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With the coming of August, we near the end of Summer Movie Season 2015. We’ve fought Ultron with the Avengers, followed Mad Max and Imperator Furiosa down Fury Road, tamed raptors and fought Terminators, felt sad for different reasons about Inside Out and Minions, and finally watched lovable loser Ant-Man and just plain loser Adam Sandler save the world. All that’s left ahead of us is another mediocre-looking Fantastic Four movie made to keep the rights out of Marvel Studios’ hands. So from this vantage point, what did we learn from the successes, flops and social justice darlings that came out of Hollywood this summer?

  Nostalgia was a big theme, but the approach this time was different. Instead of tepid remakes of beloved movies — for example, the bland Total Recall and Robocop remakes of recent years — we got three movies that sought to revive moribund franchises with long-awaited sequels. Of course, Jurassic Park, Mad Max, and The Terminator all had sequels, but only The Terminator has had any recently and none since Terminator 2 have been well-regarded.

  The results of this were mixed. Mad Max: Fury Road was a surprisingly, delightfully feminist story and a great work of cinematography and practical effects, but it didn’t make as much box office bank as many competitors. But those who fell in love with it will be happy to know it was successful enough to warrant a sequel of its own. Jurassic World, with its frequent nostalgic nods to the original and dismissal of the previous sequels, was the box office winner of the summer. For all the goosebumps that sprang up from the familiar strains of the Jurassic Park theme, it lacked a lot of the character, the heart, and the diversity of the original. (Remember the little girl who knew how to use UNIX?) Terminator: Genesys was so firmly rooted in the first two Terminator movies that some complained that it didn’t stand on its own. Genesys was the most critically disliked of these nostalgia sequels, though this geek actually enjoyed it. It’s ironic that Terminator: Salvation was criticized for being too dark while Genesys was criticized for not being as dark as the original.

  Marvel Studios continued their two-movie summer schedule this year, and like last year they started out with a sure-fire sequel — Avengers: Age of Ultron — and followed it up with a late-season newcomer that seemed out of left field — Ant-Man. The Avengers sequel’s success didn’t surprise anyone, though Jurassic World did topple it from the summer’s top spot. And to be fair, Age of Ultron simply wasn’t as good as the original Avengers. Ant-Man was a great movie, but it lacked the meme-friendly feel-good-ness of last summer’s breakout Guardians of the Galaxy, and after a falling out with original director Edgar Wright and an often low-key marketing campaign, there just wasn’t as much buzz going into it. After an incredible 2014, Marvel Studios was merely lower-case “amazing” this year. But next year’s summer-starting Captain America: Civil War looks like it should put the capital A back in place, and Benedict Cumberbatch should make a good Doctor Strange next fall.

  One of the biggest disappointments for geeks this summer was the very presence of Adam Sandler in the retro-gaming action movie Pixels, a disappointment only worsened by the fact that it was pretty much the only original big-ticket sci-fi movie. This geek has watched hearts break as people who thought it looked interesting learned that detail. Alas for what could have been.