Photo By: Jake Hills from Unsplash

Through lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, movie-goers relied on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch the latest movies. It wasn’t all bad, but watching a movie in a theater provides an enhanced experience that cannot be fully replicated at home. So when theatres finally opened again in the summer, many rejoiced. 

As a result of the pandemic, many films meant to be released in 2020 were delayed to come out during the latter half of 2021. As a result, this summer had some notable releases and I will cover some of those here.

Kicking things off is The Green Knight, a David Lowrey-directed, A24 film that is already being called the movie of the summer by some. Produced by the same company behind big titles like Midsommar, Moonlight, and Uncut Gems, there were high expectations for the film.

Dev Patel stars in this slow-burn fantasy film among a great cast of supporting actors and actresses. Patel’s performance as Sir Gawain and the worldbuilding itself left audiences in awe. There are movies where the experience is enhanced by being watched in theatres and The Green Knight is certainly one of them.

Marvel fans received their first movie of phase four in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson co-stars alongside Florence Pugh in this long-awaited blockbuster. However, some issues followed the release. Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract, after releasing the movie both in theaters and on their streaming platform Disney+, which would decrease box office numbers and thus decrease the share of such revenues that she was guaranteed in her contract.

20 years after the first movie’s release, the saga continued with Fast and Furious 9 (FF9). Once again, audiences were reminded of the importance of family. With a returning cast of known actors and actresses and over-the-top action that the Fast and Furious movies are known for, FF9 made for a fun watch this summer.

Many people’s childhood movie Space Jam, starring Michael Jordan received its sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy, starring LeBron James. This family comedy combining basketball and the Looney Tunes received low review scores, but don’t let that stop you from reliving some nostalgia.

The Suicide Squad sets itself apart from its predecessor which was released in 2016. The 2021 version keeps some of the same cast, such as Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, and Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag. While the new version has received better reviews than its predecessor, so far it’s made five times less at the box office, though that is certainly due at least in part to the pandemic.

Netflix also released a slasher trilogy throughout the weeks of July. Fear Street takes a unique approach to the genre. Directed by Leigh Janiak, the first Fear Street film starts in 1994 and moves backward to 1978 for the second film, and finally 1666 for the last installment. Each film unravels new secrets, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats the whole time.

Fear Street is gruesome, full of plot twists, and features a strong villain. It’s a trilogy that horror and slasher film enthusiasts will enjoy. Even though it was released in the summer months, it will be worth rewatching when Halloween comes around.

The movie Annette is many things, but “unique” captures it in one word. Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard star in this musical drama directed by Leos Carax, who takes us on a dark path full of satire. Annette stands on its own, it is an unusual musical for anyone looking for an interesting watch. 

Film enthusiasts had their fill of movies to pick from, especially with the reopening of theaters. From fantasy to horror to musicals, these are just a few movies that highlighted the summer months of film releases. If you missed any of these releases but they’ve piqued your interest here, be sure to give them a chance when and where you can.