adventure, fantasy, movie, movie review

October 22nd, 2018 Movie – Jumanji


1995 was a pretty eventful year for me. I graduated high school, started college, worked insane hours, had lots of fun, and went to tons of movies. Today’s movie happens to be one of the last movies I saw that year, as it came out right in the middle of December. Now I never read the book as a kid, (or now to be honest….I should fix that) but I had heard of the book and was curious about this movie. Having seen a special about the special effects on HBO (I think it was HBO, might have been another premium channel), and the fact that Robin Williams was starring in it only made me more keen on watching Jumanji. When the sequel came out last year, I decided to pick it up when it came out on video and figured I might as well get the original while I was at it. So let’s dive right into the things.

The plot: In 1869 Brantford, New Hampshire, two brothers, Caleb and Benjamin, are burying a chest in the middle of the woods. When the sound of drums suddenly start coming from the chest, Benjamin wants to run but Caleb says that they need to bury it and afterwards, they race back home. 100 years later, Alan Parish is riding his bike home from school when a group of bullies, led by Billy Jessup, chase after him and Alan heads to his father’s shoe company to get away from them. Heading up to the floor, Alan runs into Carl Bentley, who greets Alan and shows him a new shoe he has designed and plans to show to Alan’s father. Just then, Alan’s father Sam shows up and when Alan asks him for a ride home, Sam tells him that he is going to have to face his fears over Billy. Alan reluctantly leaves and Sam asks Carl about what he wanted to show him but Alan had accidentally placed the shoe on a conveyor belt and when it ends up breaking a machine, Carl takes the blame for the accident. Billy and his gang are waiting for Alan when he leaves and they beat him up and steal his bike. As Alan goes to leave, he hears drums coming from the nearby construction site next to his dad’s company and after digging in the ground, discovers the chest. When Alan opens it, he finds a board game called Jumanji and he quickly grabs it and takes it home. When he gets there, he starts looking at the game pieces when his mother startles him and as he drops them, the two game pieces immediately roll onto the starting positions. That night, Alan’s parents talk to Alan about sending him to a boarding school, which all of the Parish men have gone to, but Alan doesn’t want to go and ends up arguing with Sam about the issue. After his parents leave, Alan packs a suitcase to run away and then goes to grab the game when he hears someone knocking on the door. Opening it, he find Billy’s girlfriend Sarah Whittle returning his bike and apologizing for Billy. The two talk briefly when Sarah hears the drums from the game and Alan invites her in to show her. As Sarah holds the dice, Alan reads the game description and asks her if she wants to play. Sarah says no, tossing the dice on the board, and goes to leave when Alan alerts her to the fact that one of the tokens is moving on it’s own. A message appears in the middle of the board and they hear a sound coming from the fireplace so Sarah asks Alan to put the game up but he accidentally drops the dice on the board when the clock chime startles him. Alan’s token starts moving and a message appears saying that he must wait in the jungle until the dice read 5 or 8. Sarah screams as Alan is suddenly sucked into the game and he yells at Sarah to roll the dice before he disappears, but a flock of bats erupt from the fireplace and chase Sarah out of the house. 26 years later, Nora Shepherd has bought the old Parish home, with plans of turning it into a bed and breakfast. Nora is accompanied by her niece and nephew Judy and Peter, whose parents died last winter. As they are getting settled in, Peter takes a suitcase to the attic and is frightened by a bat that is up there. Nora calls an exterminator and he doesn’t find the bat but tells the kids about Alan Parish and how people believe his father killed him. The next night, Judy and Peter are talking about their parents when they hear the sounds of drums. As the drums persist the next day, the two kids skip school and head up into the attic to try and find where the drums are coming from, eventually finding Jumanji. Deciding to play it, Peter tries to move the two tokens that are on the board but can’t. He then grabs the two remaining tokens and the suddenly move onto the starting positions. Judy goes first and when the rhyme appears on the board, a swarm of giant mosquitoes flies down towards them. Judy and Peter avoid them, and after Judy hits one out a window with a tennis racket, the rest of the swarm flies out as well. Peter rolls the dice and they discover a horde of monkeys making a mess in the kitchen. Returning to the game, Judy sees more instructions stating that the only way for the game’s effects to end is for a player to reach the center and call out “Jumanji”. Since Peter rolled doubles, he rolls again and gets a 5, causing a lion to appear in the attic. The lion chases after the kids when suddenly, an adult Alan Parish appears and lures the lion into a bedroom, which he locks inside. The kids hide in the linen closet as Alan looks around and realizes that he is back home. When Judy and Peter approach him, Alan asks which of them rolled a 5 or 8, thanking Peter when he learns that he did. Alan then goes yelling out for his mom and dad and Judy tells him she doesn’t know where his parents are, as everyone believed that he was dead. Alan heads outside and is almost hit by Carl, who became a police officer after losing his job at the shoe factory. As Judy tries to explain away Alan’s behavior and appearance, Alan sees some monkey get into Carl’s squad car and tries to scare them out but they end up stealing the car and Carl chases after it. Alan rushes off to the shoe factory, only to find it closed down and a bum that is living there tells him what happened with his father, loaning Alan some clothes so he doesn’t freeze. Alan goes to the graveyard to see his parents’ graves, then starts heading back to his home, with Judy trying to convince him to help them finish the game. Suddenly, a car crashes into an ambulance and as the paramedics check on the driver, Alan hears something, then tells Judy and Peter to get in the car. Alan asks them what else came out of the game and Judy mentions the lions and monkeys, just as Peter points out the mosquito trying to get at them. Alan manages to drive the car back to his home, escaping from the mosquito in the process, and takes a shower and shaves. As Judy continues trying to get Alan to help them, Peter says Alan is afraid and Alan warns them of the dangers in the game, but agrees to watch. Judy rolls the dice nut nothing happens and when she goes to roll again, Alan realizes that they are still playing the game that he and Sarah started years ago. Judy hands him the dice but Alan says that it isn’t his turn either, and they go to track down Sarah. They head to where Sarah used to live and find that she had changed her name and is pretending to be a psychic but when Alan confronts her, she faints when she realizes who he is. Alan carries her back to his house, where she freaks out upon seeing the game and as Alan tries to calm her down and convince her to play, he ends up having to trick her into continuing. Sarah’s roll causes vines to start spreading in the dining room, and Alan uses his ancestor’s sabre to save Peter from being eaten by a giant pod. Sarah tries to leave, telling Alan that the game ruined her life and when he reminds her that he was trapped in the game, Sarah reluctantly agrees to play as they all agree to keep playing until it’s done. Alan rolls the dice and when the rhyme appears, he leaps up in terror as the hunter Van Pelt appears and begins hunting him. Alan leads Van Pelt out of the house, just as Carl shows up, and while Van Pelt is distracted by Carl, Alan is able to get away and return to the house. Sarah and Alan start arguing about his actions while Judy goes ahead and rolls the dice, only to cause a stampede to appear. As Alan and the others duck out of the way, a pelican manages to grab the game and Alan chastise Peter for not stopping it. Alan chases after the bird and catches up to it by the river but as he distracts it with some fish, the game drops into the water and floats downstream until Peter catches it. Meanwhile, Van Pelt heads to the local gun shop to get some more ammo and when they don’t have the caliber he uses, he bribes the clerk into giving him a new gun, then continues hunting Alan. As Alan and the others head back to Alan’s house, Carl pulls up and arrests Alan, who resists at first until he hears a bullet whiz by him and realizes Van Pelt is there. Alan tries to let the others know about Van Pelt as Carl drives off with him but while everyone was distracted, Peter tried to cheat to finish the game and ends up being punished by the game as he starts turning into a monkey. Sarah, Judy, and Peter reach town, where the people are starting to riot after all the craziness that is going on, and Van Pelt grabs the game from Sarah in order to set a trap for Alan. Peter tries to take the game back but when the stampede approaches, Peter ends up trapped in a car that is crushed by an elephant and Van Pelt is able to take the game back, then head to a nearby store. Sarah, Judy, and Peter go to get the game back, doing their best to avoid being shot by Van Pelt, but when he gets the game back from them, he tells them he could have shot them at any time but they didn’t roll the dice. Meanwhile, Alan tells Carl who he is and Carl reluctantly lets him go only to have Alan handcuff him to his police car. Alan goes to leave but when he hears a police report about a hostage situation with Sarah, Judy, and Peter, Alan gets in the car with Carl and drives to the store, crashing through the door and burying Van Pelt underneath cans of paint. Meanwhile, Nora is returning home when she sees the stampede moving down the road and as she stops to watch it, a monkey sneaks into her car and causes her to crash when she continues driving. Alan and the others return to the house to find it completely overrun by wines and jungle growth. Sarah rolls the dice and causes a monsoon to form inside the house and as they try to get to the upper floors, a massive wave of water knocks them back down. Two crocodiles appear and attempt to eat them but Alan gets Judy and Peter on a chandelier and then wrestles one of the crocodiles to keep it from eating Sarah. Carl heads back to the house when he sees Nora walking on the side of the road and as he questions her, a giant vine comes out from the woods and grabs his car, dragging it into the forest. Carl and Nora arrive at the house and, hearing the screams coming from inside, Carl attempts to kick the door in but the kick only causes the water inside to burst out, with the crocodiles being swept out of the house in the deluge while Carl and Nora float along on the doors. Alan helps everyone down and Sarah thanks him for saving her life and goes to kiss him but Alan, not understanding the situation, tells her they should keep going. Heading up to the attic, Alan’s roll causes the floor to turn into quicksand and he starts sinking into it. As Sarah tries to save him, Judy rolls the dice and causes the last event to be taken back, leaving Alan and Sarah trapped in the floor. Peter rolls the dice and causes spiders to appear in the attic and as Judy tries to fend them off, Alan tells Peter to get the axe his father had and use it to free him and Sarah. As Peter gets the axe, Nora returns to the house and is shocked to see Alan’s legs hanging from the ceiling and the lion in the bedroom. When she sees Peter, she screams out and falls into the closet and Peter locks her in there to keep her safe. In the attic, Alan tells Sarah to take her turn and Judy goes to get the game for them when she is shot by the poisonous barb from a purple vine flower. Peter returns and chops the flower, then works on keeping the spiders at bay while Judy places the game on Alan’s face, then puts the dice in Sarah’s mouth but then falls to the floor as the poison takes effect on her. As Peter rushes to his sister, Sarah spits out the dice and causes an earthquake to occur, splitting the house in two. Alan is freed from the floor and manages to grab the game before he crashes to the floor below. Picking up the dice, Alan goes to roll them when Van Pelt confronts him and orders him to drop them, one of which rolls down a crack in the floor. As Van Pelt prepares to shoot Alan, the dice completes it’s roll and Alan notices he has reached the center of the board. Alan calls out “Jumanji” just as Van Pelt fires at him and Sarah jumps in front of the bullet but the bullet disappears into the game, as does Van Pelt and all of the animals that had been released. Alan and Sarah find themselves back in 1969 and as Sam returns to the house, having forgotten something, Alan hugs him and apologizes for the fight, then tells Sam that he had placed the shoe on the conveyor belt, not Carl. After Sam leaves, Alan remembers Judy and Peter but Sarah tells him that they don’t exist yet. Alan and Sarah take the game and throw it into the river, weighing it down with brick so it will sink, and Sarah kisses Alan before they head home. Years later, Alan and Sarah, now married and expecting a kid, are throwing a company Christmas party at their house when Sarah tells Alan that “they” are here. Sarah and Alan introduce themselves to Jim and Martha Shepherd, and are delighted to see that Judy and Peter are just as they remember them. Alan is in the process of hiring Jim and when Jim mentions going on a ski trip, Alan and Sarah both say no, as they know that they die in that ski trip, and convince him to start the next week and Jim agrees, then Alan introduces Jim to his new coworkers while telling Judy and Peter that his house is their house if they want.

Jumanji met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many critics praised the special effects in the movie while others criticized the thin and dark plot. Though the movie’s plot differs greatly from that of the book on which it is based, the ending of the film is very similar, in which the game is found by two other young children. In the book, the two children who find the game at the end are named Walter and Danny, the main characters from Zathura: A Space AdventureThe movie was a box office success, earning $262.8 million off of a $65 million budget and would spawn an animated series from 96-99 and a sequel in 2017.

Definitely a bit dark for a kids movie but this is still a good movie to watch. The acting was good, with Robin Williams doing a great job as Alan Parish, while Jonathan Hyde did an equally good job as Sam Parish and Van Pelt. Bonnie Hunt (Sarah), Kirsten Dunst (Judy), and Bradley Pierce (Peter) were also good, while David Alan Grier provided some good comedy in his own right as Carl. I know that the plot differed from the book but since I haven’t read it, I don’t know by how much. I will say that this is pretty dark for a kids movie and even though there is a happy ending to it, I would be hesitant to let any kid under 13 watch it, definitely not any 8 or younger. The special effects were pretty good in some regards but when it came to some of the animals, they didn’t look as good. I think it was mainly the monkeys and the lion, as they looked even more fake than the should have. It’s still a good movie but definitely one where the younger kids should not watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

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

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