The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

IMDB Plot:

Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of super villains against him, impacting his life.

Usual spoiler alert.

Ok, so this is the second part of the best Spiderman reboot so far. And this movie is a complete roller coaster.

So, the story is simply: Peter Parker is in conflict about the promise he made to Stacy father and his love for her. And there are still bad guys around. And this mess develops the story. Sure, sure, there are enemies and the Parkers story, but the whole point of the movie revolves around Peter conflict — as usual.

Ok, that’s cheesy, I know. But in a way it shows the dilemma Peter has to face in his whole story outside the movies: Keep being Spiderman or stay with the girl he loves? What if she dies just because he’s Spiderman? (This lates devolves into a relationship with someone that can withstand danger herself, but we are not there yet.)

The enemy, this time, is Electro. Yeah, yeah, Green Goblin is there too, but the fight starts and ends in 5 minutes. Even if the fight scene is impressive enough, showing Spiderman thinking as a spider in battle (you know, web and stuff), it goes too fast to make a scratch in the movie. And it ends in the most silly way possible — the battle, it is; its reflexes still go to the most touching moment of the movie.

But thing is, as I said before, the whole movie is a continuous roller coaster. You have some interesting exposition, the story pace picks up and then… it drops down to two bad guys talking about something it was heavily hinted before. It goes from the Parkers running away from some mysterious danger and then drops down to some very slow talk. And on, and on, and on. There are lots of lost opportunities simply because the pacing goes up and down all the time. Surely reducing the slow parts would make a shorter movie, but that would mean that you could give some characters more exposition, or maybe make a battle between Spiderman and the Green Goblin longer and more interesting. But no, speed up, speed down, speed up, speed down, on and on and on.

There is, maybe, and overabundance of slow motion scenes, mostly to show Spiderman spider-sense working, in the way he can foresee what will happen and stop/control the outcome. You know, like dance around machine gun bullets. Yes, it does a good impression of showing how he can do this kind of stuff, but it gets tiring after a while.

Andrew Garfield still is the best Spiderman there was, so far. It lacks a lot of the lose tongue Spidey shows everywhere (cartoon and comics) but still does a fine job. His prime is the very end of the movie, when he has to face the thing he only feared so far (and that I heavily hinted already, but I’m not going to say it). The whole movie he does an OK-job, but in the very end, in that scene, after that, he simply kills it.

Emma Stone do a nice job this time being the quirky girlfriend of Spiderman, Stacy. He does a nice job but… dunno I think her eyes are kinda weird. But in the end, when you need to care the most about her — because of that scene I mentioned before — she appears the most beautiful creature in this whole planet.

Jamie Foxx as Electro is… weird. He doesn’t look like the Electro in the cartoon and his blueness looks very weird, at first. Later, when he controls his powers better, and gets himself a suit, then it looks really terrifying. But the character himself is like “OH, I’M SO POWERFUL, YOU ALL WILL BOW BEFORE ME!” and then, out of the blue, “Would you be my friend?” Yes yes, mentally unstable, but the personality jumps are as breaking as the story pace.

Still related to Electro — but not directly to Jamie acting — is the most perfect use of dubstep ever in a movie, mostly because it sounds like a tesla coil and Electro uses electricity and then you get what I mean. And, again, it’s a job from Hanz Zimmer, although I can’t say it is as impressive as his work on Rush, but still a nice mix of music and sound and scene in a single package (the music and sound part beats his work in Man of Steel, though).

There is Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn appears only to make way to the very short Goblin fight mentioned before and as a bridge to the next movie. But yeah, the way he twists his face as the Goblin makes him the perfect choice for the role.

In the end, is still a good movie (well, above average, at least), and I must admit that, at some points, I had to speed it up because too much bullshit — which probably means who saw the movie in the cinemas probably had a bad time. But still above-average/good and a nice time waster if you have 2 hours and 15 minutes to spare.

PS: There are some very important characters hinted in the movie, like Alistair Smythe and Felicia (possibly Hardy). But they do nothing in the whole movie and probably will only be used in the next movie.

Rush (2013)

IMDB plot:

The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

We can’t stop here, this is spoiler country. Also, I’ll keep jumping between reality and movie all the time, because this is based on real facts.

First disclaimer: I’m a Formula 1 fan. Second disclaimer: Even if you don’t like Formula 1, you may like this movie. Why? Because Formula 1 is just a background noise used to tell you a much larger story.

Going forward: The movie focus on the events in the 1976 season of Formula 1, when Niki Lauda fierce competition with James Hunt reached its apex. Who, you may ask? Sure, you can ask. And this is answered at two points in the movie: In the first 10 minutes and in the last 5, showing perfectly the changes each driver had in the curse of the season.

But the movie starts before the 1976 season. It shows both drivers starting on Formula 3, going to Formula 1 till the end of the 1976 season, when both had equipareted cars (as Hunt says in the movie), passing through Hunt downfall, his sudden luck in the very start of 1976 season, Lauda terrible accident in Nürburgring that year and what happened after that.

Acting is alright. I mean, Daniel Brühl did an absolutely killer job at Inglourious Basterds and although his presentation here isn’t at the same level, it isn’t bad either. Or maybe Lauda is really that taciturn, in which Daniel does a perfect impression. Chris Hemsworth is a weird case. I mean, it isn’t bad, but his lines feel a lot… unnatural in the whole. On the other hand, when the movie shows real images of Hunt, you can see that Hemsworth managed to capture all the manerisms in a nearly identical fashion.

Sadly, everyone else is mostly decorative. Olivia Wilde/Suzy Hunt nee Miller and Alexandra Maria Lara/Marlene Lauda are important to the plot — added aspects in the way both drivers changed their personalities and showing how different their lifestyles were — but they are in no way given enough focus.

On the other hand, I have to seriously compliment Ron Howard in the way he directed the movie, Hans Zimmer for the music and the whole sound editing team. And by that I mean the continuous use of different things to show the emotional state of the movie: the blurred vision of Lauda when he’s afraid and returning to his normal, confident self — in an scene that comically reminded me of “Days of Thunder” and “pilot narrowly escapes another tragedy and regains his full confidence clichè –; the muffling of track sounds (including the whole start up line roaring of engines) when the drivers close their helmets; the really really slow motion scenes in the very start of the Japan GP, the last one that would say if Lauda would win the championship or if Hunt would be crowded, showing the tension in the air; the engine pistons working first in slow motion and then slowly going into normal speed when Hunt goes back into his original, fighting self. All those make the movie simply great, by using other effects than simply camera or someone saying something.

(Just a small sidenote: Zimmer works is getting greater each movie he works on.)

Sure there is more drama than reality in the movie, but it doesn’t mean the story behind isn’t interesting and that the drama destroys the story — after all, this is not a biographical movie, but “based on real facts”. There is a whole scene about Hunt punching a reporter due an aggresive question about Lauda appearance post-accident which nobody can confirm it really happened, but people who knew Hunt said “Yeah, that is something he would do.” So, even if it is a drama “based on real facts”, there is too much ressoancen with real life that even if some situations really didn’t happen, at least it is something people who knew the real “actors” in this say “yeah, it could’ve happened.”

I can’t vouche the movie for the actors, but I can seriously recommend it based solely on the work of Howard, Zimmer and the sound team. So go watch it, it is worth.