Posts Tagged ‘superhero’

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Operating on a full charge: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro”

May 3, 2014

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If you recall my review of 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man (or if you bothered to read the review I helpfully reposted), you know that I was less than thrilled at that film. Despite better actors in the lead roles, and a giant lizard-man (and, really, don’t giant lizard-men make everything automatically more cool? Name for me one thing that wouldn’t be more cool with a giant lizard-man? The Oscars? The DMV? Christmas mass?), it was hard to see TASM as anything other than a mercenary rights-grab by Sony. So maybe it was my diminished expectations that kept me from running as hot and cold on The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro as most critics. I thought this movie was pretty good. It’s a fun, if unremarkable, adventure with one of the more endearing superheroes. At least until it all goes to hell in the last act (but more on that later).
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Repost: “The Amazing Spider-Man”

May 3, 2014

[In anticipation of The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Rise of Electro (man, I am NOT looking forward to typing that more than once in a post), here is my review of The Amazing Spider-Man, posted on July 5th, 2012.]

The existence of The Amazing Spider-Man would make you think there was a larger plan in place for why Sony would basically remake a hugely successful–if not genuinely iconic—summer blockbuster only ten years-old. Maybe there’s some new technology that makes it plausible that Spidey could operate outside of Midtown.  Or perhaps they’ve retconned the story so that Peter Parker is now a tough cop who plays by his own rules and has a super-intelligent aardvark as a partner. Or maybe this is gonna be a more adult-oriented Spider-Man, who likes a snootful of ecstasy before he punishes evildoers with his flame-webs, and then unwinds by having threesomes with Swedish stewardesses and snorting coke off their butts. Alas, the depressing truth of the matter is that Sony was going to lose the rights to Spider-Man if they didn’t make another, so they rebooted the franchise, rather than tell an original story. The result is this perfectly good, but hugely redundant, movie.
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More questions for the Cap: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

April 7, 2014

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Well, the new Captain America movie opened here in Jakarta this weekend—Captain America: The Winter Soldier—and, like the first one, it was one of the better Marvel standalone movies. Captain America has proven to be, IMHO, the strongest of the Marvel superheroes. Iron Man, and by extension Tony Stark, is certainly the most fun, but Cap is the most three-dimensional of the lot. Thus far, his movies has felt less like placeholders than the god-awful Thor movies, and serve as the conscience of the Marvel universe. The Winter Soldier isn’t as fleet or breezy as The First Avenger, but it does seem to have something on its mind—a rarity in a spring blockbuster.
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Questioning the Cap: “Captain America: The First Avenger”

April 7, 2014

In anticipation for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I am reposting my review of Captain America: The First Avenger published on August 3rd 2011.


Well, Captain America finally opened here in Bangkok last weekend, and, as promised, it’s another fun addition to what has turned out to be a remarkably solid summer movie season. In case you missed the premise, let me recap: Chris Evans plays a creepy, Gollum-like creature named Steve Rogers who keeps getting turned down for service in The Big One (that’s World War Two to you folks born after 1980). After catching the eye of a kindly German scientist (Stanley Tucci), he becomes a lab rat for an experimental serum that makes him a super-soldier. After an impressive light show, he emerges a primo slab of man-meat. Wackiness ensues. And by “wackiness” I mean, “he wins World War Two” (oh, uh, spoiler alert).
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Lust in the jungle: “Tarzan the Ape Man”

February 11, 2014

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Lord, I miss the movies of the ‘80s. And when I say that, I mean the pre-blockbuster days of the early-‘80s. When the decade still had a contact high from the ‘70s—still batshit crazy, but less violent and despondent.  That moment when we, as a society, went from “We’re in the midst of a bad recession and gas shortage, so let’s smoke some pot and have an orgy,” to “Yay! Reagan said that it’s morning in America! Let’s all do coke and have an orgy!” Because, gentle reader only that era of innocence could bring us a big-budget Tarzan movie that basically serves as nudity-delivery vehicle for Bo Derek. And with that, let us dive into 1981’s Tarzan the Ape Man.
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If I had a hammer… “Thor: The Dark World”

November 11, 2013

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Oh swell, there’s a new Thor movie. I have to ask, did we need this? I mean, the first Thor was basically just a means to set him up for The Avengers. It was so when he appeared in that movie audiences wouldn’t wonder if they were suddenly watching a gay orgy. The story was pretty uninvolving with almost no stakes, per se, except for a tiny New Mexico town, or if you happened to care about Thor’s home town of pipe-organland. Alas, Marvell isn’t done taking our money and has to set up a separate film franchise, so we get Thor: Dark World.

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Caught in its web: “Earth vs. the Spider”

October 20, 2013

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Well, this is a surprise. No, don’t get all excited—Earth vs. the Spider is not a good movie. It’s actually a pretty ridiculous one in most ways. Still, it’s always refreshing when you stumble across what should be a grade-Z schlockfest, which has, inexplicably, a good deal more on its mind than the titular monster. Such is the case with this film, which takes the title-says-it-all premise of a giant mutated spider attack and turns it into a ruminative neo-noir about modern urban alienation and the pathos of comic book culture. I kid you not.
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