This summer was chock full of big blockbusters and, unless you’re a movie buff who chose to spend his summer in a dark, cold theater, you might have missed a few of them. There were several box office hits coming out of various genres. While each movie was as heartfelt, heroic and humorous as the next, only a handful of them stand out above the rest. It seemed like there was a movie for everyone this summer. “Wonder Woman” came through for superhero/comic book buffs, “The Big Sick” proved to be a runner for “Rom-Com/Date movie of the year” and, after its reception at SXSW, “Baby Driver” tore into theaters with an early June release.
Wonder Woman: While “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming” served as superhero bookends for “Wonder Woman’s” run in theaters, Warner Bros and DC managed to steal the spotlight for the summer superhero genre. Gal Gadot brought Diana Prince to life for lifelong fans of the Amazonian princess. The film is visually stunning and imaginative, introducing the audience to the Amazon’s beautiful and lush island home of Themyscira before launching into the first action sequence of the film. When Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) introduces the Amazons to the violence of World War I, Diana quickly decides that Ares, the God of War, is behind the fighting and sets out to stop him and the war. She is joined by Steve Trevor and a small team of soldiers as they fight their way through war-torn Europe. “Wonder Woman” not only proved to be a hit, but broke records for women in the film industry. Patty Jenkins became the first woman to direct a superhero movie and is now set to become the highest-paid female director in history after signing a deal to come back and direct “Wonder Woman 2.”
The Big Sick: While it may not have had much competition within its genre, “The Big Sick” made waves with its story of cross-cultural love, humor, and heartache. Comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon penned the script together based on their real life and the film was directed by Michael Showalter. Nanjiana and Gordon, now married (spoiler?), even kept their first names for their characters. The film proved to be a compelling journey into the complexities of love and family. After Nanjiani and Gordon begin to develop a serious relationship, they find their love tested by the expectations of their families and a sudden illness. Kumail struggles to grow his career as a comedian and maintain his relationship due to the pressures of keeping up the guise of being a devout Muslim for his Pakistani family. Kumail is forced to discover who really is outside of his family’s perspective and Pakistani identity, while not giving it up, and find a way to maintain his relationship with Emily and her family.
Baby Driver: “Baby Driver,” written and directed by Edgar Wright (“Hot Fuzz” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) was my favorite film of the summer. The film received huge praise from audiences and critics alike after it premiered at SXSW this past March. As described by Empire Magazine, the film plays out as “a musical through the lens of an action thriller.” Ansel Elgort plays Baby, a young man who works as a getaway driver who’s about to pay off his debt to Atlanta crime boss, Doc (Kevin Spacey). When Baby is given “one last job” he finds himself falling in love with a local waitress, Debora (Lily James) and dreaming of his escape from the criminal world. Baby takes the sunglasses and I-Pods from the cars that he steals for Doc, providing him with an endless collection of shades to keep his cool and music to drown out his tinnitus, a constant ringing in his ears from an accident when he was younger. The music Baby listens to doubles as the soundtrack for most of the film. This narrative tool provides us with amazing creative action sequences. The film opens with an ingeniously crafted car chase set to “Bellbottoms” by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, one shootout has gunshots and slamming car doors matched to the beat of Vinnie Maniscalco’s “TaKillya” (a jazzy remix of “Tequilla”) and Baby’s “killer track,” “Brighton Rock” by Queen, highlights the film’s final act. “Baby Driver” is as fast, loud, and colorful as the bright red Subaru that Baby drives.