Trailer Park: Marvel Movie Extravaganza

Probably one of the best things to come out of the Super Bowl were the new movie trailers, including this excellent one for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Anybody else excited? Because I sure am.

As if that weren’t enough, we got a nearly 4-minute trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as well:

I’m just going to sit back here and squeal over both of these, all right? Anybody else joining me?

A to Z Challenge – S is for Spider-Man 3

We interrupt your regularly scheduled A to Z post because “S” is also for…Superman! The new Man of Steel trailer debuted last week and oh. My. God. Behold:

I’m insanely excited for a Superman movie now. Good show, DC.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled A to Z post and the Marvel universe!

spiderman-3-posterConsidering that I loved the first two Spider-Man movies, you’d think I’d be over the moon for Spider-Man 3 no matter what. A superhero movie, third in a trilogy that was getting exponentially better, two new villains including one fan favorite…it had to be good, right?

All I can say is that if this is an indication of how the movies are going to play out this summer, it’s going to be a long, long, long three months.

In Spider-Man 3, things are going just rosy for Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), which is quite a change. He’s doing well in school, everybody loves Spider-Man, and he and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) are happily an item. Granted, there’s still that little issue with Harry (James Franco) wanting to kill him because he believes Spider-Man killed his father, but that’s just peanuts, right?

Things are going so stinking well that you almost can’t wait for something bad to happen. It does, in a number of ways: Harry, now the New Goblin (instead of Hobgoblin), attacks Peter; the convict who really shot Uncle Ben, Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), escapes from prison and gets turned into Sandman thanks to a particle physics test facility; and new photographer Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) shows up to challenge Peter’s position as the sole Spider-Man photographer for the Daily Bugle.

To top it all off, a weird black goo from outer space has followed Peter home, and attaches itself to his Spidey suit. The alien symbiote amplifies his Spider-Man powers, but has the unfortunate side effect of amplifying Peter’s aggressive tendencies as well, giving him a thirst for revenge and making him more of a jerk. It has the equally unfortunate side effect of making him wear eyeliner and comb his hair so that he looks like the fifth member of Fall Out Boy.

Apparently instead of making somebody more powerful, bonding with an alien symbiote just makes them emo. I half-expected a scene that showed Peter updating his LiveJournal with a whiny blog about how nobody understands him and how it’s just so damn hard being a superhero.

That’s bad enough, but what’s worse is that it gets to the point where you’re rooting more for Sandman or the Goblin as opposed to Spider-Man. It’s frustrating to be forced to watch a character you hate and be told that you ought to be rooting for him.

The whole thing about the movie is that sometimes the greatest villain come from within, which is a great theme that has been done excellently before. I don’t know if it was the script or Maguire or both (I’m leaning toward both), but it just didn’t work the way it should’ve. You should be genuinely worried about Peter succumbing to the dark side of his nature. Instead, you just want to backhand him and tell him to man up. It’s not cool; it’s annoying.

It also doesn’t help that the movie is too long. That’s it. It’s just too damn long, and since you spend the bulk of the two-and-a-half hour runtime wanting to wrap your fingers around Peter’s throat, it feels like forever.

Not all is bad, though. The supporting characters shine, especially Auny May and J. Jonah Jameson. (J.K. Simmons alone is probably reason enough to watch the movie, at least once.) They made a pretty big deal that Bryce Dallas Howard was playing Gwen Stacy, and though she does a fine job, she’s not in that much.

The villains are also done well, especially Sandman. His back story is fleshed out just enough to make him a sympathetic villain. He’s not a calculating genius like Doc Ock, but a big, brawny guy who’s going about trying to save his daughter the only way he knows how: steal the money for her medicine.

It’s most unfortunate that Venom, probably the most anticipated villain of this movie, has only minimal screentime. Grace plays Eddie Brock as a smarmy jerk who pretty much gets what he deserves, but it would’ve been cool to see him as Venom more.

I guess the ultimate thing about Spider-Man 3 is that it’s disappointing. It wasn’t terrible, but there are so many “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’s” involved. It could’ve been tighter; it could’ve been cooler; it could’ve been better. It’s a hard thing to see a weak link in an otherwise solid series. They had the opportunity to blow us out of the water, and it just didn’t happen.

Here’s hoping the rest of the summer movies do more than just meet expectations.

From 2003 up until 2007, I was lucky enough to have “movie reviewer” as my job description. As such, I’ve built up a *lot* of reviews for just about every movie that came out during those years, as well as reviews of classic movies. This is one of the reviews I originally wrote during that time.

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

When I previously discussed The Amazing Spider-Man, I had this to say:

I like that we’re actually going to see Peter’s parents (who are completely absent from the previous three films).

Plus, I really like the poster they’ve released, and it seems like they’re focusing on a different aspect of Spider-Man’s past (Gwen Stacy instead of Mary Jane, for example). And it’s certainly not impossible for a reboot to be just as good as (or even better than) the original.

But…:
For God’s sake, Spider-Man came out in 2002. 2002!! It’s only just now been ten years. Why in the name of sanity are they remaking it FROM THE BEGINNING? EVERYBODY REMEMBERS THE ORIGIN STORY, GANG.

However, the Marvel fangirl side of my personality won out, and my brother, with whom I have discussed every superhero movie to come out in the past decade in excruciating detail, gave it a rave review. Thus, my roommates and I went to see it last weekend.

Did they redo the origin story? Yes.
Did it bore me a tad? Yes.
But did it work? Absolutely.

Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) in The Amazing Spider-Man

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can…

For the first time (at least, for the first time in the movies), we get to see Peter’s parents, however briefly. We get to see why he lives with Uncle Ben and Aunt May, answering a little question that nevertheless adds an extra facet to the story that most of us know.

And while the general gist of the origin story remains the same, enough has changed—and enough of it falls on Peter’s shoulders—that it brings with it more emotional resonance than the first time around. In particular, the convenience store robbery and the events that precede Uncle Ben’s death rest a lot more on Peter’s shoulders.

Andrew Garfield is a perfect choice for Peter Parker. He’s rebellious, awkward, and far too smart for his own good. He’s not particularly popular nor particularly picked on, except when he stands up for the others who are.

The love interest in this movie is not Spider-Man’s perennial love, Mary Jane, but Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). I liked her a lot more than MJ from the previous films because she was far from a damsel in distress. She wasn’t kidnapped and didn’t scream herself hoarse. She helped Peter, as one of his few allies.

Gwen and Peter have a couple of great moments with some endearingly awkward teenage dialogue, and even more great moments after they’re caught up in the Lizard’s plot, Peter because he feels responsible and Gwen because she wants to help him.

Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) in The Amazing Spider-Man

Spider-Man’s looking pretty good. Just sayin’.

And, as you probably guessed, Denis Leary is fantastic as Gwen’s father, the police captain who sees Spider-Man as a vengeance-fueled vigilante. Equally good is Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/the Lizard, a villain who is an old colleague of Peter’s father. The secrets of what Connors and the elder Parker worked on at OsCorp will probably go on into the second movie (because you know there’ll be a sequel).

Plus, Spider-Man’s fighting style gets an upgrade for this movie. He’s back to the mechanical web shooters, but he uses that webbing a lot more when he fights and in much more creative ways. He seemed to be a lot more agile and he made more wisecracks, much more like the Spidey from the comics.

All that being said, there were aspects I didn’t like. The CGI was a little obvious at times, and I didn’t care for the first-person POV shots where Spider-Man was rocketing through the streets of Manhattan. They made me dizzy, and it was difficult to tell what was going on. (Fortunately, those shots are few and far between.)

Also, the score wasn’t quite as good as it was with the previous films. That’s not to say it was bad, but it wasn’t as memorable.

My roommate Jon, who is a huge fan of Marvel comics and of Spider-Man in particular, was THRILLED with this movie. (To say he hated the previous three films is an understatement, as any time “Spider-Man” and “movies” are brought up anywhere CLOSE to the same sentence, he goes on a ten-minute rant about how much he hated Tobey Maguire. I wish I were exaggerating.)

And really, The Amazing Spider-Man does a brilliant job of washing away the stain of Spider-Man 3. It’s definitely one of the better superhero films to come out.

Take the opportunity to see it while it’s still in theaters.

New Movie Posters!

Merry early Christmas to geeks ’round the world!

Two new posters were released this weekend for two fairly anticipated 2012 superhero movies: The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man.

The Dark Knight Rises gives us a fanTAStic teaser for the film, with Bane walking away from a broken Batman mask and the tagline “The Legend Ends.”

Since Bane is famously known as “The Man Who Broke the Bat,” is it possible that we’ll actually see that in this movie? (PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE.)

The only thing that could make me MORE excited for this movie is a full-length trailer. And perhaps a plot synopsis.

The Dark Knight Rises Poster

Click here to go to ComingSoon.net and check out the larger version.

Next up: The Amazing Spider-Man.

Now, to be honest, I’ve been a little skeptical about The Amazing Spider-Man. Let’s face it: this wasn’t exactly a franchise that needed rebooting, especially considering that Spider-Man originally came out only 10 years ago.

And even though the teaser trailer was pretty good, it didn’t get me really excited about the movie, not the way The Avengers teaser at the end of Captain America did.

That being said, this is a pretty kickass teaser poster:

The Amazing Spider-Man poster

Click here to go to SuperHeroHype and check out the larger version.

However, this poster does make me wonder about the tone of The Amazing Spider-Man. The teaser made it look like it’d be a little more in line with the previous Spider-Man movies (though without the emo-ness of Spider-Man 3 THANK GOD).

This poster, on the other hand, looks a lot closer to the poster for The Dark Knight Rises, and we all know how Christopher Nolan likes to make his Batman films grim and gritty. (Works for Batman. Really can’t see Spider-Man benefiting from the same thing.)

All in all, July 2012 is shaping up to be an excellent month for movies.