Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The Dark Knight Rises: How Azrael could've been introduced in the film... Back in 2008, I posted this fanfic journal entry detailing how the Angel of Death who eventually donned the Bat cowl could've played a role in the third Batman Begins film. Overlooking the fact that Michael Chiklis (who is now on the CBS TV show Vegas) didn't end up playing Bane and Minka Kelly didn't portray Talia al Ghul, it's amazing to see how close The Dark Knight Rises actually came to the story I conjured up four years ago. Would it be so far-fetched to think that screenwriters Jonathan Nolan and/or David S. Goyer (but not Christopher Nolan...who supposedly doesn't have a cell phone or even an e-mail address, so I doubt he'd spend his time surfing the Web for Batman 3 concepts to um, borrow from) might've stumbled upon this film blog and borrow my ideas? Don't wanna come across as a naïve delusional fool here, so I'll say it is.

So here are a couple of ideas on how Azrael could've been introduced in The Dark Knight Rises. They're based on the premise that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would play this vigilante and not Robin—and the fact some of these particular scenes would have to be rewritten and extend the movie's running time by at least 5 minutes. Make that 6 minutes; might as well bring TDKR from its actual length of 164 minutes to a full 170... Anyways, here goes:

Azrael...also known as the Angel of Death.

(SPOILERS AHEAD for those of you who haven't seen TDKR yet!)

- In the scene where Bruce Wayne and Lucious Fox are at Wayne Enterprises' secret armory and Fox shows off the Camo Tumblers and The Bat to Wayne, have this scene feature a moment (preferably before The Bat is revealed) where Fox also shows off a gold-plated armored suit and a new Bat cowl with a fully-covered mouthpiece that he was working on ("just for the heck of it") during the 8 years that Wayne was in seclusion. Wayne comments that he prefers his traditional black armor...but tells Fox to put the gold suit in a crate so Wayne can bring it back to the Batcave, anyway.

- In the next scene, where Bruce tests out that new knee brace inside the Batcave, have the gold-armored suit in a retractable glass case right next to the one that holds the black Batsuit. The golden armor disappears into the platform at the same time the black suit emerges from it...leading into that argument where Alfred voices his disapproval of Bruce making his return as Batman.

- In the scene where Commissioner Gordon and Detective Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are at Blake's apartment watching Bane's speech outside of Blackgate Prison on television, have it revealed that Blake has a tattoo of an Angel of Death (Azrael) on one of his upper arms. (Blake is wearing a t-shirt in the actual scene, so this would work.) I originally thought that Gordon should turn and see the tattoo on Blake's arm, and say something to the likes of "I didn’t think you were the type to have a tattoo" (with Blake responding with something like "I'm not a boy scout, Commissioner."), but this dialogue wouldn't work with the existing scene in The Dark Knight Rises. Bane is still laying siege to Gotham City, and Gordon wouldn't make a trivial observation about his subordinate when the League of Shadows mercenary just exposed the 8-year-old lie the Commissioner made about the late Harvey Dent on national television. This scene would have to be substantially rewritten for a reference to Azrael be convincingly made.

- In the scene towards the end of the movie where Blake is referred to as Robin, rewrite it so Azrael can be referred to. The lady at Wayne Enterprises sees the tattoo on Blake's upper arm and comments, "Nice tattoo. Who's it of?" Blake dryly responds with "It's the Angel of Death." The lady replies with "Does it have a name?" And Blake nods and simply responds with "Azrael" before walking away.

- In the final montage of The Dark Knight Rises, have Blake find the Batcave much sooner in the movie's closing moments so he can stumble upon the gold-armored suit that laid hidden inside that submerged platform. Intermixed with Commissioner Gordon discovering the newly-repaired Bat Signal and Alfred arriving at that Florence café are shots where Blake is trying on the gold suit and the updated Bat cowl.

- Right after those shots where we see Alfred discovering that Bruce Wayne is alive and well at the café, and courting Selina Kyle, the final scene in The Dark Knight Rises is of Blake, in the gold-tinted Bat suit, on the rooftop of a skyscraper preparing to jump and soar into the air...similar to the final shot of Batman Begins. The scene can start two ways: With Blake holding the cowl in his arms before he puts it on and leaps off the building...or with him fully masked as the new Batman before he jumps and begins his role as the hero that Gotham deserves.

Azrael-Batman soars over Gotham in the comic book series KNIGHTFALL.

I can also post another journal entry where The Dark Knight Rises is left as-is, but the next Batman film would continue the story from the three Dark Knight flicks...with Blake (as Robin or Nightwing. Preferably Nightwing) needing help fighting a rising tide of criminals inside Gotham, only to see Azrael mysteriously show up on the scene to "help" Blake using his own brand of justice. Christopher Nolan doesn't need to return to direct this flick (though it would be TOTALLY awesome if he did), but Christian Bale would have to be convinced to return as Bruce Wayne and the real Batman somewhere down the line. Why? Read on...

You can create a new Batman trilogy that could closely follow the 1993-94 comic book series Knightfall, Knightquest and KnightsEnd—with Azrael becoming ever more reckless (with Blake struggling not to be forced to the sidelines by the Angel of Death) as Gotham faces a growing chorus of villains that create as much anarchy as the Joker did in The Dark Knight and destruction like Bane did in TDKR. The final film in the new trilogy would pit Azrael against Bruce Wayne, a la KnightsEnd. In fact, my titles for all three installments in this new trilogy would be Batman: Knightfall (first film), Batman: Knightquest (second film) and Batman: KnightsEnd (third film). Very original, I know. It would be awesome if Nolan and Bale returned to lend their talents for KnightsEnd... Hey, this is a fanfic, remember? That is all.

Azrael-Batman brawls with the real Batman in the comic book series KNIGHTSEND.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Wizard of Oz... If it was a choice between watching a Tomb Raider-ish version of the 1939 MGM classic or Sam Raimi's upcoming Disney flick, Oz: The Great and Powerful, it would actually be a tie. I could picture Angelina Jolie wreaking havoc as Dorothy and Billy Bob Thornton spewing some hilarious Bad Santa-esque profanity as the Wizard (sorry Brad Pitt), but The Great and Powerful does have Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams in it...so I can't say which movie would be a clear winner. I doubt the three lovely actresses mentioned above will wear any scantily-clad clothing in The Great and Powerful, so I'll lean towards choosing The Tomb Raider of Oz. Don't deny that that's a cool title.

I got the image below from one of my friends who posted it on Facebook.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

The Dark Knight Rises: Movie Review... So I saw Christopher Nolan's much-anticipated Batman film twice this weekend (the first viewing was last Friday, and the second screening was in IMAX yesterday), and all I can say is— This movie is absolutely amazing. While there are some very minor nitpicks I have about the final flick in The Dark Knight trilogy, it still ends the series on such a clever and heartfelt note. Much as how the Academy rewarded the brilliance of The Lord of the Rings trilogy by handing the Best Picture Oscar to The Return of the King in 2004, the same should be done to Nolan's phenomenal crime saga that's effortlessly disguised as a comic book movie franchise. Anything less than a Best Director win for Christopher Nolan come next February would be a travesty.

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Before I continue with this review, I'll just post a quick disclaimer about major plot points being discussed in this entry. In other words: Spoiler Alert. Watching 2005's Batman Begins will now have a different feel since The Dark Knight Rises borrows a ton of elements from Nolan's first Caped Crusader film. From the League of Shadows and Ra's al Ghul (plus his daughter...more on that soon) to the flashback scene in Batman Begins where Jim Gordon lays a coat over a young Bruce Wayne's shoulders after his parents were gunned down in a dark alley, The Dark Knight Rises brings the trilogy full circle by revisiting the movie that started it all. In fact, The Dark Knight Rises not only revisits Nolan's first Batman flick, it greatly expands on what made that film memorable. (Example: Cillian Murphy returns as the sinister Dr. Jonathan Crane. Although not dressed like the Scarecrow as he did in the last 2 movies, Crane still wreaks havoc on Gotham citizens in a way that makes The Dark Knight Rises' main villain, Bane, watch with approval.)

Tom Hardy as Bane in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

In terms of the characters, Christian Bale was both resourceful and intense as Bruce Wayne and Batman. His scenes with Alfred Pennyworth, played with an Oscar-caliber performance by Michael Caine, were definitely the most heartfelt in the movie. To see Bruce Wayne's butler/father figure plead—with tears in his eyes—to his young maestro not to don Batman's cowl again and battle criminals after an 8-year hiatus following the death of Harvey Dent in 2008's The Dark Knight, was incredibly moving. This scene has a satisfying payoff at the end of the film, when Alfred is at an Italian café (which he frequented often during the 7 years Bruce Wayne was absent from Gotham City during the timeline of Batman Begins, in the hopes that Alfred would one day run into the young billionaire) and sees that Bruce has finally decided to live the life his parents always wanted him to have.

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Anne Hathaway—who plays Selina Kyle and Catwoman (though this moniker is never mentioned on film)—completely shined in this role. Not only did Hathaway convey sexiness and wry sarcastic humor as the cat burglar, but she also showed that she was physically up to the task of kicking ass and taking names while wearing dark heels and a black high-tech mask and outfit. She had some of the best scenes in the movie...including being the one who dispatches Bane at the end of the flick (more on the Man Who Broke The Bat later), and also being the only one to leave Batman hanging in a conversation by quietly vanishing when his back is turned. "So that's what that feels like," Batman dryly says in this humorous scene. Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent would nod their heads in response.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Detective Blake and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Commissioner Jim Gordon, once again played with aplomb by Gary Oldman, was just as heroic in The Dark Knight Rises as he's always been since comforting Bruce Wayne following the deaths of his parents, and then using Batman's Tumbler to put an end to Ra's al Ghul's nefarious plan in Batman Begins. In The Dark Knight Rises, Jim Gordon is lying on a bed inside a hospital for much of the movie...after being shot by a mercenary working for Bane. (As mentioned above, more on the Man Who Broke The Bat in the next paragraph.) Although Gordon is bed-ridden, he has a loyal police officer named John Blake, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, patrolling the streets of Gotham for him. Gordon-Levitt plays Blake with a level of heroism that rivals that of Bruce Wayne when he's in the Bat suit, which greatly pays off at the end of the movie. Morgan Freeman, as Lucious Fox, once again shines as the character responsible for giving Wayne the gadgets he needs to fight crime (including the new aerial assault vehicle that is The Bat)...while there is more than meets the eye to Marion Cotillard's Wayne Enterprises board member, Miranda Tate. The twist that involves Tate at the end of the film, when she reveals to a wounded Batman (whom Tate stabbed with a knife just as the Dark Knight was about to defeat Bane) that she is Ra's al Ghul's daughter, Talia, should have been seen from ten miles away. However, Nolan conveys the whole "hidden in plain sight" motif with Miranda's secret identity in such a clever way that even die-hard Batman fans (like myself) were caught by surprise when the revelation was revealed. This is especially true after Marion Cotillard vehemently denied in interviews earlier this year that she played the child of Liam Neeson's League of Shadows leader. Talk about keeping your poker face on.

Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

In terms of the bad guy who ravaged Gotham for much of the film, Bane is simply awesome. Played in such a cool but intimidating manner by Tom Hardy, that fight scene between Bane and Batman in the sewer was totally intense, and it was even more intense to see the masked man take punches by Batman a lot less severely than Heath Ledger's Joker did in The Dark Knight. In fact, when Bane completely overwhelms the Caped Crusader with physical might and then lifts Batman into the air moments before breaking the hero's back, that's when I knew that Nolan was at the top of his game here. To see Bane actually break the Bat, like he did in the 1993 Knightfall series, shows that Nolan was just as focused in being loyal to the bad guy's comic book origins as he was trying to keep The Dark Knight Rises grounded in reality as much as possible. And for those of you who haven't seen the flick yet but caught the IMAX preview of the movie in front of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol last December, yes... Nolan did fix Bane's voice in the film. You can understand what he is saying 99% of the time in The Dark Knight Rises.

Morgan Freeman as Lucious Fox in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Dealing with small nitpicks that I have with the final Batman flick, I have only a few: 1.) How did Bruce Wayne return to Gotham City after making his way out of the pit (which was in another country thousands of miles across the ocean) that Bane condemned him to after breaking Batman's back? Especially after Wayne became penniless thanks to Bane's earlier attack on Gotham's Stock Exchange, thus preventing Wayne from presumably affording a plane ticket home. 2.) Was the TV set that Bane put in Wayne's prison cell so that Wayne could watch Gotham reduced to "ashes" always there? And how did the TV get reception when there was no satellite dish within the pit or outside of it in the shot where Wayne emerges and makes his escape? Did the League of Shadows order Verizon FiOS for the inmates stuck at the bottom of the pit? I kid. 3.) How could The Bat fly when its rotor was located below the aircraft instead of the top like a normal helicopter? I'm not an aerospace engineer, but the design seems impractical...though still friggin' awesome. And how far away was The Bat when the nuclear bomb went off at the film's climax? Apparently, it could withstand severe electromagnetic pulses. 4.) How much time did Batman spend spraying gasoline to that bridge tower to create the fiery Bat symbol for all of Gotham to see? And 5.) How does Bane eat (since his mask is surgically attached to his face)? I assume he gets nutrients intravenously—though he would have to consume substantial amounts of protein-laced liquid to get as big and muscular as he is in The Dark Knight Rises. FYI, only 2 of these 5 (multiple) questions are worth thinking about...the rest are, how should I say, facetious.

A camouflaged Tumbler, commandeered by Bane's men, wreaks havoc in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

So all-in-all, The Dark Knight Rises is a great film. Continuing the streak that started with his 2008 masterpiece (and proceeding with his 2010 Best Picture nominee, Inception), Christopher Nolan sure knows how to end his movies on such spectacular and epic notes. From the twist that Miranda Tate is Talia al Ghul and John Blake taking Bruce Wayne's place as the hero Gotham City deserves (though I personally prefer that Blake was alluded to as Azrael and not Robin, but the non-die-hard moviegoers wouldn't know who the golden-armored Angel of Death is), to the feel-good scene where Alfred—who in a few shots earlier was mourning the supposed death of Bruce Wayne—smiles as he discovers that the billionaire has chosen a normal life (dining with Selina Kyle at the Italian café) after saving Gotham one more time, The Dark Knight Rises indeed completes this comic book trilogy in grand fashion. Going back to Blake... When we see him enter the Batcave for the first time and then rises atop that platform before the movie cuts to ends credits, well— You know that Warner Bros. now faces the tough task of creating another Batman film that will at least be a fraction as epic as the ones that Nolan, who along with Christian Bale is calling it quits from this critically-acclaimed series, presented to us since 2005. Good luck to the director who'll succeed Nolan in making the Dark Knight rise again.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. ****1/2

Bruce Wayne must save Gotham City once more in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Tumbler from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES on display outside of the AMC CityWalk theater in Hollywood, on July 20, 2012.

The Dark Knight Rises... Click here to view additional photos that I took of a camouflaged Tumbler that was on display at the AMC CityWalk theater in Hollywood, where I watched Christopher Nolan's final installment in The Dark Knight trilogy yesterday. I'll post my review of The Dark Knight Rises soon, but I'll just let it be known that it would be a crime if Nolan wasn't at least given a Best Director Oscar nomination for this movie come next January. The film was just that phenomenal.

As mentioned in my Blog entry that's linked to above, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to those who knew the victims of yesterday's tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. I hope this tragedy doesn't deter people from watching The Dark Knight Rises. The movie is filmmaking at its best... Don't let some sick deranged individual scare you away from enjoying this cinematic achievement.

Honoring the victims of July 20's movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
Mark Rantal of Colorado Springs

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Image of the Day... One of my friends posted this clever meme on Facebook tonight. Liam Neeson has a good reason to unleash his fury (as seen in Taken and most definitely Taken 2, which will be released in theaters nationwide on October 5) on those who spoil the latest Batman film for him. He played Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins, and will once again show up as the League of Shadows leader in The Dark Knight Rises....in a flashback scene, that is. Oh c'mon, this news has been known since last year.

Click here to view the trailer for Taken 2.

Liam Neeson will TAKE his fury out on those who spoil THE DARK KNIGHT RISES for him.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The exclusive Bane poster that will be handed out for midnight IMAX screenings of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES on July 20.

One week from today, The Dark Knight Rises finally storms into theaters nationwide. For those of you planning to attend a midnight screening of the film on IMAX, you'll receive the cool Bane poster shown above. Check out the awesome final trailer below that combines footage from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The trilogy will soon be complete...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Daniel Cudmore as Master Chief in HALO 4: FORWARD UNTO DAWN.
Microsoft / 343 Industries

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn... After a failed attempt by Peter Jackson to produce a film adaptation of the video game that would've been directed by District 9's Neill Blomkamp, Microsoft—which created the hit Xbox series—is taking it upon itself to turn Halo into a live-action flick. Budgeted between $5 million and $10 million, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is set to debut as a 5-part Web series on Youtube this October. The 5 episodes will then be compiled into a 90-minute feature film (with 15 minutes of extra footage) that will be released on DVD around the same time the Halo 4 video game comes out. Daniel Cudmore, who played Colossus in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand, dons the helmet of Master Chief. The first webisode of Forward Unto Dawn will premiere on Youtube on October 5, while the video game itself will be released in retail stores on November 6.

Master Chief is surrounded by the casualties of war in HALO 4: FORWARD UNTO DAWN.
Microsoft / 343 Industries

In other news regarding blockbuster video games that are getting the live-action film treatment, Ubisoft—which created the Assassin's Creed series—cast Michael Fassbender (of X-Men: First Class and Ridley Scott's Prometheus) as the well-known assassin in the movie version Ubisoft is developing. Check out the awesome computer-generated trailer for the upcoming Assassin's Creed III (out in stores on October 30) below...and imagine how epic the movie would be if it was executed as well as this Youtube clip was. If these motion-captured CG characters and settings were replaced by real and respectable actors (besides Fassbender) in an authentic location and not merely a blue-screen set, and the music was conducted by composers such as...Hans Zimmer or Howard Shore (of the upcoming Hobbit films and The Lord of the Rings trilogy), then Ubisoft will have a nice cinematic winner on its hands. And all of this would be done without the help (or interference) of a major Hollywood movie studio.

Monday, July 9, 2012

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES' theatrical poster for IMAX.

"Let the games begin!" That's what Bane declares as he confronts Batman inside the Batcave in The Dark Knight Rises, which will be out in theaters nationwide on July 20th. Seeing as how more than an hour of Christopher Nolan's highly-anticipated flick was shot and will be shown on IMAX (whereas 40 minutes of 2008's The Dark Knight was filmed on the 70mm camera), it's only fitting that a theatrical poster and TV spot (from which Bane's quote was taken) would be released to promote the extremely large-screen format. As for the "game" that Bane plays with the Caped Crusader on the big screen 11 days from now— One wonders just how brutal but spectacular it will be between the mercenary who wants to "destroy Gotham" [another (unsurprising) line from Bane in the TV ad] and Batman in this film. The Dark Knight Rises is rated PG-13. I'm sure some vertebrae in Bruce Wayne's back would actually be broken (just as in the Knightfall comics from which Bane cemented his place in Batman lore almost 20 years ago) if the movie was rated R... Oh well.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) talk about hot chicks in TED.

Ted... I watched the stoner fantasy comedy right after I saw The Amazing Spider-Man at the theater on Tuesday, and what can I say; Seth MacFarlane did it again. He hilariously brings Family Guy's irreverence and raunchiness to his latest live-action flick, which is about a dude named John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) who develops a lifelong friendship with a teddy bear that magically came to life when Bennett was a child. Originally, I thought that Ted was voiced by Seth Rogen (seeing as how the stuffed animal completely sounds like the Knocked Up, Superbad and Green Hornet actor in TV commercials)...but I didn't know that MacFarlane also lent his voice to the trash-talking bear till I actually watched the movie. Of course, an inconsistency with the film is that Ted sounds like Rogen in one scene and Family Guy's Peter Griffin (who's also voiced by MacFarlane) in another!

Ted has a dinner conversation with John Bennett and Lori Collins (Mila Kunis) in TED.

Along with Mark Wahlberg, Ted's cast also includes the lovely Mila Kunis (who voices Meg on Family Guy and teamed up with Wahlberg in 2008's video game-inspired action flick, Max Payne), Joel McHale (of the NBC TV show, Community), Giovanni Ribisi (in a creepy Sandusky-ish role... If you watch the film you'd know what I was talking about), Patrick Stewart as the movie's narrator, and other Family Guy cast members Patrick Warburton and Alex Borstein. Ted also features cameos by gorgeous music artist Norah Jones, Tom Skerritt of Top Gun fame, Sam Jones of the 1980s TV show Flash Gordon and Ryan Reynolds in a brief but funny role. Everyone here is game to Ted's offbeat humor...with Ms. Jones talking about how she once got it on with the teddy bear, and Warburton and Reynolds playing a newly-merged gay couple. But the movie obviously revolves around Wahlberg's Bennett and Kunis' character Lori Collins...and how Ted continuing to be "thunder buddies" with Bennett is putting a strain on Bennett's relationship with Lori.

Ted parties with prostitutes in TED.

While the romance between Lori and John may seem heavy-handed at times, their relationship is still believable...and so is John's friendship with the teddy bear that became alive on Christmas morning in 1985. Although Ted, like John, becomes a foul-mouth bong smoker once he got older, he never loses the charm that makes a stuffed animal a person's best friend when he/she's a little child. Despite Ted making sexual comments about an employer's wife during a job interview (Ted got hired anyway because the employer liked the bear's trash-talking attitude), thanking Norah Jones "for 9/11" (despite the fact Jones is actually an Indian-American who's not Muslim) and partying with prostitutes in which one of them defecated on the floor of Lori's apartment, the audience I watched the movie with still responded with an "Awww" whenever a cute close-up of the teddy bear showed up on screen. And audience members remarked with "No!" when Giovanni Ribisi's creepy dad and his fat son/lover (according to Ted) was about to maim the teddy bear after he was kidnapped by the duo in the movie's climax. Oops, I forgot to say spoiler alert.

Ted chats with John Bennett on the way to Ted's job interview in TED.

So to give the gist of this review, I enjoyed the movie Ted. How many other films do you hear characters telling thunder (the sound that accompanies lightning...not Oklahoma City's professional basketball team that fell short of winning an NBA championship last month) to "suck their d**k"? And when's the next time you'll see an animated live-action teddy bear getting into a brawl with a duck? Yes, you heard right. And when's the next time you'll see a stuffed animal having sex with a hot blonde co-worker (despite the fact Ted commented later on in the film that he didn't have a penis. Did he use a strap-on or something? Okay, I won't go there)? These are only some of the many ridiculous scenes that make Ted a hilarious flick. If you're a fan of Family Guy and MacFarlane's other cartoons American Dad and The Cleveland Show, then you'll enjoy Ted. If you despise MacFarlane and think that the cartoons mentioned above are works of the devil, then you'll hate it. You'll probably despise it even more if you have Lou Gehrig's disease. See the movie to know what I'm talking about.

Oh, and the name of the teddy bear I had when I was a kid is Fuzzy. I'm sure he can score with a lot of hot trashy chicks if he came alive too. That is all.

Ted chills inside a bathtub at his own apartment in TED.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Spidey (Andrew Garfield) swings into action in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Movie Review... So I saw the latest installment in the webslinger film saga today, and the first thing that needs to be said is, yes— It is better than Spider-Man 3. And while it is on par with the first flick that was released in theaters in 2002, The Amazing Spider-Man isn't of the same caliber as 2004's Spider-Man 2...the best Spidey film so far. The Lizard looks very monstrous in director Marc Webb's take on the hit comic book movie franchise, but he isn't as memorable a villain as Doc Ock was in Spider-Man 2. Other than this though, Webb conveys the same awesome webslinging action that Sam Raimi pulled off in the three original films.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) share a moment in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

In terms of casting, Andrew Garfield did a good job portraying Peter Parker in the new flick. Like Tobey Maguire in the original trilogy, Garfield gives Parker that same high-pitched adolescent voice...though unlike Maguire, it seems like Garfield was not told to add any mass on before The Amazing Spider-Man began production. True to the comic book, Spidey isn't very buff in this movie. But what he lacks in stature, Garfield's webslinger makes up for in great agility and strength (as shown in that subway scene where Parker discovers his new powers after being bitten by a genetically-altered spider, and when he taunts a class bully to steal a basketball from Parker during that amusing moment in the gym). Emma Stone is believable and lovely as Gwen Stacy (who was played by Bryce Dallas-Howard in Spider-Man 3). There were no groans in the audience when a close-up of Stone was showed on the big screen—unlike when Kirsten Dunst had her close-ups as Mary Jane Watson in Spider-Man 2 and 3. Not to sound mean or anything; Dunst looked totally hot as a complete red head in the first Spider-Man film (especially in that memorable rain scene where she shares that upside-down kiss with Spidey).

Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) transforms into the Lizard in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

In terms of story, The Amazing Spider-Man's biggest weakness is that we have to watch the same events that transpired in the 2002 film—which is the problem with reboots. Much like Tim Burton's Batman and Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, where we see two different portrayals of Bruce Wayne's parents being gunned down on the street, we have to watch another depiction of Uncle Ben getting shot in this flick and a different take on how Parker responds to the tragedy and becomes Spider-Man. The material doesn't become original, so to speak, till Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) injects himself with a serum that will turn him into the Lizard. The best moments in this film are when Spidey confronts this villainous reptile in the sewers and above the skyscrapers of New York City...in awesome action scenes that Marc Webb executed with skill despite the fact his last directorial job on a major motion picture was the 2009 romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer.

Peter Parker has a conversation with Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

In terms of the film score, James Horner's music is good but doesn't seem as memorable as those composed by Danny Elfman for the first two Spider-Man flicks. Of course, I initially said the same thing about Elfman's score on the first Spider-Man movie after listening to his awesome music on the first Tim Burton Batman flick countless of times. The Amazing Spider-Man's music sounds very similar to Avatar, which Horner also worked on. This isn't a surprise though; Avatar's music sounds similar to that of Titanic, whose score also sounds similar to the one for Apollo 13. Don't get me wrong though— I like Horner's music. It's just that his scores haven't surprised me as much as Hans Zimmer's music does. (I didn't know that Zimmer composed the music for Disney's 1994 classic The Lion King till a few years ago... It totally sounds different from his scores on flicks such as Crimson Tide and Gladiator.) But let's not change the subject here.

After being bitten by a genetically-altered spider, Peter Parker discovers his new powers aboard a subway train in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

All-in-all, The Amazing Spider-Man is an entertaining movie. I'm not well-versed in Spidey lore, so I don't know (SPOILERS AHEAD) who that mysterious figure is who confronts Dr. Connors inside his jail cell during the movie's end credits. But I welcome that scene though...as I don't mind a sequel being made to this rebooted take on the film franchise executed with aplomb (for the most part) by Sam Raimi. I want to know what happens between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy after what transpired in the movie's climax, and if this rendition of Parker will meet Mary Jane in a future sequel. Just don't have Parker dance on the street though— Friggin' Spider-Man 3.

Spidey and Gwen Stacy share another moment in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.