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The Best (and Worst) Sci-Fi/Fantasy Summer Movies So Far

The Best (and Worst) Sci-Fi/Fantasy Summer Movies So Far


August is approaching just as fast as is scientifically possible (assuming the laws of space and time don’t change) meaning,  this summer will soon draw to a close. Yes, the magical season in which the amount of movies that will be nominated for serious awards is totally out-numbered by movies you actually like, will soon be over. So, with only a few more big genre movies left this summer, let’s take a second to see how the summer of 2014 have treated us so far.

The Best!


The director’s fear of maybe not wanting to actually film Godzilla himself until the end of the movie was a little annoying. Still, this movie balanced a seriousness and goofiness inherent to the whole Godzilla phenomenon simultaneously. If you were looking for a “hardcore” or “classic” Godzilla movie, this probably wasn’t it, since it actually made a little bit of sense.

Captain America: The Winter Solider

As you all know, the summer begins in April, and will always feature titles about seasons that aren’t summer. In this film, the secret organization Hydra had tons of schemes for world domination, but the one that seems to be the most effective is the fact that Captain America is straight-up cooler than most superheroes right now. We're not sure Hydra should have hired his best friend as the main assassin here, but hey, even Robert Redford isn’t perfect. There’s also the introduction of the superhero Falcon, who, as you may have guessed, flies.


How did this movie not suck? Further, how did it kind of rip-off the ending of Frozen and sort of get away with it? We would say this one is for “all you fans of the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty,” but that’s because we don’t want to say “regular people.” If you don’t like regular Sleeping Beauty, there’s a chance you’ll still like Maleficent. But regardless, if you don’t like Maleficent, well, maybe eat something or drink some water? You might just be cranky.

Edge of Tomorrow

A faux-video game style movie, in which Tom Cruise is comically murdered over and over again. The best thing about Edge of Tomorrow, is that 10-years-ago, it sounded like wish-fulfillment. Now it’s a real movie, complete with leaking, inexplicable sci-fi blue energy. Emily Blunt’s alien-murder sword doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the rest of the movie, shockingly does. And it’s funny.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Plot holes and fan service plague nearly every minute of this one. Plus, the desire to try to “fix” continuity problems from X-Men 3 serves to only remind you how rough X-Men 3 was. Still, because Wolverine sees an alternate future in which mutant kind is destroyed, it gives you pause to wonder if you could live in a world without X-Men movies. The answer is NO. And even with its flaws, this is the X-Men movie to save them all.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Caesar, an intelligent ape who learned sign language and the lessons of mercy and thoughtfulness, is totally the jam this summer. Smart, exciting, and elegant with its themes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is easily the best science fiction movie this summer. And in terms of mainstream, big-budget releases, probably the best sci-fi movie of the year.

The Worst!

Transformers: Age of Extinction

There’s no way having “extinction” in the title of this movie was some sort of Freudian slip? Do the Autobots have shrinks? Does Michael Bay? You’ll probably need to talk to yours after this movie.


It wasn’t terrible, but with the impending release of Lucy in a few weeks, the idea that a famous actor will turn into a computer and become a total jerk is already seeming a little played out. Plus, Jonny Depp literally phoned in most of this movie. There’s no reason to believe he was actually there for 85% of the scenes he’s “in.”

Earth to Echo

It’s a kid’s movie for babies. Or a baby’s movie for zygotes. Or a zygote’s movie for dust particles floating around in the air. Caesar from Planet of the Apes would hate how cloying and insipid this movie is. You’ll feel the same way.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Andrew Garfield’s hair still looks fantastic and Emma Stone is still charming to the point of making us depressed we’re not actually friends with her. And how about Jamie Foxx as Elector or Paul Giamatti as the Rhino! Wait, did Jamie Foxx just fall into a vat of electric eels that is just sort of hanging out at Oscorp? Is Harry Osborne the “Green Goblin” or the “Hob Goblin?” (Goblin taxonomy is hard.) This Spider-Man movie was a Spider-Man movie, and in many was full of the excitement and whimsy it should contain. But sometimes, things felt a little on the dumb side. It wasn't a bad movie and if you like Spider-Man you should see it, but if you hate movies were people conveniently fall into vats of electric eels and then become total psychopaths, you’re going to have some trouble.

What are you favorite movies this summer!?

Tags: movies, lists, reviews, best and worst, summer movies2014, ryan britt

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About the Author
Ryan Britt

Ryan Britt is the author of Luke Skywalker Can't Read and Other Geeky Truths, forthcoming from Plume (Penguin) Books on 11.24.15. He's written for The New York Times, Electric Literature, The Awl, VICE Motherboard, Clarkesworld Magazine, and is a consulting editor for Story Magazine. He lives in New York City.

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