The Amazing Spider-Man 2
It took me forever to get around to watching The Amazing Spider-Man. Something about it just left me apathetic. Maybe it was my love for the Raimi flicks, and my resistance to the idea that a reboot was necessary so soon after the end of that series of movies. Maybe I was just super-heroed out. Maybe the preview just didn't grab me. I can’t say. I just couldn’t work up much enthusiasm for it.
When I finally watched it, there were things I liked about it (Emma Stone, Denis Leary, the web-swinging sequences, the return to the mechanical web-shooters and Peter Parker’s origins as a science nerd), but the things I didn’t like (the ugly ass Koopa-lookin’ Lizard, Andrew Garfield’s snotty Spidey) were more distracting. This was not my Spider-Man, and while I liked parts of it, I really didn’t care for the movie over all.
So, I was surprised to find that The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which is taking a critical beating, was a much more enjoyable experience for me. Spidey seemed like less of a dick and was actually funny; there was more delving into Peter’s science acumen; Electro, Green Goblin and Rhino were much more interesting than The Ugly Ass Lizard; the fights were more exciting, the web-swinging was cooler, the relationship between Peter and Gwen more fleshed out. I dunno, I know a lot of people are hating this flick, but I actually liked it.
Now, it’s not perfect. Before he turns into his superpowered Electro form, Jamie Foxx’s nebbish Max Dillon is played at a Schumacherian level of camp. I also never really understood the disease that is turning Norman and Harry Osborn green. And I would have liked a lot more Paul Giamatti.
But that being said, I laughed a lot more at this movie than the first one, I “woo!”’d a lot more at this movie than the first one, and I was apparently emotionally invested enough in this flick that when the story reached its climax (a conclusion that is no surprise to anyone even remotely familiar with the history of Spider-Man comics) it actually affected me emotionally. It took the wind out of my sails. I was sad.
And that’s something, right?
So, with the caveat that I didn’t like the first one very much, and no one else seems to like this one, I can say that I liked The Amazing Spider-Man 2. So there.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This movie is a month old by now, so no one cares what I have to say, but let the record reflect that as both a popcorn movie fan and a Captain America nerd, I was delighted by this movie. Delighted. It was delightful.
Marvel continues to make interesting choices with their director hires, and the Russo Bros (who bring their experience directing the endearingly meticulous TV show Community to bear in the form of tons of throwaway gags/references and amusing character interplay) knocked this one out of the park on their first swing.
Using the now classic Ed Brubaker run on the Captain America comics as a springboard, The Winter Soldier mixes espionage flicks and 1970’s style political thrillers into their superhero stew to make a very satisfying, well made action film. You don’t just bring Robert Redford on board for any ol’ shit show. This movie earns the nod of approval that his presence suggests.
In his third outing in the Steve Rogers character, Chris Evans has finally made the role his own, and everyone else brings their A game as well. This is the smartest and most entertaining movie Marvel has made since the first Iron Man. I was satisfied, and I am rarely satisfied. I couldn’t have been much happier with it.