Friday, November 30, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I was never able to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter during its brief theatrical run, and after watching it on BluRay I am sorry that I missed seeing it in 3D. This was a fun romp through an alternate reality version of our revered 16th President’s life that I ate up completely.

When young Abraham Lincoln’s (Benjamin Walker) mother is killed by a vampire he vows to avenge her death by any means necessary. He trains with a vampire (Dominic Cooper) who hunts his own kind and learns how to kill his enemy in the most efficient way possible with a silver coated axe. Along the way he meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), battles in court for equal rights, becomes president of the US and quells the Civil War.
The acting is played completely straight, regardless of the ridiculousness that surrounds the characters. I think this was what sold me on the concept. If the characters look like they are taking the situations they find themselves in seriously, I can more easily buy into all the craziness flashing by on screen no matter how utterly ludicrous it may be.

Benjamin Walker, who plays the titular character, is not a bad actor. My problem is that he looks completely bewildered for the entire film. I know he’s a stage actor and was discovered playing Lincoln in an off-Broadway production which led to his being cast in this role, but the thing is that he looks like he’s ready to shit his pants whenever he’s on screen. He looks tense, confused and lost as if the pressure of taking the lead in an effects filled late summer tentpole film is too much for him to handle. I like him, but here he’s too stiff. Mind you, I didn’t expect him to ham it up or be self-defacing, but he does need to relax and his performance suffers due to it. He does, however, excel in his multiple action scenes.
The other performers all give uniformly decent turns as other characters from history, such as Jimmi Simpson as Joshua Speed and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln. I especially liked Anthony Mackie’s Will Johnson. He’s a fine actor who I feel will be going places in the future (he’s currently lobbying to play The Falcon in The Avengers 2).

I will admit that I’m sick of seeing the awesome Rufus Sewell playing villains. Sure he has a certain look that makes him ideal for those roles, but I’ve also seen him play heroes (Dark City) and he excels at those just as much as the bad guys. Please Hollywood, stop typecasting this dude and give him another chance to show us what he can do!
Another aspect I liked about the flick is the way it plays with what would pass for a modern day action scene and gives it a historical twist. For example, Lincoln chases his mother’s killer, Jack Barts (the great Marton Csokas), across a field during a horse stampede. They jump from horseback to horseback, sometimes riding one while fighting or being dragged behind one. It’s filmed and choreographed as if it were a car chase scene with horses standing in for the cars. I thought it was pretty clever idea on the filmmaker’s part and made for one of the better action scenes.

The action is pretty awesome, which is par the course for director Timur Bekmambetov. His past films Night Watch, Day Watch and Wanted were filled with inventive scenes of chaos and mayhem and I expected no different here. I got that and more. The action comes right out of crazytown with people being thrown vertically through storefronts, insane fights aboard a speeding train, Civil War reenactments with vampires standing in for the Confederate army and amazing martial art combat. I was in hog’s heaven during some of this stuff. It’s also a nice contrast to the aforementioned serious tone and earnest acting.
Bekmambetov is known for being a superior visual stylist and he doesn’t disappoint with this film. From the crazy fog and glowing ember filled exteriors of the train set piece to a simple scene of Lincoln and Mary having a picnic in the park, he gives everything a flair that most directors only dream about. The camera is always moving and sometimes you don’t even notice it.  The colors are rich and luscious in the outdoor scenes, especially in parts taking place at dawn or dusk. The fashions of the time don’t add much in the way of color variance, but he makes up for it in the set design and lighting set-ups. No one can complain about the look of the film. His narrative talents may leave something to be desired, but he knows what makes for a good looking movie, no doubt.

There are issues that I have, like that a good 20 years of Lincoln’s life is skipped over just to get to the Civil War bits faster and the old age make-up that Walker and Winstead wear during this section is pretty awful looking. The villain is eliminated in a very anticlimactic way and the movie just sort of ends with little fanfare. I would have liked to see a vampire be the one to take Lincoln out in the theater instead of a Confederate sympathizer to cap off all the reality bending taking place over film’s runtime.
Even though most people shrugged this movie off as a cheesy and tonally inconsistent piece of late summer crap, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I may not be an expert on history, but I know certain details and felt this was a clever and entertaining mix of fact and fiction. Now I just need to get off my ass and finish reading the novel this was based on.

Bring on George Washington: Zombie Assassin!

4 out of 5

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph

As far back I can remember I have been a video game fan. I owned an Atari 2600 and various Atari computers back in the day, and I also frequented local arcades as often as I was able. And don’t forget the Nintendo days where everyone and their mothers were into Super Mario Bros. and Tetris. Wreck-It Ralph should have been a movie tailor made for me and other gamers of my generation, but it falls slightly short due to it not going far enough with its premise of taking place inside a video game.

Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the villain in the classic arcade game Fix It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer), and after being the baddie for 30 years he begins to tire of his role. Intent on proving he’s not a bad guy he begins to hop from one video game in the arcade to another in an attempt to show everyone that he can be a hero. While in Sugar Rush (a girlie version of Super Mario Kart) he befriends Vanellope von Schweets (Sarah Silverman), an annoying glitch in the game that helps him in his quest.
First off, the voice acting is fantastic. I never once heard John C. Reilly behind the character of Ralph since he inhabited his part so completely. The same goes for Jack McBrayer as Felix and Jane Lynch as Calhoun in the Hero’s Duty game. But I have to give a special shout out to Alan Tudyk as King Candy. His voice is absolutely unrecognizable since he plays that part as a crazed Charles Nelson Reilly. The only real voice issue I have is with Sarah Silverman’s super high pitched deliveries as Vanellope. I think she’s a brilliant comedian, but she does tend to be a little annoying at times. I liked her manic performance, but I wished it was toned down from 11 to maybe an 8.

The animation is fantastic, including all the 8-bit sections of the game. It would have been cool if the characters that were all pixellated in their respective games actually looked like that as they moved about independently of their worlds, but I guess it was not meant to be. Regardless, everything looked sharp, fluid and colorful.
I have two main gripes. One is that the first half of the movie, which is pretty brilliant, revolves around Ralph as he tries to show his fellow Fix It Felix characters he’s not a bad person by searching through other video games for a medal that will prove he’s a hero. During those sections of the film I was enjoying myself immensely due to all the classic gaming references (“My Q-Bert is a little rusty… ‘@#$&!’”) and cameos by characters of days past (seeing the Burgertime guy and Dig Dug characters made me giggle like a school kid). But once Ralph makes his way to the Sugar Rush game halfway through and meets Vanellope the focus turns toward her and her desire to race regardless of her glitchy nature. While there are parts of this half to like and enjoy (anything with King Candy and his sour squire, as well as Felix and Calhoun’s scenes together) the story devolves into the typical Disney “be true to yourself” clichĂ© and loses all the appeal of the set-up. Is it too much to ask that we get an edgy cartoon from this company once in a while? There’s a reason I don’t ever rush out to see their animated movies anymore because they’re all the same. It disappointed me that this fell into that same trap since it seemed to be going in a different direction at the start.

The other main issue is that Disney really dropped the ball on how far it took the classic video game references. The ones already present were awesome and featured characters I had forgotten about years ago. But when you, and I mean Disney, own a popular video game property, namely TRON, and choose not to include it in a film about video games you have to wonder that the hell they were thinking. That’s prime material for parody right there. Also, I’m glad that Nintendo loaned Disney some of their characters for use here, but where was Mario?! Killer Instinct?! DONKEY KONG?! There were lots of missed opportunities here that were wasted in favor of a lame recurring joke about Zangief’s underwear.
I also wasn’t a fan of the dumb subplot about Ralph contaminating the Sugar Rush game with aliens from Hero’s Duty. It really felt like a second thought and served mainly as a way to give Felix and Calhoun more screentime.

The musical score by Henry Jackman was pretty lackluster too. I’ve liked his scores to X-Men: First Class and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but this just sounds like your everyday generic kid’s film garbage. The Skrillex song used for the Bug Hunt segment was pretty rad though, as well as his animated cameo.

I sound like I’m ragging on this a bit much, but I really did enjoy this flick. It’s fun and fast paced and has that extra something for the geek in me. While it’s far from being as amazing as The Incredibles or Kung-Fu Panda it succeeds in being entertaining regardless of its overwhelming Disneyness. I recommend it, but there are better movies out there to check out first. But I’m sure the kids will love the shit out of it no matter what.

3 out of 5

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Tall Man

The Tall Man is a weird one. On one hand I was absolutely thrilled by the twist that occurs halfway through the movie. It was original and took me completely by surprise. On the other hand the direction the story takes from there goes in a direction that I found anticlimactic and kind of underwhelming.

In the small town of Cold Rock there has been an epidemic of child disappearances. Local doctor Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) and the rest of the town have blamed the kidnappings on a mythical figure called “The Tall Man”. When her child is taken right in front of her she chases after the person responsible and discovers that all is not what it seems.

I will not go any further into the happenings of this flick so that if you are interested in checking it out for yourself you will receive the same out of nowhere bitchslap that I did. The ballsy twist is unexpected and takes this movie into an area I never saw coming. It keeps this movie, that could have been yet another boring thriller, interesting and gripping.
My issue is that once the twist happens we are led to believe that the plot is heading to a horrific conclusion. It is built up and built up to the breaking point, but when the explanation as to what has been going on the entire time is revealed I couldn’t help but cock my head to the side and say aloud, “Seriously? That’s what this is really about?!” Disappointment set in and I couldn’t believe that the filmmakers chickened out in the end. Sure I can see that they were trying to make a point, but it just isn’t what I wanted to see. This was billed as a horror movie and there is no horror. Well, there’s the horror of losing a child, but that is about as far as this film goes with it. Sad.

The acting is pretty good all around. Jessica Biel goes for broke (she even executive produced the film) and gives a completely believable performance as the town doctor who has to deal with all kinds of crazy shenanigans from all angles. Jodelle Ferland, the creepy kid from Silent Hill, has a strange part as a kid with a speech impediment who chooses not to talk, but narrates the film. It was also nice to see that The Cigarette Smoking Man himself, William B. Davis, is alive and well as the town sheriff. Seeing him play a decent person for a change was a bit of a shock, but I enjoyed his performance.
Director Pascal Laugier, who directed the disturbing Martyrs a few years back, really pulled in the reigns here after his gross out torture porn film made him a household name among horror fans. He has a style that I can get in to and I like that he chooses to make movies that are about more than gore and violence. I really hope his career takes off and he gives Hollywood a dose of his twisted genius because I’d love to see what this guy could do with a bigger budget. I’m sure he would blow all our minds.

This review will be short due to my not wanting to reveal any spoilers, so in closing I will say that this is an interesting thriller that tries to do something different and falls on its face. It’s worth watching though, so give it a spin and decide if the direction it takes is your cup of tea. Unfortunately it was not for me.

2 out of 5

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Expendables 2

If you hang out with me on a regular basis you’d know about my complete and total dislike of The Expendables. It thought the concept was amazing; get a group of yesteryear’s and today’s action stars together and have them tear shit up on-screen for 90 minutes. Well, the action stars showed up, but the movie they made was (IMO) total garbage. Zero characterization, and when there would be an attempt it was horribly written, overly melodramatic and vaguely homoerotic. Sure these three points were enjoyable staples of 80s action cinema, especially the homoerotic angle (just see Commando or Showdown in Little Tokyo), but here it came off as stale and forced. Most of the time it felt as if the movie was being made up as it was shot.

So here we are with the inevitable sequel since the first film was a huge hit. Stallone stepped back from the directing duties (not the writing however) and allowed Simon West (Con Air) to take over. New cast members were added and the budget was increased. I was mildly excited to see if this would be any better than its predecessor.

Nope. Somehow it was worse. I’ll explain.
The (so called) plot revolves around The Expendables being hired to find a lost hard drive resulting in the loss of one of their own at the hands of the sadistic Vilain (Van Damme, with one of the all time worst villain names EVER). Revenge is what motivates them to go after their comrade’s killer, as well as stopping him from finding a stockpile of buried Russian plutonium.

I was happy to see all the major cast members from the first film return: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crewes, along with expanded roles for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I was happy to see the new faces added to the cast as well: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth and Nan Yu. What I was not happy with was that Jet Li leaves after 10 minutes of screen time, Chuck Norris pops up for a cameo (complete with making a Chuck Norris joke) and Schwarzenegger and Willis are barely in the film, but when they are they look embarrassed and quote their famous signature lines to each other in the hokiest way possible.

Perhaps the biggest issue I have with the movie was the fight between Stallone and Van Damme. That shit should have been epic! What we are given in one of the most one sided fight scenes I’ve ever seen. I think Van Damme managed to hit Sly three times compared to the 87 he received. Totally anticlimactic and unsatisfying for these two action icons.
The rest of the cast is wasted also. I’m a huge Statham fan, but even here he can’t seem to find his footing and get into the groove of things. His ridiculous relationship with his fiancĂ©e (a returning Charisma Carpenter who still looks amazing) and his banter with his fellow soldiers is beyond lame. Everyone just seems to be phoning it in except for Terry Crews, whose character is the only aspect of both films I like. Scott Adkins is moving up my list of new action stars and he gets to strut his stuff here a few times, although his big scene is cut short before it goes into awesome territory.

But out of all the actors, it’s Nan Yu who brings all her scenes down. She is a horrible actress, incapable of being convincing as a soldier or even her character. She just stands there for most of the movie, emotionless, watching things go on around her. I can’t imagine that she was cast due to her looks since I didn’t find her attractive at all. It certainly wasn’t for her acting chops. I would have cast Ziyi Zhang or another Hong Kong actress that can actually act as well as handle the action the script requires.
Most of the action scenes are pretty pedestrian and feature a lot of bad CGI. The plot takes ridiculously stupid twists and turns, the dialogue is crap and none of the characters are interesting or fun to watch (although using Dolph Lundgren’s real life degree in chemical engineering as a plot point was brilliant). They even managed to turn Chuck Norris’ brief appearance into a big joke.

I just don’t understand why so many people love this series. Don’t get me wrong, I love 80s action movies. Some of Stallone’s films rank among my favorites (First Blood and Tango & Cash) and I’m all about the cheese. However these flicks just don’t seem to entertain me. I don’t get a sense of fun from the endless harkening back to the old days of action cinema. I just find these films dumb, tiresome and worst of all… non-entertaining. Sorry to disappoint fans of this franchise, but I just don’t get it.

But I will admit that I’ll most likely see the already announced third film with Nicolas Cage. Oy vey.

0.5 out of 5

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Puppet Master X: Axis Rising

Back in the day I was obsessed with Charles Band’s low budget horror and sci-fi film company Full Moon Pictures. All the movies released on their label went direct-to-video, and even though they were cheap and hokey they were entertainingly schlocky little curiosities. There were plenty to choose from like Subspecies, Dollman, Trancers, Seedpeople, Doctor Mordrid, Demonic Toys, Castle Freak and their crown jewel, Puppet Master and its endless sequels. Over the last 15 years their movies have declined in quality and watchability. I’m sure they still have their fans, but after seeing such crap as Head of the Family, Arcade, Shrunken Heads, Hideous!, The Creeps (which I saw in 3D at a traveling roadshow hosted by Band himself) and the final nail in the coffin known as Trancers 6, I gave up on the company and never bothered with them again.

I recently purchased a BluRay set that contained HD versions of the first three Puppet Master films, and there were advertisements for a new film in the series called Puppet Master X: Axis Rising. It looked sleazy and silly, but it also reminded me of the company’s glory days in the early/mid-nineties. I decided to give it a rent.
Picking up where the previous film (Puppet Master: Axis of Evil) left off during WWII, wannabe soldier Danny (Kip Canyon) and his girlfriend Beth (Jean Louise O’Sullivan) learn that Toulon’s puppet Tunneller has been taken by the Nazis. The power hungry Commandant Moebius (Scott Anthony King) and his vixen sidekick Uschi (Stephanie Sanditz) have kidnapped a prominent scientist, Dr. Freuhoffer (Oto Brezina), who they want to create a way to reanimate dead soldiers to help the Reich win the war. After giving him the puppet, Frauhoffer uses what he learns from it to create a whole new set of dangerous living Nazi puppets that he hopes will appease his abductors.

Yeah, it’s Cheeseville, WI. But it’s entertaining and that’s all I asked of this film. There is zero story or plot, just excuse after excuse to see the puppets do their thing. The sets are all the same location, only redressed to look like an office or a laboratory or a meeting hall. The costumes are lame, the dialogue is ultra-hokey and the acting is shamefully bad. But this is what I loved about the Full Moon films of old and it was nice to see a flick from them that wasn’t about creepy incest, morbid freaks of nature and gratuitous awkward nudity, which is what turned me away in the 90s.
Having not watched a film in this series since 1998s craptastic Curse of the Puppet Master I’m not exactly current on the series’ storyline, but I was able to catch on pretty quickly regardless. While there isn’t much going on that I would call “amazing” it managed to keep my attention due to how bad some of it was, from the horrible German accents most of the villains use to the over-the-top racism of one of the new puppets, Kamikaze. Think of a Japanese man with bright yellow skin, buck teeth and slits for eyes who wanders around with a bomb strapped to his chest while constantly mumbling “Hi-yah!” and you’ll get the picture.

There were two moments that made this whole movie worthwhile for me: The revelation of a female Nazi puppet’s secret weapon and a couple of puppet fights. There will be spoilers here, so be warned. The busty Uschi is killed by Moebius when he catches her making out with the elderly Dr. Freuhoffer (another hilariously awful scene), and the good doctor promptly injects her consciousness into a puppet with her likeness called Bombshell. Once reborn, the doctor introduces his newest creation to Moebius for a demonstration of her abilities. Once I heard Frauhoffer mention her “special talents” I said aloud “Please let it have something to do with her tits”, and a second later her metal bra dropped to reveal twin guns that annihilated a number of targets. The smile I was wearing was from ear to ear. Bombshell has a few fights with Leech Woman that weren’t fist fights, but full on cat fights! I’m talking bitch slapping, hair pulling, scratching and high pitch squealing. Amazingly hysterical!
Some of the unintentional comedy comes from the cheapness of the production, like when Danny attends a ceremony where he is presented with an award from a General that he claims is “rarely bestowed upon a civilian”, but there’s absolutely no one there to see it besides his girlfriend and the cranky Seargent Stone. Stone, another source of comedy. Actor Brad Potts just doesn’t seem to be able to keep a straight face while reciting his period dialogue, so whenever he calls a woman “toots” or some other old ass derogatory term the editor cuts away just as a smile starts to form on his goofy looking mug. The campy over sexualized antics of Uschi are tops as well. Watching her continually trying to seduce the fragile old doctor while her cleavage constantly threatens to burst her shirt open had me in stitches. I also got a laugh out of the introduction of one of the Nazi puppets. There are four of them: a robot tank called Blitzkrieg, Bombshell, Kamikaze… and a werewolf. Yes, a random werewolf called Wehrmacht. All of them were war themed except that one and it caught me off guard. Really off guard. So much so that I almost choked on the falafel I was eating due to laughing so hard.

This film falls nicely into the “So Bad It’s Kinda Awesome” category. I can’t honestly say that it’s a good movie, but if you look at it from a certain perspective there is a lot to enjoy here. It’s silly and purely awful on most counts, but that’s the fun of these flicks. Their flaws have a certain charm that is irresistible to those that can appreciate it. I happen to be one of those people.

3 out of 5

Note: The ending promises another sequel. I can’t wait.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

If there was one movie that came out during the summer of 2012 that I was determined not to watch it was The Amazing Spider-Man. Why? Two reasons: 1) Spider-Man 3 was so effing bad that it left me cold to the character, and 2) Spider-Man 3 came out only five years ago and a reboot this soon seems like an obvious cash grab in my eyes.

However, boredom can make you do things you never expect to stay entertained.  When I went to check out the local Redbox this past Friday night and saw that the only new movie in stock was The Amazing Spider-Man I said “fuck it” and clicked “RENT”. I’m glad I only spent $1.50 and not $15 on a 3D showing, because this flick was a total waste of my time.
We all know the story because it was told pretty damned well ten years ago in the original Spider-Man: Brainy nerd gets bitten by spider, gets arachnid superpowers, wins the heart of the beautiful girl that’s out of his league and beats down a big baddie in the name of truth, justice and the American way. This time things have been slightly altered so it’s not exactly the same, but the fact remains that it is just a redundant origin story of this character that we didn’t need.

I’m just going to dive into the issues I had with this pile of flotsam. Andrew Garfield, who plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man, looks way too old to be a high schooler, let alone romancing someone who is clearly ten years younger than him. He also can’t seem to keep that goofy, semi-arrogant smirk off his face, even during the serious scenes. The casting of Sally Field and Martin Sheen as Aunt May and Uncle Ben respectively was great. The problem is that they don’t even hold a candle to the portrayals of the characters in the original. I blame the writing. Denis Leary looks embarrassed half the time and even Rhys Ifans doesn’t look like he gives a shit that he’s been cast in a huge Hollywood blockbuster.
The writing is lazy. Plot points are glossed over and characters do things that make no sense. For example, Dr. Connors wants to grow his missing arm back by injecting himself with a lizard DNA concoction Peter helped him create. So when his arm does grow back what is the first thing he does? He calls his boss and tells him to stop the human trials of the product because something is wrong. Why? At that point in the story the process worked. Either some footage was left on the cutting room floor or the writer just didn’t care and had to create some sort of dramatic situation for the hell of it. The whole movie is filled with scenes like that, where characters do stupid things that make sense down the line but it’s as if they have some sort of foreknowledge of events before they happen.

The villain is lame and is a total missed opportunity, especially since Sam Raimi took the time to set-up the character so well in Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. He is non-threatening, his evil scheme is dumb and the special effects involved in making his character look believable are pretty awful. The Dr. Connors character goes from a gentle, yet driven man to a complete sociopath overnight. There is no reason given as to why this happened, and the audience is left to assume that turning into a giant lizard made him instantly homicidal, even when he is in human form. I like Rhys Ifans as an actor, but he was totally wrong for this part.
The non-stop action scenes are decent, but we’ve seen it all before and better in the previous films. The difference this time is that the action has been sped up to the point where it’s hard to follow. The 3D POV shots are jarring in the extreme and took me out of the movie every time they popped up, which was a lot. Some of the CGI is pretty fantastic (Spider-Man swinging around), and other times it looks like poop (mostly involving The Lizard). It’s a wildly inconsistent movie on all fronts as you can probably already tell.

The whole sub-plot about Peter’s parents feels thrown into the mix just to shake the tedium of having to re-tell the origin story all over again. It doesn’t hold any real weight because we never really get to know the characters except for their three minute scene at the start of the film. I expected there to be a decently long prologue about them to help the audience connect with Peter in a different way than in the original series, but when they get a combined total of five lines I have to say “what was the point in even showing Peter’s parents if we don’t get to know them before they die?”
Director Marc Webb, like Tim Story of the Fantastic Four movies, was obviously not the guy for this job. Sure he manages to squeeze some decent acting out of his leads, especially Emma Stone, but he seems to be content keeping the film in the “mediocre” zone for its entire run time. If I were in his shoes I would be hell bent on making sure that not only would my film set itself apart from the original series in every way possible, but be so much bigger and epic to help the audience forget that the other series ever existed. The film just cruises along not doing anything but sucking my time, making me wish I had just popped the original Spider-Man BluRay in instead. For some reason he seemed okay with Peter taking his mask off and exposing who he is every ten minutes, so as far as I'm concerned he get an "F" in my book.

And what was up with that lame ass after the credits scene? Was it trying to set up some sort of mystery surrounding Norman Osborne and Peter’s family? If that was the plan it certainly didn’t do its job very well because it just made me say “What the hell was that?”
And lastly, this film featured the absolute worst musical score from composer James Horner that I have ever heard. At one point this guy was one of my favorites in the biz, and some of his early scores still get play on my iPod (Star Trek II, Star Trek III, Battle Beyond the Stars, Krull, Aliens), but lately he seems to just plagiarize his previous work to crank the music out faster. There is no theme here, no memorable bits. The score sounds generic and hokey like the X2 score. The millions Horner was paid for this garbage was not well spent.

I will admit that Emma Stone completely won me over as Gwen Stacy. Sure I didn’t believe for a second that she would be an intern at a multi-billion dollar genetics corporation, but in the personal moments with Peter I totally bought into their relationship. She’s the only person who looks relaxed and natural in their role, and in the end when the inevitable break-up scene with Peter went down I believed that her character was genuinely heartbroken. Kudos to you Ms. Stone, you have an Oscar in your future.
There were some nice touches as well here and there. I did enjoy seeing the web shooters that Peter designed instead of the organic ones. However, he purchased the cartridges from Oscorp and I seriously doubt some kid would be able to afford cutting edge technology like that, especially since he bought it in bulk. Stan Lee’s cameo was pretty hilarious and the arc of Flash Thompson was unexpected in a good way.

Totally unnecessary in every conceivable way, The Amazing Spider-Man fails on all fronts. It should have been so much more in order to necessitate a reboot so soon after the original trilogy ended, but there is nothing about this film to even warrant its very existence. Apparently audiences will eat up anything that is thrown at them with the Spider-Man logo on it because a sequel is on the fast track with rumors of Jamie Foxx being cast as Electro. I will not be fooled again. If I am at a Redbox in the winter of 2014 and see that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in stock and available for rental I will gladly turn and walk away to revel in my boredom instead. It’s a lose-lose situation any way you look at it.

1.5 out of 5