Okay, it’s well and truly here, the 2017 Blockbuster Season, the time when the big studios release their tentpole summer movies in the hopes of bagging massive box office returns, and if they’re lucky, some long overdue critical approval. The movies that have been given the biggest push through trailers and promotional tie-ins and targeted social media outlets. The movies with the biggest budgets and the biggest stars. And the movies that roundly and soundly let us down. Each. And. Every. Year.
If you begin with Logan (released back in March), and if you treat it as a blockbuster, then the following movies all fall into the same category: big movies given big releases after big advertising spends have been pretty much exhausted. And those movies are: Kong: Skull Island, Beauty and the Beast, Power Rangers, Ghost in the Shell, The Fate of the Furious, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Alien: Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Baywatch, Wonder Woman, and The Mummy. Not one of these movies is an original. They’re either a reboot, a remake or a sequel. Most of them have made a shed load of money already, and two of them have made over $1 billion. But can anyone say, hand on heart, that any of these movies have been so good that the anticipation built up by the studios was entirely justified? I don’t think so. To put it bluntly, none of them were that good.
So, still to come we have: Transformers: The Last Knight, Despicable Me 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the Apes, Cars 3, Dunkirk, The Dark Tower, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. More heavy doses of fantasy and action, and another round of movies that we’ll all hope will be better than we think they’ll be. But how is it that we always fall for this “false advertising”? How is it that we always fall for the same build-ups and the same claims that Movie X will be amazing/fantastic/mind-blowing/the best thing sliced bread? Are we that numb to the continual failings of the big studios to provide audiences with movies that they can actually engage with on an emotional and intellectual level? And can we not just say No to over-hyped movies and their dire content? The people that make these movies are all highly regarded and all highly talented, but they make the same mediocre/rubbish/moronic (I’m talking about you, Baywatch) movies over and over. And we all rush to see them (and before you say, “yes, and so do you”, my excuse is that I’ll watch anything – I’m a movie addict).
This is a concern that I’ve raised before on thedullwoodexperiment, and I have no doubt that I’ll be raising it again in the future (probably next year). But before I do, think about it like this: the big studios tell us that their summer blockbuster movies help subsidise the smaller, more intimate movies that they also make. But even with that, aren’t we entitled to spend our money on seeing a tentpole movie that really does move us – and not to ennui?