Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Cruise’s leap, Thanos’ snap: Summer movies’ hits, misses
Although it doesn’t end until Labor Day, the summer movie season is already a winner.
Hollywood’s blockbusters have boosted the box office nearly 14 percent from last summer’s disastrous showing, according to comScore, with hits such as “Deadpool 2,” “Incredibles 2” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”
The suddenly rediscovered formula? Great, appealing movies and memorable performances that will endure long after the dog days end.
Our winners and losers of summer movies:
Best victory from utter disaster: Tom Cruise in ‘M:I-Fallout’
Tom Cruise somehow turned a major stunt injury and expensive delay on “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” into a positive. The sixth installment of the 22-year-old franchise soared at the box office ($538 million worldwide) with its best reviews, with a 97 percent favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The well-told tale of the star’s broken ankle only adds a memorable chapter to Cruise’s legend.
Best villain: Thanos from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’
The wait for arch villain Thanos to take center stage was worth it for Marvel fans. Josh Brolin brought complicated, nuanced badness to the Dark Lord in “Avengers: Infinity War.” And that snap of Thanos’ fingers which led to mass superhero deaths is still reverberating throughout the Marvel universe, building anticipation for 2019’s “Avengers 4.”
Summer breakout: Awkwafina
There was a common thread linking the history-making female-led blockbuster cast of “Ocean’s 8” and the history-making “Crazy Rich Asians” — rapper Awkwafina (a.k.a. Nora Lum). From her pickpocketing character Constance in “Oceans” to Rachel’s best friend Peik Lin, she stole both movies.
Movie that shoulda got whacked: ‘Gotti’
Kevin Connolly somehow turned a John Gotti mob movie, which got a Cannes Film Festival premiere, into a movie everyone just had to refuse. With John Travolta chewing the scenery as the New York crime boss, “Gotti” earned a 0 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was swimming with the box-office fishes after banking less than $5 million.
Best superhero duo: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Mister Rogers
Audiences searching for decency in troubled times flocked to two inspiring documentaries. Director Morgan Neville
On to fall
Look for a preview of what’s coming (and what we hope is coming) to Milwaukee movie theaters this fall in Sunday’s Tap section. shined a spotlight on the life of beloved children’s TV host Fred Rogers. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” wowed with a $21.7 million box office 50 years after the debut of his PBS series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Meanwhile, “RBG” has ensured that 85year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be forever known by her rapper-esque nickname “Notorious RBG.”
Biggest franchise wake-up call: ‘Solo’
Disney’s “Star Wars” factory has churned out anticipated hit after hit since 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” But offscreen drama from the high-profile director switch on “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” along with fan fatigue, proved that even “Star Wars” films can turn routine and forgettable.