Here Comes A Spider-man: Three’s a Crowd

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With Amazing Spider-man 2 coming out this week, I thought I might reflect back on the wall-crawler’s history in film and how this franchise as much as any other reflects the highs and lows of superhero blockbusters.

After you start a franchise with a well-received and well-crafted first chapter, then follow it up with an even more respected and artistically successful sequel, what’s the next step? For an unfortunately high percentage of trilogy-plus franchises, the next step is a major misstep that tends to end the series on a sour note whether it was intended to or not. And for Sam Raimi and his collaborators, the next step was no different. Between the huge impact of the first two Spider-man movies and the overall failure of the third, it’s probably safe to say that Spider-Man 3 is one of the bigger letdowns in recent film history.

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Here Comes A Spider-man: Better, Not Bigger

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With Amazing Spider-man 2 coming out this week, I thought I might reflect back on the wall-crawler’s history in film and how this franchise as much as any other reflects the highs and lows of superhero blockbusters.

After the great success of their first installment, Sam Raimi and company returned for Spider-man 2, and in the process delivered a movie that’s still considered to be one of the best superhero sequels (and films) of all time. In spite of that towering reputation, I’ve never been as big a fan of the movie as others, even when I was younger and more likely to be unabashedly enthusiastic about such things. But in revisiting the film over this past weekend, I had a newfound appreciation for what Raimi and company accomplished, in being able to tell a story that upped the ante on its predecessor without having to throw extra villains at the problem (something that many films of the genre- including several of its successors in this franchise- are unable to do).

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Here Comes A Spider-man: The Perfect Origin

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With Amazing Spider-man 2 coming out this week, I thought I might reflect back on the wall-crawler’s history in film and how this franchise as much as any other reflects the highs and lows of superhero blockbusters.

Considering that Spider-man was there at the beginning of Marvel Comics (and the massive turning point in the superhero-comic industry that followed), it makes sense that he be at the forefront of the Marvel invasion of Hollywood. And Sam Raimi’s first Spider-man (moreso than Bryan Singer’s X-men or the Blade movies) was the tipping point, the realization that superheroes have incredible potential in film without having to be live-action cartoons. It’s also fitting that, being based on one of the great comic-book origins, Spider-man is a perfect introduction to its hero and his world.

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My Thoughts on a DC Snyderverse

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Whelp, it’s a fact, folks. As released last night by the Wall Street Journal, Zack Snyder will be directing a Justice League movie directly after the Batman/Superman movie (which I really hope they have the sense to call World’s Finest), with continued help from David Goyer. This is obviously huge news, if for no other reason that it finally gives some shape and direction to Warner Bros’ plans for putting the DC Universe on the big screen. However, given the polarized reaction to Man of Steel– and to Snyder/Goyer in general- this is a risky move, at least from a narrative and stylistic perspective. But I don’t think it’s an outright bad move, and it has enough upside to at the very least become something distinctive.

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Movie of the Week 4/21/14: Tootsie

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I feel confident in saying that Tootsie is one of my favorite movies that Shiran has shown as part of our tradition. It’s an example of a movie that really lives up to the hype that’s built up around it. The fact that it happens to be another iconic Dustin Hoffman movie is just a wacky but understandable coincidence. However, unlike The Graduate’s bittersweet melancholy, Tootsie is the sort of laugh-out-loud movie that I never particularly associate with Hoffman… or director Sydney Pollack for that matter, which makes me appreciate it even more.

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Movie of the Week 4/14/14: Top Gun

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Top Gun is one of the all-time ‘80s-est ‘80s movies, and an early microcosm of the late, occasionally great Tony Scott’s career. Flashy, absurd and obnoxious, it’s also one of my childhood favorites, clearly because as a kid I appreciated blue-hued love scenes and completely oblivious homoeroticism… no but really it was the fighter jets. What better movie to follow up The Graduate with?

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The Origin of Love: A Weekend of Vampires, Transsexuals and Rock ‘N Roll

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Love can be an incredibly powerful emotion and experience, so it should go without saying that it is also an incredibly difficult thing to find and commit to. It’s almost as difficult to tangibly capture both the experience of having love and the yearning of trying to find it in a narrative, which is why both the new stage production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the film Only Lovers Left Alive were so impactful for me. While one is a mostly loud, rowdy and colorful musical, and the other is a quiet, slow-burn indie film, they seem to me to have the same lovelorn heart, albeit in contrasting perspectives. They each depict a different stage of love, and in the process show us not just the power of having a soulmate, but also the importance of knowing yourself before you find that eternal partner. Spoilers and emotions after the jump…

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