Summer 2012 Movie Awards!

%name Summer 2012 Movie Awards!

With the summer movie season having wrapped up, it’s time to take a look back at what the last four months have delivered.

This was not a particularly impressive summer at the movies, with the majority of titles severely underwhelming both critically and commercially. Nevertheless, I found plenty of gems among the avalanche of releases, and more than a few standout performances, moments, and overall experiences worth celebrating.

But now that summer has ended, what stood out the most? Which performances were the most impressive? Which film was the most surprising? Which was the most shockingly disappointing? Which films had the best music, or screenplays, and which impressed the most overall?

These are the questions we shall answer today with our End Of Summer Movie Awards. There are twelve categories, each with a winner and several runners-up, and it is my hope this retrospective will shine a light on what was truly best this summer, whether it proved popular or not.


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Best Lead Male Performance:

Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man

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I found The Amazing Spider-Man to be one of the most unexpected treats of the summer, and an inordinate amount of the film’s creative success lies on Andrew Garfield’s shoulders. As Peter Parker, his vulnerable, nuanced work elevates this film far beyond typical superhero confines, allowing the movie to play just as well as a human-scale character study as it does a blockbuster action epic. I have always loved what Tobey Maguire did with this role, so I cannot say Garfield is the definitive Peter Parker, but among all leading men this summer, no one commanded the screen or elevated their material quite as well as Garfield. 

Runners-Up: For his powerful, career-best performance in the severely underrated Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, Steve Carell would be my immediate runner-up. But there were plenty of other great choices for this category. If one considers Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans to be the male leads of The Avengers, either would be deserving of this title, both expanding upon the fantastic work they did in their solo films. Christian Bale, meanwhile, was utterly spectacular in The Dark Knight Rises, topping his performance in earlier Batman outings. Tommy Lee Jones did some of the most profound, human work of his career in Hope Springs, and young newcomer Jared Gilman was a tremendous find in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

Best Lead Female Performance:

Aubrey Plaza as Darius Britt in Safety Not Guaranteed

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This thoughtful art-house comedy was one of summer’s most underrated delights, and Aubrey Plaza’s role in making the film click cannot be overstated. This is a character I connect to on deeply meaningful levels, and Plaza brings Darius to life with a truly brilliant performance, making fantastic use of all the beloved offbeat affectations she’s known for while going so much deeper in showing where those ticks come from.

Darius isn’t just one of my new favorite film characters because I relate to her, but because Plaza possesses every trait a performer could wish to have, flawlessly illustrating the humor, pathos, and mindset of the character in every scene. She makes it all look so supremely natural that many, I worry, will overlook what a tremendous job she’s really doing. Not me. I have little doubt that among all female leads this summer, Plaza was the most impressive.

Runners-Up: This was, sadly, a very thin Summer for strong female leads. It was smaller, more obscure fare where women flourished this season, such as Keira Knightley’s utterly fantastic turn in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. It’s her best performance to date, a wounded, vulnerable, utterly human character impossible not to connect with. Meryl Streep turned in her best work in years in Hope Springs (much more impressive than her Oscar-winning turn in the hammy Iron Lady), and Kara Hayward was, like her co-star Gilman, a hugely impressive young lead in Moonrise Kingdom.

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Best Supporting Male Performance:

Michael Fassbender as David in Prometheus

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This was an extremely crowded category, but at the end of the day, Michael Fassbender always had to win. I did not like Prometheus on the whole, but as sentient android David, Fassbender made every stupid side character and bad piece of plotting worth enduring. Just as in last year’s Shame, Fassbender speaks volumes behind his eyes, imbues every inch of his gaze with weight and meaning, and gradually adds dimension to his part without betraying the fundamental truths about the character.

It is a fascinating, gripping performance, perhaps the single most captivating piece of supporting work sci-fi cinema has had since Rutger Hauer’s similarly layered turn in Blade Runner. Prometheus may have underwhelmed, but David didn’t. He’s arguably the most memorable original creation from summer 2012, and Fassbender deserves every bit of credit one can give him.

Check out the trailer for the film below:

Runners-Up: Again, a very tough category. If Fassbender did not exist, this award would unquestionably go to Tom Hardy for his utterly captivating work in The Dark Knight Rises. As Bane, Hardy had only his eyes and voice to work with, but he absolutely commanded the screen, striking unbelievable fear into the hearts of viewers, and crafting one of cinema’s most memorable screen villains in the process. Joseph Gordon-Levitt deserves similar recognition for his outstanding work as new standout character John Blake, and Michael Caine nearly stole the show in his brief but invaluable screen-time.

From The Avengers, Chris Hemsworth continued to own the part of Thor; even if his screen time didn’t quite amount to Iron Man’s or Captain America’s, he made the absolute most of every single appearance. Mark Ruffalo, meanwhile, was a perfect fit for Joss Whedon’s unique take on Bruce Banner, and the best cinematic realization of the character so far. Finally, Moonrise Kingdom featured several standout supporting actors, but it was an uncharacteristically warm and lovable Edward Norton who proved most impressive.


Best Supporting Female Performance:

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises

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The moment Anne Hathaway stepped on screen as Selina Kyle, a giant, goofy grin crossed my face, and it refused to leave whenever Hathaway was present. No performer, in live-action or animation, has ever understood Catwoman as innately and completely as Hathaway. Her playful, sensual attitude; her precise, acrobatic fighting style; her frisky back-and-forth banter with Bruce and Batman, and the near telepathic connection they share in battle. Everything I connect with Catwoman is there, and Hathaway is just mesmerizing in the part, embodying the character in mind, body, and soul. This is the definitive portrayal of a delightfully malleable character, and in a summer dominated by men, I find it inspiring that a woman absolutely stole the show in the season’s biggest movie.

Runners-Up: I had a hard time not giving this award to Emma Stone, whose portrayal of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man instantly became my favorite superhero girlfriend of all time. She’s fantastic. Meanwhile, Joss Whedon gave Scarlett Johansson a whole lot of great material to work with in The Avengers, and she hit it all out of the park. Anna Farris, at her most adorable, charming, and side-splittingly hilarious, unexpectedly stole the show away from Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator, and it was a treat to hear Ellen Page recite Woody Allen dialogue in To Rome With Love, even though I didn’t like the film on the whole.

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Best Music:

James Horner, The Amazing Spider-Man

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I have always and will continue to love and respect the work Danny Elfman did for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. To my mind, the rousing central theme Elfman composed will always stand as the definitive piece of Spider-Man music. But viewed purely as musical composition, James Horner’s score for The Amazing Spider-Man is superior, not only to Elfman’s work, but to any other film score this summer.

Horner perfectly tapped in to the emotions of the characters, composing a stunning array of deeply felt themes and motifs that affect the listener on ethereal levels. Horner paces his score meticulously, gradually introducing the building blocks of the music and expanding upon each element as the film moves along. By the end, Horner has a dizzying range of distinctive musical components working in harmony, and the effect is emotionally overwhelming. This is a fantastic score, one of the best of the last several years and a bright, shining highlight for Horner’s generally hit-and-miss career.

Check out the trailer for the film below:

Runners-Up: It’s impossible to measure the impact Hans Zimmer’s compositions for the Dark Knight trilogy have had on modern film music, and with The Dark Knight Rises, he cements the project as one of the greatest examples of long-form movie composition. Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful, lilting score for Moonrise Kingdom was an absolute pleasure, and Alan Silvestri did some solid, stirring work creating a memorable musical landscape for The Avengers. 

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Biggest Disappointment:


prometheus3 621x360 Summer 2012 Movie Awards!

I know some people loved Prometheus, and I understand why. It has many things worth admiring, such as the gorgeous visuals, or Michael Fassbender’s performance, or the array of fascinating, large-scale sci-fi themes. But when examining the film critically, I find that none of those positive elements ever congeal into anything cohesive.

Director Ridley Scott and his collaborators have many things they wish to say, but among the wildly inconsistent characterization, the confused and convoluted narrative that ultimately goes nowhere, and the unnecessary time spent connecting this film to Alien, those messages become seriously muddled and diluted. Prometheus has potential. There’s no denying that. But it consistently fails to live up to that potential, and to me, that is what makes it summer’s most stinging disappointment. It is not a bad movie by any means. But it could be so, so much more.

Listen to WGTC Radio #4 for a full, in-depth commentary on the flaws and strengths of Prometheus.

Runners-Up: I never had overly high expectations for The Bourne Legacy in the first place, but with Tony Gilroy at the helm, I thought it would be better than awful. It wasn’t. Meanwhile, Brave continued Pixar’s slow, depressing descent into broad, pandering commercialism, a creative decline that has me mourning for the days when masterpieces like Up and WALL-E were the norm.

Worst Film of the Summer:

The Watch 

%name Summer 2012 Movie Awards!

In my review of wretched comedy The Watch, I gave the film straight zeroes across the board. I did not come to this decision lightly. I have never before deemed a film entirely worthless on every possible front. But The Watch is so completely dismal, so entirely void of any single interesting element, that I felt time itself slow to a horrific crawl as I sat watching the film in disgust.

This is a film that has literally nothing to offer its audience. No good performances, no laughs, no compelling story, etc. All it has is a boatload of product placement. It is a massive, embarrassing commercial that the studio expected audiences to pay for, and that is an insult I cannot abide. The Watch deserved no score. It deserved no attention of any sort, for no effort was put into delivering a quality product. It was easily the most excruciating experience of the summer.

Runner-Up: Want to know how much I hate The Watch? Go read my outraged rant on Adam Sandler’s That’s My Boy and consider that I detested The Watch even more. That’s My Boy is rancid. It is as morally repugnant as it is unfunny. But it is not quite as bad as The Watch. I must give the film credit for, at the very least, trying. That’s My Boy fails miserably, but it swings for the fences in doing so, and I have to give it at least a modicum of credit for attempting to entertain.

Biggest Surprise:

Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D 

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I know, I know…your base instinct is probably to laugh at me for proclaiming the Katy Perry concert documentary the summer’s most pleasant surprise. I understand. My instinct was to laugh at this movie’s mere existence, right up until the moment I sat down in the theatre and the film began rolling, when it became abundantly clear this was no mere fluff piece.

Part of Me is a spectacularly made documentary, one filled with all sorts of fascinating footage that shines an insightful light on the process of making and performing music. More importantly, it’s a wonderfully rich, thoroughly engaging portrait of the singer and her fan-base, bursting with honest pathos and refreshingly candid revelations. Even if you have no interest in Perry’s music – and I am a casual observer at best – Part of Me is a truly emotional experience, and no film this summer – let alone this year – exceeded my expectations so wildly.

Check out the trailer for the film below:

Runners-Up: I don’t think anyone expected Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike to be quite as funny, daring, or downright smart as it turned out, and Dax Shepard’s Hit & Run came out of nowhere to provide a fun, refreshing blast of zany, character-based comedy mayhem.

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Best Family Film

ParaNorman .fi .tock .op .ParaNorman5 Summer 2012 Movie Awards!

I considered not including this category at all, because if Laika’s smart and scary ParaNorman had not come along, there would have been no winner. With Hollywood serving garbage like Ice Age 4 and Madagascar 3 to children, and Pixar failing to impress for a second year in a row with Brave, there were very, very few options for families these past four months.

But ParaNorman was different. ParaNorman respected its audience. It does not speak down to kids, but assumes they are intelligent enough to respond to profound emotional insight and sympathize with distressing issues like loneliness and isolation. The film, I believe, is correct. If we give kids the best, they shall appreciate it; quality really does matter, especially when dealing with children. ParaNorman isn’t perfect, but it’s so heartfelt and uncompromising that I cannot help but love it, and recommend it wholeheartedly to any families feeling underwhelming by this summer’s offerings.

Best Screenplay:

Lorene Scafaria, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

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What a spectacular, underrated piece of writing this is. An apocalyptic character study framed through the philosophical lens of absurdism, Seeking A Friend succeeds on every possible level. Scafaria’s characters are well drawn and three-dimensional; her dialogue is layered, snappy, and addictively rhythmic; her allegorical observations about modern society are insightful and poignant; and her understanding of romance is mature, nuanced, and honest. No film this summer had a better written foundation than this one.

Runner-Up: Joss Whedon’s script for The Avengers could not possibly be any sharper, funnier, perceptive, or well paced. It is the best example to date of gifting superheroes with spectacular writing, and is what makes me overjoyed that Whedon will stick with this franchise for at least one more installment. No one else could possibly pen this world so well.

Best Director:

Joss Whedon, The Avengers 

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If you have ever watched a Whedon-helmed episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, or Angel, or Firefly, or any other production he’s ever been involved with, you know Whedon is a tremendously gifted, economic visual stylist, one who can stage action on a shoestring budget better than most directors can with blockbuster resources.

With The Avengers, a major studio finally gave Whedon those insane resources, and he ran with them as far as he possibly could, crafting the single greatest action climax in modern blockbuster filmmaking. And the New York finale is only the tip of the iceberg. Every single action beat sizzles with genuine, undeniable energy, but it’s Whedon’s handling of a large, seemingly unwieldy cast that proves most impressive. Throw in some gorgeous, colorful cinematography and an absolutely perfect sense of pace and you have the best-directed film of the summer. 

Runners-Up: The work Christopher Nolan did on The Dark Knight Rises cannot, of course, be overlooked. During his tenure with Batman, he truly pushed the cinematic medium forward, and Rises took several more increasingly large steps in that revolutionary direction. Wes Anderson, another celebrated auteur, arguably turned in his best work to date on Moonrise Kingdom, exhibiting complete, compelling control over his craft from start to finish. And Marc Webb achieved underrated wonders on The Amazing Spider-Man, deftly prioritizing the nuanced human drama while proving his action bonafides.

Read about the final award on the next page…

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Best Film of the Summer:

The Dark Knight Rises 

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This was by far the toughest category to call. Even if there were not a great number of standout films this summer, the ones I loved I really loved, and I could just as easily have given this award to The Avengers, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, or several other films listed below.

But at the end of the day, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga simply means more to me than those films. This is a series that helped define the best of cinema’s modern era, and as such, I was more invested in seeing how Nolan would conclude his story than anything else this summer.

To say The Dark Knight Rises did not disappoint would be an understatement. It is a fantastic film. An epic film. An awe-inspiring cinematic achievement, with tremendous performances and an endlessly compelling story that tied together everything Nolan wanted to say with his take on Batman. Occasional nitpick aside, I could not be happier with the finished product. It is an emotional powerhouse, especially in the last half-hour, and that sense of utter satisfaction makes me respect Nolan’s entire series even more.

After all, any movie that compels me to write a 10,000 word analysis in one weekend must be doing something right. The Dark Knight Rises is simply superior, and it is my pick for the best film of the summer.

Check out the epic trailer for the film below:

Runners-Up: As I said before, The Avengers is also deserving of this title. It’s unlike any comic-book film ever made, and if you agree with my opinion that Nolan’s Batman films do not count as superhero flicks, it’s easily the best superhero movie ever made. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World was an unexpected and entirely successful human-scale drama that will definitely have a place on my year-end top ten.

Wes Anderson topped himself once again with Moonrise Kingdom, his most mature and complete work to date; Hope Springs provided a down-to-earth, intensely honest look at adult relationships; The Amazing Spider-Man rebooted the venerable comic-book franchise in spectacular fashion; And Safety Not Guaranteed was an absolute comedic pleasure, using an insanely clever premise to combine organic laughs with touching pathos.

Though this was not a summer for the record books, the movies that stuck did so in extremely memorable ways, and several of the year’s strongest gems arrived in these last few months. It has been a joy covering this latest summer season, and I look forward to exploring what Fall and Winter have in store.

What were your favorite performances, moments, and movies from summer 2012? Take to the comments and give us your thoughts!

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  • Matt Percival

    There’s no way that Spider-Man has the best score of the year! Moonrise Kingdom and TDKR’s scores carry with you long after the movie is finished. James Horner’s is forgettable I don’t even remember how it sounded.

  • Keltari

    Sorry. TDKR was not that great… Actually, it was not even good. If anything, TDKR has to be one of the most overrated films of all time. Its a shame, since Batman Begins was great and the Dark Knight is probably the best superhero movie to date. As for Anne Hatheway as best actress? I completely disagree with that. The movie would have been better without her, her role was practically meaningless.

    • Brian

      See this is where your hype and pop culture influences take over. The Dark Knight is the most overrated movie of all time. If Heath was still alive that film would have only grossed half as much as it did. Sorry but that’s the truth. Case in point, The Dark Knight Rises was so over hyped that people weren’t going to be able to watch it without being disappointed. Long story short, the bandwagon of Dark Knight fans, including you, have twisted the two films because of a false sense of “amazing movie” with The Dark Knight.

      I’m not a fan of Nolan’s Batman but I can recognize that Rises was EASILY the best of the trilogy.

      • Keltari

        You have it wrong. I was not swept up by hype, I had no expectations for the movie. I am basing the movie review solely on the movie itself. The movie was to long, preachy, and so boring I almost got up and left.

        • Rich

          TDKR and Batman Begins, as a whole, aren’t very good movies. The Dark Knight is, though. Even if Heath Ledger hadn’t died, his performance is still phenomenal. TDKR is a mess, though, with boring action sequences (besides the opening scene), and a convoluted story. As Keltari says, it’s one of the most overrated movies of all time. I don’t understand why people have jumped to it so much, given its lack of quality.

      • liplip

        Wow, couldn’t disagree more with you!…this was EASILY the worst of Nolan’s trilogy. The other 2 were amazing movies, not just comic book adaptation movies. Begins had much better writing/dialogue/storyline and TDK was just an amazing mix of that, action, and performace from Ledger. I’m left dissapointed in TDKR simply because it wasn’t that great in too many aspects (writing/dialogue was cheesy way to often and too many moments when people should’ve died….looking at you Gordon and Batman himself).

      • susy susy

        TDK was better than Rises by a mile and not just because of Heath’s’s like a perfect crime thriller

    • liplip

      I agree completely that TDKR was not great. It was way too full of cheesy dialogue and too many “perfect timing” moments that became rediculous by the end. I did like a lot about it and one of them is Hatheway’s Catwoman, couldn’t agree more with the writer of the article that she now owns that role and is the one all others have to look up to. Also, Hardy as Bane was equally as amazing and up there as one of the better villians I’ve seen in film.

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      Mate, there’s a reason why your comment has 41 more dislikes than likes.

  • Ryan

    The score for Spider-Man was awful, I actually found it really distracting whilst watching the movie.

    • bruno

      Agree with you bro. The music in this movie is horrible. I don’t know what happens with james horner.

    • ImHungry

      I personally didn’t like that movie, I thought the acting wasn’t as good as it could have been, the music was nothing to right home about, and the story was could have been much better. Sony should just give up and let marvel take over. Movie of the year (as of 8/3/12)? Avengers hands down awesome acting, great music, fantastic writing and directing; it’s the perfect superhero movie.

      • John Lazzaro

        Acting? Since when do you go into movies like this and similar ones like The Expendables and for some reason think acting? Neither of them have acting as being important.Movie basically had no storyline to speak of.It’s alright lets get together and stop acting like morons and go beat the living daylights out of everything.Acting wasn’t even existent in that movie lets be completely honest.

        • Drew Osmond

          Neither was the Dark Knight rises then for that matter. Or any superhero movie… What makes the Avengers a perfect superhero movies is the awesome CGI, it has a story with no flaws in it. (Unlike the Dark Knight Rises) and I mean no flaws, I’ve watched it over 20 times and every question or issue has a resolution or answer to it. And there is a few deleted scenes which explain how Bruce Banner got his Motorcycle. The Avengers has a little of everything in it, there is romance, Black Widow and Hawk Eye, Tony Stark and Pepper Pots, then there is comedy, Hulk punching Thor, hulk beating the crap out of Loki, and then it also had a great cast and great acting. I can see where you are coming from, but you clearly don’t understand how movies work. If there is a superhero movie with terrible acting, you won’t like it. Why do you think Spider-Man 3 was such a flop? Bad acting and poor directing. Granted the Avengers had a lot of action, the parts where acting was needed was spot on. That is what made it the perfect film with tons of re-watch-ability.

  • Nawaf Al-Naji

    Though Avengers’ directing was great, it still doesn’t reach Nolan’s work in the Dark Knight Rises. I completely disagree on that one.

    • Drew Osmond

      The Dark Knight Rises was terrible, filled with loads of missing plot. Nolan did a great job in the first 2, and brought up several points. In the last movie he forgot everything he said and did things that were not explainable. It was a sure case of poor writers who didn’t even let us know what happened to Bruce Wayne for 8 years. They never explained the resolution with the Joker, or any of the other villains really. He butchered several characters like Gordon, ruining any previous character development. This movie also was so poorly timed going ever so slow at the beginning then rushing through 3 months of time in the course of about 15 minutes, and worse of all is they don’t even explain that 3 months passed. Although I think the Dark Knight Rises had some great parts to the movie, I feel over all it was a flop. With a clearly rushed script and a very unoriginal story line. Although I do enjoy Nolan’s work, he has still yet to make an original movie. Inception is an amazing movie, but even that is just the Matrix in a different settings.

  • abvetor

    dude this article is totally biased

  • Lever87

    The music was shit. It was a blatant rip of of titanic. James Horner does this in every movie. He is also still using that shit, cheap midi sound, even though Spider-mans budget was huge.

  • Jeff

    TDKR all day people, my best movie of 2012 hands down.

  • Guest

    Hey everybody, let’s keep things civil here…these are just my opinions, there’s nothing ‘definitive’ about these awards, or any other opinions any writer shares on the internet. Just reflects my tastes, which will never perfectly line up with another person’s, just as all your tastes are obviously a little different from mine and each others. No need to get huffy about it. If you are baffled by my choices, just read the accompanying paragraphs…they won’t change your mind, that’s not the point of film criticism, but they do explain my thoughts. And please don’t be rude to other commenters. We can disagree, but let’s keep it calm and polite, okay?

  • @TerryTheHat

    I think you overlooked ’21 Jump Street’ here man.
    Personally think that was a great movie, and I would say both Hill’s and Tatum’s performances were on par if not better than Garfield’s – though he did a good job.
    However, most of these movies are ‘mainstream’ block busters, so I am not surprised their is no mention of ‘The Raid’ which for me was the biggest surprise, I thought it was a genuinely brilliant movie and a real refreshing take on the genre.
    The only one I kind of agree with is Fassbender, he was amazing but I don’t know if it was better than Hardy’s performance as Bane, totally different acting.
    I must also agree with what the other guys are saying, Hans Zimmer all the way.

    • Aristo Kratte

      21 Jump Street wasn’t a summer movie

  • Charles Jackson III

    Dark Knight Rises was trite and uninspired. Why people are still riding Nolan’s nuts after this and the BLOATED Inception is beyond me. The Dark Knight Returns and The Prestige will probably remain his best films. The last he made before he got full of himself.

    • liplip

      Inception was genius and fun on soooo many levels and along with Memento are my favorite films by him by far. Memento has been hanging on to my #2 spot of all time for a while now.

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      The Dark Knight Returns? When did that one come out?

  • liplip

    Did you just not watch The Hunger Games possibly?…how Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t get a mention for female lead is crazy…she was able to take the major role from the book, which had a lot of the dialoge in her head while she was by herself or just commenting in general about the situation at hand, and was able to convey a good portion of that in completely silent ways…IMO she deserves an Oscar nomination for that role

    • Aristo Kratte

      Hunger Games came out in March. That’s not summer. She won’t get an oscar nom. She was good, but not that good

      • liplip

        Good call on the when it came out, I was thinking it was May (which I consider summer movie season these days). Again, it was IMO that she deserves an Oscar nod, but from what I’ve heard out there it’s quite possible she may be on that list.

        • Jonathan Lack

          If “Hunger Games” had come out during the summer, Lawrence would get my Best Actress award, no questions asked. She was spectacular.

  •ão-Pedro-Alab/1157269598 João Pedro Alab

    I love the character of Seline Kyle in TDKR,but it’s sad that she has almost no weight in the plot.

  • Kyle

    Personally I agree with Prometheus being the biggest disapointment but i do not agree that TDKR is the best film of the summer (The Avengers obviously is ) and The Avengers also had a very good film score.

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      How is the avengers possibly better than The Dark Knight Rises. TDKR rises head and shoulders above the rest. In fact, while TDKR climbs out of the pit, all the others are still lying in bed at the bottom, occasionally attempting the climb but then realising they can’t keep up and falling back down.

      • MichaeltheArchangel

        I see you were paying attention to TDKR. Since 90% of that movie was just about climbing… Nolan really dissapointed.

        • John Lazzaro

          Apparently you forgot about the part with Bruce’s father from the very first movie.When he fell down the well saying how when they fall they get back up you must have forgotten that piece of information.

  • comeouttoplaywarriors

    I hate that I have to read such retarded opinions….is no one a fan of movies anymore? We go to the movies for entertainment. To read such things as Nolan should have done this, or he should have done that…it doesn’t matter because it can’t be changed. I love this trilogy, and if you don’t, well then yippie fucking doo dah thats fine…but if you think you could have done something better than write your own batman movie and film it on your i phone that your parents pay for.

  • timotey

    The best score? Definitely TDKR. Deshi Basara is simply haunting, just like Mind If I Cut In? Amazing tunes.

  • ASFan

    The Watch wasn’t from Columbia. It was Fox.

  • Komuro Icho

    Also have to agree with TDRK being terribly overrated. Glad to see I’m not the only one here with that sentiment. I think Nolan’s whole take on batman is off. Batman is supposed to be a superhero who uses his superior intelligence, planning and ingenuity to run with big boys like superman. To see him just duking it out with a physically stronger opponent–not even fighting intelligently but with a stiff, mindless fighting style was really disappointing. The fight scenes in TDRK were poorly choreographed, and the plot was uninspired and full of holes. Bane was the most boring villain to date and I’m sorry to say that Bane’s mask just looked dumb. The Dark Night, though suffering from similar flaws, was a much much better movie thanks to Heath Ledger’s Joker. I still don’t think any film adaptation (not counting the animated versions) of the the batman character beats Tim Burton’s original take on it in his first Batman movie in 1989. Sadly, after all these years, Nolan is still riding on Burton’s interpretation of the character. He’s just added a little military-esque aesthetic to the rubber suit and vehicles and replaced the fun and style in Burton’s film with boring pseudo-realism.

    • Alex Saldierna

      Which Batman are you a fan of? Superfriends? Lol

    • Robert Julio

      your misleading the fact that Nolans Batman was focus on Frank Millers Comic Book Batman franchise not Tim Burton’s Batman films. However I think Frank Millers Batman retakes on who Bruce Wayne really is a young lost individual after his parents was murdered of course it has to be dark. TDRK was not the best of the franchise in my opinion there were some scenes that were off but it its, what it is that was Nolans plan to end the franchise, dont get me wrong I liked the film

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      I believe you are retarded.

    • John Lazzaro

      Tim Burton’s Batman is one you can’t even take remotely seriously.It’s completely goofy and mind numbingly awful for the most part. The praise for Jack Nicholson I’ll never understand since his character was so unbelievably goofy and was just too stupid to even care about. With the villains you can say you don’t like Bane as much as the Joker which is fine you can make that choice for yourself. Nothing was wrong with those fight scenes.As Robert Julio said the movie is based off of Frank Miller’s graphic novel and not anything to has to do with Tim Burton’s Batman.

    • Timm Higgins

      Put the pipe down and walk away. I’m hoping you’re just doing this to troll. Because if that is the case you’re going it right.

  • A

    TDKR would have been a whole lot better had Heath lived to play Joker again. His line “You and I are destined to do this forever” would have been the basis for TDKR, but instead, out of Nolan’s respect for Heath, based TDKR very heavily on Ra’s and the League of Shadows.

    • Aristo Kratte

      That’s not why Nolan changed it. We probably would have seen a Joker cameo, but no, this is still pretty much what we would have got

  • Simon Corbett

    Bane from dark knight rises should be on the worst.

  • luke

    james horner score wasn’t bad, sometimes it just went on for too long and didnt fit in some of the action scenes. but the main theme he did was really good

  • Kevin Slechta

    Loved TDKR, but The Avengers is a film I could watch over and over and never get tired of it! TDKR was great, but after seeing it 4 time since it’s release, its hard to think about seeing the 3 hours again anytime soon!

  • jess

    I would not say paranorman is a “family film” I enjoyed it, but i would be mortified at the thought of taking small children to see it. I thought that it needed a pg-13 rating for its off color comedy that is not child friendly.

  • wisien

    The Avengers, The Avengers …. maybe it’s just me but i was really disapointed with this movie … after all these extra scenes after credits … haven seen Spider-man yet but as far as for TDKR it was the best acion film

    One more thing … the author said Madagascar 3 was garbage … maybe but anyway i was laighing as hell … but i admitt the plot was so stupid yet the policewoman(animal police?)
    was so damn funny


  • John UK

    All of Nolan’s Dark Knight films were awful. The unbelievable leads ruined these films and the moralistic story lines made me sick. One day the Knight will actually be dark, the way he was always meant be to be. A strong, resourceful, terrifying revenge monster. Not a broken man crawling off into the sunset.

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      How the hell does your comment even have 1 like?

  • Brady

    I seem to be one of the few who REALLY enjoyed the score for Amazing Spider-Man.

  • victor

    i agree with you in every category actually! and these were all in my list of top movies of the summer with TDKR def taking the number one with avengers and seeking a friend right behind it. I’ll acknowledge that TDKR wasnt perfect or the best out of the trilogy even(begins will always be my fav) but it was an amazing movie that took me in directions i never expected it to go. which is a good thing because they could have just made TDK again with the riddler in place of the joker and appeased more of the masses. I also felt that Hardys unconventional approach to bane made for a much deeper and interesting character then almost any batman villian to make it to the big screen in …well ever! aside from ledgers joker.
    So where it may not have live quite up to the expectations that were put on it, TDKR far exceeded being a great movie in its own way

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      So you genuinely agree with him about the best score going to Spider Man?

  • Srujan G

    Whoa ! Hans zimmer totally deserved best music. TDKR music was simply haunting!

  • Blake Brown

    Surprised at all of the love for The Amazing Spider-Man; other than the actors, I thought the movie was crap. Good thoughts otherwise though.

  • Batman

    god no….i really didn’t care for this score….Avengers was way better then this…but the best is TDKR…come on man

  • Dawkito

    As much as I love TDK franchise, TDKR was a little misstep. But of course we could argue about that forever…And even though I like DC more than Marvel, The Avengers were the biggest surprise of the summer. IMO.

  • Mason

    If you’re going to put a concert doc as the “Biggest Surprise” it should have at least been Shut Up And Play The Hits.

  • Jezamiah

    I’ve even got the whole Official Soundtrack of the Dark Knight Rises on my music player that’s how good it was!

  • robgrizzly

    Spiderman for music is a disastrous decision. I can’t agree with Garfield as the best leading male performance either. Bale, Downey, Evans, and even a slew of supporting players run circles around this hipster, skateboarding Peter Parker.

    Supporting female should have gone to Charlize Theron for Show White and the Huntsman. But I can’t complain about Hathaway.

    These issues aside, I think this was pretty good.

  • jay kay

    The hands-down BEST performance by a male actor was by Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in The Avengers – Garfield did NOT come close (Andrew was weak as Peter; but spot-on when in Spidey costume!) – Since The Avengers did not have a ‘lead’ performer, I thought that he should have snagged it. BTW, I thought that TDKR’s score was better than Spidey – it was truly CINEMATIC and did what all REALLY good cores do, it ENHANCED The movie watching experience. Best movie was The Raid’ Redemption.

  • ASB

    Are you kidding!? Chris Nolan doesn’t win the best director!?


    • jon

      joss whedon winning makes perfect sense to me. Chris Nolan wrote and directed a great movie to end his batman trilogy, but whedon wrote and directed a movie that really shouldn’t have worked at all, given the range of characters, and made it an extraordinary, fun, humorous, exciting, well-written blockbuster thrill ride. The plot of the movie was simple, but the way the characters were written and interact with each other was flawless, and every actor owned their role.

      I loved TDKR but at the end of the day, i feel like it was too much for its own good. It almost felt epic just for the sake of being epic. By the time the (final) climax came around, it felt like the movie had already peaked with bane breaking batman’s back, bruce climbing out of the prison, and maybe the second fight with bane, which wasn’t as impressive as it could have been. It’s still a great movie in its own right, but it isn’t an end all masterpiece that people are making it out to be. I think people were just so built up and hyped over it that they refuse to believe it’s anything less than the greatest movie they’d ever seen. In that regard, i think Avengers is the better film, because it’s completely aware of the kind of film it’s supposed to be and embraces it with perfection.

      • That Anonymous Fat Guy

        Ending a trilogy as good as The Dark Knight Trilogy is the hardest job imaginable. We’ve seen others fall down (Star Wars, Godfather) but Nolan rises. Joss Whedon just chucked a bunch of guys with special powers in and had them shoot at aliens for a couple of hours. Nolan made something truly special.

  • abdulmajed

    bad choice all of them action movie

  • gac_man

    Shouldn’t the biggest disappoint have gone to Spider-man? I loved Prometheus. Did not love the Spider-man reboot.

    • Keldroc

      Nah. Spider-Man was unquestionably a disappointment, but Prometheus was an unmitigated disaster aside from Fassbender’s performance. Atrocious from start to finish. I would never have believed Ridley Scott capable of such terrible work if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

    • Xico Blanco

      I thought the Amazing Spider-Man was great, as did the person who wrote this article

      • Eric Jones

        That’s because you are both fucking morons, Xico, like whatever moron thought up that name.

        • Kyle4

          “Someone has a different opinion me, they’re a moron”. Spider-Man was pretty well received by critics and did well at the box office.

  • Alejandro BuenRostro

    Yes Hans Zimmer is the best. I can’t even remember a melody from the Amazing Spiderman.

  • Joel Coupland

    I liked The Watch.

  • Tom

    How the fck do you have spider man as best lead actor and best music? Also joss whedon best director? He had the easiest job in the world, all he had to do was put all these characters that already had their own films and mash them up. No vision there, no creativity just mashing sh1t together. You have terrible taste my friend, the two things you got correct: best movie is indeed Dark Knight Rises and the best music should be with TDKR also, have you heard what Hans Zimmer has done? You must have not done so yet. Also best Director without a doubt, Christopher Nolan, TDKR is the winner this year.

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      What was the second thing he got correct?

  • Timmy

    “Hey everybody, let’s keep things civil here…these are just my opinions, there’s nothing ‘definitive’ about these awards, or any other opinions any writer shares on the internet. Just reflects my tastes, which will never perfectly line up with another person’s, just as all your tastes are obviously a little different from mine and each others. No need to get huffy about it. If you are baffled by my choices, just read the accompanying paragraphs…they won’t change your mind, that’s not the point of film criticism, but they do explain my thoughts. And please don’t be rude to other commenters. We can disagree, but let’s keep it calm and polite, okay?”

    Sure thing buddy, but the fact is you do have bad taste. How could you say Joss Whedon is the best director over Christopher nolan? How could you pick Spiderman’s god awful music over TDKR’s epic music? How could you pick ANDREW GARFIELD as best actor? are you kidding me? How do you have this job, is my question.

  • Lex Lybrand

    I had to stop when you started bagging on The Watch. Guess I won’t be back to this site…

  • Will Stryker

    When you put The Amazing Spider-Man at the top of a list, people should stop letting you make lists.

  • Eric Jones

    Starts with Andrew Garfield as a best, no reason to read the rest of the fucking stupid article.

    • That Anonymous Fat Guy

      Don’t worry; it gets good in the 7th page. :)

  • seksivitez

    yet another internet herd of haters making sure they are on the same page.

  • Love

    Prometheus was the BEST film of the summer and possibly the best of the year. It’s the only true sci-fi movie to come out in years…YEARS!

  • militant_marker

    Avengers all the way IMO. TDKR was good, like a 7 out of 10 good, but highly overrated by epic proportions. The Avengers exceeded most peoples expectations, TDKR never had a chance to even meet it’s expectations except for people who made up their minds that it was going to be all that before they even went in.

    • Joeleo

      Agree with you, Dark Knight Rises was good but not as good as Batman Begins nor Dark Knight. Avengers was the better movie. Had Avengers come out against either of the previous Batman movies, that would’ve been a tough call. All very good movies but it’s comparing dark to glossy, more serious to humorous. Just looking forward to more

  • Robert Julio

    Avengers, TDKR & Prometheus best of Summer 2012

  • Roger

    Bane was a HUGE dissapointment! pun intended since he was not in the dark knight rises! SMH!!!!

    • Kyle4

      What film were you watching? Bane was in the DKR. He wasn’t played by someone like Brock Lesnar because that’d be ridiculous.

  • Bossy

    Lol at not mentining Hiddlestone, the best supporting after Fassy without a single doubt.

  • Kyle4

    This was a solid list and I agree that The Dark Knight Rises was the best film of the summer. Nolan ended the trilogy on a spectacular note, a film that required controlling one’s hype to realize just how good it was. With Bane the trilogy spawned yet another iconic villain and Hathaway played the definitive Catwoman. It’s going to be tough rebooting the franchise after this.

    • susy susy

      Bane died like a pussy

  • ploodie

    Agree with others – SPIDEYMAN score was terrible…

    Agree with article, PROMETHEUS was a HUUUUGE letdown.

    Disagree about best film – definitely was THE AVENGERS…

    How is it, I just can’t understand, how is it that people are not able to realize that TDKR was hooooooorible!!! Such a ludicrously dreadful follow up to DARK KNIGHT, which should have won best picture itself… ugh!

  • Maximus

    TDKR all day Bane was by far the best supporting character David was ok but he wasnt more interesting than bane & Hans Zimmers music is remarkable

  • Al

    very well written article with great critical opinions. Also, could not agree more with TDKR as the best film of the summer.

    • Al

      However the one thing I disagree with is the score. Not exactly sure whose was the best, but I’m certain it wasn’t The Amazing Spiderman.

  • rukiddingme

    Nolan’s work is definitely better than ‘The Avengers’. TDKR is by far a much better movie compared to avenger

  • Ayan Bashir Aded

    What did you mean this is not a impressive movie summer. Avenger was uniqe so many superheroes in movie. not to talk about so many stars. And Dark knight rises was brilliant. though spiderman was a bit dissapinting

  • Sid Sloth

    Spider-man’s unnecessary reboot sucked all the way, nothing to love about it!!

  • That Makes No Sense

    How can TDKR win best film of the summer and Whedon get best Director? That makes no sense.

  • me

    Seven Psychopaths ….. best of the year.

  • grt

    Dark Knight Rises the best film??? I thought it was quite bad and full of logic errors. Bane just looked stupid with this mask. The funniest moment was at the end, when he gets degraded to being a lap-dog for his mistress and squeezed out a tear. I instantly started laughing when I saw that. Really, TDKR is crap. But then, this is Hollywood. Lots of effects, cheesy dialogues and poor story.

  • Elephant time

    I’m a massive Spiderman fan, always have been, always will be. That being said, the most recent cinematic outing for him was incredibly weak in comparison to the original (though I admit Andrew Garfield did a fine job). However, what was more weak than the film itself was that friggin’ score. It was the same sound over and over again, used in every moment. The original Danny Elfman score was swirling, moving, and came in waves. Was constantly hitting you with multiple emotions at once, while getting you excited for what you were about to see. This new score did nothing.

  • the dark knight biases

    why can’t we all just get along. go movies! article’s writer was clearly in the pocket of production teams of about 6 specific movies, the ones he/she continually mentions and lists as winner/nominees of best movie of summer

  • the dark knight biases

    why can’t we all just get along. go movies! article’s writer was clearly in the pocket of production teams of about 6 specific movies, the ones he/she continually mentions and lists as winner/nominees of best movie of summer

  • David Miller

    My choice for best movie would have probably been The Avengers but The Dark Knight Rises was still fantastic as well. Its a close call no matter which one you chose.

  • me

    terrible list

  • johnathan

    did u even watch any of these movies? some choices u make good/(tdkr best movie) but most horrible choices ur a terrible critic

  • Kawesa Alan

    I’ll stick to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, this article is plagues with poor taste and criticisms.

  • Bloke

    Hardy didn’t look at all like bane, he looked silly and sounded like a cross between Sean Connery and Yoda

  • Justin Parris

    As a massive Batman fan, who went to the midnight showing of Batman Begins in an empty theater, I found Dark Knight Rises extremely disappointing.Large portions of character motivation made no sense, themes and morals that directly contradict those of previous films in the series, etc etc.