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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review (8/10)

It’s been said a thousand times before and it’ll be said a thousand times again; Spider-Man’s most enduring quality stems from his alter ego, Peter Parker. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine ourselves as millionaire playboys with suits of hi tech armor or batmobiles and we can’t really see ourselves as Kryptonian gods or super soldiers from World War II

Peter Parker is the everyman. Long before most other comic books, Spider Man gave equal attention to the troubles of the man behind the mask. We’d see spidey fight the Vulture and then deal with the fallout in his personal life as he missed a date or his aunt fell sick (for the hundredth time). In short, we love Spidey because we know that feel.

This is important, because no matter what your opinion, you can’t deny that The Amazing Spider Man 2 is the most spidery Spider Man film yet. What I mean to say is, this film absolutely nails the essence of Spider Man. While it may (ever so slightly) suffer from one villain too many, for better or worse it shows us Peter’s hectic world as he tries to balance his two lives, a job, an on/off girlfriend, college, the mystery of his parents, and a whole three supervillains. It’s still better than Spider Man 3.

While the overstuffed plot can occasionally feel like it’s simply setting up future sequels and spin offs (almost every supporting character we see eventually turns out to be a villain in the comics, such as Alistair Smythe and Felicia Hardy) it absolutely manages to be an entertaining flick in its own right. It’s no Dark Knight, but it doesn’t need to be. Like Spider Man himself, it’s larger than life, colorful, and fun.

Perhaps most importantly, they made Spider Man funny. Finally. From the pitch perfect (and massively entertaining) opening chase sequence right into some of the darker moments our webbed amigo still cracks wise, because that’s what he does and that’s how he deals. While the first Amazing showed us a glimpse of this, number 2 goes even further with it and given some of the events later in the film, his sense of humour goes a long way in telling viewers about Peter Parker’s strength of spirit and adversity in the face of mechanical rhinos and weird Goblin dudes.

In the hands of a lesser actor, this confident, smartarse Spidey may have come across as an annoying dick, but Andrew Garfield, having grown up a fan himself delivers the definitive Spider Man with a pitch perfect sense of drama, humor, and physical comedy that never feels over the top. Together with Emma Stone (still an awesome Gwen Stacy) they make every scene they share so adorable you either want to hug the screen or throw up, depending on how cynical you are.

Sadly, it’s the villains that bring the film down ever so slightly. Dane Dehaan’s Harry Osborn is just the right amount of spoilt playboy and simmering crazy person, but when he does finally snap it somehow becomes a bit too much, a little cartoony. It doesn’t help that compared to Spider Man’s all new, so beautifully faithful to the source material I want to cry suit, The Green Goblin still doesn’t really resemble the Green Goblin. Besides being green I mean.

Conversely, Jamie Foxx’s pre Electro performance is so over the top, Jim Carrey, haha this is what boffins are like, that I found myself glad when he fell into a pool of eels and decided to not talk as much. Visually however, Electro is stunning and his fight scenes with Spider Man are easily some of the films highlights, including an awesome Times Square showdown that almost outdoes the final setpiece (actually I think it probably does.

What’s most annoying about the villains though, is that they both feel crammed in to the point that neither gets a satisfying arc. Again, it’s clear things are being set in motion for the future but as a standalone film in this respect it left me cold.

Those niggles aside, I truly believe that this is the best Spider Man film yet. Funny, heartwarming, and with enough set pieces to satisfy the kids who just wanna see Spidey punch the shiny blue guy.  Without the need to retell the origin story, we’ve been offered our first pure glimpse at the start of a new Spidey universe. If this film is anything to go by, it could go absolutely anywhere.

 

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Four Directors Who Could Pull Off a Metroid Movie

Ever since the tragic yet painfully inevitable news that Nintendo shut down the Kickstarter campaign funding a Metroid Fan Film, I’ve been dreaming dreams of a world where Nintendo weren’t burned by that god awful Mario film. I dream of a world where Nintendo trust studios with their franchises, and great films are made.

Lets be honest, of all of Nintendo’s properties, the Metroid series would translate best to the big screen. An ass kicking female heroine who hunts down aliens on hostile and barren planets in an awesome Iron Manesque suit of armour? Pitch that to any studio and they’d drop to their knees to administer fillacio to you so quickly they’d probably fall through the floor.

So here are five directors I really think could take Metroid and absolutely nail it. If you disagree, let me know. You’re probably right. Just remember, at the end of the day they can never make a film as bad as Mario Bros. 

Ridley Scott

Let’s get the most glaringly in your face dance around with it’s trousers down with OBVIOUS written across both cheeks choice out of the way, shall we? Metroid when it boils down to it is about one single bad ass lady who is being stalked by terrifying aliens. I’m not sure, but I think Ridley Scott has done something like that at some point in his career.

All we need to do is swap the dark spaceship for a dark alien planet and give John Hurt a call to see if he’s up for having a Metroid hatchling burst out of his chest.

Joss Whedon

In my opinion, Whedon is the undisputed king of creating awesome female role models. Buffy the Vampire Slayer alone was full of them and was by no means limited to the starring character. Spin off Angel was full of them and The Avengers had Black Widow beating down alien heinie with the best of the blokes.

If anyone could deliver a character driven Metroid and ensure that Samus Aran was more than just a vacuous babe in a tank for the lads to drool over, it’s Whedon. My only concern would be that Aran’s trademark stoic nature would limit Whedon’s natural talent for zingy dialogue.

JJ Abrams

Considering this is the man who made Star Trek (really, really) cool and is undertaking the momentous task of making Star Wars good again, JJ Abrams knows how to make a pretty bloody good sci fi movie. Let’s face it; if he can make us all forget The Phantom Menace, he could absolutely crush it if Ninty gave him the chance.

Stanley Kubrick

Forgive me if I seem presumptuous, but I think every Metroid fan can agree that the absolute distinguishing characteristic of (most) games in the series is isolation. it’s that feeling that made Super Metroid so incredibly immersive and Prime so tense.

At it’s heart I do think Metroid would be best suited as a thoughtful, psychological horror first and an action film second. The man responsible for One Flew Over.. and The Shining could get it so right. Seriously, just imagine for a second The Shining, in space, with Metroids, and no Jack Nicholson.

Okay so that doesn’t really paint the picture I’m trying to convey. If any director could give us a film that gives fans the feeling they get when they’re actually playing Metroid, it’s Stanley Kubrick.

Who knows? Years from now we could all be attending the premiere of Metroid 4 and the franchise could become the most revered sci fi movie property of all time. Probably not though.

Five Reasons a Batman Beyond Movie Would Be Awesome

It’s sad, but we all know that the Batman movie franchise is gonna get rebooted faster than you can say “Christopher Nolan”. Following the Man of Steel and the recent news of a Batman/Superman movie as the inevitable build up to a Justice League, it makes sense that DC and Warner will be looking to revive their biggest cash cow in his own franchise as quickly as possible.

But since the Dark Knight trilogy literally just hung up its cape and the next Superman film will (presumably) feature the Batman we all know and love, DC should be taking the Batman film franchise in a new, unexpected direction.

Cue Batman Beyond. A late 90s cartoon set in a futuristic, Orwellian Gotham City. Without going into too much detail, a young juvenile called Terry McGinnis stumbles across a long deserted batcave and a long since retired Bruce Wayne. Needless to say, Wayne ends up mentoring McGinnis and they fight all manner of futuristic nasties and corporate corruption.

It was fucking brilliant.

So as if the synopsis alone wasn’t enough to justify a movie, here are five reasons why DC and Warner should make it so.

Old Bruce Wayne

An embittered old man who was forced to give up his war on crime but is still an absolute don who does not take shit from anyone. On top of that, he has a cool bat hound called Ace. Just think of some of the old badasses of film that could own that role. Chuck Norris taking out gang members with a walking cane? Worth the ticket price alone.

Terry McGinnis

Like I said, if they reboot the franchise this soon, it needs to be as different as can be and Terry McGinnis is no Bruce Wayne. For a start he’s still in high school and has a family and girlfriend so right away there’s a new dynamic to work with. But even on an emotional level, McGinnis is a wisecracking, cocky Batman unlike Wayne’s calculated and silent Dark Knight.

Villains

Beyond rarely fell back on classic Batman villains and usually opted for original creations, most of which were awesome. There’s an entire gang of “Jokers”, an evil CEO with a skin condition (which is cooler than it sounds, I swear) and some weird Venom like lady. Of course, if they wanted it to tie in more with Wayne and his past they could give an old villain some futuristic twist.

Why Batman Quit

Because Bruce doesn’t just stop being Batman, he completely turns his back on everything he ever had to do with it. It would be interesting to see the events leading up to his retirement unfold (in the series he relied on a gun after having a senior moment, and was so disgusted with himself he quit). But maybe there could be something more on top of that, some great trauma or loss that was the catalyst for him giving up.

The Costume

One of the coolest costumes ever. Seriously. They’d barely need to change a thing to make this look viable in a live action movie. Please, God make it happen.

Or… just give us another series of Batman Beyond. Such a great show.

Batman/Superman Movie in the Works

 Yep. Director Zack Snyder confirmed that Man of Steel 2 will feature the Dark Knight in a team up comic book fans have been waiting to see take to the big screen since there was a big screen.

We can assume that this will be a different Batman to Nolan and Bale’s brooding trilogy and it makes perfect sense to reintroduce Bats in a different franchise. Given Rises only just rounded things off, it’s way too soon to bring back Batman in his own franchise.

Of course, what’s most exciting is that this is inevitably the beginning of DC’s build up to The Justice League. Given that I always preferred the DC super team, I say bring it on.