Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Hello there, hope you’re having a good weekend. Only a few days until “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is released, which means it’s time for me to cover the second (and final) movie in the previous reboot. So let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”.

Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) life is a bit of a hectic one, trying to balance being Spider-Man with being a regular New York teenager. But this is going to get way tougher when a series of new villains emerge and start causing chaos. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a curious case of occasional good ideas getting absolutely crushed by the overabundance of superfluous plot threads. First is the Peter/Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) romance, fine. Then there’s the introduction of Electro (Jamie Foxx), fine. But then there’s also the backstory involving Peter’s parents. And a plot involving Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan). And then there’s a few more threads throughout. There’s so much shit going on that it really messes with the pacing. First act is fine, and even has some great shit going on. But as the film goes on, it just becomes an overstuffed, underdeveloped, sluggish mess that is hard to engage with. There are moments of quality in the storytelling, but the overall narrative is just… ugh.

The characters in this are a mixed bag. Our two leads, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, they’re both charming, fun, engaging, and just overall a great pair, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both delivering top notch performances. Next we have Max Dillon/Electro, who is at first set up as our main villain. His characterization is bizarre, and I don’t completely get why they wrote him the way they did. And Jamie Foxx… it’s a mixed bag of a performance. On occasion I do enjoy it, but it often just didn’t click with me. Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn? Decent performance, undercooked writing. Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich? Unnecessary, but very amusing. I’ll at least say that the rest of the supporting cast is solid, featuring people like Sally Field, Colme Feore, Marton Csokas, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Junkie XL, Johnny Marr, Steve Mazzaro, and Andrew Kawczynski… FUCK, that’s a lot of composers. But they acted as sort of a supergroup to make the music for this, and I think it mostly paid off. It’s an interesting mix of styles and genres, making for a unique and slightly eclectic score that I thoroughly enjoyed hearing throughout the movie. There’s also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, and they are a bit of a mixed bag. Some work pretty well, some less so.

As with the first one, “Amazing Spider-Man 2” was directed by Marc Webb (HA!), and I think he did a solid job. Despite the script being a complete mess, Webb’s direction is sound, flowing beautifully and bringing some nice energy to proceedings. It especially shines in action scenes, which are all generally quite enjoyable. And that’s something I can say, on the technical side of things, this movie is solid.

This movie has gotten some very mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.5/10.

Despite a lackluster and overly messy script, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” still has enough bright spots in it to keep it from total failure. It has some good story moments, it has a few good characters, the performances are (mostly) great, the music is really good, and the direction is really solid. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a 6.23/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

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

*thwip*

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

If you’ve been following me for a few years, you might remember that back when “Spider-Man: Far From Home” came out in 2019, I reviewed all of the Sam Raimi-directed webhead movies. Well, now that we’re getting “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in a few weeks I thought it was a good time to finally talk about the two “Amazing” movies. So today I’ll be reviewing the first one, and then the sequel in like a week. Sound good? Then let’s get into it!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Amazing Spider-Man”.

After he gets bitten by a genetically modified spider, high school student Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) starts developing spider-like powers… wait a minute, this is how I kicked off my review of the 2002 “Spider-Man” (absolute hack). But yeah, since this is a reboot, it kind of does have a similar setup to what has come before. But despite this, “Amazing Spider-Man” manages to still stand on its own two feet, largely thanks to a slightly more serious and subdued tone. For the first two acts, I genuinely found myself really invested in the storytelling , it’s an enjoyable and emotionally resonant take on a very familiar setup. It does start stumbling towards the last act however, largely due to the villain of this. Again, early scenes of the character getting introduced are really strong… but the further we go on, the more he loses the compelling drama and just sort of devolves into generic villain, which does affect the drama of the narrative a bit. There are still some really good moments in this final act, and even the weaker elements aren’t outright terrible, but it is enough to bring the overall product down for me a little. Again, on the whole it’s a strong story, even though it does stumble a little towards the end.

The characters in this are all pretty solid, generally I find most of them quite compelling. Peter Parker in this isn’t the überdork he’s been in a few other adaptations, but he still carries some of that awkward charm that the character needs, and it’s all beautifully brought to life by Andrew Garfield giving a fantastic performance. Then we have Gwen Stacy, a smart, clever, and fun young woman who also acts as a love interest for Peter, and she’s great, with Emma Stone killing it in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Rhys Ifans, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, and more, all delivering really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by James Horner, and it was great. Some nicely inspiring and heroic brass, some more somber and emotional pieces, some tense bits involving strings, synths, and some other goodies… it’s just a damn solid score. Horner never missed when he was still around, and this is just further proof of it.

Based on various Marvel Comics, “The Amazing Spider-Man” was directed by Marc Webb, who I swear was chosen for the pun alone. Joking aside (for now), I think he did a damn good job. The direction of this movie has this way of feeling very grounded while still bringing some of the energy of superhero comics to life. But there are also a select few bits that are directed and edited with a bit of a horror vibe, and I really dig it. So on the whole, it’s just a really well crafted film.

This movie has gotten mixed to positive reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.9/10.

While it does stumble in parts, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is still a damn good retelling of the wall-crawler’s origin. It has a really good story, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really solid direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Amazing Spider-Man” is an 8.45/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

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

Well, that’s that for today. *Thwip*.

Movie Review: Smokey and The Bandit (1977)

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Old school movies, what is there to say about them? They can be fantastic, like “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” or they can be shit like “Jaws 2, 3 and 4”. Then we have those with mixed opinion like “Blues Brothers” and “Star Wars”. Speaking of “Blues Brothers”…I love that movie. So what happens when you take a movie with a somewhat similar style but you change out Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi for some other people…and then go back in time three years…then we get the movie of this review.

People…”Smokey and The Bandit”.

The Bandit (Burt Reynolds) is one hell of a driver. That is why he gets sent on a mission by Big Enos (Pat McCormick) and his son Little Enos (Paul Williams) to deliver a lot of boxes of beer to a different state for them. He accepts after getting a fistful of dollars (Haha). But how is he…a guy in a Trans-Am supposed to deliver a shit-ton of beer cross several states? Well he gets help from his truck driving friend Cledus (Jerry Reed), Cledus’ dog Fred and a woman named Carrie (Sally Field) who ran away from her wedding. And that wedding was with a guy called Junior (Mike Henry)…problem is Junior is the son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). And soon after, Sheriff Justice is on the hunt after Bandit and his friends over all these states…so delivering beer (which in this case counts as bootlegging) is easier said than done. And that is about it. The main plot is not more advanced than that. It plays out like a kind of comedic road movie. With tons of slapstick containing Bandit avoiding cops and making them look like idiots. There are also a few plot points that you can figure out before the second half of the movie even starts. But I honestly don’t mind since this movie is so damn entertaining. I had a lot of fun with the simplistic, yet charming plot.

The characters are amusing. There is not too much to say on that. Sheriff Justice is your typical highly devoted cop who just does his job but got a kind of short temper. His son is not too bright…that’s all I’m saying. Cledus is one of those typical movie truck drivers who is both serious in his job, can joke about different things, but still got his heart in the right place. Carrie is a fun woman…that is all…seriously, she is too entertaining to watch to tell anything about. And finally we have Burt Reynolds as…Burt Reynolds. I have no better words for it.

The music is your typical country-styled road movie music…in other words good. Fun thing is they are both composed and performed by Jerry Reed who plays Cledus (MAYBE because he actually is a country singer). No more comments.

The chases in this movie are entertaining. Think “Blues Brothers” but a little older, not in a city and possibly on a slightly smaller budget. Another reason they are so entertaining is because of the chemistry between Burt Reynolds and Sally Field…it is perfect! They work so well together and have some fun conversations in the car. Yeah. Oh…almost forgot, this movie got Oscar nominated for Best editing.

Reception was good, it was a smash hit when it came out. Rotten Tomatoes has an 81% positive rating for it. Strangely enough, Metacritic has no review or score for this movie…at all. Roger Ebert has no review for this.
imdb.com has a score of 6,8/10 on “Smokey and The Bandit”.

As you may have noticed based on the different parts of the review, I like this movie. I think it is incredibly entertaining and definitely worth a watch. The score for “Smokey and the Bandit” is a 9,12/10. I think you should buy it. It is an entertaining movie that is perfect when there is nothing on TV.

Review of “Smokey and The Bandit” is completed.

By the way, the sequel was fun…but unnecessary…so you only have to watch this.