‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Superbowl Trailer

I really want to like this movie, but I am a little sensitive since being trade raped the last time.  Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man film was such as colossal mess that the honorable thing to do would have been to take it out back and shoot it.

Yes.  Watching “The Amazing Spider-Man” felt exactly like this.

Unfortunately, a “funny” thing happened:  despite an immense $230 million dollar budget, the film went on to earn over $750 million worldwide.

Which is profitable enough that I am surprised the execs at Sony could see beyond the dollar signs dancing before their eyes.

So they’re getting ready to go at it again.  From the trailers it looks like they’re definitely investing more money this time around.  Story-wise, like S.H.I.E.L.D. is the impetus for most things super powered in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony appears to be making Oscorp the center of their Spiderverse.

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‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Trailer

The trailer for Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ just popped up, and it feels – and sounds – like a Michael Bay Transformers film.  So many cars flying about, so many explosions!

This must be what happens when a director being given too much money is combined with rebooting a property too soon:  You have action that’s so frenetic that you can barely follow it, and an origin story that seems to exist only to differentiate it from – and I don’t believe I am saying this since I wasn’t a huge fan – Sam Raimi’s far superior films.

This means we get a Rhino battle suit (Huh?) and a needlessly complex origin story.

New ‘Robocop’ Trailer

The “Robocop” reboot trailers are getting better.  This latest one feels more focused than the last, and while it still doesn’t appear  as insane as Paul Verhoeven‘s original, it now at least looks like it might be worth a ticket.

I just realized that Joel Kinnaman is playing Murphy/Robocop, I recall him from “The Killing,” which is an awesome bit of television.  He also does one of the best American accents that I have heard from a foreign speaker (his father is American and his mother is Swedish and while Kinnaman holds dual citizenship, he was born in Sweden).

Samuel Jackson is, of course, Samuel Jackson, which is to say larger than life, though if the trailers any indicator, he’s being underused.  I also can’t tell if he’s the head of OCP (Omni Consumer Products) or just a spokesman.  Though, if Jackson is running OCP, it stands to reason that Michael Keaton is playing the role that was originated by Miguel Ferrer.

More Is Not Always Better (Especially When It Comes To Super-Villains)

Sinister SixI like ‘more’ as much as the next guy. More money, more “Pacific Rim” and more hard drives (I have always had a thing for storage space).

Where ‘more’ doesn’t work so well for is when you have too many villains. After all, Sam Raimi is a pretty talented director yet his “Spider-Man 3” was a mess, primarily because there were too many bad guys (though the giant Sandman monster didn’t help matters).

And in his film, there were only three:  Sandman, Venom and Green Goblin, Jr.

If the image to the left, the studio where Marc Webb’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2” is shooting, is any indicator, the word overreach means nothing to Webb.

That being said, there’s no law that says that it can’t be done, but I suspect that it would be less a Spider-Man movie than a super-villan origin piece that happens to have Spider-Man in it.

Which I think is an interesting idea, but I am willing to bet fans of the character (as he appears in movies) – never mind the studio bankrolling it –  would think otherwise.

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‘Elysium’ Review

Elysium

Neil Blomkamp’s “Elysium” is somewhat of a novelty these days:  A science fiction film that has something not only to say about where we are as a species, but where we are going.  Though, before I begin, I need to get something off my chest.

Some critics, who actually get paid for their work, have alluded to the more moralistic aspects of Blomkamp’s films (such as disparities between rich and poor) almost as if to pay attention to such things is a failing on the part of the director.

Though what’s more interesting to me is not Blomkamp’s use of such devices to drive his stories, but the attention paid to them, as if it were somehow intrinsically bad to even acknowledge such things.

His heroes and villains are poor not because of some sort of failing that’s part of them, rather than a game that we all play that’s rigged from the start.

Like in the real world for many, many people.

Mild spoilers below.

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‘White House Down’ Trailer

Just when you thought that we survived “Olympus Has Fallen,” here comes the more obviously titled “White House Down.”  This time instead of Gerard Butler, all we have is Channing Tatum standing between us and those that would destroy our way of life.

God help the terrorists, especially considering that this is from Roland Emmerich, the man behind “Independence Day,” “2012,” and “The Day After Tomorrow;” a director that likes blowing things up almost  as much as Michael Bay, though Emmerich seems to specialize in well-known landmarks (it’s the second time he’s blown up the White House).

Though what Sony should be concerned about is that, despite the success of ‘Olympus’ its budget is probably about half that of “White House Down.”

Jamie Foxx As Electro?

Now this is interesting news!  According to Collider, Jamie Foxx is rumored to be interested in the part of Electro in the sequel of “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  Now keep in mind that his skin color isn’t integral AT ALL to the character.  Despite this being the case, and if it’s confirmed, wait to see all the racial nonsense that starts flying about.

Mark my words.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Springs Out The Gate?

Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” appears to be opening strong overseas–in India it premiered bigger than Marvel’s “The Avengers”–but this has to be tempered by the fact that other movies that appeared strong because of international profits have gone on to underperform at the American box office.

Like Peter Berg’s “Battleship,” for instance.

So at this point, Spidey’s reboot looks promising–if critical reception is any indicator–but I have to admit that my enthusiasm for this film is somewhat lacking (despite this I have every intention of seeing it because I have been living with these characters for at least 15 to 20 years of my life) and I haven’t heard from too many other people that are revved up to see it either.

What Does Sony Have Against Spidey?

First, Sam Raimi is forced to cram too many villains (by which I mean Venom, who he didn’t want to use) into Spider-Man 3; then Sony (essentially) cans him, as well as his cast and crew, rebooting the franchise  and handing the directoral reins to Marc Webb, who’s prior film was “500 Days Of Summer,” which was well-done and entertaining, though hardly what I would call an audition for something as massive as Spider-Man.

Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” cost somewhere north of $200 million to produce, so you’d think that Sony–which isn’t doing too well in electronics (its core business), and a weaker-than-expected showing for Men In Black 3–would want to optimize how well a tent pole like that does at the box office.

Assuming that to be the case, why would you release your film on July 3, a Tuesday and a work day for most of us, when the next is a national holiday?

Now, I fully expect that there will be people who catch showings later that day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if viewership tapers off.

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A Sequel Worth Of The ‘Starship Troopers’ Name?

Paul Verhoeven‘s “Starship Troopers” may not have been that faithful to Robert Heinlein‘s novel, but then again, I have never been much of a fan of Heinlein’s writing, so it’s all good.  For my money Verhoeven is in the same company as David Cronenberg, or (lately), Don Coscarelli, in that just about everything they do may not be a favorite, though it’s going to be interesting.

There have been two sequels, “Starship Troopers 2: Hero Of The Federation,” and “Starship Troopers 3: Marauder,” and despite having the involvement of Ed Neumeier–who wrote the screenplay for the first film and the second, while directing and writing the third–neither sequel was that entertaining.

So, imagine my surprise to learn that there will be a forth film, “Starship Troopers: Invasion,” though this time they will be going with CGI, instead of live actors.  I have to say that that computer graphics better evokes the look of Paul Verhoeven’s original than either the second or third sequel, which has a lot to do with the fact that it’s relatively less expensive to create such effects in such an environment, as opposed with models, which was done extensively in the first film.

Sure, the faces of the computer-generated characters looks kinda dead (not unusual, though Peter Travers, the film critic from Rolling Stone magazine, can probably explain it better), but the spaceships and tech look just like those in the first film, so that makes it at least worth a look.