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Superman 2

Set not long after the first movie, Clark has settled into his duel role of Clark/Superman.
He’s found feelings for Lois and she too has found feelings for the Supe, let’s face it, all the girls in the city love him. She treats Clark quite ignorantly though, he is after all just a nerdy work colleague.

The main story revolves around three other people however.
Superman has unwittingly released kryptonian villains General Zod, Ursa and Non from their prison.
Kal-El’s father Jor-El had imprisoned the three villains in the ‘Phantom Zone’ at the beginning of the first movie before Krypton was destroyed.
Supe’s destruction of a nuclear weapon in space has cracked the ‘zone’ and freed them. They’re now heading for earth, endowed with all the same powers as Superman.
Upon realising Superman is the son of their jailer (Jor-El), they make their prime objective: To enslave and crush him and then rule the rest of the world.
Aiding them, is a returning Lex Luthor.

Cue lots of destruction and plenty of fistfights between Superman and the three super-villains.

There is a twist in the story for Superman himself too before he is able to fight the villains.

The film, like the first, is a masterclass in how to stage a super-hero movie. The writing and storyline are again near perfect. It starts off small and then rapidly grows in scale to something more thrilling.

Again the acting is bang on.
This time round the cast involves Terrence Stamp as Zod, Sarah Douglas as Ursa and Jack O’Halloran as the mute powerhouse Non.
Stamp made it into my top 40 movie villains at #15. He’s very camp, inhinged and is the epitome of the super-villain.
Sarah Douglas adds more sexy-class as a villain-ess and O’Halloran is perfect as a giant brute with absolutely no intelligence.
The special effects are utilised with more pizzazz than in the first. The money was very well spent, in particular on the four-way Metropolis fight.


To be honest, in terms of faults, I’m finding it hard to find any. Maybe one thing would be the use of the miniatures in the special effects. Ok CGI was unheard of at the time, but every now and then the miniature work is too obvious.


All in all, believe it or not, it’s actually an improvement on the first, better in every way. Another definite must see.
My rating 99%


__________________
Originally Posted by doubledenim
Garbage bag people fighting hippy love babies.

Bots gotta be bottin'



Superman 3

Sadly, this is where the Superman series started dropping off the scale.
The movie revolves around Gus Gorman (played by Richard Pryor). He’s an unwitting and unwilling computer genius, hired by his corrupt boss to control satellites in a bid to destroy his rivals’ businesses.
Superman of course throws a spanner in the works and becomes the target of the villains’ custom-built super-computer.


The movie itself is a product of its time. Super computer paranoia and weather changing satellites.
It goes heavily toward comedy too and steers clear of the elements that made the first two so special: Tragedy, tongue in cheek humour, campness and action.
It’s very slapstick and cliché. Turning Superman into a bad guy could have been worth while, but with the simplistic way he gets out of his predicament, it just didn’t work.


The defining feature is Pryor. He adds his own personal touch to the comedy and plays his role brilliantly, but he’s out of place in the franchise.
No show from Hackman.
Margot Kidder is written out of this one too, she appears briefly but isn’t seen throughout the rest of the movie.
Reeve is as always spot on.


All in all a hit and miss affair, mainly miss. Worth watching if you’re under 10 years old.
My rating 70%





Superman 4: The Quest For Peace

This was the final nail in the coffin for the Supe. Written on an idea by Reeve himself but slashed budgets and infighting within the studios the movie suffers terribly.
The movie is another product of its time. This time based on Nuclear War. Superman decides to destroy all the nukes in the world by throwing them at the Sun.
Luthor returns and attaches some of Superman’s DNA and a computer chip to a nuke. Somehow it creates a super-villain with all of Superman’s powers. Luthor then pits his creation against the Supe.


It’s an extremely bad piece of movie making. The story could have worked but the way the movie was made just feels incredibly cheap.
The special effects were obviously cut from the budget. They look cheap and make the poorly shot action scenes even more lacking.

Many of Superman’s ‘solves’ to Nuclearman’s attacks are simply rewound footage of the catastrophe he created. Yes, really!


Supe and Lois are put together in a kind of love story and Reeve and Kidder are able to carry the roles ok, but they seem fed up with it all. Kidder is also starting to look too old for the part.

Mariel Hemingway is incredibly wooden as Clark’s new squeeze.
Mark Pillow as the super-villain just isn’t very threatening. He just shows his teeth and frowns a bit.

Jon Cryer as Luthor’s nephew is just annoying as a kind of ‘yo dude’ character.
Hackman is probably the best part of it all. He hits his role professionally as always and never misses a beat.

All in all, miss this one. It’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
My rating 0%





Superman Returns.

A nostalgic turn from the filmmakers brings the audience some of the magic from the first two movies.
The storyline evades Superman 3 & 4 and carries on after the events of Superman 2 as if 3 & 4 didn’t exist.

It revolves around Clark doing some searching. Scientists believe that they have found Krypton using powerful telescopes and he has just returned from a journey to see if it really is there.
Upon his return to earth he discovers that Luthor has been released from prison and has stolen Supe’s crystals from the Fortress Of Solitude and plans on using them as a weapon.

The simplistic story works, but it’s just not enough. Brandon Routh as the Reeve-looking Superman works to an extent, but he has none of the charisma of Reeve and he barely changes character when playing Clark.
I can’t help but feel that the movie needed more than just the gimmick of nostalgia. It needed expanding, I’m not sure how, but it needed it.
Ok, Supe’s twist at the end is something I didn’t see, but it still needed something braver.


The best part of the movie by far is Kevin Spacey as Luthor. He doesn’t try to emulate Hackman. He turns the role into his own and makes it better in the process.
Brandon Routh and Kate Bosworth do an apt job at pretending to be Reeve and Kidder, but they just aren’t.

The movie as a whole is entertaining. It’s just a very nostalgic miss on all fronts.
There’s not much else I can say about Superman Returns, though I really wish there was…

All in all, worth a watch, but it’ll leave you just as quick as it makes its impression.
My rating is a mid 50%






Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl

Started as a project based on the Disney ride, Black Pearl is a movie that has invigorated the Pirate Genre.
Cutthroat Island starring Geena Davis tried it, but it failed worse than miserably, pushing the genre back to the point of obscurity.

Screen writers Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert thought differently.
Getting Gore Verbinski as director was another wise move, his natural imagination is a wonder.

For a start, using the famous Disney ride as a platform is a mark of genius. They’ve expanded the ‘story’ of the ride beautifully and have created a world of pure imagination, urban legend, slapstick, raw humour, love, terror and action.

The premise of the story revolves around the Black Pearl, a pirate ship who’s crew carries a curse. All they want is to lift said curse and get back to ‘honest pirating’.
Mixed into that, Captain Jack Sparrow, an original Captain of the ship, just wants the ship back in his command and Will Turner, a young blacksmith just wants to get back his one true love, Elizabeth Swan, from the cursed crew who have kidnapped her. She’s also a Damsel-In-Distress with a difference.

The movie is wonderfully playful, very tongue in cheek and, extremely well and beautifully shot.

The acting is absolutely spot on, the actors seem to just know their roles inside and out from the get go. There’s no messing around finding their place.

Johnny Depp in particular is fascinating as Jack Sparrow. He’s become a legend of the pirate world in only a very short time. Intelligent and sly yet loveable and beautifully charismatic.
As too is Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa. He’s the perfect south-western English pirate, evil, cunning and knows exactly what and where he’s going, only occasionally fooled by Sparrow.
Orlando Bloom as Will Turner seems a little held back at the start but when the going gets tough, his role really reveals it’s self.

As for the special effects, particularly when the computers are brought into play for the cursed crew, they certainly don’t fail the eye. They’re raw, animated and work extremely well for the subject matter. The one on one between Barbossa and Sparrow is fantastic.

The on fault I’d say with the film is that it could do with a little more scope. It feels relatively small scale in terms of story and universe.

All in all a fun ride with some perfect writing and characters that really hit the mark, definitely the modern Swashbuckler.
My rating 95%





Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

The first movie was supposedly set as a stand-alone film, though, this is Hollywood and Black Pearl was such a huge hit, the sequel was inevitable.

Further more, it doesn’t disappoint. Not by a long shot.

The story revolves around Davy Jones and his crew and Jack Sparrow. Sparrow owes a debt to Jones and, obviously, doesn’t want to pay. Jones will stop at nothing to get what he’s owed. This time, Elizabeth Swan is called into the story as not just the Damsel-In-Distress, but as a force in her own right after Will Turner is the one in need of help after Davy Jones takes him aboard his ship. A kind of reversal in Will and Elizabeth’s storyline.

As a whole it’s bigger, brasher, funnier and grander and hits the nail on the head in almost every respect.

The action is brilliantly choreographed and the CGI is even better. The movie does tend to rely on more CGI than it’s predecessor, but it’s utilised perfectly for Jones and his crew, who mirror Barbossa’s crew from the first film as being cursed (to an extent).

Again, the acting from all parties is bang on the money. There’s expansion on some of the existing characters and a few new faces to add to the various pirate crews, though it’s easy to follow and fun to watch, the writing is brilliantly put to screen.

Nighy in particular, as the Scottish ghost-boat Captain Davy Jones, made it to #1 in my top 40 movie villains of all time. He’s absolutely brilliant.

A fault with the film is that Jones and his crew’s story is kept under wraps. You get a taster of their past, but nothing more. No real expansion.

All in all it hits the same places as the first movie but is a better movie and a brilliant piece of writing again from Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio.
Verbinski’s direction is another piece of artwork.
My rating 97%





Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End

The third of the original trilogy feels a bit of a step backward sadly. It’s better than the first film, but not as good as the second.

It suffers from Star Wars syndrome.

The movie revolves around Barbossa, Turner and Elizabeth having to rescue Sparrow from Davy Jones’ clutches in a desperate attempt to bring together the ‘Pirate Lords’ in a final stand-off against the East India Trading Corporation who in turn, are using Davy Jones and his invincible crew as a weapon.

The whole universe of the pirate world created by the writers is expanded on extensively, there’s more Swashbuckling, more wonderfully rendered CGI (in many ways the CGI is better) and the cast of actors are still, all hitting their roles with perfection.

The movie’s storyline is extremely well put together, it’s relatively complicated but easy to follow, the expansion of character storylines and additions of new characters is something that, as I said, the second movie lacked.
This one has it all in that respect.

But, sadly, this movie also has its faults.
It feels as though the whole thing was pieced together in a rush to get it done before people lost interest.
It feels very gimmicky. It’s more ‘actiony’, even with the expansion of the universe and the storylines and goes more toward a feeling of seriousness rather than the tongue in cheek humour of the first two.

Almost to the point of becoming a parody of the genre that the first two films have successfully recreated.
 
All in all it’s better than the first, but a step backward from the second, still though, it is a fun ride to take and wonderfully grand in scale.
My rating 96%





Indiana Jones: Raiders Of The Lost Ark

A schoolteacher and archaeologist, Dr Henry Walton ‘Indiana’ Jones, is called into action to locate and/or discover what is believed to be the Ark of the Covenant.
Also on the trail of the Ark however, are the Nazis and Indiana Jones has to stop them before they can use it’s power to plunge the world into darkness.
‘Tagging’ along is Indy’s ex-girlfriend and old cohort, Marian Ravenwood. What awaits the duo is something greater than either can imagine and powerful enough to look into their very souls.

The first and original movie is an all time great, it mixes elements of all genres: Western, adventure, mystery, mythology, comedy, tragedy, and to an extent even a touch of sci-fi mixed in with mystical magic.

It’s an absolute masterpiece in how to write and carry out a story. The scene placement and look of the film is absolutely bang on with the old-school feel of grand adventure and discovery. Lucas and Spielberg have even been noted as saying they wanted to encapsulate the old adventure stories seen on TV in the 1930s and they really have managed it.

The effects of the movie are another good point. Most of the film is practical, explosions, gunfights etc and is extremely well choreographed. It’s only near the end that the computers and other special effects are brought into play and even by today’s standard, they hold up extremely well.

The action too is very well put together. It’s very heroic and engaging and Indy’s character is different to most as he has a human side and is vulnerable during fights. It’s not the run-of-the-mill-relentless-march-of-victory that’s seen in most film s of its type.

The acting from all parties is also bang on the money.
Harrison Ford was born to play Indy. Not only does he look right for the role, he’s smooth with the women, tough in a fight, rugged around the edges, yet is at times extremely approachable and friendly. He’s also as I said, vulnerable, which gives him a real side.
Karen Allen as Marian is another wonderful touch. She’s also tough and yet extremely vulnerable when she’s in jeopardy. Allen plays the role as almost a tomboy with a heart.

Mixing to all that, John Williams’ awesome soundtrack, it’s a sure-fire classic.
It’s extremely difficult to find a fault with the movie. It’s definitely a one of a kind.

All in all a great adventure/mystery/discovery and full of laughs and tragedy too. One for the history books.
My rating 100%





Indiana Jones: Temple Of Doom

Indy and his little protégé, Shorty Round and a beautiful singer called Willie Scott, find themselves trapped in India after an old acquaintance tries to kill Indy. While there they come across a village that has a sacred stone taken from the village temple and that their children have also been stolen.
The village Elders believe that Indy has been sent from the Gods to help them.
Reluctantly Indy takes up the challenge and still being young he thinks about the money that would be involved in finding the precious rock.
Unbeknown to Indy and his two followers, what awaits them is a Temple of devil worship and torture, lead by a man who has seemingly superhuman powers and strength.

The second movie (though based before the first) is a Marmite question for Indy fans. You either like it or hate it.
Personally, I loved it just as much as the first, though unlike the first movie, this one does have faults.

It’s not much of a story compared to Raiders, it feels quite simplistic with the writing. There is a story there and some elements of mystery too, it’s just a simple ABC-123 set of events.

The characters in the movie have been written with a touch more comedy too rather than finding real life comedy in their predicaments.

The movie also, is a lot darker than its predecessor with the subject matter. I didn’t mind too much, it makes it stand out from the others.

The action and effects of the movie are again, very well choreographed and put together. It’s exciting and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat.
The acting, once again, is wonderfully played.

This time round there a touch of comic relief with Indy’s little helper Shorty Round. Key Huy Quan is brilliantly streetwise and also naïve at times in the sequence of strange events. He’s also brave and tough when called for.
Kate Capshaw as the spoilt brat Willie Scott, is another touch of comedy relief. She tends to become funnier in times of danger and when she’s in situations involving the outdoors, dirt and broken nails. Capshaw plays the role perfectly.

All in all, apart from the simple story, it’s another rollercoaster (ahem) of adventure and discovery.
My rating 99%






Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade

Set after the first movie, Indy is called into action again as the Nazis are on the hunt for more Christian antiquities. This time their after the Holy Grail, aka; The Cup Of Christ, and Indy has discovered that his father, Professor Henry Jones, a man who is the world’s leading expert on the Grail, has gone missing while trying to stop the Nazis.
Indy takes along Marcus Brody, a fellow schoolteacher and friend of his father and Dr Elsa Schneider, an Austrian Art Professor who had worked alongside Indy’s father when he went missing.
With a race against time for his father’s life and a race for the Grail, Indy will once again be thrown into a world of discovery and mythology in a bid to save mankind.

The third of the series is a fantastic return to the Indy that made the first so successful. It’s fantastically written and has many subtle levels of mystery and mythology. The mystery of the Grail is discovered throughout the story through Indy’s father’s teachings and is extremely well revealed over the running time.

The little twists and turns throughout the film are also well conceived.

The action scenes are again, choreographed with perfection. They’re exciting and explosive and again, are kept to being practical throughout the movie rather than outlandish effects.

The acting is by far the best of all three movies. Sean Connery as Professor Jones is an absolute mark of genius from the filmmakers. Connery, (even though he was James Bond) and Denholm Elliot as Marcus Brody, seem so out of their element as the stay-in-the-classroom Professors it actually gives them a loveability and a sense of comedic timing. The acting is bang on in their roles too.
John Rhys-Davis as Sallah returns from the first film as Indy’s cohort and friend and is gladly expanded as a character rather than a bit-part from the first film.
Alison Doody as Indy’s new love interest, Dr Schneider, is brilliantly sexy and has an untrustworthy edge about her.

All in all it’s a brilliant return to the Indy everyone loves and has more to it than the first movie too.
My rating 100%





Indiana Jones: The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull

An ageing Dr Jones finds himself kidnapped by the Russian Military in 1957, in a bid to find an artefact that contains a great power. They wish to harness this power and rule the earth from beyond the constraints of modern technology.
Tagging along is a young man calling himself Mutt Williams, who claims that his mother and a mutual friend call Harold ‘Ox’ Oxley have also, been kidnapped by the Russians.
It’s up to Indy and Mutt to save their mutual friend and Mutt’s mother and stop the Russians from gaining a power greater than anything known in this world.

Sadly, it’s very hard to find anything good in this film.

The writing is extremely substandard and linear. There’s very little in the way of exciting action or any kind of mystery or mythology.
It feels extremely rushed, cashed in and very, very cheap.
A little twist in the Indy Legacy is in there, but it feels more of a gimmick rather than anything else.

A lot of the ideas used in the film are unused ideas from other Lucas and Spielberg collaberations, including the now infamous Nuking The Fridge scene.

The subject matter too is by far the worst part of it all. The filmmakers seem to have forgotten what Indy was all about. The 1930s TV series adventure. Ok the movie is now set in 1957, but the aura of Indy has been stamped on and left for dead.

The actors too are simply going through the motions as their characters. Ford as Indy seems kind of lost with it all, wondering why the hell he’s doing this.
A returning Karen Allen could have been a nice touch, but she too is extremely wooden.
Shia LeBeouf is a huge mistake. He delivers his lines like a robot and certainly doesn’t have the physique for the role he’s been cast into. He also tends to just flare his nostrils and look on with wide eyes when something remotely interesting happens.
By far the best part of the film is Cate Blanchett as the villainess Soviet Agent Irina Spalko. She revels in her role and never misses a beat and she’s certainly got an air of danger about her though she's still not perfect and seems also to be wondering why she's there.

As for the effects, Spielberg seems to have gone for full on CGI rather than practical effects and it’s not good CGI either. I’m afraid swinging through the jungle with CGI monkeys was completely lost on me.
CGI is used even when there’s no action on screen either, the entire movie feels hollow because of it.

All in all it’s a good job this wasn’t the first Indy movie. If it had been, it would have killed the franchise 30 years ago. My rating 1%, solely for Blanchett’s performance





Spider-Man (2002)

Peter Parker, a nerdy, bullied schoolboy is bitten on the hand by a genetically enhanced super spider while on a school outing at a science lab. After a night of illness, he awakens the next morning to find he has strange new powers that allow him to jump far and crawl up walls and a strange marks on his wrists that allow him to squirt a web-like substance.
After a car-jacking incident takes the life of a family member, he vows to use his new powers to make sure the tragedy that he has suffered, never happens to anyone else again.
Designing himself a suit, he becomes the all-powerful Spider-Man.
Unknown to him, what will become his most well known enemy, the Green Goblin, has also been born in a lab experiment gone wrong. Goblin’s goal is to wipe out all threats to his company Oscorp, and becomes a danger to the city in the process.

Raimi’s movie is an absolute joy. Though grand in feel, it’s relatively low-key and short-but-sweet with a lot of the action but utilises the look and feel of a comic book brilliantly.

It’s written perfectly too, the scene placement and storyline is wonderfully put together. The audience are given time to actually care about the characters too.
The love story between Peter and Mary-Jane Watson is worked on too, which is a nice sub story to care about.

The special effects are the absolute highlight of the film. The movie is very heavy on CGI. There are one or two glitches here and there but seeing Spidey swing through the streets of New York is a thrill-ride. It’s fast, exhilarating and colourful and is extremely well rendered.
The action scenes, though short at times, are lots of fun.

Toby Maguire as Parker/Spidey is a perfect choice for the role. Maguire took the role seriously enough to physically train as hard as he did and has the perfect physique for the Web-Slinger and acts the role overall, brilliantly. He has the cheeky, self-assured Spidey down to a T.
Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin is a joy to watch. He goes from normal guy to extremely evil, to comic book campy with absolute ease.
James Franco as Harry Osborn, Norman’s son and Peter’s best pal is good, but the role, apart from the half attempt at a love triangle, is barely expanded to more than a sub character.
J.K Simmons as Daily Bugle editor J Jonah Jameson is by far the most memorable of the characters. He absolutely smashes the role, he feels just like he’s stepped out of the comic. For me, he steals the movie when on screen.

Sadly though, the movie feels a little bare and empty for a Spider-Man film. It could do with more smash-em-up action in the mix.

All in all it’s a fun ride, lots of comic book fun and very colourful.
My rating 85%





Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Peter Parker has settled into his dual role as Peter/Spidey. The problem is that he’s settled too much. His college work and job are suffering and he’s running the risk of getting fired and flunking his studies.
Adding to that, his social life has tumbled and Mary-Jane is marrying another man.
With all the stress in his life, his powers have started to fail him.
A brilliant scientist, Dr Octavius meanwhile, has pioneered a new powerful form of energy through his research at Oscorp (now owned by James Franco’s character, Harry). Through a freak accident, Octavius’ Artificial Intelligent mechanical arms, (used for physically handling the energy), are welded to his spine and the A.I begins to control him. Spurned on by his love of his work, Octavius becomes a reckless danger to everyone in the city, with only one goal, personal gain. Harry, who blames Spider-Man for his father’s death, decides to use Octavius’ new power to kill Spidey in return for funding Octavius’ energy research. Unknown to Harry though, is that Spidey is his best pal, Peter.

Raimi’s sequel is a much grander thrill ride of effects and story writing. The legend of Spider-Man and his trials and tribulations is expanded massively throughout the movie. The story between him and Mary-Jane is worked on extensively too and also with Spidey’s relation to Harry.

It’s brilliantly put together on the story telling front.

The effects of the movie are also expanded and improved massively. The CGI action is bigger, louder and feels more like the comic book has jumped from the page.
The action itself is much grander in scale too rather than in short bursts.
The acting again is bang on the money. Maguire is given much more range with the tormented Peter/Spider-Man.

Kirsten Dunst and James Franco also are given more screen time and broader storylines.
Alfred Molina is another example of great acting, he really shines in his role as Octavius/Doc Ock. You can tell he’s enjoying every moment.
J.K Simmons steals the show again though when he’s on screen.

All in all a vast improvement on an already great start from Raimi, it’s grand and exciting.
My rating 95%





Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Peter and Mary-Jane are now together in a rocky relationship. Peter’s dual life has taken it’s toll on their love-life and Mary-Jane has started to wonder if it’s all a mistake.
Harry, now knowing who and what Peter is, has undertaken the same research that nearly killed his father, Norman. He now has the mindset and powers to take out Spidey once and for all. However, Harry, now the new Green Goblin, is injured badly when he takes on Spidey and loses his memory.
Flint Marko, a runaway criminal (who is trapped in a particle accelerator and transformed at a molecular level into the Sandman), tangles with Spidey alongside Venom, an all-powerful, malevolent alien life-form that Spidey has been using for extra powers, in place of his normal Spider-Man suit.
Venom eventually finds its way to another host called Eddie Brock Jr, after Spidey realises it’s making him do bad things. Eddie has a vendetta against Peter for showing him up as a fraud at the Daily Bugle and uses his new found powers in Venom to take Spidey and Peter out.
Adding to the mix is some confusion about Uncle Ben’s death from the first movie, throwing into doubt Peter’s actions.

The story should work, it’s expanded, not greatly but it is expanded and the characters are all thrown into personal and interpersonal battles and the addition of the new villains should make for a broad plot.

Sadly though, it feels more like a rushed cash in to the first two gems.
The new love circle between Peter, Mary-Jane, Harry, Gwen Stacy and Eddie is another expansion, but again, it falls flat. You just don’t care if they work it all out or not. To be honest, neither do the actors.

The CGI in this film isn’t brilliantly improved. Some of it is very cartoony. By far the best thing in the CGI stakes is Sandman but the budget for the effects seems to have been spent solely on him, with the rest having to make do.

The action though I will say, is fast and exciting. Some of it is a little gimmicky but the end fight between Spider-Man, Green Goblin, Sandman and Venom is particularly good.

The one other good thing about the movie as a whole, is that it delves into a darker feel than the first two, but it’s just not enough when everything else is missing the mark.

The acting, sadly, has suffered also.
Maguire is his usual self in the role, but the addition of a bad attitude when he dons the black suit just isn’t Maguire’s forte.
Dunst is starting to look fed up with it all.
Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy is a breath of fresh air. She's absolutely beautiful and plays the role with a tongue in cheek flirtiness.
Topher Grace and Thomas Hayden Church as Venom and Sandman respectively, are good in their roles. Grace in particular is slimy and evil.
Franco is a highlight as Goblin Jr. You can tell he’s enjoying his part as a real bad guy and hits his mark really well after his character’s memory loss.

All in all a sad ending to a terrific build up. Though it’s watchable, it most definitely should have been better.
My rating 45%





Rocky

Rocky Balboa, a down on his luck amateur boxer and debt collector for mobsters is given a shot at the big-time when he’s approached by the managers of the current World Heavy Weight Champion, Apollo Creed, in a bout for the title.
Creed and his managers see it as a publicity opportunity, never for a second believing that an unfit amateur slugger can stand up to a chiselled athlete like Creed.
Rocky on the other hand, takes it more seriously than they imagined and, with the woman of his dreams now on his arm, he trains harder than he’s ever trained before, for the fight of his life.

Stallone’s writing is pretty simlistic, but it works tremendously. His underdog story is an absolute masterpiece in simplicity. Keeping in mind he wrote the movie’s plot in a few minutes, it’s stood the test of time brilliantly.

The character development is very subtly written and played out over the running time of the film. Adrienne’s development and Rocky’s maturity growing over the film together is brilliantly conceived with the love story between Rocky and Adrienne, with Adrienne coming out of her shell through Rocky’s outgoing nature and eventually becoming a rock for him in return when he doubts his fighting ability.

The audience is also given time to really care for the characters too, it’s not just a punch ‘em up boxing movie.

The ending fight scenes aren’t perfectly put together but they work with the tone of the overall film.

The acting too is absolutely fantastic.
Stallone as Rocky is great. By far Sly’s best performance in any movie. His natural slurred speech and almost simpleton mannerisms are perfect for a punch drunk never-has-been. Though being a fighter, his sweet nature and humanity really makes you care about him too.
Talia Shire as Adrienne is another fantastic role played to perfection. She physically transforms over the movie as the character comes out of her shell.
Carl Weathers encapsulates Apollo Creed brilliantly too. A mediocre actor at best, this is another top performance. He’s loud, proud, brash and confident and fits Creed’s persona perfectly.

Stealing the show though, is the late and very great Meredith Burgess as Rocky’s manager and Trainer, Mickey. Burgess as always never misses a beat and though he’s a tough, rough ex-fighter, he has a human, fatherly side to him that really gives Rocky what he needs.

All in all it’s a brilliant, well acted and original sports-drama and has heartfelt action at the end.
My rating 95%





Rocky 2

Rocky and Adrienne have now gotten married and are using the money and fame Rocky made to pay for better accommodation and a better life.
Adrienne has also fallen pregnant and a lack of money is starting to weigh on Rocky’s mind. Maybe one more fight can sort out their financial problems.
Creed has also decided that he wants a rematch with Rocky. Creed believes that their first encounter, with Rocky going the distance, was basically luck on Rocky’s behalf.
Adding to his problems is that his right eye has been damaged, making him almost blind on one side. Mickey has told him that if he fights Creed again, he’ll be going it alone as he doesn’t want to be responsible for sending Rocky blind. Adrienne too, is weary of Rocky fighting again.
With all this troubling Rocky, Creed makes a public embarrassment of him and after a family upset, Adrienne makes a turn around and eventually gives her praise for him to take on the Champ again.
With an angry Mickey by his side, Rocky takes up the challenge.

Some say the movie is a re-run of the first but Stallone’s writing has allowed for expansion for the characters.
Their attitudes are the same from the first film, Rocky is tough but human and Adrienne is still breaking through her shell in some areas, but their storylines are pushed into new and occasionally upsetting directions.
There’s definitely more of a drama sense with the film.

One thing that pulls on the viewer though is that it’s very downbeat, there’s too much bad stuff going on in Rocky’s life.

The fight scenes are happily an improvement in the movie.

The acting is also improved from all parties. They seem comfortable in their roles and carry the characters extremely well.
Burt Young as Paulie, Rocky’s brother-in-law, is expanded within the story too. He plays the part of the drunken waster brilliantly.

All in all it’s certainly on a par with the first movie, improved in a few ways too but lacks the originality of the first.
My rating 93%





Rocky 3

Rocky has now become a megastar in the boxing world. He’s been top of the Heavyweight Division for a while and has decided that he would like to retire on a high note. Much to Adrienne’s delight as she gets worried every time he fights.
A young boxer called Clubber Lang has other ideas. He wants Rocky’s title and challenges him to a fight, insulting Adrienne at a press conference too, causing confusion and anger for Rocky.
Adrienne is less than happy with the idea though. Though Rocky has become a celebrity in his home neighbourhood, she feels as though Rocky hasn’t got anything left to prove, she also tells him that there’s no way that he can beat Lang as he’s too strong.
Sadly for Rocky, a tragedy occurs at ringside when he fights Lang, which causes Rocky to lose the fight and his title to a far superior and incredibly dangerous fighter.
Seeing an opportunity, Creed reappears and offers training to Rocky. A dubious and broken Rocky, takes up the offer and with Adrienne lending her support too, he trains harder than he’s ever done before, for an even harder fight of his life.

This third instalment is a chalk and cheese film for fans. The writing is about as good as it could have been but it feels as though the filmmakers are clutching at straws to keep the legend alive.

There are a few new original ideas going on with Rocky losing and having to make a comeback and a couple of little twists with who Rocky can and can’t trust anymore but that’s about it.

The fight scenes and training montages are well choreographed though. They’re far better than the first two movies.

The acting too is about as good as it could be, the lead roles in Stallone, Shire and Weathers are the same, but Mr T as Clubber Lang, sadly, is extremely wooden.
I’m a fan of Mr T but in Rock 3, he really does stink.

All in all it’s a more stylish take than the first two, with invincible enemies and new training regimes and has a few twist here and there and though it’s enjoyable, it’s a hollow shell compared to the originals, though personally, I enjoyed it.
My rating 75%





Rocky 4

A new upcoming Russian super-athlete called Ivan Drago, has surfaced in America and his managers have been pressing for him to fight America’s best. Apollo Creed decides to come out of retirement with Rocky as his manager and takes on the Russian man-mountain with horrific consequences.
Spurned on by guilt over Apollo’s death, Rocky heads for Russia with Apollo’s old manager and Paulie and Adrienne by his side to take on Drago in a revenge match and to show the Russian super-fighter how it’s done, his way.

That’s about it really for the story, it’s incredibly simplistic like the first film, but contains much less in the way of drama or character development.

The filmmakers also decided to go for full on 1980s gimmicks too, talking robots, Russian paranoia, another indestructible enemy, enemies can love one another too etc.

What makes the movie stand out though is the ending fight between Rocky and Drago. It’s brilliantly choreographed and edited (if extremely cheesy at the end) and really gets the viewer on the edge of their seat.

The acting again is the same as usual, Dolph Lundgren, who made it to #34 in my top 40 villains is fantastically athletic and really looks the part. His acting isn’t the best but he’s kept quiet most of the time. The fact that Stallone and Weathers both were nearly killed by Lundgren during fight scenes, really speaks for his part in the film.

All in all a more bash ‘em up action orientated boxing movie but is extremely cheesy at times, though it stands out amongst the others.
My rating 80%





Rocky 5

After Rocky’s bout with Drago, he discovers that he’s been hit with the thing all boxers fear, brain damage.
To make things worse, Paulie has squandered the family’s fortune and they find themselves back in their old crummy neighbourhood again.
Having to forcibly retire from his beloved sport, he takes on Mickey’s old gym and finds himself a protege in a young, street urchin fighter called Tommy Gunn.
In the process, Rocky’s relationship to his young son is put in jeopardy as he spends more and more time training Gunn.
With a new found fame, Gunn turns his back on Rocky’s teachings and management, in favour of a hollow lifestyle full of flash cars and lots of money. Eventually Gunn hits the big time and earns his Heavyweight title but is slammed by the newspapers for what he did to Rocky.
In a fit of rage, Gunn attacks Paulie in a bar while the TV cameras are rolling, forcing Rocky into one more punch up, this time against his ex-student.

Again, it’s a simplistic story, but it works with the little twist that’s added between Rocky and his son. The drama and heartache Rocky feels with the relationship between him and Tommy Gunn is worked on well too.

Apart from that that’s all there really is to say.

The acting seems to have dropped in calibre as well. Stallone and Shire do there best to keep up appearances but they look bored with it all.
Stallone’s real life son, Sage Stallone as Robert (Rocky Jr) was a nice touch and he carries his role really quite well for a young actor.

Sadly, the new villain in Tommy Morrison playing Tommy Gunn wasn’t much of a great choice. He can box really well, Morrison is a real boxer, but he certainly can’t act.

All in all, it’s a sad, low key ending to something that was already starting to falter. The story could and should have been much, much better played out.
My rating is a mid 50%







Rocky Balboa

Rocky, now a retired boxer in his late 50s and widower after Adrienne’s death, is running a small Italian Restaurant in Philadelphia. His relationship with his son is failing too, they hardly speak and Robert feels his father’s fame is too much of a shadow.
A computer-simulated match between Rocky in his prime, and the current Heavyweight Champion, Mason Dixon, is shown on TV, and Rocky wins the simulated fight.
A slightly disturbed and curious Rocky decides to take a battery of tests to see if he can still fight professionally.
On hearing that Rocky has passed the tests, Dixon’s manager approaches Rocky with the offer of making the computer fight a reality and lots of money to go with it.
Initially, a reluctant Rocky is spurned on a new by found Little Marie (seen as a child in Rocky 1) and eventually his son too.
He takes up the reigns in the training room with Apollo’s old manager again and trains himself up to take on another life time challenge and get rid of the Inner-Demons that have haunted him for nearly 20 years.

Again, another simple plot for the Rocky franchise is smothered with sentimentality. However this time round, it’s a welcome return to the ring for fans of Balboa.
It’s very well put together in writing terms and feels almost nostalgic with the way it’s edited. There are also many subtle levels of story telling within the plot too and character development is forefront in the plot.

The gimmicky feel of Rocky 3, 4 & 5 has also been dropped.

The fight scenes are also a really well made piece of choreography.
Stallone and Antonio Tarver really trade punches in the fight too, which caused a nightmare for the injury-continuity team.

The training montage is another highlight, it’s really encouraging to see Rocky do his thing with such a determination.

The acting is another improvement in the franchise. Stallone is back on form as the Rocky we all know and love and is a little older and wiser too.

The biggest surprise in the acting is real life boxer Antonio Tarver as Mason Dixon. He’s not on screen a great deal in the acting stakes but he really makes an impression as the headstrong, arrogant fighter.

All in all it’s a really welcome return to the Rocky everyone loves and doesn’t pull any punches (ahem) with sentimentality.
My rating is up there with the originals at 94%