X-Men Days of Future Past (review)

When Magneto summoned his last remaining strength to move the paltry scraps of metal – the remains of the X-Men’s SR-71 Blackbird – in a feeble attempt to reinforce the door hiding Charles Xavier and the last remaining free mutants of Earth, it was obvious who had won. The resignation on Erik’s face said it all. The two most powerful mutants, now friends again, were about to meet their end.

They, and the humans who dare help them, are fighting an enemy they cannot defeat. It is up to Logan, and the younger Charles and Erik, sworn enemies, to change the past and win the war before it even started.

There are so many things that this movie does right, thanks in large part to director Bryan Singer. All the seeming inconsistencies between the previous X-Men movies were tied up beautifully, the flashbacks were well-timed and helpful even to the casual viewer, and despite the gruesome death scenes and ominous sense of defeat, there is a lot of fun to be had.

You never really see the X-Men overwhelm the enemies in this one. They were outmatched, and it was a little disappointing not to see Wolverine’s adamantium claws while fighting against the sentinels. Yet it evoked a sense of desperation that feels kinda fresh in an X-Men movie, and a deep sense of urgency was pulled off without the need for the ubiquitous countdown timer (take that, Avengers).

Finally, this sets the stage for something even more awesome in the next film. For those who’ve seen the movie and extra scene, you know what I mean. For the rest, it’s time to give our mutant brethren a visit at the box office.

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Godzilla 2014 (review)

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This movie was so disappointing, I don’t mind spoiling it for you. No, I am not a Godzilla fanatic. I just wanted an enjoyable monster movie, and didn’t get it.

First of all, you will not see the world’s greatest monsterĀ for more than 20 minutes combined in the entire 2-hour movie. In fact, almost not in the first hour. When you do get to see him (I’m assuming he’s male), it’s mostly in the dark or under some other cover, perhaps to enhance the scare factor by letting the audience’s imagination work until later in the story. While this worked for some stories (Cthulhu was scary that way), I already knew what Godzilla, in general, looked like. True enough, this version wasn’t radically different from his predecessors, and I wish they just showed more of him from the beginning.

Next, they killed Bryan Cranston (from Breaking Bad) early. He was the most convincing actor in the movie, and was the most fun to watch while it lasted. Ken Watanabe survived till the end, but was wasted by the dry script.

Even Godzilla was confused. Wasn’t he supposed to destroy the city? Wait.. what? He had to SAVE it? The hesitation was evident in his voice as he roared an almost meow-like “good bye” to the people he saved. In the end, he dragged his tired legs back to sea, as if thinking, “Really?”

To be fair, the first 15 minutes or so were very good. And yes, the trailers were awesome. But by the time I saw those cool parts in the trailer, the movie was beyond redemption. There was more “monster” in Pacific Rim, which is in a different league altogether. This Godzilla won’t stand a chance against a damaged Jaeger with drift-incompatible pilots.

Dissenting opinions are welcome. I’d be interested to see if anyone actually liked it.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (review)

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Peter Parker faces one dilemma after another, and must find the clarity within himself to do the right thing. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, he is sometimes faced with unpleasant outcomes. Learning to live with himself could prove far more difficult than fighting off his (almost comical) enemies.

Speaking of those enemies, what a bunch of characters. I almost felt sorry for them, seeing what turned them into the villains of the story. They kinda remind me of traumatized pets that turned feral, and have to be put down. It would have been easier to cheer for Spidey if he was fighting a truly evil foe (like King Joffrey from Game of Thrones). However, victim or not, Electro and the Green Goblin can’t be allowed to run around, hurting people, can they? The confrontations were classic Spider-man.

The plot, adapted from a comic book storyline, was pretty solid and should be familiar to long-time Spider-man fans. I would liken it to a Marvel comic book with pages of chick lit, philosophy and juvenile drama inserted in-between. That and several plot holes might turn off some viewers. Thank goodness there’s Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), who makes the movie so much more interesting, and makes the slower parts more palatable – even enjoyable. If anyone could keep Spidey one step ahead of his enemies (and himself), it is Gwen. (Sorry, MJ.)

It’s not for everyone, and some might feel short-changed by all the fluff in what they would otherwise expect to be a pure superhero movie. But if you can get past (or even enjoy) those “other” parts, then you might want to swing by your favorite cinema and give it a shot.