Endless Summer: 2000s Tournament Recap

The Dark Knight opens on a dissonant drone to reflect the schisms in its villain’s psyche. It’s as surprising and stunningly effective as the film’s pop-cultural impact — which shattered box-office records at the time, broke the non-technical Oscar barrier for superhero cinema and, for better or worse, rewrote a good portion of the rulebook for both that sub-genre (and the Academy Awards themselves).

So it’s not exactly surprising that this #1 overall seed in the 2000s edition of the Endless Summer Blockbuster Tournament reigned supreme in the championship — leaving Finding Nemo well downstream by a margin of 46 to 12 to take the crown.

That’s not to say Knight faced a field of slouches. Fantastic Four might have been its least beloved competitor. After that, it took down WALL-E, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Iron Man before its Final Four matchup against Up. And that #5 film had behaved like a #1 seed throughout, trouncing competitors like Spider-Man and Shrek and racking up the most votes of any competitor round over round. And although it came within 12 votes of knocking out the Knight, it had to settle for a consolation prize. (Overall, Knight took out three total Pixar films.)

Yes, this became the Pixar-versus-Batman tournament — with Batman Begins rounding out the Final Four. You’ll see a different, but not surprising, dominant presence in the 2010s tournament, which means that once again, you can cast your votes in a fresh field of 64 when the 2010s edition of the Endless Summer Blockbuster Tournament starts on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pg/midwestfilmjournal) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/MWFilmJournal).

(Side note: Thanks again for those who’ve stuck with us through Facebook’s seeming decommission of polls as we’ve traditionally presented them. We prescheduled the first round for the 2010s tournament weeks ago and hope they’ll hold. If they do, just enjoy this brief reprieve because we’ll likely be back to LIKE for one and LOVE for the other territory soon.) 

Here are a few notes about the 2000s tournament, with the final bracket embedded below.:

  • It certainly helps when you make so many Harry Potter and Batman films, but Gary Oldman emerged as the unexpected force to reckon with in this tournament. The only time he didn’t lose to himself (i.e., Potter versus Batman) was Finding Nemo’s win over Batman Begins (and even then, it was just by a single vote).
  • Not as many enduring underdogs in this tournament as the 1990s, but the competing Jason Bourne films (Supremacy and Ultimatum) proved surprisingly resilient … until they faced formidable family-film competition in Shrek and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • Although none of their films advanced beyond the second round, the X-Men proved first-round spoilers for heavy hitters like Transformers and Spider-Man 2. The only X-Men film to fall in the first round was X-Men: The Last Stand.
  • And from the “every movie gets at least one vote” category, the following were able to scrounge up a handful: Fantastic Four (against Knight), Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (against Iron Man), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (against Up), Over the Hedge (against Shrek 2), What Lies Beneath (against Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), and The Proposal (against Finding Nemo).
The Dark Knight held off many competitors to win the 2000s Endless Summer Blockbuster Tournament.


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An award-winning film critic and features reporter, Nick has professionally written or gabbed about movies for Illinois newspapers, national syndicates, Playboy, The Art Immortal, The Film Yap and Midwest radio stations. He once drummed in a Billy Joel cover band known as Silly Joel and freely presents his Letterboxd page to engage and mock if you wish: https://letterboxd.com/ragekage79/


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