Reviews, Science Fiction

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow

Copyright © 2014 by Warner Bros. Pictures

Story
The world is invaded by aliens known as the Mimics and the United Defense Forces (UDF) have devised a plan for an all-out attack, reminiscent of the operation in Normandy Beach. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) has been requested to join in the combat at the beaches of France to which he strongly objects, indicating his limited exposure in the battlefield. He is arrested for blackmailing his superior, General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) and awakens at a forward operating base in Heathrow Airport. He is killed almost immediately after the drop-off but not before destroying an ‘Alpha’ Mimic. The Mimic’s blood infused with his enables him to relive the same day over and over again. With each day on a loop, he trains to become stronger and more tactical with the aid of Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). Having the upper-hand, they join forces to end the source of the aliens’ dominance.

Review
At the height of his popularity, Cruise was one of the most powerful and influential men in Hollywood, headlining countless hits from drama (Jerry Maguire), thriller (The Firm), action (Mission: Impossible), science fiction (War of the Worlds) to supporting turns in comedy (Tropic Thunder) and even musical (Rock of Ages). Yup, you read right. He is quite a crooner. True, the film tanked at the box office but his showstopping performance raised its overall lackluster and slightly indecisive direction. Basically, he can do no wrong in any given role he embarks on.

It is unfortunate then that his career suffered a setback to public scrutiny and is no longer the golden boy he once was. His projects ever since the debacle have still been entertaining but diminishing returns for his more original entries are visibly obvious in the local box office. His international appeal remains unfazed though, which is why riskier ventures such as ‘Valkyrie’, ‘Knight and Day’ and ‘Jack Reacher’ are considered commercial successes. He seemed to be on a comeback trail through last year’s ‘Oblivion’ but the lukewarm reception from critics and audiences alike indicated his fellow Americans still needed some convincing.

Not too much convincing I hope. Based on the Japanese novel ‘All You Need Is Kill’, this big budget gamble has Cruise back in top form through a visually stunning and intelligently written piece of fiction. It is in the league of his other sci-fi classic, ‘Minority Report’ where Steven Spielberg’s gem of a movie offered the same thrill, suspense and wit to keep one fixated until the end. Too bad the latest actioner is coming off from a divisively split predecessor. The anticipation for yet another flick of this kind is significantly lower this time, what with other well-liked alternatives still making their rounds.

Cruise’s body of work is testament to his longevity in the business and never ceases to amaze with his versatility. Playing against type, Cage’s act of cowardice is at first alarming but through his newfound invincibility, he redeems his heroism in a nail-biting finale. The weight is ably shared with Blunt, a no-nonsense militant who also possessed the Mimic’s gift once is a perfect foil to Cruise’s bureaucrat. Her tough girl facade comes across fluidly but never abandoning the vulnerability within that hard exterior. For the identical deaths played out differently with each new action, kudos to Doug Liman for incorporating lots of humour to balance the woeful premise.

To realistically convey the struggling Cage ascend from zero to hero, Liman has structured his narrative partially like a video game. The use of quick cuts and resuming right after where Cage ‘died’ previously keep the mood light and do not bog down its repetitive nature. The script’s subtleties to character development also add complexity on the major’s countless roadblocks in ensuring the war is won over the Mimics. As the tagline goes, ‘Live. Die. Repeat’, this is unquestionably one worth revisiting and waking up to a time loop.

Rating
Entirety: A
Acting: A-
Plot: A

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material

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Comedy, Reviews

The Devil Wears Prada

Devil Wears Prada

Copyright © 2006 by 20th Century Fox

Story
Fresh out from Northwestern University, Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) whose ambition is to be a journalist temporarily accepts a position in the fashion industry as a junior personal assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Priestly, the editor-in-chief of Runway fashion magazine is notorious for her impossible demands but Sachs is adamant to put up with whatever that is thrown at her for a year before moving on to the job of her choice. During her time in Runway, she learns to be fashion conscious and thus altering her perception on the glitz and glamour in a world she once dismissed as superficial. It puts a strain on her relationships with her boyfriend, Nate (Adrian Grenier) and friends especially when she places utmost importance to all the tasks assigned by Priestly. Sachs eventually realises the change and has to decide whether the sacrifices made is worth to her burgeoning career.

Review
A movie about beautiful people donning the trendiest garbs, mouthing a whole lot of haute couture to names you cannot even pronounce under the supervision of a boss from hell downplayed to devilish perfection by one extremely chilly Streep. Count me in! In her 14th Oscar nomination for ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’, Streep has done it again, this time, bringing her cool confidence and frosty charm to an awfully unlikable character. Roles of this sort tend to be highly exaggerated but under the care of our three-time Oscar winner, Priestly becomes bearable, even to the point of being sympathetic.

It depicts life in the fast lane and only the strong survives beneath an ugly core filled with ruthlessness lurking everywhere, waiting to strike at the most unintended moment. The question does come down at what cost is one willing to pay for the sake of being on top, albeit a lonely one. Priestly, with her outrageously high standards on work and the people she works with depicts a commonly seen encounter in any corporate establishment, though far less acidic and comical. Her interactions with Sachs and Emily Charlton (Emily Blunt) are the film’s brightest spots.

Being the senior who is charged for training duties, Blunt’s Emily is so directly blunt that she nearly steals the show from Streep, a feat typically a debutant would not achieve with such ease. Her cynicism towards the help’s capability is infectious and deadpan humour never falls out of place. In contrast to the dynamics of two lionesses at the top of the food chain is one heartfelt performance from Stanley Tucci, the only friend Sachs initially made in Runway who shows her the ropes along with beauty tips for a radical makeover.

Radically splendid to be exact. You cannot have a show primarily set in a fashion world without its exquisitely tailored clothes to complement its stars, can you? Aptly nominated for her costuming duties, Patricia Field has created distinctive looks for all three leading ladies from the current crop of most sought-after designers including Prada (duh!), Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein and Vivienne Westwood. The montage of Sachs’ transformation from duckling to swan grooving to Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ surely will leave one bedazzled.

Said to have been the inspiration for Lauren Weisberger’s bestseller of the same name, it is an account of Ms Weisberger’s own personal experiences as an assistant and the supposedly domineering editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour whom Priestly is based upon. The novel did have its share of criticism but the script’s transition to film is smooth and profoundly written by Aline Brosh McKenna, providing an insightful view to a volatile industry with some of the snappiest one-liners uttered by the cast. Pretty much a must-see for fans of the book but casual viewers will still be entertained from another winner brought to life by the timeless Streep.

Rating
Entirety: A-
Acting: A
Plot: A

Rated PG-13 for some sensuality

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Fantasy, Reviews

Maleficent

Maleficent

Copyright © 2014 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Story
In a fairy kingdom where Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) lives, she meets and falls in love with Stefan (Sharlto Copley), an orphan from the neighbouring human terrain. As time goes by, his visits become fewer until he learns that the current human King Henry (Kenneth Cranham) is bent on conquering Maleficent’s home. Determined to be his successor, Stefan pays Maleficent one final visit in an attempt to murder her. Unable to do so, he cuts off her beautiful wings and presents it to the king as proof the farmer has carried out the deed. Betrayed by her love, this once pure-hearted fairy becomes vengeful and declares herself queen of her land, oppressing all who live there. When Stefan holds a christening for his newborn child, Aurora, Maleficent arrives uninvited and places a curse that can only be broken by true love’s kiss. The baby is sent away into the woods to be cared by three pixies, Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (Juno Temple) and Flittle (Lesley Manville) but is constantly watched over by the horned one herself. She grows fond of the child and begins a path to recovery on her broken heart.

Review
It has been four years since Jolie last appeared on the big screen as the female equivalent of Jason Bourne in the similarly themed ‘Salt’ and what a triumphant return it is to one of the best performances of her three decade illustrious movie career. In the first glimpses of her majestic wings flying through her magical home, the Moors, Jolie’s ethereal beauty and persona dominates so incredibly fierce that you are bound to be captivated right to the end. Being one of the most memorable Disney villains in a plethora of hits, it is multi-faceted perfected by Mrs Pitt’s restrained but willful approach.

The layered characterisations of both female leads add to the ever growing list of strong and independent women courtesy from self-proclaimed feminist, Linda Woolverton whose most influential work to date remains the Golden Globe winner for ‘Best Musical or Comedy’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, incidentally another Disney feature with a feisty and intelligent heroine who does not need a Prince Charming to sweep her off her feet (or in this instance, Prince Phillip). Swoon-worthy for sure, Brenton Thwaites is not given much to do other than to look gorgeous and as a temporary distraction to our Sleeping Beauty.

Faring better than her boyfriend is the titular character in the 1959 release, Princess Aurora. Elle Fanning does her best to stay afloat but it is quite a tall order when her competition is a woman who gave the world crowd-pleasers such as ‘Tomb Raider’, ‘Mr & Mrs Smith’ and ‘Wanted’. A work of this scale should never be this slight with its appealing concept and surprising dense theme. A king driven to madness by an obsession to rid of a past love and its detrimental effects on the present always make for compelling drama, if only the angle has been given more depth.

Stefan’s quest for power and his descend into its dark clutches is barely scratched upon. It is made worse by an unconvincing performance from Copley who usually excels in roles like these. The parts that do work in the script’s inconsistencies are Woolverton’s articulate thoughts on familial issues via the negligence of Aurora’s fairy godmothers and the unexpected aid that is extended during their tenure as substitute parents. The bond of a mother and daughter is an essential component throughout the course of the film and the revelation at the end is a tad predictable but no less touching.

Without a doubt the visuals are a feast to the eyes (a staple in the fantasy genre), the hiring of Robert Stromberg, a former production designer for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ as his directorial debut for such a massive production is logical but not sound (his inexperience is apparent in the film’s more tender moments). Just like his peer, Joseph Kosinski of ‘Tron’ fame, he will only get better in time. For all its splendour and a magnificent turn from Jolie, it is a shame ‘Maleficent’ never soars higher than passable entertainment when there is so much talent at its disposal.

Rating
Entirety: B
Acting: A
Plot: B+

Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images

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Reviews, Science Fiction

Godzilla

Godzilla

Copyright © 2014 by Warner Bros. Pictures

Story
Scientists Dr Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) from Project Monarch have been appointed to study the origins of a mysterious gigantic carcass in a ruined Philippines mine while in Japan, unprecedented seismic activity is recorded in the Janjira nuclear plant where Joe (Bryan Cranston) and Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche) work. Sandra and a team of technicians are sent into the reactor to inspect when a tremor occurs and causes a malfunction. The entire team perishes and the plant is destroyed. Suspecting of a cover up, Joe continues to probe for answers in the next 15 years. Now in the U.S. Navy as a bomb disposal officer, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) reunites with his estranged father to attain the truth on the actual source of the lethal circumstances in the Janjira plant and its connection to the research in Philippines. These MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) are roaming Earth that will threaten the survival of the human race. Only the arrival of Godzilla whose existence has been kept under wraps by Monarch appears to be the only hope for man to survive a war between monsters.

Review
Hail to the return of the Japanese legend since its inception into pop culture in the 1950s. The world has been waiting with bated breath for a revival of ginormous proportions after the less-than-stellar performance of Roland Emmerich’s over-the-top cheese fest. Emmerich who just scored an explosive hit with ‘Independence Day’ thought that lightning could strike twice through cartoonish and cliché-ridden characters that spurt fancy one-liners. Well, if you are Michael Bay, you could get away with it but hey, even he had that dud of a movie called ‘Pearl Harbor’.

Ensuring the same mistakes do not happen in this edition, the film makers do get it right with the human drama and Gojira is made a saviour to mankind rather than as the cause to all hell breaks loose. It is refreshing to note on Legendary Pictures’ decision to tackle such projects without compromising on the pictures’ artistic qualities. The first to test the waters began in last year’s equally entertaining ‘Pacific Rim’, a formula undeniably replicated to good use, but not essentially better.

Like its other creature feature, ‘Godzilla’ employs an array of international talent and the ensemble does a fine job of maintaining realism amidst surreal circumstances. The human personalities are surprisingly downplayed to a point of being almost bland. The main protagonists’ ongoing look for concern and nothing else does wear thin after a while. Why bother with a group of accomplished actors when they do not elevate the stakes and intensity? Quite a pity as the quiet strength displayed from Watanabe and Elizabeth Olsen could have been fleshed out further for a greater effect.

Or everyone else for that matter. The best of the lot, Cranston unfortunately leaves way too soon and passes the torch to Taylor-Johnson whose performance can rival that of Keanu Reeves. At least, Reeves’ charm offsets his inadequacies. Of course, the main reason we are even here is to see a big monster battle it out with other monstrosities, WWE style. It does not disappoint when Gojira emerges from the depths of the ocean to save the day (clearly ‘Jaws’ was an inspiration to the watery tribute on both accounts).

Fresh from helming ‘Monsters’, hats off to Gareth Edwards for carefully selecting the right earthy shades to illustrate the devastating condition and the script’s dreadfully serious tone (seriously, movies of this magnitude should just learn to chill). However, props also go to the research on its rich mythology to produce a meticulously written script with enough twists and turns to please even the most diehard of fans. If only the humans are as enthralling as our antihero with the roar. A missed opportunity to be great rather than merely good. Nonetheless, this attempt is still a significant improvement and there is hope for a sequel to do just that.

Rating
Entirety: B+
Acting: B
Plot: A-

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence

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Action, Reviews

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Days of Future Past

Copyright © 2014 by 20th Century Fox

Story
All mutants in the future are being hunted down and captured by the Sentinels, robots created from Trask Industries. The remaining X-Men band together to survive the attacks with Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) ability to project Bishop’s (Omar Sy) consciousness back in time. He ensures the team anticipates the Sentinels next move and the success of deflecting these adaptive androids prompts Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 in convincing his younger self (James McAvoy) on the cataclysmic future mutants faced from the assassination of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the inventor of the original mutant-hunting machines by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). His death will spearhead the programme and Mystique’s capture enhances the new batch of Sentinels into their current indestructible form. With Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) on their side, Xavier must locate his adopted sister to prevent her actions from shaping the continuous mutant genocide.

Review
Ever since Bryan Singer returned to the franchise with the magnetic and mind-bending revamp on the formative years of Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr’s friendship in the 1960’s, his next course of action is to fix the continuity issues that has plagued ‘The Last Stand’ since ‘First Class’ introduced an alternate look into its storytelling. In short, Singer is trying to wipe out that bad aftertaste left by Brett Ratner and just start over, without having to recast the stars of the original trilogy. What better way than to craft an intricate extension for both timelines with a classic from Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s time travelling escapade.

Many have wondered prior to the release how would the existing and newer mutants share the screen in a running time of just 130 minutes long. It is finally answered with the main players from the 2011 preboot shouldering most of the emotional weight whilst the jaw-dropping action sequences are left for the internationally diverse recruits to impress in the grim future; the display of powers in the opening is awe-inspiring but the most visually-stimulating is Blink’s (Fan Bingbing) ability to create portals of teleportation. As with all other installments, the problem still seems to be too many mutants (blink, and you may miss them for good).

Rather than just being mere silent survivors of the apocalypse, it always helps if the viewers are better acquainted to these characters’ background and their timely fight against the Sentinels. That being said, it is welcoming to see Stewart and Ian McKellen back as their older selves, providing the dignified elegance in a chaotic world literally going up in flames. There are a few surprise cameos that will delight any ‘X-Men’ fan but Halle Berry’s Storm may as well been that as she continues to struggle as a force to be reckoned with. It is great news of her younger self being considered for the next chapter (hopefully, more on her challenging upbringing than her weather-wielding powers).

The drama unfolds soon after Logan is transported back to his younger self in 1973. Jackman can sleepwalk in the role and still be captivating whenever he is on screen (he does take a backseat for his younger cohorts to shine this time around). In ‘First Class’, the scale is tipped more in favour for Fassbender’s damaged master of magnetism to flex his acting chops but the mantle now has shifted to McAvoy. His portrayal of a broken Xavier is easily the heart that bridges the soulful connectivity to Fassbender and Lawrence’s representations.

A major difference in Singer’s present effort compared to his first two entries is the much needed humour injected into an otherwise still very serious film. The backlash surrounding Evan Peters’ Quicksilver I would have to say is quite unfounded here. A scene stealer from the moment he steps into the picture, his antics are absolutely hilarious and gets top marks for most original breakout in a heavily guarded facility. Too bad his services do not extend further into the plot. It surely would have elevated the dismal tone which follows after that.

For those who are not aware of the X-Men’s next endeavour, it will be set in the 1980s. A fun retrospect to the various decades and the wealth of pop references which go hand in hand to set this new trilogy apart from its more contemporary trio told in the 21st century. Do not be baffled if some key points cannot be accounted for. It is getting neatly there with each episode. Sure, the running time could have been longer coupled with a more climatic battle but it is no small achievement when your (Singer) latest nearly tops the best (X2) in the series. Be sure to also stay right till the end of the credits for a peek to an X-travagantly ‘apocalyptic’ teaser.

Rating
Entirety: A
Acting: A
Plot: A-

Rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language

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Reviews, Thriller

Prisoners

Prisoners

Copyright © 2013 by Warner Bros. Pictures

Story
In the midst of a Thanksgiving dinner invitation from Franklin (Terrence Howard) and Nancy Birch (Viola Davis), both Joy Birch (Kyla Drew Simmons) and their guests’ daughter, Anna Dover (Erin Gerasimovich) have gone missing. Detective David Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is assigned to the case but when he is unable to detain prime suspect, Alex Jones (Paul Dano) whose alleged RV has been parked nearby the Birch residence on the same day, Anna’s father, Keller (Hugh Jackman), abducts Jones and uses all forms of torture to extract information on his child’s whereabouts. Unsuccessful, he confronts his aunt, Holly (Melissa Leo) and discovers a morbid connection to the unsolved juvenile murders and the current kidnapping.

Review
An intimate look at the human psyche and its detrimental effects to an obsession; all in the name of love. It does bring to mind some other notable classics such as ‘To Die For’, ‘Fatal Attraction’ and ‘Misery’. While the intentions of these perpetrators were certainly more devious, would it justify the actions if the cause is nobler in nature? It is easy to pass judgment on psychotic rampages that are clearly out of line but what if the extremity inflicted is to root out an unforgivable deed?

It is an exploration of faith and hope in an abusive and lonely environment disguised as a mystery. Known for his previous Oscar nominated effort ‘Incendies’, Denis Villeneuve steadily builds his movie with a loving family out for a reunion dinner with close friends and the contrast of dining alone. The routine is livened up with a penchant for astronomy trivia. A comforting mood is short lived and quickly turns into a desperate attempt when the daughters of both families vanish without a trace.

From this point on, the events that unfold only set a bleaker and consistently solemn tone throughout the rest of the story. It is a difficult film to bear and even harder to stomach for the use of violence during Dover’s interrogation. For its longer running time, halfway through the investigation, it does drag a little but under the very capable hands of Villeneuve, the course remains on track and finishes off strong (surely worthy of debate with avid fans long after it is over).

Besides acting as a social commentary on abuse and its aftermath, it is a showcase for the ensemble cast to shine. In supporting roles, noteworthy to mention are Dano, Davis and Gyllenhaal who are faultless as suspect number one, grieving mother and relentless police officer respectively. Dano, especially is outstanding as the supposedly mastermind behind this heinous act. He comes across as creepy, innocent and sympathetic all rolled into one.

He is most affecting in an encounter with Jackman about his accomplishment after his release from custody (his sheepish remark to Dover is unabashedly smug while playing coy in the public eye). In return, Jackman mesmerises with his best performance to date. It is no easy feat when all of his fellow co-stars are abundantly talented, yet without his involvement, ‘Prisoners’ would most likely have spiraled into full-on melodrama minus the heart and soul to ground its sometimes preposterous scenarios.

The entire first and second acts are built squarely on Dover’s quest for justice and our Tony winner’s delivery to each minute of it is just superb. His stint in ‘Les Misérables’ must have tapped for a wider range of emotions and they are used to great effect to convey the anguish and desperation of seeking a loved one. The eponymous title may be a reference to the missing but dissect it further, what you will find is a profound look on fractured and lost minds trapped in a cage which begins from the bad to the really sadistic choices made in life.

Rating
Entirety: A-
Acting: A+
Plot: A

Rated R for disturbing violent content including torture, and language throughout

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Action, Reviews

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Spiderman 2

Copyright © 2014 by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Story
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is graduating from high school and is torn between his love for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and the promise he made to George Stacy (Denis Leary) while trying to keep his beloved city safe as Spider-Man. As the relationship heads to a rocky direction, Parker is saddled with Electro (Jamie Foxx), a former employee of OsCorp whose genetics have been altered after a freak accident is now bent on destroying the city with the help of Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan). Parker’s once best friend has returned to Manhattan upon receiving news of his father’s (Chris Cooper) terminal illness. He discovers the same medical condition Norman is suffering from will affect him too once he hits puberty. Desperate for a cure, he seeks for Spider-Man’s blood as the healing properties may be able to reverse his worsening state. Worried that it will be unstable, Parker refuses the request which leads to Osborn’s alliance with Electro and the ensuing massive destruction.

Review
As with all reboots, the decision to start over is always driven by the fact that the last chapter did not fare too well with either the fans, critics or both. After the rather convoluted ‘Spider-Man 3’ bit off more than it could chew, Sam Raimi, director of the original trilogy had intended to move on with part 4 to salvage a less than stellar critical reception before the deal fell through between him and Sony due to the new script unable to progress its story artistically. It is not a roadblock for Sony though to still get another take released before the rights expire and are returned to Marvel.

While the remake of Spidey’s beginnings in Marc Webb’s 2012 version threads similarly to the Tobey Maguire one, what Webb differs in his interpretation is the prominence in both the burglar who murdered Parker’s Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and parents who harbour a dark secret. The unresolved arcs provide for a more gripping watch and add intrigue to a rather well-paced but not necessarily amazing film. With the rate current franchises are heading now, many do not just end in their own universe. They set themselves up for a larger picture or to branch off into other equally interwoven tales via spinoffs and secondary but no less popular characters.

Its follow up jumps right back into what truly happened to Parker’s parents and their association with OsCorp. A rousing start to a tragic end, the film continues at a quicker pace than its predecessor and only slows down for the required character exposition on new foes for our web slinger to battle and his tumultuous romance with Stacy. It is a stroke of genius for the writers to focus on Parker’s love life as it is the strongest element surrounding this new production. Never once a dull moment whenever the two are together; whether it is discussing the future of their relationship or saving the world, their chemistry is so spot-on, it only adds to the disappointment that Stacy is not his eventual other half.

The news of Shailene Woodley hired as Mary Jane Watson in a supporting role but had to be left out for the couple’s scenes to be more believable is a mixed bag. I am definitely all for Stone to carry on with her dominance in Hollywood but it would have been nice to see Woodley in action as the redhead who finally gets to say ‘I do’ to our masked superhero. It can act as a precursor to how she will fare against her blonde counterpart. These are big shoes to fill for a part that was previously written-in only as a means of conflict to the earlier pairing of Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

For those who are concerned that plotting is cluttered with superfluous extras, fret not, ‘Spider-Man 3’ it is not. Although the marketers will have you believe there are numerous baddies, it is in fact not the case at all. They remain dormant or elusive for most of the film and will only reappear in the coming features. The many unanswered questions will leave some insatiate after 142 minutes of suspending with Spidey, notwithstanding an amazing aerial view of Manhattan. It is frustrating to not obtain a neatly tied up conclusion, but if you are a fan, you will know that the premise here is just a platform to launch for more elaborately constructed schemes and mayhem.

Go in with an open mind and you will find there is still much to love about Webb’s second time direction. The action is serviceable, effects are rendered beautifully and comic timing transitions naturally while your friendly arachnid is out saving the day. It also helps if your appealing leads are all in fine form – DeHaan’s Osborn is cold but approachable and his turn as the Green Goblin needs to be at the forefront in the next round, a much meaner and crazier reincarnation than James Franco’s insecure take.

Rating
Entirety: A-
Acting: A-
Plot: B+

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence

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