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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Short spoiler free reviews of films I have seen this holiday

Ok as of today - 16/08/12 I have seen the following films at the cinema this holiday;

Batman - The Dark Knight Rises

Amazing Spider-man

TED

What follows is my thoughts on the films without giving any spoilers away.

Here goes!

Batman - TDKR

Didn't like the end, didn't like the twist, liked Bane, liked Selena Kyle, liked Joseph Gordon Levitt, didn't like Alfred and Gordon's characterisations.

Let me explain a bit. I loved the way Tom Hardy played Bane and I really liked Selena Kyle and how she was used in the film. I felt that they really added something to the franchise (hate that I used that word, honestly). However for me Joesph GL's young cop character was the best thing. That's right I thought he was better than Batman. There I said it! And the film works. It is a good way of rounding off the trilogy but it very much is Christopher Nolan ending his Batman.

And it shows.

Which brings me to the bits I didn't like. I felt the Bruce Wayne/Batman character was cheapened some how by the film. In the Dark Knight the film is about Harvey Dent and the Joker with Batman taking a back stance. In that film it works really well. In this one I dunno it just a feels a bit like a cardboard cutout of Batman could have been substituted in for most of the scenes. However the biggest scratch on the roof of my mouth is reserved for the way in which Commissioner Gordon and Alfred are handled.

I really don't like them, without going into details they don't feel true to the source material and they don't ring true with the characters we had in the first two films. It almost feels like their stories are tacked on to add emotional depth to a film that was running out of ideas. This shows in the plot twist which while surprising for most - I worked it out earlier tbh - feels borrowed from an earlier film and not original.

Which leads us to the end - when you eventually get there it is a long film! - which I felt was more a director ending HIS trilogy rather than an ending to the film.

I dunno, its hard to explain maybe Maria is right and I have just watched and loved the first two too much and so my expectations are far to high for this film. However I can't help feel that TDKR just doesn't live up to the standard set by the other Batman films in this trilogy. In short I think it is a good film but not good enough to stand with Begins and Dark Knight.

And that is a shame really.

Ok so Amazing Spider-man...

I loved it. I felt it was much truer to the comics I adore and the story and performances were top draw. In the Lizard we have an awesome Jekyll/Hyde style characterisation (Rhys Ifans is amazing) which really helps drive the story along. I like that they weren't scared to make this film dark without making it preposterous (you hear me Spider-man 3!!!) and the added emotional depth works very well. I also can't praise enough the fact they kept Peter Parker as a high school student and allowed his relationship with Flash to be more than just school bully and geek.

However one thing about the film that gets a big tick from me is Gwen Stacey.

Anyone who has read Spider-man or knows anything about the character will understand the importance of that character in his development as a super hero. In fact the Stacey family is very important and it is good that Captain Stacey gets a decent sized role in the film.

What is superbly done is the blossoming relationship between Peter and Gwen. Between Peter and Gwen,  not Spider-man but Peter. That is an important point to make. The character Gwen Stacey likes Peter Parker first and foremost and that is one of the major reasons why she is so important to his character development. To have missed her out the other films was to cut a major section of story out for no real reason.

Of course there is someone else important in Spider-man becoming Spider-man and that is Uncle Ben. There is a part of the film towards the end that brought a tear to my eye and it sums up the amazing job Martin Sheen did in the role.

Also the film keeps the home made nature of Spider-mans first forays into crime fighting which helps keep you in the film for longer - it doesn't loose you at any point i.e. there is no Arnie lifting a phone booth moment to make you think 'yeah this is a daft bit of film'. I think that helps keep you with the characters for longer.

So in short Amazing Spider-man is truer to the source, darker in tone, very well acted and written and very enjoyable as a film.

It must be noted that comic book films have really raised there game lately. To the point where having seen a few with Maria she now entertains the idea of watching them much more readily than she used to. Also the Marvel films seem to be much better than the DC based ones. Thor, Iron man, Captain America and the Avengers are amazing films and with them all tying together it really creates a nice version of the Marvel Universe.

However I am still very excited for Man of Steel...

Right TED

Funnier than I thought, basically Seth McFarlanes mates, will age badly.

Right here goes...

I didn't expect much of TED at all. I felt it would be Family Guy in real life and would be poorer for it. However I was very surprised. It is very funny, very crude but really watchable. Mark Wahlberg gives a very good comedy turn and Mila Kunis continues to get hotter every time I see here in anything or and she is very funny in this, the plot is harmless enough with plenty of McFarlanes patented break away scenes used to great comic effect. However there are a few things that I felt hold it back from being a truly great comedy.

Firstly unless you like McFarlanes humour you will hate this film. The film is a group of McFarlane regulars as well, which means I spent some of the film spotting Family Guy voices. Not a good situation. The film has cultural references - especially Flash Gordon - that some people might not get robbing them of plot and laughs - especially Flash Gordon bits. Also because of the pop culture references the film will age badly in my opinion. Which doesn't make it a bad film but not really one I want to own on DVD and re-watch like say South Park the Movie.

So in short TED is very funny if you like that humour and get the references but doesn't have a lot of replay-ability and will probably age badly.

And there we go my summer cinema goings reviewed for now.

I may write something about other films in the future but you know I may not.

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