Movie Reviews

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Director: Marc Webb
Columbia Pictures
In Theaters: 05.02
As Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) continues to rid New York City of crime as Spider-Man, he constantly struggles with the promise he made to Gwen Stacy’s (Emma Stone) father—to stay away from her in order to keep her safe. Along with this internal battle, a slew of super villains have made their way to the city that never sleeps. Electro (Jamie Foxx), the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti) want to bring a new wave of destruction and rid the world of their masked hero. The aerial scenes with camera shots attached to the web-slinger’s shoulder, as he soars above the crowded streets, are almost hypnotic with their beauty, and the chemistry between Garfield and Stone still remains the most beloved element of the re-launched franchise. However, director Marc Webb has no clue on the tonal direction he wants to take these films. Is it for children or adults? You cannot have some of the darker imagery in this epic matched with Spider-Man donning an NYFD helmet while spraying a villain with a hose. It doesn’t work. The qualms of having villains oversaturate the screen are unnecessary, as Webb distributes each one with an appropriate amount of action, but as he moves forward to a “Sinister Six” tale, he needs to decide on the film’s primary audience above all else. The action sequences are top-notch, but the film’s biggest fault comes with the similarities of Foxx’s origins to that of Jim Carrey’s Riddler in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman Forever.” Talk about a comparison you never want to experience. –Jimmy Martin
Godzilla
Director: Gareth Edwards
Warner Bros.
In Theaters: 05.16
It’s been 16 years since Hollywood attempted to capture the king of monsters on the silver screen, and the results were more disastrous than a crushed skyscraper. So, when director Gareth Edwards announced he was bringing the beast back, nervousness was afoot. Thank God-zilla those jitters were unwarranted. After a supposed nuclear meltdown in Japan kills Joe Brody’s (Bryan Cranston) wife, the physicist spends the rest of his life trying to uncover the truth while everyone, including his son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), thinks he’s a wild crackpot. Turns out he was right, and the prehistoric creatures the government refers to as “MUTO” break out of their containment in search of nuclear hotspots for food. Another legend the government has known about is the colossal reptile known as “Gojira,” who maintains the balance of nature and surfaces from the ocean’s depths to hunt. Edwards takes his sweet time to reveal the massive creatures fighting toe-to-toe, but fine acting—especially from Cranston—and an intriguing origin storyline keep audiences from caring. Some will find irritation at the multiple hints of action without showing much, but the final 40 minutes of the concrete crunching showdown suffices. Edwards successfully walks a fine line between a modern-day blockbuster and a classic B-movie from the franchise, but delivers exactly what Godzilla fans have been craving for almost two decades. –Jimmy Martin
Neighbors
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Universal
In Theaters: 05.09
Never judge a book by its cover—or a movie by its trailer. If anyone had with this R-rated comedy from director Nicholas Stoller, they would have assumed this filthy flick was nothing more than a childish romp with a few sight gags. Wrong! Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) have just purchased a new home with their new baby, but when the house next door is sold to the Delta Psi Beta fraternity with their president, Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron), leading the drunken debauchery, you can imagine their concern. Rather than immediately making enemies, the older couple attempts to partake in the festivities with a promise to Teddy to never call the cops, but when the shenanigans become too much to endure, that promise is broken and war is declared. God bless Stoller for embracing his R-rating and refusing to pull his punches as Rogen, Byrne and Efron offer nothing but the crudest form of humor. While the leads certainly get their laughs, the supporting cast of Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz and Lisa Kudrow unquestionably get theirs as well. At times, the intersecting storylines veer from each other, forming two separate plots with minimal comedic results, but the polar opposites of Rogen and Efron repair the damage with their vulgarity. I know I will never look at an airbag in the same fashion ever again. –Jimmy Martin