A Critic’s Manifesto

I’ve been watching the Rotten Tomatoes score for The Lone Ranger slowly climb from a rather horrific 17% today, and it’s gotten me thinking about critics and reviews and the movie review industry as a whole.  In fact, I read a blurb from one review that stated, “Everyone wants this to be horrible,” and it makes me wonder how much film reviews in the industry are shaped both by what people expect from a movie, what they want to happen to the movie, and what they think people expect and want the reviews to say.  So if you’ll excuse the rambling, unorganized and meta nature of this post, here are some of my thoughts. Continue reading

Not Exactly a Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

Much as was the case with The Cabin in the Woods, I missed The Amazing Spider-Man when it was released in theaters last year.  There are a bunch of possible reasons for this, but the most obvious was that it just felt too soon to reboot the Spider-Man story.  Sam Raimi’s trilogy had only ended 5 years ago, and the first movie was only 5 years before that, and I just felt that if they weren’t continuing the story that they’d be better off leaving Spider-Man alone for a while.  However, over the weekend I watched it (thanks to a free weekend of HBO) and I generally enjoyed it.  While it’s too far removed from the film’s release to give it a full review (though I’d generally give it a B+), I thought I’d do another “Not Exactly a Review” filled with my disorganized thoughts.

I’ve always believed that films should be appreciated on their own merits, and that it’s unfair to judge a film either positively based on the reflected glow of other films (The Dark Knight Rises benefitting from the praise for The Dark Knight) or negatively simply because it is being compared to something universally loved.  However, it is fair, and in this case unavoidable, to compare this film with the Raimi trilogy, given the close time frame and wide appeal of the previous films.  The Amazing Spider-Man tries to blaze its own trail, succeeding in some ways and failing in others. Continue reading

Review/Analysis: Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 opens with a flashback to 1999, narrated by Tony Stark.  It’s the eve of the new millennium, and Tony is partying with an attractive scientist who is interested in DNA modification as it relates to regeneration.  They have an elevator encounter with an enthusiastic scientist interested in recruiting Tony (and the woman) to his new company.  We’re told via Tony’s voice over that this is where it all started.

We then jump to modern day Tony Stark, struggling to deal with recent events.  Christmas is approaching, and Tony has been spending all of his time in the lab, hardly ever sleeping, working on perfecting a new suit of Iron Man armor that will fly to his body in pieces at just a thought.  He’s currently living with Pepper Potts, who is still running his company.  Tony hasn’t been sleeping because he’s still haunted by his near-suicide in the wormhole in New York during the events of The Avengers.

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