Franchise Weekend – Spiderman (2002)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: David Koepp (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Spiderman Movie

 

Story: Spider-Man starts as we meet high school student Peter Parker (Maguire), he only had one friend at school and that is over privileged Harry Osborn (Franco) and his high school crush Mary Jane (Dunst) attending a field trip at science laboratory where Peter gets bitten by one of the spiders.

The next day Peter finds himself stronger and more aware than ever, he has gained the spider skills, Peter uses his time to learn his abilities, but when his Uncle Ben (Robertson) becomes a victim of crime, Peter becomes Spiderman protecting New York City from the criminals.

With high school finished Peter and Harry move to New York, where they find jobs, but Peter has been fighting crime become front page news. Harry’s father Norman a CEO at Oscorp determined to make the most money unleashes the Green Goblin on the city, giving Spiderman his first opponent that will tests his abilities.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man

 

Characters – Peter Parker is the socially awkward high school outcast, he does have the brains to become anything but when he gets bitten he becomes Spiderman where he starts to fight to protect his city after losing his Uncle. Norman Osborn is the career driven genius that will go to any lengths to be the leading developer in government technology, but when he loses his way, he goes out to stop anyone with his Green Goblin persona. Harry is Peter’s best friend and son of Norman, he watches how everything unfolds but also starts dating Mary Jane. Mary Jane is the high school crush of Peter, she does stick up for him as they share the same dreams.

PerformanceTobey Maguire is great in this leading role showing the innocence side of Peter but away from the high school age. Kirsten Dunst is a beautiful Mary Jane and while mostly the damsel in distress does give us a good performance. James Franco showed us all the potential he has started to show us in this role. Willem Dafoe enjoys the villainous role through the film and is easy one of the better conflicted villains in the universe.

StoryThis is an origin story for Spiderman that came out just when the superhero boom was starting up, it bought us a new hero to root for and one that was filled with the odd joke. We have the motivation for Peter to become Spiderman, a friendship which will become important through this franchise and a villain that is conflicted with why he is doing the things he is doing. It may well be a by the book origin story it does have enough darker moments to make us see the light in his actions.

Action/AdventureThe action fits the comic book genre perfectly with the adventure side of the film coming from just what Peter is learning of his new skills.

SettingsNew York City makes for the setting here, much like in the comics, it works because of the landscape that Spiderman will be taking on with his web slinging.

Special EffectsThe effects for this film show us that practical effects could still make an excellent film, the CGI feels very little.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me You do feel like we needed more of the high school side of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an origin film that does hit the marks, a villain that can do enough damage but is never a true threat, learning the correct path and building a bigger picture for the whole franchise.

 

Overall: Easily one of the best origin stories.

Rating

 

 

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Halloween Kingathon – Riding the Bullet (2004)

Banner-2logoDirector: Mick Garris

Writer: Mick Garris (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Jonathan Jackson, David Arquette, Cliff Robertson, Barbara Hershey, Erika Christensen, Barry W Levy

Plot: When a man finds out his mother is dying and tries to hitch-hike his way to the hospital, he is picked up by a stranger with a deadly secret.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Unchallenging Horror

Story: Riding the Bullet starts by showing our main character Alan growing up with his mother Jean (Hershey). With the credits over we meet art student Alan (Jackson) who has a fascination with death whose girlfriend Jessica (Christensen) is leaving him. This leads to a failed suicide attempt even though it was only a prank to throw a surprise birthday party.

Even though Jessica still leaves Alan she leave him with two tickets to Toronto rock concert to see John Lennon’s band but due to Alan’s mother having a stroke he has to return home to be with her. Alan has to hitch-hike back home where he relives moments of his childhood while being tested by the crazed George Staub (Arquette) who makes him pick his own life or his mother’s life.

Riding the Bullet plays out that a trip down memory lane with elements of horror while giving our character a real trip. The mix of flash backs works well but the needless false awakens get boring quickly because you give up caring about whether they will be shocking or not. I also feel this film never captures the full effects of horror leaving us stuck in the middle of genres and not sure if it will be a growing up film or a horror film. (5/10)

Actor Review

Jonathan Jackson: Alan Parker is the art student that hitch-hike homes to see his sick mother only to find himself facing up to his own demons as well as being tested by the ghost of a victim on of the road he is travelling along. Jonathan does a solid job in the role. (6/10)alan

David Arquette: George Staub starts off as a help driving picking up Alan but it soon becomes clear that he is in fact dead and haunting the road looking to collect souls and this time he puts Alan in the impossible position of having to pick himself or his mother. If anyone can play crazy it would be David and he does a god job in the role. (7/10)georgge

Support Cast: Riding the Bullet has a supporting cast that includes the people Alan meet on his journey as well as the friends from college, they all effects the thinking of Alan as the film unfolds.

Director Review: Mick GarrisMick is often the go to guy for Stephen King adaptation but I do feel this one is one of his weaker efforts. (6/10)

Horror: Riding the Bullet doesn’t reach the horror levels you would like to think it could have. (5/10)

Thriller: Riding the Bullet doesn’t really make you want know what happens and doesn’t pull you to the edge of your seat. (4/10)

Settings: Riding the Bullet keeps most of the settings along one road as Alan tries to find his way home. (7/10)

Suggestion: Riding the Bullet is one for the King fans to enjoy otherwise it could be one you miss. (King Fans Watch)

Best Part: David Arquette really stands out.

Worst Part: Too many dream sequences.

Scariest Scene: Under the hat

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

Tagline: The dead travel fast

Overall: Road Trip with hallucination

Rating 55