GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Lars von Triers surprising latest.
  • GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Lars von Trier's surprising latest.

... because the summer wasn't in need of saving.

Over the weekend, my social feeds blew up with peoples' love for Marvel's latest—which was pretty delightful to see, because the movie's fantastic. But along with everyone's newfound affection for Groot and Rocket came an unexpectedly pervasive sentiment: That Guardians of the Galaxy "saved the summer" by delivering solid, fun blockbuster action, which apparently wasn't anywhere else to be found this summer? Even writer Joe Hill got into it:

I don't mean to pick on Hill, because I like his work quite a bit and he's hardly alone in pointing out the TV-versus-film thing. But just because TV doesn't suck anymore doesn't mean that film has suffered; as far as movies go, this year's already been pretty great.

Hell, even if we look past the arthouse-ier, indie-style stuff that's been phenomenal this year (Only Lovers Left Alive, Obvious Child, Boyhood, The Rover, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and only look at the bigger, blockbuster-ier type of movies that are more in Guardians' neighborhood? It's still been a really solid summer:

Edge of Tomorrow—"A fun, funny action movie with science-fiction smarts, deft satire, a nail-biter of a plot, and lots of cool explosions," Ned Lannamann declared, like a happy king. "If you see a better popcorn movie this summer, it's going to be a very good summer indeed." Currently screening at the Laurelhurst Theater, Academy Theater, Kennedy School, OMSI Empirical Theater, Mission Theater, and more.

22 Jump Street—There are still some people who haven't heard that the Jump Street movies are great? Or who refuse to believe it? These are people worth pitying. Century Eastport 16, Bridgeport Village Stadium 18, Fox Tower 10.

Snowpiercer—Bong Joon-ho's sci-fi allegory was a hit in the few theaters it was released in and on VOD—but if it had been in more theaters and had gotten more of an advertising push, it could've been exactly the sort of mainstream movie for grown-ups that grown-ups are always whining about not having. Hollywood Theatre, On Demand.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes—Okay, probably not the funnest summer blockbuster, in that it's a brutal reminder that the world is a dark, vicious place where even the most admirable among us have no other choice but to declare moral bankruptcy in order to survive. But once you get past that, hey, monkeys with guns! Various Theaters.

X-Men: Days of Future Past—Against every single odd in the universe, the 4,653rd X-sequel was clever and inventive and delivered precisely the right amounts of Wolverine slicing stuff up and Patrick Stewart ominously monologuing. Fox Tower 10, Lloyd Mall 8.

How to Train Your Dragon 2—"One more rousing success like this," says Eric D. Snider, "and How to Train Your Dragon will be the second-best animated trilogy in history. (Nothing's gonna touch Toy Story, sorry.)" HIGH PRAISE. Various Theaters.

Yeah, Guardians of the Galaxy closed out blockbuster season in grand style. But if you think it saved a lackluster summer? You've got a lot of catching up to do.