film. Everything fans have been waiting for has finally come to an end and it was awesome. This movie has the best performances from all the actors involved hands down and it was really great seeing all of these characters grow together. The film also showcases the best special effects and action in any Potter movie. I had so much fun with this one and simply cannot wait to revisit this movie, along with the entire series, when it inevitably releases as a complete series set on Blu-ray.
6. COWBOYS & ALIENS
If there was an award for “Best Cast” this summer it would surely go to COWBOYS & ALIENS. We have the amazing Daniel Craig and the legendary Harrison Ford accompanied by a slew of fantastic supporting cast members including Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Paul Dano, Adam Beach, and Clancy Brown just to name a few. I am a huge fan of movies with aliens and westerns so you can imagine the nerdgasm I had when I saw these two great genres collide. We have an awesome and atmospheric western with all the elements of a great alien invasion movie all in one. The action is visceral, the aliens and crafts look amazing, and the cast is stellar. This is a great summer blockbuster that will be remembered as something truly unique and bad ass!
5. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER worked a little bit better than THOR did because it was first and foremost a Captain America movie and a tie-in to next year’s THE AVENGERS second. Chris Evans did such an awesome job as the Captain that I can’t imagine anyone else in the role. The World War II setting and overall visuals of this film were epic and beautiful, the characters were all likable and well cast, and the action was superb even though I thirsted for more. This origin story had true heart and really had me caring about the characters rather than just thinking they were bad ass. A great summer blockbuster and a fitting tie-in to the biggest movie event in nerd history that is THE AVENGERS. I’m a fan.
4. FAST FIVE
I admit I am a HUGE action movie fan and FAST FIVE proved to be one of the most kick ass action movies I have seen in a long time. The Fast and the Furious series has always kind of been a guilty pleasure for me even though I don’t give a crap about cars. FAST FIVE is a whole new beast of an action movie. Consider this more of a reboot for the series rather than a sequel. I get excited just thinking about how bad ass this movie was. The inclusion of Dwayne Johnson was an awesome move and he really added to the movies awesomeness. Pitting Vin Diesel up against Dwayne Johnson is one of the most epic showdowns in action movie history. The pacing in this film is perfect, the action is over the top in all the best ways, the characters are funny and cool, and the overall package is simply one of the best action movies in recent memory. This series is a guilty pleasure no more. I am proud to say I am a HUGE fan of FAST FIVE!
3. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
This is surely one of the biggest surprises of the summer blockbuster season. I admittedly loved the trailer and was in the minority thinking this was going to be great. I however did not know just how good this was going to be. RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES tugs at the emotional heart strings and makes you care. It is also a very cool modern sci-fi action film that has some of the best CGI I have ever seen. This movie is just so cool and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone. I was never a big fan of previous Apes films but I sure as hell am a fan of this prequel/reboot. I can only hope for a sequel to witness the further rise of the apes! Biggest surprise of the summer for sure!
2. SUPER 8
SUPER 8 is an instant classic. J.J. Abrams has crafted such a nostalgic and magical film that he is well on his way to becoming the next Steven Spielberg. Everything in this movie is done just right. The unique visual style is complimented by a heartfelt story and some seriously cool action and creature designs. I really connected with this film being a nerd who also made tons of home movies with his friends growing up in Ohio (where this movie takes place!). This movie is by far the best “film” on this list and is truly something special. You owe it to yourself to watch this movie. Beautiful.
1. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
My favorite movie of last summer was the Matthew Vaughn directed KICK-ASS and it looks like he has done it again this summer with the amazingly awesome X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Forget that this is a complete re-imagining of the X-Men universe from the comic books it is inspired from. Forget this movie does not really line up with any of the previous X-films and makes it even more confusing by trying. And forget that Cyclops is nowhere to be found (tear). If you approach this movie as a complete yet familiar re-imagining of the X-universe then you will discover one of the best movies based on a comic book ever. The 1960’s Bond-like setting, the wonderful visual style, the awesome characters, the perfect pacing, the intense action, and the engaging story all melt together in what is hands down the most fun I had in the theatre this summer. Sure I wish Fox would have just rebooted this franchise using the original team in the comics instead of trying to connect this all to the already established movie universe, but you can’t always get what you want. All said and done, this movie simply rocks and ranks as my #1 favorite summer blockbuster of 2011! Maybe we can get Cyclops in a sequel!?
So there you have it my fellow nerds. The top 10 best summer blockbusters of 2011. What an amazing summer to be a nerd. This was an extremely hard list to settle on and I hope you had fun reading. Stay tuned until the end of the year and see which blockbusters make it to my “Top 10 movies of 2011” list. The only thing left is for you to post your top 10 summer blockbusters of 2011 in the comments below.