I I'm not a huge Wes Anderson fan. In fact, with the exception of The Royal Tenenbaums, I've never been able to stay awake through any of his movies. I generally find the overt quirkiness to be a massive turn-off.
Moonrise Kingdom was a huge exception. It has plenty of Anderson's trademark quirkiness, but in this movie it really works. Anderson has created characters that are venerable and relatable. The movie has many famous names, but is really driven by the unknown children leads, who steal the spotlight.
I found it surprising that this movie was released during the summer block buster season, unless they are trying to capitalize on the PG-13 rating and drawing in older kids. I felt like it was definitely squarely aimed at an adult audience. It has a reflective quality that stuck with me well past having watched the movie. It perfectly captured the awkwardness and naivete adolescence that you cannot begin to realize exists until those years have long passed. The movie contains many funny, cringe worthy and even dark moments.
The movie makes many strong parallels to Peter Pan, but instead running away to stay forever children, these children are running away towards adulthood and towards a better life than the adults in the movie are able to offer them.
Visually, the movie is very interesting. A lot of extreme closeups of not just the characters, but to objects important to the characters. Nothing was extraneous. I loved how each setting was so rich with character.
The ending is the really one of the sweetest endings to any movie I have ever seen, It manages to be sweet without being trite. The movie also inserts good morals, such as loyalty and caring for your community, without beating the point to death. It's solid storytelling and writing, a welcome treat in the glut of summertime crap.