action, martial arts, movie, movie review

October 31st, 2017 Movie – Spirits Of Bruce Lee

the spirit of bruce lee

Happy Halloween everyone. I was hoping that the holiday would coincide with a horror movie but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Now I always found it funny that martial arts movies from the late 70’s would capitalize on Bruce Lee’s name in order to market them in the US, even if they had nothing to do with Bruce Lee. Granted, it was probably the studio that released them in the US that did this but still, I feel like it is kind of sad that they couldn’t come up with a better way of marketing than to use the name of a dead man. Now let’s see if today’s movie, Spirits Of Bruce Lee, would have been able to stand up on it’s own marketing

The plot: A Chinese man named Chang Fan travels to Thailand to purchase some jade but as he makes his way through the jungle, his guide betrays him and Chang Fan finds himself surrounded by bandits. Chang Fan attempts to fend them off but his guide stabs him and the bandits steal the jade and Chang Fan’s watch, then leave him for dead. One year later, Chang Fan’s brother, Chang Chen-Wai, travels to Thailand to look for his missing brother. Stopping at a roadside restaurant, Chang witnesses a group of thugs arrive and force other patrons away from one of the tables. When the thugs see two girls walking towards the restaurant, they quickly surround them and attempt to rape them but a man, Li Pai-Yu, attacks them, allowing the girls to escape. Chang goes to help and the two men quickly drive off the thugs. Afterwards Chang and Li discuss where they are headed, Chang going to find his brother while Li is looking for work, and when they realize they are heading to the same place, decide to travel together. Reaching the town, the two friends part ways after Chang gets a room at an inn. Later, Chang talks to the innkeeper about his brother and the innkeeper says that he did stay there but just disappeared and after holding his room for a while, he was forced to sell his luggage. Chang goes around town and asks people if they have seen his brother with no luck but when he returns to the inn, the innkeeper introduces him to Mr. Wong, another Chinese man who had settled in the area, and Mr. Wong invites Chang to his restaurant the next day. Chang accepts, thinking Wong might be able to help him with his search but he finds out that Wong invited him there in the hopes that Chang would marry his daughter. As they are talking, Li shows up looking for Chang and Wong comments about Li becoming a new martial arts teacher in the area. As the two friends talk with Wong, Wong’s son shows up and Chang notices he has his brother’s necklace so he questions him about it, revealing his matching necklace that he owns. Wong’s son tells him that he and his sister found Chang’s brother near death on the path and he gave him the necklace before he died. Learning that his brother died, Chang asked to be taken to where they buried him and as he cries over the grave, Chang vows vengeance on whoever killed him. As Chang starts training, Wong’s daughter becomes attracted to him, showing him her own fighting skills as they briefly spar. One day, the two head into town and Chang notices a man gambling nearby who has his brother’s watch. Wong’s daughter lures the man away to where Chang is waiting and after a brief fight, the man tells Chang where he got the watch and takes him there. When Chang reaches the house, he questions the man inside, who turns out to be Chang Fan’s guide, Chang starts battling with the guide and as he gets the upper hand, the guide says his boss, Ming Pan-Tin ordered him to take Chang Fan on a dark path so Ming’s men could attack him but doesn’t tell him that he was the one to kill Chang Fan. As Chang swears to kill Ming, the guide attacks him but Wong’s daughter kicks the guide and knocks him off of a cliff. Meanwhile, Ming is told about Chang coming for him so he orders the guards around his house to be increased and his men leave, passing by Li, who had just been hired as a guard. Chang returns to Wong’s home, where Wong and his family agree to help him in his quest but Chang doesn’t want to get them involved so he sneaks out that night. Heading to Ming’s home, he takes out two of the guards and then sneaks into a bedroom, where he finds a man and woman having sex. Mistaking the man for Ming, Chang attacks and kills him, then leaves when the girl starts screaming for help. Chang starts fighting off the guards as he goes to escape but the real Ming, spotting Chang from his balcony, throws a knife into Chang’s leg then orders his men to take him alive. Chang continues to run but as he is cornered, Li knocks out the guard, then hides Chang until the rest of Ming’s men pass by. After the move on, Li and Chang are able to leave the property. Back at his home, Ming is upset that his men couldn’t find Chang but when he learns that Chang is staying at Wong’s place, he tells his men to go there the next day and deal with him. The next day, Wong’s daughter is tending to Chang’s injury when Li shows up and says he will help Chang get Ming but that they should make a plan and not rush in bull-headed like Chang did last night. That night, Ming’s men arrive at Wong’s house but when they find it empty, decide to burn it down. Chang and Wong’s daughter, hiding with Wong and his son in a nearby cave, see the fire and Wong stops Chang from rushing out to attack the men, saying they will deal with Ming later. Meanwhile, Li is keeping watch at Ming’s house and sees one of Ming’s men go into a secret room and bring back a rifle, revealing that Ming is smuggling guns into the area. Chang continues to mend and after his injuries are healed, he and the Wong family head to Ming’s place and take out his guards and then start attacking Ming. Meanwhile, one of Ming’s men heads into town and alerts the rest of Ming’s men and as they head to the house, Li sees them and goes to get the police. At Ming’s house, Ming fights with Chang and the Wong’s and manages to kill Wong before Chang kills him. As Ming’s daughter weeps over the death of her father, the rest of Ming’s men attack Chang and Wong’s daughter and son when Li and the police show up, taking Ming’s men into custody. As Li goes and finds the rest of the weapons while Chang grabs Wong’s body and leaves with Wong’s children.

This was a pretty confusing movie to be honest. The acting was ok from what I could tell but the dubbing was about what I would expect. The story was kind of a confusing mess, primarily where Li is involved as you had no idea he was working for the police until the very end. The fight scenes were kind of a mix in how good they were, with some being pretty good but some looked pretty poorly coordinated. So yeh, this is about as average of a martial arts movie as you would expect and pretty much par for the course with this time frame.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
action, crime, fantasy, movie, movie review

October 30th, 2017 Movie – The Spirit

the spirit

Ok, back to the comic book movies. Now this is one of those movies that looked interesting on a couple of different levels. I mean, it is a Frank Miller movie and since Sin City and 300 are both some of my favorite movies, you would think that I would be all about seeing this movie in the theaters. However, I honestly had no interest in seeing it, and this was before I heard the critic’s reviews or my friend’s comments about it. So if I had no interest in seeing this movie and my friends who did see it said it was bad, why would I even buy this movie, you ask? Well, I have to blame a random Blockbuster trip for the fact that I own today’s movie, The Spirit.

The plot: Denny Colt is having a dream about Lorelei, the Angel of Death, who says that he escaped her grasp but she will always be nearby, when he is woken by a call from Detective Sussman, who says something is happening in the swampland that could involve the Octopus, Colt’s nemesis. Donning his garb as The Spirit, he heads out to meet with Sussman, but stops to rescue a woman who is being mugged. The Spirit checks on the woman to see if she is ok, removing the knife one of the muggers stabbed him with as she watches, then continues on his journey, stopping a patrolman named Liebowitz to catch a ride. At the swampland, Sussman is looking around when a woman rises up out of the water and points a gun at him and shots are fired. When the Spirit and Liebowitz arrive, the find Sussman dying from his gunshot wounds and a flashback shows that as he was facing the woman, the Octopus shot him in the back. The Octopus then continues firing at the woman, who dives back into the water to meet up with her partner Mahmoud, who had found two chests in the water. The Octopus continues firing into the water, hitting Mahmoud and severing the rope tying the two chests together as the woman tries to swim away with them. The Octopus then dives into the water and retrieves the other chest and as he surfaces, he sees the Spirit and Liebowitz tending to Sussman. As Liebowitz leaves to radio for help, The Octopus attacks the Spirit, telling his cloned henchmen to take the chest to the truck, driven by his assistant Silken Floss, while he deals with the Spirit. The two men beat each other to the point of exhaustion until one of the clones shoots the Spirit as he starts to get up again. Octopus calls an end to the fight and as he leaves, tells the Spirit that they are alike, asking him if he knows why he can take so much punishment.As the Octopus leaves, the Spirit passes out and he regains consciousness to find Dr. Ellen Dolan, his lover, tending to his wounds. As the two start to argue about his recklessness, Ellen is called away to tend to Sussman and as she works on him, Sussman motions with his eyes at the Spirit, who grabs the locket that Sussman had grabbed off of the woman. As the Spirit goes to leave, Commissioner Dolan talks to him, arguing with the Spirit about his obsession with the Octopus. After leaving the scene, the Spirit looks at the locket and realizes it came from Sand Saref, his childhood sweetheart, and he decides to go look for her and find out what she knows. Meanwhile, the Octopus opens the chest he grabbed only to discover that it contains the fabled Golden Fleece, and not the Blood of Heracles that he expected. Killing several of his henchmen, the Octopus realizes that Sand must have the Blood and decides to arrange an exchange. Meanwhile, Sand and Mahmoud approach the dealer that sold them the Fleece and after taking back all of their money, plus all of his, he explains that he had no choice but to let the Octopus know about the shipment, then kills himself after they leave. The next day, Ellen is checking over the Spirit, who has healed from all his wounds, and they start kissing before Dolan and rookie cop Morgenstern show up and pull the Spirit away. As Dolan and Morgenstern take him to the dead fence’s office, they tell him about Sand Saref, who is suspected of killing the fence but the Spirit doesn’t believe she killed him as she had never killed anyone before during any of her heists. The Spirit goes to look for Sand and finds out where she is staying approaching her in her penthouse as she steps out of the shower. She tells him to mind her husband, who died while sampling the blood in the vase, and the two end up arguing over her actions. As the Spirit brings up her past and childhood dreams, she tells him that only one person knows about her dreams and she pushes him out the window. The Spirit plummets towards the street but is saved when his jacket snags onto a statue on the side of the building. He receives a call from Morgenstern, giving him a clue to the Octopus’ whereabouts and he heads to a nearby salt factory. As he makes his way to the Octopus’ lair, he is confronted by Floss, who kisses him before injecting him with a sedative. When the Spirit comes too, he finds himself tied to a chair and is confronted by Plaster of Paris, an assassin that the Octopus hired to kill the Spirit. The Octopus and Floss then arrive and explain how they created a serum that brought him back to life, then the Octopus injected himself with it. However, the serum is unstable so the effects could fade at anytime, which is why the Octopus wants the Blood of Heracles in order to become immortal. The Octopus orders Plaster to kill the Spirit but the Spirit is able to seduce Plaster into freeing him and he attacks the Octopus and drops a statue on him. The Spirit and Plaster escape but then Plaster stabs the Spirit out of jealousy in hearing Sand’s name. The Spirit stumbles to the water’s edge and falls in, where he is approached by Lorelei and he starts to embrace her but as he thinks about the women is leaving behind, he pushes Lorelei away and swims back to the surface, where he blacks out and is taken to Ellen’s hospital. The Spirit recovers and heads off with Dolan, Morgenstern, and the other police. Sand attends the meeting with the Octopus and tells Floss that she should leave before the Octopus kills her too. As the Octopus approaches the vase, the Spirit shows up and the Octopus starts firing at him, while Floss decides to leave the scene. The Octopus continuously fires at the Spirit, pulling at increasingly larger guns, until he finally knocks him down. At that point, the police head out and begin attacking the Octopus and his henchmen, eventually bringing him down. As he starts to regenerate and reaches for the vase, Sand shoots it before he can drink from it. The Spirit then gets up, revealing he was wearing a bullet proof vest and jams a grenade into the Octopus’ stomach. The Spirit pulls the pin, intending for both of them to die in the blast but Sand uses the Fleece to shield them both from the blast. As they recover, the Spirit hands Sand back her locket and she puts it on, then recognizing the Spirit as Denny, she kisses him before leaving. The Spirit approaches Dolan, who wants to arrest Sand but the Spirit convinces him to let her go for her part in saving them. The Spirit then approaches Ellen, who is upset at seeing him kissing Sand but he explains that Sand was an old flame but she is the one he wants and she forgives him, though she is still jealous about the effect he has on women while elsewhere, Floss finds one of Octopus’ toes crawling towards her and she picks it up and leaves with the last two clones, Adios and Amigos.

The Spirit was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though its visuals are unique, The Spirit‘s plot is almost incomprehensible, the dialogue is ludicrously mannered, and the characters are unmemorable.” Based on the 1940’s comic strip, Frank Miller decided to omit the character of Ebony White, the Spirit’s sidekick, partially because Miller felt the Spirit didn’t need a sidekick but largely due to his being typically portrayed as a 1930’s racial stereotype.

Yeh, this was a pretty disappointing movie. The acting was ok, with Samuel L. Jackson giving a pretty funny performance as the Octopus, but I was kind of unimpressed with everyone else. Actually scratch that. I also really enjoyed Louis Lambardi as the Octopus’ cloned henchmen and thought they did a great job of showcasing the whole “copying something too many times makes for copies of a lesser quality”. I also thought it was funny that all of their names ends in os, but the last scene with Adios and Amigos was a bit much. Having never read any of the comic strips, I have no idea how closely the plot followed the source material. I do think the story was kind of a mess, mainly with the pacing, while the narration was a little too over the top. I will say that this movie did have a good sense of visual appeal, similar to how Sin City was shot but with more flesh tones to the characters which just added to the noir feel that the movie was going for. As for the special effects, they were pretty good, being over the top in a comic book fashion several times, but I felt they could have done more with them. Honestly, I was disappointed with it but others might find it entertaining.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 29th, 2017 Movie – Spiders (2000)

spiders (2000)

So it is time to take a brief pause on the superhero movies and get back to the cheesy scifi/horror B-movies that I know and love. Now I will be honest, this was not the movie I expected when I got this movie. The movie I was thinking of is actually the sequel of this movie, which I actually still need to buy now that I think about it. Anyways, so here is this movie that I had never seen before but it was from Nu Image, whose movies I have always enjoyed, so that is why I wasn’t too upset about the mix-up. Now let’s see if this mix-up pans out to be worth it as I watch today’s movie, Spiders (2000).

The plot: Marci Eyre, a reporter for a Los Angeles college newspaper, is interviewing a couple that claim to be aliens that beamed down from their home planet. Her editor thinks that the couple are crackpots and tells her to find another story but she decides to investigate a research center out in the California desert with her friends Jake and Slick. Meanwhile, a DNA experiment involving a spider, dubbed Mother-In-Law, is being conducted on board an orbiting shuttle when the shuttle is struck by a solar flare. The spider is mutated by the flare’s radiation and begins attacking the crew and NASA has the shuttle brought in remotely to the desert facility. That night, Marci and the others are watching the facility when her editor calls her and tells her that the shuttle has been reported to have burnt up during an emergency reentry and chastises her for not being there to cover it, giving the story to another reporter. As she hangs up the phone, Marci and the others see the shuttle crash land within the compound’s fenced in area and go to investigate, with Marci telling them that a cover-up story has already been put in place. Inside the shuttle, they find the bodies of several crew members with horrific injuries and one survivor who begs them for help. Suddenly, a helicopter and military vehicles arrive and the three hide as the military and government agents arrive, not noticing Mother-In-Law approaching the surviving astronaut and crawling inside his suit, where she lays an egg inside the astronaut. Marci, Slick, and Jake mane to sneak out and hide in one of the trucks, which happens to be the one that the soldiers throw the dead bodies in. They manage to watch as doctors locate the survivor and want to take him to a hospital for treatment but the agent in charge, Agent Grey, shoots one of the doctors before telling the others to get the body to the base, then throws a grenade into the shuttle’s interior to blow it up and make it look like it was destroyed on reentry like the cover story said. After descending down into the lab, the soldiers remove the bodies from the truck and Marci and the others are able to sneak out and start exploring the complex. They soon find a lab filled with jars containing strange specimens, including one with an alien, and Marci has Slick take pictures of them all. Continuing to look around, they find a room where the survivor was taken and after the two doctors leave the room, they sneak in and decide to help him leave there so they can get him some medical help. Suddenly, the man wakes up and begs them for help before he starts screaming, as a giant spider begins crawling out of his mouth. The two doctors return to the room just as the spider finishes emerging, and starts spraying it’s webbing at the female doctor. Marci, Jake, and Slick duck as the spider attacks the other doctor, sinking it’s fangs into his neck, then follows after the female doctor as she runs from the room. Marci and the others quickly decide to hide, barricading themselves back into the lab and heading down a back door that leads further into the complex. Meanwhile, the male doctor manages to hit the alarm before dying from the venom and Agent Gray, his assistant John Murphy, Colonel Dixon, and the other soldiers head down to the lab. When he sees the webbing in the room, Gray realizes that Mother-In-Law is in the building and orders the men to capture it. Back in the lower levels, Marci and the others make their way through a cryogenics area, where they find a frozen astronaut from the undocumented Apollo 18 mission, and continue through a second storage area, where they find the body of the female doctor. Making their way up a flight of stairs, they find the exit webbed shut when Mother-In-Law attacks Jake, causing him to fall off the rail. Marci and Slick manage to grab Jake to keep him from falling and Slick knocks Mother-In-Law off of him, sending her plummeting down to the floor below, but not before it bites Jake in the leg. Heading back down the stairs to a hallway, they see a door marked “Project M.I.L.” and Marci realizes that it stands for Mother-In-Law and they head inside. Looking through the area, Marci discovers that the project has pictures of the “aliens” she was interviewing and realizes that they are somehow connected. Meanwhile, Jake gets on the computer and finds out more information about how Mother-In-Law was created when he discovers that the venom has no antidote. Freaking out, Jake rushes out of the lab and decides to hunt down Mother-In-Law and kill it but he passes out from the venom before he finds anything. Marci and Slick try to find Jake but when they are unable to, they see the elevator doors are open and they quickly head inside. The elevator starts heading for the surface but stops suddenly, demanding a security code and so Slick and Marci climb up onto the roof and start climbing the emergency ladder up. When they reach the next level, they open the door when they are confronted by Mother-In-Law, who has grown even larger. The two fall down the shaft and land on a giant spider’s web, and as Mother-In-Law climbs down towards them, Marci is able to get free but Slick is trapped and yells at her to run as Mother-In-Law starts attacking him. Marci manages to get out of the elevator, avoiding Mother-In-Law’s attempt to capture her, and makes her way down into the complex, where she eventually runs into Murphy, who is shocked to see her. Murphy chases after her but she manages to catch him with a surprise attack and take his gun, firing a couple of shots at him before running again. Meanwhile, Mother-In-Law manages to capture and kill all of the soldiers, with Gray showing up to finish off Dixon, claiming he failed to follow orders. Murphy catches up to Marci again and as they struggle, they end up falling down an open shaft and into a pool of water below. As they continue to fight, Murphy is suddenly grabbed by Mother-In-Law and Marci grabs a pole and stabs her in the eye, allowing Murphy to escape. The two make their way back through the tunnels and find where Mother-In-Law has webbed up it’s victims and Murphy searches for Dixon’s body so that he can grab the keycard for the elevator. As they head for the elevator, they encounter Gray, who recognizes Marco from the stories in the newspaper and prepares to kill them both but before he can, he is webbed up by Mother-In-Law. As Marci and Murphy run for the elevator, Mother-In-Law approaches Gray and stabs him in the stomach with her ovipositor. Marci and Murphy reach the elevator and start heading up but Mother-In-Law manages to smash through the bottom of the elevator, halting their progress but Murphy hits the down button, causing the elevator to head to the bottom and crush Mother-In-Law. The pair head back to the surface and then to the newspaper office so Marci can tell her editor about what happened but when they get there, they find Gray waiting for them. Gray explains about how the alien DNA in the spider was supposed to be the ultimate weapon for world domination and prepares to shoot them when he starts convulsing and a new spider emerges from within him, ripping him to shreds in the process. As Marci and Murphy leave and evacuate the building, the spider, now grown to monstrous size, burst through the building and starts attacking the students. Murphy and Marci locate Gray’s helicopter and Murphy grabs a rocket launcher from inside and fires it at the spider but misses. As the spider heads into the city, they fly the helicopter after it and Marci goes to take the shot so that Murphy can continue flying the helicopter. Tethering herself to the helicopter, she fires one shot but it bounces off the spider’s hide. Realizing that the only way to kill it is to fire a rocket into the mouth, she has Murphy fly lower but the spider strikes the helicopter, knocking her out of the helicopter and leaving her hanging by the rope. As the spider tries to attack her, she fires the last rocket into the spider’s mouth and kills it, then yells at Murphy to land the helicopter so she can write up the story.

This was a pretty average movie on all accounts. The acting was…average, though it was interesting to see Lana Parrilla (Marci) before she became more of a household name in her role of Regina in Once Upon A Time. The story was interesting, more or less a nod to some of the 50’s & 60’s sci-fi horror movies with the blend of giant insects and aliens as the source of the horror. The special effects were reasonably bad, which is what I expected and actually enjoyed about this movie. Your usual sci-fi B-movie that might be worth watching if you are a fan of the genre but probably isn’t for everyone.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 28th, 2017 Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

the amazing spider-man 2

So a superhero movie comes to the theaters and I have no desire whatsoever to see it. I know, it is really an odd thing to have happen but it is true. When the trailers for this movie came out, hinting at a possible Sinister Six plot line, I was actually less than amazed. I would say that maybe it is that dreaded adulthood creeping up on me and I felt the desire to see more Oscar worthy films that would only elevate my sense of culture. Of course, that would be shot down by the fact that I happened to see 3 other superhero movies that year and enjoyed all three of them so obviously that is not true. I think it was probably just that the trailers themselves gave me no desire to see this movie. Anyways, I decided to pick it up on Blu-Ray sometime after it came out and honestly, put off watching it until several months after I bought it. After all of the hesitation, let’s see if today’s movie was worth it as I watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

The plot: Late one night, Richard Parker destroys all of the test subjects and erases the data from his bio-genetics lab at Oscorp but he is found out and his clearances are revoked before he finishes so he grabs the hard copy files as he leaves. As he records a message explaining what he has done, he hears Peter calling out to him, leading to the events at the beginning of the first film. After dropping off Peter, Richard and Mary are taking a plane to somewhere where they can hide and Richard is working on uploading some files while Mary uses the restroom. When one of the pilots exits the cockpit and starts talking to Richard, Richard notices blood on his hands and gets suspicious. The man reveals himself to be an assassin and as a struggle breaks out between Richard, Mary, and the assassin, Mary ends up being shot. The plane starts to go into free fall as Richard and the assassin continue to struggle and Richard manages to get control of the gun and shoot out a window, causing explosive decompression of the cabin which rips the door off the plane. The assassin is sucked out of the plane and falls to his death while Richard ensures that the files were uploaded just before the plane crashes. In the present, Spider-Man hears about a police chase involving some stolen plutonium from Oscorp and he heads off to stop it and during the course of the chase, he saves Max Dillion, an electrical engineer that works for Oscorp. As Spider-Man catches two of the thieves and works on keeping the plutonium containers from spilling out of the truck, he receives a call from Gwen, wondering where he is as their graduation ceremony is starting. When the third thief, Aleksei Sytsevich, drives his wrecker truck into a bus, Spider-Man quickly keeps the bus from tipping over and injuring the people inside and some pedestrians in it’s path, then captures Aleksei before heading to his graduation. After the graduation ceremony, Aunt May congratulates Peter, wishing that Ben had been there to see this. May takes a picture of Peter and Gwen together and then Gwen invites him to dinner with her family that night but Peter keeps seeing the image of Captain Stacy. When Peter shows up, he doesn’t enter the restaurant and Gwen goes outside to talk to him and Peter tells her about constantly seeing her father and she tells him she can’t keep having him do this to her and despite the fact that Peter says he loves her, she breaks up with him. Some time later, Harry Osborn returns to New York City at the request of his dying father Norman, who tells Harry that he sent him away for his own good. Norman then tells him that he is dying from a genetic disease, and Harry is at the age where the disease begins to manifest. Meanwhile, Max is about to leave work when his boss, Alistair Smythe, has him check on an electrical surge in one of the labs. As Max fixes the short, he gets shocked and ends up falling into a tank of genetically modified electric eels, which attack him and their bites mutate and electrocute him as the tank explodes. Norman dies the next day, leaving Harry as the CEO of Oscorp, though the board is less than happy about it, as the company is under intense scrutiny after the event with Connors. Peter goes to see Harry, as they were childhood friends, and the two end up talking and catching up, while members of Oscorp’s security try to hide Dillon’s body. That evening, Gwen calls Peter and asks to meet and says she wants to try to stay friends. As they try to set up some ground rules, Gwen tells him that she was offered a scholarship to go to England for studies and she is considering taking it. Meanwhile, Max regains consciousness and finds his body has transformed into a living electrical generator. He makes his way towards Times Square and starts absorbing some of the electricity from the area until the police show up and Max inadvertently attacks them when they start shooting at him. Peter, having sensed the disturbance, changes into Spider-Man and heads over there  and after recognizing Max from his description of his saving him, tries talking to him to defuse the situation. When Max cause an explosion of sparks by accidentally stepping in a puddle, a sniper shoots at him, causing Max to react violently and cause a blackout before attacking the police. He then attacks Spider-Man, blaming him for setting him up but Spider-Man is able to keep some bystanders from being electrocuted then, with the help of some firemen, use a fire hose to short out Max and bring him down. Returning home, Peter starts questioning himself about whether he should continue being Spider-Man or if he should try to have a normal life with Gwen. Meanwhile, Harry is examining the device his father left him when he discovers a series of video files on it concerning Richard Parker’s work. Peter is working on building a more insulated web compound in case he has to face Max again when Harry calls and says he needs to see him. When Peter arrives at Oscorp, Harry explains that he is dying of the same disease that killed his father but shows him the files of Richard and Norman talking about their experiments and Harry says that he needs Spider-Man’s blood to cure himself and asks Peter to help him locate Spider-Man, as Peter is the one to take Spider-Man’s pictures. Peter says he will try to find Spider-Man and leaves but sees Gwen being chased by security and when he grabs her, they duck into a maintenance closet. Gwen explains that she had met Max and was looking up information about him but all of his records had been purged from the system and Peter distracts the guards so she can leave but she ends up in the elevator with Harry, who talks to her on the way down. When Peter returns home, he finds Aunt May in his room staring at the collage of pictures concerning his parents and she ends up telling him that his parents were suspected of being traitors and selling secrets to foreign governments. Spider-Man goes to visit Harry but refuses to give him a sample of his blood, saying it could kill him or worse and Harry gets enraged. When Peter returns home, he angrily destroys the collage and smashes things in his father satchel but finds some subway tokens hidden in an old calculator and, recalling a comment his aunt made about his father’s schedule, investigates it further and finds Richard’s secret lab in a hidden subway tunnel. Inside, Peter sees the video explaining that Osborn was the one selling secrets and framed Richard for it. Richard also explains that the human DNA that he merged with the spiders was his own so without his blood, or his bloodline, nobody would be able to recreate his experiment. Meanwhile, Harry is told by his assistant Felicia that while the spiders were killed, the scientists saved the venom from them in case it could prove to be useful and is kept in an area of the building called “Special Projects”. Harry looks into “Special Projects” and learns that they are experimenting on Max at Ravencroft and that he supposedly signed off on it. Suddenly, he finds his authorization revoked and is approached by security and Oscorps’ Vice President Donald Menken, who had framed Oscorp in order to usurp control of the company away from him. Harry breaks into Ravencroft and goes to Max’s cell, who is calling himself Electro now. Harry says he will free Electro in exchange for his help in getting back into Oscorp and as the guards approach and try to grab Harry, Harry zaps Electro with a taser, giving him enough of a charge to break free from his restraints and kill the guards. Harry and Electro head to Oscorp and after taking Menken hostage, Harry has him lead him down to Special Projects while Electro heads to the city power grid. Inside Special Projects, Harry has Menken inject him with the spider venom but it causes him to start mutating and Menken is able to escape. Harry manages to crawl into his father’s special armor prototype and the armor’s inboard healing process begis working on curing him. Meanwhile, Peter exits the subway tunnel and finds he has a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she is heading to England for a summer class as a means of trying to get over him. As she is stuck in traffic, she sees Spider man writing “I Love You” in webbing on the nearby bridge and as she gets out of the cab and stares at it, Spider-Man swings down and grabs her. On top of the bridge, Peter tells Gwen that he decided that he wants to be with her and go with her to England and the two kiss. Suddenly, the whole city suffers a blackout and they see Electro absorbing the power from the power grid. Gwen helps Spider-Man magnetize his web shooters so they will work against Electro, then tells him that she is going with him, as she knows how to reset the grid, but Spider-Man webs her hand to a police car to keep her from following him. Spider-Man heads to the power station and battles Electro but finds himself outmatched and is about to be killed, only for Gwen, having freed herself from the webbing, crash the police car into Electro. Spider-Man and Gwen come up with a plan to overload Elector, feeding him too much electricity so that he ends up exploding. As the two approach each other, they are surprised by the arrival of Harry, having mutated into a goblin like appearance from the venom. When Harry sees Gwen had helped Spider-Man, he realizes that Spider-Man is really Peter and gets even more enraged and grabs Gwen, flying her up to a nearby clock tower. Spider-Man pleads with Harry to let her go and Harry drops her then begins fighting with Spider-Man as he tries to save her. As Peter is holding onto Gwen with a strand of webbing, Harry tries to force it into the gears so it will snap and Spider-Man shoves his foot in the gears to keep them from turning. The pressure eventually causes the gears to break and Harry is knocked unconscious by the debris while the webbing snaps. As Gwen falls, Spider-Man leaps after her and tries to snag her with some more webbing to save her and succeeds in doing so before she hits the bottom but the sudden stop causes her neck to snap, resulting in her death. As Peter climbs down to check on her, he finds that she has died and cries out in grief over his part in her death. A funeral is held for Gwen and Peter decides to give up on being Spider-Man, not wanting anyone else he cares about to be put in danger. Several months later, Gustav Fiers, the man who visited Connors in his cell, pays a visit to Harry in his cell and tells him preparations are ready for his team and asks how many people he wants in it. Harry says to keep the number small and that everything they need is at Oscorp and asks if they have their first volunteer. Fiers says they do and he heads to Special Projects, walking past several specialized suits until he reaches a giant armored suit fashioned after a rhino. As the news report about Aleksei’s escape from prison and the rise in crime in the city since Spider-Man disappeared, Peter ends up watching Gwen’s graduation speech, where she tells the graduating class to become hope for people, and Peter decides to become Spider-Man again. When Aleksei, wearing the rhino armor, attacks the city, a little boy dressed as Spider-Man stands up to him and Aleksei starts mocking him but the real Spider-Man shows up and comments on the boys bravery before sending him back to his mom and then goes to face Aleksei.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 52% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “While the cast is outstanding and the special effects are top-notch, the latest installment of the Spidey saga suffers from an unfocused narrative and an overabundance of characters.” The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $709 million off of an estimated budget between $200 and $293 million. The movie was supposed to spawn another sequel, with a spin-off movie featuring the Sinister Six but plans were scrapped and Sony instead entered into a partnership with Marvel to redo the series as part of the MCU.

Yeh, I don’t really know how I feel about this movie. The acting was ok, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both doing good jobs reprising their roles of Peter and Gwen respectively. Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of Electro was kind of interesting and, while brief, Ialso liked Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of the Rhino but thought that Dane DeHaan was a little odd as Harry Osborn, seeming to play the character a little too sleazy than he should have. The story wasn’t bad and it actually did a good job in setting up for a possible sequel and introducing other members of the Sinister Six, primarily Doctor Octopus and the Vulture. Personally, I would much rather have more involvement with Fiers, as his character, which was introduced in a series of novels, was very interesting and I would have liked to have seen more involving him. As for the Gwen Stacy death, I understand that they had to make some changes due to the story line but I liked how they did this as opposed to Raimi’s rendition in Spider-Man. The special effects were pretty good and I liked the fight scenes with Spider-Man and Electro. I honestly laughed when the effects of him moving through the towers caused them to hum out “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider” during the final fight with Electro. Not as bad of a movie as I thought but still it could have been a lot better.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 27th, 2017 Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man

the amazing spider-man 2012

After all of the teasing Sam Raimi did with having Curt Connors in his movies, we finally get to see the Lizard make an appearance on the big screen; and all it took was 5 years, a reboot, and a new director. Yeh, 5 years after Raimi’s trilogy ended, Columbia Pictures decided to Columbia Pictures decided to cancel the proposed 4th Raimi movie and recast all of the characters. Now I had considered going to see this movie in theaters but I ended up passing after hearing what some of my friends thought about it. However, that obviously had no effect on my purchasing it and thus, I have today’s movie, The Amazing Spider-Man

The plot: A young Peter Parker is playing hide and seek with his parents but when he walks into his parent’s study, he finds the place has been ransacked. Peter yells out to his dad, who takes a look at the room and quickly heads over to the desk and pulls out a drawer to reveal a false bottom, with some folders hidden inside. Richard and Mary quickly pack some things for Peter and take him to Richard’s brother Ben and his wife May, asking them to take care of Peter, then they quickly leave. Years later, Peter is now in high school and attempts to stand up to Flash Thompson for being a bully but is quickly beat down. After returning home, he helps his uncle move boxes out of the flooded basement when he discovers his father’s old satchel and when he opens it, sees a newspaper clipping of his father with another man, but neither his Aunt or Uncle know who he is. Taking the satchel upstairs, Peter starts examining it some more and finds the hidden file and starts to look through it but quickly hides it when his Uncle Ben knocks on his door. Ben sits down to talk with Peter and tells him that the man in the picture is Curt Connors and after he leaves, Peter quickly looks up information on Curt Connors. Heading to Oscorp, where Connors works, Peter sneaks into a tour group of a bunch of interns and is surprised to see that Gwen Stacy, his classmate that he has a crush on, is leading the tour. As Connors introduces himself to the group, Gwen is shocked to see Peter there and questions him as to why he is there, asking him not to get into trouble, which could get her into trouble. As the tour moves on, Peter accidentally bumps into a man, Rajit Ratha, and as he picks up the folder Ratha dropped and notices it has the same logo on his father’s work and decides to follow him. After seeing Ratha open a restricted access door and speak to some men inside before they all leave, Peter sneaks inside and finds Oscorp is making a “biocable” using genetically modified spiders but when he accidentally bumps into it, the spiders start falling all around him. Peter quickly leaves and runs into Gwen, who takes his badge because he left the group, and as he goes to leave, one of the spiders that had fallen around him bites him in the neck. As he rides home on the subway, Peter has an altercation with some passengers, where he starts to display strange abilities. After things keep happening to him, Peter goes to see Connors at his home, telling him he is Richard Parker’s son. While not telling Connors about what happened to him, Peter helps him figure out the decay rate algorithm, which Connors needs as he is being pressured to use his work to help cure a dying Norman Osborn. Peter goes to Oscorp with Connors and helps him test the new formula and when it passes in the simulation, they test it on one of the mice. Peter heads home late, where he ends up getting into an argument with his Uncle Ben, due to Peter’s not being there to walk his Aunt May home when she got off work, and leaves the house. Ben goes looking for Peter, who avoids him and heads over to a nearby market to get something to drink but he is short two cents and the clerk won’t let him use the pennies from the tray. As Peter leaves, he witnesses the customer behind him rob the place and leave, not helping the clerk stop the thief. Ben, who is nearby, sees the thief stumble and drop a gun and goes to try and get the gun away from him but during the struggle, the gun goes off and Ben is shot. Peter, hearing the shot, heads over there and sees his uncle lying on the ground and calls out for help as he tries to save Ben’s life but Ben dies in his arms. Returning home with the police so they can tell May what happened, Peter hears their description of the killer and realizes it is the same man that he saw rob the market and let get away. Feeling guilty over what happened, Peter starts going out at night to hunt down his uncle’s killer, fashioning a suit so that he can keep people from knowing who he is. While not finding the murderer, he does capture several crooks and the police start labeling him as a vigilante, and Captain George Stacy, Gwen’s father, makes it a priority to capture him. Meanwhile, Connors is facing pressure from Ratha to begin human trials, as the mouse has succeeded in regrowing it’s missing limb, but when Connors refuses to rush human trials, Ratha fires him and says he will administer the trial at the V. A. Hospital and heads off. Connors administers the serum to himself and does regrow his missing arm but when he starts to feel pain, he hails a cab and tries to head to the hospital to stop Ratha but transforms into a giant, humanoid lizard during the ride. Meanwhile, Gwen had invited Peter over for dinner and Peter ends up arguing with Captain Stacy over Spider-Man. Gwen takes Peter out onto the balcony to cool things down and so they can talk and Peter ends up revealing that he is Spider-Man before kissing her. As Gwen is told to come inside, Peter hears police sirens in the distance and leaps off the roof and heads for the bridge, where he sees The Lizard throwing cars off the bridge as he goes after Ratha. Spider-Man webs the cars to the bridge to keep them from falling, then goes after The Lizard but when he hears a man saying his son is trapped in one of the cars, he goes and rescues the boy before the car explodes. The next day, Peter goes to see Dr. Connors and asks him about lizards, claiming it is part of a school project, but Connors evades the questions then escorts Peter out of his lab. As Peter is leaving, he notices that the mouse that was given the serum had mutated and developed lizard like qualities and he realizes that Connors is The Lizard. Peter heads to the police station and tries telling Captain Stacy his suspicions about Connors but Stacy ignores him and has him escorted from the building, but then tells one of his officers to get him all the files they have on Connors. As Peter leaves the precinct, he notices several lizards heading down into the subway and sewer tunnels and he follows after them, then uses his webs to try and figure out Connors’ location. Connors transforms into the Lizard again and as Peter tries to locate him, the two end up fighting, with a camera Peter had set up taking pictures of the two of them. Peter is overpowered and manages to get away from the Lizard but the Lizard sees the camera and discovers who Spider-Man really is. The Lizard attacks the school and as everyone flees, Peter ends up fighting with the Lizard but finds himself outmatched. When Gwen tries to help, Peter is able to web up the Lizard, then breaks a window and lowers Gwen to safety before returning to face the Lizard only to find he has disappeared. Peter follows after him, telling Gwen to head back to Oscorp and work on an antidote to the serum, but when he finds Connor’s video files, he realizes that Connors plans to expose the whole city to the serum and change everyone into human lizards. As the Lizard makes it’s way to Oscorp, he is attacked by the police but he uses some of the serum, which he made into a gas, to infect the police, changing them into lizardmen. Spider-Man gives chase but he is shot with a taser by the police. Captain Stacy and his men approach Spider-Man and Stacy removes the mask but Peter comes too and starts fending off the police while keeping his face covered. Stacy eventually corners Peter and Peter reveals his face, then tells Stacy that Gwen is at Oscorp and Stacy lets Peter go and tells his men to stand down but one of the cops shoots Spider-Man in the leg before he leaves. Meanwhile, the Lizard reaches Oscorp and breaks in and steals a gas dispersal device which Gwen had hidden but after he leaves, Gwen realizes the antidote is finished and heads outside. Spider-Man is having trouble reaching Oscorp due to his injury but is helped by the cities crane operators, who form a corridor for him to use to web swing to the tower. Spider-Man heads up to face the Lizard while on the ground, Stacy arrives and meets with Gwen, who hands him the antidote to give to Peter. On the roof, Spider-Man and the Lizard continue fighting but Stacy arrives and shoots the Lizard with a shotgun, distracting him enough for Spider-Man to pull out a hose of liquid nitrogen and the two knock him into an opening with some more nitrogen tanks, which Stacy shoots to keep the Lizard contained. Stacy then gives Spider-Man the antidote and keeps the Lizard at bay long enough for Spider-Man to insert it into the delivery system, but Stacy is mortally wounded by the Lizard. As the antidote is spread throughout the city and starts changing people back to human, the antennae, damaged from the fight, breaks and Spider-Man starts to fall off the roof but he is saved by Connors and dragged back onto the roof. Peter then goes to check on Stacy, who says that the city does need Spider-Man but makes Peter promise to stay away from Gwen in order to keep her safe. A funeral is held for Captain Stacy and afterwards, Gwen goes to Peter’s house to find out why he wasn’t there and when he says he can’t see her anymore, she asks if her father made him break up with her, taking his silence as a confirmation. However, the next day at school, as a teacher comments to Peter about not making promises he can’t keep, Peter says that those are the best kind, making Gwen smile as she realizes that he might still try and see her. Meanwhile, Connors is in his cell when he is visited by a mysterious man, who asks if Peter learned the truth about his father. Connors says he doesn’t know and begs that Peter be left alone but the man disappears from the cell.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 72% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A well-chosen cast and sure-handed direction allow The Amazing Spider-Man to thrill, despite revisiting many of the same plot points from 2002’s Spider-Man.” Director Marc Webb decided to have the majority of the stunts performed practically as opposed to using CGI, as he wanted them to look more realistic. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $757.9 million off of a $200-$230 million budget and spawned a sequel.

This movie had it’s faults but it wasn’t as bad of a movie as I initially thought. The acting was pretty good, with Andrew Garfield (Peter) and Emma Stone (Gwen) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Denis Leary’s portrayal of Captain Stacy but really liked Rhys Ifans’ portrayal of Connors, doing a pretty decent job of showcasing his humanity as Connors while also portraying the darker nature of himself as the Lizard. The story was ok, somewhat following the origin in the “Ultimate Spider-Man” comics more than the traditional comic series. One thing I did like in this reboot was the scene with Peter sending strands of webbing throughout the sewers and then sitting in the middle of the strands, trying to sense the vibrations through the webbing in order to locate the Lizard, as that showed Peter utilizing more of the spider aspects of his powers than he is normally shown to have used. I also liked how they had Spider-Man quipping during his fights with the lizard and when he was catching the carjacker, as that was an aspect of Spider-Man’s character that was missing in the Raimi trilogy. The stunt work was really good and while I didn’t particularly care for the first person views of Spider-Man moving through the city, I did like the parkour aspect of his movements through the alley’s, seeming to make a little more sense with how he would move throughout the city. To be honest, the main thing I didn’t like about the movie was the special effects, as there were several times where they didn’t look nearly as good as you would expect. I will also admit that I was a little disappointed with how the Lizard looked, as I was hoping it would have a lot more of a saurian appearance than the end result did. Not a bad movie but worth a watch if for no other reason than to see how the direction the new director took it.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 26th, 2017 Movie – Spider-Man 3

spider-man 3

There are times that I hate watching movie trailers, because they get me excited for movies that end up letting me down. When I first saw the trailer for today’s movie, I got super excited to see Spider-Man in the black suit, because the black suit means Venom. That should be reason enough for anyone to be excited, as even those that are not big comic book fans have at least some knowledge of the character. However, I didn’t get around to seeing this in theaters, as there were quite a few things happening in my personal life at the time, so I had to wait until it came out on DVD so I could buy and watch today’s movie, Spider-Man 3.

The plot: Peter’s life seems to be making a turn for the better as he attends a Broadway show that MJ is starring in. Harry is also in attendance and when Peter sees him leaving after the show, he tries to talk to him and explain what happened between him and Harry’s father but Harry refuses to listen. After picking up MJ, Peter takes her out to Central Park, where they are watching a meteor shower and as they start kissing, they miss a meteorite striking nearby. The meteorite breaks open and a strange, black substance emerges and makes it’s way towards Peter and MJ, latching onto Peter’s moped as the two leave. After dropping off MJ, Peter heads over to his Aunt May’s apartment, where he tells her that he plans on proposing to MJ and she tells him about when his Uncle Ben proposed to her, then hands him her engagement ring to give to MJ. As Peter heads home, he is attacked by Harry, who had undergone his father’s enhancement process and modified the Green Goblin gear to his own liking. After a vicious fight, Peter is finally able to stop Harry but after Harry falls to the ground and is unresponsive, Peter performs CPR on him and then takes him to the hospital. Meanwhile, Flint Marko escapes from Ryker’s Island prison and heads to his old home to see his severely ill daughter and after changing clothes, quickly leaves. The police catch up to him as he is trying to leave the city and Marko ends up in a particle physics testing facility, where he gets caught in one of the experiments and ends up being vaporized into sand. The next morning, the sand starts moving and Marko is shown to have been turned into living sand, able to solidify and disperse himself at will. Meanwhile, Peter and MJ go to see Harry, who has recovered but has no memory of Peter being Spider-Man and Peter feels relieved about that. Peter returns to his apartment but is soon visited by MJ, who shows him a review from a critic saying her performance was terrible and Peter tries to make her feel better, telling her his own experiences with the critics, but she feels like Peter is trying to make the situation about her. Hearing of an incident on the police scanner, Peter changes into Spider-Man and heads out and MJ leaves, not noticing the black substance moving around in Peter’s apartment. In the city, a malfunctioning crane damages a building where a photo shoot is taking place and Peter rescues Gwen Stacy, one of his classmates, and brings her safely to the ground, where he is photographed by Eddie Brock, a new photographer for the Daily Bugle. Later, Brock and Peter both try to turn photos in to Jameson and after he chooses Brock’s, he tells them that he has a staff opening and says that whichever one of them brings him a shot of Spider-Man being a criminal will get the job. Later, Peter accompanies Harry as he leaves the hospital and heads home, where he shows aspects of his enhanced abilities, which worries Peter. Meanwhile, MJ shows up to rehearsal only to find that she has been replaced, and starts feeling even more depressed. That afternoon, a ceremony is held to give Spider-Man the key to the city and Peter is there taking pictures and talks with MJ, asking her if she is ok, but she doesn’t tell him what happened. As the ceremony commences, Spider-Man swings down and ends up getting kissed by Gwen Stacy, who was presenting the key, which upsets MJ and she quickly leaves, with Harry following after her. Meanwhile, the cops spot Marko and go after him but he transforms into a giant sand storm and knocks them away before heading after an armored car. Spider-Man goes after him and the two fight inside the car but Marko is able to escape. Later that night, Peter takes MJ to a fancy restaurant, where he hopes to propose to her, but when Gwen appears and talks with Peter, MJ gets jealous and upset and leaves before Peter can propose. The next day, Peter and Aunt May are told that the man they thought killed Uncle Ben was actually an accomplice and Marko was the real killer, which angers Peter. After leaving the station, Peter heads back to his apartment and tries talking to him but his anger and desire for vengeance causes him to start shutting her out. That night, the black substance latches onto Peter as he is wearing his Spider-Man outfit, turning it black and enhancing his abilities. Peter takes a sample of the substance to Dr. Connors, who says it is some sort of symbiote and tells Peter not to let it touch him. That night, Peter hears about Marko robbing another armored car and he puts on the black suit and heads out after him, arriving at the scene as Marko is leaving through the subway tunnel. Brock shows up to try and take some pictures but Spider-Man smashes his camera then heads after Marko, leaving Brock to take some pictures of the scene with a spare digital camera. Spider-Man and Mark start fighting through the subway and eventually fall to the bottom of the sewer system, where Marko is shown to have a weakness to water and Spider-Man rips open a water main, washing Marko away and seemingly killing him. The next day, MJ gets a job at a nightclub and afterwards, calls Harry and goes to hang out with him, not wanting to tell Peter about her misfortunes. As they are eating and cleaning up, Harry tries to kiss MJ but she backs off and quickly leaves. Harry heads to his study and hears his father’s voice and after seeing him in the mirror, regains his memory and come up with a plan to attack Peter. Harry dons his Goblin gear and grabs MJ in her apartment, then forces her to break up with Peter, saying she fell in love with someone else. Later, Peter complains to Harry about what happened and Harry tells Peter that he is the man MJ fell in love with. Peter leaves but when he looks back, Harry winks at him before leaving himself. Realizing Harry regained his memory, Peter dons the black suit and goes to confront him at his home and the two fight, with Peter overpowering him and then telling him that his father despised him. Peter starts to leave and Harry throws a pumpkin bomb at him but Peter dodges it, then throws it back at Harry, where it explodes by his face. The next day, Peter sees the Bugle running a story about Spider-Man being a crook with a photo by Brock and Peter confronts Brock about the picture, then gives Robbie proof that the photo was faked. Robbie confirms the photo was doctored and Jameson fires Brock, then reluctantly prints a retraction. Peter, falling further under the suit’s influence, takes Gwen out on a date to the nightclub where MJ works, using her to make MJ jealous. Gwen realizes what he is doing and apologizes to MJ before leaving and when Peter argues with MJ, the bouncers try to kick him out of the club. Peter starts fighting with the bouncers and accidentally strikes MJ and as she stares at him in horror, he realizes what he is becoming and quickly leaves. Peter heads to a nearby church bell tower and tries to remove the suit but finds it refuses to come off. When he accidentally hits the bell, he notices the sound waves cause the suit’s hold to weaken so he continuously hits the bell and is finally able to rip off the suit, but the symbiote drops down from the tower and latches onto Brock, who was in the church praying for Peter’s death. Brock, now calling himself Venom, locates Sandman and convinces him to team up with him in order to kill Spider-Man, then kidnaps MJ to use as bait. Seeing what is happening on the news, Peter goes to see Harry to ask for his help but Harry, showing Peter the scars on his face from the bomb, refuses to help. After Peter leaves, Harry’s butler approaches him and tells him how he had cleaned Norman’s wounds and that he was killed by his own glider. Spider-Man heads to rescue MJ but he is attacked by Venom and Sandman and nearly killed before being saved by Harry. The two team up to fight and manage to save MJ but Venom grabs Spider-Man and is prepared to kill him. Harry intervenes and tries to stop Venom but Harry grabs his glider and prepares to impale Peter with it. Harry leaps in the path and gets impaled instead, falling to a lower level of the building and MJ rushes down to check on him. Peter frees himself from Venom’s webs and uses metal pipes to fashion a makeshift sound cage, trapping Venom inside and hits the pipes to create enough sound to weaken the symbiote and free Brock. Peter then grabs one of Harry’s bombs and throws it at the symbiote but Brock jumps inside the cage to grab the bomb and he is destroyed with the symbiote. Marko confronts Peter and explains how Uncle Ben’s death was an accident and Peter forgives him and allows Marko to escape. Peter then joins MJ with Harry, who apologizes for what he did before dying from his wounds. Some time later, Peter returns to the nightclub and watches MJ sing and when she sees him, the two approach and hug each other, reconciling over what all has happened.

Spider-Man 3 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though there are more characters and plot lines, and the action sequences still dazzle, Spider-Man 3 nonetheless isn’t quite as refined as the first two.” The visual effects needed to portray Sandman took three years to create, meaning they started working on this almost as soon as Spider-Man 2 was finished. Despite the low critic approval, the movie was the most profitable movie out of Sam Raimi trilogy, earning $890.9 million off of a $258 million budget.

As great as the last movie was, this was kind of a let down but still a decent movie. The acting was good, with all of the returning characters doing good jobs with their roles. Thomas Haden Church did a good job as Marko, though I think made him more of a sympathetic character than how he was in the comics. Wow there were some aspects of Topher Grace’s portrayal of Eddie Brock that I liked, on the whole he kind of seemed more like a sniveling creep as opposed to the obsessed sociopath that Brock generally is. The story was a good, But I do think all of the different story lines they tried putting into the movie really hurt it. There were also a couple of scenes that really didn’t fit well with the pace of the movie. I understand how they were attempting to show the difference in Peter’s attitude after repeatedly wearing the black suit but that scene with him walking down the sidewalk and acting like an arrogant ass just looked stupid. The special effects were definitely great regarding Sandman but I was a little less thrilled with Venom, which isn’t necessarily a knock on the effects themselves but more my wishing they had done more with him. Not the best movie in the bunch but still a solid entry and worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 25th, 2017 Movie – Spider-Man 2

spider-man 2

It doesn’t happen often, but I do love it when a sequel is better than the original. I remember seeing the trailers for this movie and was immediately excited to seeSo no it because Doctor Octopus was always my favorite Spider-Man villain. To me, he had a lot of different aspects to his character; being a brilliant scientist and planning things out, while also reverting to a more thuggish approach at times and simply using brute force to achieve his goals. So I went into this movie hoping that they would do the character justice and I have to admit, Spider-Man 2 did not disappoint me.

The plot: It’s been 2 years since Peter Parker became Spider-Man and he is struggling to make ends meet with his life, losing his job and falling behind in his classes. Heading to his Aunt May’s house, Peter is surprised to see Harry and MJ there as May planned a surprise birthday party. As MJ helps May with the cake, Harry comments about how she still seems to love Peter, despite Peter saying he doesn’t have time for a girlfriend right now. Harry then comments about Peter taking pictures of Spider-Man, which is putting a strain on his friendship with Peter as Harry still blames Spider-Man for his father’s death, before inviting Peter to meet Otto Octavius, who is working for Oscorp now. After the party, Peter tries talking to Aunt May about her finances but she dodges the questions and goes to give him some money for his birthday, arguing with him that he needs it more. As Peter takes out the trash before leaving, he finds MJ sitting out back in her parent’s house and they talk for a few minutes, with MJ telling him that she is seeing someone now. The next day, Harry introduces Peter to Octavius, who is working on creating a sustainable source of fusion power, and Peter and Octavius appear to hit it off, spending an hour discussing the project and science in general. Peter has his concerns about the projects safety but Octavius assures him it will be fine and his wife Rosalie invites Peter to the demonstration to see for himself. That night, Peter goes to see MJ’s play but when, as Spider-Man, he is forced to stop a car chase, he ends up being late for the play and unable to get in. As he waits outside to try and talk to her after the play, he sees her kissing her boyfriend and leaves when he notices several police cars going by with their sirens on. As he is swinging through the air, he suddenly is unable to form a web and ends up falling onto a nearby rooftop and after recovering, he still can’t shoot a web so he ends up taking the elevator downstairs and walking home. The next day, Octavius gives his demonstration, revealing the mechanical arms that he will be using to help with the experiment. When a magnetic surge destabilizes the experiment, Peter quickly changes into Spider-Man and rescues Harry before trying to unplug the device. Octavius sees Spider-Man and uses the arms to swat him away, trying his best to regain control of the experiment, but another surge causes the nearby windows to explode and Rasalie is killed by the shards. When Octavius turns to look at her, another surge hits him and fries the inhibitor chip that keeps the arm’s AI from leaking into his own brain before Spider-Man is finally able to unplug the device and shut down the experiment. Octavius is taken to the hospital, where the doctors try to remove the arms and harness from him as they have been fused to his spine, but the arms come alive on their own and proceed to kill all of the doctors. The arms then help rouse Octavius, who cries out in grief and breaks out of the hospital and heads down to the docks. While there, he realizes that arms have gained sentience and that they are talking to him, convincing him to rebuild the device and he refuses at first but soon agrees with them. The next day, Peter and Aunt May are in the bank to try and refinance her home loan when Octavius attempts to rob the bank. Peter changes into Spider-Man and tries fighting him off but his powers start to fail again and Octavius is able to escape, taking Aunt May as a hostage. Spider-Man chases after him and continues fighting while trying to save Aunt May and he finally is able to do so while Octavius is able to get away. That night, Peter is working for the Bugle as a society photographer at an event honoring Jameson’s son John and he learns that John is MJ’s boyfriend. When Peter gets a moment to talk to MJ alone, she tells him that she can’t keep hoping something will happen between them and comments about how her friend who said he would always be there for her is never there. As the party continues, John announces that MJ agreed to marry him and Peter is forced to take a picture of the couple, then is confronted by a drunken Harry, who blames Peter for taking everything from him while covering for Spider-Man’s part in his father’s death. As Peter is swinging through the streets, his powers disappear again and he falls to the street. After seeing a doctor, who says there is nothing physically wrong with Peter and it might just be in his head, Peter decides to give up being Spider-Man, throwing his costume in the dumpster where he had last fallen. With the pressure of being Spider-Man no longer there, Peter is able to refocus in school and shows up to MJ’s play, surprising her. After the play, the two walk and Peter asks her to dinner but MJ says that she is with John and it isn’t fair for Peter to think things will change just because he showed up at her play. As Peter continues his life of not being Spider-Man, he is constantly forced to choose not to help people, such as walking away when he sees someone being mugged. After going with Aunt May to Uncle Ben’s grave, Peter is sitting with her at her home and tells her the truth about what happened to Ben, and how he let the robber that killed him go by without trying to stop him and the guilt he has been carrying ever since, causing Aunt May to walk away as she accepts with what he told her. Meanwhile, Octavius finishes construction of his device and goes to see Harry about getting the fuel needed for it and Harry agrees to give it to him in exchange for Octavius bringing Spider-Man to him so he can kill him. Elsewhere, Peter sees a burning building and starts to walk by but when he hears that a kid is trapped inside, he goes in to try and save her. Peter manages to rescue the little girl but nearly dies in the process and when he learns that someone else had been trapped and died in the blaze, he starts questioning whether he made the right choice. Peter gets a message from Aunt May and when he heads over there, finds her packing her things, saying she decided to go ahead and move into an apartment but tells Peter she doesn’t blame Peter for Ben’s death and appreciates the courage it took for him to tell her what happened. After trying an upside down kiss with John, MJ meets up with Peter to talk and asks him to kiss her but they are interrupted by a car flying through the window. Peter saves MJ and they watch as Octavius approaches them, telling Peter to have Spider-Man meet him before knocking Peter into a wall and taking MJ hostage. Peter breaks free from the rubble and finds that his powers have returned and he grabs his costume from Jameson, who had bought it off of bum that had found it and had it displayed in his office, then goes on to face Octavius, with their fight carrying on to the top of a subway car. Octavius causes the subway to go out of control, then jumps onto a building to escape, leaving Spider-Man to try and stop the runaway train. Spider-Man eventually manages to stop the strain, though the strain almost causes him to fall to his death but he is saved by the train’s passengers, who try to defend him from Octavius but Octavius easily brushes them aside and knocks Spider-Man out. Octavius carries Spider-Man to Harry and leaves him for Harry to kill while he takes the tritium needed to fuel his device. Harry rips off Spider-Man’s mask and is shocked to discover Peter is Spider-Man and after Peter frees himself, asks Harry where Octavius is, saying what is at stake is bigger than the issues between them. Spider-Man heads off to Octavius’ lair just as Octavius activates his machine. He attempts to rescue MJ but Octavius spots him and the two start fighting again. Spider-Man is able to stop Octavius and unplug the machine but the device continues to function. Spider-Man approaches Octavius and asks for his help in stopping it, taking off his mask to reveal he is Peter. Octavius attacks him at first, but Peter convinces him to help and Octavius uses the arms to sink the device in the river, drowning himself in the process. Meanwhile, Peter saves MJ from the debris and after making their way to safety, he admits that he still loves her but because he will always be Spider-Man, and will have enemies that might hurt her to get to him. When John arrives with the police, MJ reunites him but watches sadly as Peter swings away. Meanwhile, Harry is drinking when he has a vision of his father telling him to avenge his death and Harry throws his drink through the mirror, discovering his father’s hidden lair with all of his Green Goblin material. The next day, MJ stands up John at the altar and heads to Peter’s apartment, telling Peter she is free to make her own choice and face the risks being with him and the two kiss before they hear sirens and MJ tells Peter to go after them, watching as he swings away.

Spider-Man 2 met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” Boasting an entertaining villain and deeper emotional focus, this is a nimble sequel that improves upon the original.” Since the movie came out, it has been judged as one of the best comic book movies of all times among the various critics. In spite of receiving better reviews from the critics, the movie did not fare as well at the box office as it’s predecessor, earning $783.8 million off of a $200 million budget.

This is definitely a great movie to watch and deserving of all of the praise that it received. The acting was really good, with Tobey Maguire (Peter), Kirsten Dunst (MJ), James Franco (Harry), and Rosemary Harris (Aunt May) all did good jobs in reprising their roles. I thought Alfred Molina was great as Doctor Octopus and did a good job of showcasing the character’s intelligence as well as his arrogance. The story was very good, showcasing a lot of character development in Peter as he struggles with his life as Spider-Man and his life as Peter Parker. On a personal note, I thought the nod to Superman when Peter was trying to stop the subway train was really funny. I also liked Harry’s obsession with killing Spider-Man started driving him to the same madness that plagued his father (much like in the comics). The special effects were definitely improved in this movie and did a great job blending CGI and stunt work for the various fight scenes. About the only thing I didn’t like in this movie was how they were portraying MJ, but I can’t really say why it bugged me. My personal gripe aside, this is a fantastic movie that can stand up to any of Marvel’s recent movies (and definitely most of DC’s) and well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 24th, 2017 Movie – Spider-Man (2002)

spider-man 2002

The turn of the century and a time when the Superhero movies really began to take over Hollywood. I remember all the buzz (not sure if that is a pun or not) concerning this movie, made even more so due to the city it is set in after 9/11. Now there have been several attempts at a Spider-Man movie in the past and some scripts had been bounced around for years but nobody really wanted to attempt it. After Fox’s X-Men proved a success, Sony went ahead with their movie and thus, a popular franchise gained new life in today’s movie, Spider-Man (2002).

The plot: On a senior trip to Columbia University, Peter is attempting to take pictures of the lab for the school newspaper but is being bullied by Flash Thompson and his friends. As their tour continues, Peter asks Mary Jane “MJ” Watson, his next door neighbor and the girl he has a crush on, if he can take her picture next to some of the spider cages and she agrees. As he is taking her picture, a genetically altered spider, which had escaped from it’s cage, drops down from it’s web onto Peter’s hand and bites him, scurrying away when he brushes it to the floor. Returning home, where he lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, Peter rushes upstairs to his room, where he ends up passing out on the floor. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn is attempting human performance enhancement treatments as part of a military contract but the general assigned to it says that he will pull their funding and give it to their competitor, who is testing their exo-skeleton in 2 weeks. Feeling pressured after his lead scientist said they should start over, Norman decides to test the procedure on himself but when his heart stops, the lead scientist cancels the procedure and tries to revive him only for Norman to regain consciousness and kill him, then steal the suit and glider from the lab. The next day, Peter finds that his body has undergone some changes and as he is sitting at lunch, he somehow shoots out a strand of web from his wrist, which sticks to a nearby lunch tray that he accidentally throws at Flash. Quickly leaving the cafeteria, Peter goes to his locker to get his books so he can leave when Flash tries to punch him from behind but Peter is able to sense the punch coming and avoid it, as well as the following punches, then knock Flash back with one punch. Leaving school, Peter realizes the spider bite must have changed him and he starts experimenting with what he can do; first by scaling a nearby building, then leaping from roof to roof before finally attempting to swing from one of his webs. When he gets home, he finds a note from his Uncle in the newly painted kitchen, which Peter was supposed to help with, and feels bad for not helping. As he takes the trash out, he hears MJ arguing with her father next door and when she comes outside, she ends up talking with Peter about their plans after graduation before leaving with Flash in his new car. Deciding to try and get a car for himself, Peter sees an ad in the newspaper offering $3000 for lasting 3 minutes in a wrestling match against Bone Saw McGraw and he decides to do it, making a costume for himself. Peter leaves to go to the wrestling ring, telling May and Ben that he is going to the downtown library, but his uncle decides to drive him there. When he gets to the library, Ben tries talking with Peter about what has been going on with him recently but Peter doesn’t want to to talk, yelling at Ben that he isn’t his father, and a hurt Ben drives off saying he will pick Peter up at 10. Peter heads to the wrestling ring to compete, with the announcer calling him the Amazing Spider-Man, and Peter finds himself in a steel cage match but he manages to beat Bone Saw. Backstage, Peter is only given $100, with the promoter saying that he didn’t last the full 3 minutes but Peter leaves, a man enters the room and robs the promoter. As the crook runs for the elevators, Peter stands aside and lets him leave, telling the promoter it wasn’t his problem when he asks why he didn’t try to stop him. Outside, Peter sees a crowds outside where his uncle was supposed to pick him up and he finds Ben lying on the ground, having been shot during a carjacking. Hearing on a nearby cop’s radio that the cops are chasing after him, Peter races off, donning his costume again and chases after the carjacker, managing to swing from his webs to finally catch up to him. Peter causes the car to crash into an old warehouse and he follows after the carjacker, only to realize that it is the same man that robbed the promoter and he let get away. The crook tries to shoot Peter but he breaks his wrist and the crook backs away from him and ends up falling to his death while a guilt ridden Peter returns home and tells Aunt May what happened. Meanwhile, Quest Aerospace is testing their exo-skeleton, with General Slocum in attendance, when a figure in a green suit and riding Oscorp’s glider flies down and destroys the exo-skeleton and then the observation bunker, killing the scientists and Slocum. After graduation, Peter moves into an apartment downtown with Harry and begins stopping crimes and helping save people in trouble. As he is walking around town, he runs into MJ, who is working at a diner and she asks him not to tell Harry, as they are secretly dating. Peter returns to his apartment to find Osborn there, who asks Peter if he knows who Harry’s girlfriend is but Peter tells him he has no idea. Osborn heads to his company and tells the board that Oscorp has now become the chief supplier for the military but the board tells him that they are accepting a buyout from Quest Aerospace and that he is being kicked out of the company. At the Oscorp Unity Festival, Peter is there taking pictures to sell for the Daily Bugle when he spots Harry and MJ on a balcony. Harry spots Peter in the crowd and tries to get MJ to head inside to avoid any discomfort when the Green Goblin attacks the festival, killing the board members of Oscorp before Spider-Man is finally able to fend him off, disabling his glider, then rescues MJ before she falls from the crumbling balcony. The next day, Osborn is reading in the paper about the deaths of the Board members in the paper when he starts hearing a voice in his head, revealing himself to be the Green Goblin and suffering from a sort of split personality due to the performance enhancers. Osborn attacks the Daily Bugle to find out who takes the pictures of Spider-Man for them but J. Jonah Jameson refuses to tell him. When Spider-Man shows up to stop Osborn, Green Goblin uses sleep gas on him and then carries him off and when he regains consciousness, Osborn tries to convince Spider-Man, telling him the city will turn on him eventually. Peter runs into MJ again after she had auditioned for a role and the two talk for a while before she leaves to go meet Harry but as she walks away, Peter notices some guys suddenly following after her. As the 4 men chase after MJ and attempt to rape her, a maskless Spider-Man rescues her then quickly disappears when she approaches him, only to reappear with his mask on but MJ pulls the mask down from his mouth so she can kiss him. The next day, Peter rescues a baby from a burning building when the police show up to try and arrest him but when they hear more screams coming from inside, they allow him to head back inside to rescue whoever is left. Peter heads back inside only to find the screams were actually a trap set by the Green Goblin, who attacks Peter with flying razor discs, cutting his arm but Peter is able to get away. Osborn heads to Harry and Peter’s apartment for Thanksgiving with Harry, Peter, MJ, and Aunt May and as they sit down for dinner, Aunt May notices the cut on Peter’s arm and Osborn realizes that Peter is Spider-Man. Osborn attacks Aunt May’s house, terrorizing her and sending her to the hospital in order to attack Peter’s spirit. Peter goes to the hospital to be with her and MJ stops by for a visit and as they talk, she mentions she might be in love with Spider-Man and as Peter talks to her about how “he described MJ to Spider-Man”, the two get closer but pull away when they see Harry has shown up and saw them. Harry returns to his father’s house, telling him about Peter and MJ and after learning that Peter loves MJ, Osborn realizes a better way to attack Peter. Back at the hospital, Peter is surprised to find Aunt May had been awake when MJ was there and when she mentions how everyone knows that he loves her, he realizes the Goblin might know as well and calls MJ to warn her only to hear the Goblin on the phone. Osborn has taken MJ to the Queensboro Bridge, where he has also taken a cable car full of children hostage and forces Peter to choose who he will save, releasing them both. Peter dives from the bridge and saves MJ, then grabs the cable for the cable car in one hand while webbing himself to the bridge with the other, saving everyone. The captain of a barge starts moving his barge underneath the cable car so Peter can lower it onto the barge and Peter tells MJ to climb down the cable and get on the cable car top safety. Osborn attacks Peter to try and get him to drop the cable car but the people on the bridge begin throwing things at the Goblin to keep him from stopping Spider-Man. Once the cable car is safe, Goblin grabs Spider-Man and drags him away, and the two begin fighting in an abandoned building but as Peter gets the upper hand, Osborn begs him to stop, revealing himself to be the Goblin, but as he talks with Peter, he secretly activates his glider and tries to impale Peter with is but Peter is able to dodge it and Osborn impales himself instead, begging Peter not to tell Harry before he dies. Peter removes the Goblin armor and takes Osborn back to his home but Harry sees him and accuses Spider-Man of killing his father. At the funeral, Peter offers his condolences to Harry, who wants vengeance on Spider-Man. Peter then goes to Uncle Ben’s grave, where MJ approaches him and tells him she loves him and kisses him but Peter tells her he will always be there as a friend and walks away from her but as he leaves, MJ thinks about the kiss and starts to wonder if he is Spider-Man.

Spider-Man (2002) met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Not only does Spider-Man provide a good dose of web-swinging fun, it also has a heart, thanks to the combined charms of director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire.” After 9/11, Sony recalled all of the teaser posters that had Spider-Man’s face and the NYC skyline reflected in his mask, including the Twin Towers, but not all of the posters were recovered and the ones still at large are highly sought after collector’s items. The movie was the first movie to break $100 million in it’s opening weekend on it’s way to earning $821.7 million off of a $139 million budget and spawned two sequels.

This is definitely a fun movie to watch and a good way to kick-off to a series. The acting was good, with Tobey Maguire (Peter) and Willem Dafoe (Osborn) doing great jobs with their characters and had good chemistry working together. I also liked Rosemary Harris as Aunt May and James Franco as Harry but was honestly kind of indifferent to Kirsten Dunst as MJ. The story was pretty good, basically telling the origin of both Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, with some changes made to the story lines. Personally, I loved that the included the wrestling scene as I always thought that was an interesting aspect of his developement; showing that Peter really was just a teenager, in spite of his abilities, and would make the same selfish decisions that any teenager would make. One thing that I didn’t particularly care for was that they changed an iconic story line of Gwen Stacy’s death and inserted MJ into it but I do understand that most current fans (back then at least) were more familiar with MJ’s relationship with Peter as opposed to Gwen’s. The special effects were well done and a marked improvement to some of the superhero movies in the 90’s. A good movie and one that never fails to entertain me.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Standard
action, horror, movie, movie review

October 23rd, 2017 Movie – Spawn

spawn

Today marks the beginning of almost a solid week of superhero movies. Unfortunately, we start off with one that was a real disappointment. See, back in the early 90’s, there was a breakaway from Marvel of several of their top illustrators, who had wanted to maintain the copyrights for characters they created, thus giving birth to Image comics. One of the most popular comics in that new company was “Spawn”, created by Todd McFarlane. Now Spawn was a definitely a darker, and bloodier, comic than what most fans expected (similar to the Punisher) and it made sense that someone might try to make a movie off based of the comics. Unfortunately, the end result was a little less than desired and I, having a tendency to torture myself with my movie choices at times, decided to buy it just to work on my superhero movie collection. So let’s get this headache over with as I watch today’s movie, Spawn.

The plot: In Hong Kong, Special Forces operative Al Simmons takes over an airport control tower, where he then fires a missile to take out his target before detonating the launcher to remove all traces of his being there, unaware that he is being observed by a man named Cogliostro. Back in the US, Jason Wynn, the head of the agency that Al works for, is meeting with a demon known as Violator, who has promised to give Wynn world domination in exchange of certain favors and asks for one last favor, kill Al Simmons. Some time later, Al and his friend/partner Terry Fitzgerald are heading to work and after showing Al the paper discussing the civilian deaths in the latest operation, Terry comments about how several of Wynn’s ops seem to have more civilian casualties and that he is going to keep an eye on Wynn. Al goes to Wynn’s office and tells him he wants out, causing him to be taunted by Wynn’s bodyguard/assassin Jessica Priest, and Wynn tells him he will have him transferred after completing one last mission. Al is sent to North Korea to destroy a bioweapon facility but when he gets there, he finds the place is already prepared to blow and Wynn waiting for him. Al tries to stop Wynn from releasing the gas, as there is a village nearby, but he is shot by Priest, who then pours an accelerant onto him and Wynn sets him on fire. Al calls out his wife Wanda’s name before collapsing to the ground just as the plant explodes. 5 years later, a horribly burned Al is shown to be alive and in the top of an old church, where Violator is watching him. Al climbs down from the church and finds himself in an alley where the homeless live, and Cogliostro attempts to talk to him but Al shoves him aside so Cogliostro gives him a coat to help hide his burned face and skin. Al heads to his home to find Wanda is now married to Terry and they have a daughter, Cyan. When Cyan chases after her dog Spaz, who had recognized Al, and offers Al some candy but Wanda sees them and grabs her away from him. Wanda yells for Terry, who tells Al to leave and Violator, who was dressed up to perform for the party, grabs Al and leaves with him. Returning to the alley, Violator explains that Al promised to lead the Demon Malebolgia’s army in exchange for getting to be with Wanda again, taking Al to his grave to show him that he died. The pain causes Al’s necroplasm armor to emerge and Violator dubs him Spawn. Back in the alley, Spawn realizes the usefulness of his armor in getting his revenge on Wynn and he heads for Wynn’s new company only to be confronted by Cogliostro, who tries to stop him but when Spawn continues on his path, Cogliostro summons a blade and debates on if he needs to use it. Al breaks into Wynn’s new company, A-6, and steals some of their weapons, then follows Wynn and Terry to a reception at a nearby embassy. Spawn breaks in and confronts Wynn, who is shocked to see what Al has become. Spawn then confronts Terry and asks him how he could betray him and Terry, shocked at see Al there, tells him that Wanda was devastated when Al died and he was taking care of her when they fell in love. Priest and a security team arrive and attack Spawn and though he is shot, his wounds heal and he manages to kill Priest before being blasted out of a window, where he uses his armor to escape from the police. As Wynn watches Priest’s body being taken away, he sees Violator nearby and goes to talk with him, angry at what had happened. Violator calms him down and tells him that he should get a device attached to his heart which will release the Heat-16, the new bioweapon Wynn has developed, worldwide if his heart stops beating, which will serve as a deterrent from anyone killing him. Spawn heads to where Wanda is giving a lecture about the effects of Heat 16, realizing how Wynn has been using him all this time. When Cyan runs off after Spaz and falls, Spawn helps her up and carries her to where Wanda can find her, just as Terry shows up and takes them home but Spaz ends up staying with Spawn and returns to the alley with him. In the alley, Spawn starts to befriend a homeless boy name Zack when Violator shows up and Spawn attacks him. Violator then transforms into his demonic form and easily beats Spawn, eventually throwing him into the bent spires of an iron fence. Violator changes back into the clown and taunts Spawn about going to see Wanda before he leaves. Cogliostro appears and pulls off of the fence, then threatens to kill Spawn but when Spawn seems to have calmed down, he retracts his blade. Cogliostro then starts training Spawn in how to use his armor and abilities. Spawn then goes to save Wanda and Cyan from Violator, who stalls Spawn as he makes his way there. Meanwhile, Terry had made copies of Wynn’s files and was sending them to a local news channel in order to take down Wynn when Wynn shows up and takes them hostage. When Spawn shows up, he finds Wanda held captive, with Wynn threatening to kill her unless Spawn agrees to lead Hell’s armies. When Spawn refuses, Wynn stabs Wanda and Spawn proceeds to attack Wynn, threatening to kill him. Wynn says if he dies then everyone dies, including Cyan, and Spawn uses his powers to remove the device from Wynn’s heart, preventing the Heat 16 from being dispersed. As Spawn approaches Wanda’s body, she suddenly comes to life and attacks him, slashing his throat and revealing that she was actually a disguised Violator. Cogliostro appears and saves Spawn, chasing Violator back to Hell, and after Spawn heals himself, Violator grabs them both and drags them back to Hell. Cogliostro attacks Violator but he is easily beaten and thrown aside before Spawn starts attacking him and manages to stab him in the neck, causing Violator to retreat. Spawn is then confronted by Malebolgia and his army of hellspawn, who tells Spawn to lead his army or die. Spawn refuses, then uses his powers to attack the hellspawn but when he finds himself about to be overrun, he grabs Cogliostro and returns to Earth. As the two rest form their adventures, Cogliostro explains that he had been fighting the war for centuries and was waiting for a new Hellspawn to take his place and believed Al was that one. When Violator reappears and attacks Spawn, Spawn uses his chains to cut of Violators head, who taunts them one last time before disappearing back to Hell. Outside, Terry gives an interview to the press concerning Wynn’s activities while back in the alley, Spawn has taken up residence there as the homeless’s protector.

Spawn was panned by the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Spawn is an overbearing, over-violent film that adds little to the comic book adaptation genre.” The movie originally had a budget of $20 million but due to all of the special effects needed in the movie, New Line cinemas decided to double the budget to $40 million. Despite the low ratings from the critics, the movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $87.8 million worldwide and a sequel was planned but it fell into “developmental hell” and ended up being cancelled but a reboot has been announced and is scheduled to start filming in 2018.

This was an absolute disappointment of a movie, made even more so by the fact that there was a successful animated series on HBO that was way better. The acting was ok, with Michael Jai White (Spawn) and John Leguizamo doing decent jobs in their roles. The plot was essentially an origin story and I know there were some changes compared to the comics but it has been so long since I read them that I don’t know what they all were. I do think the changes that they made to the movie to drop it from an R-rating to a PG-13 did hurt it a lot, as the HBO series did a much better job with the subject material. The special effects that they spent so much money on honestly looked terrible, which is surprising as the effects in some other movies that came out that year were much better with a smaller budget. I’m hoping that the reboot might be better but in the meantime, I will watch the animated series if I want to get my fix.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard
action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 22nd, 2017 Movie – Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone

spacehunter - adventures in the forbidden zone

If you would like to know about how I came to own today’s movie, there is a simple explanation for that. My friends are enablers, plain and simple. See, a few months ago I was at a friends house and happened to be checking on the status of a delivery from Amazon when I noticed some of the recommended titles that they had listed. I saw this title as something soon to be released and mentioned it to them and they said that it was a movie that should definitely be in my collection. So, knowing how easily influenced I am on such matters, I went ahead and pre-ordered it. Now let’s see if this impulse buy was worth it as I watch today’s movie, Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone.

The plot: Out in space, a cruise liner is passing through a nebula cloud when it is struck by a bolt of lightning. damaging the ship and causing it to be destroyed. Everyone is killed except for three women (Meagan, Nova, and Reena), who manage to make it to an escape pod and head for the nearest habitable world, Terra XI. When the land, they are attacked by the scavenging natives before a group of people called Scavs drive them off and the women are taken on board a train, powered  by giant sails. Elsewhere, a salvage pilot named Wolff hears part of a mayday and has his engineer Chalmers fix the communicator so they can listen to the whole thing, where they learn about the missing women and the 3000 mega-credits reward. Wolff recalls hearing about Terra XI and how a colony was attempted but there was a plague and that one of the survivors had initiated some sort of martial law on the planet. Wolff and Chalmers land on the planet and head out in the Scrambler, a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and set off for the shuttle’s coordinates. When Chalmers notices that the shuttle is moving, they see the train and watch as it comes under attack by another group of people, called Zoners. Wolff has Chalmers stay with the Scrambler while he boards the trains and tries to rescue the women but he is too late as the women are captured by the Zoners and taken away via hang gliders. As he heads back to the Scrambler, the leader of the Scavs accuses Wolff of causing this but one of his people tells him he is mistaken, then speaks to Wolff for a bit but refuses to help him. Wolff returns to the Scrambler to find Chalmers, who was actually an android, has been killed so he initiates her self destruct, which begins melting her skin and circuitry, then drives off. Wolff comes to an old settlement and heads inside to find it abandoned, with nothing but the skeletons of people who died in the plague, when he suddenly hears someone trying to steal the Scrambler. He manages to stop the thief, a Scav girl named Niki, and he kicks her out of the Scrambler but she convinces him that she can help him find the gliders and he allows her to get back him and lead him towards the Zone. Meanwhile, the gliders land in the Zone and the three women are taken to see the Chemist, who uses drugs to pacify them and make them want to serve Overdog. Back in the canyons, Wolff and Niki make camp for the night but when Wolf discovers her in his sleeping bag in the morning, he grabs her and carries her to a nearby pond and forces her to get cleaned up. Suddenly, another vehicle with a large plow on the front shows up and when it tries to run over Wolff, he causes it to wreck and confronts the driver. The driver turns out to be Washington, a former soldier turned sector chief and an old associate of Wolff’s who says he is there for the same reason Wolff is but he crashed his ship. Washington asks about teaming up with Wolff but Niki says he already has a partner and Wolff tosses Washington’s gun into the pond and leaves him there. Wolff and Niki continue travelling and eventually reach the outskirts of the Zone, where they take shelter in an abandoned building but as they go to get some sleep, they find themselves attacked by some large, pig-like humans and are forced to get back in the Scrambler and leave. Meanwhile, the three women are taken to see Overdog, who has become a cyborg, and he demands the Chemist leave them so they can fill his basic needs. Wolff and Niki are traveling through a swamp, with Niki walking ahead to guide the Scrambler through the shallow areas, when Niki is grabbed by a member of an Amazon tribe. Wolff jumps into the water to save her and ends up captured as well but the Amazons run when a strange dragon-like eel appears out of the water. Wolff manages to kill it and free himself and Niki but when the Amazons start to head towards them again, they are forced to abandon the Scrambler and climb out of there. Making their way through the desert, they are about to die of dehydration when Washington appears, having followed their tracks and towed the Scrambler out of the swamp. Washington strikes a bargain with Wolff, giving him and Niki some water and they work together to rescue the women, then Wolff flies them out of there, with them splitting the reward money. When Wolff and Washington start discussing what they might do with their portion of the reward, Niki realizes they aren’t planning on giving her any of it and gets upset with Wolff, who says there was never an agreement that she would be leaving with them after they rescued the women. Washington tries to explain to Niki that Wolff is too much of a loner and offers to be her partner but she brushes him off, and is still angry when Wolff offers to take her to another planet if they succeed in their mission. Two Scavs from the train show up at their camp, intending to head too the Graveyard to kill Overdog when they come under attack by some children who have been mutated by the Chemist. They manage to escape but Washington’s vehicle is damaged and the two Scavs go on ahead to complete their mission. After repairing Washington’s vehicle, they head to the Graveyard and sneak inside to find that Overdog is entertaining his subject by forcing his prisoners to make their way through a deadly maze. They find one of the Scavs being chased by guards and learn that he and his brother had attempted to free the prisoners and use the distraction to kill Overdog but his brother was captured. Seeing the women in a cage behind Overdog, Wolff and Washington decide to use the Scav’s plan and Washington goes with the Scav to free the prisoners while Wolff waits so he can rescue the women. Wolff tells Niki to wait in the Scrambler but she gets bored and sneaks back inside only to be captured by Overdog’s soldiers. Washington frees the prisoners and blows up the slave pens while Wolff manages to rescue the women but Niki is sent into the maze. Wolff sees Niki trapped in the maze and despite Washington’s telling him to just leave her, Wolff tells him he is going down to save her. Wolff manages to help Niki make it through the maze but Overdog grabs her and has the Chemist prepare to transfer her life force into him. Wolff kills the Chemist and makes it inside the chamber, where he fights with Overdog and manages to kill him by electrocuting him with a fallen cable, causing explosions to occur throughout the Graveyard. Washington rescues them and they head back to Wolff’s ship, where they bandage up the two Scavs and the women thank them for their part in rescuing them. Niki gets upset and starts to leave, yelling at Wolff that he didn’t ask if she wanted to go with him and Wolff tells her that he does want her to come with him and the two hug and then leave with Washington and the women.

Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone met with mostly negative results from the critics, holding an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many felt that it could have been a better movie if it was more original. The movie was deliberately released a week before Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi, in order to cash in on everyone’s anticipation for that movie. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work as the movie only mad $16.5 million off of a $14.4 million budget.

There were so many similarities to Star Wars in this, it’s hard to believe that this wasn’t some sort of early Asylum mockbuster. That being said, this wasn’t a terrible movie to watch. The acting was ok, with Peter Strauss (Wolff) and Ernie Hudson (Washington) doing a good job in their roles. I was a little surprised with Molly Ringwald’s playing of Niki but this was before she became John Hughes’ go to girl for his movies and she was just getting started in Hollywood. The story was pretty unoriginal and like I said, had a lot, and I mean A LOT, of similarities to Star Wars in this movie. In fact, Ernie Hudson was cast due to them wanting a resemblance to Lando Calrissian. The special effects were pretty weak looking, while Michael Ironside just looked weird as the cyborg Overdog. Good for a few laughs, but there are better sci-fi movies out there.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Standard