Nothing eats up box office gold like a Marvel opening. The first Spider-Man managed $50 million (RO19 million), Dark Knight reeled in $150 million (RO57 million) and Avengers bust the jackpot with $200 million (RO77 million). But besides peeps on seats, how do you keep it fresh with a new comic book movie out nearly every week?
Amazing Spider-Man 2 sticks to the formula. Our hero (Andrew Garfield) is out rescuing people in the neighbourhood when he happens to save super-nerd Max (Jamie Foxx) who is also Spidey’s biggest fan. He’s a genius inventor with a bad haircut who wants some glory himself, then falls into a tank of eels to become super-villain Electro.
A lot of backstory slows the movie down, with Spider-Man’s dad and various villains, including the Green Goblin, introduced in the process of becoming bad.
The teen romance with Emma Stone ticks along nicely including a threatened break-up, while Spidey’s interactions with Aunt May back home offer much-needed emotional and comic moments.
However the plot and special effects are not especially memorable and the whole thing feels like a prequel to the next film, except for the final showdown between Spidey and Electro in a blacked-out city.
Too often we can feel the corporate sequel strategy at work here, when what we want is good old-fashioned storytelling.
Review by Joe Gill
Captain America represents the best of how the nation likes to see itself – but in this superior Avengers outing, Chris Evans’ all-American hero comes face-to-face with the darker side of the security state.
When Capatain America’s boss, Nick Fury, is apparently killed by the titular Winter Soldier – an assassin with a metal arm – Captain America is blamed and has to go on the run. Together with Scarlett Johansson, they discover a sinister plot within Shield to impose world tyranny. There are unmistakable shades of the Edward Snowden affair and an intelligent script turning this material into compelling entertainment of a higher order than usual.
Four, short found-footage films are wrapped up in a familiar plot about two private investigators who discover some scary VHS tapes in a house, which they duly watch. Shaky hand-held cameras and bad lighting mean you can’t always make out what’s happening – but it’s bloody. A gore fest for hardcore horror fans only.
Mark Ruffalo meets beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow and they start dating. Only problem is he’s a sex addict in recovery, attending 12-step classes each week to cure his habit. Fellow addicts Josh Gad and Pink make a fine supporting cast in this amusing but surprisingly safe comedy.
The incredible real-life story of Robyn Davidson, a woman who walked across the Australian desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean – that’s 2,735km – with only camels and a dog for company. Mia Wasikowska is superb as the intrepid adventurer battling nature, loneliness and her demons, while Rolley Mintuma plays the aboriginal elder Mr Eddy who guides her through sacred ground. Photographer Adam Driver documents her progress and falls in love.
A culture clash comedy about two middle class Indian students, one Punjabi (Arjun Kapoor) and the other Tamil (Alia Bhatt) who fall for one another at college. All goes well until they decide to get married and have to overcome the prejudices of their closed-minded in-laws. A fluffy and funny adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel.