2014 Summer Blockbusters from Worst to Best

It seems that the ‘summer movie season’ gets larger and larger every year. It used to generally be considered to begin on the last week of May and continue to the end of August but in recent years its expanded to include all of May, then April (The Avengers and Iron Man 3 were April openings). The first huge blockbuster of this year Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened back in March. Soon it looks like ‘summer’ is going to constitute half the year on the movie calendar. Anyway it’s September now and I’ve managed to see practically every big movie to come out over the last few months so though I’d write a ranking listicle. For this I decided to count films from April-August and only those with budgets of around $100 million or more so there won’t be any mid-budget films or indies (also no 22 Jump Street as I’ve yet to see it). I’ve decided to include both Captain America and Divergent, as while the former was a March opening for me, it was April in the US, and vice versa for the latter.

(RT scores and box office totals are as of 06/09/14)

15. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014

I had almost hoped that this would be released here in September (as it is in a few territories) so I wouldn’t have felt obliged to see it for this list. Completely awful in every respect.

Box office: $280.2 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
My rating: 1/5

14. Transformers: Age of Extinction


I’m afraid I must jump aboard the Michael Bay-hating train this year after enduring the punishing experience of Transformers 4. So far beyond excessive in length and scale, with the two worst performances of the year, typically it’s made over a billion dollars.

Box office: $1,072.6 billion
Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
My rating: 1.5/5

13. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

amazing spider-man 2

The more I’ve thought about this crappy sequel to Sony’s pointless reboot of the Spider-Man series the more I’ve disliked it. I’m not even a big Spider-Man fan but it goes some way to ruin the main appeal of the character by making him ‘destined’ to be Spider-Man. Terrible villain too.

Box office: $708.3 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
My rating: 2/5

12. Divergent


Dystopian YA adaptations are almost becoming a sub-genre unto themselves. Divergent is one of several to come out this year, but has nothing really to recommend it or set it apart, just another dull teen romance in a sci-fi setting. There will be sequels

Box office: $274.9 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
My rating: 2/5

11. Transcendence

transcendence 2

I was hoping this would be good, and it’s a real shame it wasn’t as this is this only original-screenplay based big movie of the summer. Flopped badly enough at the box-office to have some critics questioning Johnny Depp’s star power again.

Box office: $103.0 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
My rating: 2/5

10. Maleficent


While it was expected to do well, I don’t think anyone expected Maleficent to wind up being the second most successful movie of the summer. Same it isn’t any good then, just the latest contribution to this live-action fairy-tale retelling trend that has yet to produce anything decent.

Box office: $753.3 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
My rating: 2/5

9. The Expendables 3

expendables 3

The third entry in this ensemble geri-action franchise was marred by an early internet leak and its performance looks to have ended the series. Again it’s nothing special but contains enough entertaining supporting characters to make it worth a watch.

Box office: $106.0 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 34%
My rating: 2.5/5

8. Hercules

hercules 2014

Brett Ratner’s take on Hercules looked to be awful from the previews but its interesting myth-debunking theme and fun performances enlivened what would have been a standard series of battles.

Box office: $174.9 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
My rating: 3/5

7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier


Marvel’s first release of the year was early out to gate and scored huge returns as a result. It’s a decent second outing for Cap band Marvel tries to make it more of a spy thriller but ultimately it just felt like another superhero movie, particularly come it’s overblown conclusion. He’ll be back in Avengers 2 next ear then Cap 3 in 2016.

Box office: $714.1 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
My rating: 3/5

6. Godzilla

Godzilla - Mar 2014

A great final act that appeared to satisfy all the Godzilla fans out there, but the slower mid-section and dull human characters held it back from being a truly great summer movie. It was a big enough hit that a sequel’s on the way, but not for another 4 years.

Box office: $525.0 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
My rating: 3/5

5. How to Train Your Dragon 2


I’m afraid I never got round to reviewing How to Train Your Dragon 2 last month but while not as good as the first with no moment to rival ‘test drive’, it’s a solid sequel to one of Dreamworks animation’s best movies.

Box office: $602.1 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
My rating: 3.5/5

4. X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Bryan Singer’s return to the franchise he started all the way back in 2000 successfully managed to bridge the two timelines and casts of the series and rejuvenated the X-Men once again. It wound up the biggest hit in the series’ history.

Box office: $745.6 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
My rating: 3.5/5

3. Edge of Tomorrow

Almost equal: Tom Cruise as Cage and Emily Blunt as Rita in sci-fi blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow

The Groundhog Day meets Saving Private Ryan with aliens sci-fi actioner was one of the most enjoyable movies of the summer. It would have scored second place in this list had it not been let down by its ending.

Box office: $364.3 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
My rating: 3.5/5

2. Guardians of the Galaxy


Marvel studios solidified the notion that they’re a brand unto themselves now by taking an obscure comic few have heard of and making it into one of the year’s biggest hits. This immensely enjoyable space opera is the first Marvel film to truly stand apart from the others and quite possibly their best yet.

Box office: $557.5 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
My rating: 4/5

1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


If I’d have had to place a bet on the film that would top this list back in January I would have gone with this (or Jupiter Ascending had it not been delayed) and my instincts would have been on the money. A rare blockbuster with brains and depth to go along with action and spectacle, it’s very pleasing to see a film like this do so well at the box office too. The next Planet of the Apes is due for 2016.

Box office: $625.0 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
My rating: 4/5


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