Silver Screen Smackdown- The Amazing Spider-Man (2013)

Movie– The Amazing Spider-Man

TL;DR– Not bad, but not as good as the first trilogy’s number one. 80%

 

Basics– It’s the standard Spider-Man origin story we know and love.  Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider who gives him the ability to walk on walls and the strength, speed, and endurance proportionally to a spider.  His uncle is murdered because Peter didn’t stop a robber, and he swears to protect the innocent.  In this adventure, Peter helps Dr. Connors with a formula to regenerate limbs.  When Dr. Connors uses the formula on himself he turns into the Lizard, a fearsome monster who wants to turn the rest of mankind in to lizard people too.  Can Spider-Man stop the monster, get the girl, and save the day?

 

Plot– The plot is ok.  Some things are a bit contrived and a bit too lucky.  Things tend to fall into place too much with this story.  Peter is often time in the right place at the right time.  That said, this a decent story that is fun to watch.  It’s got its moments that will stretch logic like when Spider-Man is shot, and later he then jump kicks into the Lizard.  He most likely should have blacked out from that one.  It’s easy to nitpick problems, but I was honestly entertained and I had a fun ride. 3/5

 

Actors– The actors are pretty good.  Peter Parker is a good match.  He looks like a high schooler should.  He does high schooler things like storm out, have social problems, and fight with his adopted parents.  He’s very funny with the quips, so that makes Spider-Man really come alive on the screen.  I would like him to actually keep the mask on, but we can’t have everything.  Uncle Ben is well done, but HE NEVER SAYS WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY!  WHY!?  That is Spider-Man’s thing.  Leaving that out was a major mistake!  Gwen Stacy looks like she should, and she does a good job bringing that character to life. 4/5

 

Visuals– This is well done.  The CGI is awesome, and the costumes are great.  Spider-Man’s suit is different, but that isn’t bad.  The world looks like it should.  Heck even the Lizard looks great.  He’s CGI the whole movie, but it doesn’t show. 5/5

 

Summary– This was a fun movie.  It’s good, but not great.  I had some major problems with the story, and I WANT MY LINE FROM UNCLE BEN!  But, I felt the movie was fun.  Other critics have said it was a cash grab to keep the Spider-Man license.  I didn’t feel that.  I felt it was a good movie with lots of action and some decent comic fun.  It’s not as good as the first movie in the last Spider-Man trilogy.  That is true.  Honestly, if I could merge this movie with the other first movie, I would have the Spider-Man movie I’ve always wanted. 80%

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Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Captain America-The Winter Soldier

Movie– Captain America-The Winter Soldier

 

tl;dr– Better than the original 100%

 

Basics-Captain America is back!  This time, something is dirty in SHIELD.  Can Cap find what’s wrong before the three new helicarriers are launched?  Along the way a new villain appears., but  WHO is the Winter Soldier?

 

Plot- This is the best spy thriller I’ve seen in a long time.  All the plot elements make sense for the established characters.  This even follows the good sequel rules by expanding the characters AND building the world not just repeating the same things again.  Top Notch.  5/5

 

Acting- Again, this is amazing.  All the actors make the characters they are come to life.  Every character FEELS like who they are while BUILDING who they are.  Again, well done. 5 /5

 

Visuals- The movie looks great.  Everybody looks like they should.  And, the world looks amazing.  Heck, most of the third act is CGI and I loved every minute of it. 5/5

 

Summary- This is an amazing movie.  Why haven’t you gone to see this yet?  Honestly, it’s better than the original. 100%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Muppets Most Wanted

Movie– Muppets Most Wanted

 

tl;dr– Good, but loses to the original 93%

 

Basics-It’s the sequel to The Muppets from a year ago.  That says it all.  Welcome back to zany family friendly fun.  In this movie, the Muppets just finished their last movie and don’t know what to do next, but since the cameras are still following them it must be a sequel so they start a song and dance number talking about how sequels are never as good.  They decide to take the act on the road for a world tour.  But a slick manager who is a world second best thief uses them as a cover for his goal of stealing the English Crown Jewels.  Along the way, Kermit is mistaken for the world’s best thief and sent to a Russian Gulag.  Can the Muppets save Kermit, stop the thieves, AND not get thrown in jail?

 

Plot-Look, it’s a kids movie.  It’s well done and funny for all ages, but you’re not going to this thing for “The King’s Speech.”  That said, I enjoyed the hell out of this thing.  Lots of things made absolutely no sense, and that’s the way it should be.  It’s a fun ride that gets the Muppets some new places. But, like the song says “not as good as the original.” 4/5

 

Acting- It’s the Muppets you’ve been missing.  All the characters are spot on, but its hard as most of the characters don’t get much screen time since the Muppets has such a large cast.  Also, as the opening song says, sequels have lots of cameos.  And this one is full of TONS!  You will spend most of the movie either laughing or trying to figure out who that minor character is.  Odds are he’s/she’s a major well know actor. 5/5

 

Visuals- It’s the Muppets, get used to lots of waist up shots.  Also, get used to lots of sight gags.  Honestly, this is spot on for what the Muppets should be. 5/5

 

Summary- This is a damn good movie.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Its major competition is the original Muppets movie.  And to that one it loses, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie.  It’s good, just not as good. 93%

 

Silver Screen Smackdown-Movie Review of Tangled

Movie– Tangled

 

tl;dr– An awesome beta test for Frozen! 97%

 

Basics– This movie is loosely based on “Rapunzel.”  The movie expands on the story by starting with the witch singing to a magic, sun-like flower to stay young.  A Queen becomes deathly ill, and she sends men to find the flower.  The queen uses the flower in a tea, become well, and later has a child with long blond hair.  The witch returns and finds that singing to the hair will restore her youth, but when it is cut the hair loses its magic.  She steals the child, puts her in the famous tower.  This leads the King and Queen to release floating lanterns each year on her birthday in remembrance.  Rapunzel wants to leave the tower to see the lights in the sky, but her witch “mother”, for obvious reasons, forbids her from ever leaving the tower.  Near Rapunzel’s 18th birthday, a thief named Flynn Rider steals the stolen princess’ crown and runs into the forest abandoning his two cohorts along the way.  He sneaks into the tower, and Rapunzel hits him with a frying pan.  She steals and hides the crown promising to only return it when Flynn takes her to the lights.  Flynn reluctantly agrees, and the adventure begins.  Now the other thieves, the witch, and guards are all of the Rapunzel and Flynn!  And it wouldn’t be Disney without some random sidekicks like a smart horse, a smart aleck chameleon, and some true love.

 

Plot-The plot follows the base story with lots of new fun elements.  It’s a fun ride with some good songs, memorable moments, and crazy action sequences.  After seeing all of Disney’s movies, it’s not Disney’s best.  But, it’s up there.  What costs it here is it’s not as memorable as many of their other films with a similar princess-kidnap-true love formula. 4.5/5

 

Acting-The characters do feel lifelike, and the actors do a good job of bringing them to that life.  I didn’t recognize most of the voice actors, but two of the side characters did stand out: Ron Perlman and Brad Garrett.  Obscure casting isn’t bad, but I was surprised. 5/5

 

Visuals-This movie is completely computer generated.  It’s semi-realistic with comedic touches.  I liked the style.  After seeing a few of these, I think Disney is going to use this as their default style for animated pictures. 5/5

 

Summary- I really liked this movie.  Not as much a Frozen, but it’s a good movie.  I saw this after Frozen, and that might have hurt the rankings of this film.  It’s never a good idea to go head to head with a major award winner!  However, this film feels like a well done test of what Frozen was and brings back some classic Disney:  some good songs, good acting, fun action, and nice visuals.  You won’t leave the theater singing the songs like you did when you left Frozen or Mulan, but some family entertainment, it’s hard to do better! 97%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Movie- Mr. Peabody and Sherman

tl;dr-  An awesome blast from the past. 100 %

 

Basics- Based on the smaller cartoons set during the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a family movie covering several different themes from growing up, loving your family, and the relationship between a dog and his boy.  The movie starts with a short movie with a different alien race finding a home.  This short movie has nothing to do with the main movie.  The main feature starts with Mr. Peabody and Sherman going on a short adventure in revolutionary France, then the movie really kicks in gear with Sherman going to school and meeting a bully.  Sherman bits the bully in self-defense, but Mr. Peabody must prove that he’s a fit parent by meeting with a social worker and the bully parents.  Sherman has to make friends with the bully, but in doing so he shows her the time machine.  And, together they screw up time.  Sherman and Mr. Peabody have to fix all of time, fix their relationship, and find a way to prevent the evil social worker from separating them forever!

 

Plot-  I loved this movie!  A lot of movies based on classic cartoons all too often don’t reference the source material enough.  Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s first act starts with a section that could have come right out of the cartoon it was based on, bad puns and all!  From there the plot get better as nothing is out of place and it really does hit home a great message about family and growing up. 5/5

 

Acting- The characters felt like they should have.  I watched the cartoons when I was younger and these characters felt like they came from that show.  The new characters are interesting, but they feel like they belong in the world.  All the voice actors did great jobs bringing these characters to life. 5 /5

 

Visuals- This movie is completely computer generated.  If you don’t like that update from the classic hand drawn style, you won’t like this.  However, I liked the style and the characters did look like they should have.  The movie does take some visual cues from the Sherlock Holmes movies as Mr. Peabody goes into strange meditative state invovling lots of math blurring across the screen.  It’s a novel addition that I enjoyed.  I’d like to watch it in slow motion and see if the math adds up. 5/5

 

Summary- This is an excellent family movie.  Don’t expect an epic where characters have massive characters arcs like 12 Years a Slave, but for a movie aimed at kids, it covers a lot of ground and make you feel happy when you leave the theater.  If you made me choose, I’d still go with The Lego Movie as a better movie, but this one is an amazingly close second.  My one gripe has to be Odysseus.  He gets made out to be a moron!  But if you can look past one minor character, you will have an amazing ride!   100%

 

Silver Screen Smackdown- Total Recall (2012)

Movie- Total Recall

tl;dr-  We can remember it for you wholesale and not as well! 76.7%

 

Basics- This is a remake of the classic 90’s movie.  The main character Douglas Quaid has a dead end job that he hates, and to escape the boredom, he tried Total Recall, a mental vacation agency that make you remember awesome events without them actually happening.  Midway through the procedure he is attacked by government goons, and he finds out he’s the only man who can save the resistance with his memories having been previously removed.  He begins his quest to save the world, but along the way he constantly questions if any of this is real.

 

Plot- The plot isn’t bad, but its not as well done as the original.  The story moves pretty quick, but it’s not as engaging as you don’t really feel for the resistance or the poor like you did in the original. Also, the end bad guy has a somewhat questionable plan and for some reason has to oversee it personally.  That could be a factor that plays into the paranoia that plays through the movie, but that seems too smart for this movie.  3/5

 

Acting- The acting is ok.  Its not the worst I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t say its the best.  Some great moments, but overall the actors do a decent job more often than not.  No Oscars, but not Razzies. 3.5/5

 

Visuals-  The is a big budget movie, so the movie spent lots of money to make its self pretty.  However, while this one is good, I almost felt the original was better here too as you get awesome 90’s graphics AND mutants.  Here you get pretty CGI and robots.  5/5

 

Summary-This isn’t a bad movie, but when I show my brothers Total Recall, this won’t be the version I show them.  Both versions have a undercurrent of paranoia, but this one just didn’t make me feel for the lower class people.  I’m glad I saw this one, but I won’t have much to remember from it. 76.7%

Silver Screen Smackdown- The Lego Movie Review

Movie- The Lego Movie

tl;dr-  GO NOW!  WHY ARE YOU READING THIS! GO SEE THE MOVIE! 100%

 

Basics- This movie is stupid simple till it takes some amazing turns and become one of the most complex things I’ve seen in a long time.  The basic plot is Lord Business is planning to do “something” to the entire world with the Kragal.  Our hero finds the way to stop it, completely by accident, and now must quest to save the world across different Lego sets.  Along the way he meets an interesting cast of characters including Batman!  I’m keeping the plot vague because it’s best to just experience it!

 

Plot- The plot is amazingly simple till it shifts late in the movie to extreme nuanced.  It’s laugh out loud funny.  It tugs at your heart.  It’s just pure awesome! 5/5

 

Acting- The acting is top notch.  The characters alternate between believable to caricatures, but it’s done when they need to be.  Everything fits and the people make it happen.  Heck, the little random cameos even make the movie better than a random grab for attention 5/5

 

Visuals-  The world is made of Lego, literally.  Character takes a shower?  Little Lego clear single bits fall out on him.  Explosion?  Made of Lego fire and then Lego smoke.  It’s beautiful!  Some things are not made of Lego, but the reason they are is self explanatory.  Every scene is a new Lego play set.  It’s not a commercial so much as the director using the existing worlds Lego has built.  The look makes me think back to when I was 5 and played with different Lego play sets.  I was hit right in the childhood! 5/5

 

Summary-I want to see thing again.  I want to go see it again after that.  I want to see this so many times in a row I hate it.  I honestly don’t think that’s possible! 100%