The best summer movies of the 2010s

With any hopes of a traditional summer blockbuster season becoming more unlikely by the day, Oxygen is in a wistful mood, thinking about the best summer blockbusters from years past. Here’s our picks for the best summer blockbusters from the last 10 years.

Inception (2010)

On paper, Inception shouldn’t have been as big as it was.

The plot is convoluted, half the dialogue is explaining the rules of the world, and the ending was  a source of contention for many, but damn it, the movie works.

Perhaps it’s having a supernova of a star like Leonardo Di Caprio at the centre, guiding audiences along that helped the movie connect in the way it did, or it could be the equally stunning effects work.

The scene where Paris folds in on itself is a true cinematic marvel, and the rotating hallway fight still looks a million dollars 10 years later.

Of course, the movie left a legacy better than any Oscar win ever could have – it added the suffix ‘-ception’ to the end of a word, meaning something has many layers. Adding a new word to the vernacular is more than worthy of securing a place on this list.

Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

The only franchise that has the audacity to have its leading man defy death with every passing movie, Fallout is the high watermark of the Mission Impossible franchise.

You go to the movies for a good time and to lose yourself for 2 hours – Mission Impossible Fallout gives you all that, and then some, with some of the most nail-biting action sequences this side of Mad Max.

The one-take free-fall above the skies of Paris, the foot chase on the London rooftops where Tom Cruise runs at a pace that would make Usain Bolt blush, and the helicopter fight in the mountains of Kashmir, are the kinds of set-pieces that make it worth the price of admission.

Fallout is anchored by a lead performance from one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, often putting himself in harms way for our entertainment. For that, we salute him.

The Nice Guys (2016)

The hangout movie is such a tricky sub-genre to pin down, but in the broad sense, it’s a movie that has a plot you need to pay attention to the first time around, but every subsequent rewatch allows you to truly drink in the jokes, banter and atmosphere.

Last year’s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is a close contender for this list, but in terms of summer movies you can stick on and get enveloped by, The Nice Guys is maybe the best example of this kind of movie.

Ryan Gosling had a strong 2016, with his Oscar-nominated turn in La La Land, but he gives what is arguably the better performance here as an unsuccessful, klutzy private eye who is tasked with solving a conspiracy surrounding the murder of an adult film star.

Gosling plays off Russell Crowe’s surely and blunt grizzled type perfectly, and the chemistry between the two is truly something to behold. The duo are given some of the best one-liners and snappy dialogue director Shane Black has ever penned, and the movie is a treat to watch as a result.

On further rewatches, you can sit back and let the scuzzy 70s Los Angeles vibe wash all over you, which is a power that the only true great summer movies possess.

Magic Mike (2012)

Sadly not a documentary about Micheál O’Muircheartaigh behind the microphone, but rather a winning romp that helped solidify Chaning Tatum’s goods as a leading man.

On paper, Magic Mike sounds like the type of film made to fill a gap in the summer schedule.

Chaning Tatum, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey as a group of male strippers who don’t get along but get the job done? Sounds like a fake film from Entourage, quite frankly. But add in the virtuoso Steven Soderbergh into the mix, and you get a film that stands among the director’s best films.

Making a film that appeals to people of all tastes is an incredibly tricky act to pull off, but much like the performers at the heart of the film itself, Magic Mike makes it work.

If you’re in it for the eye candy, an interesting character drama, or just there to see a great oddball Matthew McConaughey performance, Magic Mike ticks all those boxes.

The 2015 sequel, Magic Mike XXL, has seen somewhat of a critical revaluation in critics circles, but in some cases, you truly can’t beat the original.

Honourable mentions: Edge Of Tomorrow, Baby Driver, Hereditary, Straight Outta Compton, Bridesmaids.

Do you have a favourite summer film from the 2010s we missed? Let us know below!

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Mike Finnerty

Galwayman studying Journalism in UL.
Film school dropout, perhaps the only person in Ireland who still gets excited for DVD releases.

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