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The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Review

Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can. Amazing Spider-Man is the follow up film to 2012′s, Amazing Spider-Man and sees the return of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spiderman. I was a massive fan of the previous Spidey film and praised Andrew’s performance as both Peter and the web-slinger. He nailed something in the character that I felt like Tobey McGuire was missing in his performances in the original three films. We get that solid character and performance continued on in the second Amazing film and he continues to show that he has acting chops. WARNING: Spoilers are in-bound. Use your Spidey Senses at your own discretion. Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens with a pretty hectic scene revolving around the disappearance of Richard, and Mary Parker whom are Peter’s parents. They’re aboard a private jet which is then hijacked by an assassin obviously sent from Oscorp, but Richard succeeds in sending out information that we learn about later on in the film. With the pilot dead the plane crashes and we can safely assume that both Richard and Mary are killed upon impact. Even though this scene doesn’t exactly explain much it was still a nice little thing for myself as a viewer to witness. However, I wouldn’t be entirely disappointed if it was cut from the final product. Boom. Fast forward to present day and Peter is still taking down baddies as Spider-Man. We then have him chase after one of the cooler Spider-Man villains, Aleksei Systevich/The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) who is attempting to steal a truck packed full of plutonium. Which I believe is a key ingredient in making nuclear bombs or something destructive like that. During this high-speed chase, Spidey saves a bumbling, apparently mentally unstable Oscorp employee by the name of Max Dillon (who would later become the film’s titular villain, Electro played by Jamie Foxx) which sort of sets up an encounter later on in the movie. While doing all these shenanigans he’s also on the phone with his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in which he sees a “vision” of her father George Stacy (Dennis Leary) who died at the end of the first film. This reminds Peter that he made a promise to George to keep Gwen out of his life as Spider-Man. This causes the couple to break up. While I admit the relationship aspect of this film was sort of meh, it is an integral part of Peter’s story in the comics regarding the story between him and Gwen Stacy, so I can see that it needed to be played out. We then have an introduction of yet another character with Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) whom was a child-hood friend of Peter’s and has returned to New York City to see his terminally ill father, Norman Osborn (Chris Cooper) to which he explains his illness is hereditary and that poor Harry is at the age in which it begins to develop. He gives Harry a small device which he explains contain his life’s work, and the following day he dies leaving Harry the now acting CEO of Oscorp. Gears begin to turn, things are set into motion, and my worry of multiple villains being introduced starts to show. We are then thrown right into a scene where Max whom now idolizes Spider-Man, and believes that they are friends is tending to some equipment in one of Oscorp’s laboratories and falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels. The eels then begin to attack Max savagely, and he begins to mutate into a living electric generator and cause the birth of Electro. So, here is the third and main villain finally starting to pop up in the film. Things are moving pretty fast plot-wise, but I’m still hooked. Let’s get back to the relationship sub-plot with Gwen and Peter. I have to throw this out there though. This relationship/chemistry is definitely easier to handle and watch unlike in the original films between Tobey and Kirsten Dunst. So, we learn that Gwen is thinking of going to England for school which obviously looks like it stuns Peter and upsets him. Before they can fully talk about the situation Electro ends up in Times Square and causes a scene. This in turn causes Peter to suit up and go handle the situation in the best way we can. When Peter arrives as Spider-Man we see that police are preparing to fire on Electro if he does anything. As Spider-Man is attempting to calm him down the police open fire on Electro who loses his temper and attack the police. Spider-Man eventually beats Electro and he’s quickly shipped off to Ravencroft which is a type of prison for the mentally ill. This is where we get the first glimpse of how Electro is what you’d call a “tragic villain” and it’s not his fault he’s insane. He’s got some kind of mental illness that causes him to lash out and get angry. He just wants people to know who he is. I really like how they made Electro look in the film. Most of his outfits in the comics are pretty weak, and it’s a relief they didn’t go with something like his green, and yellow outfit that makes him look like some type of daffodil. I love this look of Electro and I can imagine they’ll probably incorporate this look into the comic (unless they already have, I haven’t been up to date on my Spidey comics in a while). Let’s get back to the film. Then we’re thrust into another plot-line revolving around Harry Osborn. Remember him? It looks like his illness has begun to show its symptoms and his father’s device helps him deduce that Spider-Man’s blood might help save his life and cure his disease. Sadly, the way they explain this is kind of weak and I’m still not too sure how that plan would exactly work. The only thing I could grasp is that later on in the film we learn more about Richard Parker explaining that he injected his own DNA or something into the spiders from Oscorp which obviously explains how Peter bonded with the spider so well when it bit him. It’s still a pretty weak and vague explanation. So, to make matters worse for dear, old Harry it turns out that Oscorp has framed him for the accident with Max Dillon which caused him to turn into the villain Electro which causes him to lose his title as CEO. We then have Felicia Hardy (BLACK CAT IN THE COMICS, OH SHIT) tell Harry that there may be some equipment that could save his life, so he goes to meet Max/Electro and strikes a deal with the blue guy to get himself back into the Oscorp Building. This is when he finds some of the venom from the genetically engineered spiders and instead of curing Harry it turns him into some horribly, disgusting looking goblin-like creature. Welcome to the birth of Green Goblin, our other villain in this film. I must be in the minority that didn’t see an issue with the villains in this movie. The main villain of the film is Electro, and it’s obvious. Green Goblin, and Rhino are only in the film for a few minutes for key plot points to set up the following films. It’s not too hard to comprehend and for me it didn’t ruin anything in terms of quality of the film. I still enjoyed watching the movie, and I think Dane DeHaan’s Green Goblin is by far the best looking Goblin we’ve had in most Spider-Man media. James Franco’s Green Goblin was just…lame. Then again, he was Hobgoblin wasn’t he? I don’t remember, Spider-Man 3 was kinda wank. Anyways. We’re then thrown right back into the relationship (which I enjoyed, bring the hate) with Gwen calling Peter and leaving a message explaining that she went to the airport because the scholarship in England got accepted earlier then they thought. Not wanting to leave on bad terms, Peter meets Gwen on the bridge and professes his love for her and vows to go to England with her, which would obviously cause him to stop being Spider-Man but we know that’s not going to happen considering Electro is still around somewhere. Then again, Peter still think he’s locked up. However, Electro decides to ruin this touching moment by causing a mass blackout so Peter leaves the scene to go fight Electro, and against his comfort Gwen follows him. The two of them restore power, and causes an overload which seemingly kills Electro, but I pretty much doubt he can be killed that easily. We’ll see in the next films won’t we? Harry shows up with his power amor, and Glider and sees Gwen which leads him to figure out that Spidey is Peter Parker and vows to get revenge on him for refusing the blood transfusion from Spider-Man and kidnaps Gwen and flies to the top of a clock tower. The two of them have an all out brawl with Spider-Man subduing Harry, but fails to save Gwen who falls from some gears in the tower to her death. This scene in particular is probably the strongest in the entire film for multiple reasons. It distinguishes a major element in the development of Peter Parker as a character and how he handles the death of his love in his future as Spider-Man. It’s a pivotal moment for him as a character and they captured that moment beautifully on film. It also makes some subtle hints to the comic issue where Gwen is killed off. She wears a very similar outfit to the one she wore in the comic the night she died, and once she hits the ground after her fall the clock strikes the time of 1:21, and the comic issue she died in was 121 which was released in 1973. This pleased the Spidey comic book fan inside me greatly, aside from the tragic, tear-jerking scene of Peter weeping over the body of the girl he was in love with. This also makes sense as to why Mary Jane Watson was cut from the film in the end. It wouldn’t of suited how we were supposed to feel emotionally at the conclusion. It feels better this way, and I can imagine fans of the Spiderman comics, and films can agree on this point. Even if you didn’t enjoy the film, I’d like to think that this scene in particular hit home with everyone. It was being foreshadowed for the entire film, and it was always inevitable. However, five months pass and we learn that Peter has stopped being Spider-Man for good, which I hate to say it is a common thing that bothers me about superhero films. Something usually happens in one of the franchises that causes the hero to “quit” being who they are because of a death, or some sort of tragic event. I get that it’s a part of character development but I’m actually fed up with seeing it. Minor complaint and all. Harry is healing from his grotesque transformation and is approached by Gustav Friers (the man in the shadows from the first film) who discuss the formation of a small team to take out Spider-Man which is a nod the group formed in the comics called the Sinister Six and the fact we’re getting a spin-off film about them makes me a happy camper. We also get a secondary nod with this by seeing Doc Ock’s arms, Vulture’s Wings, and the Rhino’s mechanical suit. This evil duo make their first move by freeing Aleksei and giving him the suit, which thus gives birth to The Rhino (one of my favorite Spidey villains besides early Venom, and Carnage). We’re then treated with a scene where Rhino inside the mechanical suit, which looks completely bad-ass. I really loved the design and over-all look of it. I’m glad they went this route because I imagine just some bloke wearing a Rhino looking skin-tight outfit would of been lame and sort of…underwhelming. But wait, is that Spider-Man? Nope, it’s a small child dressed as Spider-Man attempting to confront The Rhino. Pretty brave kid, I wouldn’t have the balls to do that unless I had some form of super-power or like…anti-tank weapon. We’re then treated with a lovely scene where Peter is watching Gwen’s graduation speech which inspires him and he goes out to meet Rhino head on, and ultimately saves the kid. And, the film just sort of abruptly ends with Spidey attacking Rhino, which obviously is probably set up for the third Amazing film, and we’ll most likely see The Rhino as the titular villain in that movie. I’m perfectly okay with this because Paul Giamatti is a superb actor and from the few minutes we saw of him in the movie I’m excited. — VERDICT: Amazing Spider-Man 2 may not be as good as the first film, but I enjoyed my time with it. I still think Andrew Garfield is the perfect choice for Spider-Man, and the chemistry between him and Emma Stone really shows on screen. The two of them are wonderful together and I’d like to see them work together more often, which might be a stretch considering they are a real-life couple (eat that up comic fans). Of course the plot did jump around a bit, and there was some bits that seemed like they were shoehorned in and really didn’t serve much of a purpose. Jamie Foxx was superb as Electro, and I feel like he was one of the selling points in the movie. I’m not understanding the hate behind the film, and the only logical thing I can think of is people expected it to be something it’s not. It’s a setup film, and if you go into your viewing realizing that, and knowing that you’re probably going to have a good time with the movie. It’s far from being a terrible movie like most of the critics are saying. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets a solid… 7/10    ...

Dark Corners: Dead Silence

Dark Corners: Dead Silence

Dark Corners is a fortnightly feature focused purely on horror. From the classics to remakes, and even the lesser known flicks, they’ll all feature. This week sees one of James Wan’s earlier films that paved the way for his success with the likes of Insidious and The Conjuring. Dead Silence is one of those tricky horror films that clearly shows a director trying to find their style. A few years before James Wan would become a mainstream success with the likes of Insidious and The Conjuring under his belt, he came to the attention of many through his work with the Saw films. Saw had it’s own definitive style both in terms of look and tone. Though naturally, when Wan moved onto new projects, he tried to avoid using the same style and tricks in his past work. Thus his 2007 film Dead Silence came to be. Dead Silence marked the start of James Wan’s foray into the supernatural. The plot consists of the vengeful spirit of a persecuted ventriloquist and a young man’s attempt to get to the bottom of a dark secret that has plagued his home town. Admittedly, it’s all rather generic. The plot is definitely where Dead Silence falters, because it’s nothing new or all that interesting and feels like ground that has already been covered time and time again. What the iffy plot does do, however, is allow for some fantastic imagery to be created. Wan’s ability to create and project traditionally dark yet interesting imagery is fully on display within the opening shots. You can see his style–that he is now applauded for–in the raw stages throughout Dead Silence. A pitfall of many horror films, especially modern flicks, is their general overuse of static dull imagery that tries to be more gross than scary or creepy. Dead Silence, thankfully, keeps each shot chilling and intriguing. There are numerous shots that work perfectly with the bleak lighting throughout the film. Scenes are often masked by darkness but only to the point where they feel relevant to the scene but not in an obvious manner. It’s a trick that Wan would further develop to the point of perfection in his later work. In total, Dead Silence is a visually interesting film throughout, especially in terms of how it uses light (as previously mentioned) and audio together to create a brooding atmosphere. The problem with Dead Silence is mostly down to the plot and dull characters. The plot struggles to shake off a lingering feeling of being goofy and borderline Goosebumps-like. It leaves the film in this sort of grey area where the viewer doesn’t really know whether to take the film seriously or not. With that being said, however, there are some genuinely creepy moments towards the closing stages of the film, but these are often broken up by some elements of silliness that unfortunately extend to the rather comical plot twist ending. Dead Silence isn’t a bad film by any degree, it’s simply just a shallow one. It looks fantastic and showcases James Wan’s ability at creating truly fantastic horror imagery and atmospheres. His skills save Dead Silence from falling into a sea of generic and charmless horror films that popped up after the mainstream success of Saw. Horror fans, especially those who enjoyed The Conjuring and Insidious, will find Dead Silence an enjoyable way to spend ninety minutes. Everyone else may find it a little too generic and flat to bear.        ...

Review: Supernatural — S09E05 “Dog Dean Afternoon”

Review: Supernatural — S09E05 “Dog Dean Afternoon”

Supernatural is back again this week with another “monster of the week” episode, and ends up being an extremely light-hearted and fun adventure. Spoilers Ahead: The episode opens in a taxidermist’s workshop with a man making some Game Of Thrones-esque sculptures using what appears to be a muskrat. The man hears a sound, and goes to investigate only to find nothing in the shop. He returns to his workstation and is immediately surprised by a man wearing a cowboy outfit whom then flashes a forked tongue (much like a snake) and constricts him to death, much like an anaconda would while the taxidermist’s dog, Colonel watches as his master is killed. Very straight to the point, and it left me wondering what the monster was. Some type of snake creature? That’s what it looked like we were going to get, so I was instantly hooked. The brothers eventually end up investigating the case, even though Dean says it might not be a good idea saying how Sam is still on the mend from the Trials in the previous season (even though we know it has something to do with Zeke; the angel possessing Sam). Once getting there they learn that the dog, Colonel was the only other person there during the death of the owner, and head back to their motel room to investigate a strange symbol they found on the shop door, believing it to be some sort of Wiccan symbol. The brothers learn the symbo isn’t Wiccan in nature at all, but is instead the logo of a local “Peta-like” group whom tried using scare tactics to stop the taxidermist’s business by covering his front door in blood, and writing death threats in the blood. However, they tell the brothers that they were scared off by hissing, and believing they were sprayed with mace. They remove their glasses to reveal injured eyes, and Sam reveals through research that the injuries were most likely caused by snake venom being spat into the eyes. This confuses the brothers as snakes who constrict won’t use venom, and vice versa. The brothers are then drawn to an animal shelter where another victim has been found with slash marks on his neck, as if he was mauled by some sort of cat. The victim whom had discovered the “cowboy” man eating a cat, was then promptly killed. Thus revealing some more interesting details about the killer/monster. He’s obviously not a snake creature, as snakes don’t use claws to kill their prey. So, what is he? Dean then notices the same dog from the first crime scene locked up at the animal shelter, and realizes that this dog, Colonel had witnessed both deaths of the taxidermist, and teenager working at the shelter. Sam mentions an old Eskimo spell that would allow the person to “mind-meld” with an animal, and communicate with them. They make the spell, and Dean drinks the concoction but is let down when nothing happens, and that he can’t talk to Colonel who is now with them in the motel. Then, out of the blue a mysterious voice tells Dean to change the channel, and we soon realize it’s the dog, and that Dean can now communicate with all types of animals. However, the mind-meld worked both ways and now Dean has acquired some dog-like traits, which is shown by him playing fetch with Sam, and barking at the mail-man. Colonel tells them what the killer looks like, so the Brothers and Colonel head to the shelter so Dean can get some more clues from the other animals there. This in turn gives us a hilarious little bit where Sam must rub the belly of a dog so it can give Dean clues about the killer, whom we then learn is the head-chef at a restaurant. Upon arriving at the restaurant, Sam realizes that the Chef is eating animal organs, and obtaining some abilities of said animals using a shamanistic ritual. The duo decide to split-up and kill the Chef, which results in Sam being attacked by the Chef who has been concealed against a wall, like a chameleon and slashes at Sam’s throat, delivering a fatal blow. However, Zeke takes control again and heals Sam’s wound which obviously confuses Sam, but also intrigues the Chef who now intends on devouring Sam’s heart and gaining his healing abilities to help rid himself of his cancer. Dean encounters the scenario, and is attacked and tied up by the Chef who contemplates on how he’ll kill Dean, before eating a Wolf heart. Dean manages to break-free, and leads the Chef on a chase leading outside where Dean calls on a pack of dogs he let free earlier on in the episode who eventually tear the Chef to pieces killing him. A pretty hilarious way to kill someone in my opinion, and the episode in general took us away from all the dark, and gritty and gave us something humorous and light-hearted. The ending also lends itself to question whether Sam is starting to realize something is going on with the whole “healing” and blacking out thing. I’d be questioning things myself if I knew my throat was gashed open, but then the next minute it was completely healed. I guess we’ll see what happens next week. Definitely a good episode of Supernatural, even though it felt like it was resolved a little too quickly and that things just happened to fall into place. I guess that’s what we should expect in a more “positive mood” episode. Lots of humor to this one. I give it an 8/10.  ...

Review: The Walking Dead — S04E04 “Indifference”

Review: The Walking Dead — S04E04 “Indifference”

Season 4 is turning out to be my favorite season of the series yet, and is slowly removing the bad taste left in my mouth from Season 3, and that god-awful finale. With only four episodes in, it seems like the major “villain”/adversary for this season will be the flu like sickness that has hit the prison, and made many of the residents sick. Spoilers ahead for this episode. This episode puts the flu on the backburner, and instead focuses on two groups set out to gather supplies to hopefully aid in their survival, as well as combat the flu-like sickness that has taken its toll on some of the residents. The two groups include Daryl, Tyreese, Michonne, and Bob whereas the other group is just Rick, and Carol. Daryl’s group attempts to find a new vehicle after losing their previous one to a horde of Walkers. The find the new vehicle, and clear away some vines only to have Tyreese (still sad/angry about Karen’s death) chop at the vines too vigorously, and in turn releases the Walkers hiding inside the autoshop. After struggling, and failing to let go of the Walker, Tyreese is eventually saved by Bob who shoots said Walker in the head, killing it. It really feels like the deaths of Karen & David are taking its toll on Tyreese and it seems like he’s becoming more, and more unstable and could prove to be a risk to the group later on this season. The same could also be said for Bob as later on in the episode him and Daryl have an exchange about how him grabbing the bottle of booze in the season premiere caused the Walkers to swarm, and cause Zach’s death for which he blames himself. This happens again as towards the end of the episode we see Bob trying to save a bag of what we perceive as medicine from falling off a ledge where Walkers are swarming, but he refuses to drop the bag at the group’s request. The bag is saved, and Daryl pulls out a bottle of alcohol, and an argument is had with Bob almost pulling his gun on Daryl. So, it could also be said that Bob’s drinking problem is a risk to the group as it had caused Zach to die, and risked the lives of Tyreese, Daryl, and Michonne this week. If something doesn’t happen that fixes Bob’s alcoholism, I entirely expect him to die somewhere this season. We’ll see what happens. The story with Carol, and Rick for this episode was also really tense to watch, not knowing how Rick was going to react at Carol killing Karen, and David whom were extremely sick, and posed a risk to the rest of the group. Rick is seen to be mulling over the situation for the entire episode, and we learn that Carol has changed, and adopted a new mindset that revolves around kill or be killed, which we’ve seen throughout this season so far. They find two survivors while raiding a house whom are Sam, and Ana and are both injured. Sam with his dislocated shoulder which Carol fixes, and Ana with her busted leg that didn’t heal properly. Carol & Rick seem to be conflicted about whether letting Sam, and Ana join them but Rick decides to let them go out, get supplies and then meet back at the same house 2 hours later.  While going out for supplies Rick, and Carol have a discussion about killing someone for the better of the group. Carol brings up Rick killing Shane in Season 2 and it seems like they’re both on the same page, and that Rick has accepted Carol’s choice in killing Karen, and David. However, they soon come across the body of Ana being devoured by Walkers, and head back to the house to see if  Sam is there waiting. Hours pass, and Sam is nowhere to be seen so Carol decides they should leave, even though Sam might be okay, people will be expecting them back soon. As they’re packing up, and getting ready to leave Rick finally discusses the situation of Carol killing Karen, and David and mentions that he’s doing it for himself, and his children. He also mentions that Karen, and David could of been okay and survived but they never would of known/gotten the chance as Carol had killed them, for the “better of the group.” So, in the end it seems like Rick doesn’t trust Carol and tells her to leave the group and that she’s strong enough to be on her own now. It feels weird having a long-running character just get asked to the leave the group for good. However, I think I can side with Rick on this decision some-what. Carol made a huge decision without really thinking everything through, and in the end killed two people that could of totally been okay, and survived the flu, but were never given the chance. Where as back in Season Two, Rick killed Shane because he proved to be a threat, and even attempted to kill Rick. His actions were for the better of the group, where as Carol’s remain to be seen that way, but I guess time will tell. However, I also feel that Rick is saving Carol as well with this decision. If she came back to the prison with him, and Tyreese found out he would most likely kill Carol for killing Karen. So, for me it feels like Rick is also saving her life by asking her to leave, and start fresh. I do feel like this is the last time we’ll see Carol though. She’s too much of a major character to just be let go like that. I’m also curious to see what happens with the other characters, especially the ones who have all become sick from the flu. How many will die, and from the sneak peak it looks like more of them have turned and attacked the others. Will Tyreese’s anger over the death of Karen continue to make him more volatile, and will Bob’s drinking problems play a bigger part in the rest of the season? And how will the prison group react to Rick returning without Carol? I guess we’ll have to wait until next week. This episode gets a 9/10. Definitely one of the better episodes of the show’s run....