Swinging Low

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SPOILER WARNING

When Marvel decided to reboot the Spider-man films after the disastrous Spider-man 3 back in 2007, the choice of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker in Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-man was met with some skepticism. The 2012 film wasn’t perfect by any means: its running time was too long and some of the CGI looked decidedly ropey. But Emma Stone was an inspired choice as Gwen Stacy and there was an interesting vulnerability to Garfield’s Peter Parker. Fast-forward to 2014 and we have Amazing Spider-man 2. Webb’s second Spider-man outing suffers from many of the same problems as the first film (it outstays its welcome by about forty minutes and Jamie Foxx’s Electro has a very poorly designed costume) but it is actually a far weaker film than its predecessor. Garfield’s Peter Parker has become cocky and rather arrogant and the inclusion of a second villain with a conclusion that foreshadows the inevitable introduction of the Sinister Six in a second sequel means that the film feels cluttered and dramatically all over the place. There are some nice touches when it comes to exploring Peter’s father’s scientist past but overall you are left shrugging your shoulders. Marvel’s decision to press the restart button on Spider-man was criticised as a pointless exercise and Amazing Spider-man 2 really makes you miss Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire. The sad thing is that with another sequel packed full of even more villains than you have here, the omens aren’t looking good that they’ll be able to reverse the drop in quality. In fact, it is becoming reminiscent of what Warners did with Batman when Joel Schumacher came on board. Amazing Spider-man 2 is bloated, uneven and mostly unengaging…

Not Going By The Book

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Bible stories strangely are having a little bit of a mini renaissance. We have Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale, but first out of the gate is Noah, directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Russell Crowe as the flood prophet who attempts to save all of Earth’s animals when the world is flooded through man’s wickedness. Aronofsky has tinkered a little bit (alright a lot) with the bible story, adding barren daughter-in-law Ila (Emma Watson) and Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone), the venal chieftain who doesn’t consider his actions in any moral light and feels the Earth is theirs to do what they will with. It wouldn’t matter how close it was to the bible story since that’s no more credible and factual than what director Aronofsky has created here except for the fact that Noah features laughable dialogue (often delivered by Crowe), risible performances especially by the excruciatingly wooden Watson, who seems to be trying to give Keira Knightley a run for her money in the shocking performances stakes, and a tone that veers between earnest and turgid. Noah is two hours and twenty minutes and by the time you hit the last forty minutes, you are constantly checking your watch. It doesn’t help that it also has some truly wretched effects which look artificial and ungainly thanks to the pointless but inevitable 3D. There may be an interesting and thought-provoking film hiding in here somewhere but much of it feels like a 2014 remake of The Land That Time Forgot without the kitsch charm and the sense of fun. Noah is overlong, tedious and a real chore to get through. Here’s hoping that Scott’s Moses epic is a lot better…