Archives for posts with tag: merchandizing

The-Amazing-Spider-Man-Movie-Latest-Stills-4

How soon is too soon? Always when we’re talking about getting back together with your ex, but if we’re discussing superhero reboots, it seems like maybe 5 years is too soon.

So obviously, The Amazing Spiderman was bound to meet with some skepticism coming so soon after the last Spiderman franchise. How could it, in terms of technology, in terms of story, in terms of imaginative consciousness, be different enough to separate itself from its all-to-recent predecessor? Marc Webb and company set out to show that it was possible, despite the odds. And, to be honest, this film has some charming elements. In fact, we can say that this is a really fun, maybe even really good film, at least through the first half. Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is likeable, nerdy, and yet still cool enough to be believable as a character who steps into a new role as a hero. His interplay with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is awkward, fun, and has real chemistry. If this were a simple teen flick, that first movement would earn it a top rating. We might even say that the Peter & Gwen story has more spark in the beginning than Toby Maguire ever had with Kirsten Dunst. Added bonuses in this film include Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy, Gwen’s disapproving policeman father. Nice performances from both.

Unfortunately, though, the film doesn’t stay in Midtown Science High School and the story trundles along. I have to be honest that I stopped enjoying it from when Peter Parker fully actualizes his new identity as Spiderman. The special effects are reminiscent, the dialogue becomes very much what we expect from one of Marvel’s “up-beat” products, and well it just feels like more of the same. This is where the movie steps so solidly into the shadow of the last franchise, even if it has some nice nuances at certain points (cell phones exist! and Spidey’s web has a bit more…consistence of concept). The worst of it, though, is that Parker’s character loses its center. We have action, chatter, and battling, but Peter stops being much of a person. Every now and then the story includes a meaningful look, a line of dialogue about fixing what we started, some bits about responsibility, etc. But these things don’t really come together.

The take away is that it doesn’t feel like there was really any good reason to make this reboot, except for the fact that Marvel executives couldn’t dream of letting their cash cow lie dormant for too long, not generating millions in merchandizing revenues as kids around the word clamor for Spiderman underwear and lunch boxes. 

I really did like the first half, though. I preferred it to the last series, even. So even if I wouldn’t urge you to see this, I’ll be crossing my fingers that the second instalment will capitalize on the strengths of the first, and stop slinging the same tropes that we had before.

PACIFIC RIM

When huge monsters begin attacking earth, humans forgo unnecessary things, like acting, in order to fight back with giant mech warriors!

Honestly, while I never expected Pacific Rim to be a cinephile’s dream flick, I did think I’d get something halfway respectable from Guillermo del Toro. I’ll admit I was also excited to see giant mech warriors in action, having grown up at a time when mech-based animé and video games were fairly current. I can’t count how many hours I spent in early high school on a PC firing rockets and lasers at rival mechs…and yet every second was better entertainment than Pacific Rim, even without godzilla-sized monsters spitting up neon blue goo everywhere. (Yes, I was a nerd; yes, I still am.)

Unnecessarily complicated explanations for otherwise trivial and mundane plot points, awkward staging and worse-than-awkward acting, cartoony exaggeration of characters and their emotions, general predictability, dialed-in romantic chemistry, and trope after tired trope without being even remotely a parody: this is the laundry list that drags down so many of our big-budget science fiction films nowadays, and Pacific Rim is among the most weighed down I’ve seen. If it had even a hint of the kind of self-aware humor we find in Snakes on a Plane, it might have been easier to stomach, but this is completely earnest (at least in an attempt to rob theater-goers of their money). Even the moments of “comic-relief” are so sincere in their sign-posting, “THIS IS FUNNY NOW,” that you might expect to find Tommy Wiseau in the credits.

Jokes aside: the only reason to watch this is because you’ve got the flu and/or Ron Perlman. Though, now that I think of it, Ron just reminds you that you could be watching Hellboy. So really you should only watch it because you have the flu. Sorry to hear about that. Drink lots of fluids. Because even Idris Elba is bad in this!

And the worst, to be completely honest, is that there was a ton of cool possibilities in this story, all things that they could have developed, but which they wasted by trying to do too much (we can call this Prometheus Syndrome, perhaps). “Neural handshake”? Cool idea. Wasted. “Chasing the Rabbit” when you start “the drift”? Turned into an explanatory device. Portal into another dimension full of crazy monsters? Side-lined so they could do a bad job forcing characters into phony tensions. Guillermo, if you’re reading this, you’re awesome. But this film was not. Pick one great idea and plumb to its depths. Otherwise you’ve just got a rhinestone Swatch with an alarm set for an arbitrary time, like 4:17pm. (That last analogy was meaningless, like most of the character development in Pacific Rim.) Seriously speaking, though, they only made this movie so they could sell toys.

Charlie Hunnam. Who? As if I didn’t know it before, I shan’t be watching Fifty Shades of Grey when it hits theaters.

In conclusion, I give this a solid It-Was-Better-Than-Avatar-But-That’s-Not-Saying-Much rating, and recommend that you get your flu shot early this year.