Posts Tagged ‘ Spider-Man ’

The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Review (2D)

It’s the reboot none of us really needed, but probably the one we deserved right now. That was my thought process when sitting down ready to watch Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man. While the latest Spidey-flick does tread over a lot of previously covered ground, it manages to tell much more of an emotional tale than what any other superhero blockbuster has managed to do, making it one of the better comic book movies out there.

Perhaps one of the main reasons audiences have been so against Sony’s decision to reboot the Spider-Man franchise is given the context of the current state of comic book movies. When Sam Raimi hit the ground running in 2002 with his Spider-Man début, there had only really been one great comic book movie with Bryan Singer’s X-Men to challenge against (two if you count Blade). Wind forward ten-years later, Spidey finds himself up against the might of The Avengers, and the punch of The Dark Knight Rises.

It’s because of this factor the film often struggles to find its own identity. Too often it feels as if Webb’s film has been influenced by what Christopher Nolan has achieved with the Batman franchise. Taking a Batman Begins approach to Spidey’s origin may have seemed like a good idea, if only Webb could keep with it. The shift in tone is remarkably jarring at times, but recovers by the end when the film falls into more familiar superhero territory.

The story is simple. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is sent to live with his aunt and uncle at a young age after his parents (are they spies?) are presumably sent away on a mission. Cut to present-day and an angst-filled Parker has developed into a social outcast at school, while resenting not knowing the truth about the fate of his parents.

Colliding with this tale however is the journey of Dr. Curtis Conners (Rhys Ifans), a scientist desperate to regrow his missing limb through cross-species genetics. This is where problems with the script are notably on display, as the plot-threads don’t intertwine well at all, and we are left with little closure on any of them.

Performance wise, Andrew Garfield is a revelation as Peter Parker. Not only sporting a physique much more akin to the Peter from the comic books, but also bringing with him an attitude that was missing from the Raimi films. Sure, some of the one-liners fall flat on occasions, but this is much more of a relevant Parker than what Tobey Maguire achieved. If a teenager suddenly got spider-powers, would the first thing they do really go and sign up for a wrestling match. No, and Webb’s film brilliantly captures Peter exploring his powers.

Peter’s love interest Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is a welcome change from the typical damsel in distress role Kristen Dunst played with Mary-Jane Watson. For once, a comic book movie has a strong female lead, with Gwen being top of her class at school, while holding down an internship at Oscorp.  Furthermore, Stone proves to have fantastic chemistry with co-star Garfield, and the Gwen/Peter scenes pack far more of an emotional core than the Magure/Dunst relationship ever did. Many reviews have unfairly labelled the film as ‘Twilight in spandex’, however the relationship between Peter and Gwen elevates the film at least two stars, even succeeding where Nolan’s films have failed in giving us an interesting female lead.

Rhys Ifans gives a solid performance as Curt Conners, despite his character feeling very reminiscent of the brilliant Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2. Denis Leary does an impressive job playing Gwen’s father Captain George Stacy, bringing a likeable quality to him despite acting as one of Spider-Man’s nemesis for much of the film, while Martin Sheen is a brilliantly funny Uncle Ben, further adding to the inevitable tragedy that entails.

Special effects wise, the film does an impressive job with the practical effects used in scenes when Peter Parker is web-slinging, however that’s probably the best compliment I can give as it’s clear this is a much smaller-budget production than the Raimi films. From a choreography stand-point, some of the action scenes were brilliantly done, but the effects used on the Lizard were laughable at times, and it’s questionable as to why they didn’t give the Lizard a snout as originally thought as it would have looked far more menacing.

Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man was a welcome surprise. Despite having some dreadful CGI in places, the fantastic leads and emphasis on drama makes this a truly spectacular reboot. Now if they can get Webb back for the sequel we might get a movie that can top Spider-Man 2

Ohh, and there are many hints towards the sequel…

8/10

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Why 2012 Was The Wrong Year for The Amazing Spider-Man

(This is not a review)

Amazing Spider-man Int. Poster

Amazing Spider-man Int. Poster (Photo credit: marvelousRoland)

The official reviews for The Amazing Spider-Man are in. While the film itself isn’t released here in the UK for another week, the general consensus is the Marc Webb directed Amazing Spider-Man is a good film that diminishes itself by rehashing an origin no one really wanted to see. With Marvel’s The Avengers managing to easily pass the $1 billion mark already this year and The Dark Knight Rises expected to do better, was 2012 really the best year for the return of the high school Peter Parker?

Despite popular opinion, Spider-Man 3 (2007) was not the huge disaster it’s often made out to be. Emo-Spidey and underdeveloped villains aside, Spider-Man 3 still managed to be the highest-grossing film of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. It should have been easy to follow suit with a fourth movie. If Internet rumour was correct, Sony would now be the one’s having Anne Hathaway as their anti-hero in their franchise, not Warner Bros. With Hathaway’s Hollywood stock at an all-time high, Sony would have been guaranteed success with Hathaway and Jon Malkovich. Instead, studio interference led to director Raimi dropping out, leaving the project without a director and crew. Sony insisted they had no choice but to reboot with Andrew Garfield replacing Tobey Maguire as the lead hero.

A new Spider-Man film should have been easy to sell to anyone. Spider-Man is one of the most relatable and popular superheroes of all time, and is Marvel’s highest-grossing franchise to date. How could it go wrong? Perhaps taking the focus away from the action, and focusing on the relationship between Peter and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Sony has risked alienating their biggest audience. Children. Children that wear the Spider-Man pyjamas, the Spider-Man face paint and buy the Spider-Man toys. The Avengers catered for everyone and as a result it’s managed to become the third highest-grossing film of all time. Will The Amazing Spider-Man reach similar heights? I doubt it.

I credit The Amazing Spider-Man for deliberately trying not to cater for the superhero action extravaganza audiences. After all, they’ve already been catered for this year with The Avengers, so why bother trying to outdo a group of superheroes when you can tell a more personal and intimate story? That’s where I admire The Amazing Spider-Man’s ambition. It’s trying to be different from your usual superhero flick, or is it? There are some very direct parallels between Webb’s reboot and the Raimi movies. The Lizard for one treads the same water Alfred Molina already crossed with the tortured scientist trying to make the world a better place as the brilliant Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2, while Denis Leary’s Captain Stacey fills the void left by J. Jonah Jameson played by J. K. Simmons.

If The Amazing Spider-Man was never going to be the cinematic revolution many hoped it would be, you would think Sony would know better than to put their reboot between two franchise juggernauts. Providing a film to match Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary in 2012 is a nice sentiment, but it looks as if Sony has paid the price for re-visiting Spider-Man’s origin. Looking at next year’s comic book movie schedule, there’s Iron Man 3 hitting cinemas May 3rd Man of Steel on 14th June and Thor 2 on the 8th of November. That’s a pretty crammed schedule, and adding a fourth superhero film to 2013 risks over-saturating the comic book movie industry, so The Amazing Spider-Man probably wouldn’t have faired much better there either.  Will The Amazing Spider-Man find itself as the first major casualty of an over-saturated market? That’s something that’s long been on the horizon but until now with the exception of Warner Bro’s Green Lantern, we’ve never really noticed it. When was it going to get to a point where people started tiring of comic book movies?

I may be wrong, and The Amazing Spider-Man may go on to hit the $1 billion mark, however it was never going to meet my people’s expectations. If I want dark and gritty, I can wait to see The Dark Knight Rises. If I want a romance film embedded in fantasy, the Twilight finale hits at the end of the year. Raimi nailed with the character in my opinion. Spider-Man is so compelling because he’s a character surrounded by tragedy, by uses it to drive him to achieve good in the world.

When Sony booked the 2012 slot, they should have considered that rehashing a worn- down gritty origin was never going to satisfy fans that have just seen The Avengers. From the moment the first trailer was released, The Amazing Spider-Man has always felt dwarfed. If the plan was to deliver Twilight in spandex, they should have perhaps waited for the vampire franchise to actually finish.

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Season 2 Thoughts

Screen capture from The Avengers: Earth's Migh...

Screen capture from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes episode, "Breakout". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been a while, but The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has finally returned to our TV screens, debuting its second season with an impressive episode, bringing classic characters such as Dr Doom and The Fantastic Four into the animated universe. With an impressive season behind it already, I believe Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is well on its way to becoming one of the best-animated superhero shows of all time!

What separates EMH from other animated comic book shows, is that is has the potential to benefit the comic book industry in a huge way. Several legendary story arcs from the comic books such as ‘Ultron Unlimited’ and ‘The Kang Dynasty‘ have already been spectacularly featured in season one, which is great for introducing some of the older Avengers stories that modern fans may not have seen before.

For example, after viewing the fantastic ‘Kang Dynasty’ arc in season one, I went out and purchased the book that influenced the show, The Kang Dynasty’ by long-term Avengers writer Kurt Busiek. While for new readers, the book may be a bit long, I found it to be an example of how to do a comic book event right, with effective characterisation, and a fantastic level of unpredictability. Hopefully the show can influence more viewers to pick up the comic books, which would be a huge bonus for the comic book industry, as well as perhaps leading to some of the classic storylines receiving re-prints, which is a benefit for long-term Avengers readers.

One of the strongest features of the show in no doubt is its ability to build up future storylines. In season one, we received hints at The Kree-Srull War, Secret Invasion, and The Ultron War. While this doesn’t some please some fans (particularly those who didn’t like Brian Bendis’s New Avengers series), I find it captivating to watch future storylines unravel. Especially now Spider-Man and The X-Men are set to feature. For comic book adaptations, the difference between an animated television show and a blockbuster movie, is that a television show has the time and the audience to develop more intricate storylines, and introduce far more characters. For instance, a Marvel Civil War movie would never work as a feature film, but it fits perfectly for an animated television show with the rights to a whole host of characters and the time to build it conflict. Judging by a season 2 preview, the show is set to feature the Civil War storyline sometime in the future!

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a comic book fan’s dream. Unlike many animated comic book television shows, it takes itself and the source material extremely seriously. With a full second season to look forward to, I can’t wait to see where the show is heading. I just hope it doesn’t reach the same fate as Spectacular: Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men.

 

 

Why Nova Is The Best Character Marvel Have Right Now

Why sometimes taking a chance on an unknown character can do wonders for the comic book fan…

Nova (comics)

Image via Wikipedia

I really didn’t know much about Nova until late last year. To me, he just seemed like a Marvel rip-off of Green Lantern. Cocky superhero, check. Intergalactic police force. Check. There comes a time though when it gets boring seeing characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man dominating the market. A change was needed, and for me it was Richard Rider.

Nova (Richard Rider) is a superhero in the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. Upon becoming a member of the galaxy’s Nova Corps (an intergalactic police force), Rider gained enhanced strength, flight, injury resistance, energy projection and a specialized uniform with life support.

I decided to take a gamble and bought a Nova trade (Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning) as it had received some rave reviews on Amazon. Taking it with an open mind however, I still didn’t know if it was going to be for me. To my delight, Nova instantly struck me as a fantastic hero. What I liked was that he was just an ordinary guy thrust into the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. The character had some amazing powers and lot of weight and responsibility on his shoulders. Not to mention his fantastic dynamic with his inbuilt super-intelligent Worldmind computer. His first arc, post Marvel’s Annihilation event stands as the best comic book I’ve read in over a year. Better yet, Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso promises we will see more of Nova in 2012 as Avengers Vs X-Men heats up. Whether or not it’s Richard Rider remains to be seen

What originally inspired me to do this post is how Sony are willing to give Ghost Rider a mediocre sequel, yet no studio has yet to capitalise on giving Nova a feature film. The character rights for Nova are owned by Marvel Studio, so using him would be a great way to development their cosmic universe for future movies. With Green Lantern failing to impress, now is a great opportunity to stake a claim in cosmic superheroes. Providing the casting was solid, Richard Rider would be a more relatable character for viewers. He’s more of a likeable character than Hal Jordan, but still maintains a charismatic edge. The dynamic between him and his computer Worldmind would provide humour with a great dynamic, similar to what was done with JARVIS and Tony Stark in the Iron Man films. If there were any doubts over whether or not Nova would be a viable movie franchise, Marvel still has the opinion of incorporating him into a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

He’s not having the best of luck in comics right now, but I urge any comic book readers to pick up the Nova trades. They have everything you could want in a comic book, space battles, high-octane action, comedy and even a lot of drama. I would love to see Marvel create a movie for Nova. It can’t be any worse than Green Lantern…

Deconstructing: The New Amazing Spider-Man Trailer

What a week it’s been for comic book fans. On Sunday we were treated to an action packed trailer for The Avengers and now Sony have gone and done one better by releasing an extraordinary two and half minute trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man. Starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Conners, this brilliant trailer gives us our first look at The Lizard, as well as highlight that this is a very different incarnation of Spider-Man than what we’ve seen before. (Spoilers below)

All Rights Belong To Sony

1) Peter Parker Is A Genius

One thing that initially worried me about the Spider-Man reboot was that they would try and change Peter Parker’s character too much in order to differentiate from Sam Raimi‘s films. Thankfully though, this reboot looks to have captured Peter’s personality better than ever, as hear we see him designing what looks to be his web shooters proving that Parker is indeed a genius in the film.

All Rights Belong To Sony

2) This Is A Darker Spider-Man

Here we get our first look at Spider-Man’s new suit in action as he webs up a car thief to a wall. Peter’s wisecracks and sarcastic humour traits are still evident as just before he asks the thieves “Do you seriously think I’m a cop in a skin tight red and blue suit?” There’s definitely a sense of arrogance however that stems from the hero, something that was lacking in the previous films.

All Rights Belong To Sony

3) Peter Is Connected To The Villain

Here we meet Dr. Curt Conners played by Rhys Ifans. Peter introduces himself to his future nemesis by stating he was Curt’s partner’s son, revealing that an interesting sub-plot to this movie involves Peter’s parents. What Spider-Man 2 showed us is that when the hero has an emotional tie to the villain, the showdown is far more engaging. It’s where other superhero movies such as Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The First Avenger failed, as they didn’t build up a relationship between the hero and villain enough for us to care who wins.

All Rights Belong To Sony

4) He Creates The Villain

Again, this is another example of how well Marc Webb has built up the Parker/Conners relationship as we find out from a weakened Peter that he is somehow responsible for the creation of the Lizard. This is further shown as we also see Peter display his impressive knowledge to Conners that somehow allows Conners to re-grow his missing arm back. Like all scientific villains though, it goes wrong and he eventually mutates into the Lizard that you see above. From this image, it looks as if those PEZ dispenser images we saw a while back were more accurate than we realised. It’s definitely a more humanoid Lizard than what most people expected, but Internet rumour suggests that Dr. Conner’s transformation progresses in stages and eventually towards the end of the film we will see a more monstrous version of the Lizard.

All Rights Belong To Sony

5) He Is A Wanted Man

Yet another example of how grittier this incarnation of Spider-Man is, here we see Spider-Man apparently being unmasked by Captain Stacey (played by Denis Leary), father of Peter’s love interest Gwen Stacey. The Spider-Man as an outlaw theme was only briefly explored in the original films, therefore seeing Spider-Man having to win over the public is an important part of the comic book mythos that Marc Webb seems to have captured brilliantly. It also elevates the drama in Amazing Spider-Man to Batman Begins type levels. I’m guessing Captain Stacey doesn’t make it until the end of film though.

All Rights Belong To Sony

6) New Love Interest

Another theme the trailer conveys well is the strong relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey. Previous Spider-Man films simply had Peter lust over Mary Jane until he finally got her. Now, there looks to be a more complex relationship between Peter and his love interest, as it’s clear Gwen Stacey knows Peter is Spider-Man quite early on, and that there is a strong friendship underneath their relationship as well. Keeping the Parker luck mythos of the comics alive though, is the fact that her father is hunting Spider-Man, making for one complex relationship.

All Rights Belong To Sony

7) Justified 3-D

As you may have seen from this site, I am not a fan of watching movies in 3-D. Too often than not, films are pointlessly converted into 3-D post-production, leaving most of the film distorted for a few pointless 3-D moments that are somehow meant to justify a more expensive ticket. Thankfully though, The Amazing Spider-Man was actually filmed in 3-D, and judging on the trailer, the action scenes are likely to complement the 3-D spectrum brilliantly. Reviews from Monday night’s Amazing Spider-Man secret footage reveal have all been praising the film’s 3-D, meaning for once I might actually be happy to watch a film in 3-D. That’s something no Marvel Studios film has managed yet.

So there’s my deconstruction of the new Amazing Spider-Man trailer. In short, I feel as if it was a fantastic trailer that offered plenty of substance and action, without spoiling too much of the plot. If this and the Avengers are anything to go by, 2012 is going to be a fantastic year for comic book movies.

Could Spider-Man Be In The Avengers After All?

Spider-Man: Big Time

Image via Wikipedia

It’s safe to say my anticipation for The Avengers film has reached an all time high. With just three months to go until the movie hits, my mind is full of questions. Who are the villains? Where is the new trailer? Will Hawkeye be more than just a supporting character, and most importantly, will any other Avengers cameo?

Rumours have recently been circulating online regarding Spider-Man potentially having a cameo in The Avengers movie. Normally, it’s easy to ignore these types of rumours, as the Avengers are owned by Marvel, and Sony owns the rights to Spider-Man. What fuels these rumours this time though is that Disney will be involved in the merchandising rights for The Amazing Spider-Man, meaning Disney have some weight in the Marvel character’s film rights. Could it be that Disney made a deal with Sony for Spider-Man to show up in The Avengers, if it meant Disney would aid Sony by undertaking a strong merchandising effort for The Amazing Spider-Man?

It would be great to see Peter Parker show up in The Avengers. Among all Easter eggs, seeing a top character like Spider-Man appear would be a crowning achievement for Marvel Studios. For Sony, I can only imagine that an Avengers cameo for Spidey would perhaps create some momentum for the character, considering his own film would still be some three months away. Plus, Spider-Man’s return to cinema comes at a time when a certain Dark Knight returns for a second sequel. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone aside, it’s safe to say The Dark Knight Rises will easily out perform The Amazing Spider-Man at the box office. Sony will need all the help they can get if they want to compete with the likes of The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.

Honestly though, I can’t see Spider-Man appearing in The Avengers. Neither studio would gain enough from it. Marvel are riding off the success of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, while Sony are likely to bring in strong enough numbers based on the Spidey name alone. It would certainly be good if it did happen, as it would signal the end of movie studios clinging to individual characters, and if Marvel Studios could eventually win back Spider-Man, who says they couldn’t one day reclaim the X-Men? Regardless, Sony have always stood strong with the Spidey franchise (Spider-Man 3 story aside) so I don’t think they would be in any rush to sell one of the world’s most popular superheroes too soon.

Should Marvel Reboot?

Various characters of the Marvel Universe. Pro...

Image via Wikipedia

DC’s New 52 reboot is one of the most significant things to happen to comics in decades. There’s no doubt that DC has done well to make their comics reader-friendly by wiping away most of their continuity. It was a risky move, but the result has put DC back on top over Marvel with sales figures. With Marvel falling behind for the first time in years, it raises the question whether it’s time for them to initiate a total reboot, in attempt to wipe their increasing convoluted continuity clean and become more accessible for new readers?

Yes Marvel Need To Reboot

1) Their Continuity Is Too Messy

One of the biggest challenges for new readers of Marvel comics is to try and come to terms with the X-Men continuity. Spanning for over fifty years, the X-Men books are almost unrecognisable to new readers. Gone is the Professor X and his X-Men vs. Magneto and his Brotherhood of mutants, replaced by a universe where former villains are now allies. Continuity isn’t just messy when it comes to the X-Men though. Spider-Man suffered a continuity crisis when an editorial decision decided to have the devil, Mephisto erase Peter’s marriage, and make everyone forget that Paeter Parker is Spider-Man. These are the kind of examples where it’s easy to justify a Marvel reboot.

2) They Need More Characters From Diverse Backgrounds

Where Marvel has become seriously outdated is that they lack some diversity. Sure enough, Brian Michael Bendis is doing superb work on making Miles Morales an engaging, fresh character in Ultimate Spider-Man, while Ed Brubaker maintains the Falcon as one of my favourite characters, but Ultimate Marvel aside, they are still lacking. How would a reboot help introduce characters from different minorities? Characters such as The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine and Iron Man remain incredibly popular because they’re over fifty-years-old. Resetting the clock would allow Marvel to give new characters from diverse backgrounds more extensive back stories and make them a core part of the Marvel Universe, rather than side characters. Marvel could incorporate Ultimate Nick Fury into the mainstream universe, or even create some new characters, as seen with Marcus Johnson from the recent Battle Scars series. It’s time now for characters from diverse backgrounds to simply be more than just side characters.

No To A Reboot

1)Continuity Can Be Restored Easier

It was easier to see why DC chose the reboot The Justice League. The team had become outdated, irrelevant and aside from X-Men, had the most confusing continuity in comics. They needed a new slate. Marvel is lucky not to be in that position just yet. While they’ve been going on a little over-board on events lately, it’s becoming clearer that they know what’s working and what’s not. With financial struggles, Marvel was forced to cancel titles such as Alpha Flight, Dark Wolverine, X-23 and Iron Man 2.0. With the excess weight taken off, Marvel should have time to focus on making their existing lines better. An example should be the work of Dan Slott on The Amazing Spider-Man series. When Slott took charge, he had the duty of recovering the series from the One More Day mess left behind by JMS and Joe Quesada. Now, Spidey is one of the most fun comics around. More writers need to focus on wiping away what didn’t work before, and bringing back the characteristics that made the superheroes so engaging in the first place.

2) Their Characters have Come Too Far

Another problem with a company ride reboot would be that it would undermine the journeys that Marvel’s characters have taken over the past years. Writers such as Grant Morrison, Joss Whedon and Jason Aaron have worked hard to strongly develop characters like Cyclops and Wolverine. Would all that be diminished if the X-Men line rebooted?

The same applies to characters like Bucky Barnes and The Scarlett Witch. Both characters have had writers spend years developing them, so it’s difficult to imagine a reboot wiping their continuity clean.  DC showed how ruthless they can be when Wally West was cut from the New 52 relaunch. I would hate to see that happen to any of my favourite Marvel characters.

Conclusion

Will Marvel reboot? In my opinion, Marvel is likely going to judge the future of their comic line by how well their event Avengers vs. X-Men is received. If the event reaches mainstream publicity and sales are good, I can imagine Marvel will hold off a reboot and spin great stories off AVX, similar to what happened with Civil War. If AVX fails to impress, I feel as if maybe Marvel will probably initiate a reboot. After all, if the top two teams Marvel has battling each other can’t succeed, then it’s definitely time to go back to the drawing board. There seems to be a trend with comics lately, as if they’re aspiring to be like the 90’s again, with over the top art, page after page of heroes fighting and little substance. Marvel also really need to turn this around if they want to keep on top of DC in the future.