Saturday, May 31, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Yay! I have a day off from work and finally got to see X-Men: Days of Future Past!!! Now let's get into what I thought about it!

Plot: In a distant future, the world mutant and opposing humans who could have mutant offspring are being exterminated by robots called Sentinels. The X-men in this future learn that this was caused by Mystique killing the designer of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask. So Kitty Pryde sends Wolverine back to the year 1973, where he has to find Professor Xavier and Magneto from during that year and help him stop Mystique and prevent the deadly future from ever happening.

Honestly, I'm still a little taken aback as to how this movie turned out in both good and kind of concerning ways. Now I want to make it clear that yes, this was definitely a good movie. With little to no doubt, even if it's not better than X-Men 2, it has to be at least the second or third best X-Men without really even trying. Heck, I'd say it would actually be my personal favorite of the series. (But that's coming from someone who did not grow up with X-Men, for those of you who love X-Men 2 more.) But at the same time, I find myself asking a lot of questions throughout the movie. Some of them where answered and done fairly well, which I'm pretty happy about. Other explanations...are while were indeed given, I feel they could've been delivered a lot better. Particularly with what exactly happened in the past between X-Men: First Class, and what's happening right now witht he younger versions of Xavier, Magneto and Mystique. And the premise of the story has a major flaw with Kitty's apparent ability to send people back in time. It has nothing to do with her phasing abilities, it's not something that was never in the comics, it just basically came out of nowhere. I guess you could make the argument that it was something that she got in the future by growing up and gaining new abilities or something like that, but they don't give us any explanation whatsoever so that's am issue. But enough about what problems I have about this movie, let's talk about what's good about it, cause there is a lot of stuff to really like about it. First, there's the action, which comes off much bigger and in some respects, smarter and well thought out than the action form the previous films. Not that the action was completely terrible in the last films, but comparing how the battles where a lot of mutants are fighting here, to what was happening in the third film where it was a little confusing and out of focus, they clearly put much more thought into the idea. There's also the moments around the first half of the movie where things are done in slow motion, particularly with Quicksilver that are surprisingly very well made. I know that seems like an odd thing to say, but some of these slow motions shots were really stylized, and I can't help but really enjoy that, as well as Quicksilver himself as much of a bummer as it is that he's not in the movie for very long. Secondly, there's the acting. While Ian Mckellen and Patrick Stewart go without saying as to how awesome it is to see them again, it's also nice to see Wolverine and how he interacts with the past versions of Xavier and Magneto while still being bad-a and funny, even if he has his bone claws throughout the majority of the movie. And it was nice to see James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jenifer Lawrence again. I also very intrigued to have Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask. Granted, that character is not a dwarf in the comics, but at the same time, it's an interesting idea, Dinklage is a very good actor, and he gives a good performance here, so you kinda just let the matter go. And finally there's the story. Now true, the concept of going back in time to fix the future that is destroyed by robots is by no means original by today's standards. But to be fair, this is loosely based off a comic book storyline that was made in the very early 80s. Plus, I do think it has some of it's own different take on it with focusing on both the future and the past instead of just the past, and the fact that Wolverine technically isn't completely in the past. He has his body still in the future, but he's controlling his body from the past and he has to be protected in the future while he's still on his mission. That's actually a little unique, and having his real body stay in the future, does help with being focused on both points in time. And while the story is done very loosely, they do make up for it by giving the characters from the past these different situations that helps keep the story interesting. Was it always done right? Not really. Because like I said, while the explanations where indeed given, they needed a little more work. Because let's face it, they give us a lot of big stuff that happens between the events in First Class and the events in 1973, and they mainly told us what happened instead of showing it. That does bother me a lot. But ultimately it does lead to a climax that gives us an ending similar to the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that leaves me excited to find out what they're going to do next and if they're going to take every advantage to what is happening.

And that's my review for X-Men: Days of Future Past. I have my problems with how they explained some of the things that happen in the movie, but at the end of the day, it was a great step forward and a big improvement  in the X-Men franchise after X-Men: The Last Stand. The acting was good, the action was enjoyable and it has a good story that leaves you wanting to find out what they're going to do next. If you are an X-Men fan, and you want to see this movie, you should definitely do so. If you're not a fan and you haven't seen all of the X-Men/Wolverine films, you should do so first to understand and also appreciate what they're doing here.

Rating: 85%

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Leon: The Professional (1994)

So a couple of months back, my friend Blaine showed me a bunch of movies that I had yet to see that we wanted to show me. And due to being busy and stuff like that, I have been holding back in reviewing these films, so I'm going to try to start changing that by finally reviewing some of them. So time for me to play catch up on my reviews, starting with probably the most interesting of the ones that I've seen; Leon: The Professional.

Plot: Leon is a skilled hitman who lives a quiet and solitary life in Little Italy whose only friends are his houseplant and a young girl named Mathilda who lives with her dysfunctional family in an apartment next door to Leon's. But when Mathilda's family is murdered by corrupt DEA agents lead by Norman Stansfield, Leon rescues her from getting killed as well, and gives her shelter. She quickly learns that he is a hitman and asks him to take care of her and teach her his skills in making hits in the hopes of using them to avenge the death of her little brother, who was the only person in her family that she cared about.

Dang. What a movie. Now I'll start off stating the obvious reason that this would be good; such as the directing, cinematography, and the all around story, all of which are great. But there a couple of things that stand out the most for me as well as probably most people who have seen this film. The first thing is what made me the most interested to see this movie, and that's the fact that this was Natalie Portman's very first film. And holy cow is it remarkable that this is the film that started her career and that she gave such a performance for her first film. Mathilda is a young girl who goes through this serious stuff throughout the movie and Portman does a beautiful job at acting out what this character does in all of these scenes. And think about it for a moment, we're talking about the actress whom most people commonly know her best as being Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequels. It also makes it remarkable that she made a performance that big at such a young age long before she gave us her stunning performance in Black Swan. The second thing that seems to stand out the most is Gary Oldman as Norman Stansfield. Looking more into how people felt about the character, a lot of sites such as RottenTomatoes and have viewed Stansfield as one of the greatest villains in cinema. I don't know for a fact if I would go that far, but even if I would disagree with people viewing him that way, there's no denying that Gary Oldman is giving us some of his best into this role, and it's often fun to see what he's doing. Then there's the third and probably biggest thing that stands out about this film: the realtionship between Leon and Mathilda. Their relationship in retrospect is very unusual, which makes it both very original, and yet occasionally uncomfortable. Leon and Mathilda work off each other very well and it is really nice to see them try to help out each other whether it is to entertain each other or Leon teaching Mathilda on how to be a hitman. But it also comes with some moments that where just plain uncomfortable. Now I want to point out that nothing really happens between the two characters. Sorry if that counts as spoilers for any of you, but if you are like me and you would feel uncomfortable about some of the scenes between the main characters, do know now before you see the movie that nothing actually happens between them. But regardless, it's still entertaining in an unusual way to see these characters with their different traits and personalities work off each other that generally makes this movie.

And that's my review for Loan: The Professional. I know I didn't really talk a whole lot about how it is as a film in general, but this particular film does seem to be one that, while it really is a good film with it's directing and cinematography and stuff, what makes it stand out are the three main actors and their characters, for the reason I have talked about. It's a great, memorable film that if you haven't seen it yet but would like to, I recommend it. 

Rating: 90%

Rat Race (2001)

Well a couple of weeks ago, Candra wanted to show me this film and so we decided to see it together after I came home from work. So this is pretty much how it turned out.

Plot: A group of people win six special tokens in a hotel in Las Vegas, that leads them to meet the hotel's eccentric owner Sinclair. Sinclair tells them that there is a duffel bag with $2 million dollars in it in a train station locker in Silver City, New Mexico. Each team of people are given a key to open the locker and claim the money. So the race is on in trying to get the $2 million dollars first, with none of the contestants knowing that Sinclair is using the race as a way to entertain the high rollers visiting his hotel.

I will start off my saying one thing I got from seeing this movie with Candra. It made me laugh. Why would I just start off this review by saying that? Because the matter of will I or wont I laugh was basically my main train of thought as Candra and I were getting ready to watch the movie. I don't laugh very often - even from things that are particularly funny to me like How I Met Your Mother or The Nostalgia Critic - and it's even harder to laugh at a movie where it's specific genre is comedy and therefore, they expect me to laugh when I see it. So when I started watching the movie, I was concerned that I wouldn't laugh at all as much as I would want to seeing as it's a comedy and so it expects me to laugh. But thankfully, it did make me laugh. Not regularly, or so much that I would be on the floor, but I still laughed, and I'm glad I did. So I guess this is my long way of saying that this film does hold up well as a comedy. It has very likable characters, some of the dialogue is a little clever, and a lot of the scenes during the race where just fun to watch. My personal favorite scenes where the helicopter chase, and some of the scenes from either the brothers or the family. There are moments where the comedy goes a little too far for me or appears tasteless, such as some of the scenes with the cow or the scene where the family was in that World War II veterans meeting. But those moments where very few, so they didn't bother me very much. The casting is also very enjoyable with having a lot of familiar faces such as Whoopi Goldberg, Seth Green, Cuba Gooding Jr., Rowan Atkinson, and my personal favorites from the film, John Cleese and surprisingly Kathy Bates. If I have to pick one particular problem I have with the film, it would be the ending. Now let me make it clear, it's not that what the characters do in the end isn't good. Far from it. It's just that as nice as it is, it's a kind of ending for the film. There was no build up to it, part of it didn't make sense, and it just generally went against where the plot was going.

And that's my review for Rat Race. It has it's problems with the endings and some of its jokes, but it still had likable characters, fun scenes, and comedy that made it an enjoyable film for me. Is it the greatest comedy I've ever seen? No. But it still is funny, and for what I was wondering about coming into this movie, I am thankful that I found it that way.  

Rating: 70%  

Tales from Earthsea (2006)

A little before I was a little too busy to watch movies and write reviews, Candra suggested that when I came back, that we should see a Studio Ghibli film that was actually directed and co-written my Hayao Miyazaki's son, Gorō Miyazaki. We had no idea what the movie was about or what the ratings where for it, so we decided to watch it together and find out. So here's what I thought of Tales from Earthsea.

Plot: The king of a land called Enlad is assassinated by his own son, Arren who shortly afterwords, leaves the kingdom. But while traveling, Arren comes across a powerful wizard named Sparrowhawk who takes him as a companion. Along the way, Arren is captured by slavers, but is rescued by Sparrowhawk, which leads to the slavers informing it to another powerful wizard named Cob who wants to gain eternal life. So Cob sends his men to find and capture Sparrowhawk, while he and Arren are staying in a farm of Sparrowhawk's old friend Tenar and a young girl named Thurru who has a loathing for Arren despite the fact that he saved her life.

So what did Candra and I think of this movie? Well...we liked it, but at the same time when we looked back at it and looked at reviews for it, we realized that it's also a movie that's not exactly one of Studio Ghibli's best. But let's start off with what's good about the movie. Firstly, there is obviously the animation. While we didn't get a whole lot of things from the animation that really stood out as really marveling aside from some of the landscapes or the views of the cities that the characters have visited, it was still great animation in the way that only Studio Ghibli can give us. Then there's the characters themselves, particularly Arren and Thurru. While I thought they could've given us a little more development with both, I for one still found them interesting with how they both had these dark, complex and - in Arren's case - kind of unique back stories to them. And like any other Studio Ghibli film that's made in English, it's nice to hear some of the characters voiced by familiar actors, in this case, Cheech Marin as Cob's main henchman, Timothy Dalton as Sparrowhawk, and William Dafoe as Cob. So what is it that people didn't like about it? Well the first case is that it's not loyal to the Earthsea book series. Now in this case, Candra and I wouldn't know since we didn't know jack-squat about this movie going in, so that one isn't a big deal for us. Another complaint is it being too long, boring and too complicated. Well... we wouldn't argue about the complicated part. Though at the same time, both of us have found a lot of Hayao Miyazaki's work to be a little complicated and confusing the first couple of times we see them, but then they make more sense the more times we watch them. So at this point, we just assumed that Gorō Miyazaki is just trying to follow his father's footsteps in that aspect. But if there's one problem people have that we definitely have to agree is a big one in retrospect, it's that Tales from Earthsea is too dark and has little to no comedy or charm whatsoever. Now I personally liked a good portion of the dark stuff as it helped with most of the suspense and drama that was happening in the movie such as, again, the back stories of Arren and Thurru. But it did have moments such as the very end of the climax where it felt like they went a little too far in being dark. But even with that aside, the movie does majorly lack the comedy, lightness and above all charm that makes the Studio Ghibli films from Hayao Miyazaki so lovable and memorable that makes it so sad that he's retired now after making The Wind Rises. Yes, there are some films like  The Castle of Cagliostro or Princess Mononoke where Hayao has written/directed something dark (or have language in The Castle of Cagliostro's case), but even those films has cute moments of comedy and charm. So ultimately, the biggest problem with Tales from Earthsea, is that as far as following his father's footsteps goes, Gorō does alright with giving us some dark moments and having a complicated and/or uniquely structured story, but fails at everything else that makes his father a lovable and memorable writer and director.

And that's my review for Tales from Earthsea. Candra and I liked it fine with it's story and characters and animation, but we agree that the film falls flat with giving us the charm that makes other Studio Ghibli films to enjoyable. If you've read the actual Earthsea books or not a fan of filsm that are particularly dark or takes a while to really understand, you're probably not going to like this film. Otherwise, I'd say take it for what it's worth and give it a try.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Philomena (2013)

So for Mother's Day, my family and I went to my grandparents to hang out and celebrate the holiday. At the end of the day, we ordered pizza and decided to watch this movie which, I believe, none of us saw before. So here's how it turned out with one of the latest best picture nominees, Philomena.

Plot: A journalist named Martin, has recently lost his job as a government adviser and if currently planning to write a book on Russian history. But during a party, he is approached by the daughter of a woman named Philomena who suggests to write a story about her. Philomena was forced to work for the nuns at Sean Ross Abbey 50 years ago, after she became pregnant from sleeping with a young man she met at a fair. Eventually she gives birth to a boy named Anthony, but he is soon taken away form her and given to a couple without letting her say goodbye. Despite the nun's repeatedly telling her that they can't help, Martin agrees to help Philomena finally find her long lost son.

I have to say, even with seeing this movie knowing that it's a best picture nominee, I liked this movie better than I thought I would. Did it stand a change against 12 Years A Slave? Oh goodness no. But as a movie on its own, it was definitely very good to watch. It gives us a very moving background about a mother and her lost son that really gets you when we see her son get taken away and how she's still desiring to see him his years later. And honestly, the story just got better from there. Without going into details, I along with my parents, and even Candra when I talked to her about the movie afterwords, had a very quick feeling as to how the story was going to end only 10 minutes into the movie. But thankfully, they wasted no time in trampling how we thought it was going to turn out, and even gave us a couple more twists that just made the story stronger as it went on. The main characters where also very enjoyable to watch. Steve Coogan was nice to see in a much more serious role than in a lot of other films that I've seen him in, and it's also pretty nice that he also co-produced this movie and co-wrote the screenplay. But the actor that most of us talked about after seeing this movie was Judi Dench as Philomena. This was another great performance from this woman and we all enjoyed it. She had a nice fun charm to her, but she still showed how torn Philomena still is with not being able to see her lost son. This also leads to some very good dialogue that really gets down to what people like Philomena can go through with this kind of situation - not just with losing her son, but also with her faith in The Lord and how she feels about her sin in sleeping with that young man and how she feels about the nun's from all of those years ago. And as a christian, I liked how they handled that. The very end - without giving anything away - was a very fitting ending that I feel was the right way in terms of showing one of the main things that should make Christians very different from other people. Now if I did have one little problem with this movie, it would revolve around the son and his knowledge of where he came from. As much as I enjoyed what we learned about him during the second half of the film, Candra made a really good point at how they didn't really get into how he knew anything about his past. This may turn out as something of a nitpick, but at the same time, she does raise a really good question.

And that's my review for Philomena. It had a very moving story with very good twists, likable main characters, and a very memorable performance from Judi Dench that for me, gives a very realistic and accurate way of life as a christian. It was not going to win best picture against 12 Years A Slave, like I said, but it's still a very good film that I recommend that you see if you haven't already.
Rating: 90%

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

I saw this movie a couple weeks back, but I've been a little too busy lately to get to reviewing it. But I'm home now, where it has snowed (yes, it's the middle of May, but that's Colorado weather for you sometimes), and now I shall finally review my one non-blockbuster anticipated movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Plot: The film centers around a story told by a writer known only as The Author, who has dinner with the Grand Budapest Hotel's now owner, Zero. Zero tells a story of when he began to work as a lobby boy in the Hotel back when it was owned by Monsieur Gustave. When Gustave learns of the death of an aging blond woman that he courted, he comes to her wake, taking Zero with him. During the reading of her will, he and her family learns that she bequeathed him a valuable painting called Boy with Apple. This particularly infuriates the woman's son, Dmitri who also wanted the painting. Gustave and Zero come back to the Grand Budapest Hotel, taking Boy with Apple with them, but then the police arrest Gustave, believing that he actually murdered the woman.

When I saw a trailer to this movie a few months back, I was hooked to see it. And you know what? It didn't disappoint. The story was good, the color, cinematography and editing where stylish, and best of all, it was an amazing cast. One of the things that made me want to see this film was the cast because it was huge. Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, William Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jude Law, F. Murray Abraham, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Own Wilson, heck even Jeff Goldblum. I honestly never thought I'd go to the movies and see Jeff Goldblum on the silver screen at this day and age. But everyone did a fantastic job. Ralph Fiennes was fun to watch as Gustave, I liked all the scenes that had William Dafoe in them, and the young actor who plays young Zero, Tony Revolori proved to be a pretty good actor, and all of his scenes with Ralph Fiennes were great. And the comedy was very well timed and had some very laughable moments, even if some jokes might've been a tad too dark at times - at least judging by how my mom, who saw the movie with me, reacted to them. There's a scene where a gun fight starts during the second half especially which - without telling you when exactly it happens or how it starts - made me harder and harder the longer and bigger it went.

And that's my review for The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's a fun, stylish comedy with a good story, cinematography and editing, well delivered jokes and an amazing cast. If you haven't seen it, I'd definitely say give it's worth taking a look. 
 Rating: 90%  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Swan Princess (1994)

This is another animated movie that I saw at least once when I was very little and kind of wanted to see again at some point as I got older. I overhear a lot of my friends hating it - one of my best friends Meg especially as this major loathing for it. But I still wanted to see it again, and when I found out that Doug Walker's next Nostalgia Critic review was on this movie, I decided it was time to see it before seeing his review and giving my two cents on it. So here is my review for The Swan Princess.

Plot: A king and queen from separate countries decide to betroth the king's daughter Odette and the queen's son Derek. As the children grow up, they quickly hate each other but start to have feelings for one another. Eventually they fall in love once they reach adulthood, but when Odette find out that Derek really wants to marry her because of her beauty, Odette rejects him. But on the way back to their own kingdom, an ever sorcerer named Rothbart whom Odette's father banished comes back wanting revenge and kills the father and kidnaps Odette. Rothbart puts a spell on Odette where she turns into a swan by day and turns into a human at night if she's in the lake at his castle under the moonlight. He keeps her there until Odette agrees to marry him so that her father's kingdom can be his, while Derek becomes determined to rescue Odette.

Now I can't quite begin to talk about this film without discussing how much Meg cannot stand even talking about this movie. I mean to be frank, her numerous vents against this film only made me want to see it a little more because I wanted to find out for myself as to why it's something that practically enrages her more than I EVER have been for movies that I hate with a passion like Hangover Part II and especially Spider-Man 3. Is her venom against the film warranted? Well...yes, but as bad as it is - and make no mistake that it's bad, I mean where talking about a really bad movie that was trying to be Disney - I would argue that the story could've been a bit smarter with a little more work. Now I am mainly saying that over the fact that Derek wanted to marry Odette just because of her looks was the thing that pisses off Meg like mad the most. Again, her venom is warranted - I mean that's a horrible thing to say or feel about someone, and even after she talks about it repeatedly, I was still left shocked at how remarkably stupid this moron of a so-called male lead was when I got to that scene. But I can't help but feel that as dumb as it was, it could've been used for a really good moral. As much as I knew they weren't going to take this direction, I couldn't have helped but feel that the need for Derek's reasons to genuinely want to marry Odette to change could've been handled maturely enough to teach kids how you should look for better and deeper reasons to even like someone let alone want to marry. They kind of sort of do at the end, but it was really forced in and rushed at the last second. Plus, it also would've helped if they gave us more time on their relationship, and as it was, they really had just one, sort of two scenes together between after Odette rejects him and right before the climax. So has remarkable stupid as that was, I feel it could've been put to decent use. Another example is how there is need for a lot of improvements with Rothbart's evil plan. Doug Walker mentioned some pretty good points as to what was wrong with his plan such as what was stopping Odette from leaving, what stops her from communication with other people and so on and so forth. Personally, I think what could make his plan a little smarter, would be something like there's a magical force that keeps her from leaving his castle and more interestingly, that she would have to be in the lake for whenever she transforms, or dies if she doesn't. The latter especially I feel would've A) raised the stakes higher and B) made more sense considering how important she makes it that she's in the lake when she transforms. Because other than the whole thing with the moonlight, there doesn't seem to be any other real reason to change from human to swan or vice versa, because a lot of the time, it both sounds and looks like she kind of can do both (turning from human to swan especially) without really needing to bother to be anywhere near the lake. But for all my defense over how the story could've been better, that still leaves us with all of the other problems with the film. The Derek and Odette are nothing all that memorable - heck, Doug Walker makes the argument that, that almost justifies the fact that Derek said there was just beauty to like about Odette. The side characters are dull...though oddly enough I kind of found Steven Wright as Speedy to be sort of amusing. And Rothbart was really lame as a villain. Not only did he have an evil plot that has been before, but neither his personality or design did him any justice. He felt more like he's some crazy, over his head, kind of obnoxious old guy than an evil, powerful menacing-in-any-way villain. I mean aside from casting a couple of spells and fighting in the climax, he didn't even do a whole lot. The songs are very forgettable; almost half of them are from side characters that are briefly seen, rather than from the actual main/supporting characters. We had the royal musicians sing a song, we had coachmen servants sing a song, even technically these women that have Joker-like smiles that are trying to get with Derek have a song. And whether it's sung by side characters or by the actual main/supporting cast, they were all bland, they did not fit with the story, heck some of the choice of their lyrics in some random spots of the songs where a little weird.

And that's my review for The Swan Princess. I admit to sort of liking Speedy, but otherwise, it's a bad Disney wannabe with uninteresting main characters, a lame villain, unnecessary songs, and a storyline that could've been really mature and maybe even clever with a little more effort, but instead was a complete missed oppertunity. It's little wonder that people like Meg dislike this movie, and while I don't share their loathing per say, it's definitely a movie that you should not bother to see.

Rating: 15% 

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Now normally I would have my rating up here already, but this time, I want to actually have it at the bottom of my reviews from now on for two reasons. 1) I'm starting to realize how showing my rating on the top is kind of a spoiler for you guys who might want to actually read my reviews, and 2) with this particular film, considering the reception it has right now, I honestly would really like you guys to hear me out with what I have to say. So so from here on out, I'm going to try to get into the habit of giving you my review first, and my rating later. But enough of that, let's get to Amazing Spider-Man 2. 

Plot: Spider-Man is continuing to fight crime while he is trying to figure out his life as Peter Parker with the mystery about his parents and his relationship with Gwen Stacy. But things get a little more complicated when Peter's old friend Harry Osborn discovers that he has a generic disease that is killing him and he believes that Spider-Man can cure him. And to top it off, an accident at Oscorp causes Max Dillon to turn into Electro and cause destruction in New York.

Oh! My! Gosh! That was...ah heck I'll say it: Amazing! I mean, yes it's in no way perfect, I mean there are some big problems that a lot of people have that I'll talk about. But from what they had, I ended up getting so much more than I really hoped with this film, which left me leaving the theater pretty happy. The cast was great; Andrew Garfield - while a little distracting with his stuttering - was better than ever as Spider-Man and Peter Parker. He had funny moments, he had serious moments, and they actually showed his friendly side when he was interacting with the civilians, cops, and even firemen. And I loved that they did that, because that made him even more of a lovable, charming hero then he already was in my eye. It was also nice that we got a good amount of both Spider-man and Peter Parker so that one didn't really leave out the other. And they have this upgrade with the suit which was perfect. Emma Stone was also better than she was in the last film as Gwen Stacy. She and Garfield had so much more time to develop the relationship with their characters and let it shine, and boy did they succeed to the point that a lot of people - whether they like this movie or not - found their realtionship to be one of the best parts of the film. We also thankfully got much more development with Sally Field as Aunt May, which was really nice considering that she didn't get a whole lot from the last film. Then we also get Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn, and ... looking back and hearing some people's view of him in the movie, I do agree that he needed more work and most likely should've been in the first movie. But I still liked how we got this different point of view on the character compared to James Franco's performances in the original films. In fact, looking back, Harry was very psychotic in the comic books, and comparing the books to what DeHaan does here, what they did here actually makes a fair amount of sense. And then you got Jamie Foxx as Electro, and boy did I just about get as much as I hoped from him in a good way. The special effects for him where good, his performance was very interesting, and I loved how they went into his mental torture with the track "My Enemy", which was my personal favorite part of the soundtrack. It may seem like a really silly part of that particular scene, but to me, it was different, it was deep, and it worked in it's own way. And I know a lot of people disliked how Rhino turned out for this movie and...yeah, I can see it. But too me, I also think it works in a way where he was kind of meant to be like The Box Ghost in Danny Phantom, where he's a threat, but not entirely in a serious manner. Granted, I haven't read a whole lot of comics of Rhino, and I've seen both funny and also serious sides from the ones I have read. But for what they had here, it made sense to me. The action was also very enjoyable. I really liked how they gave us so much better stuff when it came to Spider-Man's strength, agility, web shooters and especially spider sense, and what they had when it came to Electro's abilities worked well too. Now here's where I talk about the thing that seems to be the biggest issue about the film that has people dislike this movie: the plot. In the eyes of a lot of people, it was unfocused and had way too many things going on for it to work as a story, let alone a film. Now for what the plot had, honestly, I couldn't get enough of what was happening...but that's a personal opinion as a Spider-Man fan. To be very clear, as much as I want to say that there wasn't too much, there is a degree where even I have to admit that those people are right. This movie gives us a ton of stuff that is from the comics whether it has to do with Peter's past, his enemies, his relationship with Gwen and the like. And while most of those things where done very, very well, they do seem to make the film a little out of focus when you look at the movie as a whole, especially if you are not familiar with the comics. But at the same time, the over use of story lines never really came close to being so bad that it really hurt the movie for me personally. And I'm really glad it doesn't, because no matter what problems there where with each thing that was happening, I was pleased with that they gave whether those moments made me laugh, smile, be intrigued, and even sad. Even if having all of that in one movie made the moving a mixed bag for a lot of people - as sad as that really is to hear - I really don't feel that it was such a problem that we should overlook how the story lines where done individually. But I also have heard people complain about the movie being nothing but a movie that is just for leading to a Sinister Six movie. Honestly, if that's really part of what ruined this movie for you, I think it's appropriate to say that you really have no one to blame but yourself in a way. Because it's stuff like this that makes it part of the reason why I do everything in my ability to avoid trailers, images and news about movies that I am really looking forward to. We live in a world where they tend to give us too much information just from most of the first official trailers alone. And I'm pretty sure that even the average viewer - not just film/superhero buffs like me, knows that by now. So as far as I would know, if you're one of those people who felt that way, I think it's possibly your own fault for focusing so much on the big picture and not try to view it as just a movie first, and look at the big picture later. There's more to this, I'm sure, but that's my basic take on the issue. Now to summarize my view about this, do I still agree with the issues that people specifically have for this movie? Some of them to be sure. But honestly, I don't entirely care. In my point of view as a Spider-Man fan, Spidey has gone through much more embarrassing stuff in the past 7 years with things like Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, Ultimate Spider-Man (at least as far as I know from seeing only a couple of early episodes), having The Lizard look like a goomba from the Super Mario Bros movie in the first Amazing Spider-Man film, and anything you can think of from Spider-Man 3. So while it is sad that Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a major, stuffed mess as both a movie and a story, it's a stuffed mess that is filled with so many good things to love. So because of that, I honestly find the whole deal about it being a mess to be a minor thing for my experience with this film considering how it could've been. I was worried about very different things when it came to this movie, and since this movie didn't really give me a whole lot of them, I feel certain I can live with Amazing Spider-Man 2 being filled with too much stuff as its biggest problem. Heck, the sound effects for Electro are a bigger issue for me than that.

And that's my review for Amazing Spider-Man 2. I have to agree with a good amount of what people say against this film, but I choose to try to not let it get to me that I view those problems over just viewing all the things that where really good. It had great acting, great character development, has a lot of familiar stories from the comics, and a lot of it is done well. It's still a mess when you put all of that great stuff together into one movie, but even with that said, I consider myself as one of the very few who is just happy for what it is, and in some certain aspects, better than the first movie.

Rating: 85%