Guest Post – Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

If you weren’t hyped over a Matt Reeves Batman film…well you should be now.

This Piece is written and contributed by one of my best friends, Andrew Park! Andrew currently works as an account executive for the Ontario Fury, a professional indoor soccer team in southern California. Passionate for all things sports, Andrew aspires to turn that passion into a profession of writing for websites such as The Ringer. He graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s in industrial and labor relations, and currently writes for his own blog and podcasts occasionally. Show him some love by clicking here!

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The highly-anticipated third act of the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise, director Matt Reeves returns from his success after being brought on for the same role in the second installment, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A franchise which traces its origins to the novel, La Planète des Singes (translated to Planet of the Apes), by French author Pierre Boulles, the Planet of the Apes, has experienced its most successful stretch of movies in its history. Having been a fan of the first two installments of the reboot franchise, I came into the movie with fairly high expectations, and left — for the most part — satisfied.

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For the uninitiated, the Apes (note: will refer to the franchise as this from now on) premise is that apes of all kinds around the world have gained a heightened level of intelligence due to the spread of an Alzheimer’s cure gone bad, which has turned into what is known as the “Simian Flu”. Humans have had a fairly negative effect from the virus — death. Heading into War (shortening this too for convenience sake), we find that the humans have decreased even more in number, and are shown as a military faction Alpha-Omega, lead by the mysterious Colonel (Woody Harrelson). The main protagonist of the trilogy, the chimpanzee leader Caesar (Andy Serkis), is joined by the clan of sentient apes he leads, as well as returning characters such as Rocket (chimpanzee) and Maurice (Bornean orangutan). The movie follows Caesar’s journey that hopefully bring two main goals: closure and survival.

As with the previous two installments of the rebooted franchise, War boasts of absolutely incredible CGI and visuals. The movie takes place in wilderness of northern California — Muir Woods to be exact — amidst a very snowy winter. With a movie like Apes, where the movie centers around sentient primates, one would have to assume that the actual apes would not be simply actors in mere costumes, but enhanced with the technology of CGI. The closeups of the faces of characters such as Caesar and Maurice are able to show the subtle changes of emotion where — for lack of a better word — they are certainly “humanlike”. It’s absolutely incredible where cinematic technology has gone, and this movie is the most recent poster child of said technology. The part I was the most blown away was that at times, I felt that Maurice — a completely computer-generated character — felt more realistic than Serkis as Caesar. That’s how amazing the CGI was for this film.

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Yes, that’s all CGI. Incredible.

Speaking of Serkis, ever since his performance as Gollum/Smeagol in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it seems that his main calling card has been these CGI roles — one that he does not seem to get enough credit for. Serkis again delivers a masterful performance, further showing that CGI’d (if that is even a word…it is now) actors have as much impact on movies as regular actors. Even as Caesar, who at this point can speak English in full sentences, the list of lines pales in comparison in terms of pure volume as that of a traditional role. But Serkis shows that less is more, and is able to show a leader who is constantly haunted by his checkered past, but still has to maintain an air of confidence as the undisputed and beloved leader of his species.

War brings the “quality over quantity” aspect of screenplay to the table, as the few lines that are uttered by Caesar or acted out via sign language from one of his cohorts still have hard-hitting impact. With the least amount of humans on-screen, despite having the least amount of dialogue of the trilogy by far, it holds up as the most thought-provoking.

This all goes to say that this film definitely has its own flaws that keep it from becoming an absolute masterpiece. Because of the sparse dialogue and frequent subtitle-aided sign language, a more casual viewer is likely to miss certain lines communicated between the apes, as well as the pure facial expressions. The lack of lines places heavy emphasis on the actions of the characters, which does have an effect of drawing out certain sections of the movie. The film ended in a fairly abrupt and convenient manner, which is always a disappointing result to have after such beautiful build-up to the climax.

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Ultimately, I had a great time watching this — especially having invested time in the two previous installments — and would ultimately recommend this to others who have done the same. Some of the best CGI I have ever seen on the big screen, with some of the best lines and moments of the film delivered without a single word being spoken.

I give War for the Planet of the Apes an 8.5/10.

Movie Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Stay until ALL the credits are over. You wont regret it!

[SPOILER FREE]

I’m just going to say it: Aunt May can babysit me any time.

Now that I got that out of the way, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! Wow, I can’t believe we finally got here…the beloved web-slinger is finally in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his own movie. You all know my thoughts on past Spider-Man movies and on Tom Holland already from my previous few posts, so we can dive straight in to this review.

This was a very fun, light hearted, character focused, coming-of-age story for the character of Spider-Man. It was the type of movie that could get you to smile solely off of its charm and vibe. Admittedly I had to sleep on this one to really figure out where I stand, and I hope that my audience understands that I’m extra critical when it comes to characters like Spider-Man and Batman because of how much they’ve done for me (hell, if we EVER got a Batman-Beyond movie, that would probably be my biggest challenge as an aspiring critic). While I will NOT say this is a better movie than Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2”, I will say this is the best Spider-Man movie we’ve gotten in the 13 years since Raimi’s second one came out.

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Peter is actually a sophomore in high school throughout this entire movie, and its fantastic. My favorite parts about this movie were all the grounded moments between the characters that impact Peter’s life: Ned, Aunt May, Liz, Flash, and Michelle…they were all great and it really felt like “high school” to me. Peter has high school problems while trying to balance being Spider-Man, and wants to do MORE as Spider-Man so he can be over high school already, and I felt like that was a very important trait/arc that they gave his character. I’ve already mentioned that I love Holland, but this casting for the supporting characters was also fantastic. Holland’s chemistry with Jacob Batalon (Ned) was absolutely perfect, Zendaya did what she had to do well with her character of Michelle, I loved Laura Harrier as Liz, and yes…I even liked Tony Revolori as Flash. While some might see these moments as a drag in the first two acts, I thoroughly enjoyed them, as they helped establish a young Spider-Man with a bright future.

Like I mentioned, this was just a very fun movie, and despite how cliche the “MCU snark” is getting, I actually laughed a lot during this movie. It wasn’t even because Spider-Man himself was a funny character (he was, don’t worry) but it was because of the right type and amount of jokes they threw in there that were out of the ordinary and matched the setting. For example, Hannibal Buress plays a gym teacher that shows a video of Captain America talking to the kids about a fitness challenge, and he makes a side-comment saying “I’m pretty sure this guy is a war criminal but whatever I have to show this” and I lost it. Even that stupid moment of “SPIDEY, DO A FLIP!” had so much charm to it, and I like that they catered the humor to the character’s situations rather than just having people throw quip after quip at each other.

Let’s talk about Michael Keaton and his character of the Vulture…Wow. The early reviews were right, Keaton gives us one of the best MCU villains we’ve seen (not that hard to do, but still). I was a little worried because Adrian Toomes is a tough character to make impactful throughout an entire movie, but they actually made it work by making him one of the people affected by the Avenger’s shenanigans. It was a good decision because while Toomes and his operation started because of unfair treatment by the Government and the Avengers, it related to the smaller scale of New York and made sense why Spidey would deal with this instead of SHIELD or something…because we forget that when he’s doing his own thing, Spider-Man IS a street-level hero. We get a relatable hero and villain with depth, and we get a lot of insight in to their motives and what makes them tick.

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Because this is Spidey’s “Homecoming” (haaaa) to the MCU, there are MCU references everywhere. Hell, there are even Spider-Man comic references everywhere. This movie takes place a few months after Civil War and we get to see a little bit of an “aftermath”. Robert Downey Jr. is, as most of you know, in this movie..but not as much as you would think, thankfully. He has a presence as a mentor and that is it, there’s no epic showdown with villains vs Ironman and Spider-Man despite what the PR might make you believe. Despite this, Marvel Studios comes swinging with this movie to say “Hey. Guess what. We have Spider-Man now.”…which actually brings me to my cons with this movie.

While the “MCU-building” aspect is cool…at times this movie can feel more like a “Marvel movie” rather than a “Spider-Man movie”. We’re all familiar with the MCU setup movies that don’t stand alone very well, and Homecoming has slight hints of this. Spider-Man IS the Marvel Comics poster-boy, so I kind of assumed that this story would be more grounded in his reality than it already was. While the light-heartedness was great, the movie lacked a sense of intensity and subtlety when it would’ve been appropriate, and most of the events didn’t feel as consequential. This is where I veer off from what others are saying in me saying that I wanted MORE. There was one scene between Toomes and Peter without their super suits that has so much tension..but that was the most that movie went in that direction where I feel like it had more potential. Spider-Man is a great character and I feel like at some point, the decision was made to play it safe with certain parts of the story. To be honest, I’m having trouble explaining why I was so bothered at some points…but I wanted to get this review out as quickly as possible so I hope I’m making sense (edits will be marked).

Also, this isn’t really a point about the movie…more about the marketing…but DAMN, trailers really messed this one up. I can honestly say that the less of the trailers/PR you ate up will mean a better time for you when watching Homecoming.

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“Spider-Man: Homecoming” has its moments where it very much feels like a product of a cinematic universe, but more than makes up for it with moments of charm and the understanding of a different kind of hero. I’m giving Homecoming an 8.5/10.

 

Hype for Homecoming: What We’ve Seen from Tom Holland

Part 5 of 5: You have the right to remain silent!

So my first bit of exposure to Tom Holland was seeing him at the red carpet premier for “Captain America: Civil War” and I thought…wow…this guy is…straight up a kid. The dude LOOKS like he’s in high-school, he was 19 at the time.  As for his few minutes of screen-time in Civil War…he nailed it. It felt like the Peter/Spidey I remembered from “Spectacular Spider-Man” the TV show was real. I think Holland has potential to be the best Peter Parker AND Spider-Man to take the big screen.

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  • Right off the bat we see him as an awkward kid, meeting someone as iconic as Tony Stark. I always am a sucker for the little things, and what I love here is Peter eventually goes “Wait, so does this grant have like…money involved..?”. This kid is from a low-income family…and his 10 minutes of fame nails that. Not only is his suit kinda crappy when Tony finds it, but his web-shooters are really clunky too…suggesting he probably built it from dumpster parts like his other tech in his room.
  • I’m gonna just drop quotes at points because whoever wrote Peter’s dialogue understood the character SO WELL.
  • “When you can do the things I can, but you don’t…and THEN the bad things happen? They happen because of you.” Now THAT’S how you paraphrase the great power/great responsibility bit.
  • “I can’t go to Germany!…I’ve got homework!”
  • Again, small things..when Tony throws the web cartridge at Peter, he catches without looking…aka he’s already adjusting to his Spider-Sense (his most useful power, for those who don’t know).
  • So knowing that Peter is well done, now we get to the Airport Scene where SPIDEY is absolutely stellar as well. Amazing use of his wit, good fight choreography, the child-like enthusiasm…its all so perfect.
  • “You have a metal arm? That’s awesome dude!”
  • It’s all just so perfect. His lines, his reactions to everything, the subtlety of the spider-sense…even the “young-blood” attitude that Spidey would have at this point is accounted for.

Well, thank you all for sticking with me through this Homecoming series, and I hope that you (much like I am) are very HYPED FOR HOMECOMING!! My review will be up on Friday, July 7th!

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Hype for Homecoming: The Amazing Spider-Man

Part 4 of 5: #DonaldGloverForSpiderMan ?

I’m actually saving “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” for another time because that one deserves to go under the segment “What Were They Thinking?”. Next week I’ll give a quick run-down for Tom Holland’s spidey from “Captain America: Civil War” before I review Homecoming, and that will be part 5 of this series!

[WARNING: Posts of this nature aren’t traditional “reviews”. Expect the following: spoilers, potentially mindless ramblings, lack of proper sentence structure, and profane language. There is a summary section at the end of the bullet points that you can skip to for convenience.]

Well…we’ve reached that point…I’m going to regret doing this, aren’t I?

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is a result of a hypothetical “Spider-Man 4” being cancelled in 2010 (3 years after “Spider-Man 3”) and Sony/Columbia deciding to reboot the entire franchise and give it a fresh face. Obviously as a senior in high-school in 2012, I was hyped for this, especially since the PR behind the movie gave fans such awesome promises…that the movie itself failed to deliver on. Hell, Marc Webb is the director and I love “500 Days of Summer”…but I just don’t know what happened here.

What we were led to believe:

  1. Since Tobey was the “old-style” Peter Parker, we’re gonna do the modern one now!
  2. Spider-Man will tell more jokes, Tobey wasn’t funny enough!
  3.  He’ll have web-shooters! We’re gonna be more faithful to the comics!
  4. We’re going for a more somber tone, you’ll really feel the character’s internal struggle! #EDGY
  5. The U N T O L D StOrY and OrIgIN of Peter’s P A R EN T S!! OoOoOH S P O O P Y!

What we got:

  1. Andrew Garfield stuttering like he’s perpetually coming down from a bad trip.
  2. Spidey is funny/annoying ONCE. The one scene they used in the trailer to get you to the movie. Nice.
  3. Web-shooters, sure…but wtf is this costume. Who in their…I mean…what?
  4. They watched “The Dark Knight” and decided to make their superhero 3Edgy5me. They swung, missed, and ended up with that feels like an indie-rock music video with a creepy romance reminiscent of “Twilight”…don’t ask why I know what the romance in “Twilight” is like.
  5. Set-ups galore to get you to watch the eventual sequels in this new Universe they’re creating, because fuck what Marvel Studios/Disney is doing with the Avengers, We’re Sony and we deserve more money for less effort because we can milk Spider-Man like a cash cow.

If you hate me now…we’re just getting started. Time to re-watch the movie:
*one movie re-watch later*
….I have no words. That’s a lie, I do. Lets go into details. Buckle up, friends..this is a long one.

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  • Okay, so his Dad made the super spider? And now they’re leaving him with Uncle Ben and Aunt May…okay.
  • What the hell is “Peter” doing? Peter would not be skating through the halls and disrespecting his teachers…he’s supposed to be a well-raised kid that’s good at one thing at this point in his life: SCHOOL. Also WHY IS TAKING STALKER PICS OF GWEN RIGHT AWAY WTF. That’s not “cute” in ANY way unless you’re into creepy stalker guys like Vampires or oh…oh…wait…
  • This is a problem throughout with this movie but what…the…uh…what’s the tone here? This movie doesn’t have one. It feels like the indie rock video one second, its too brutal the next, its too light right after, then it gets serious again…and it doesn’t do this seamlessly at all. Like yeah, sure, light movies are allowed to get intense provided they earn it…this is about 10 minutes in.
  • So because of a briefcase that Peter apparently NEVER found before, we find out that Richard Parker was working with Dr. Curt Connors on cross species genetics. Then we get the most lazy dialogue of exposition to introduce us to Curt Connors..delivered so badly. This is basically like if every time I met someone for the first time, I told them my hopes/dreams/current life situation all at once and sounded really bored. Also, Peter is still kinda a dick so far…
  • Well we find out that No-WAIT WTF IS THAT IRRFAN KHAN? Oh wait, yeah I remember now! He’s in this movie!…Bollywood actor, for those who don’t know..also, Norman Osborn is dying apparently and that’s all Khan is good for…letting Connors know that. Cool.
  • Okay so Peter gets the spider bite and takes the subway back home. Remember the really charming way Tobey’s Peter discovered his powers? Yeah, fighting Flash in the hall’s might’ve been over the top but it could still be brushed aside (especially in a 2002 movie) as “huh, parker was weird today!” Garfield’s Peter Parker? Straight up ACCIDENTALLY ASSAULTS PEOPLE ON THE SUBWAY. Even if the Spider-sense told Peter someone was about to punch him, he could STILL CHOOSE NOT TO PUNCH THEM. Not this bullshit where someone hits him and he does a fucking backflip kick and goes “OOH SORRY, IM ANDREW GARFIELD AND IM CUTE HEHEHE”. …HHNNNNNNGGGGGGG. Even all the stuff he does back home with Aunt May and Uncle Ben….NONE of this is subtle at all.
  • This scene where Peter confronts Connors and talks to him about his equation and all is…actually kinda nice. Reminds me of “Spectacular Spider-Man” and you finally get some investment in the Characters…makes us think this “Untold Story” nonsense will finally go somewhere….spoiler, its not.
  • Again, Peter is a dick and is out of character. Remember when Tobey’s Peter said “I don’t wanna fight you Flash” but defended himself? Well Garfield’s Peter just straight up decides to humiliate him in front of everyone. Yeah, it makes sense when Uncle Ben scolds him for it 10 seconds later, but even then…they did that in the 2002 one and it still worked. So, Peter still a dick.
  • …I’d like to think I’m a master at being “awkward” at this point. Its not a life I chose, its something that I got and have to work with. Yes, I can confirm that some girls find it “charming” (ON OCCASION…confidence is much better, people) because its cute when someone stumbles a little. I get that. Yknow what I don’t get? NOT BEING ABLE TO FORM A FUCKING SENTENCE AT ALL AND STUTTERING YOUR WAY THROUGH A DATE WITH GWEN. FORCED. PHONY. BAMBOOZLE. FUCK THIS NOISE, PETER IS A DICK.
  • You know what sucks here? Emma Stone is great casting for Gwen Stacy….if they gave Gwen a character. At all. At this point, the only thing we know about her is she’s smart, cute, and has a crush on Peter. MARY JANE had more development than this.
  • They tried to go for a Footloose-esque scene…still looks like a Linkin Park music video. Not the good kind.

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  • OOOOKAY, remember how they tried to hype up “untold story” and “different from the previous one”?? Well the way Uncle Ben dies is pretty much the same shit, except in the last one Peter was a dick for 10 minutes…this one he’s STILL a dick. Also what the hell is Garfield’s acting right now? Seriously, go watch this scene again.
  • Did…did Peter steal the web cartridges from OsCorp?….Peter is a dick.
  • Okay so here’s that ONE scene of him vs the car robber that they put in the trailer to show you that “Spider-Man is quippy again”. One…how did he get in the car to wait for the robber. Two…yeah, this is pretty much it. Its a fun scene, don’t get me wrong, but don’t expect anymore…yknow, cuz this movie’s tone is more undecided than an American voter in a swing-state.
  • Back to this “parents” nonsense…so we get the implication that Richard decided to be ethical and Curt sold out…so THAT’S the “untold story”. Wow. Sorpresa. So despite all these attempts to make it different, Connors is now out of time and funding so he’s testing his stupid formula on himself and is going to turn into a monster with symptoms of schizophrenia…JUST LIKE NORMAN IN SPIDER-MAN 1. And on a side-note, holy shit this is ANOTHER huge science no-no that would never happen. He DID tests with Peter and on mice and knows the formula is a coin-flip…but yeah, whatever, movies.
  • Did Gwen just invite a random boy she likes to dinner at her house with her family…wow…must be nice to have white parents.
  • Just wanted to point out that we’re 75 minutes in to this movie and Peter is STILL learning lessons via lectures from adults.
  • So this scene on the bridge where he rescues the kid…this is the first time in this movie that it genuinely feels like Spider-Man. They nailed this character here…too bad they mess it up right away because Peter does some shit in school on the football field again and at this point, ANYONE with a brain would know he’s spider-man.
  • Okay to talk about the Lizard…this is a horrible villain. Look, Lizard is basically just Curt turning himself into a monster who doesn’t know anything cept food like an animal…but they turn him into a mad scientist reptile that wants to…get this…TURN NEW YORK CITY IN TO LIZARD CREATURES. The motive, the plan, the design…everything about this villain is SO DUMB. Where was Curt’s son and wife in this movie? Did they not think it was important for him to have a purpose?
  • So after the sewer scene we FINALLY get some insight into Gwen’s character where she worries about Peter cuz she’s lived the life of a cop’s daughter. Honestly, nice moment. I’ll give them that. Same with this school sequence. Movie has some things worth watching, I’m not made of stone.
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Tumblr swoons while I smash my head into my desk.
  • So is this a good time to mention that the writers don’t know how the Spider-Sense works at all? Demonstrated by Spidey being hit by this tranq or bullet? I was going to write out a whole thing but honestly the word count is high and I’m ready to wrap this up, but point is its wrong.
  • Okay so the Finale in Spider-Man (2002) vs this…I have little to no investment at this point. I’m obligated to care about Spidey, I don’t care about the Lizard at all, the “Crane-Ex-Machina” stuff is total bullshit. You know who the movie DID make me care about? Captain Stacy. That’s not a good thing, I care about him at this point more than others cuz he was actually a fleshed-out character…relatively speaking, of course.
  • So here, the movie has me hooked as a possibility of landing very well. Captain Stacy dies, makes Peter promise to leave Gwen out of it, Peter brings home eggs for Aunt May after the fight with Lizard (wonderful little moment), Peter misses the funeral, breaks up with Gwen as requested by her dying father…and here I’m thinking “wow…they’re actually taking a risk and I might be willing to forgive stuff in this one if they kill it from here on out in the next movies”. At this point…I would’ve rated this at a 6, maybe 6.5….but then this ONE line…is all it takes to piss me right the fuck off.
    “Don’t make promises you can’t keep, Mr. Parker”
    *Whispers seductively into Gwen’s ear as she smiles*
    “But those are the best kind…”…NEPHEW. DELETE THIS. WHY DID NO ONE…BRUH..ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
    No seriously, that’s where I draw the line. This shit is what makes me group this movie with the Twilight/Hunger Games “tween love” sub-genre. Clearly, they wanted to cater to an audience and in turn they forgot to make a movie that made sense and had likable characters. That’s what sucks about this movie, it very much FEELS like a reboot and a universe, there’s even a set-up scene at the end. I still cant believe that there are people out there that think this one was better than Raimi’s in 2002..even I remember defending this movie beforehand and upon re-watch…my God. At the risk of maybe being too hard, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is a 5/10. 

 

 

 

Hype for Homecoming: Spider-Man 3

Part 3 of 5: Jazz hands and tears

[WARNING: Posts of this nature aren’t traditional “reviews”. Expect the following: spoilers, potentially mindless ramblings, lack of proper sentence structure, and profane language. There is a summary section at the end of the bullet points that you can skip to for convenience.]

*Inhales*….”Spider-Man 3″…is…a movie that exists. I’m going to try to get through this keeping as much sanity as I can, but this movie essentially boils down to being way too scattered and it just ends up feeling like butter spread out over too much bread. Look, I don’t think this movie is one of the atrociously bad comic-book movies of the 2000’s. Even if you look at the other two that came out in 2007, its “Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer” and “Ghost Rider”…yeah, those were way worse. What I DO think is that this is the first example of a comic-book movie having insane hype, but tries to do way too much and falls flat on its face…regardless of if these were decisions by Sony or some other external factor interfering with Raimi’s work, OR if it was just a huge goof by Raimi himself. I actually discussed this in a previous post you can find here where I name the phenomenon after THIS movie…and for good reason. In any case…*sigh* here we go.

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Oh sure, SPIDER-MAN’S ARCH-NEMESIS FROM THE COMICS, show up in the last 30 minutes of the movie! GENIUS.
  • Okay the first act of this movie actually feels like a Raimi Spider-Man movie, we establish where our characters are, there’s a few nice moments between them, we get a fight between Peter and Harry (as the new Green Goblin), and it actually feels like the movie has gracefully taken off…and then we get to the “Harry memory loss” subplot and you kinda start to think “well…what now?” TWO OTHER VILLAINS, A LIFETIME DRAMA, AND BAD DANCING, THATS WHAT!
  • The whole idea to put Sandman in this movie actually sums up how I feel about this movie. Its a weird mix of moments that worked, stuff that made no sense, and stuff that made me think that ANYONE in the writer’s room could’ve pointed out a way to do it better. EXAMPLE: Scene where Sandman is materializing and trying to grab his daughter’s locket? Works for me, good moment supplemented by the score. Making Sandman aka Flint Marko be the “real” Uncle Ben’s murderer? Makes no sense when you put that sub-plot to bed a LONG time ago…why go back to alter the turning point of the first movie? Scene where these scientists conduct the experiment anyway thinking “the change in the mass is just a bird that will fly away”?…a screenwriting intern could’ve spoken out against this. What. The. Fuck. EVEN I KNOW that is a GIANT no-no in any laboratory/test of ANY kind.
  • Why…DEAR GOD WHY…does Peter decide to kiss Gwen in front of MJ? Yes, it makes sense for him to get a little cocky, but what the hell were the writers thinking making Spidey SO OUT OF CHARACTER here? The entire MJ drama and eventual love-triangle with Harry just blows and seems so out of place, if you ask me that’s what brings this movie down the most. A lot of other things are forced too, but this made the LEAST amount of sense.
  • Let’s talk about the Symbiote. I don’t think including it in the movie was a bad call itself, but the way it was handled just seemed choppy. Probably due to the conflicting sub-plots and having to find a way to jam this piece of the puzzle in to a space that doesn’t exactly fit? I mean even if you just had Harry be the villain, yeah you could fit the Symbiote in…and the scenes with Black-suit Spider-Man are cool…but, again…too much, too scattered, blaahh.
  • In a series with such great casting…Topher Grace’s casting as Eddie Brock is just the fucking worst. The only reason I’m okay with a standalone Venom reboot is because I can forget about this version….unless Sony fucks the new one up too.
  • I just finished the part where Harry’s manipulation of Peter and MJ’s relationship is done and he tells Peter “I’m the other guy” (WHO THOUGHT THIS SUBPLOT WAS A GOOD IDEA??). Aside from Harry suddenly becoming Batman and vanishing in to thin air, I’m gonna just end this with a bullet each for what was cool and what pissed me off.
  • What I liked: The suit-less fight between Harry and Peter is really cool…and has some real tension. Would’ve been cooler if Peter didn’t decide to be emo and look like the lead singer of a punk band; Peter ripping off the symbiote in the church is a well-done scene; Spidey teaming up with Goblin Jr. to fight Sandman and Venom is dope, nice to see superheroes team up in the pre-avengers era.
  • What sucked: Jazz choreography…dear LORD this entire part at the Jazz club just didn’t need to happen. You mean to tell me there was NO OTHER WAY Peter could hurt MJ and realize what he’s become? Anyone?; Fucking BUTLER-EX-MACHINA finally telling Harry that his dad was a psycho that killed himself. How did the Butler even know what Harry was going through? Just because Norman died by his own glider doesn’t exactly prove much…I mean someone else could’ve still done that to him. Why wouldn’t the Butler have just told Harry that in the first place? These guys are rich as fuck, did NO ONE perform an autopsy to see exactly how he died? 2.5 movies worth of Harry growing to hate Peter is undone by ONE piece of exposition from his BUTLER??; Wait so now NO ONE killed Uncle Ben? I seriously don’t know why they did this, “random robber” is SO MUCH EASIER than this entire ordeal with Flint…ugh.
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ALL OF MY TEARS.

Look, I don’t HATE “Spider-Man 3”. Obviously, it has its problems that seemed really avoidable..like if someone told you there’s a brick wall in front of you, you clearly see it, but you bump in to it lightly anyway. When you actually figure out what’s going on (which takes multiple watches) and forgive the stupidity, you can at least enjoy the movie. Despite things that made less sense, AT LEAST characters still had motives and I understood why they were doing things..which is more than I’ll be able to say for the next two parts in my Spidey series. For a movie that at least tried to give us something, but gave us other things are unforgivable…I’m giving “Spider-Man 3” a 6/10. 

Alright, this concludes the reign of Tobey McGuire as Spider-Man…and no matter what happens with the character, I would like to just thank him for being MY Spider-Man..and he always will be. Come back next time because now we’re moving on to the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man and that’s…well…it’ll be fun for you, not for me.

 

 

Hype for Homecoming: Spider-man 2

Part 2 of 5: “The power of the sun…in the palm of my hands.”

[WARNING: Posts of this nature aren’t traditional “reviews”. Expect the following: spoilers, potentially mindless ramblings, lack of proper sentence structure, and profane language. There is a summary section at the end of the bullet points that you can skip to for convenience.]

“Spider-Man 2” is the second movie in Sam Raimi’s spider-man trilogy and stars the same cast from last time, with the addition of Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius. This movie always held a special place in my heart because its opening day was near my 10th birthday, and OBVIOUSLY I had a spider-man themed party that ended up being the best birthday of my childhood…mostly because of the movie. Out of all the movies in the “Hype for Homecoming” series, this is the one I’m most looking forward to because I always remembered this and “X2” being the first comic book movies where everyone went “whoa…wait…these things can actually be as compelling as real films?”. Needless to say, time to re-watch “Spider-Man 2”!

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JK Simmons, you’re a gift to all mankind.
  • Jeez, right away we get insight into where our main character is at and WAIT WTF, THERE’S A DR. CURT CONNORS IN THIS? AKA THE LIZARD? YEAH, ITS TOTALLY HIM WITH THE MISSING ARM AND ALL! Wow, thanks for the comic fanservice, Sam Raimi!
  • Okay, I remember right off the bat why this movie cuts so deep….Peter’s life is TOTAL SHIT right now. He’s broke, his Aunt is in a bad situation and he can’t help, he’s failing classes, he’s losing MJ, Harry still has a grudge against Spider-man, etc. Peter Parker is the average millennial, AM I RIGHT GUYS?? Hahahahaahahahahahelpmehahahahah.
  • In all seriousness, Tobey McGuire really proves here that he’s the perfect old-school Peter Parker. What’s important here is we start to see Peter doubting if his powers are a gift or a curse, and Tobey portrays that really well through certain acting choices. The scene where his webs go out for the first time would be a good example of this…but also go watch the elevator scene right after hahahaha.
  • Its so refreshing when actors can play characters with dualities in their lives…Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius AND (later) Doc Ock is just so spectacular. Anyway, of course the experiment goes horribly wrong cuz the movie has to happen, but what’s interesting here is that we get to see both Otto AND Harry immediately lose everything (with some cheesy dialogue from James Franco to fill us in) and while Harry’s fall from grace is going to be a lot slower, Otto’s…well…
  • This hospital scene with just Ock’s arms going murder-crazy on these doctors was so unique to what comic-book movies were for a whole decade…heck, it’s even boggling to watch it in 2017. Raimi picked the best possible way to demonstrate what this character is going through instead of making him a generic villain that Spidey has to overcome. Even with his villains, Raimi creates a character here that the audience is invested in, and makes it very clear that Otto is acting against his own will.
  • Jonah: What are we gonna call this guy?
    Editor:…Doctor Strange!
    Jonah: Wait, that’s good….but its taken
    LOLOLOLOL HOLY SHIT
  • Alright, its time for the bank scene! This sce- WAIT WTF IS THAT JOEL MCHALE?? THIS IS WHAT HE WAS DOING BEFORE “COMMUNITY”?? HOLY HELL JEFF WINGER IS IN A SPIDER-MAN MOVIE. I gotta watch 2000’s movies more often…
  • Okay seriously, bank scene. First major sequence between Doc Ock and Spidey and…well…its good. Idk what else to even say about this and the rest of the movie, my “english as a second language” ass is running out of adjectives and this movie is just really good lol. Seriously, go youtube this scene or something, its damn well directed action…..aaaand Peter’s life is shitty again, and now we get to the “I’m not Spider-man anymore” part of the movie
  • When I was younger, I thought all of this was useless but now I realize this is, once again, Raimi using his directing style to set this apart from other comic-book movies of its time. I DO think we could’ve had something other than a burning building be what motivates Peter to be Spiderman again but oh well.
  • So now we’re in the last act of the movie where Harry tells Otto to bring Spider-Man to him, Peter and MJ have more drama, We get the famed train scene (holy shit I love this movie), and Harry finds out that his biggest enemy is actually his best friend…GASP. I could keep prattling on, but then this post would get too long so I’m just going to skip to the summary and try to hit it all there.
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What I look like the night after drinking and a late-night Al Pastor Burrito.

Remember what I said about the previous movie in my last post? What “Spider-Man 2” did was improve on the stuff I liked and cut out a lot of the stuff I didn’t…that’s basically it. This movie takes time to develop its characters even more, in fact I genuinely think you could sit down with “Spider-Man 2” first without even watching the first one and not be lost because this movie takes its time to tell its character’s stories. Its the little moments that Raimi gives attention to that really works, and admittedly the overarching plot becomes a little simple because of it. But hey…like I’ve mentioned before, characters are the most important part of any film for me. With that being said, “Spider-Man 2” gets a 9/10.

Hope you enjoyed how simple and happy this was…because its aaallll downhill from here..tune in next time for…*sigh*…”Spider-Man 3″.

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Until they reboot and cast Andrew Garfield, that is. #RIP

Hype for Homecoming: Spider-man

Part 1 of 5: “Booooone-Saaaaw is reaadyyyy!!!”

Welcome to the first post of my “Hype for Homecoming” series! As of this going live, we are officially just 4 weeks away from the release of “Spider-man: Homecoming”, with Tom Holland reprising his role from “Captain America: Civil War” as everyone’s favorite web-slinger.

To give a background of what Spider-man means to me…well…I was a nerdy kid that got picked on relentlessly at school…so you tell me who I looked up to. Yes, I’ve said multiple times that I watched the DC animated universe quite a bit as a kid, but really if I had to point to my childhood hero, it’d be Spidey. There’s always a soft spot in my heart for the web-head and even though I’ve grown up and have other heroes now, it doesn’t change the fact that Spidey is the Marvel poster-boy and that the first Spider-man movies, directed by Sam Raimi, were some of the few to set the stage for Comic Book Movies to take Hollywood by storm. Granted, we had to sit through a bunch of other “imitators” that ended up creating the trope of comic book movies being atrocious for most of the 2000’s…but I’m glad we’re past that now and its nice to look back and see some of the pre-MCU/DCEU original “Universes” (hell, Fox has been doing it since 2000 with the X-men, even though they don’t have as solid of a slate and flow when it comes to universe-building). So, without further ado, here’s my notes on Spider-man (2002)!

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Slide into those DMs like…

[WARNING: Posts of this nature aren’t traditional “reviews”. Expect the following: spoilers, potentially mindless ramblings, lack of proper sentence structure, and profane language. There is a summary section at the end of the bullet points that you can skip to for convenience.]

  • Holy hell, NO ONE looks like they’re in high school…thankfully they actually casted teenagers in Homecoming, but JEEZ I forgot how odd this looks. Anyway, we’re introduced to Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and WAIT WTF, IS THAT JOHN MANGANIELLO PLAYING FLASH THOMPSON? LIKE, THE GUY PLAYING DEATHSTROKE IN AFFLECK’S BATMAN MOVIE? Sorry, got distracted. We get a scene with the Osborns aka Norman (Willem Dafoe) and Harry (James Franco) and already we see some tension here with Peter getting shit from kids at school (high schoolers are dicks, just saying) and Harry getting shit from his father, so it makes sense why the two are such good friends to our audiences who’ve never read a spiderman comic.
  • So now we’re in the museum because the class is on a field trip, and we get some juicy exposition on what spiders can do (and eventually what Peter will be able to do) and some nice little development between Peter, MJ, and Harry when OUCH, radioactive spider-bite!
  • Remember the cliches of sci-fi/superhero movies from the 2000’s? So Norman is testing a super-soldier serum (check) but his board and the military aren’t thrilled about the results so far (check), so he’s given an arbitrary deadline (check) for human testing but since he’s running out of time and funding, he’s going to test it on himself (checkarooni) and eventually become a threat to himself and others (Check, check, check). I will say that I love Willem Dafoe and his freaky looking face for the role of Norman/Green Goblin, and I think he demonstrates it well when Harry finds him passed out on the floor, just some subtle acting choices you notice here and there.
  • So Peter wakes up after being bitten and spends the entire day finding out he has weird ass spider powers…which I feel like should’ve been a bigger deal when he had a literal web coming out of his arm and punched the biggest guy in school after doing a back-flip…must be New York public school system, I guess?
  • Dear Lord I forgot how much time they actually spend on these characters and how awesome it is. This is really just a theme for the entire movie…same with the casting, its all so good.
  • Uncle Ben, I love you. This scene with Peter being a total dick to his Uncle caring about him…they get this SO RIGHT.
  • Ahahaah I could never forget that Macho Man Randy Savage is in thi-WAIT WTF IS THAT OCTAVIA SPENCER? LIKE…FROM HIDDEN FIGURES? DAMN…WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE. Anyway,  as dumb as this scene is, its kinda cool to see Peter learn how to fight and gain some confidence against a professional wrestler, of all people.
  • This confidence turns into cockiness and Peter ignores his Uncle’s advice…and in turn, we get the first truly emotional scene in this movie with Uncle Ben’s death and Peter getting his petty revenge…and with this plus the graduation scene, In my opinion, the first act is over and now we get to Peter adjusting to his new life as Spider-Man. Also, side-note: This score by Danny Elfman…wow.
  • JK Simmons…its going to take me a long time to adjust to you being Commissioner Gordon…cuz this guy is ALWAYS going to be J. Jonah Jameson to me. This is PERFECT Casting in a movie that’s already casted so well. “No Job! Freelance!”…oh look, Peter Parker is a millenial like the rest of us hahahahahahasaveushahaha.
  • So now we get this sequence at the World Unity festival and it gets….a little corny. At the risk of sounding like a douche, this is definitely 2002 CGI…and wtf is this goblin-bomb that immediately turns the Oscorp Board into skeletons? But other than that its pretty satisfying to have our first real Spidey vs Goblin battle which ends with him saving MJ and winning the day. He even saves a kid, which is textbook Spider-man and I love it…its the little things with characters like Spidey.
  • Willem Dafoe’s scene where he talks to himself in the mirror just settles it, this guy would’ve been the best comic movie villain of the 2000’s if it wasn’t for Heath Ledger’s Joker. I’d honestly be okay if they never touched Green Goblin again…but of course they will.
  • I skipped a bunch so I don’t get redundant, but this end fight between Goblin and Spidey…holy shit Spidey gets his ASS KICKED. I actually like it, it always irked me when a Superhero suddenly had mastery of their powers within a few minutes of screen-time. This is such an emotionally driven fight and these actors are really conveying that..and by the end you actually feel kinda BAD for how Norman dies because there’s a small hint of him still left as soon as he gets stabbed by the glider (because he was faking before…I think) and I didn’t realize how GOOD of a set-up this was for Harry going crazy in the next two movies. Character development, y’all…its my favorite part of any movie.
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Okay, I laughed.

During this re-watch, I realized that this movie didn’t age as well with cinematography, but it more than makes up for it with story and characters. Despite it being a little cheesy, I do admire how much heart the direction and acting had to make the overall product something unique for its time. It feels surprisingly real, and I think that’s why this movie broke box office records in 2002. “Spider-man” is a fantastic origin story for an extremely lovable character, and leaves audiences moved, charmed, and wanting to see more..and they accomplished this without jerking themselves off and setting up a universe (hold on to that, seriously…because I promise you its going to come up again in this series). Tune in next week for the next part of the series, aka one of my favorite movies ever! As for this part, “Spider-man” gets a 8/10