Tag Archives: Superheroes

Anime-Breakdown: Golden Batman (Black Star and the Golden Bat (1979) Movie Review

Golden Batman is a Korean animated movie from 1979 based on a 1967 anime series called Golden Bat or Ogon Bat in Japanese. Created by Takeo Nagamatsu in the 1930s, Ogon Bat is a Japanese superhero that predates the likes of Superman, and Batman. Much to my surprise, Ogon Bat is considered to be the world’s first superhero. Borrowing more traits from Superman than the name of the 1979 film would imply having super powers that include superhuman strength, invulnerability, and the ability to fly. In the original Korean-Japanese production of the 1960s anime series (according to what little information could be found on this series), Golden Bat is apparently the last surviving Atlantean who fights crime wearing a golden skull mask. If you see the poster, or promotional art you’ll notice that the golden skull mask is nowhere in sight. Turns out in 1979 Golden Bat design was updated to resemble Batman.

Seriously though, the golden skull pimp design looks cooler.

Now, the only viewable copy of Golden Batman is a Spanish dub of the film since the film never officially received an international release in the US. Probably because the new character designs rips off Batman. You either have to search to the ends of the world to find an old VHS tape, or search desperately online. If Golden Batman was dubbed in any other language besides English, or Spanish that would be the end of the story. There’s no English subtitles either so unless you know you’re Korean, or Spanish well you’re sadly out of luck. However, that is not the case for me so I’ll discuss the actual film.

Golden Batman (or Black Star vs. Golden Bat according to the announcer in the beginning of the film) story follows a bunch of kids, and their talking pet dog trying to prove their bravery for their dying sick friend. There’s also a subplot revolving around villain Black Star who is kidnapping the world’s top scientists to develop a weapon that can make him take over the world. Pass the opening credit sequence which has cheesy music the first thing the villain, Black Star, is shown doing is watching a news broadcast. This news broadcast basically clarifies a scientist is working on “Rocket TM” which is described to be a robot for an Aerospace Science Central. Black Star after seeing the newscast decides to call the Aerospace Corporation, and announces to them in a phone call that he’s planning to steal the blueprints to “Rocket TM”. With this information you think the Aerospace Science Central would signal Golden Bat, or sing his Korean theme song to make sure Golden Bat appears at the scene in advance to stop Black Star. The Aerospace Science Central does not do that, and instead a army of clone security guards that were in charge of protecting “Rocket TM” fear at the sight of Black Star.

This event make news waves where whoever translated the script into Spanish felt the news broadcast should say (paraphrasing) “We’re living in a time of authentic danger”. Leading me to speculate that regular crime committed by normal people in this world is not considered “authentic danger”. There’s also a pointless cutaway to a child crying where the mom threaten her kid she’ll call Black Star if he doesn’t stop crying. It contributes nothing to the story, but that some hilarious cruel parenting right there. It only takes around six minutes before Golden Bat actually makes first his appearance in the film for some further nonsense. Aside from his ridiculous character design the members of the mafia show their fear by doing some sort of invisible orgy from what I could interpret from the animation. You got one mafioso thrusting the air, and another mafioso thrusting the floor repeatedly. This leads into a badly animated action scene where Golden Bat wins easily. After stripping the mafia down to their underwear, and leaving one of them a red Bat on their chest Golden Bat leaves the scene. So why did Golden Bat go to the hideout of the mafia if it wasn’t to retrieve the blueprints is never explained. Well, Golden Bat is did strip down several mafioso down to their underwear so he had a plan of some sort that wasn’t aimed at kids (the film intended demographic).

This goofy fight while entertaining sadly isn’t followed up on. Instead of following the last surviving Atlean fighting evil on Earth the film shifts focus to a bunch of annoying kids that really like Golden Bat for the majority of the film. Given the film is barely an hour, and ten minutes long the kids remain static characters. Along with the one dimensional kids, neither do Golden Bat, or the villain Black Star have much personality to them than stating the obvious between good, or evil. The movie also has a easy to follow story where you’re just meant to accept everything at face value. There’s a talking Cat, and a talking Dog that wears boxing glove in the film that everyone simply accept in their everyday normal life in this world. In one scene, there’s a kid who disguises himself as Golden Bat to scare off the mafia, yet the disguise changes his height, body structure, and voice simultaneously. I could buy the mafia falling for the disguise, and even Golden Bat flying out of a Lava pit unscrathed, but an entire costume changing a kid body structure is just pushing it.

Among various nonsense of the writing there is Toltry (the main character) father who claims it is normal for his son to break his neighbor windows. I bring this up because the film does this frequently. It shows something to the viewer that is inconsequential to the story, and goes about it business like nothing happen. So for like 40 minutes it does this until eventually the kids discover Black Star cave by accident. The film tries to setup drama by having a sick dying kid in the film, and revealing his tragic backstory through flashback. I laughed at this part in the film so that tells you how much I cared. Not only was the currently sick kid bald for some reason when his mother died, but became good friends with neighborhood kids on a whim. I would have taken the scene seriously if what sounded like bad porno music (the bad voice acting didn’t help either) wasn’t playing in the background during the flashback. Also, in the flashback a kid shed tears, and his tears goes through his glasses. That’s the kind of things you’ll notice when boring kids character are meant to carry an entire film. It’s difficult to care them too when they’re idiots. In one scene, Toltry tells his friend they should leave before they are discover by Black Star henchman. Instead of immediately leaving the evil layer the kids stand in the same place until an announcement finishes saying someone entered the evil headquarters. I know Toltry is the same character is who did animal impression to cheer up his dying friend in an earlier scene, but that was seriously stupid.

The best part of the movie is easily whenever Golden Bat appears on screen because ridiculous things happen on screen. It’s a shame he’s delegated into the background since the climax is the highlight in the movie. During the climax, the film could care less about the tiny details like logic, and rational thinking as Golden Bat beats up everyone in his path. Golden Bat fights against an army of clone henchman, a robot, and eventually the villain with just whatever came up to the animators mind. Golden Bat is so powerful that he even survives falling into a pit of Lava, and flies out of it without a scratch to fight the villain of the film. The final confrontation is entertaining seeing Golden Bat fight a villain who can seemingly shoots laser out of anything he touches. If the movie offered more cheesy superheroes antics over annoying kids than the film would have been more enjoyable, though probably just as badly written. It would make the moment where Golden Bat karate chops off Black Star arm off look less out of place given the intended audience was obviously for kids.

Animation is odd. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in finding the studio behind this film. Then again I guess it’s for the best since the animators have a clear butt fetish in the film. Characters are slapped in the butt, kick in the butt, patted on the butt, and a couple of shots to show fat kid butt. Putting some detail into them which questions where the animators priority were at. Throughout the film there’s many examples of bad animation like a character face being colored differently from the rest of his body, a kid head going through a bed sheet even he’s a couple feet away from it, and Golden Bat flying off seemingly out of thin air from a window. My favorite pieces of bad animation is the constant jittering from all the characters in the film that never stops. It’s quite an accomplishment when the animation is so bad that still animation wasn’t done properly. However, the non stop jittering of characters make can scenes unintentionally funny when taken out of context. Usually making it seems like characters are doing something sexual like making it appear like a fat kid is giving his dog a rough time.

I saw the film with a Spanish dub, and regardless of what language you actually understand you can obviously tell this is horrible voice acting. Now I can’t list any specific voice actors since the credits are written in Korean, and the Spanish dub didn’t list any Spanish voice actors in the closing credits either. The only voice actor I would give any compliment to is whoever voiced Golden Bat did a good job in his role. His role was rather limited in screen time, but the voice actor felt self-aware of the role he was playing, and chose to ham it up. It felt appropriate with the tone of the film. Golden Bat was also the only voice actor whose performance was remotely enjoyable because he was intentionally campy. Even though Golden Bat was the hero the evil laugh of Golden Bat as he beats up people is hard not to enjoy. Every other voice actors was terrible. The whole cast simply not caring about their performances. The only things that aren’t dubbed in Spanish are the Korean song tracks. Including two moments where the kids sing Golden Bat theme in their original Korean language, and oh man it’s awful! The kids are out of sync, can’t sing those high notes, and also can’t sing.

Golden Batman is an interesting piece of animation history, as well the source material it’s based on, but there’s nothing to see here. Golden Bat takes a back seat in his own movie even though he has top billing in the film title. While unintentionally funny in parts the annoying voice acting, and the amount of time it likes to waste on pointless diversion it’s better to leave this relic of the past unseen.


Cinema-Maniac: Big Hero 6 (2014) Review

Disney….Marvel….okay how the heck am I meant to write an introduction when two of my least favorite examples on storytelling are involved. I might have my complaints with both, but when they make great movies, more likely with Marvel, I applaud them. Sure the methods are reused, but if anyone can create a winning formula, not change it for over seventy years, still get positive reviews for essentially making the same film, and get rewarded with large revenue it’s Disney. Unlike “Frozen” where it had no idea what it wanted to be “Big Hero 6” suffers from the opposite problem of having no personality. There’s nothing in “Big Hero 6” that attempts to differentiate itself from a typical Disney animated movie or Marvel movie. Like it’s prominent hero Baymax, the original creation has heart and thought put into, but in the hands of another creator it’s just something that can reproduce from an assembly line without the same care or thought put into it.

Big Hero 6 is about a bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada. Just like the heroes of the film, “Big Hero 6” is rather aimless. One of the casualties of this film being an animated film by Disney and based around a Marvel comic book combining cliches from both properties. The Disney protagonist parents are dead, the Disney villain is one dimensional with a Marvel revenge scheme that is weak due to poor characterization, Disney supporting cast are wacky given Marvel powers of plot armor, and a Disney ending that removes Marvel character progression. There’s nothing here that has not been seen and is a tedious experience when it never does anything out of the box. For example, Hiro Hamada is proclaim by the other characters to be a genius. This is simply never made true as Hiro spends a majority of the film expanding on other’s creations rather than making his own, and his genius is boggled down by summaries rather than actual scenes displaying how clever this character is meant to be. However, unlike Hiro expansion on other inventions, the script does not expand on the hero-origin story putting more emphasis on being a by the number product than it’s own creation.

Pacing is non existent in the film. Being a showcase of several ideas and that’s all. They’re just ideas that never get time to developed into proper characteristics or working plot points. Within the first act the protagonist, Hiro, does a complete one eighty on his life with no effort to be convinced to change. This sudden change in Hiro is rushed and so is the catalyst that becomes his motivation. During this rush transformation it introduces the viewer to the rest of the cast. Supporting characters are given a single trait to differentiate from one another. They also have no personality. All the heroes are driven by the same singular goal with the same motivation. Resulting in a cast that have no personality when separated and when together becomes a boring team because the heroes all function the same. There’s no team dynamic either despite only knowing Hiro for a couple of minutes they somehow manage to work together flawlessly. Immediately removing an obstacle to the road of recovery.

The villain of the film is very weak. Not only is his motivation all the amount of characterization he gets, but that gets undone by a twist in the climax. Also, it attempt to make the identity of the villain a mystery. It doesn’t work when there’s only two candidates. By doing so, the film incorporate a twist to throw viewers off, but even with that twist spotting the villain will take no less than the first act. As for the world there’s no detail spend discussing how San Francisco and Tokyo merged into San Fransokyo. At least a single sentence would be fine, but if that’s not important than having a good ending is, which probably got teleported to another dimension since that’s gone as well. Simply put in no spoilers terms, the ending would rather keep a character position static over creating a dynamic character whose significant in the story goes far beyond the basic position from the start.

When it comes to animation Disney balances the mixture of both of Western and Japanese culture in San Fransokyo. Blending the architectural designs of Japan’s Pagoda temples with the interior of a Western traditional home. Mixing up building designs with a combination of both or separately while maintaining a unified look. Streets at night are lit up by neon billboards and Japanese lanterns. Small details like the appearances of both Japanese and English writing down to the clothing make the world feel fully realize. It’s all bright and colorful with great lighting. You’ll get to see plenty of San Fransokyo with two chase sequences, and one flying sequence that’ll display the world. These sequences are well animated, but they could have easily been taken out in favor of sequences that could have been beneficial to the story. One area where the animation fails are the action sequences. All the set pieces are a one sided affair resulting in a party unanimously coming out victoriously regardless what the film character will claim. They are simplistic and slow moving not fully utilizing the abilities of the characters until the climax, but even then it’s for a brief period before the climactic set piece comes to an end.

Ryan Potter provides the voice of Hiro, the hero of the story. His work was fine, nothing noticeable to criticize since the poor script it at fault. With that said, Ryan Potter surprisingly makes every single one of his line delivery come across naturally. He’s able to provide emotion in scenes where the material failed to do so. The stand out voice work goes to Scott Adsit and his portrayal of the robot Baymax. Even through an auto-tune-like filter, Adsit was able to give the character life. While Baymax comedic antics revolve on slapsticks and the rule of three (allot) Adist has good comedic timing. Delivery most of the laughs with what he says over what his character does. The best performance in the film belongs to Daniel Henney for his portrayal of Tadashi. Offering the most ranged in his performance and coming across as a likable individual with good intention.

The rest of cast roles require them to be one-note. Leaving little range for T.J. Miller, James Cromwell, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, and Alan Tudyk. Their performances are underwhelming, though fitting for their characters. Whatever the character trait is, the voice cast conveys those characteristics strongly. Unfortunately as stated before the roles don’t offer them much range. Minimalizing their time during the more dramatic segments of the film.

The soundtrack is something I honestly cannot judge fairly. It has a song called “Immortal” by “Fall Out Boy”, a band I grew up with. Of course I’ll be enthusiastic if I listen to “Fall Out Boy”, even if it’s a song from the “PAX AM Days” album (which I dislike). Unlike the film visuals, the soundtrack only contains two tracks that blends Western and Eastern musical influence together. The rest of soundtrack heavily feature technoesque sound that seems more in line for a film about a young-goofball hacker than a superhero film. There’s several tracks in the film where it sounds like random computer noise were randomly inserted being out of place in a track. If it’s a track emphasizing the more innocent or comedic side of the film it becomes noticeable working in the scene. However, none of the more bombastic sounding tracks manage to create a mood of excitement during the set-pieces. Having steady raising buildup, but downplaying the pay off with a whimper. Outside of the film, only Fall Out Boy “Immortal” comes closest to standing on its own without the company of the movie visuals. Aside from that one track it’s instantly forgettable.

Big Hero 6 is the result of Disney handling a property without the effort. It takes the laziest aspects of both Marvel and Disney to create a story where personality and effort is non existent. The technical side of the film are generally above solid. Disney created a wonderful, visual mixture of two different culture that looks unified. While the soundtrack goes more for a Western feel and is instantly forgettable it works for the film. Unfortunately what Big Hero 6 ends up being is missed opportunity to provide a story worth investing in, engaging characters, and memorable world.


SPOILERS: Heartless Ending

The central conflict of the film is Hiro trying to move on from his brother death. How Hiro copes with his depression is his relationship with Baymax. While the other elements of the film were predictable this central conflict appeared to be going in the right direction when everything else was not. Unfortunately by the third act the whole dynamic of getting past death has been toss aside with a twist eliminating the antagonist motivation therefore removing what little character he had. The ending defeated the whole purpose of Baymax as emotional placement for Hiro Hamada too. A physical being that metaphorically represents the soul of Hiro’s brother, at least that it seemed like the film was going for. If Baymax remained dead along with Hiro brother research data then the whole conflict would have had significant meaning. Hiro would have finally moved on from his brother death and therefore Baymax as a character has more to him than just being a fluffy comedic sidekick character oblivious how to properly act in the world. Unfortunately the film ends with Hiro rebuilding Baymax. Making Baymax into a mascot with no depth only meant to sell toy. So in the end, Hiro’s brother death was unimportant to the story and Baymax was only created to sell toys.

Cinema-Maniac: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Review

When are comic book films going to learn when a single hero goes up against multiple villains it increases chances for disaster. Why be so dead set to be realistic when the characters act like cartoon. Don’t follow the course of blockbusters formula aiming bigger. Instead aim for being better even if it means going small scale. That’s why “The Dark Knight”, huh, what you do mean wrong movie, Izanagi, figment of my imagination. No I’m pretty sure I just saw “The Dark Knight”. A throwaway villain, lackluster romance, bad set pieces, realistic tone defeated by logic it characters live by, and, oh it was “The Amazing Spider Man 2” that I just saw. Oh you can’t be serious. Are we still pretending “The Dark Knight” was a good influence on comic book films? Yeah the day I believe that is also the day I believe Thor is a competent character in his own franchise. Preconceived notions aside about unrelated movies. “The Amazing Spider Man 2” is….amazingly bad especially when it comes to screenwriting.

The Amazing Spider Man follows Peter Parker trying to maintain his love life, discover what happened to his parents, while dealing with three villians. It reeks of very noticable rewrites, ideas that are clumsily stitched together, and is just a series of non sense when you step back to think about it. All of these moments are clumsily stitched together. It setup asks allot of the audience to accept before earning their trust. The first seven minutes are a bad indication of things to come. The opening scene has Richard and Mary Parker trying escape from inconsistent Oscorp on a plane. All we know is in the first seven minutes Oscorp doesn’t want the Parkers to leak or upload specific information. Before getting more…scribbles of information the method to take out the Parkers is very illogical when viewing how flimsily they conceal information on another employee by the name of Max Dillon. After seeing a bit of how Oscorp maintain secrecy you’ll question the logic from them in the opening scene. A plane crash is not very easy to hide especially when there are burned remains of former employees of Oscorp and one that has bullet hole through her body would cause suspicious under investigation. I could assume that Oscorp has that much power to do away with anything unwanted, but that doesn’t go well for attempted realistic tone.

Marvel properties in general is mixed when it comes to making their action scenes. Depending on the director, concept, superpower, or secondary filming unit there’s too many variables to take into account to know for sure they’ll utilize everything as their disposal. Now imagine this; a couple is on a plane, a hired killer just took out the pilot, the hired gunman knocks out the wife, and the husband is now struggling in a prolong fight against the hired gunman. A sound setup, but the why it’s occurring is literally something someone would write for a spoof movie. We have a fight scene that is over closing, and opening a laptop. Sure it’s too upload information, but it’s still two people fighting over closing, and opening a laptop. If that wasn’t cartoonish enough there’s the classic logic of a single bullet that goes through a plane window opening a big whole. That grows increasingly as it sucks out anything in the plane. This scene is shot to be very dramatic with overly dramatic music in the background as Richard Parker attempts to keep a laptop open. An opening scene like this could have been fun and exciting, but borders down to being heavy handed dramatics with its serious tone. It does not favor either the audience or the film when you don’t play by your own established rules which this film is more than happy to disregard.

That’s only seven minutes in. When a film opening is as broken as it is in this film you could only down hill if you fail to recognize the problem. In this, just as with “The Dark Knight” which it’s heavily influence by, is attempting to be realistic while it characters function like cartoons. So after that over the top and heavy handed opening action scene it’s immediately follow up by another action scene. One that tops the opening plane fight in silliness. Here’s the setup; Spider Man must stop, Aleksei Sytsevich, Russian mobster (this ain’t Captain America to allow a clever ironic joke, so nitpick strike one), who is wildly driving a Oscorp truck full of plutonium. Unlike before where the setup is good minus why it’s happening. With this action scene you are left with a series of questions. Does Aleksei Sytsevich know exactly how dangerous the thing he stealing is? If so, was getting chase around New York by dozen of cops part of the plan? If not, what exactly in his thought process prevented him and his goons from quietly stealing plutonium? All these questions are neither importance to me nor the writers that wrote this mess. My biggest complain is how Spider Man does not handle this robbery. Instead of immediately stopping Aleksei Sytsevich whose driving like a mad man destroying everything in his path. Spider Man takes his time to wisecrack. As irresponsible this particular moment might be of Spider Man I would still prefer him to protect New York over Thor. The worst thing that happens while Spider Man is not focus is a couple dozen people likely got killed. Compare to Thor who while focus almost gets the whole universe destroyed. Yeah, they’re both terrible heroes in hindsight aren’t they? This is also the right time for Spider Man to answer a phone call….just exactly where does one keep a cell phone in a skin tight outfit? On second thought, I would rather not know.

I want to take a moment and acknowledge Denis Leary first ghostly appearance in the film. He disapprovingly looks at Peter Parker while he’s attempting to stop a robbery, though I like to believe his disapproving look is aimed directly at the audience. As if to tell us “You’re still staying? You disappoint me” with his soulless eyes staring into your soul. I laughed the first time Denis Leary appeared on screen because of how silly it looked. In context, Dennis Leary is likely disapproving of Andrew Garfield dating his character daughter. There is a good excuse for that…it’s Emma Stone. Of course Andrew Garfield is going to break his promise and I would too, but that is just me. Thankfully Denis Leary does return in the film a couple more time who disapproves of me (and possibly you) of watching the film. In one scene, he looks directly at me behind his family with his emotionless stare. Telling me telepathically “You have a loving family? Go spend time with them. If not, I’ll keep staring at you disapprovingly”. Everytime Denis Leary appears it’s comedy gold. Wondering what the next thing he’s going to disapprove of next is something to look forward to. Until you’re given actual context if you haven’t seen the previous entry.

I could literally break this whole film down, but why continue to beat on a dead horse with the same old criticisms. Multiple villains that lack proper motivation and development. The first villain that appears on screen, Rhino, is very cheesy and goes unused for virtually the whole film. Peter Parker is terrible at concealing his identity. He uses his powers in public buildings that have cameras and in one instance almost forgets to take off his mask. Aunt May and Norman Osborn are superfluous characters adding nothing the film. Both could have been easily written off and in way no would it have affected the course of the film. Sparing viewers from the pointless laundry argument between Peter Parker and Aunt May. Most of Peter and Gwen Stacy dialogue goes like “it’s over”, “we’re back together”, “it’s over”, and “we’re back together”. Then there’s Peter Parker finding this secret laboratory in a location that convince me these writers are as far as remove from reality as possible. The final act consist of two climaxes and two action scenes right after one another. Several subplots like Peter discovering what happened to his parents, his friendship with Osborn, Aunt May struggle to raise Peter, Peter romance with Gwen Stacy, and so many more get tossed aside without the proper time to develop them. The ending is very stupid and insulting to Rhino fans. Something cool is happening behind the closing credits. These complaints are pretty much common for anyone who hates this film, but for me these common criticisms is not enough for me.

So lets focus on specifically Electro who is play by….um what was his name again? It’s that one actor who always gets overshadowed even when he’s the star of his own movie. This movie might be bad, but I will say casting, Jamie Foxx, there we go is an inspired move. Because who better to play a forgettable character than an actor who is unable to steal the spotlight from his costars. For the first half Jamie Foxx fits his role just fine pre-electro. The way he speaks and the way he move capitalizes on the nerdy characteristics of Max. While also allowing room for his obsession to Spider Man can be perceived as creepy won’t overshadowed an ultimately good intentioned man. However, when Jamie Foxx is cover in blue skin he’s forced to play a rejected member of the Blue Man Group. He’s unable to recover when he turns into Electro or make the villain remotely memorable. Speaking of which, how exactly does his powers work? Apparently when he walks by cars alarms will go off, but doesn’t affect cell phones in time square despite a scene showing earlier his power can affect technology not on the ground. Electro also has the power to fix gap in his front teeth. Well if that’s not pointless I don’t know what is. I especially love how in New York a glowing blue man doesn’t get anyone attention even when he pulls up a grate to get more electricity. Just another day in New York I guess. Since I’m still on Electro I want to discuss just how ridiculous it is how he obtain his powers. There’s is no way that…wait what. Huh, uh huh, hmm? You can’t be serious Izanagi! That is not a valid flaw!

Okay. Originally I was going to test the film theory myself, but it was rather difficult to find a fish tank big enough to fit around ten electric eels. Turns out after who knows how many hours of explanations and research here’s some science for you. Apparently, a person could pick up some of the electrical producing cells of eels called electrolytes. If you want to splice electric eel power cells into your body it would then possible to become Electro. All of our cells operate electrically; they are pumping ions in and out all the time and changing charges, and nerve cells absolutely work on electrochemistry. If you can generate half a volt out of a nerve cell, and you could stack up a bunch of them, in theory, you could get a reasonable voltage. Electric eels generate about 1/6th of a volt per electrocyte, but stack up thousands of them to generate typically 600 volts. But they do not shoot lightning bolts, because their voltage isn’t high enough.

So rather than a capacitor Electro is more like a battery. He feeds his cells, and among the things the cells will do with chemical energy is create electricity. So he would be feeding his electrical cells with food, and when he needs to produce a charge, he would generate a charge electro-chemically. It makes a lot more sense than if he were a living capacitor. Depending on how it’s designed, you can make nice arcs. But the problem with a conventional capacitor is that you have bunch of conducting plates with an insulator in between them, so that’s a problem with a human body. Because it’s full of salt water, it’d short itself out all the time. If it did hold a charge, there are all sorts of problems. If he has a million volts moving from one side of the body to another, why wouldn’t he electrocute himself? If he’s shooting sparks out of his fingers, that means that his fingers are going to a much higher voltage than the rest of the world, so how does he do that? The electric eel does it by doing some chemistry on the fly, and that’s the best this theory can describe. But he’s really a battery, not a capacitor. By the way, there is some evidence that electric eels do in fact shock themselves, but that they are more resistant to the effect than their prey is.

I’m just speechless. So how Electro gets his powers is actually possible if unlikely to duplicate it exactly in the human body as presented in the film. They did not insult the audience intelligence with that scene. Scientifically speaking it’s possible. I was proven wrong by “The Amazing Spider Man 2”. Damme you movie. Even when you’re correct at something you still find a way to make me angry. Wait a minute, than the way Electro is defeated in the climax makes no sense at all. Since Electro produces electricity it would have been more effective to throw him into salt water to make him release his current of electricity. Well if that’s true, then it makes no sense how Electro remains in the film as long as he does since I doubt every single drop of water in New York is purified. Even then, that’s still asking a lot for the audience and regardless the quality of the water Electro should still short out. Just wow. I won’t even bother how Electro clothes stays on him when he travels through electricity. Electro is scientifically possible, but at the same time how he functions is not accurate. Did I really spent four paragraphs on Electro? See what happens when you have poorly written movie and a maniac.

Actually comes to think of it what was the point of having three villians? For starter Rhino doesn’t really make much of an appearance in the film. Write him out and what do you know not that much changed. What about Harry Osborn? Well the way he’s brought into the the film is contrive, much like how I brought up the Japanese god Izanagi as a figment of my imagination out of nowhere in this review. If I removed all references to Izanagi you wouldn’t have noticed much of a change in what you’re reading. The same goes for Harry Osborn who is just there as a plot device whenever it’s at a stand still. If you removed Harry Osborn you would have a shorter film, with better character development, and more scenes with Aunt May raising Peter Parker. Unless of course the writers wanted to stretch this out as long as possible. What about if Electro was removed? You would pretty much have another Green Goblin versus Spider Man film.

Now time to analyze one of my pet peeves with comic book films in general and those are the action scenes. Action scenes in this film are very short and go more for visual flair over clever staging, and creativity. All the action scenes in the film try to make spectacles appear bigger than they actually are. One way the film crew go about is huge amount of particle effects whenever Spider Man and Electro fight each other. Whenever these two fight it formulaic; Electro has the upper hand in the beginning with his electrical bolts and Spider Man turns the tide of battle after receiving a certain amount of electrical shot. That’s all. Talk about basic that you could literally picture point A to point B in your mind. In glorious slow motion which is always present and for Electro his own dubstep theme. The opening fight in the plane cannot have the camera stay still to make it possible to enjoy. The fight in the plane is basic granted two grown men fight over the screen of a laptop is silly. Than after that are the two throwaway Rhino scenes. Shockingly the action scenes involving Rhino feature more environmental destruction than the two climaxes combine. They look impressive of the sheer amount of destruction, but the execution and design of them are land in specific point, talk, and in quick fashion finish the scene. As for the second climax that involve the Green Goblin it’s short, shot in tight spaces with closeups, and favorite the usage of slow motion to keep up with the not that fast fight.

The direction is a mess with unfinished CGI effects. That’s also the same reason why Spider Man isn’t in the film much since it would actually require the filmmakers to put some actual effort. It’s selection of music is off putting distracting the scene it plays in. Dubstep is not exactly fitting for action sequence that is meant to be taken seriously when the lyrics cannot be made out properly. My eardrums might have bled since I personally don’t like dubstep, but I’m pretty sure I heard “He Hates-A Me” while Electro was fighting Spider Man at time square. I never knew Mario did film scores.

The cast is generally mixed, though easily the best part of the film. Andrew Garfield brings innocent charm and enough heart as ordinary Peter Parker. While as Spider Man comes across as energetic and cocky, even if a scene does him a disservice. Emma Stone is delightful in the film even when delivery some pretty awful dialogue. Stone chemistry with Garfield is genuine and very strong when the two share a scene. They make the on and off again relationship come across naturally. Jamie Foxx like mentioned earlier pre electro is good in the role. However, pass his scene at time square Foxx goes into a one note role. He’s always angry and, yeah that’s about it when he becomes Electro. Paul Giamatti is cheesy in his short time, though easily the most enthusiastic in his role. He plays his character like a glorious cartoon that it’s a shame he receives less than six minute of screen time. Sally Field gets very little screen time as Aunt May. I could forgive her for not trying in the role since there is not much to her characters. Dane Dehaan is okay in the role. He’s gets thrust into scenes with jarring tone differences with little breathing room in between. Leaning too often in one emotion of his character.

The Amazing Spider Man 2 has plenty of ideas and characters that sadly culminated into making its emotion superfluous. There is too many undeveloped ideas that holds it back from evolving into the grand spectacles it wants to be and from a technical standpoint it set pieces are too basic and short to deliver on its promised thrills. With the exception of the acting, every element in the film implodes on itself having the ideas, but not knowing how to use them. It’s a mess of a film that has too much for its own good and delivers very little of it.


Side Stories: Superficial stuff that happened before and after viewing the film

So I have a friend, Eric, who knows one of my biggest gripes for movies is terrible writing. Eric knows it to the point he doesn’t bother to ask me my thoughts on a movie I hate or love. For this one, after seeing the film himself Eric said to me “This is definitely something you would award a 0%. No doubt about it”. That is true, if I only cared that one thing. There is the production side of things which is just as important to me. It’s also his comment about Electro gaining his powers as an insult to the audience that inspired me to actually seek out information if it was possible. If you’re going call anything an insult to audiences intelligence be sure it’s an area you’re an expert in. If not, you could have a friend like me who loves bringing it up in debates.

My original review of this film was so long that it exceeded Rotten Tomatoes word limit. So I cut out 60% of that material and then edited everything in the remaining 40% down to what you just read. What I took out was not really all that useful or helpful. Plus, it went against my policy of the no spoiler rule. There are exception to the rules, but unless the film had some sort of promised in a theme or concept I won’t go into detail about its story. If I’m going to write anything that contains spoiler I rather put it after the closing paragraph to a review. Therefore anyone who has any interest in seeing the film regardless of they read can rest assure it won’t get spoiled entirely. There was also numerous scenes dissection that made it tedious to read. There’s only so many times you want to read “that piece of dialogue was horrible” before becoming redundant yourself. Now with a review that long I still would have given it the same rating. The film as a whole is flawed, but has it few merits. As a whole though, it just another film that solidifies my feelings that “The Dark Knight” has been a negative influence on comic book films. Three paragraphs about why that is, but like Rhino, it’s rather superfluous to include.

Cinema-Maniac: The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) Review

Extra! Extra! CM lost yet another case against the general public (aka his college classroom). In his effort to prove Marvel monopoly on superheroes films is no excuse for laziness CM back himself with supporting evidence in court showing several Marvel films side by side. Asking the jury to name a director of a specific film to which they couldn’t differentiate a single film for having a unique style, a different formula, or a different tone. He came prepared and determine to prove a point, but lost with an opposing evidence against him. The side against CM pointed to a positive review of Sharknado found on his profile which was enough to convince the jury his position on trail was futile and unanimously was found guilty in hating anything popular. This is not the first time CM lost a case against the general public. Similarly the same occurred when he declared “The Dark Knight” the worst influence to comic book films and titled the success of “Frozen” the end of creativity in American animation. Neither of those cases prove any success as he became bombarded by large number of defenders. Yes it seems by some colleagues his pursue for there to be great writing in films is coming at the sacrifice of seeing why a particular film appeal even when those supporters who see those same flaws. I’m simply attempting to this introduction as a news story because CM has no other way to open the review. Much the film he’s about to review, this opening is lost potential for something that could have been clever, but ends up falling short of what seemed promising.

The Trail of the Incredible Hulk follows David Banner who is held for questioning about a mob crime, his only chance lies with his blind lawyer. Honestly the title of the film was enough to convince me to see the film. I expected it to be the first Marvel film acknowledge consequences for super powers. In the first act it appears that way with David Banner being sent to prison and meeting his blind lawyer Matt Murdock whose determine to defend him. Sure Banner case will help Murdock in his personal pursuit for justice, but is shown wanting to take the high minded road with the story. Now it should be brought up that the film skims through the background of David Banner and Matt Murdock. What we learn is enough to obtain an understanding for both characters having more in common than one might expect. It’s more geared towards the characters driving the story than a story being driven by action. How the characters act make sense and their handling of their respective ordeals is seen as a logical one from their own view. Banner in this film does not turn into Hulk frequently demonstrating a restraint depicted in being difficult to maintain. We see Banner is a good guy, but not so much the world around him provoking him into madness with a desire to SMASH! We see a Banner not desiring to use powers for any good or bad motives. By the end it’s a given he will use them for good, but brings the often ignored turmoil in depicting a individual that unlike other super heroes cannot be entirely good or evil by complete control.

Back on topic, the title of the film is misleading. Sadly the only time we’re ever in court is in a dream sequence. What makes this dream sequence a tragic lost is if the scenario did happen it would have created a case that made proving Banner innocence allot more difficult. It’s also easily the best sequence in the film showing the most of Hulk abilities and the first ever Stan Lee cameo. Also, the techniques used in this dream sequence put us directly in Banner shoes. Disorienting close ups, uncomfortable zooming in to people faces, and loud noises that won’t stop that frankly just want to make you see HULK SMASH the court. Sadly post dream sequence the film takes a dive downward. Becoming more of a superhero team up than a high minded court film. Following the same formula of villain takes damsel, hero gets defeated, hero regaining his spirit, hero goes to save damsel, and villains get away on high tech flying speed boat from the top of tall building. Okay maybe not that last part, but that’s the general outline. Yet at the same time despite these familiarity there are many moments that makes it feel different from Marvel usual outing. Often seeing Banner and Murdock lives as mundane. Coming from someone who seen a number of Marvel films different is refreshing.

The same notion applies to the technical and cast side of the film. Once again there is some promise among the crew, but along the way falter. Bill Bixby is the director, producer, and star of the film. Bixby dialogue for the first act is simple often saying simple phrases instead of speaking in complete sentences. As the film progresses Bixby has more lines making him able to hold a conversation through his angry voice. However, when Bixby is meant to transform into a green painted Lou Ferrigno his angry face is unintentionally hilarious. This also causes some continuity issues as Bixby beard disappears when he “Hulks-out”. Ferrigno has the best moments in the film despite most of his dialogue requiring him to yell in rage. Sadly he doesn’t get to show much of his strength aside from the trial scene. It shows the film had a small budget with as Hulk does little destruction and Daredevil fights scenes beside being incredibly lame are slowly performed with simple choreography. Spectacles are the one thing the budget can’t contribute. Also, he doesn’t make an appearance in the final act that while it breaks from the norm of the title character saving the day means Hulk is often seen running more than helping people. To be fair though, a green Lou Ferrigno still looks more realistic than CG Hulks. Rex Smith committed as Matt Murdock, though is bland. While I do praise Smith for never blinking in his role as a blind man it does severely limits his range of emotions with constant wide eyes. Plus his costume is just black which makes sense for fighting in the dark, but looks uninteresting when compared the sight of a green Lou Ferrigno. Finally John Rhys-Davies plays the villain Wilson Fisk. Everything he says is cheesy comic-book villainy and he’s a having a blast with it. Embracing the goofy persona of his characters he’s rather fun to see even if he’s the villain. The supporting cast are part of the background with no standout. Some are good and some are hammy. As for director Bill Bixby his technique is just point and shoot. Visually the film ever rarely looks interesting with any noteworthy shot.

The Trail of the Incredible Hulk is different from Marvel usual affair. Granted it dated badly in some areas, but which specifically is up for debate. I don’t know about you, but when Lou Ferrigno plays Hulk I can tell he is real and actually there unlike the CG Hulks. Unfortunately unlike CG Hulk, Lou Ferrigno is restricted to slow movements and deliver little in the way of destruction. However, this film does allot right. The characters are made human, Hulk and Daredevil team up is fun, and refreshing to see the title character not be the main hero in a Marvel film. It won’t deliver the spectacles like todays Marvel films, but deliver on its characters and unlike most of Marvel releases it feels different. It’s not as high minded as one would hope given the title, but is a nice distraction sometimes faring better than a higher budget Marvel film.


Cinema-Maniac: Thor: The Dark World (2013)

When it comes to Marvel Thor is among the most difficult character to connect with. The fact he’s a god is not major pitfall compare to how he is written and the people he interacts with that play a bigger part when investing into his story. Ironically the film has a character called Bor(e) in the prologue and despite appearing to hold importance much like everything else it all feels hollow rushing to reach the finish line without a proper treatment or care for anything it does.

Thor: The Dark World tells the story of Thor embarking on a journey to save Asgard, Jane Foster, and Earth against Malekith. This sequel suffers the same issue present in the original minus a worthwhile story to tell. Thor is intact being the overly powerful, but dumb hero whose unsympathetic. His motivation is easy to get behind, but the character himself and those around him never appear to be more than plot devices. Secondary characters serve only a specific function never branching out from that singular role. Some characters (if not all) are dedicated to expository dialogue, explaining the “Convergence” in case you weren’t paying attention the first three times it was explained, an introduced love triangle that quickly dissolve, and comedy relief that manages to become more heroic than the god of thunder. It submits to its heroes limitation in a uneventful manner. For a film that drives Thor to defy rules in order to attempt the one he loves, battles breaking across the universe, and an ancient evil with advance weaponry capable of succeeding it never becomes epic. Already mentioned are the lack of characters worth investing in and applying that notion with the villains. A superhero film is beyond repair when the main character evil brother has less screen time yet is a better thought out character. He unfortunately is undermined as a plot convenience with his powers usually in use in order to avoid a difficult narrative path. Because of this Thor life loses its weight in stakes tailoring to Thor limited capabilities instead expanding them. The same effect applies on the antagonist who has no imposing presence. The antagonist evil plan is generic, but even a generic plan is enough to support a villain if written well. Like everything else the villain is poorly written with not enough time to understand nor allow him to hold a position in the film. As a whole its a sequel that chooses to avoid anything difficult resulting in a film that not only fail to bring anything new to its world, but even further highlight the flaws of its universe in a rush pace.

Director Alan Taylor did a phenomenal job in the directing. Taylor created a detailed and well crafted world that feels connected together no matter how far it goes. His direction is the best part of the film whose talent is limited by a weak script that constraints his capable abilities. The action sequences regardless of size are unimpressive. CGI is not an issue as director Alan Taylor includes a large amount of explosions and proper framing following the action correctly, but what he cannot do is provide an investment from the audience. With the world inhabitant not receiving the same treatment as it carefully crafted universe action sequences are a hollow shell. Without characters worth investing the action set pieces are empty. Working against Taylor is having characters use sci-fi weaponry against medieval weaponry leaving little in terms of creativity. Close combat choreography is clunky and not well planned as actors perform them slowly or its either a one way thought in combat maneuvers to end the action sequence quickly. Performances are good all around, but end up being one note. Tom Hiddleston for example had potential to portrayed an emotional scene after learning tragic news, but because of the writing he does not get an opportunity.

Thor: The Dark World repeats past mistakes except this time on a empty larger scale. It is a prime example of bigger not always being better with a dimwitted superhero who never earns any sort of an attachment to match its equally dimwitted plot that expects it audiences to emotionally invest without the hard work developing anything it creates. Without question the production team, actors, and especially Alan Taylor were adequate enough to takes Thor sequel greater heights, but instead a weak, rushed, constrained script leads them to a course that only goes down.