Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro (2014) SPOILERS!

Title: The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise of Electro

Release date: May 2nd, 2014

Running time: 142 minutes

Director: Marc Webb

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Sally Field.

Summary: We’ve always known that Spider-Man’s most important conflict has been within himself: the struggle between the ordinary obligations of Peter Parker and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. But in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Peter Parker finds that his greatest battle is about to begin. It’s great to be Spider-Man. For Peter Parker, there’s no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen. But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro, Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn, returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.

23083

This is a hard review to do because I’ve got very mixed feelings about the movie. I really liked the first Amazing Spider-Man movie and I did enjoyed this one while I was watching it, but when it was over, the more I thought about it, the more I saw wrong with it. For instance, what sense does it make that New York citizens are lining up to watch a fight? Don’t they know that is dangerous?

No complain about Andrew Garfield. He is the perfect Peter Parker, he’s good with the jokes (making some ridiculous moments acceptable) and with the drama. Also Emma Stone was very good in it. The relation between Peter and Gwen is so well-defined, obviously pulling from their real-life chemistry.

Now let’s jump into Gwen’s death and why it didn’t work in the film. The speech she gives at the graduation completely pulled me out of the movie as the only thing I could think about during the whole thing was that she was going to die. The death itself wasn’t epic enough as you would expect for the hero’s love interest and it was quite frustrating that she looks like a damsel in distress, not even trying to do anything to save her life. And she made so clear that being there was her own decision, she repeated it like three times in case we didn’t catch it. This is a big change from the comic book where Gwen Stacy didn’t know that she was dating Spider-Man. In that scenario Peter was the one to make that decision for her, so when she died he was the ultimate responsible. In this case though, where she is the one to make the choice of staying with him after Peter has insisted that she have to go, you can’t really say it’s his fault and the character won’t be affected the same way.

20823568_amazing_spiderman2-gwen-peter-poster-1280As for other characters: I don’t think Electro really fit in the movie and had a very poor development. The way he was before the accident was so cartoonish, Jamie Foxx was wasted in this role. The main problem is that everything about this movie is rushed. I love Dean DeHaan as Harry Osbourne, but his story moves so fast. Harry’s only purpose here is to become the Green Goblin so he can kill Gwen. No explanation of the disease, what it does and why it took his father so long to die but in a matter of days Harry is already dying. And right when you think the movie is over… wait! there’s another villain! Rhino didn’t have anything to do here, just setting things up for Sinister Six. That last scene shouldn’t have been in there at all, maybe during the credits but definitely not in the actual movie when everything was concluded.

There were too many characters that they didn’t know how to handle. In my opinion Electro should have been the only villain of the film, letting the friendship between Peter and Harry develop (which was rushed again), introducing Mary Jane and saving Gwen Stacy’s death and Harry becoming the Green Goblin for the third installment.

The first Amazing Spider-Man was such a good comic book adaptation that the expectations for this one were very high and, I hate to say this but sadly it couldn’t reach it.

Movie Review: X-Men Days of Future Past (2014)

Title: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Release date: May 10th, 2014

Running time: 134 minutes

Director: Bryan Singer

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart.

Summary: The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past to save our future.

x_men_days_of_future

X-Men: Days of Future Past brings back everything that made X Men 1 and 2 so good and unique mainly thanks to Bryan SInger’s return as the director. It manages to feature a large group of characters without sacrificing the story (take note Amazing Spider Man 2!). interconnecting the plot with real-life historical events sometimes it felt like watching a period drama instead of a superhero movie.

The performances are stellar, starting with Hugh Jackman in the leading role, not only of the film but of the entire franchise. And, even though I’m not a fan of the Wolverine solo films, he has definitely made this character his own. He’s great both with the action and the comedy and, as always, has all the potential to carry the film. Not to forget that he looks like he hasn’t aged at all!

James McAvoy is the perfect young Charles Xavier and is outstanding in the role, playing the struggle that the character faces and portraying the deep emotional arc. It makes a very interesting contrast to Patrick Stewart’s portrayal of the older version. As for Michael Fassbender, he was spectacular, both a threat and a close friend to Charles, never loosing that dangerous edge that makes Magneto so appealing. He sounds just like Ian McKellen which is fascinating to hear and makes it more exciting to see him as the younger version of the character.two-generations-unite-in-x-men-days-of-future-past-posters

Till some degree I still miss Rebeca Romijn’s Mystique, mute and more lizard-like than human. Jennifer Lawrence is not playing a younger version of that Mystique, and seems at times less comfortable with the nudity, but has improved a lot since First Class. It was good to see her brought to the level of Magneto and Xavier, balancing good and bad and having her own agenda. One problem with the film: the lack of female characters, as Mystique is the only one developed.

Everything about Quicksilver in the promos seemed over the top and ridiculous but that was it, he was really well used and turned out to have one of the funniest scenes of the film. It will be interesting to see what Joss Whedon’s spin on the character will be as he will also appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron (portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson), but Evan Peters has set the bar very high. Let the battle of the Quicksilvers begin! Beast didn’t have a lot to do, except developing the convenient serum that allows Charles to walk. And last Trask, Peter Dinklage is great as always, but he doesn’t really stand out as the ultimate villain of the film.X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past-Full-Cast-Photo

The future drives the main action of the movie and it was really fun watching the X Men working as a team as they should. Great displayed of powers and breathtaking sequences, though no one has really time to stand out, and the new additions are very briefly introduced. I particularly liked Blink. From the veterans, Storm was amazing, Kitty Pride’s new power came out of nowhere and should have been explained a little. But Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart were just fantastic and so realistic portraying the long-time friendship between Magneto and Xavier. It was fascinating watching the past and future versions.

As it normally happens with time-travel movies, at the end I wasn’t quite sure how much of the other films had actually happened and right now the story seems a bit blurry to me, but that last scene just felt like brought out of X Men 1 or 2, and that is a big step up in the franchise. This movie definitely succeeds to correct all the post-Singer problems. Without question, whether you are a comic book reader or not, this is a must-see film. Let’s hope Fox can do the same with the upcoming Fantastic Four!

9/10

First teaser for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

This first video of the upcoming Hunger Games film features President Snow (Donald Sutherland) sending a message to the districts rebelling against the Capitol. In the end, we discover Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is standing next to him. Check it out!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st (US)

Movie Review: Maleficent (2014)

Title: Maleficent

Release date: 30/05/2014

Running time: 97 minutes

Director: Robert Stromberg

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlton Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Brenton Thwaites.

Summary: Maleficent is the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal, an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom, and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.

maleficent-poster-slice

After Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, mirror amongst others, it’s the time for Maleficent to retale the well-known story of The Sleeping Beauty. This time from the point of view of its antagonist.

First of all, Angelina Jolie looks stunning in this role. It looks like the character was meant for her to play and nobody else. It’s practically impossible to look at anything else whenever she is on-screen. She gives an iconic and captivating performance through the whole movie, from the naive and innocent to the vindictive Maleficent.

On the other hand, Elle Fanning is not interesting at all. Her character, Aurora, is reduced to smile and spin around with no further development. Pretty much like the three fairies, who try to be funny but turn out to be just annoying most of the time.

Another problem I had with this movie was the way men are portrayed. I don’t understand why the only way to show strong women is to weaken or evilized the men. This happens with King Stephen who is the only responsible for all Maleficent’s misery and her broken heart. Also with Prince Philipp, probably one of the most likeable Disney Princes for contributing the most to the story, here he just is. No development and no actual role.

But besides these minor problems I had with the way some characters were portrayed, the movie is beautiful. The special effects are stunning, specially the scene where the curse is cast. The whole thing is gorgeous to look at.

The end and the message that tries to deliver could have had more impact if only Frozen hadn’t been released just six months ago.

Overall this is a good movie that could have been even better if other characters, beside Maleficent, had been more developed.

7,5/10

The Avengers: Age of Ultron First 20 Minutes Leaked

A whole bunch of details about The Avengers: Age of Ultron’s first 20 minutes have leaked. According to Latino Reviews this is what we can expect. WARNING: Don’t read below if you don’t want to know anything about the movie.

images

Age of Ultron takes place immediately after the Baron Von Strucker post credit scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The film opens with a big action scene where the Avengers attack the outpost Hydra cell run by Von Strucker, who has Loki’s staff, some Chitauri weaponry and the corpse of a Leviathan.

The twins Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnsson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are fighting alongside Von Strucker against the Avengers. The Scarlet Witch casts and hex on the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) into thinking that the Leviathan is alive.

avengers-2-scarlet-witch-quicksilver-set-pics-lead

In the end, of course, the Avengers win. They go back to the Avengers Tower and have a party which consists on taking turns to try to pick up Thor’s hammer. Ironman (Robert Downey Jr) tries with his new armor and the arm accidentally falls off the armor. Captain America (Chris Evans) can budge it a tad but can’t pick it up.

Also in the party scene we discover that Banner and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have a thing for each other, though he’s afraid of taking it to the next level for fear of hulking out and hurting her.

We also learn that Jane (Natalie Portman) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) are no longer together as the Asgardian watches her with Richard (Chris O’Dowd) from afar at a bar and is supposedly fine with it.

I don’t know how I feel about Bruce and Natasha having an affair, but the rest makes me very excited for this movie!

New Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer!

One month and a half until it hits theaters and Marvel Studios has released a new trailer for their upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy, the last instalment of Phase 2 before the eagerly awaited, The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Take a look!

The first thing that comes to mind watching this trailer is that it establishes a very different tone from the previous ones that Disney/Marvel has aired in the last couple of months. Is this a good thing? Guardians of the Galaxy Fans were probably delighted with the corkyness that was promised, while this trailer, in ways more traditional, seems to be playing it safe. I understand the need to sell it to a wider audience, but having James Gunn as the director, Chris Pratt in the lead role and characters as Rocket Raccoon and Groot there’s no way to deny that this will be a corky movie.

Still not many lines from Zoe Saldana as Gamora, but we can’t forget that this movie, despite being called Guardians of the Galaxy, is about Peter Quill. On the other hand, we see a lot more of Rocket Raccoon, who is quickly becoming a fan favourite.

But what did you think of the trailer? Did you prefer the more corky ones? And if those didn’t convince you, have this one made you change your mind about it?