Franchise Weekend – Spiderman 3 (2007)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Alvin Sargent (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Toper Grace, Bryce Dallas Holland

 

Plot: A strange black entity from another world bonds with Peter Parker and causes inner turmoil as he contends with new villains, temptations, and revenge.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Ending to Trilogy

 

Story: Spider-Man 3 starts as Peter Parker (Maguire) now living with Mary Jane (Dunst) with the whole city loving the Spider-Man which leaves Peter on top of the world, but Mary Jane is struggling to fit in after a string of poor reviews on her performing. Meanwhile Flint Marko (Church) the man that killed Uncle Ben has escaped prison as he looks to make amends for his errors finds himself in the middle of an experiment that turns him into the sandman.

Peter has plenty of life questions to find answers in for through the film because he wants to ask Mary Jane to marry him, faces competition from Eddie Brock (Grace) trying to take his job at the newspaper and Harry (Franco) trying to get his revenge loses his memory leading to the friendship to become fresh.

What Peter doesn’t know is there is a creature from space known as Venom starts attaching itself to Peter, giving Spiderman a darker side the Peter must learn how to fight off to remain the hero the city knows and loves, once this is done Eddie becomes Venom figure.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man 3

 

Characters – Peter is in the happiest part of his life, he is with Mary Jane, Spiderman is loved by the city and Harry has forgotten the vengeance he holds towards Peter. When Peter starts seeing his life come tumbling down around him once he gets infected by Venom he will face is toughest battle yet. Mary Jane has finally made it to the big stage but is being critically panned and without Peter’s support goes back to Harry, this is starting to become a one-dimensional character. Harry has been waiting for his chance to take out Peter but after it fails forgets his hate towards him until his memories return. Eddie Brock is a new rival photographer that wants to put Peter out of business but soon we learn the truth about him. Flint Marko is the man that really killed Uncle Ben and once he escapes from prison looks to make amends for his failures to his daughter but with new powers that make Peter need to fight him off. Gwen Stacy is a new love interest that could bring an end to Mary Jane and Peter.

PerformancesTobey Maguire doesn’t give as strong of a performance after the first two films but when you look at the reactions to everything Peter goes through you can see it in how he is acting. Kirsten Dunst does continue to slide in quality too but that is because the character continues to be written weakly.  James Franco does get to show a bigger range but also doesn’t get enough time for his character development to show his full talent. Thomas Haden Church does a good job here showing the pain his character feels through the film. Topher Grace does feel out of place at times in this film, he starts strong but slowly fades by the end.

StoryThe Peter Parker story arc is once again the most interesting part of the film as we see how he must face his own flaws to stop the problems in his life, he must learn the ups and downs of his actions.  The new enemies tests Spiderman to the next level as Sandman gives him a moral compass he needs to face while Venom shows who he could have become if he takes the wrong path but the battles are standard for the genre.

Action/AdventureThe action set pieces are bigger but are also fewer in number which makes them feel rewarding when we see the showdown.

SettingsWe do thankfully stay in New York for the setting which helps us show how the city has gotten used to the idea of Spiderman being there now.

Special EffectsThe effects were the most ambitious of the franchise, the Sandman was always going to be CGI and it does look weak now. When things are practical they work otherwise the weakness are clear.

Scene of the Movie – Sandman creation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I wasn’t a fan of the CGI

Final ThoughtsThis is the most panned of the Spiderman films but I feel it is a fitting ending to the trilogy, yes, it is weaker but the truth is, that it is being ambitious with the villains Peter must take on and reflects the problems he would face if someone he loved knew the truth.

 

Overall: Good ending to the trilogy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Spiderman 2 (2004)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Michael Chabon, Alvin Sargent (Screenplay) Stan Lee, Steve Ditko (Comic Book)

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Alfred Molina, Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons

 

Plot: Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Fun

 

Story: Spider-Man 2 starts with the beautiful opening credits that recap what happened in the first film, before we follow Peter Parker (Maguire) in his new roles as a pizza delivery boy. Peter is still struggling to be on time for the important moments of his life including college, times for being there for Mary Jane (Dunst) and Harry (Franco) who is still holding the grudge against Spiderman.

Harry now running Oscorp where he has Dr Otto Octavius (Molina) working on fusion energy technology but when an accident happens Otto becomes Doc Ock, who has 4 extra arms that control him as they take over the city.

 

Thoughts on Spider-Man 2

 

Characters – Peter Parker still finds himself running late to his important matters but he still finds time to fight crime even though Spiderman has become hated by his best friend. He must deal with his life crashing down around him now, his best friend hates his loyalty to Spiderman, Mary Jane has moved on and his powers are draining. He must overcome the difficult moments in life to defeat his latest enemy. Mary Jane has moved on from Peter and Harry but deep down she does still love Peter. Dr Otto Octavius does believe he can help change the world for the better but when he loses his love and becomes controlled by Doc Ock he wreaks havoc on the city.

PerformanceTobey Maguire once again brings us a performance worthy of leading any movie showing us in the early 2000’s he was one of the best in the industry. Kirsten Dunst is good enough but once again falls into the damsel in distress role taking away the talent we know she has. Alfred Molina is great as the villain here, he is filled with the emotionless actions but also feeling like he is smarter than everyone else in the film. James Franco is good but we are continuing to build his character up.

StoryThe story has two main parts, the first is looking at Peter Parker trying to balance his normal life or education, love and friendship with being Spiderman, giving himself the decision on whether to give up the Spiderman side of his life to be a better man or not. We also have a villain on the loose that wants to continue his experiments which could destroy the whole city. The conflict is strong through the story as having a superhero question his part in the battle which gives s edge of your seat viewing.

Action/AdventureThee action is toned down in places when you look at the number of sequences but the reality is they are much bigger sequences throughout the film that have increased peril for Spiderman to fight.

SettingsWe stay in New York which was always key to making this film the enjoyable experience we know it was going to be.

Special EffectsSeemingly remaining with practical effects with editing around them, this film does seem to feel like we are in a real-world city with real superheroes battling.

Scene of the Movie – Train sequence

That Moment That Annoyed Me I feel we need to start making Mary Jane stronger.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great continuation of the Spiderman evolution that was needed to keep things feeling fresh in the genre.

 

Overall: Enjoyable continuing Spiderman films

Rating

 

 

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

 

 

Justin Long Weekend – Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Director: Sam Raimi

Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi (Screenplay)

Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza

 

Plot: A loan officer who evicts an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.


Tagline – Even nice people can go to hell.

Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scary Filled Horror

 

Story: Drag Me to Hell starts where we meet mild manner loan officer Christine (Lohman), trying for the vacant assistant managers job, dating a professor Clay (Long) and generally just being a nice timid person. Christine’s day seems routine enough, but when Mrs Ganush (Raver) comes to her for an extension on the loan she must reject it.

Mrs Ganush begs and pleads for an extension, before being shamed, this forces her to put a curse on Christine, one that causes nightmares, day terrors and the need to solve this before it is too late.

 

Thoughts on Drag Me to Hell

 

Characters – Christine Brown is one of the best modern horror characters, she does an honest job, she isn’t rude, pushy or arrogant, she just makes a living the best she can. She has worked her way up to a potential assistant manager role. She is filled with innocence it adds to the horrors we see her having to experience after she gets cursed. Clay is the supportive boyfriend, a professor of psychology, he doesn’t believe in the supernatural even being the annoying rude figure to a fortune teller. Mrs Ganush is the gypsy that has seen her loan go bad, she needs an extension again which Christine much reject, we feel little sympathy towards her and the motivation for putting the curse on Christine.

PerformancesAlison Lohman is brilliant in this role, we truly believe that she is the character of innocent nature. Alison is the true star of this movie, she goes through the most too. Justin Long is good in his role even if he is only the supportive boyfriend. Lorna Raver is great as the gypsy woman as you are filled with fear watching her.

StoryThe story follows one young woman that is doing her job and she gets cursed by a vengeful customer. While this story does follow the traditions with its linear idea of woman needs to find away to lift curse as the hauntings are getting worse each time she is haunted. We get to look into curses and how they can have people attempt to lift them while haunting continue to get worse. It could easily be thrown into the idea of one woman dealing with guilt.

HorrorThe horror in this movie is almost none stop, when it hits we do know when things happen and each moment becomes more terrifying.

SettingsThe film does keep us in a normal American city, it shows how the everyday life of Christine is routine until the curse gets thrown on her, this takes us to more horror related location.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed for the most part, we have great horror effects when it comes to practical, but hits us with weak CGI moments only draw us back.


Scene of the Movie –
Prepare the goat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Clays behaviour to the fortune teller, way to generic.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best modern horror movies out there, we have terrifying scenes which are built up perfectly for the horror.

 

Overall: Must watch horror movie.

Rating

 

 

Darkman (1990)

logoDirector: Sam Raimi

Writer: Chuck Pfarrer, Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Daniel Goldin, Joshua Goldin (Screenplay) Sam Raimi (Story)

Starring: Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels, Larry Drake, Nelson Mashita, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, Rafael H. Robledo, Dan Hicks, Ted Raimi

 

Plot: Peyton Westlake (Neeson) is a scientist who has discovered a way to produce synthetic skin. This could revolutionise skin grafting, except for one minor glitch; the synthetic skin degrades after 100 minutes of exposure to light. When gangsters attack Peyton, he is horrifically burnt, and assumed dead. In his quest for revenge, Peyton, AKA the Darkman is able to take on the appearance of anyone (Using the synthetic skin) but he only has 100 minutes per disguise.

 

Verdict: A comic book hero is born

 

Story: When it comes down to revenge driven storylines it is always about how far they have been pushed or left for dead before making the return from the impossible to get full out revenge. This offers an over the top kill leaving the hero horribly burnt, all this fuels he revenge not just because of the crimes committed against him but the life he had to give up. As all good vigilantes he uses what he knows best his science to take down the villains. With this out in 1990 it really did pave the way for other films with similar story motives to be made, yes the story is simple and the science in complicated but it sums up dark comic book style action. (8/10)

 

Actor Reviews

 

Liam Neeson: Peyton Westlake the scientist looking to change the future, but when the mobsters attempt to kill him, he comes back for revenge and to reclaim his lost love. Great performance from Neeson, showing that he was ready to take Hollywood on. (8/10)

 neeson

Frances McDormand: Julie the lawyer girlfriend of Peyton who uncovered a secret that ended up being the catalyst for everything. Moves on after his death quickly but never stops loving him. Good performance in the heroine of the piece role. (7/10)

frances

Colin Friels: Louis the business man with the plan to rebuild big part of the city even if it means stepping on everyone in the way. Good villain role that doesn’t get revealed until late on in the film, also shows that human villainy people can have. Good performance playing the weaselling business man. (7/10)

 louis

Larry Drake: Robert the gangster who put Peyton in his current state, ruthless and has an obsession with cutting of fingers with a cigar cutter. Good performance creating a villain everyone is scared off. (8/10)

 durant

Director Review: Sam Raimi – Following on from the Evil Dead films this fits all of what Sam is about dark, comic without losing its serious side. (8/10)

 

Action: Plenty of action sequences with the best being Darkman hanging on to a helicopter going around town. (9/10)

Crime: Plenty of crime driven storylines with the gangster against the police and getting away with things. (9/10)

Fantasy: The science behind the Darkman is stuff of fantasy comics. (8/10)

Thriller: Keeps you interested and wondering what the next disguise will be. (8/10)

Settings: All dark setting adding to the story of the broken down town in need of a hero. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Great special effects to create the burnt effects and explosions as well as with the creation of the false faces. (9/10)

Suggestion: This will be one for the comic book fans, even though it isn’t based on a comic book, it just has the same feel as most of them. (Comic Book Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: The helicopter chase around town.

Worst Part: Not enough support characters built.

Action Scene Of The Film: The helicopter chase.

Kill Of The Film: Rick

Believability: Creates the human side of the battle but all very farfetched. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel:  Has two sequels with different actor as Darkman.

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $48,878,502

Budget: $16 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: Now, Crime Has a New Enemy, And Justice Has a New Face!

Trivia:Sam Raimi wanted Bruce Campbell to play the lead role, but the producers were uncertain that Campbell could handle the part. He does make a cameo though.

 

Overall: Great Comic Book Like Action Film

Rating 85