It's just occurred to me how damned lucky geeks have been for the past few summers. Rewind to 2005. We were all prepped for the penultimate Star Wars film to grace movie screens everywhere. It was bittersweet, as "I can't believe this is the last one" intermingled with "I can't wait to see the Anakin/Obi-Wan" duel, with just a smidge of "I hope Lucas gets this one right." In the end, it was the last one, the duel was great and as for getting it right...well, it was pretty close...Well, much closer than the last two.
Shortly following Revenge of the Sith came Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, a film that was ten times better than it had any right to be. The casting was great, the story was great, and there were absolutely no nipples on the bat-suit (for the uninitiated, Joel Schumacher thought it'd be a great idea to make Batman a little bit more...flamboyant in the final two films of the original series). Thankfully, with a competent director behind the wheel of the project (and a kick-ass Batman behind the wheel of the Batmobile), Batman Begins turned out to be the surprise hit of the summer. Of course, not all of the summer blockbusters blew our collective minds that fateful summer. Fantastic Four was average at best and War of the Worlds was Spielberg's lamest film since AI. They might not have been great, but they were there. We had Jedi, Human Torches and tormented costumed billionaires all in the same summer. Could have done without Tom Cruise and his foreboding Thetan levels, but what are you gonna do?
Move ahead to 2006. X-Men: The Last Stand kicked things off early and, while infuriating the purists out there, turned out to be some entertaining popcorn fare. Juggernaut, bitch indeed. It was followed closely by Superman Returns which, while disappointing a large contingent of the comic book community (that seems to be growing larger on the Internet with each passing day), was the first time The Man of Steel had been on-screen in decades. I'll admit, it hasn't aged well in the last year and it's pacing is downright painful at times, but it got people talking about Superman again.
Then came Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The first Pirates film, released three years prior, was a pleasant surprise but this...this thing was an EVENT. And I honestly think it delivered. In a post-Star Wars and Lord of the Rings world, it gave movie nerds another trilogy to dissect while we all wait for the final installment this summer.
Ah yes, this summer. Already, we've been spoiled with 300 and TMNT (no, I haven't seen it yet. But I hear nothing but good things from the old-school fans), and with Grindhouse right around the corner, followed by Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Transformers, Fantastic Four 2 and The Simpsons Movie, there will be many a geekgasm in the next few months.
But James, what's your point? My point is this: for better or worse, this stuff's getting made. Did you ever think we'd ever see an idea like Grindhouse fully realized? Or that Spider-Man would actually be done right? Hell, did we expect them to start work on another Indiana Jones flick? The niche film has become the event picture, and in a post-Star Wars landscape, movie geeks have plenty to look forward to each and every summer. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go analyze the Spider-Man 3 trailer for the 149th time...