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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Blade

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #4 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Today we’re gonna start on a new trilogy but this time it’s even further into the past, we’re going back to the 90s with Blade.

Man, now we’re really going back. This was actually one of the key films I remember from the 90s as a kid and really liking. Back then I was a big Wesley Snipes fan and this film really cemented that in stone. Little did I know back then that I was watching not only a superhero film, but a Marvel superhero film. Stupidly I never knew nothing about Blade being a Marvel character until I was a teenager, I still feel ashamed about that. Anyways let’s move onto the story.

So Blade tells the story of Eric Brooks aka Blade, a person who was born into the world half-vampire, half-mortal man. At that present point in time he is the protector of the human race and goes around slaying vampires while looking for the man responsible for biting his mother and causing him to become who he is.

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In terms of the cast they’re all pretty good, but this film really is just about one person, Wesley Snipes of course! So let’s talk about him. Wesley Snipes as Blade/Eric Brooks is the definition of awesome. In this film Snipes gives us this cold, lone wolf kind of character who not only struggles to suppress his vampire-like urges but also longs to find out who was the man who made him who he is. Snipes was at his peak of awesomeness in this film and it shows as he puts his martial arts skills to use in all of his fight scenes, the dude is so athletic and kinetic, and Snipes also has some funny scenes with his dialogue or some facial of body expressions too. And then there’s the second most important person in the shape of Stephen Dorff as Deacon Frost. Dorff had a presence on-screen and a nice level of charisma as the main villain in this film, he was such an asshole but in a way that was cool, funny and he was the perfect match for Blade.

As for Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Whistler, he was Blade’s mentor and weaponsmith. Kristofferson was nice, his performance was everything you’d expect of a mentor-like character but he also had some emotional and funny moments too. N’Bushe Wright as Dr. Karen Jenson was good, Wright was an interesting female character who wasn’t just a damsel in distress and actually got to help Blade out and get into the meat of the action too and that is something I always appreciate. And lastly Donal Logue was hilarious as Quinn. He was mainly there for the sake of humour, but he did have a lot of funny dialogue and scenes that made his character stand out.

When it comes to the presentation it is very nice, I love the camera work and rapid style editing use for action sequences, the fight scenes were also wonderfully choreographed and I liked the use of lighting which was emphasized in night and day scenes. The CGI was decent for its time and make-up was nice, but other times it looks really dated. As for the soundtrack, it feels so 90s from the choice of songs to music composed by Mark Isham.

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I think the reason I like this film so much and why I it works with other audiences is because it’s so different and unlike other superheroes before it. It’s not your regular Spider-Man, Batman or Superman story here, this lies in the realm of supernatural story-telling, just grounded in reality. I got a lot of Batman vibes from this film, I guess that’s mainly down to the story by David S. Goyer, after all he did work with Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Trilogy, I kind of feel like this was a 90s precursor to that.

And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well Blade is a character I’m still not overly familiar with, I know of him from the films and his small appearance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. From what I’ve read on Wikipedia apparently there are elements that were taken from the comics but were modified for the 90s film audience such as making Blade a “daywalker” whereas in the comics he was just a human who was immune to vampire abilities and relied on the use of his skills and weapons. Also the character Deacon Frost was updated and was made a great deal younger in this film.

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So to conclude Blade is a great film, while not fitting into the conventional style of superhero films, it has the basic elements that makes it fit into the genre. It is action-packed, nicely stylized, unique, features a fantastic central performance from Wesley Snipes and to date for me is the coolest film that has vampires in it.

Rating: 8/10 (This badass film is often forgotten about and needs to be watched more!)

So there’s my review people, only 26 more to go. So have you seen Blade and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Spider-Man 3

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #3 of my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Okay so we reviewed Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, now it’s time to conclude the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy with what is regarded as one of the worst superhero films ever and the one film that killed this otherwise great series, Spider-Man 3.

Oh god, you and I both know that you don’t have to watch this film to know that it sucks, but for the sake of the review I’ll put myself through this hell. Bloody hell, how did Sam Raimi, his crew and Sony go so wrong with this film, it was gonna be huge and had the potential to be the best in the series. In the end it was huge alright… A HUGE LOAD OF ASS! But anyways I’ll save my ranting and raving for now, let’s talk about film section by section starting with the story.

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So the story in Spider-Man 3 is set months after the last film, here Peter Parker enjoys a successful life as Spider-Man because the city of New York love him. However those times of peace are disrupted when Flint Marko, an escaped convict comes into play as the new villain Sandman. Add to Parker’s troubles that the fact that Harry Osborn still wants Peter dead because of what happened to his father, he’s also having relationship problems with Mary Jane, we also have the introduction of Eddy Brock at the Daily Bugle and the alien symbiote too.

Argh! The story alone in this film and the way its handled is just stupid, absurd and very frustrating to watch considering that source material is so strong, but I’ll moan about that later, let’s talk about the cast first.

While I can’t hate the cast too much because of the script they had to work with, I can’t say that some of these performances aren’t out of the area of criticism. Firstly there’s Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Man, if people didn’t like Maguire as Parker before then they definitely won’t in this film. Some of Maguire’s acting was cheesy enough but in this film there are things I can’t forget and it really hurt me. Nuff said. As for Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, by this point in the series I didn’t really care for her character, plus she’s a bit of a player, I mean she’s gone with Peter, Harry, John and Flash, makes me wonder if the series had continued what other men would she have taken? And then there’s James Franco as Harry Osborn/New Goblin, his character I didn’t mind as much as the previous two and I liked his dark and underhanded nature. But there were some inconsistencies and silly moments that I can’t ignore.

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Oh then there’s Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman. I’m gonna be straight with you lot, I didn’t like this character, at all. Haden Church I don’t believe was the right man for this role and while I’m not overly aware of Sandman’s origins in the comics, this version of him was only relevant for a bit and was sort of forgotten about and then brought back a little while after because he was apparently relevant again… And then there’s frigging Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom. I can sum him up as both characters in one word: DISGUSTING! NEXT!

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Now we have Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, probably the best thing to come out of this film when it comes to the new cast. I mean sure her character is hardly relevant and she was basically shoehorned into the film but Dallas Howard is so hot in this film it is worth watching just for her alone. Rosemary Harris as Aunt May was good and gave use a nice performance even though it was in a smaller capacity than before. And lastly J. K. Simmons still makes for a good J. Jonah Jameson, unfortunately there’s not nearly as much screen time for him as there was before.

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When it comes to the presentation it decent but not nearly a good overall when compared to the last two films. Firstly the CGI and special effects are good for the most part and have improved a great deal from Spider-Man 2, this makes for some very nice-looking action sequences, the best of which is Peter and Harry’s aerial fight and when Spider-Man saves Gwen Stacy. Those are the best scenes in the film. Everything else is just not up to par and has too much special effects. As for the soundtrack, it sucks! There’s no Danny Elfman! It bugs me that Elfman and Sam Raimi couldn’t come to an agreement when Spider-Man 3 came out, instead we have Christopher Young who borrows Elfman’s themes while creating new ones for this film. The end result is a soundtrack that seriously lacks the impact that the previous films had, besides the songs when Sandman disappears near the end of the film and when the old themes are being used, the rest of the soundtrack is weak.

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Ah man! After watching this film again today I actually hate it more than I did before. There used to be some things I actually liked, but I guess after turning 23 my opinion has changed a great deal since the last time I saw this film.

So what worked in the film? Well only a tiny set of things like:

  • The first fight between Peter and Harry, that was some different and dynamic stuff
  • Bryce Dallas Howard, she was incredibly hot and totally showed up Kirsten Dunst
  • The Spider-Man crane scene when he saves Gwen Stacy, that’s cool
  • Peter and MJ’s break-up, that was nicely done and was kind of heartbreaking

As for the stuff that didn’t work? Take your pick, this film is filled with stuff that didn’t work. But here’s the main offenders:

  • Why in the holy mother of heck was Flint Marko the killer of Uncle Ben? Who thought that plot twist was smart? It basically took a shit on the first film and made everything that happened prior to this film pointless!
  • Having 3 villains in one film, such a foolish idea
  • Topher Grace as Eddy Brock, who the hell cast this guy? HE SUCKS! He totally kills the character in every way
  • Venom. Nuff said.
  • The black suit, it looked horrible and its powers were never fully looked into or explained
  • Shoehorning characters like Gwen Stacy and Eddy Brock/Venom into the film knowing that those characters are popular in the franchise and really needed more development
  • Peter Parker the Emo
  • Tobey Maguire dancing in the street
  • The whole jazz bar scene, that is just something I’ll never recover from… EVER

And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well let me put it like this: HA! It literally takes the source material and takes a big dump on it. Besides having some similar-looking elements it was terrible. Firstly what the hell did they do to Venom? The character got completely butchered! The look of the costume was wrong, he was so small and ugly and poorly handled when it came to his powers, he wasn’t even the main villain which was terrible! With that in mind I feel the need to mention the symbiote in general, how it showed up the films is unlike the comics and its powers were so dumbed down and was never fully shown in the film, there was so much more that could have been done and yet what we got was this poor imitation! Also the New Goblin, that was just lazy. I’m all for change in adaptations but that was just weak, also how come Harry can take the gas that his father did in the first film but come out without going all crazy? Inconsistencies! There’s so much more I could moan about but I’m gonna leave it here for now.

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In conclusion Spider-Man 3 is one of those films that will be forever hated and for good reason. It tried to do too much, changed many of the basic elements that made the previous two films so successful and basically hurt me mentally and physically in ways I’ll never recover from. I used to give this film the benefit of the doubt, but no longer, it sucks and that’s all there is to it. I still blame Sony for this!

Rating: 5/10 (There’s tiny elements of good, but they’re hidden away behind all the crappy parts!)

So there’s my review people, only 27 more to go. So have you seen Spider-Man 3 and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Spider-Man 2

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Alrighty then we’re on Day #2 of these superhero film reviews and now we continue with the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy with what is arguably one of the best superhero films in existence and one of my all-time favourite films, Spider-Man 2.

So after the success of Spider-Man in 2002 a sequel had to be made right? So enter Spider-Man 2, released in 2004, and at the time it was a highly anticipated film. The first film had set the stakes pretty high, I don’t think people were ready for the epicness that would follow.

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In terms of the plot this film is set two years after Spider-Man, and focuses on Peter Parker struggling to manage both his personal life and his duties as Spider-Man. We also get a new villain in the shape of Dr. Otto Octavius, a scientist who becomes Doctor Octopus after an experiment fuses four mechanical tentacles to his back. And it is down to Spider-Man to stop new threat from destroying the city of New York.

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To say that I love this film would be an understatement. I ADORE THIS FILM! Before I watched The Shawshank Redemption this was my number one favourite film. If that doesn’t speak volumes about how much I love this film I dunno what will. I’ve watched this film so many times I know it inside and out, and I quote it almost all the time especially with my best friend Chris.

When it comes to the cast all of the returning members are on top form as well as the new additions to the cast. Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man is still awesome. In this film you can really see that Parker’s life is in the worst place possible and Maguire excels in showing us the emotional strains of have a dual life as a hero and an everyday person. As for Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson I feel like her character was a little more developed and had more to do, while she may not again be the MJ from the comics, she does well here and has good chemistry with Maguire. But why in the holy mother of hell did she go ginger in this film, Mary Jane is meant to be a red-head! Anyway moving on… James Franco as Harry Osborn was awesome, this was the film that really made me like Franco as an actor. Harry now is now the head of his father’s company, but behind the shadows he still holds a resentment against Spider-Man over his father’s death. And because of Peter’s position as Spider-Man it puts a very difficult strain on their friendship. I loved seeing Harry evolve in this film and see how Spider-Man started to effect their relationship to the point of deterioration.

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Now let’s talk about Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus. If I had to sum him up in one sentence it’d be this: He was bloody awesome. Now this is a villain that not only could go toe to toe with Spidey in a fight, but also had a more complex story and likeable personality. Doc Ock has style but is also ferocious and unpredictable. I love Molina in this role! We also get some more beautiful moments of Rosemary Harris as May Parker, her scenes with Peter are so heartfelt and dramatic, it gets me all emotional. And of course J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is still playing the character so well that it is unreal. Simmons handles his dialogue and scenes with such charisma and finesse that he’s just perfect and hilarious at the same time.

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There are also great contributions from Donna Murphy as Rosalie Octavius, the wonderful appearance of Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Connors and the small appearance of Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn near the end of the film too which is awesome!

In terms of the presentation, in Spider-Man 2 it is near flawless. After this film came out I expected this level of quality in all future superhero films. Visually it is AMAZING. The CGI and special effects were so much higher than the last film and it made for some incredible action sequences, that well beautifully shot and perfectly choreographed. The Spidey vs. Doc Ock train fight will always be one of my favourite moments in any film ever. As for the soundtrack Danny Elfman takes the foundations of what he did in the first film and elevated it by ten, the themes in this film are so beautiful it’ll have you in tears.

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Now even though I love this film to pieces, there are a few issues here and there. Firstly the CGI and special effects, while miles better than the first film do look a little too obvious at points. Also I guess it comes down to that cheesy and sometimes awkward corny nature that this film series has too. But other than those its hard for me to criticize a film I love so much.

As for how it compares to the comics well it does take a few cues from it pretty well like the constant struggle that Pete has between his personal life and his life as Spider-Man or when Peter decides to give up being Spider-Man which is taken from taken from The Amazing Spider-Man No. 50. There is also how Doc Ock is able to go up against Spidey equally in a fight and how he still has a dark sense of humour too.

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Oh and lastly I wanted to mention Spider-Man 2.1, the extended version of Spider-Man 2 that featured 8 minutes of unseen footage. I’ve only seen it twice in the 5-6 years that I’ve owned it but I felt the need to bring it up. The new footage dotted around the film, while not all of it necessary does add to the overall narrative and character development. Because of this additional footage we see more interaction between Peter and Harry, we also see Mary Jane and her friend discussing her engagement. There’s also an extended scene with the doctor examining Peter and lastly there is an amusing scene with Jameson in his office wearing the Spider-Man costume too. Again some of the additional footage is cut for good reason while other parts just help flesh out the material that’s already there.

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In conclusion Spider-Man 2 is just one of those exceptional films that really not only excels as comic book film, but really works as a great action popcorn flick due to its great storytelling, character development and incredible action sequences. Obviously the film came out almost 10 years ago and the film does have its flaws here and there, but to not acknowledge how great this film is in the superhero genre would be a crime. This is still one of the finest films in the superhero genre and I can’t recommend it enough.

Rating: 9/10 (So good, this film has my heart!)

So there’s my review people, only 28 more to go. So have you seen Spider-Man 2 and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Spider-Man

Howdy ladies and gentlemen from the far regions of the internet and welcome to my Month of Superhero Film Reviews! Today on June 1st we begin 30 days of superhero film madness where I’ll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Okay let’s start this thing in style with one of my favourite superhero films of all time, Spider-Man from 2002!

So let’s go back to 2002 when the first live-action Spider-Man film came out from director Sam Raimi, most famous for the Evil Dead film series. This was an ambitious project at the time and had been attempted before but had numerous issues in development before it was eventually crafted and released. Luckily the film was a large success at the box office and critically too, coming just after Bryan Singer’s X-Men in 2000, Spider-Man was the film that really made superhero films big. Indeed X-Men paved the way for the genre, but I believe Spider-Man came along and cemented it.

As for the story we have Peter Parker, a smart teenager with a knack for science and photography who one day gets bitten by a genetically mutated spider and superpowers. At one point he let’s a bad guy escape and this person kills his uncle. Feeling responsible for the death of his uncle, Peter becomes the superhero Spider-Man and defends the city of New York from evil. And along the way Spidey comes across the Green Goblin, a formidable foe who has powers of his own and will make things difficult for Spider-Man and his alter-ego.

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Spider-Man as a film does so many things right, But most importantly it was and still is a film that gets me giddy every time. I love so many aspects of this film from the story to the cast to the quotable dialogue and epic action sequences and soundtrack. All of it is amazing. This film is so hard to talk about purely because I’m just such a massive fan of it. Not only because of the nostalgia factor but also because this was one of the first comic book films to really open my eyes up to the genre and make me interested in future live-action adaptations.

The story is a simple yet effective one. It is about good versus evil, but there is also a love story there and both elements are handled with care. I also like the way the film was directed, you can tell that its Sam Raimi’s film because there are elements of horror to be found in way some of the characters and scenes are handled.

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When it comes to the cast their all pretty good for the most part. Firstly let’s talk about Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. At first people were unsure about Maguire in the role and to this day some still don’t like him in the role, but for me I liked his portrayal of the character. Granted there are some Peter Parker/Spider-Man elements I don’t get to see in the film otherwise Maguire puts his heart into the role and really does give us a charismatic performance. Then we have Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, now Dunst is often noted as the weak element in this film series and its only now as an adult I can see why. Honestly back when I was a teen I thought Dunst was hotness in this film and she still looks great in this film. As the character of Mary Jane Watson she doesn’t really embody the elements of the character from the comics, however for the story that was told in the film Dunst was alright and had some nice chemistry with Maguire.

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As for Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin he was good in that cool yet cheesy way. Dafoe really goes hardcore with the role and seems to be just as crazy as he is in other villain-based roles. He makes for a good Norman Osborn and has some great delivery with his dialogue especially with the dual identity. Now we have James Franco as Harry Osborn, I really liked Franco in this role. Franco gave a nice version of the character that still had his father issues and slight jealously of Peter’s intellect due to his father’s acknowledgement of Peter’s smarts. I liked the screen time that Franco and Dafoe had, their relationship definitely felt legit.

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Then we have Cliff Robertson as Ben Parker. Robertson made for a great Uncle Ben, even though we didn’t get to see him for that long I felt like he had all the right mannerisms of Uncle Ben from the comics so when he died the impact was definitely there. As for Rosemary Harris as May Parker she was lovely, while her take on Aunt May was different, it was still nice to see her concern for Peter and know of his admiration for MJ. And lastly J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, he was awesome. If this trilogy got anything right it was the casting of Simmons as Jameson. Simmons is great as the publisher of the Daily Bugle who moans about Spider-Man continuously and is generally a bit of jerk to every one.

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As for presentation it is still pretty badass. Visually the film is great, the CGI is good, the action and fighting scenes are nicely shot, well choreographed and really show of what kind of abilities Spidey has. But the best element of this department is the web-slinging. This was my favourite aspect of the character in the comics and it came to life in an incredible fashion in the film. I get an adrenaline rush from watching these scenes and its exhilarating watching Spidey swing in such an elegant and stylish manner. As for the soundtrack by Danny Elfman it is fantastic. Loads of people have cited the 1989 Batman soundtrack as Elfman’s best work and while I don’t deny its awesomeness I do think Spider-Man‘s soundtrack is incredible too. There are some beautiful themes crafted here which are soft, beautiful, heroic, eerie and creepy too. Elfman really did create some amazing tunes that would continue to be used throughout the trilogy.

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Now of course the film isn’t without its problems. It is 2013 and comic book films have changed a great deal in the last 11 years. Firstly some of the CGI definitely looks dated and this film also has a lot of that early wire work in action scenes that really looks odd and unrealistic at times. Also this film is undeniably cheesy, whether it be the dialogue, story, action or the sort of really comic book-esque vibe, it is there and because of the more sophisticated superhero films of the last few years a lot of this stuff is can be off-putting.

As for how it compares to the comics well it’s a bit half and half. This film seemed to combine the original story from the Amazing and Ultimate comics and mesh them together giving us something familiar yet new for its time. Most of the key elements were intact in this adaptation like:

  • Peter Parker the nerd
  • The death of Uncle Ben
  • The robber that got away
  • Spider-Man wrestling
  • The Spidey suit
  • The personality of Norman Osborn

But then there were things that weren’t completely translated well or just not at all like:

  • Having a genetically mutated spider rather than a radioactive one
  • Peter’s level smartness is never fully explored
  • Peter’s organic webbing as opposed to the mechanical web-shooters
  • Spider-Man’s trademark humour being nerfed in the film
  • The portrayal of Mary Jane Watson being more like Gwen Stacy instead of the comic book version
  • The ugly Green Goblin costume and how stupid it looks when compared to the comics

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In conclusion Spider-Man is starting to show its age these days, but it is still a great superhero film in my eyes. While this may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect live-action version of Spider-Man for me this film did a lot of things right and as an adaptation it was a wonderful effort. This film has probably been lost to time especially due to the appearance of The Amazing Spider-Man but I believe this film is still relevant and if there’s anyone who’s yet to watch it, I would recommend it highly.

Rating: 8.5/10 (This is some good stuff, trust me.)

Well that’s the first review down, only 29 more to go lol. So have you seen Spider-Man and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts people! Swing by tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review for ya, laters!

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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