Tag Archives: comics

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

*Spoiler Alert*

*There are major spoilers in this review. Keep that in mind before continuing.*

Fun? Sure. Entertaining? Hell yeah. Sleek? Check.

But amazing? I’m not so sure.

This flick was the second big superhero blockbuster to appear in Spring (the first being Captain America: The Winter Solider) and it definitely looked the part.

The trailer was epic, in short. And not epic as in, “I can’t believe how cool the things they’re saying are” or “I can’t believe the angle that shot is at”. 

It was more like, “This movie is gonna blow my freakin’ mind!”, “Those effects look unreal!” and “Electro looks sooo badass!”. 

There are a few things the new Spider-Man movie did quite well and most of those things are exactly what you thought were going to be awesome when you saw the trailer.

The effects are fantastic. They look by far the best out of any Spider-Man film to date. Spidey never looks fake, Electro’s CGI is done very well in that one can still see Jamie Foxx’s acting through it and every single fight scene has the ability to make you grab your armrests as the Web-Head soars through New York and does mid-air gymnastics. 

The villains all look awesome. Along with Electro, the new Green Goblin (played by Dylan DeHaan) and Rhino (played by) are both amped up versions of what appears in the original comics. 

DeHaan’s goblin was especially enjoyable, since the dude looked like he wanted to rip out your throat before he was injected with the crazy spider blood stuff. It was probably those eyes.

Dehaan

The story borrows mostly from the comics and things like The Spectacular Spider-Man, a cartoon based on the comics that was cancelled a while ago. It’s done fairly well and most comic fans should enjoy it. 

It spends its entire time leading up to the death of Gwen Stacy (played by the lovely Emma Stone), which was one of the most climactic deaths in all of comics. Just like in the original, she is dropped by the Green Goblin and Spidey (Andrew Garfield) does failed to catch her.

However, instead of hitting her with a web strand and having her break her neck when it’s pulled taut, in this film he catches her with the web strand and is just barely unable to pull the line taut before the back of her head slams into the concrete floor. 

Ouch.

Despite the serious lack of blood that should be spilling out of the back of her head like a soda fountain, the scene of Spider-Man holding his dead lover is strong and Andrew Garfield’s acting in this scene is top notch.

Now.

This leads into some of the problems I had with this film.

Though the Gwen death scene was done very well, I found all of the leading up to it unnecessary. It was like Marc Webb pulled out a gigantic, invisible hammer with the words “These two REALLY love each other” stamped on it and starting bashing the audience’s skull in.

Every single time Pater Parker and Gwen Stacy are on screen together and one of them is not wearing red and blue tights, they are: breaking up, apologizing to each other, worrying for each other, being mushy with each other, kissing each other or gazing deeply into the other’s eyes and communicating via mind-link. 

In the very few scenes in which there is a bit more added to the moment, everything seems much better on account of Garfield and Stone’s on camera chemistry. The two play off of each other well and it works, with quick witted remarks being their strength. They at least look like they should be together and do act (although incredibly hyperbolized) like a realistic couple. 

Much unlike Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in the Sam Raimi versions, who constantly looked like they were locked in a battle of trying to make the other uncomfortable by either staring too long or making supremely indifferent facial expressions. 

To sum up, Garfield and Stone were great on screen when they weren’t playing up how much Peter and Gwen loved each other. The problem is, that wasn’t very often. 

Now, other than that main issue (since it was most of the movie) there were two smaller problems I had. 

First of all, what was up with Electro’s teeth?

Before he was turned into Electro, Max Dillon has an overtly large space between his front two teeth. I suppose this was to make him look more geeky or insane? Because y’know, that’s how you tell a sane person from an insane one.

If they have a space between their teeth so large you can see their uvula, then they’re probably bat-shiz crazy.

Anyway, when Max falls into the vat full of electric eels that turns him into Electro, there is a very short (maybe two second?) shot that is just a close up of his teeth getting scrunched together so that they suddenly look perfect. 

Why?! Like, what? Why is this necessary?

I guess there goes the whole insane-teeth theory I just came up with since he certainly didn’t get any more sane when being transformed into a human subwoofer (the amount of dubstep surrounding Electro is nuts). 

There is zero point to this shot and zero point to Electro having good teeth. He’s just made of energy, right? He doesn’t need to see the dentist anyway! 

Perhaps they did it just for the scene where he’s on the giant screens in Times Square? Or because Jamie Foxx got a few scenes in and realized he looked like an add for a Chiclets commercial?

Sigh.

The second thing was the shot of the planes. 

You know, right after Electro cuts the power to the city, there’s a shot of mission control (or whatever they call them in plane terms) freaking out since all of their tech got blacked out. 

Okay, I get it. Power’s out. Emphasized this way. Cool.

But then, after the power is restored and everything comes back online, we are again taken to the mission control room where they hurriedly tell two pilots to avoid crashing into each other since they are literally headed right towards one another. The pilots listen and there’s a super neat shot of the planes just barely missing each other.

As soon as they get by one another, the hero music (that Spidey gets when he does something heroic) that’s been reserved for far more important things the entire movie is played and mission control celebrates like they just won the Super Bowl.

Again, why?! It’s not necessary! There’s no point to having the shot of these planes at all and even less point of giving them the hero music!

The only thing I can think of is that the scene is used to emphasize the power being lost and then returning, but seriously? THAT’S how you did it?

Double sigh.

Other than that, the film is fun and enjoyable but it is understandable why critics (or people who see movies like critics do) weren’t very keen on it. The story isn’t super deep and there’s a lot of “Screw this! Let’s fight!” and “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you, Gwen” thrown around. 

But the acting is solid all around, with especially good performances by Foxx, DeHaan and Garfield. The music is well done, although some might not like hearing the thoughts in Electro’s head mixed in with dubstep and the effects are great.

So, amazing? I don’t think I can go there. But worth a watch? Certainly. Especially in Imax 3D (which is how I saw it). 

Rating out of 100: 74

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Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2

The posters themselves could give seizures...
The posters themselves could give seizures…

First rule of going to see a movie like this: don’t trust the ratings system. 

When I walked to the theatre with my friends to grab tickets early, the sign outside the theatre and the rating on the ticket I bought said that Kick-Ass 2 was rated 14A. 

This is obviously laughable if you have any idea whatsoever of what the graphic novel-inspired flick is about.

I watched the original Kick-Ass about a week prior to viewing the sequel and enjoyed it much, much more than I thought I would. Before seeing it, I never had any deep desire to seek it out, knowing what little information I did about it; that it was some sort of twisted and colourful superhero parody and that the plot couldn’t be that much more complex than Kick-Ass’ costume.

IMPORTANT INFO: I have never read the graphic novels, so my opinions are solely based on the films.

I was somewhat incorrect about the first Kick-Ass. Yes, there was an extreme and unnecessary amount of swearing, there was a small bit of nudity and a fair bit (although not even close to Kill Bill level) of gore. 

But the story impressed me more than I thought it would and the characters actually were memorable. It was something new that I’d never really seen done before. The concept, “can a normal person be a superhero”, has been brought up before, but never done in quite so a way as in Kick-Ass

Also, the story is clearly aimed at teenage-early adult audiences and although crude, is disturbingly accurate in terms of how people of that age talk and act.

Anyways, moving on to the film at hand now.

Kick-Ass 2 brought back a much more jacked Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and a much older Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), as well as Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who’s changed his name (as he makes the swift and inevitable change from hero to villain) to something I cannot risk typing out in this review for fear of some child’s mother reading it and calling me up saying, “My daughter/son reads all of these! How DARE you write such a- blah, blah, blah”. 

Stupid lawsuits.

This flick had everything the first movie had that made it unique: ordinary people dressing up as heroes, colourful costumes, swearing, blood, lame jokes, serious content and stuff that just made you sit there with your mouth open, thinking, “Did they really just say that?”.

The thing that really set Kick-Ass 2 apart from the original for me was the fact that this one had more serious content than the first. I also think that the actors had gotten a little better at their jobs; certainly Hit-Girl. 

The movie actually made you feel attached and hurt when some of the major characters were lost. It showed a different side of the main characters as well. Kick-Ass was more grown up in this movie, and a little darker than he was in the first. 

Hit-Girl, too, showed a different side of herself; letting vulnerability take over at one point and having to try and deal with her life as a teenage girl.

Altogether, the serious and emotionally enticing scenes were what made the movie worth seeing even more so than the awesome fight scenes and smart-mouthed characters.

Personally, I wanted to see Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl succeed much more so than in the first film, because I felt more attached to them in the second go round.

Oh, and how can I forget?! You can never go wrong with a movie that has Jim Carrey in it. He played Colonel Stars and Stripes and was one of the more intriguing characters in the movie. He also looks a lot older now, like, a lot older, so thankfully I didn’t keep seeing him in my mind’s eye as Ace Ventura. 

I know there’s a funny joke I can make somewhere here about him being in both a movie about superheroes where he plays a hero and a movie about a mask where he wears a mask but … I just can’t think of one.

Oh well.

If you were into the original Kick-Ass, then you’ll love this movie. If you don’t like anything I’ve mentioned above, then seriously don’t see this movie. 

For example, if you’re my parents. They still don’t understand why I’d waste my time watching something like that…

Rating out of 100: 82