Movie Review: Spider-Man 3 (2007)

And so we come to the end of this review series on the Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies. It’s been fun revisiting this franchise. So let’s talk about the final part!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 3”.

Peter (Tobey Maguire) seems to finally have his life under control. But that soon takes a dark turn when a mysterious space goop enters his life and changes his for the worse. All the while a super-powered petty criminal (Thomas Haden Church) roams the city after having escaped from prison. ALL THE WHILE Peter finds himself in some love triangle drama with Mary-Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). ALL THE WHILE his- fuck this. Just… fuck it. There are elements in the plot that are good. But overall, it’s a god damn mess. It has more threads than a spider web, and they are all (for the most part) paper thin. Like I said, there are some nice parts here too, some finely handled dramatic/emotionally charged bits. But they all find themselves tangled up in this scatterbrained web.

The characters here are mixed. Some are nuanced and interesting, and some are Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. The returning core cast of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco are all great in their roles, and do wonders with the material they’re given (which sometimes isn’t great). Rosemary Harris as Aunt May is still the warm, comforting presence she’s always been. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is still an absolute blast to watch. As for new blood, there’s Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman. He’s given a surprising amount of development, and gives a really solid performance. And then we have the aforementioned Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. Look, Grace is not a bad actor, and he actually does a good job playing an absolute slimeball here… but he feels miscast for the character of Eddie Brock. And the stuff they do with the character here… just, no. Overall, decent cast.

Unlike the first two movies, the score in this one wasn’t composed by Danny Elfman. Instead, musical duties were handed over to Christopher Young, who I think did a great job. He incorporates Elfman’s iconic theme wonderfully, while still bringing his own flair to a lot of the other tracks. There are some emotionally charged pieces here that really work well within the movie.

As we’ve pointed out already, “Spider-Man 3” was, like its predecessors directed by Sam Raimi, who I think mostly did a great job here. I say mostly, because compared to the other two, there’s a lot more leaning on CGI for various things in this one. Which also makes some bits look a bit wonky, especially a chase scene early on in the movie. There is cool stuff to it, but overall the green screen effect looks kinda unfinished. And there are a few CGI humans in this movie, and they were a bit distracting. But with all that said, whenever it doesn’t use shit effects, it looks good. The action scenes in this are generally great, with one fight scene some ways into the movie being one of my favorite parts of it.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 63% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

So while “Spider-Man 3” is a bit of a let-down compared to the first two, it’s still an enjoyable superhero movie. It has a messy plot with good moments, mostly good characters, really good performances, great music, and good directing/action with only a few wonky effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man 3” is a 6,95/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Spider-Man 3” is now completed.

Bit a downer to end this series on. C’est la vie, je suppose.

Movie Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

And so my series of reviews of Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies continues!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 2”.

As Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) tries to balance college, work, and being the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he runs into even more trouble when scientist Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) becomes the villainous Doc Ock. So now we have our sequel. It’s bigger, but does that make it better? Yes, very much so. It has a lot of themes to balance, and it manages to do that beautifully. At times it’s fun, at times it breaks the viewer’s heart, at times it’s uplifting. It takes all its various themes and creates a web (HA!) that is a perfect representation of Spider-Man and his adventures.

The characters are colorful, flawed, layered, fun, and overall just really interesting. Tobey Maguire reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Seeing his development throughout here is fascinating. Yes, you do get a lot of the charming awkwardness seen in the first movie, but you also get to see a lot of new sides to him that came forward after the events of the first movie, and from things that happen here. And Maguire is great in the role. Alfred Molina plays Otto Octavius, the brilliant scientist who becomes the villain of the story. He’s under constant conflict with himself throughout, making him quite a compelling character. And Molina is great in the role. Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary-Jane Watson, and she gets some decent development throughout. And Dunst is good in the role. James Franco returns as Harry Osborne, who also has some interesting character drama going on, with Franco giving a great performance. We also get supporting work from people like Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons (still the best), Bill Nunn, Dylan Baker, Daniel Gillies, Donna Murphy, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the first movie, the score was composed by Danny Elfman, and he somehow managed to one-up himself. The score here of course brings back a lot of the sweeping heroics of the first, while also adding in a lot of nice little touches that makes it stand out. Really, it’s amazing, one of the best scores of the time. And there’s the odd licensed track used throughout that works quite well too.

As with the first movie (and as mentioned in the opening of this review), this movie was directed by Sam Raimi, who (like Elfman) upped his game. His camptastic sense of energy makes a triumphant return, which makes it electrifying to watch, even in the “slower” scenes. It also adds a lot to the action scenes, which are a blast to watch, thanks to the energetic, visceral feel that Raimi gives to them. There’s one scene in particular that really encapsulates that, and if you’ve seen this movie, then you probably know which one I’m talking about. And to bring up something I mentioned in my previous “Spider-Man” review, the effects in this still hold up. The last one had a lot of rough stuff, but the ones in this one… still so good.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It also got an additional 2 nominations in the categories of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

“Spider-Man 2” is a sequel that takes everything that was good about the first one, and improves on it significantly. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action/effects. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Spider-Man 2” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man 2” is now completed.

Here’s a fun anecdote: As I was (re)watching this, I realized that I actually hadn’t seen this one before. My mind had tricked me into thinking that I had seen it before, when I hadn’t. It’s quite interesting.

Movie Review: Spider-Man (2002)

With “Spider-Man: Far From Home” getting released in July, I thought I would give the Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies a little rewatch/review. I mean, it’s been years since the last time I saw them, so now is a good a time as any to see if they hold up. So here we go with part 1.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man”.

After he gets bitten by a genetically modified spider, high school student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) starts developing spider-like powers. And he soon has to put them to good use when a crazed villain (Willem Dafoe) starts terrorizing New York. We had gotten a few superhero origins before this, but this really set the standard for how it’s done. Even in movies later on, let’s say “Iron Man” as an example, trace amounts of this movie can be found in the way the origin is done there. So yeah, the plot here is handled well. Not saying it’s perfect. It does have a few minor pacing issues at points, but there’s nothing that completely ruins the experience for me. It is still mostly well paced, with plenty of nuance and a decent exploration of the “Great power, great responsibility” theme. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s emotional, it’s a good “Spider-Man” origin.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, layered, and overall interesting. Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He’s a little shy, a little awkward, but also clever, good-hearted, and a fairly relatable character. Seeing his journey from that dork that everyone picks on to a hero is quite fascinating. And Maguire is really good in the role. Kirsten Dunst plays Mary-Jane Watson, Peter’s neighbor and crush. A beautiful young woman with a bad home life, but a good heart. Seeing her and how she is affected by Peter’s life/she affects him is an interesting part of the whole story. And Dunst is really good in the role. Next we have Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin. He’s something of a scientist and tries to develop tech that can help the military… but things go a little… awry. Seeing his duality throughout the movie is endlessly entertaining, and Dafoe is the perfect blend of intimidating, emotionally investing, and hammy in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson, James Franco, J.K. Simmons (the best), and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s epic, emotional, sweeping, and balances heroics with smaller stuff, making for one of the most iconic and enjoyable scores in the last 20 years. Seriously still great.

As mentioned in the opening of this review, “Spider-Man” (based on the Marvel character created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko) was directed by Sam Raimi, and I think he did a great job with it. He has a unique sort of energy that makes the movie a whole lot of fun to watch. He also uses a lot of fun camera movements to give the movie a unique look that feels very much in line with the character of Spider-Man. This also translates to the action scenes, which are a lot of fun and are even surprisingly brutal at times. However, to add a negative into all this positivity, there are a lot of effects that don’t hold up. Those are CGI stuff that very much haven’t aged well. It’s not a total deal-breaker, but it is distracting enough to bring the score down a little bit.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. It got 2 Oscar nominations in the categories of Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.

While there are aspects of it that has aged a fair bit, “Spider-Man” is still a damn fine superhero movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. What brings it down a bit for me are the occasional pacing issues and often wonky CGI effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man” is an 8,89/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Spider-Man” is now completed.

Two more to go. *thwip*.

Movie Review: 127 Hours (2010)

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Being stuck, something that no one likes to be. Whether it is at work or in a dark room… not very fun. Even worse if you’re stuck all by yourself… yeah.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “127 Hours”.

Aron Ralston (James Franco) is a young, adventurous man. He loves being outdoors, hiking and climbing. But during one of his hikes he falls into a canyon and gets his arm stuck under a boulder. So now he has to survive while also trying to find a way to get the fuck out of there. And from that we get a tense and surprisingly entertaining plot. Yes… entertaining. When watching a movie about a guy trying to survive while being stuck in a claustrophobic location, I don’t expect to be entertianed… but I was. The way this was constructed made it both tense and surprisingly fun. Keep in mind, fun… not funny. We see Ralston being stuck, documenting parts of his ordeal while also reminiscing about his life and family. Yeah, the plot of the movie was very well presented and executed.

The character of Aron Ralston is a pretty interesting one. He’s never made out to be any kind of hero in the movie, despite his impressive survivalist tactics and interesting decisions. He is more of a cocky, yet clever guy who ends up in this shitty situation and has to endure it. So he’s definitely interesting to watch. And James Frnaco was absolutely terrific in the role, perfectly capturing the likable and misforunate Aron. And while there are some supporting performances throughout the movie, none of them really stand out. But they don’t need to stand out since this movie is meant to focus on Aron. And Franco manages to hold our attention very well.

The music in the movie is really good, having a good mix of licensed stuff and original stuff. The original score was composed by A.R. Rahman and has a pretty big focus on acoustic guitar, which actually fits very well with the drama and canyon environment. It’s used very well throughout the movie and sounds pretty great overall.

The movie was directed by Danny Boyle and he did a pretty great job. The directing is very tense and very tight, which works perfectly within the claustrophobic environment that Aron is stuck in. The editing is also really good and the use of different cinematographers for different shots gives the movie a very unique feel, especially since the different styles reflect the few different perspectives we get to experience Aron’s (in lack of a better word) journey. The movie also gives us one of the most difficult to watch scenes I have ever experienced. Thsoe who have seen the movie know what I’m talking about.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Franco), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song.

“127 Hours” is a harrowing but also inspiring movie with a great plot, great acting, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. AAAHHHHH! My final score for “127 Hours” is a 9,88/10. This of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “127 Hours” is now completed.

Franco is a very talented and likable actor, but it still feels weird saying “Academy Award nominee James Franco”.

Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise_of_the_Planet_of_the_Apes_movie_wallpaper_1366x768 Don’t we all love reboots!? No? Good, because varying opinions are great. There are a few decent enough reboots out there…like “The Bourne Identity (2002)”. Yeah, bet ya didn’t think that was a reboot/remake! Well it is! But enough about that. Reboots/remakes are usually a hit-or-miss situations. Like I said “The Bourne Identity” is a good one. “Robocop (2014)” wasn’t really the best. But what about the franchise that got a reboot a few years back and it completely flopped, and had…human on ape kissing…ugh. And then, a few years later it got rebooted AGAIN! But how did it turn out? Did this guy like it? Will it be as great or will it flop like Tim Burton’s try at it.

Apes and Chimps…”Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (That’s a mouthful).

Will Rodman (James Franco) is currently on the verge of a scientific breakthrough. He thinks he has created the cure for alzheimer’s disease. He mostly worked on it becasue his father Charles (John Lithgow) has it. Unfortunately science is not the best thing ever. As always the new drug/cure/virus/thing is being tested on animals. And in this case it is chimps who are the chosen ones. But the fun thing is the drug/cure/virus/thing actually kind works and makes one of the chimps smarter. The one called bright eyes. But when something goes wrong and she escapes, she gets shot and killed, leaving the boss to tell chimp handler Robert Franklin (Tyler Labine) to put the rest down. Only thing is he finds a tiny and adorable chimp baby whom he hands over to Will to take care of. So of course Will brings him home and starts raising him. He also finds out the chimp had inherited the drug/cure/virus/thing’s effects from his mom. So he both studies him and raises him…hmmm. He also names him Caesar (And is mo-capped by Andy Serkis). But as you may have guessed by the title of the movie, shit gets fucked up. The plot in a non-detailed fashion is kinda predictable. But what is so interesting is the execution. It is made in such a way that the plot becomes fantastic. Also, this isn’t just an action film with an ape twist…it is also a character driven drama. I was very surprised with the plot and I just love it.

Characters are not too shabby I guess. You basically wanna punch most characters on the throat at least once in the movie. The only ones you maybe don’t wanna punch are Will, his father and Caesar.  They are the only ones you understand why they are like that without them being dicks about it. But the corporate people are not really justified (Because corporations conducting animal tests are not justified).

The music is epic. That is all I can say. The soundtrack by Patrick Doyle is amazing. Fits every big and little thing that happens in this movie and just makes you wanna be there and go on an adventure. MMMMMM YEAH!

This movie is beautifully filmed in every way. Not only the camerawork, but also the CGI is magnificent. They really bring the apes to life here. Also, where is Andy Serkis’ Oscar!? I don’t care that motion capture is not really the same as regular acting, but give him an Oscar already! He was great in the “Lord of The Rings” movies and he is great here. He deserves one, god damn it!

Reception for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was just great. Rotten Tomatoes has an 82% positive score and a “Fresh” rating. Metacritic is as always the lowest and gave this a 68/100. Roger Ebert gave this movie 3/4 stars and really praised Andy Serkis as Caesar in this. He even said:

“one never knows exactly where the human ends and the effects begin, but Serkis and/or Caesar gives the best performance in the movie.”

imdb.com has 7,6/10 as score for the movie.

I have given a few opinions on this movie and I am ready to hand out a score. I am giving “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” a 9,70/10 and in other words not just a recommendation to buy it…but also the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (still a mouthful) is now reviewed.

To be honest, I am hyped for the sequel.