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Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

Anyone who knows me knows my love for the Transformers movies. I am the unapologetic defender of the Michael Bay Transformers films. Of course I acknowledge the flaws, but as a member of the targeted audience, I was able to happily walk out of the theatre every single time.

Mark Wahlberg, as Cade Yeager, Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager, and T.J. Miller as Lucas Flannery, in Transformers: Age of Extinction. (AP Photo)

Mark Wahlberg, as Cade Yeager, Nicola Peltz as Tessa Yeager, and T.J. Miller as Lucas Flannery, in Transformers: Age of Extinction. (AP Photo)

With that being said, I absolutely hate Transformers: Age of Extinction. I generally keep these reviews spoiler free, so details will be excluded. Throughout the entire film I turned to my friends once at least every 90 seconds and point out something that either bothered me, or did not make any sense. By time the film ended, I was beyond bored, angry, confused, and disappointed.

Here’s why: the Transformers films usually have a recipe. I am not referring to the plot formula that each film followed; instead, I’m talking about the pieces in the film that kept me wanting more. The recipe was as follows: a simple plot that can get me from start to finish, likable Autobots who I can get on board with, very attractive females and over the top explosive action.

This film’s first sin is the two hour and 45 minute time span. The second is its plot. The plot tried so hard to be complex, convoluted and intertwining that it quickly gets lost in its own madness and tangles like a slinky. By time the climax happens, you begin to ask yourself, “what exactly are the two sides, and what exactly are they fighting over?”

The Autobots are brand new, aside from returners Optimus (a post-Vietnam Optimus), and the severely underused Bumble Bee. The rest of the Autobots get no introduction, and are the most unlikable robots ever put on film. They are annoying, and you simply do not care for any of them.

There is one hot female, who the movie constantly reminds you is 17-years-old, yet continues to shove her butt on screen in crystal clear definition. This girl is accompanied on-screen by the most annoying and pointless human character out of all four movies, Mark Wahlberg, who clearly looks out of place.

The action is great as always; it just gets exhausting after being stretched out for so long. Even about a third of the computer graphics look unfinished, which is aggravating.

What’s good about this movie? Lockdown: a bounty hunter from Cybertron who identifies as neither Autobot nor Decepticon. I tell you, every second this guy was on screen I was glued. Other than that, there isn’t much to like about this film. And as I said, this is coming from a Michael Bay supporter, so I was not waiting to hate this film. It’s just unfortunate that’s what happened by the end. Please, Paramount, get someone else to direct the fifth movie!

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

For the first time since X2 (X-Men United), Brian Singer returns to the franchise and promises to give us one for the books with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Does this film hold up to the hype? Goodness yes! And I say that with enthusiasm and satisfaction.

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (AP Photo)

Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (AP Photo)

The reason why this film is so monumental is for the same reason The Avengers was: this was the big crossover film where all characters from each previous movie were included and relevant.

Like The Avengers, X-Men does a great job balancing out screen time, and making everyone seem relevant and significant. The pacing is quick and to-the-point, and characters are all memorable. It was a big worry that Wolverine would be forged as the centerpiece of the film, but I am glad to say that is not true. Wolverine is the medium through which the audience views the events, but the true centerpieces of the film are young Professor X and Mystique.

Like any good comic book film, action scenes are memorable. The opening sequence is reminiscent of the climactic battle in Thor: the Dark World, and I say that with the greatest respect to both.

Like any good X-Men story (film or comic book), the villains are fascinating. There are multiple villains in this film and each is understandable. There are no black/white bad guys and clear answers. Each villain has legitimate motivation no matter how violent their plan is. To me, the greatest villains are the ones where I can shamefully agree with, and this movie has that.

What gives this movie the satisfaction level it has is it’s ending.

SPOILER (kind of): Anyone who knows the X-Men franchise knows how X-Men: The Last Stand is universally hated for its unpopular decisions and deaths. The ending of this film erases all of that. All things you didn’t like are now undone. All time inconsistencies and plot holes have been reduced to a clean slate. And when a certain character walked in at the final moments, I had no shame screaming the “F” word in a sold out theatre. The ending alone is worth the ticket price.

I recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in a thriller with characters who you can invest in. Like Winter Soldier, it’s not just a good comic book film; it is a great film in general.

There is, in fact, word floating around involving a Best Picture Nomination (of course we need to finish off the year to know for sure). Just make sure you see the previous films in the serious. Ditch the Wolverine films, all you need are X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men: First Class. Enjoy!

Godzilla Review

by Scott Iwaniec | July 16, 2014

With Pacific Rim proving to be an overall success, it’s no wonder why Warner Bros. would invest in yet another giant monster movie. This time, they decided to invest in the cinematic icon of Godzilla.

Scene from Godzilla (AP Photo)

Scene from Godzilla (AP Photo)

Immediately, this film had skeptics, considering the last (and only other) American-made Godzilla film was one of the worst films of the past 20 years. Could this second chance be America’s redemption? I am happy to report: yes.

For those that haven’t read my reviews before, I usually keep my reviews spoiler free in order to encourage others to see the film and make their own determinations, so plot details will not be included. I will not say this movie is my favorite of the summer, because it’s not. But I will say it’s on the upper tier so far.

This movie thrives on the build up of Godzilla’s presence. You don’t see his full shot until about a third of the way into the film. When you do see him, you don’t see him fight until the end. This may sound boring to hear, but it’s not. The film does a fantastic job building up the viewer’s appetite for destruction.

And boy does it deliver at the end. Godzilla’s victory easily claims the Kill of the Year thus far in 2014. Clearly, build-ups and visuals are the strength of this film. However, I will say it does have some weaknesses that weigh it down just a bit.

The main character, Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor Johnson, is simply boring. The middle drags out when they try to emphasize him and his family, and you really don’t care that much.

Brian Cranston, who plays Joe Brody, gives us a great, but short, performance in the first third of the film. Other than that, the characters aren’t really what keep you in your seat. It’s not terrible, but not on par to what it should be.

I recommend this to anyone who wants a fun summer blockbuster for a Friday night. It’s definitely worth the ticket price, so I encourage everyone to see it.

Hunter Hayes breaks world record for a good cause

by Samantha Mathewson | May 10, 2014

Hunter Hayes left New Haven as fast as he came, Friday, May 8, in an effort to fight child hunger and break a Guinness World Record during his 24-hour Road Race. 

Hunter Hayes/ AP Photo

Hunter Hayes/ AP Photo

Hayes played 10 live shows in 10 cities within 24 hours, breaking the record for the most concerts played in multiple cities in a 24-hour period. The record was previously set by Flaming Lips, the rock band who, in 2012, performed eight shows in 24 hours.  

Hayes started his race May 9 at 8 a.m. on Good Morning America, and continued to Boston and Worcester, Mass., Providence, R.I., New London, New Haven and Stamford Conn., South Orange and Asbury Park, N.J., and Philadelphia, Pa.

While addressing the energetic crowd at Toad’s Place Friday night, Hayes promised that, although it was a short tour, he and the band would make every second fun for the audience.

For his New Haven stop, Hayes played four songs: “Storyline,” “Invisible,” and “Tattoo” from his newly-released album Storyline, and “Wanted” from his self-titled album.

Dan + Shay opened the show, playing the perfect set to get the crowd ready for Hayes. They ended with their iTunes top song and video, “19 You + Me.”

Hayes teamed up with ConAgra Foods and their Child Hunger Ends Here program. The program had its own challenge during the tour – to break the record for the most meals donated in 24 hours.

Martin Guitar, Proctor & Gamble, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Ahold USA sponsored the tour, along with Stop & Shop, who gave away free recycle shopping bags and wristbands to guests as they entered Toad’s.  

X Ambassadors Share The Reason Behind Their Music

by Ashley Winward | May 7, 2014

When Sam Harris was growing up, he started out like any music-obsessed kid, sneaking into college shows in his hometown of Ithaca.

X Ambassadors (Photo obtained via Facebook)

X Ambassadors (Photo obtained via Facebook)

“You had to know somebody there to get into them, but yeah I remember seeing some of them. Usually we’d get the big bands coming through Cornell…I saw Arcade Fire play in this tiny cafeteria and there was like 200 people there. The Roots, I Saw Common, Talib Kweli, De la Soul at [Ithaca College], yeah I saw a lot of great shows and it definitely had an impact on me ‘cause that was the one time I really got to see these bands that I idolized come through my town. To see them up close and personal, that was cool because it feels very isolated from the rest of the world, so when the rest of the world kind of came to Ithaca it felt very special.”

Since then, it’s been a wild journey for Harris and the rest of X Ambassadors. Putting out two EPs in a little over a year, you may have seen these guys touring with the likes of Imagine Dragons, Jimmy Eat World, The Mowglis, and Panic! At the Disco on the Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die tour this past winter.

If you’ve never heard the band, their sound is unmistakable. Their first EP, Love Songs, Drug Songs, has this darkness that digs at you with a chugging rhythm. It makes you feel like bouncing to the beat. Their newest EP, The Reason, has a bit of a different vibe to it. It’s brighter but with an overarching theme.

“The reason we wrote that EP is that we have a lot of friends. We’re in our mid-twenties right now and a lot of friends we knew finished college, went to pursue artistic careers and are realizing how seriously difficult that is. A lot of them are finding that their dreams that they dreamed of becoming are not working out, and they’re not going to work out, so they’re changing paths to figure out what’s next. That’s a very scary thing, but a very real thing that a lot of people have to deal with, you know?” said Harris. “When life gets in the way and changes course, it’s crazy, it’s scary, but it can also be exciting! It can be invigorating and vitalizing, and it can teach and show you things about yourself you didn’t know beforehand and allow you to do things you’d never think possible. So that’s a real thing a lot of people we knew were going through and for us. The reason I started writing about that was because we’re in a position where the pressure is on. We’re at a big label, things are starting to build, there’s momentum and what if that momentum stops? This is all we know. All we know is music. This is all we’ve done our entire lives. We’ve all been doing this for so long what if it all fell apart? What’s the plan? So that’s what I wanted to explore and study,” Harris said.

The EP is about a man looking back at his life and tracing it back to where he is. He’s living a suburban life with a suit-and-tie job. He had dreams of what he wanted to do when he was younger, and goes back in time to the beginning when he was a child. It starts on “Free and Lonely” and ends with “Unsteady.” “Shining” is a bonus track.

What I love most about this band is that no matter how big or small the venue, they bring this larger-than- life sound, something that they learned from the music they grew up with. Harris explained, “We all came from backgrounds where we were all listening to the music that first hit us,” Harris explained. “They sounded big! U2 and Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay: they all have a really big sound. When you really get down to it though, it’s all about chord structure and simple elements. It’s really for us about experimentation and trial and error, whatever sounds best. We’ve found

lately that you can make something sound really big with just one instrument, you just have to focus on the instrument and getting the right take. You have to get the right guitar line or piano sound or drum sound. A single drum kit could sound so huge, look at John Bonham. You have to allow for and give moments of space too, so we approach it like that.”

Their use of saxophone also adds a unique element to their band that has been growing in music popularity lately. Harris admitted the extent of his playing.

“I played from when I was 10 or 12 [years old] to when I was a senior in high school, and then I didn’t play at all in college. It wasn’t until we graduated in 2010 that I picked it up again when we were going to lay down some horn parts on the EP. I just whipped it out and started playing, and so I started up again. Now it’s become asignature part of our sound, which is really cool. I don’t think anyone out there is incorporating saxophone like we’re doing it right now….in a very basic and mediocre way, but it’s really cool! I’m not technically the greatest horn player out there, but looping technology allows me to build these cool chords to fill a hole in our sound, which is awesome,” he said.

With their headlining tour winding down, the boys are ready to get back into the studio. “After this tour we’re going to start preproduction on our full length [album]. We’ve been writing and recording a bunch. All of The Reason was written out on the road, so we’re constantly coming up with new stuff, we probably have an albums worth of new stuff. We’ve been developing, and we’ll keep developing over the next couple of months. Hopefully in the fall we’ll be out doing another headlining run, but that’s kind of up in the air right now.” Harris said.

When asked to give the music industry and sound recording majors of the University of New Haven some advice, Harris stressed dedication to a career, not just a job. “I’d say the biggest thing about getting a career in this industry is to really treat it like a career. You’re not really going to be making major money immediately. You’re going to be doing a lot of work for free…”

 

 

 

Misterwives bring their soulful vibes to Hamden

by Shannon Livewell | May 7, 2014

WNHU teamed up with local promotional group Manic Productions to put on an incredible show at the Space in Hamden featuring The Mowglis, Misterwives and Finnish Ticket. With a playful name and an even more fun demeanor, opening act Misterwives really stole the show.

Misterwives

“It’s a play on the Mormon term ‘Sisterwife,’ vocalist Mandy Lee explained. “I just reversed the genders, so I married all the guys and they are my misterwives.”

When asked to explain their music in just three words, the band agreed fittingly upon. “Organic, soulful, and colorful,” she said.

Just deeming them a “pop” band would be like taking the bottom out from their sound. Lee’s vocal performance is gorgeous and is similar to Kristen Chenoweth had she taken the band route instead of Broadway. Even the stiffest of people wouldn’t be able to keep themselves from dancing because it’s just so infectious. They currently have an EP out called Reflections with very interesting cover art and a story behind it.

“We had a very small window of time to get EP artwork in so I had to draw it myself,” Lee said. “It was just an idea I had for a while…it’s basically all of our spirit animals coming out of a gramophone. It’s a reflection of us and the gramophone symbolized old world music. It’s trying to convey that there’s no BS to our music. It’s organic, and then coming out of it are all our animals.”

Lee is the elephant, for her “Dumbo” ears she was made fun of for as a child. Drummer Etienne is the octopus because he plays the drums and has a lot of eight symbolisms in his life.

“Etienne sounds like eight, born in October, octo-, it’s all there,” Etienne mentioned.

Will’s love of dinosaurs and pre-music dream to become a paleontologist made him the T-Rex.

“His mom used to bury chicken bones in the back yard so he’d go digging,” Etienne teased.

“When we went to our other two bandmates for their spirit animals, they were like ‘uhhh I don’t know.’ So the humming bird is a little bit of all of us…Then we like to say the gramophone is Jesse because it has a horn on the end and Jesse is a trumpet player,” Lee said, finishing off her description of the drawing.

Etienne added, “I told Mark that he is the hummingbird because it is the only bird that can fly backwards because of its fast wing speed, and he’s constantly going backwards retracing his steps because he loses everything.”

Besides playing music, the band shares a huge love of zombies, claiming they have a solid zombie apocalypse plan to survive. “So we have the Zombie Survival guide book, we watch the Walking Dead,” Lee said. “I’d be Daryl all the way.”

They also believe that living in Riverdale where they’re some of the younger people in the area gives them an advantage, “All the zombies would die of old age.”

When it comes to the very near future, they have a fairly set schedule.

“Yes, we’re going to record our full length album, we’re going to the UK and we’re playing festivals. 24 is coming back so we’re going to watch a lot of 24.”

Be on the lookout for a lot of tweets about their favorite, Jack Bauer. For comments on zombies and more, see the full interview on UNHMIC.tumblr.com and stay tuned as we’re updating the site weekly.

Thanks to Misterwives for being such an awesome group to chat with and WNHU for helping to put on such an amazing show.

 

Taking Back Sunday takes on Providence

by Dylan Rupptrecht | May 7, 2014

Taking Back Sunday surged Rhode Island crowd with a near 20-song set. The quintuplet out of Long Island, NY, hit Providence, RI, at the Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel as part of their spring tour. The alternative rock group has been touring with The Used, Tonight Alive, and Sleepway (led by former Underoath frontman, Spencer Chamberlain) since mid-March following the release of their sixth studio album, Happiness Is.

Taking Back Sunday entered the dark stage of the Lupo’s as multicolored lights randomly struck the audience. They opened with the new, stringy preface from their newest album, Happiness Is. It gave such a pristine ambient pulse on which the crowd gorged. This was right before the preface lead to track three on the new record, “Stood A Chance.” From this point on, nothing could be done to stop the constant swaying and moshing of the audience as Taking Back Sunday continued rocking the show.

It seems TBS fans will never fully be able to expect what changing style and feel the next new album will possess. Happiness Is however, would be the result of mashing all of the other previous albums into an alternative rock stew; the creation being a very mature, poignant record riddled with hints of TBS’s roots and a poppy new seasoning.

Frontman Adam Lazzara has matured so much over 12 years that has seen a rotation of various band mates throughout TBS’s existence. Since the original line up got back together in 2011, the band has released two albums: their self-titled fifth album, and the brand new Happiness Is, both of which sound completely different from each other. At the show, Lazzara belted out tracks from both. Delighted fans sang along to classic TBS hits such as “A Decade Under the Influence,” and “Cute Without the E (Cut From the Team).”

This was my third time seeing them in the past four years, and what stood out the most about this show was how personable Lazzara, as well as his co-singer John Nolan, were to the audience. It was just a nice touch to hear Lazzara explain personal stories associated with both their old and newer tracks. The crowd was super responsive too. Towards the end of their set, Lazzara announced that they were going to skip the stereotypical “band walks out – crowd chants one more song” routine, and just play as many songs as they felt like. This was great as TBS splurged on us with a 19-song set!

Drenched in sweat and absolutely satisfied, I walked away from the concert pining to see Taking Back Sunday all over again.

 

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | May 7, 2014

Lenny Kaye’s Positive and Optimistic Outlook for the Future of Music

I write about music all the time. Whether it is an article for the paper, a post for my blog, or a Facebook status pointing out an awesome new song, I feel the constant need to share my opinion on the music happening around us today. That is why it was enlightening for me to attend the lecture hosted by Murray Krugman of The University of New Haven music department, featuring Lenny Kaye.

Lenny the Kaye (Obtained via Lennykane.com)

Lenny the Kaye (Obtained via Lennykane.com)

Kaye has worked as a musician alongside the great Patti Smith, a songwriter, a record producer, and a music journalist.

“I’ve never been told to have a certain opinion for an album review,” he said in response to a question asked during his round table discussion this past Monday in the Seton Art Gallery on campus. “I just try to be positive. There is always a secret to an album, you just have to figure it out. I used to pin point certain songs I liked and just focus on them, because out of 12 songs an album, there’s bound to be one you can relate to. I soon realized though that it’s not about the song, it’s about the atmosphere of the album, just like it’s not about a tree, but the forest.”

As someone who is constantly trying to be positive in my album and show reviews, I know how hard it can be to focus an entire piece around a key song; however, I have never really thought about the atmosphere.

“There are certain artists today that are Jello artists,” he said. “There are those generic, just-add-water artists who simply perform into a mold. Then there are artists like Patti.”

Kaye had nothing but great things to say about his good friend and band mate, Smith. He described her as a strong-minded woman who would hold her ground in the toughest of situations, always fighting first for creative freedom when it came to making deals with record labels.

Smith grew up down the street from me in my hometown in South Jersey. Therefore, when he spoke of forming his strong with her over doo-wop music based on where she was from, I could really relate. Growing up right outside of Philadelphia, you are constantly influenced by Philly Soul, be it Hall & Oates or The Stylistics. I had always seen this as a disadvantage for my own career, as if I was born in the wrong decade. That is, until I heard Kaye’s perspective.

“You have to look at artists like Suzanne Vega or Lorde,” he suggested. “When Suzanne was coming about in the 80s she was surrounded by larger-than-life acts, the same as Lorde coming about with the likes of Katy Perry or Pink. This is a time where the audience is in need of a change, even if they don’t know it yet, and when they hear that unique difference from the musical norm at the time, they will push that artist and help them elevate to new heights. I think that’s how Suzanne went platinum.”

It was hard to sit through Kaye’s speech and not feel inspired. He had such a positive, almost spiritual, outlook on music and it’s evolution. This makes him, as he self-proclaimed, a musical historian. He is the co-author of Waylon, The Life Story of Waylon Jennings and is currently working on an album for Waylon’s wife, Jessi Colter. Kaye proved himself in just a few hours, to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Most artists from his generation express the feeling of fear when they look at the music industry today and what it’s become, but Kaye was optimistic. “You all grew up with computers,” he said. “That’s so cool. You have such an advantage and a myriad of technical skills. It will be amazing to see what you all do in the industry and how music evolves in the next fifteen years. I can go down to my basement today and make an album. That is so strange to me, but you virtually have everything at your fingertips. I’m taking a trip to Boston today for a meeting on Colter’s album, and I don’t have to carry ten reels of tape with me to play the tracks. It’s strange, but it’s great.”

Kaye contiuned to say, “I think Rock N’ Roll has ended and I’ll tell you why. Everything that can be done as far as rock music has been done. Now we’re at this new place where bands like The Black Keys are forming. Years ago it would have never been possible for a band to form with only two members unless they were folk with guitars and their voices. It’s exciting for me to see this change.”

It was clear that after

Kaye’s chat with UNH students, they all left feeling positive about their futures and the future of music. This is a man who was born in 1946, and has experienced over four decades of music changes and challenges. I think if there is any opinion I’m going to trust on the forthcoming music industry, it’s Kaye’s. With his Encyclopedia-like knowledge on the decades of music he has lived through, his empathetic personality, and portfolio of music industry involvement, Kaye is a force to be reckoned with.

“You have to look at music like writing about it would confine it. If everything you heard could be described in words, you wouldn’t have music. Chopin’s ‘Nocturne in E-flat Major’ is just a hit single of the 1800’s,” said Kaye.

 

The twisted trio

by Samantha Mathewson | May 7, 2014

The Other Woman stars Leslie Mann as Kate King in a role that not only has the audience never seen her in before, but one that she mastered flawlessly with endless laughs. Her role as the wife of a cheating husband leads her to meeting Cameron Diaz, who plays Carly, the first of many girlfriends we are introduced to, and Kate Upton, who plays Amber, the second mistress that “brings up the group’s average.”

After Carly accidently introduces herself to Kate, she realized her boyfriend has been cheating on her; however, this leads Kate, who had become semi-stalkerish, to confronting her. While it is not the news she wanted to receive and ultimately causes a panic attack, Kate shifts her dependence onto Carly for direction of how to figure things out, or as Carly told her to do, “get your ducks in a row.”

Kate leaches onto Carly who wants nothing to do with her after finding out that it was her husbad who she had been dating the whole time. However, somehow Kate reels her in with her pathetic need to talk to someone, and Carly is the only one she could go to. Kate also uses Boston Market as incentive, telling Carly she can have the first pick of whatever is in the bag.

The two ironically become best friends, and after finding out that Mark has yet another girl on the side, Amber, Kate’s stalker skills rub off on Carly and they are soon in the hunt together to find the other mistress. Carly might have had everyone convinced she was calm and collected, but after seeing the “other woman” that made even her look bad, she was the first to start chasing her down the beach. The three instantly become the power team set out to get revenge on Kate’s husband, and their cheating boyfriend Mark, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Kate wasn’t mad; she was curious, and we see her transform from a typical, dependent oblivious housewife to an independent, successful and confident women.

One may describe Kate’s initial reactions to finding out Mark was cheating on her as a hysteria of psychotic breaks full of blubbering sobs, but as the “Cheating Chore Calendar” is put in place, the group of wronged women take their turns messing with Mark, including spiking his morning smoothie with estrogen, replacing his shampoo with Nair and mixing some laxatives in with his cocktails.

Paired with her newfound friends, her untrained, over-sized puppy, a lot of alcohol, and Reddi-whip straight from the can, Kate is able to turn the tables.

 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review

by Scott Iwaniec | May 7, 2014

Anyone who has been reading this section since the fall already knows that Spider-Man has a very special place in my heart. Without a doubt the best part of the film is its visuals. Spider-Man looks incredible. The suit is as legit as it will ever will be, and finally someone got the eyes right!

The opening sequence of the film of one of my favorites of the entire movie because of the way they capture the essence of Spider-Man’s motion and acrobatics. The way they film the web slinging is a huge step up from the first film. Director Mark Webb also used a very affective neon color scheme, which gives the film its own unique look and really highlights comic book style drawings (I mean that in the absolute best way possible).

Andrew Garfield absolutely owns this role. I was always more of a fan of Toby Maguire as Spider-Man, but in this film Garfield stole my heart. He was funny, sarcastic, snobby, and heartbreakingly emotional when he needed to be. He and Emma Stone have a very sweet and genuine chemistry together. The film really gives us the spirit of the comics by really adding humor and sarcasm to the hero, which is something I felt the first film nearly abandoned. My only critique on this is they could have taken out some humor in some very serious situations.

The film also does a great job of keeping you interested in the small talk; in many conversations you feel anxious to hear some revelations and it really does a good job captivating your attention. The film isn’t just a fun ride, but it packs some hard emotional punches. Those who know the comic books have already recognized certain symbols that signify a certain thing that happens in the film, but I will say this about it: it was handled so phenomenally well, that even as someone who knew exactly what was going to happen, I gasped in shock with the rest of the audience. That is the best compliment I can possibly give the director. The ending scene is another sequence that really leaves an impression and I believe it was a genuine way to conclude the movie.

Now I need to address the negatives, and there are some big ones. As far as the narratives go, the film is jumbled. Mark Webb almost falls into the Spider-Man 3 trap of too many stories and quite frankly it shows. There are four primary story lines in this film that Peter has to deal with, and two of them I could have done completely without. A lot of the film touches on the “untold story” that was presented in the first film regarding Peter’s parents. It felt a little unnecessary and probably would have been better off in the first film, especially since it really doesn’t tell the audience anything that adds to this film, and instead further explores the last.

Electro looked awesome and they really make him a physical threat, but there is way too much focus on his character in the beginning of the film. If you made the villain only Electro, then it would have been absolutely fine, but they put so much emphasis on the character only to come in and have a small tie in.

They could have easily told his back story and motivation in two scenes, and that still would have been fine because the weight of him would be more proportionate to his importance at the end.

Dane Dahaan is fine as Harry/Green Goblin, and he gives us a Green Goblin much different from the first film, which I am okay with. What’s the problem then? He doesn’t get enough screen time. Why? Because it’s all given to Electro and the love story. At the end you only see the actual Green Goblin for only a few minutes and he’s defeated pretty easily. I’m not too upset with it since they make it clear he’s coming back for a much bigger impact in future films, but still. The lead up to him was great, but once you get him he just kind of comes and goes.

The marketing for this film almost killed this movie. It is one of the biggest false advertisements I’ve ever seen for a film. The “three villain” thing that they keep pushing is only 1.5 villains. The Rhino gets maybe five minutes of screen time. Regularly that’s fine if it wasn’t for the fact he was advertised as one of the main villains. There’s also a lot of weighted trailer scenes that were cut out. The idea of Oscorp watching Peter? Not in the film. The emphasis on the film is Peter trying to protect the people he loves, which are done really well, but the villains aren’t that great.

Over all I really liked The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I know it seems like I just bashed the whole film, but there is definitely more to like than there is not to like. It’s a big step up from the original film, but has nothing on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I recommend you go and see it, you will definitely enjoy it.

 

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