5.23.2014

Past and Pending


Thank you, X-men and Spider-man for reminding me why I'm not completely sick of the superhero genre yet. Though this movie was not quite perfect to me (and I'm still not sure where it ranks with the others in the series,) this has to be one of the funnest movies I've seen in some time! It just felt like I was on a roller coaster ride....which is one of the best things you can ask for in a summer movie. But besides the mere thrills it has to offer (which I'll be honest they're not mere at all,) it also has the added benefit that these are characters we're familiar with. And in this particular film the cast who portrays them has never been better.

At the beginning of the film, I was pretty iffy on whether or not I liked how this movie was laid out. It all seemed a bit too Thor for my tastes... and then suddenly became Men in Black 3, (well what I remember from Men in Black 3 since I only saw it once and promptly fell asleep...) Let me just clarify that neither of which are a good combination. I didn't have to wait too long before my fears were brought to rest. Once it gets to the real story and James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (ESPECIALLY Fassbender) share the screen along with Hugh Jackman's Logan/Wolverine it's simply joyous. 

I'll be honest, I did find some of if rather puzzling...and let's just say the continuity is just all over the place. For the most part, everyone acts like X-men 3 never existed, and who can really blame them? Best to sweep that under the rug and do its own thang. So yeah it feels like the movie is its own weird little conundrum set outside every continuity...but somehow it works. Side note, the Mystique love in this movie was kind of ridiculous. Suddenly she's the star? I mean she's always been cool, but some of it was a bit much. I much preferred the focus to be on Eric and Charles' relationship....and honestly just more of Michael Fassbender period. Can that guy just play Magneto til the end of time?? He and McAvoy just play off each other so well you wish every scene was just the two of them (with occasionally Jackman joining in on the fun.) 

For the most part, this movie corrected the mistake the previous film made about focusing on lame mutants. No Zoe Kravitz with butterfly wings here! Instead, Quicksilver is introduced and steals every scene he's in. I wish there could have been more of him. One of his sequences is easily the best in the film. So yeah... just a few scattered thoughts here and there. All in all, the film was incredibly entertaining, and though it took me a little bit to warm up to and isn't perfect...it absolutely works. Emily rating: 9/10

5.15.2014

I am lizard, hear me roar!

Remember the ridiculous Godzilla from 1998? You know, the one directed from the disaster flick obsessed Roland Emmerich and starring an out of place though always amiable Matthew Broderick? Surely Godzilla 2014 would crush that silly film into oblivion and show the world what a modern Godzilla film REALLY should be like...right? Well, the answer sadly is both yes and no. Ultimately nothing and I mean NOTHING can be bad as that film, but where Godzilla 2014 could have easily triumphed and become this century's Jurassic Park...it actually suffers from its own share of problems. These problems, unfortunately, trip up our iconic movie monster and prevent him and his movie from achieving the glory he truly deserves.

But don't worry. It never stoops to this level.

Now let's get something out of the way right now. Did you happen to see last year's Pacific Rim? Because if you did, you have already seen this movie. Minus the fact that this one is missing the delightful attempts at comic relief from a reliable Charlie Day (Original review for that film HERE.) To put it bluntly: AMAZING action sequences, BLAH characters, and forgettable/weak storytelling. Why oh why oh why is it so hard to accomplish excellence in all three?? It had me in the beginning, lost me in the loooooong middle, and tried to win me back in the end...but unfortunately it felt too little, too late. The problem is [SPOILER] the best and most interesting character, played by Bryan Cranston is killed off  way too early on and underdeveloped bland characters are left to carry the rest of the movie on their inexperienced shoulders. [/SPOILER]

I really like both Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, but their characters couldn't have been duller if they tried. I know it's Godzilla's movie, but if Jurassic Park, Jaws, and King Kong can manage to have characters you can remember (and remember WELL for that matter,) then Godzilla has no excuse. It's almost as if the filmmakers went way too far in the other direction to overcorrect the cheesiness of Godzilla '98 and instead played it WAY too safe. It definitely could and should have put in the same effort as those classics did, and if it had a NEW instant classic could have emerged. Instead, it relies solely on its action sequences to wow the audience and neglects anything that will really leave a lasting impression. It's almost as if so much of the money was spent on budget for the special effects BEFORE realizing that they forgot to spend anything on producing a well-written script (seems a little backward doesn't it?) Being wowed is a bit harder when you find yourself incredibly bored in between the stunner moments. And at times those moments seem AGES apart while you're waiting for them. Because you feel so ambivalent about the weak sauce characters, the pacing overall just DRAGS.


So....same advice applies as with Pacific Rim. If you want to love this movie, turn off your brain and enjoy the very cool show. There's a lot to enjoy, it's good enough...but it could have been great. EMILY RATING: 6.5/10

But at least it wasn't THIS



5.02.2014

Whatever a spider can.

I don't get it. Sometimes I feel like I'm on a different planet from everyone else. Something is up with these movie critics and their recent trend towards destroying perfectly good summer movies. How....HOW is this movie a 56% and dropping on Rotten Tomatoes and Captain America has a glowing 89%? HOW????? But it's not just the critics. These Amazing Spider-man films seem to draw haters left and right. I feel like I'm in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except all the world has been replaced with dumbheads.

Look. I'll be honest. In my not-so-humble opinion.... Spider-man, along with Superman and Batman, are the most cinematic, interesting and all around best big screen heroes there are to offer. And it isn't even close. They're just far more dynamic and compelling; other heroes just don't compare. Does that give a free pass to all Spider-man, Batman and Superman movies? No. But it certainly gives them a leg up. Sometimes, that still isn't enough for them not to be generic, derivative, formulaic and poorly received. And sometimes you have the wonderful efforts of a fantastic director and a solid cast that make you care about that world even more. And that my friends are wonderful. That's what's happening for me with these films and the filmmakers behind it. Bottom line: You can't make me hate the team of Marc Webb, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and their version of these characters and story no matter how hard you try.

Maybe the villain(s) doesn't/don't work for you. Maybe you felt it tried to do too much. Maybe it's not made by Christopher Nolan or Joss Whedon (whoever is your flavor) and therefore not God's gift to the world. Maybe WHATEVER. Sure there are a few plot holes here and there and the villain's motives are questionable at best. Yeah, the humor is goofy...but personally it's right up my alley. Whatever complaint you have... whatever the problem there might be, I don't think it's substantial enough to justify the negativity or claims of mediocrity. Everything here is refreshing compared to anything that has EVER come out of the Disney/Marvel machine.  It has it's own flavor (maybe a flavor similar to past Spider-man films, but who cares? Isn't that a nice flavor?) The characters up on the screen aren't 2D. They're fleshed out and they're wonderful. Peter Parker is shown with flaws and complexities. We know what makes him tick. We see all the wonderful and beautiful character moments he has because they actually give them to us to watch, instead of making us assume what happens offscreen! How is that not refreshing? How can that be a problem? Boohoo you have some random, stupid comic book complaint. I'll just enjoy the rare blockbuster that has character. Yes, there's stuff happening a mile a minute, but lucky for me I enjoyed it all. Haters gonna hate, but Emily's gonna appreciate her dear Amazing Spider-man. EMILY RATING: 8.5/10