This is not Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man. Even though that trilogy ended not too long ago, Hollywood thought it was time to reboot the franchise with everyone’s favorite webslinger. And despite the very short passage of time, I actually don’t think it was such a bad idea.
To be fair, the new Spider-Man movie isn’t so much about the superhero as much as it is about Peter Parker, the troubled young man behind the mask. Played brilliantly by The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield, this version of Parker is much more haunted and brooding. It’s possible that the producers were inspired by The Dark Knight and purists may say that it’s not true to Spidey, but it does make for good entertainment. We finally get to meet Parker’s parents and (spoiler alert) although we don’t get to see much in terms of heavy battles with the Lizard until rather late in the film, it just works.
Perhaps even better than Garfield is the performance by Emma Stone. She manages to find that fine line between being the unattainable “cool” girl and the utterly nerdy love interest who isn’t afraid to get into the action. Indeed, this is arguably one of the better acted superhero films in recent memory.
No, it is certainly not without its faults. You’ll find some breaks in logic, some leaps of faith, and possibly not enough web-slinging to satisfy the Spider-Man purist, but you will leave the theatre anxious to see the next sequel. Oh, and make sure you stay for the credits. There’s a bonus scene partway through.
21 Jump Street (2012)
I went into this remake with very low expectations and I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s very, very funny. The basic premise behind 21 Jump Street is much like the original television series from the late 80s: misfit police officers with youthful appearances go undercover as high school students and they have to bust the bad guys.
Part of the brilliance here is in the film’s utter self-awareness. When Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum sit down the police chief, they are told that the higher-ups are revitalizing an old program from the 80s for young-looking cops and the program is called 21 Jump Street. It’s simple, but it’s clever. Similarly, the blunt and potty-mouthed group leader played by Ice Cube gets earns more than a few laughs, talking about “Korean Jesus.” There are plenty of lowbrow jokes, but this movie had me in stitches. Even the brief cameo by Johnny Depp was well done.
Now, will they remake Full House? Probably not.
In the words of Don Cherry, I’m a “good Canadian kid.” Hockey is a way of life for many Canadians and that’s the main reason why I watched Goon in the first place. Seann William Scott (you probably remember him best as American Pie’s Stiffler) plays a tough guy with below average intelligence. He gets into a fight in the stands, the coach takes notice, and somehow he ends up on a minor league team as the thug, the enforcer… the goon.
The actual narrative is anything but complex and they throw in the token love interest for good measure. Goon is a straightforward movie that doesn’t pull too many punches (there will be blood) and while it certainly won’t compete with the majors, it’s not a terrible waste of 92 minutes either.