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What the Saturday?

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life Aug 14 2017 · 51 views
America, I have a dream
:kaukau: Saturday was my birthday. Yay me. I didn't do anything, except meet up with a friend that I hadn't seen in years and talk for five hours at a cafe. After that, lazy day. I worked on a letter a little bit that's for someone else's birthday. I drew a picture. Read a little from the The Complete Lojban Language. Tried flipping through my book on Ithkuil. Had a milkshake at McDonald's. Took a nap.

What I'm glad that I didn't do that Saturday was turn on the news. If I had, I would have been in a bad mood all day. Instead, I got to put off all of that intense anger until Sunday. And mark my words, I'm pretty angry. I thought that if history books taught us anything, it's that attitudes like that should stay in history books.




Google "Maps"

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life Aug 07 2017 · 70 views
Google Maps, IRS, taxes, fun and 1 more...
:kaukau: It just occurred to me that Google Maps is a misnomer. It's more like Google Map. It's all one giant map.

Also, I'm using it to find my way to the nearest offices of the Internal Revenue Services. I've been trying to get on top of all of my tax information for the better part of this year. Expect a rant on this later.



Good News for Wonder Woman

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies Aug 04 2017 · 64 views
Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins and 3 more...
:kaukau: Her movie is just about to surpass $400 million domestically, and in a week's time she might even surpass the original Spider-Man. That will make her movie the highest grossing debute solo film in superhero history. She's also getting close to surpassing Iron Man 3. This is very good news for DC, and also very good news for women in general. I would especially like for Wonder Woman to surpass the domestic gross of the billionaire playboy's highest grossing film. It's not that I don't like Tony Stark, since he's a fun character and his flaws make him relateable, but I do want a movie about a female superhero to be as successful as possible. If Wonder Woman surpasses Iron Man 3 on her first outing, that makes an incredibly powerful statement.

It should be noted that though her opening weekend box office has been lower than all of Marvel's recent opening weekends, her movie has had excellent longevity. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which generated amazing excitement, opened significantly higher than Wonder Woman, but in terms of domestic box office, she actually has the colorful Space Avengers beat. That's incredibly impressive. People only come back for things like that so many times if it really has a special meaning to them.

To add to the good news, there are some reports that WB is considering a "For Your Consideration" campaign to get this film nominated by the Academy. With the upgraded size of the Best Picture category, there are hopes to make Wonder Woman the first superhero film to ever get nominated for the coveted award. It wouldn't win, not in a million years, but imagine the precedent. They're apparently also considering campaigning for Patty Jenkins to get nominated for Best Director, which I find less likely given just how impressive some directors have been this year, both well-known and little-known, but I can't deny that if she was nominated, I'd feel personally very satisfied. One could campaign on the platform that it was a great deal of uncertainty in whether or not anyone would be able to pull the movie off, given the doubt that's been plaguing a debute Wonder Woman film for so long. That, and WB has the money to potentially win a nomination, and we as a society are itching really bad to give Patty Jenkins as much congratulations as possible. If the movie has any chance to win in a major category, I truly think that its best shot is with Gal Gadot for Best Actress in a Leading Role. I haven't heard rumors that WB will be campaigning for this, but I think that she truly has a shot, and that would be amazing. While I can't say that the film is good enough in any other category to win any Oscars, I can truly get behind Gal Gadot winning Best Actress. While it isn't a Daniel Day-Lewis type performance, it's still basically the performance of the year, and it's stuck with people.

So not only did DC make the first tentpole movie about a female superhero, but they're doing it with style.

P.S. Wonder Woman is one of my favorite characters. I love Wonder Woman and think that she's amazing. She inspires me and means a lot to me. I really like that Patty Jenkins gave her that hopeful and idealistic optimism that was present with Christopher Reeve's Superman. I acknowledge that the final boss fight in this movie isn't perfectly executed, but otherwise, I'm biased to love this movie and want it to do better than all other movies.



2028 Summer Olympics in L.A.

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Music Aug 02 2017 · 58 views

:kaukau: It's been confirmed, eleven years in advance. I'm a bit worried. It will be awesome, of course, but the major question is whether or not John Williams will live to be 96. I sincerely wish to attend an Olympics with an opening ceremony scored by the Maestro.

On a related note, scientists need to invent a cure for aging soon. If you can get John Williams to live forever, you can basically assure world peace.



Dunkirk Review

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Events Jul 31 2017 · 51 views
Chistopher Nolan, World War II and 3 more...
Dunkirk Review :kaukau: Dunkirk is a Christopher Nolan film that branches off into a significantly different genre for the director, but remains quintessentially a Nolan film. For most people, that's enough to determine whether or not this film is for them. For the rest who might be on the fence over whether or not they'll like it, that's what this review is for.

First off, when I say that this is a Christopher Nolan film, that includes his non-linear editing. People going into this need to know that it isn't a traditional war movie and that it chooses to be a bit more artistic. There were several theatres to the conflict, which took place at different times, and Nolan took the areal, naval, and land battles and told them all at once. There were probably two reasons for this, the first being that this is Nolan's signature style, and the second being that what he dramatically wanted to achieve was to present the event in history as a single moment. The evacuation at Dunkirk, called Operation Dynamo in real life, feels like something that happened in a single day, and that everything happened all at once. Doing this increases the tension, and Nolan's goal was to take that one note and carry it out for as long as possible.

Because of that, this isn't necessarily a movie about story. There is a story, but it's very minimal. The point of the movie isn't necessarily to tell a complicated history report, but to make an experience. On that basis, Dunkirk succeeds in what it sets out to achieve. Now personally, I wish that it had done more to market itself as this. Plenty of people I know assumed that Nolan was trying his hand at a conventional war film. That tells me that the marketing team did not achieve what they were supposed to.

As a movie meant to be experienced, not told, it doesn't have particularly memorable characters. The battle is the main character, not any individual person. Nolan made the creative decision to treat them as faceless statistics that easily get lost in the masses. This deconstructs the idea that each soldier is "special" in the Hollywood sense. People have both liked and disliked this aspect of the movie. I personally feel both positive and negative towards this. On one hand, I want the soldiers to be humanized and presented in a way that I feel like I'm genuinely in their shoes. On the other hand, I understand the importance of not wanting to make this a movie about Hollywood heroism. That means that Harry Styles doesn't really get any moment to shine -- he was good in this film, by the way, and it isn't a bad start to an acting career. I mention that last bit because I just know that there are people to whom this Harry Styles business really matters. It should also be noted that all of the characters in the film, every last one, was fictional. They don't represent anyone specific, but rather a general idea of what people in their position went through. So again, you're not getting a story so much as a feel for the situation.

As a war movie, there are some shortcomings. It tells the standard "War is HeII" story, but doesn't really add anything to the genre that has gone to far greater extremes to make the point. Most famously, Coppola, Spielberg, and Gibson have made the grueling torture of war as explicit as possible. Less famously, there are directors like Verhoeven. A lot of these directors depict some true atrocities onscreen, but Nolan is known for staying reliably in the PG-13 area. There's no blood in this movie, and all of the deaths are in the background. It's much more tame.

In addition to the "War is HeII" narrative, it ends with a much more specific message that the soldiers who fled from Dunkirk felt that they weren't heroes and would be treated as failures when they got back home, only to be surprised when the British people celebrated their return and affirmed that they were indeed heroes. The theme was there throughout the movie, getting mentioned in brief moments. Some people will appreciate the subtlety, while others might find it annoying that the film doesn't spend more time to get the audience emotionally invested in the theme.

As a history film, there are things to like and dislike. Whenever I review anything based off of true events, it's important to mention accuracy. Some people have picked apart the historical inaccuracies, and a lot of them are nitpicks. For example, the German airplanes didn't have yellow noses until a month after the battle, and one of the cruisers used was French and dressed up to look British. There were legitimate reasons for those creative decisions, so I have no problem with those. Another criticism is that the story pays almost no attention to the French, which is just a matter of focus. I will say, if the film wasn't about capturing an experience and a moment, it would have had more time for that. There were some bigger problems that would disturb history buffs, namely that the actual town of Dunkirk, which Nolan shot on-location, was modern-day Dunkirk and not the giant pile of rubble that was 1940 Dunkirk. Almost all of the civilian ships used to evacuate the troops were not sailed by their owners, but commandeered by the government; the movie does acknowledge this though in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment that explains that Mark Rylance's character is one of the minority of shipowners who personally took part in the operation. The biggest historical discrepancy was that the film gives the impression that the civilian ships saved most of the troops, when actually they only picked up about a third of those evacuated.

Overall, Nolan does go to great lengths to make sure that he visually represents history very well. He looked at a great deal of photographs from the battle and tried to incorporate what he saw in those into the production, as well as his cinematography.

The cinematography bears special mentioning. Back in the day, I watched STAR WARS as a little kid when it was re-released in theatres, and ever since I've had a deep love of music and cinematography. I'll get to the music later, but for now, let's talk about the camerawork. I'm a major fan of Nolan's new cinematographer. Much has been made of Nolan's longstanding relationship with his previous cinematographer, Wally Pfister, but I've found that his new collaborations with Hoyte van Hoytema to be his first works truly notable for their visual beauty. Perhaps that's because he started collaborating with Hoytema immediately after his switch to consistently using IMAX cameras, which could very well be the case. Leading up to this film, as with Interstellar, Nolan made a big fuss about how he was using IMAX cameras and shooting on film. It's a little bit pretentious, but as it happens, I share his philosophy on this, and I completely agree that it improves the experience. The image quality is astounding. Being inspired by actual war photography, Hoytema is given some genuinely interesting things to capture. The lighting in every scene is astounding. It's been advertised to be like a virtual reality experience, and I can't argue with that. My favorite visuals of the film came from the areal dogfights, which looked really simple, but drew me in for how vast and spacious they were with IMAX film. Visually, my only wish is that there were a few shots that really showcased just how massive the operation was and gave us a better view of the boats as they arrived on the shores of France.

Musically, this film is less ambitious, although rather daring. It takes the basic premise of the Jaws theme and takes it up to eleven. With very few exceptions, the entire film is filled with tension-building ticking noises and high strings. Every scene is perpetually taught, like it's building up to something. The sound of the clock interestingly distorts time in this movie, since everything is shot out of order and yet rhythmically feels as though everything is happening simultaneously, in real-time. Creatively, I understand the decision, although I will disagree with people who say that it's a surefire win for an Academy Award. Although the music successfully manipulated the viewer to create the desired experience, its means were the definition of formulaic and Hans Zimmer in no way challenged himself.

The sound editing, interestingly, is one of Nolan's most controversial creative choices. It seems to me that a lot of people who liked this movie disliked the loud noises. He made a similar decision with his last film, and it's even more noticeable here. That is, he chose to make the dialogue hard to understand, to be true to real life. The average movie goers seems to dislike this, but this is a case where I actually agree with the snobby critics and the academy. This is good sound editing, and I wouldn't complain if it won an Academy Award. It made the film 3D without any sort of 3D gimmicks.

Overall, this is a film to be experienced, very much like his last film, Interstellar. It probably won't translate well to the small screen, so I suggest that if this is your thing, don't wait until then and go see it now.



Valerian and the Review of a Thousand Words

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Events Jul 30 2017 · 38 views
space opera, Luc Besson and 1 more...
Valerian and the Review of a Thousand Words :kaukau: I liked it. Only real complaint is that the title Valerian and the City of A Half Dozen Worlds would have been more accurate. Luc Besson gave us some pretty amazing things to look at, but not quite as much as I thought I was going to get. Going off of the trailers, I thought that I was going to have the most complete triptastic experience ever. It was still triptastic...but it actually focused more on story than I thought that it would. I also thought that the story would be as simple as that in his previous space opera, The Fifth Element, where the conflict was so silly that it could literally be described as "big ball of pure evil is heading toward Earth." The conflict in this one? Still fit for a space opera, but not quite as silly. Depending on your point of view, that may or may not be a good thing.

Another thing that surprised me was that Valerian and Laureline had a surprising amount of character. I'm not saying that they're as distinct as this year's Logan, Peter Quill, Wonder Woman, Peter Parker, or Caesar, but they had actual personalities. The advertisements didn't suggest anything of the sort. I thought that they were going to be simple avatars for getting us through this world, but they were slightly more than that. Another thing that surprised me is that I thought that Dane DeHaan had an annoying voice. Cara Delevingne is an actress who's only just getting into modeling, and a ton of people were complaining about that in the Youtube comments section, so I thought that if either of the characters would be a little less enjoyable to watch, it would be hers. Not that I expected that, because I didn't think that her acting ability would be that important to the plot. You know, kind of like in those old 80's flicks, where the bad acting of action heroes like Arnold Schwartzenegger was part of their charm. However, Dane DeHaan, who has legitimate acting credentials, gave Valerian a slightly obnoxious voice. I'm not entirely sure why. Given who his character was, it would have made a little bit more sense for him to play the part like David Tennant.

That's where my criticism of the film stops. One guy had a slightly annoying voice, and the film wasn't as jam-packed with silly, extreme spectacle as the trailers were. I think that the main reason for the latter criticism is that in the films third act, they really begin to focus on one planet in particular. However, that story was actually fine. I liked it. It was still entertaining.

But speaking of entertainment, I would love to talk about my favorite parts of the film. For what I went to see, I particularly enjoyed the first act, which involved a tour guide who reminded me of everyone's favorite nuisance from The Fifth Element, and a very creative chase scene through an interdimensional market. It utilized a science fiction idea that I had had for a while and never thought anyone else would think of, and I admired the technical thought process of the director that allowed for this scene to happen. It played off of a real great scientific "what if" and also gave me a cool adventure at the same time.

Right before the first act really starts, during the prologue, there's a truly beautiful sequence about the founding of the futuristic society that the film is set in. I won't give much about it away, but I found it tearjerking, and it reminded me of some of the things that I absolutely love about being born in this era of history. You'll have to watch it in order to understand why.

I liked when Laureline went on a submarine with some guy with a crazy mustache and differently-colored eyes. That was an awesome sequence, and I love that everyone in this film is just generally weird. This especially is especially true in the part of the adventure that included Rihanna. The only thing that I would have changed about that part of the movie would be to make Ethan Hawk play a mo-cap alien, because everything's better with more aliens.

There were a couple of generals. One of them is obviously the bad guy who did something evil and is trying to cover it up (think of the movie Serenity), and the other is a general who thinks what the audience is thinking. You know, stuff like "Information on a destroyed planet is classified and can only be read by the other guy. I don't know what to think of that yet, but that probably isn't a good sign."

For those who know me, they know that I pay attention to the score in every film that I watch, basically as much as the story. I don't remember the notes, but I remember the score being vibrant and keeping the world colorful, which is definitely one of the things that I wanted going in to this movie.

Too bad it's bombing at the box office. This is Luc Besson's lifelong passion project. It cost a lot of Euros to make, and I ran them through the converter to estimate that it cost $223 million. It's not going to make its money back, so I'm guessing that he's decided that he's going on with a bang. It could very well be that this is his last film. But I don't want it to be. I would love sequels to this. I'd love to see him get even crazier. This is one of the OG space operas, and he's one of the best directors for that genre. I would love to see this make enough money to give Europacorp some incentive to take a risk on him again.

One of the reasons I found this so entertaining was because, even though we already had a space opera earlier this year, this one feels a little more fresh, because it's a spectacle film that isn't part of a major franchise. Even though I enjoyed all of the superhero movies this year and think that they were all slam-dunks, they all sort of cancel each other out. They all bleed together. This experience stood out to me a little more.

By all means, go see it.



Dunkirk was a terrible movie

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Reviews, Movies Jul 29 2017 · 166 views
Christopher Nolan, sucks and 3 more...
Dunkirk was a terrible movie :kaukau: I haven't felt this strongly about a film since 2013.

Good cinematographer
Good sound technicians
Good production designer

Everything else sucked. You don't feel for a single character, not to mention that literally everyone on-screen is fictional. I remember when he released this thinking, "Ah, for once Christopher Nolan can make a traditional film in a genre that should be larger than him as a director. If nothing else, we won't have any more of this non-linear storytelling." As it happens, I was wrong. And if anyone can shoehorn non-linear storytelling into a movie where it doesn't belong, it's Christopher Nolan.

Seriously? We're going to do this with a WWII movie? And all in the space of one battle? Really, Nolan? He's beginning to remind me of M. Night Shyamalan, who makes strange directing choices that scream "Hey look! I'm directing!" and "Ask me what it means!" This is basically proof that Christopher Nolan cares more about patting himself on the back for being an auteur than actually making a good movie. He loves himself more than he does film. And he somehow has the gall to market himself as "the last remaining vestige of classical, decent and respectable film making."

No. No, Mr. Nolan. You are not. You are a hack. You are a snob. All you care about it creating this illusion that you're smarter than everyone else, and being hailed as a savior for the modern film making business by delusional fans. You want to be important. In every film, you create a ridiculously conspicuous awareness that you're directing, overshadowing everything else about it. Want to make an historical epic about World War II? Nope. There's no such thing as an actual World War II film in Christopher Nolan's mind, only a Christopher Nolan film that happens to be set in World War II. Then, just like all of your other films, include some things that sound deep, and then do non-linear storytelling to make people think that you're making a much deeper point than you really are, to convince them that "only smart people appreciate them, and I'm sorry that your unsophisticated mind can't comprehend it."

Well, I'm calling the emperor out on having no clothes. He's butt naked. He's a fraud.

And on top of that, while Hans Zimmer has put out a few good scores, his collaborations with Nolan represent everything that I hate about modern movie music, and his Dunkirk score took it to the extreme. 99% of the score for Dunkirk mimics the ticking of a clock, or a heartbeat, or panting, or whatever else goes to a high-strung tempo. It's all one-note, and it's always taught all of the time. It always sounds like it's about to crescendo. And it all sounds the same. Guys, I think I've discovered the ultimate Hans Zimmer soundtrack. It's every negative stereotype associated with Hans Zimmer taken to the utmost extreme. It doesn't even fit the setting, because it sounds so ridiculously modern.

With Dunkirk, there is so much story that you can tell. For example, how Winston Churchill organized it all. That's fascinating. You can tell a huge story about organizing this. No such story. You can tell a very interesting story on the reasons speculated as to why Adolf Hitler halted hit troops' advance. You could tell any other number of stories. You could tell any story, actually.

But Christopher Nolan literally has no story. He just randomly jumps back and forth, in a non-linear fashion, between three different casts of characters that you don't really care about. Some faceless guy on the beach. A family who runs one of the boats. A couple of pilots. You don't try to make us sympathize with any of them, because you're too obsessed with telling a non-linear "story" in order to look smart. None of these characters go through any arc's. And for your film's supposed theme that the soldiers of Dunkirk were heroic, you don't actually try to make anyone feel the same amount of fear that they do. You don't humanize them.

I'm going to go out and say it: I hate this movie just as much as Pearl Harbor. I watched it with a few elderly people, and they liked it, but they're not aware of the context of this film. The release of this film takes place within the context of a world that has Christopher Nolan fever, and a fan base that campaigns for his name to be lauded as the greatest director of all time. People speak of him as though he were infallible. It has gone to his head. Not a single one of his films comes off as sincere to me, other than his earliest movies. I know that a lot of World War II veterans won't be offended by this film. They'll think "Hey, it's about us!" No, this isn't about you. It's all about him. It has always been about him. He's only using you to get more power. He's exploiting the Greatest Generation to gain immortality.

So suffice to say, I don't like Christopher Nolan. He used to merely just not be my style, but now I intensely dislike him.

Go watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets instead.



The Room Review

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Reviews Jul 27 2017 · 58 views
Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero and 3 more...
:kaukau: I just watched the most famous bad movie of all time. Various Youtube channels have completely spoiled the movie for me, so I've basically seen the entire movie already, so it was a bit of a downer. My suggestion is that you don't watch any of those videos out there about the film. Instead, take my word for it, and be one of the few who actually goes out and buys the DVD off of Tommy Wiseau's site, and watch it with minimal knowledge of the movie (save for the part where there's uncensored nudity; you might actually want to be mentally prepared for that in advance). Just take my word for it. It is gloriously bad, in every conceivable way.

In the near future, I think I plan on watching the film several more times, memorizing the scenes, in order to prepare myself for one of those cult screenings. I really look forward to watching one of those someday. Sure, it will cost me a fortune in plastic spoons, but it will be worth it.

Oh, hai SPIRIT!



War for the Planet of the Apes review

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Reviews Jul 26 2017 · 36 views

War for the Planet of the Apes review :kaukau: Instead of being named after the original Planet of the Apes, this series should have titled itself after Caesar. If you think about it, this series has very little to do with exactly how the planet of the apes setting came about. Asides from the initial accident which created the virus that wiped out humans and shot up the ape IQs, none of the actions of any of the characters ultimately did anything to determine the course of history. Nothing Caesar did had any impact on what the planet of the apes would look like a hundred years in the future, in the year 0 C.H. (Charlton Heston). In spite of title of this most recent film, nothing in the trailers suggested that the war would be a crucial turning point that would determine anything of lasting importance, other than the survival of one specific village of apes.

This isn't a bad thing. However, now that this series has supposedly wrapped up, I look back on it and realize that my initial impression that it was an origin story was wrong. The only film that really made for an origin story was the first one. All of the rest have been less about the worldwide consequences of the apes becoming the dominant species and have been more of a personal story for Caesar.

Even though Caesar does absolutely nothing to contribute to the titles of these films, he still does make a significant difference to the people in his life. His life story is amazing, and he goes through a genuinely riveting personal journey throughout these films. This is the main takeaway of these films. All of that money, all of those special effects, and it all goes to a personal drama. That basically never happens. I really have to credit these films for daring to invest so much in something that isn't as immediately flashy as, say, a superhero movie. People point to Marvel and Christopher Nolan as the most innovative forces in Hollywood, but I actually think that these films push the envelope more with what can be accomplished in a tentpole production.

Andy Serkis's motion capture performance is breathtaking. I wondered how on Earth they could improve it from the last film, but the magicians at WETA succeeded. Andy probably won't get nominated, but the effects artists will finally win for how well they bring to life this character. There are moments where the special effects and the performance come together to create something genuinely Oscar worthy, and none of these amazing moments are given away in the trailers. Serkis's voice is also incredible. Caesar has been talking for a while, and his voice has changed from previous films. He's also one of the few apes who ever speaks, so there must be a certain gravity to his speech, something that makes him special. Serkis completely sells it.

Who knows, maybe he will get nominated for an Oscar, or even receive a special achievement award. Regardless of the recognition he receives, one thing is absolutely certain: all hail Caesar.



Spiderman: Homecoming: Review: Semicolon;

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Reviews, Movies Jul 21 2017 · 75 views
Spider-Man, Spiderman, MCU and 1 more...
:kaukau: Pros:
  • Michael Keaton as Birdman really rules this movie. Absolutely amazing. I related to his character a lot. Working man, has a team of guys in a special garage with him. Enjoys his job. Good stuff. I sympathized with him. This is truly the first time since Loki that Marvel Studios has put a good villain in its film. YES!
  • Spiderman fought the villain on multiple occasions before their climactic final fight. I like that. So often, heros and villains don't meet each other until the climax, and it's underwhelming. It takes away from the tension and rivalry building up between the two. That, plus watching heroes with special powers fighting villains with special powers is, you know, fun.
  • Instead of getting into an origin story, they create a "coming of age" story.
  • Like most everyone else, I love the expressiveness of the new Spidey-eyes.
  • The other movies have put him in high school, but this is the first to legitimately go full-blown John Hughes. Kudos for bringing out a quintessential aspect of Peter Parker.
  • The trailers didn't spoil everything. A lot of people were saying that they did before the movie came out.
  • Great job of capturing contemporary New York City in ways that the first two series didn't. They managed to capture a lot of the diversity that's in the city.
  • The bully, Flash, happens to be a fellow nerd. Which is cool, because you don't necessarily have to be a jock in order to be a bully.
  • Good character development.
  • Again, this movie revels much more than the others in the high school setting.
  • This hands-down has one of the better film scores to date. Michael Giacchino came up with an actual, memorable theme that I found myself humming after the movie theatre. And he also did something that I loved, which was make the entire end credits interesting and have some genuine fun building up to the perfect final note.
  • I always feel that something is missing if a hero is introduced without an origin story, even when we all already know the origin. Origin stories just ground them, and I like to see the characters at the very beginning of their journey. I know people have seen it all before, but I miss Uncle Ben. I miss Harry Osborn. I miss "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility".
  • Wait a minute, where did he go to get bitten by a radio-active spider? Was it Oscorp? So far, they haven't been mentioned anywhere in this universe.
  • One of the most fun parts of a superhero film is when the hero first discovers what he or she can and cannot do with his or her powers. That's something that the first Spiderman film did well, and also the first Iron Man movie. You have a lot of him discovering powers in this film...but all of the powers that he's discovering aren't his, but Tony Stark's. This is actually incredibly frustrating for me. It seems to me that Spiderman isn't his own hero, but an experiment of Tony Stark's. Almost all of his powers in the movie are Iron Man powers.
  • In fact, not only are all of his new powers Iron Man powers, but they even get rid of one of his most classic abilities: Spider-senses.
  • Artificial intelligence speaking to him in his suit? No thanks. I hated it. I really did. The only good thing that I have to say about that is that it was voiced by the transcendent Jennifer Connelly. I like Spiderman when he's on his own.
  • I'm not sure what to think of Zendaya's character. She has a name that's very similar to another character from the comics, but her character is nothing like that character. According to Feige, she's just an homage to that character. I hope that the actual character shows up sometime in the movies. Otherwise, I'm not too fond seeing that character's role in these movies replaced by a similarly-named character with a completely different personality.
  • It doesn't have the same, amazingly cinematic three-act-structure of the original Spiderman. It doesn't feel quite as quintessential a big-screen experience. There's something so mythic about the original Spiderman.
Final thoughts:

There are pros and cons. I definitely think that it's a good movie and manages to do some things that the other ones haven't managed to do as well. They also manage to make this distinctly the "shared universe" Spiderman. I'm not one of those guys who wants every property to go back to Marvel. I'm perfectly fine with Fox, for example, making their own X-Men movies, since I don't see how they would benefit from the MCU. Spiderman, however, definitely fits into this universe.

That having been said, I don't think that this is an improvement over previous Spiderman series. The first two films are still my favorite, and I actually rather liked The Amazing Spider-Man, so I'm not jumping on-board with the people who all think that the MCU "saved" Spiderman and that Marvel Studios is the only studio that can be trusted with superhero characters. In my opinion, the character was doing well before, and the only reason why he "needed" Marvel Studios was in order to branch out and do new things that haven't been tried before in a Spiderman movie.

It's a decent film. I can't call it the definitive Spiderman film. If I were to pick out one, I'd say that that would be the original, simply for how it's the quintessential big screen, mythic, three-act experience that also revels in the relative freshness of the genre without feeling that it has to "mix things up" in any way (later superhero films would include sub-genres). I can see any one of the three Spiderman series being someone's favorite, since they all do certain things better than the others.



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Username: Jean Valjean
Real name: N/A
Age: 23
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, 25% Hungarian, 12.5% Swedish, 6.25% German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Smallville & Arthur the Friendly Aardvark
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Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, politics, drawing
Political party: Republican
Religion: Christian
Language: Not English, but American.

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