There is a new Spider-Man movie coming out perhaps you’ve heard

 

If films are the modern day myths and legends and highest forms of storytelling, then the same stories are probably going to be passed down year by year, generation by generation. Especially if there’s already some source material. Whether it’s super heroes like Spidey or Supes or Batman, or something going so far back as Robin Hood. How many damn different versions of Robin Hood are there? We all know the basic outline of the Robin Hood tale. It’s been told many different ways. It’s been extended upon in episodic form, it’s been traced to its purest possible historical origins, it’s been altered, parodied, etc., etc. But I guess since it’s not a geeky franchise not that many people will bitch about it. Nevermind, I guess a lot of people bitched about the 2010 Ridley Scott version of Robin Hood. Can’t please everybody.

 

Superman, not unlike Jesus, died for our sins, and was resurrected after defeating his cyborg doppleganger.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man seems to be telling Peter Parker’s origin story once more, which was already portrayed in the 2002 film by Sam Raimi which for some people feels like last Thursday. It looks to be a little different than before, seems darker, more serious in tone, and will probably add a little bit more regarding Peter Parker’s parents. We’ve just seen the teaser. This could occupy 15 minutes of the movie, or it could occupy 45. I don’t know. We’ll have to wait and see.

 

 

I understand why people aren’t being won over too easily by the notion of rebooting a franchise whose dead body isn’t even cold yet. Yes, it feels a little too early. And when you compare it to the Batman series’ reboot, it doesn’t feel as necessary. Batman’s origin was not part of any movie. In Tim Burton’s 1989 version, Batman already existed, ready to fight crime. Nolan’s films started from the beginning in every sense and gave the story the darker edge it deserved.

 

The 2002 Spider-Man film was…okay. I never thought it was all that great. The only thing I thought it did very well was the origin, which it nailed perfectly. They took their time with it and set up everything we needed to know about Peter Parker, his gift, and his curse as Spider-Man. When it came to the second half of the movie, though, I don’t know. It failed to deliver. Willem Dafoe was born to play a comic book villain, and Norman Osborne was a perfect role for him. But despite pulling off a good job he was given very little to work with. The action and situations were pretty generic, even by comic book standards, and the design of that Green Goblin suit- dear God, it was fucking dreadful. Really. What the fuck?

 

 

But it set up the groundwork and made way for the second film, which some regard as one of the best comic book films ever made, and others who say it’s pretty much on par with 1 and 3. You can put me in the former category of people. I think it is one of the best comic book movies ever. Why? I don’t know for sure exactly why, but maybe it’s just because it’s actually¬†about¬†something. It’s not just formula. It’s not obligations. We have the standard stuff, like mad scientist and experiments going wrong and becoming evil and putting the city in danger and OF COURSE taking the girlfriend hostage. But I think it was less fantastical elements that really struck a chord: the average kid trying to survive, dealing with school and part time jobs and unrequited love, and all that super hero crap getting in the way of his life, seriously struggling with whether or not he should embrace his powers. It didn’t constrict itself to a basic formula, it roamed free and let us observe Peter a little bit. So many people bring up the fact that it was completely pointless that they had a scene where he eats cake with his landlord’s daughter. Well, why the hell not?

 

Then we had Spider-Man 3 and the series imploded into itself and instead of gracefully steadying after the fumble they just went back to the drawing board and went for the reboot.

 

Am I really going to have watch Peter get bitten by a radioactive Spider again? Am I really going to have to see Uncle Ben die again? Is it really going to be yet another science experiment going wrong and a genius becomes a monster? So be it, that’s comic books for ya. If it’s good, then it’s good. And if it’s good, it would be downright moronic of me to complain. It’s not as if it erases what I liked about Raimi’s films. And hello, Denis Leary FFS.

 

 

 

But yeah looks like they may be going for gritty and realistc much like Batman. I GUESS. I mean, I don’t know for sure. I’ll bet there’ll be a good amount of humour in it. But again it will just follow the origin story. It will have all the obligations and it will follow them and it will try to keep within a fairly reality-based environment. As great as Nolan’s Batman films are, they may actually be a bad influence. Come on, gritty is nice, but I want to see Spider-Man fight giant fucking robots and explore alternate dimensions or some other crazy comic book shit like that. There’s more to Marvel’s Sci-Fi than simply “SCIENCE GONE AWRY!”

 

That’s what I actually liked about this year’s Thor. It was Sci-fi fantasy to the max. Space vikings. Ice creatures. Travels through time and space. Oh, and hey- giant fucking robots. Neat-o.

 

But since film is still a fairly new medium (at least compared to those paper things with words on em) then I’m sure we’ll have dozens of different incarnations down the road, well beyond our lifetime, provided the world doesn’t end 6 months after the films release, and the film series will be classified by their eras, and certain people will like certain series better- just like with the comics. I hope within my lifetime though, I get to see Spider-man fight a Spider Slayer Robot on the big screen.

 

Anyway, I guess the whole point of this rant is, doesn’t The Dark Knight Rises look awesome!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Movie Review: Inception (2010)

Inception is a very impressive movie in that it works spectacularly well as a big action/thriller blockbuster with plenty of awesome, edge-of-your-seat sequences, and as an original, thought-provoking science fiction film. All too often a film like this may scrap its ideas and resort to mindless action, or fall under the weight of its own story. Inception presents an extremely ambitious plot and follows through with it admirably, not once taking any shortcuts or cheating the audience. It was immensely satisfying from beginning to end.

The cast is fantastic, featuring some of the best actors working today: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, and Ken Wantanabe. When you think about it, they’ve all taken on thankless roles here. It’s not as if most of them have the opportunity to show their skills as actors with a variety of emotions or long, dramatic monologues, which they are all perfectly capable of doing. They accomplish something arguably much more difficult: they guide us through this world that Nolan has created and make ideas that must have seemed a little silly on paper completely believable. These are real people at real risk. But, then again, maybe they aren’t? Yeah, Inception will no doubt inspire endless theorizing, especially about its ending.

Leonardo Dicaprio plays the main character and he has the meatiest part. He plays a complex and truly tragic character, as we learn more and more about him as the movie goes along. He was incredible in his role and reminds us once again why he is one of our most talented actors. It would be terrific to see his work here recognized come Oscar season as one of the nominees for Best Actor. It might not happen, but you can be sure that the movie itself will find its way on to the list of the Academy’s 10 best films of 2010.

So, yes, Inception lived up to the hype. Yes, it was worth the wait. Yes, Christopher Nolan has done it again. It is definitely one of the best science fiction films of our time. The best works of science fiction are all about ideas, whether they explore where we’re going with technology, or the possibility of life of different planets, or alternate realities, etc. Nolan’s film makes the bold choice of exploring the mind, and the mind is absolutely infinite.

Movie Review: Predators (2010)

If you’re a big fan of movies where characters speak softly and dramatically and try to explain everything that is happening, then PREDATORS just may be right up your alley. But I personally found it to be exhausting. 90% of the dialogue is tedious exposition: characters explain, explain, and EXPLAIN, what’s going on, what their plan of action is, who everyone is, and why everyone is there. But why bother trying to explain who these characters are? Any audience member with half a brain will expect most of the characters to be dead by the end anyway, and even with all the long-winded explanations, we really don’t get a better idea of who these guys are than we already could assume just by looking at them. Here’s a helpful hint for any screenwriter: WHIPPING OUT WALLET PHOTOS OF YOUR KIDS DOES NOT COUNT AS CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. We already figured this out with the first Alien Vs. Predator movie, which shockingly had more interesting characters, and- dare I say?- was more entertaining.

I wonder if someone who has never seen a Predator film will find this to be a good movie. As a person who is familiar with this series, I wasn’t sure why the Predator creatures would kill unarmed men. I may have nodded off during one of the many exposition-spewing monologues, but I recall something about there being two different kinds of Predators on the planet, with different creeds and codes locked in a civil war of sorts, so maybe there’s an answer there. That’s a small complaint, though.

What bugged me the most was, well, the entire thing. In Predator 1 & 2, you figure that the Predators didn’t hand-pick Arnold Schwarzenegger or Danny Glover to hunt, but they just stumbled upon them or something. Each and every character in PREDATORS was chosen for specific reasons to go on that planet to be hunted, but why are these creatures going through all this trouble? If they’re going to elaborately capture them, parachute them onto the planet, just to pick them off seemingly at random, why not just hunt on Earth? Seriously, what the fuck? It makes no sense.

Should I have just turned my brain off and enjoyed the action? I mean, it’s not like the original 1987 film with Schwarzenegger is known for its impeccable writing, right? But PREDATOR has its fun, while this movie does not. It is dead serious. The characters play it completely straight, which is more than you could say for good ol’ Arnold, who was practically winking at the camera the entire time. The only person I could see having some fun with their character was Laurence Fishburne, who really livens thing up, but is in the movie briefer than you may expect.

There were some decent action scenes I guess. I liked it when they were gunning apart those dog-like creatures and there is a cool sword fight. Like, seriously guys, if the Asian mob guy finds an ancient sword and DOESN’T use it later in a big dramatic showdown, I would ask for my money back.

Maybe as a fan of the Alien and Predator movies I was expecting too much. It’s not like this one movie could singlehandedly redeem an entire series, but what kind of victory is it for a fan when a movie you’re looking forward to doesn’t suck completely, but isn’t all that good, either? PREDATORS was not the redemption I was hoping for, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s not a terrible movie, but I wouldn’t say it was all that good, either. It was kind of stupid.

And the ending. Don’t get me started on the ending. Boy, talk about your piece-of-shit endings. As the screen cut to black, I was almost expecting a giant middle finger to appear on the screen, or maybe a disclaimer stating: “We couldn’t figure out a way to end this movie, so we’re going to let you draw your own conclusions.”

Harrison Ford: Empire Strikes Back Q&A!

News has been flying around the internets like crazy today after it was announced that Harrison Ford will be taking part in a Q&A session after a special screening of The Empire Strikes Back in May to commemorate its 30th anniversary.¬† Let’s hope it goes well.

More details here:

https://www.stjude.org/stjude/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=376fe70618ec7210VgnVCM1000001e0215acRCRD&vgnextchannel=e128e70618ec7210VgnVCM1000001e0215acRCRD

Surprise, surprise, it’s already sold out. Hope someone brings a camera phone!

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