Archive for Spider Man

Avengers: Infinity War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Having acquired the Power Stone from the planet Xandar, Thanos and his lieutenants—Ebony Maw, Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive—intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of Asgard’s destruction. As they extract the Space Stone from the Tesseract, Thanos subdues Thor, overpowers Hulk, and kills Loki. Heimdall sends Hulk to Earth using the Bifröst before being killed. Thanos departs with his lieutenants and obliterates the spaceship.

Hulk crash-lands at the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City, reverting to Bruce Banner. He warns Stephen Strange and Wong about Thanos’ plan to kill half of all life in the universe; in response, Strange recruits Tony Stark. Maw and Obsidian arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange, drawing the attention of Peter Parker. Maw captures Strange, but fails to take the Time Stone due to an enchantment. Stark and Parker pursue Maw’s spaceship, Banner contacts Steve Rogers, and Wong stays behind to guard the Sanctum.

In Scotland, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff and Vision in order to retrieve the Mind Stone in Vision’s forehead. Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, and Sam Wilson rescue them and take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at the Avengers Compound. Vision offers to sacrifice himself by having Maximoff destroy the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the stone without destroying Vision.

The Guardians of the Galaxy respond to a distress call from the Asgardian ship and rescue Thor, who surmises Thanos seeks the Reality Stone, which is in the possession of the Collector on Knowhere. Rocket and Groot accompany Thor to Nidavellir, where they and Eitri create an enchanted battle-axe capable of killing Thanos. On Knowhere, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, and Mantis find Thanos with the Reality Stone already in his possession. Thanos kidnaps Gamora, his adoptive daughter, who reveals the location of the Soul Stone to save her captive adoptive sister Nebula from torture. Thanos and Gamora travel to Vormir, where Red Skull, keeper of the Soul Stone, informs him the stone can only be retrieved by sacrificing someone he loves. Thanos reluctantly kills Gamora, earning the Stone.

Nebula escapes captivity and asks the remaining Guardians to meet her on Thanos’ destroyed homeworld, Titan. Stark and Parker kill Maw and rescue Strange. Landing on Titan, they meet Quill, Drax, and Mantis. The group forms a plan to remove Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet after Strange uses the Time Stone to view millions of possible futures, seeing only one in which Thanos loses. Thanos arrives, justifying his plans as necessary to ensure the survival of a universe threatened by overpopulation. The group subdues him until Nebula deduces that Thanos has killed Gamora. Enraged, Quill retaliates, allowing Thanos to break the group’s hold and overpower them. After Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos, Strange surrenders the Time Stone in exchange for Thanos sparing Stark. Thanos departs for Earth.

In Wakanda, Rogers reunites with Bucky Barnes before Thanos’ army invades. The Avengers, alongside T’Challa and the Wakandan forces, mount a defense while Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision. Banner, unable to transform into the Hulk, fights in Stark’s Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot arrive to reinforce the Avengers; Midnight, Obsidian, and Glaive are killed and their army is routed. Thanos arrives and despite Maximoff’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone, removes it from Vision, killing him.

Thor severely wounds Thanos, but Thanos activates the completed Infinity Gauntlet and teleports away. Half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Maximoff, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, and Parker. Stark and Nebula remain on Titan while Banner, M’Baku, Okoye, Rhodes, Rocket, Rogers, Romanoff, and Thor are left on the Wakandan battlefield. Meanwhile, Thanos recovers on another planet.

In a post-credits scene, Nick Fury transmits a signal as he, Maria Hill, and others disintegrate. The transmitter displays a star insignia on a red-and-blue background


The moment has come! The big payoff! The reason we have sat through seemingly endless Marvel Cinematic Universe films, though they have all been enjoyable to varying degrees. 10 years in the making, complete with developing an entire universe, setting up some high stakes, and teasing us with the big bad, Avengers: Infinity War has arrived! Will it be the payoff all of us comic nerds, as well as the general public have been expecting?

What is this about?

As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

What did I like?

Spread the wealth. From the moment this film was announced, it was clear that the cast was going to be huge. What we didn’t know was how the balance of screentime would play out. Would we get a heavy dose of Iron Man and Captain America, while Hulk and Dr. Strange are relegated to what amounts to glorified cameos? I can assure you that is not the case. Every character that we have been introduced to in the MCU to this point, with the exception of Hawkeye, Ant-Man (who has his own sequel coming later this summer, which takes place before this film, apparently), and a couple of others who i can’t think of at the moment, is included in this film. While not all time on screen is equal, each character is allowed to show their strengths and why we have grown to care about them over this time.

Mad Titan. Yesterday, I saw Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2 and, while he was good as that character, he feels more at home as Thanos. That’s not to say Brolin can’t play a cyborg mutant from the future, or that he should always seek out roles where he is a delusional psychopath with delusions of grandeur who has a strange misconception of what kind of balance the universe needs. Rather, he just seemed to have more fun as Thanos. I think he even said so himself. I can’t blame him. One the one hand, he could be a really strong time traveling cyborg who has to listen to Deadpool all day or be a universal titan that is nigh unstoppable. The latter seems to be the better option. As far as his plot is concerned, i think this is one of Marvel’s stronger villains. I won’t spoil it for you, but he does lay out and execute his plans with precision, rather than dawdle and monologue the way some earlier MCU villains have done (some in his employ).

Impact. The impact of the MCU has been felt ever since the first Avengers was released and other studios started taking notice of universe building. Now, if you notice there are many duplicators and imitators. DC has come the closest to recreating the formula, but something just isn’t right with them. When all is said and done with this film, though, the way it ends is sure to make a lasting impact on fans and probably moreso on those that aren’t fans. I can’t go into much detail about it without dabbling into spoiler territory, but i can say that something happens that will send shock waves through the audience, as it is something no one saw coming.

What didn’t I like?

Short end of the stick. Earlier, i mentioned the enormous cast and how not everyone was given equal screentime. For some reason *COUGH* ego*COUGH*, Iron Man gets the majority of the screentime. Meanwhile characters such as Bucky (Winter Soldier), Black Widow, Nebula, etc. have maybe 5 min on screen. In Nebula’s defense, she was a prisoner being tortured by Thanos for most of her time. This brings me to Black Panther. He, and the nation of Wakanda, play an important role later in the film, but that is all we get. Some have speculated that since this was filmed before the release of Black Panther, the studio had no idea of the impact that film would have and thus didn’t give T’Challa much to do in this film. There is an argument to made there, but my point is many characters, both major and minor didn’t receive as much time as they could have because of the amount of characters in this film. I’m not saying there were too many, just that, and I’m going to sound like Thanos here, ironically, more balance needs to be brought.

Offspring. Unless you are a fan of the comics, then you probably have no idea who Thanos’ “children” were. Myself, not being up to date on Thanos’ history, didn’t know who they were, either. Apparently, they are, much like Nebula and Gamora, the last children from worlds Thanos has conquered and destroyed who now serve him. That little bit of history doesn’t mean much, other than explain why they are fighting so hard for this big purple guy. They view him as their father and will do anything  for him. The way they seem to be portrayed in the film is equivalent to Stormtroopers, mindless clones who only serve one purpose.

Ground support. Granted, there isn’t much they could do and i just went on about too many characters, but i can’t help but think that the Defenders (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones), the Punisher, Ghost Rider, and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , along with anyone else that could help out with this (Inhumans, Deathlok, etc.) The world is in danger! I find it hard to believe that these heroes/anti-heroes would just sit idly by, especially Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. (note…i have not been watching this season). Real talk…the only reason none of these guys are making an appearance is because Marvel is desperately wanting to keep the MCU away from the Netflix universe. Don’t ask me why. It makes no sense!

Spoiler alert. This isn’t a complaint against the film, but rather internet culture. As you know, i am nearly a month late getting to see this. Life/work kept me away from the theater. In this day and age, spoilers are very hard to avoid, especially when you are in a Facebook group for comic book and movie nerds. However, i believe it was the Sunday after the film’s release that i was checking out the Venom trailer and had the film spoiled for me. How was it spoiled? Well, right as the trailer is about to end, some @#%$!^ inserted a 10 second clip of himself telling the world what happened. I ask you…who does that?!?

Final thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War? Man, what a ride! The emotional roller coaster this film takes you on from the opening beat down of the Asgardians, to the triumphant return of Steve Rogers (that entrance was…wow!), all the way to the events that happen in the second half of the film are sure to keep one on the edge of their seat. There are some things that could be cut as well as some scenes that probably should not have been cut. All in all, though, i had a great time watching this and can’t wait for the next one. Do i recommend it? Yes, very highly!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Following the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes and his salvage company are contracted to clean up the city, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), a partnership between Tony Stark and the U.S. government. Enraged at being driven out of business, Toomes persuades his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have already scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced weapons. Eight years later, Peter Parker is drafted into the Avengers by Stark to help with an internal dispute, but resumes his studies at the Midtown School of Science and Technology when Stark tells him he is not yet ready to become a full Avenger.

Parker quits his school’s academic decathlon team to spend more time focusing on his crime-fighting activities as Spider-Man. One night, after preventing criminals from robbing an ATM with their advanced weapons from Toomes, Parker returns to his Queens apartment where his best friend Ned discovers his secret identity. On another night, Parker comes across Toomes’ associates Jackson Brice / Shocker and Herman Schultz selling weapons to local criminal Aaron Davis. Parker nearly drowns intervening, and is rescued by Stark, who is monitoring the Spider-Man suit he gave Parker and warns him against involvement with the dangerous criminals. Toomes accidentally kills Brice with one of their weapons, and Schultz becomes the new Shocker.

Parker and Ned study a weapon left behind by Brice, removing its power core. When a tracking device on Schultz leads to Maryland, Parker rejoins the decathlon team and accompanies them to Washington, D.C. for their national tournament. Ned and Parker disable the tracker Stark implanted in the Spider-Man suit, and unlock its advanced features. Parker tries to stop Toomes from stealing weapons from a D.O.D.C. truck, but is overpowered and trapped inside the truck, causing him to miss the decathlon tournament. When he discovers that the power core is an unstable Chitauri grenade, Parker races to the Washington Monument where the core explodes and traps Ned and their friends in an elevator. Evading local authorities, Parker saves his friends, including his fellow classmate and crush Liz. Returning to New York City, Parker persuades Davis to reveal Toomes’ whereabouts. Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Parker captures Toomes’ new buyer Mac Gargan, but Toomes escapes and a malfunctioning weapon tears the ferry in half. Stark helps Parker save the passengers before admonishing him for his recklessness and taking away his suit.

Parker returns to his high school life, and eventually asks Liz to go to the homecoming dance with him. On the night of the dance, Parker learns that Liz is Toomes’ daughter. Deducing Parker’s secret identity, Toomes threatens retaliation if he interferes with his plans. During the dance, Parker realizes Toomes is planning to hijack a D.O.D.C. plane transporting weapons from Avengers Tower to the team’s new headquarters. He dons his old homemade Spider-Man suit and races to Toomes’ lair. He is first ambushed by Schultz, but defeats him with the help of Ned. At the lair, Toomes destroys the building’s support beams and leaves Parker to die. Parker is able to escape the rubble and intercepts the plane, steering it to crash on the beach near Coney Island. He and Toomes engage in an open confrontation that ends with Parker saving Toomes’ life from his own unstable equipment, and leaving him for the police along with the plane’s cargo. After her father’s arrest, Liz moves away, and Parker declines an invitation from Stark to join the Avengers full time. Stark returns Parker’s suit, which he puts on at his apartment just as his Aunt May walks in.

In a mid-credits scene, an incarcerated Gargan approaches Toomes in prison. Gargan has heard that Toomes knows Spider-Man’s real identity, but Toomes denies this.


With all the success Marvel has had with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), they could not say they truly were a success story until there was a Spider-Man film under their wing. With Sony holding the rights to the character (not to mention the Fantastic Four) hostage, many were wondering if we would ever see the day when Spidey would grace the big screen in the MCU…then we saw Captain America: Civil War. Now, Spider-Man: Homecoming aims to take that character introduction and flesh out a third cinematic version of Peter Parker. Hey, at least this one is age-appropriate, right?

What is this about?

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

What did I like?

Fun. Audiences and critics have been noticing something in superhero films (and TV shows). A lack of fun! Think about how bright and vibrant Superman is and now think about what we were forced to sit through with Man of Steel. Somewhere along the way, our superheroes stopped being beacons of hope, and turned into examples of how to brood. Spider-Man has not been exempt from this curse. Toby Maguire’s version started out pretty good, but couldn’t keep it up. I never cared for Andrew Garfield or his take on the character, so I won’t waste time on him. Tom Holland brings a fresh take to Spider-Man in that we haven’t seen him as a high schooler, at least not an age appropriate high schooler. With that, the fun and innocence that Stan Lee intended for the character is front and center, as are the awkward moments of being a teenager. Again, this is what Stan Lee envision when he first created him, not some attitude having, puffy haired, British string bean who ruins the character of Peter Parker.

We know the story. Look, if you don’t know the origin of Spider-Man by now, either through comics, cartoons,, Wikipedia, or whatever, then chances are you either don’t care or just haven’t bothered to learn yourself something. With that said, I join the billions of fans who saw this and noticed the absence of Uncle Ben’s murder. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even mentioned! We are more than aware than Ben gets shot and its Peter’s fault, but in the last 5 Spider-Man movies, we have either seen this happen or been privy to a bevy of flashbacks so that we can relive the scene ad naseum. Thank goodness the 6th time they got it right and didn’t include anything about the murder…though I do hope in future films we get something on what happened. I’m mostly curious as to who they’ll cast as Uncle Ben to pair with Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May

Cap must’ve needed the money. One of the best cameos in the picture is Captain America doing PSAs. While I was laughing when Cap showed up in these videos, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was doing them. Did the government make him? Is he just being a good guy and attempting to help the youth? Just some thoughts that popped in my head. I’m sure that I am just overanalyzing and  these were nothing more than a funny thing to include in the film.

What didn’t I like?

Homage or ripoff? About halfway through the picture, there is a scene where Spider-Man has to use all of his strength to hold two halves of a dissected boat together. As I was sitting there watching him strain, I couldn’t help but recall the train sequence in Spider-Man 2 when Toby Maguire is called on to use all of his strength to stop the train. Many people have noticed this comparison and now I must ask…is this an homage or a ripoff? I see it more as an homage, personally. The scene in question is from what is arguably the best Spider-Man film to date, so why wouldn’t you bring something from that great film into this new version? Also, if it was a ripoff, I think we’d have a seen something involving the subway, I’m sure.

What a shock! Shocker is one of my favorite in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. I can’t tell you why, but I have this affinity for him. Maybe it’s the Texas connection?!? At any rate, I was over the hills with excitement when I heard the announcement he was going to be in this film. Then I saw him and my jaw dropped. This is not Shocker. He doesn’t even really don the costume, save for the sleeves on his jacket. How is it we can get nearly every detail right with superheroes, but for the villains they just seem to wear similar colors to their comic counterparts. I wonder why that is!

A change will do you good. My first introduction to the Vulture was as an elderly gentlemen who was running part of the criminal organizations in NYC. Obviously, there are some differences between that idea and the one we see on the screen. Most importantly, the family man version of the character remained intact. So, why would I not like the change in history? Well, just this week, some promotional photos were released for Deadpool 2, specifically images of the mutant, Domino. I bring this up because she’s quite the curvy wonder in the pics, it is the sudden realization that she is now to be played by an actress of color…complete with afro and some weird face that causes her to look like a dog. What is the reason for this change? No real reason, they just wanted someone of ethnicity to play a character who has plae white skin.

Final verdict on Spider-Man:Homecoming? This is the superhero film we’ve all been clamoring for. It has action, humor, sci-fi, crime, and even a love story. What is there to not like? While Marvel and Sony are sure to fight over who gets credit here, really it is the fans and moviegoers that win. Do  I recommend  this? Emphatically yes! The cons are few and the pros are many. Go check it out!

5 out of 5 stars


Captain America: Civil War

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1991 the brainwashed super-soldier James “Bucky” Barnes is dispatched from a Hydra base in Siberia to intercept an automobile carrying a case of super-soldier serum. In the present day, approximately one year after Ultron’s defeat in the nation of Sokovia at the hands of the Avengers, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, and Wanda Maximoff stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow blows himself up to avoid capture, and when Maximoff tries to displace the blast into the sky with telekinesis, it destroys a nearby building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers.

At the team’s headquarters, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs them that the United Nations (UN) is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a UN panel to oversee and control the Avengers. The team is divided: Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron’s creation and Sokovia’s destruction, while Rogers has more faith in his own judgment than that of the government. At a conference in Vienna where the accords are to be ratified, a bomb kills King T’Chaka of Wakanda. Security footage indicates the bomber is Barnes, whom T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, vows to kill. Informed by Sharon Carter of Barnes’ whereabouts and the government’s intentions to kill him, Rogers goes to bring in Barnes—his childhood friend and war comrade—himself. Rogers and Wilson track Barnes to Bucharest and attempt to protect him from the authorities, but all three and T’Challa are arrested.

Helmut Zemo tracks down and kills Barnes’ old Hydra handler, stealing a book containing the trigger words that activate Barnes’ brainwashing. Infiltrating the Berlin facility where Barnes is held, Zemo recites the words to make Barnes obey him. He questions Barnes, then sends him on a rampage to cover his own escape. Rogers stops Barnes and sneaks him away. When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is the real Vienna bomber and wanted the location of the Siberian Hydra base, where other brainwashed super-soldiers are kept in cryogenic stasis. Unwilling to wait for authorization to apprehend Zemo, Rogers and Wilson go rogue, and recruit Maximoff, Clint Barton, and Scott Lang to their cause. With Ross’s permission, Stark assembles a team composed of Romanoff, T’Challa, James Rhodes, Vision, and Peter Parker to capture the renegades. Stark’s team intercepts Rogers’ team at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers’ team is captured and detained at the Raft prison, while Rhodes is partially paralyzed after being inadvertently shot down by Vision, and Romanoff is forced to go into hiding.

Stark discovers evidence that Barnes was framed by Zemo and shows this evidence to Wilson, who gives him Rogers’ destination. Without informing Ross, Stark goes to the Siberian Hydra facility and strikes a truce with Rogers and Barnes, unaware he was secretly followed by T’Challa. They discover that the other super-soldiers have been killed by Zemo, who shows them footage from Hydra’s archives; it reveals that Barnes killed Stark’s parents during his mission in 1991. Enraged that Rogers kept this from him, Stark turns on them both, blasting off Barnes’ robotic arm. Rogers disables Stark’s armor and departs with Barnes, leaving his shield behind. Satisfied that he has avenged his family’s death in Sokovia by irreparably fracturing the Avengers, Zemo attempts suicide, but T’Challa stops him and he is taken to the authorities.

In the aftermath, Stark provides Rhodes with exoskeletal leg braces that allow him to walk again, while Rogers breaks his allies out of the Raft. In a mid-credits scene, T’Challa grants asylum to Barnes, who chooses to return to cryogenic sleep until a cure for his brainwashing is found. In a post-credits scene, Parker tests a new gadget that he received from Stark.


DC has had their turn up to bat, and they got a decent pop fly, but mighty Marvel is strolling up to batting box, surely to hit a home run, right? Pardon the very bad baseball analogy, but there is a baseball game playing in the background as I type this up, so I found it fitting. Captain America: Civil War is a film that many comic book fans have been looking forward to for a long time, myself included, given how compelling the story is in the comics. Fans want to see how it translates to the big screen. Will Marvel’s track record stay intact, or is this the one that breaks them?

What is this about?

With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Hero Registration Act, a law that limits a heroes actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) while a new villain emerges

What did I like?

Friends forever. Today, Facebook reminded me that I’ve been friends with my best friend 5 yrs today. Obviously, its been much longer than that, but its the sentiment that counts. A man needs his friends. For someone like Steve Rogers, who has outlived everyone he knew, it must be extremely tough. The filmmakers decide to show this by giving the audience a little insight into his relationship with Bucky, which we already know a little about from Captain America: The First Avenger. Seeing Cap, joke around with the guy shows a human side that we don’t see very often. Also, and I wasn’t a fan of this, his other tie to his time, Peggy Carter has an…event…shall we say, happen to her that nearly crushed my black heart!

Black Panther. I could sit here and go on and on about how awesome it is to have Black Panther make his big screen debut, but you’ve seen the trailers. He is a bad ass from those scenes alone. What you see in the film furthers that point. I do want to go a little bit into his character, a suave, smooth, respectable monarch that does not lose his cool and is highly intelligent. My knowledge of Black Panther isn’t as well-versed as others, but from what I saw in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and have read in a few comics, they nailed his personality dead on. Add in the bad ass action we get from him and we can’t forget to mention the costume…WOW! I can’t wait until we get to his movie!

Underoos. We’ve had 5 Spider-Man movies and they have yet to get him right. One franchise made got the Peter Parker side right but threw everything else out the window. The recent franchise got the Spider-Man part, right, but the actor that played him was not likable and there were just numerous other issues with that mess, which was rushed into production solely to keep the rights away from Marvel. Well, a deal was brokered to where Sony keeps the rights, but loans him out to Marvel. It isn’t the best situation, but at least we get Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If his short time on screen is any indication of what we’re going to get in the future, I’m excited. This is the Spider-Man we see in the comics and cartoons, complete with eyes that move (more of a comic thing, but they learned from Deadpool, I would imagine).

What didn’t I like?

Crossbones. It seems that the last few Marvel movies have all started with a small villain fight before the film proper gets going. That’s fine. It is a warm-up of sorts. Here’s the problem with this one, though. Frank Grillo, who I think should be playing the Punisher, was introduced as a character that seemed to be headed for a long term rivalry with Captain America in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So, what’s the problem? Well, after all that time building him up in the last film, he doesn’t make it past the first 15 minutes in this one. Making matters worse, Crossbones is somewhat of a major character in the comics…then again, so is Batroc the Leaper.

Put on the mask. In this day and age of “grounded” and “real” interpretations of superheroes and villains, filmmakers pick and choose who keeps their original costume, who gets and updated version, and who just throws the concept out the window. In the case of Helmut Zemo, they threw it out the window. In the comics he messed with a chemical that made him immortal and fused the mask to his face. I was looking for some sort of nod, if nothing else, to this origin, much like they did with Arnim Zola. Instead, there is nothing remotely Zemo about this guy.

Avengers assemble. If I’m not mistaken, this is a Captain America movie, yet it feels more like an Avengers sequel than Avengers: Age of Ultron did, and that one felt more like Iron Man 3 than the real one did. If they wanted to make this an Avengers movie, they should have just done so and given Cap a true close to his trilogy. If I recall reading early on, before this went into production, it was a totally different story (one that featured Crossbones more, too). What is it with studios masquerading sequels for one franchise as another? While I’m on this subject, how is it that what’s going on in Hell’s Kitchen with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and others not come to the Avengers attention? What about all the Inhuman stuff that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are dealing with? Just wondering, since Tony Stark was able to track down Spider-Man, as Peter Parker, mind you!

Final verdict on Captain America: Civil War? Well, it has everything you want in a Captain America movie, action, espionage, someone trying to take down American and take over the world, humor, etc. The scope and magnitude of this film won’t be as immediately felt across the MCU as the last film, but I’m sure something will come of it before the inevitable reunion in Avengers: Infinity War. In the meantime, can we just bask in the how superior these Captain America films have been to most everything else that has been released in theaters? Do you even need to ask if I recommend it? Stop reading and run go see it…multiple times!!!!

5 out of 5 stars

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. With the pilot dead, the plane crashes.

In the present, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich, who attempted to steal a truck containing plutonium vials. During the chase, Spider-Man rescues OsCorp Industries employee Max Dillon. While speaking by phone with Gwen Stacy, Peter sees a vision of her father, police captain George Stacy, reminding him to leave Gwen out of it. Afterward, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony, but insists he needs to keep his vow to her father and ends their relationship.

Peter’s childhood friend Harry Osborn returns to Manhattan to see his terminally ill father Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is hereditary, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO. He humiliates the OsCorp board, which has been privy to Norman’s secret biogenetic projects for foreign military powers.

Thinking that they have become friends, Max idolizes Spider-Man. While tending to some maintenance in an OsCorp laboratory, he loses his balance and falls into a tank of genetically modified electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals she may move to England for school. Before they can discuss it, Max wanders into Times Square and accidentally causes a blackout. Spider-Man attempts to calm him down, but the police fire at Max, making him lose his temper and attack. Spider-Man eventually stops him, and Max is taken to Ravencroft Institute.

The first symptoms of Harry’s illness show, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, for help finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. The OsCorp board-members frame Harry for covering up Max’s accident, and remove him as CEO. Harry’s assistant, Felicia, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Max (now calling himself Electro) to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armor and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically altered spiders. Instead of curing him, they transform him into a hideous, goblin-like creature.

Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman Osborn’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the scholarship in England and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him. Gwen follows, and they kill Electro in an explosion caused by overloading his electricity supply. Afterward, the transformed Harry arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry; upon seeing Gwen, Harry deduces Spider-Man’s true identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her. He fights Spider-Man at the top of a clock tower, and though Spider-Man subdues Harry, he is unable to save Gwen. As a result, she is dead.

Five months later, Peter has given up being Spider-Man and often visits Gwen’s grave. Harry is healing from his transformations, and his associate (the “man in the shadows” from the first film) breaks Sytsevich out of prison and equips him with an electromechanical suit of armor. Calling himself the Rhino, he rampages through the streets. But a recording of Gwen’s graduation speech inspires Peter to return as Spider-Man and fight him


Other than Batman and Superman, Spider-Man is arguably the most popular superhero around. Following the mega-blockbuster that Captain America: The Winter Solder has become, excitement for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been nonexistent. Surprisingly, people are going crazy for the upcoming Godzilla movie, though. Personally, this version of Spider-Man didn’t work for me in the previous film, will there be any difference this time around?

What is this about?

Spider-Man squares off against the Rhino and the powerful Electro while struggling to keep his promise to leave Gwen Stacey out of his dangerous life. Meanwhile, an old friend resurfaces, and Peter Parker uncovers new clues about his past.

What did I like?

Learn from your mistakes. I was not a fan of The Amazing Spider-Man. As a matter of fact, I still don’t care much for the rushed way it was foisted on us, the emo way it made Peter act, and…well, just go back and read the review. There is an old adage that says, “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” Well, the filmmakers apparently have learned because many of the things they did wrong in the first film, they fixed. For instance, Spider-Man keeps his mask on in all but 2 scenes. Other than Karl Urban in Dredd, no superhero seems to do this because they think we just have to see their face. Even in the Iron Man films, where can see Robert Downey, Jr. inside the suit, he can’t keep the helmet on/down. The 3D in the last film wasn’t impressive, but in this one, granted I did see it in IMAX, but this is one of the very few 3D film that has actually impressed me with the effects and it felt like we were swinging around the city with Spider-Man. Those are just a couple of examples, but you get the idea. There has been much improvement since the last time around.

Electro. Spider-Man’s gallery of rouges is one of the most impressive around. Only Batman, and you can make a case for The Flash have more colorful and interesting villains. So far, in the films, we’ve seen Green Goblin (more on him later), Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Venom, and the Lizard. Now, Doctor Octopus would be the obvious choice, as he is considered by many the penultimate villain for Spider-Man, but since this is films #2, I don’t think the filmmakers wanted to deal with the headache and comparisons to Spider-Man 2. This brings about the chance to delve into the rogues gallery and see what we come up with. The answer is Electro, a tragic character, yet powerful character that is sure to capture the audience’s attention with all the effects they can do with him. I’ll be honest, I love Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of him, but not a fan of the wannabe Dr. Manhattan look they had going for him. Once the climactic act kicks in and they let him realize the full potential of his powers. Man, you’re going to be glad you’re along for the ride! Many have been comparing his portrayal to that of Jim Carrey’s Riddler in Batman Forever. I can see the comparison but, given the way he becomes Electro, I would throw in a hint of Poison Ivy from Batman & Robin in there, as well. At any rate, bringing this character to the big screen was a huge undertaking and they did such a great job with that I was wanting more. Hopefully, if plans come to fruition, he’ll be back in a future film.

Bring the funny. One thing I didn’t like about Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man is that he didn’t crack jokes. Go read a Spider-Man comic or watch any of the cartoons and you’ll see that ol’ webhead is cracking wise left and right when he gets the chance. Sure, when it is time to be serious, he gets down to business, but otherwise, he seems to enjoy fighting crime. Now, Andrew Garfield seems to have the jokes down, as well as the comic timing. It may be the one thing he has over Tobey’s take on the character. I still think he’s a bit too much of an ass, but that seems to be what appeals to this generation.

What didn’t I like?

The life and times of Peter Parker. Once again, we are getting some backstory on Peter’s parents. The problem this time around, though, it doesn’t really seem to do anything, but convolute the story. Sure, the opening scene is exciting, but what does it really have to do with the rest of the film, honestly? If you’re a fan of this character, then you know that Peter Parker is a nerdy guy with some very bad luck, to say the least. While the toned down Garfield playing Peter as a total douche, he still isn’t the nerd we all want him to be. What can’t we get the nerdy Parker?!? As far as Peter’s luck goes, well, he and Gwen Stacy break up multiple times, he gets fussed at by his aunt May, his best friend tries to kill him, etc. I said this when Chuck was on the air, and I’ll say it about Peter. They just need to give the poor guy a break! Speaking of that Gwen Stacy storyline, while the comics have always been Peter Parker first and Spider-Man second and people have been gushing over how much chemistry Garfield and Emma Stone have, I just was meh about it. Of course, part of this may be because a)I’m team Mary Jane and b) I prefer Emma Stone as a redhead and haven’t really liked her in this role.

Give up the Goblin. The Green Goblin is Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis, and yet with 2 1/2 tries, we have yet to see a decent Goblin on the screen. I won’t bring up Willem Dafoe’s version, because that was just…I don’t know what to say about that. James Franco’s New Goblin never really made sense to me, as I felt they could have just gone on and made him another Green Goblin, but I guess they didn’t want to put him in a mask (Heaven forbid!!!). Dane DeHaan’s take is pretty much the same as Franco, but with some scientific stuff to go along with it. He is not a convincing or menacing Goblin. If anything, he is more comical looking because of the weird skin, hair, and teeth. I don’t want to say this, but either they need to give up on Green Goblin or make him look like he’s supposed to look in the comics. Speaking of DeHaan, this kid was hyped as a very talented actor, but he was like petrified wood on screen. He may have the looks of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, he most assuredly doesn’t have the talent.

Secrecy. Remember in Charlotte’s Web when Charlotte would write messages in her web above the barn? Well, for Spider-Man writes “I Love You” in giant letters on the bridge with his web, then he swoops down and grabs Gwen off the street. Now, this is a very sweet gesture, but many people are aware of Peter and Gwen’s relationship. I can let it slide that no one has picked up that Spider-Man and Peter have the exact same build and voice (at least he didn’t pull the Christian Bale Batman voice thing), but when you swoop down and grab your girlfriend, in broad daylight, mind you, what really is the point of having a secret identity? Most Marvel superheroes don’t have a secret identity, and that’s fine, but Spider-Man is one of the few that does. This scene kind of defeated the purpose. My feelings on this matter were cemented a couple of scenes later when Harry seen Gwen at the power plant and puts two and two together. I’m sure he isn’t the only one that has been able to do this!

Rhino. When the cast was announced for this film, I believe that Paul Giamatti as the Rhino was the first. With that bit of information, one would imagine that Rhino would be one of the major villains. Now, to be fair, in the comics, Rhino is nothing more than a henchman who got some powers, so nothing special there. I have no problem with the way he was portrayed here, except that it isn’t until the last scenes that we get him. Had this been a Marvel film, that would have been some kind of post-credits stinger. As a matter of fact, that is what it felt like. Someone compared his entrance in the end to that of The Undermine in The Incredibles. He is brought in to set up an actions shot/pose and the credits roll. How did such a capable actor as Giamatti let himself get roped into this?

No one is more surprised with how much I truly enjoyed The Amzing Spider-Man 2 than I am! Based on the previous film and the fact that no one was excited about this flick, I thought it was going to be more of the same. Perhaps the IMAX effect has something to do with my opinion of this film (the last IMAX flick I saw, other than some documentary in San Antonio, was Fantasia 2000). While the film is riddled with issues, one of the most glaring is that it runs about 30-45 minutes too long. Do I recommend this? Yes, very much so! I even suggest that if you can watch it in IMAX 3D, the  by all means, check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Amazing Spider-Man

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A young Peter Parker is playing hide-and-seek with his scientist father when he discovers his father’s study has been broken into. His father, Richard, gathers up hidden documents, and Peter’s parents take him to the home of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben then mysteriously depart. Years later, a teenage Peter attends Midtown Science High School, where he is bullied by Flash Thompson and has caught the eye of Gwen Stacy. At home, Peter finds Richard’s papers, and learns his father worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors at Oscorp. Faking his way into Oscorp as one of a group of high-school interns, Peter sneaks into a lab where extremely strong “biocable” is being created from genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him. On the subway ride home, he is shocked to find strange spider-like abilities manifesting.

After studying Richard’s papers, he visits the one-armed Connors at home, reveals he is Richard Parker’s son, and gives Connors his father’s “decay rate algorithm”, the missing piece in Connors’ experiments on regenerating limbs. Connors is being pressured by his superior, Dr. Ratha, who needs Connors to devise a cure for the dying, unseen head of Oscorp, Norman Osborn.

In school, attempting revenge on Flash, Peter gets in trouble, forcing Uncle Ben to switch a work shift in order to meet with the principal; he tells Peter to pick up May tonight for him. Peter later meets Connors at Oscorp, and, ignoring a call from Ben, sees the limb-regeneration formula work on a laboratory mouse. When Peter returns home, Ben scolds him for having neglected to pick up May. Peter storms off, and Ben goes out to search for him. Peter visits a convenience store, and while arguing with the clerk, a man steals from the till and dashes out. Despite the clerk’s plea, Peter refuses to give chase. The thief runs into Ben, who confronts him: They wrestle over a gun, and Ben is shot. The killer escapes as Peter finds his uncle, who dies in his arms.

Afterward, using a police sketch, Peter uses his new abilities to hunt criminals matching the killer’s description. After a fall lands him inside an abandoned gym, a luchador-wrestling poster inspires him to create a mask to hide his identity. He also adds a spandex suit, and builds mechanical devices to attach on his wrists to fire a biocable “web”. The mask, suit, and webshooters becomes a matching red-and-blue spider-themed costume. He later accepts a dinner invitation from Gwen and meets her family, including her father, police captain George Stacy. After dinner, Peter and Gwen go to her apartment building’s roof, where he shows her his abilities, and they kiss.

Ratha says Connors must begin human trials immediately if Osborn is to survive. Connors refuses to rush the drug-testing procedure and put innocent subjects at risk. Ratha fires Connors and says he will test Connors’ serum at a Veterans Administration hospital under the guise of flu shots. Connors tries the formula on himself, and, after passing out and awakening, finds his missing arm has regenerated. Learning Ratha is on his way to the VA hospital, Connors, whose skin is growing scaly and green, goes to intercept him. By the time he gets to the traffic-jammed Williamsburg Bridge, Connors has become a hybrid of lizard and man, tossing cars, including Ratha’s, over the side of the bridge. Peter, now calling himself Spider-Man, saves each fallen car with his web-lines.

Spider-Man suspects Connors is the Lizard, and unsuccessfully confronts the Lizard in the sewers. The Lizard learns Spider-Man’s real identity and attacks Peter at school. The police hunt both Spider-Man and the Lizard, with Captain Stacy learning Spider-Man’s real identity. The Lizard plans to make all humans lizard-like by releasing a chemical cloud from Oscorp’s tower. Spider-Man eventually disperses an antidote cloud instead, restoring Connors and earlier victims to normal, but not before the Lizard fatally claws Stacy. The dying Stacy makes Peter promise to keep Gwen safe by staying away from her. Peter initially does so, but later decides to see her after all.

In a scene during the end credits, Connors, in a prison cell, appears to speak with a man who asks if Connors told Peter the truth about his father. Connors replies, “No” and demands Peter be left alone before the man mysteriously vanishes


One of the most heavily anticipated films of this summer has to be The Amazing Spider-Man. The problem with this is that it isn’t a continuation of the Sam Raimi series of films. As a matter of fact, the day before they were set to start filming Spider-Man 4, th studio decided they wanted to rewrite things, which led to this highly unnecessary reboot. Why in the bloody blue hell would you reboot something so soon? Spider-Man 3, despite the rather dismal reviews from fans and critics, is still pretty fresh in most of our minds, as it was just released in 2007.

Before I get into this review, please don’t think that I went into this flick with some kind of prejudice. As far removed from the source material as the Raimi Spider-Man films are, they are enjoyable. However, I am a fan of Spider-Man, and the truth is, my dead goldfish that I had when I was 6 yrs old could come out with a movie starring old webhead and the chances are that I would watch it, after I figure out how he’s managed to make it, let alone come back to life.

So, what did I like?

Parents. With all the superhero films that have been released, the origin story is the Achilles’ heel of them all. There are a few that don’t suffer from these affliction, but this isn’t one of them. We get the same Spider-Man origin we got in Spider-Man, but with a different twist. I did like that they introduced something new in here by telling us a bit about his parents, though I think this more to create questions that anything else.

Lizard. I’m a little torn on the Lizard, but I’m glad that we finally get the chance to see him on the big screen. Nothing against Rhys Ifans, he did a great job as Curt Connors, as a matter of fact, but I think Dylan Baker got the “Billy Dee treatment”. What I’m referring to is how Billy Dee Williams portrayed Harvey Dent in Batman , only to be replaced a couple of films later with Tommy Lee Jones (his contract was bought out, but before that happened there was a stipulation that he was to play Two-Face). That point aside, seeing a somewhat lesser known villain start this franchise leads me to believe that they are taking a page out of the Christopher Nolan book and building up to bigger and better villains, such as Green Goblin (Norman Osborn is hinted at all throughout the film, and Oscorp is the company where Connors works) or Dr. Octopus, though I’m not sure anyone can top Alfred Molina’s performance.

Web shooters. In Spider-Man, we saw Peter Parker shoot webs from his wrists, but it was some kind of biological thing. It actually made more sense that a poor high school kind able to create web shooters on some kind of measly allowance. Not to mention, the wrist web thing doesn’t run out, so it makes sense. However, it is still great to see the web shooters. These are a staple in Spider-Man lore, after all.

What didn’t I like?

Reboot. There was no need to reboot this!

3D. I actually paid the extra rented sunglass price to see this, and was highly disappointed. The trailers looked like they were going to make brilliant use of the 3D, but the fact is, they didn’t do anything with it. The only thing that used it was the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph!

Lizard. I’ve already discussed what I liked about the guy. On the flipside, though, I was not a fan of the design. I may be spoiled by seeing him portrayed in the comics and cartoons, but it seems to be that he needed to have a snout. I could accept the human face before the full on mutation, but there comes a point where he needs to be a giant lizard! The director has been quoted as saying he wanted him to look human. Yes, you read right…the Lizard was supposed to look human. I just don’t know how to even respond to that.

Youth. They made a valiant effort to influx youth into the film. I could care less about that, except for the fact that, if you’re going to do that, then get some actors that are the right age and not nearly 30 playing teenagers! That’s not the worst part, though. Sally Field, who I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for, just looked too young to be Aunt May. She’s always looked young (a little less so in recent years), but Aunt May is quite aged, for lack of a better term. They could have done better.

Investment. I’ve been reading and hearing reviews that have said that they really felt the connection between Garfield and Stone. I just didn’t see it. For me, it was just like any other actor and actress up there on the screen. I saw nothing special.

Romance. So, apparently, the filmmakers felt the need to really put the focus on the romance between Peter and Gwen, rather than give us lots of Spidey. Yeah, that was a stroke of genius, lemme tell ya.

Peter Parker. There has been some debate as to what people think of Peter. Personally, I didn’t care for him. First off, Andrew Garfield should not be playing Peter Parker. He doesn’t have the chops to do it, but because The Social Network was so critically acclaimed, he got the job. Second, Peter Parker is supposed to be likable at least, if not lovable. Instead, he’s kind of a douche. Parker is a social outcast nerd. That is not seen anywhere in this film. When he gets his powers, he doesn’t go flaunting them getting himself expelled, either. Finally, as Spider-Man, he’s supposed to crack jokes and be funny. This guy is not that. I complained that Tobey didn’t make enough jokes, and he didn’t, but this guy should stop trying because the jokes aren’t funny and he’s just coming off as a douchebag! Whatever happened to our “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?”

Keep the mask on. One of the biggest frustrations for me is when actors, who are cast as superheroes, randomly take their mask off just so we can see their face. Look, we know who you are and there are plenty of scenes that show your face. Get over it and keep the damn thing on. They really need to go read a Spider-Man comic and see how many times he takes his mask off. It is rarely, if any. This begs to question why they felt the need to do it here.

Change. I give this film credit for being a little more faithful to the source material, but the things that were changed seemed as if they were changed just because they can do it. For example, Peter is supposed to be bitten by a radioactive spider. This is a big thing that changes his life, and yet, they don’t really say anything about it, but rather go back to shoving Gwen Stacy down our throats. Second, when he first gets his powers, he wrestles under the name Spider-Man. They don’t do that here, but while he is tracking down Uncle Ben’s killer, he falls through the roof into some abandoned wrestling ring. WTF?!?

Potter. With this whole missing parents angle they were using, they kept alluding, at least early on, to the way he resembles his father. I was half expecting someone to say he had his mother’s eyes! Peter Parker is not Harry Potter! Get a new idea, people!!!

Suit. I was watching the credits at the end and saw that this suit was designed by Cirque du Soleil. Ok, no problem with that. Personally, I think there is a bit too much blue on it and it looks more like latex. The thing to remember is that Spider-Man’s costume is made by a high school kid who sewed it together, not a quilt that his adopted Earth mom turned into a uniform! Still, I’m glad it doesn’t have that weird cage webbing that Tobey Maguire’s Spidey suit had. Also, I wasn’t a fan of the sunglasses that we sewn in there. It makes him look more alien than anything else.

Pacing. This film has 3 stages of pacing. The first is the ungodly slow beginning that just seems to drag on. I actually was more interested in seeing how many people were in the theater texting than the first half of this film. Then we get the meat of the flick, where it picks up and you realize that this is a summer action flick. Finally, we get the last act, which seems to be nothing more than some random scenes sloppily thrown together to make and ending, and not a good one. At least the post-credits scene adds some intrigue and mystery, as well as sets up a sequel (trilogy).

The Amazing Spider-Man is anything but that. I had a hard time getting excited to see this from the minute it was announced, but the past couple of years, films I’ve been not excited about have gone on to be the best of the year. I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case this year, though. I won’t say you shouldn’t see this film, because it is a good picture, but it pales in comparison to the pinnacle of Spider-Man films, Spider-Man 2, and doesn’t live up to all the hype they’ve thrown at us. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you go in this with low expectations, that you’ll enjoy it, but the minute you start thinking this is going to be the greatest film of all time, disappointment will set in big time. For those of you superhero flick fans, fear not, we all know that The Avengers was awesome and The Dark Knight Rises is just around the corner, ready to wash any bad taste out of your mouth.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Spider Man 3

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2008 by Mystery Man


Peter Parker has begun to feel secure in his life and plans to propose to Mary Jane. One night in a park, while Peter and Mary Jane are on a date, a small meteorite crashes nearby, and an alien symbiote oozes out, attaching itself to Peter’s moped. Meanwhile, escaped convict Flint Marko falls into a particle accelerator, which fuses his body with the surrounding sand. The result allows him to shape shift at will, becoming the Sandman. Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn, who seeks vengeance for his father’s death, which he believes Peter caused, attacks him. The battle leaves Harry with short-term amnesia, making him forget his vendetta.

Later, during a festival honoring Spider-Man for saving Gwen Stacy’s life, Sandman attempts to rob an armored car, and overpowers Spider-Man. Captain Stacy later informs Peter and Aunt May that Marko is the one who killed Ben Parker, and a vengeful Peter waits for Marko to strike again. The symbiotebonds with his costume while he is asleep; Peter discovers that not only has his costume changed, but his powers have been enhanced as well. The black suit also brings out the more vengeful, selfish, and arrogant side of Peter’s personality, exemplified by a near lethal attack on Sandman during a battle underground.

The shift in Peter’s personality alienates Mary Jane, whose stage career is floundering, and she finds solace with Harry. Harry recovers from his amnesia, and, urged on by an apparition of his dead father, forces MJ to break up with Peter. After Mary Jane leaves Peter, stating she is in love with another man, Harry meets him at a restaurant and claims to be the other man. Later, Peter finds him at the Osborn mansion. With the help of the black suit, Peter is victorious in a brutal fight, which leaves Harry’s face disfigured. Influenced by the suit, Peter exposes and humiliates Eddie Brock, Jr., a rival freelance photographer, who has sold fake pictures to The Daily Buglesupposedly showing Spider-Man to be a criminal.

In an effort to make MJ jealous, Peter brings Gwen to the nightclub where Mary Jane works. Peter gets into a fight with the club’s bouncers and knocks MJ to the floor. Peter realizes the symbiote-suit is changing him for the worse. He runs out of the nightclub and goes to a church bell tower to get rid of it. Initially he is unable to pull the suit off, but the sound of the church bell weakens the symbiote, enabling Peter to break free. Eddie Brock is at the same church praying for Peter’s death when the symbiote falls from the tower and takes over his body. The newly-empowered Eddie finds Sandman and suggests that they join forces to destroy Spider-Man.

The pair use Mary Jane as bait to force Spider-Man to confront them. Peter approaches Harry for help, but is turned down. However, Harry learns the truth about his father’s death from his butler Bernard, and arrives in time to rescue Peter, teaming up against Brock and Sandman. As the fight progresses, Brock attempts to impale Peter with the glider, but Harry sacrifices himself and is fatally wounded. Peter recalls how the church bell’s toll weakened the symbiote, and frees Eddie from it by clanging several pipes together. Peter throws a pumpkin bomb at the symbiote just as Eddie attempts to rebond with it.

After the battle, Marko tells Peter that he had no intention of killing Ben Parker, and that it was an accident born out of a desperate attempt to save his daughter’s life. Peter forgives Marko, who dissipates and floats away. Peter and Harry forgive each other, before Harry dies with Mary Jane and Peter at his side. After Harry’s funeral, Peter and Mary Jane begin to mend their relationship.


Many critics and fanboys have panned this film. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of it.

They try to go to deep into Sandman’s past. I understand they have to give him an actual character and whatnot, but as with the first film and Spider Man’s origin, there is no need to know every detail on film.

Mary Jane is bordering on PMS-esque bitchiness throughout most of the film. It’s really annoying, and makes one not like her. That could be the intention, though, so as to sway the audience towards Gwen Stacy.

The New Goblin, who doesn’t exist in the comic, is just a waste of screen time that could have been used to tell us more about the symbiote or do more with Venom. Seriously, the symbiote just crashes on Earth, hops a ride on Peter’s moped, eventually latches on and other than a brief meeting with Dr. Connors (who should be the Lizard by now), there is no real interest in it.

Venom was the major selling point of the film, yet he doesn’t appear until the last 30 minutes where he is pretty much shoved in there. Topher Grace does not do a good job with this role, and what is up with the teeth and the constant revealingof his face? Do these people not read the comics, or are they so hell bent on showing the overpaid actors’ faces that they have to sacrifice the source material?

The ending gets a little sappy, but, until further notice, this is meant to be the last in the series, so it’s a little understandable as they have to tie up all the loose ends, but that just seemed to drag on.

Many of Sandman’s effects reminded me of the first 2 Mummy films. Of course, that may be becuse of the sand.

Bryce Dallas Howard was a welcome addition to the cast, though. Peter’s “emo” scene is a welcome bit of comic relief as it lightens things up after all the heavy stuff.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that this is a bad film, because it isn’t. However, if you’re a Spidey fan, be wary, there are parts that will leave you scratching your head wondering WTF?!?

4 out of 5 stars

Spider Man 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2008 by Mystery Man



The story begins two years from where the previous film ends, and Peter Parker is finding his double life increasingly difficult. Precariously struggling to balance his crime-fighting duties with the demands of his normal life, Peter often finds his personal life taking a back seat. He loses a job, faces financial difficulties, and struggles to maintain his physics studies at Columbia University. Moreover, he has become estranged from both love interest Mary Jane and best friend Harry Osborn, and Aunt May is threatened with foreclosure.

Harry, now head of Oscorp’s research division, has invested in the research of brilliant scientist Otto Octavius, Peter’s idol. To perform a sustained fusion experiment, Octavius has developed a set of artificially intelligent mechanical arms, which are impervious to heat and magnetism. Though the experiment overloads and becomes unstable, Dr. Octavius refuses to halt it, with devastating results: his wife is killed; the neural inhibitor chip which enabled him to control the arms is destroyed; and the arms are fused to his spine. Unconscious, he is taken to a hospital to have the tentacles removed, but the tentacles kill the surgeons, and he escapes. Uncontrolled, the tentacles begin to influence Octavius’ mind, playing on his vanity and ego, and he decides he must complete his experiment at any cost. J. Jonah Jameson names him Doctor Octopus or “Doc Ock.” Doc Ock attempts to rob a bank where Peter Parker and his Aunt May happen to be present. After a short glitch in his powers, Spider-Man manages to recover shortly after that and soon the two take their fight outside the bank, but Doc Ock takes Aunt May as a hostage. When Spider-Man rescues her, she revises her former opinion of him and realizes that he is a hero.

During a party, Peter learns that M.J. is planning to marry John Jameson. He also gets into a physical altercation with Harry, who is under the influence, over his loyalty to Spider-Man; shortly after he loses his powers while web-slinging across town. Meanwhile, Doc Ock rebuilds his experimental reactor. Peter questions if he could ever have what he “needs”, a life as Peter Parker, which involves a vision of Uncle Ben, and resolves to give up being Spider-Man. Back home, after visiting Uncle Ben’s grave, Aunt May is distressed by Peter’s confession that he was somewhat responsible for his Uncle Ben’s death. Aunt May and Peter reconcile, and she tells Peter of the hope that Spider-Man brings to others, in spite of what dreams he may have to sacrifice. Peter attempts to re-connect with Mary Jane, but she informs him it is too late. In the meantime, Doc Ock has completed rebuilding his reactor, and needs one final item: the tritium which fuels the reactor. He goes to Harry Osborn for it, dangling him over the edge of the Osborn mansion balcony when he refuses. Harry agrees to give Ock what he needs in exchange for capturing Spider-Man. Mary Jane meets Peter in a coffee shop to ask if he still loves her, but Peter tells her that he does not. Amidst this exchange, the two are ambushed by Doctor Octopus, who abducts Mary Jane in a ploy to lure Spider-Man into a trap. Peter’s powers return, and he dons his costume and engages Doc Ock in a battle, which starts off at the top of a bell tower and then on top of a subway train. During the battle, Doc Ock manages to destroy the brakes to the train, forcing Spider-Man to rescue the runaway train.

Spider-Man manages to stop the train before it can plunge over the end of the track, but at great physical exertion. Weak, he is captured by Doctor Octopus and delivered to Harry Osborn. Harry unmasks Spider-Man and is stunned to discover that his sworn enemy is also his best friend. Peter awakens and convinces Harry to reveal Octavius’ whereabouts so he can rescue Mary Jane. Spider-Man finds Doctor Octavius in an abandoned warehouse on a waterfront pier, where he’s restarted his fusion experiment. After battling with Doc Ock, Spider-Man manages to stun the villain with an electric shock. Peter then reveals his true identity to Octavius and pleads with him to stop the machine. Returned to his senses and determined to end his doomsday experiment before it causes more harm, Octavius uses his mechanical arms to collapse the floor of the building, successfully drowning the device at the cost of his own life. Mary Jane sees Peter without his mask on, but Peter tells her they can never be together, as he will always have enemies.

Across town, Harry has visions of his father, the late Norman Osborn, in a hanging mirror. The illusion demands that his son kill Peter Parker to avenge his death. Harry refuses and hurls a dagger at the mirror, shattering it and revealing a secret room, containing the Green Goblin’s war gear. At the end of the film, Mary Jane leaves her wedding and finds Peter in his apartment, telling him that she has decided to be with him – despite the risks. She persuades Peter to finally let her in while accepting the need of his vows by letting him respond to a sudden call for help.


This is the best of the series! The fights between Doc Ock and Spidey are some of the best in comic book movies or any movies for that matter!

A negative note for this film is that they spend a little too much time on the Mary Jane/Peter drama. I understand they needed to put it in there, but for me it was a bit much. Even though, Kirsten Dunst looks even hotter as a redhead than she does as a blonde.

The way the film ends leaves a little to be desired. One cannot be sure what that expression on Mary Jane’s face is, or what the fate of Doc Ock is. Perhaps he may return in a future film. We can hope…and even more so, hope that it’s as good as this one!

5 out of 5 stars