Topher Grace

Spider-Man 3

Year: 2007
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Written By: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, and Alvin Sargent. Based on characters creasted by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

RYAN’S REVIEW

Everybody hated this movie but I always liked it because it was everything I wanted out of a Spider-Man movie. I am a sucker for the effects. I love to see that cool Spider-Man shit and this movie is overloaded with cool Spider-Man shit. Yeah Topher Grace was a lame choice for Eddie Brock but beyond that I don’t know what everyone hated so much. I liked the black suit, I liked the story overloaded with villains, and I loved seeing all these characters together again for a third go round. The biggest problem I had with it was that some of the fight scenes featured Peter doing the fighting instead of Spider-Man.

They put too much thought into the second movie for me. Yeah it was cool but I loathed sitting through all the slow moving character development while I was waiting for Spider-Man to be swinging through the streets. This movie featured three villains, and because of that there was tons of Spider-Man swinging around and being awesome. Of the three films this movie featured some of the coolest Spider-Man sequences and that’s all I have ever really cared about in this franchise. In 2007 if I wanted to see a serious movie I’d check out No Country for Old Men, when I wanted to see something fun and awesome I went to see this one. While plenty were disappointed I was pleased cause I got exactly what I wanted.

This movie still preceded the MCU and while plenty of movies were trying to recreate the success of Spider-Man nothing came close to this franchise even the third time around. Even though this movie wasn’t well received it still managed to be the highest grossing film of the year. That’s the number one reason they shouldn’t have rebooted this franchise but followed through with the idea for a fourth film. There was no reason to scrap a successful franchise in favor of a reboot nobody wanted. It still frustrates me to this day. While the character would have needed to be rebooted eventually in order to enter the MCU we still could have gotten another couple of cool films before that took place.

People can hate on this movie all they want, I will always think they are wrong. Spider-Man was already awesome enough but when they put him in that black suit he got even cooler. In the black suit his movements are so fluid and so much more powerful. I love when he is doing back flips on the side of a building and I love when he nosedives straight toward the ground before swinging up at the last second. This movie is full of awesome Spider-Man moments. The visuals of him saving Gwen Stacy from the crane accident are simply spectacular.

I think we can all admit that where this movie went wrong was casting Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. While I’ve read Topher Grace put on an impressive 20 something pounds to play the part that hardly matters when you only weigh 100 pounds to begin with. Eddie Brock is supposed to be a bulky and intimidating figure. Grace just didn’t fit the bill, but I still thought Venom was cool. He was forced into the story by the studio but I wasn’t disappointed by it. It only meant there was more Spider-Man action to be had.

I have also heard many people criticize the scene when Peter is dancing around the streets. Yeah it’s totally lame but it wasn’t so bad it sullied my opinion of the film. I looked at is as “oh, Peter is being dorky again, even when trying to be cool.” I saw it as part of the character and never gave it a second thought. That didn’t annoy me near as much as being forced into seeing The Sandman as kind of a good guy. I like bad guys to be just that, bad guys. Why am I supposed to feel sorry for this guy? The Sandman proved to be a pretty cool bad guy when the action started but far too often we are having his stupid sob story shoved down our throat. He keeps talking about not being a bad guy but then keeps breaking the law, totally lame.

It’s pretty cool to finally see Harry step up and take over his father’s mantle as the Green Goblin. I thought he was great as a bad guy and as a good guy in this movie. While we’re supposed to feel sorry for this criminal sob story of a Sandman Harry manages to win us back by actually doing the right thing. In the end of the movie the Sandman is still wreaking havoc for some disillusioned reason while Harry swallows his pride to fight the good fight. The action scenes with he and Spidey fighting in tandem are really exciting.

I remember that following this movie the studio did have a fourth film planned with everyone reprising their roles. If I remember correctly the story would have features John Malkovich playing the Vulture. I think the pressure the studio was putting on Sam Raimi had something to do with him pulling out of the project and then it all fell apart. When Raimi left the project the whole thing was scrapped and they announced the reboot. The rest is history as the new franchise never achieved the success of its predecessor and ultimately Sony decided to throw in the towel and start over again in conjunction with Marvel.

I miss this franchise and would have loved to see it continue beyond this third film. However this turned out to be the end of it and while plenty of people were disappointed I still stand behind it. I thought it was a good movie and I think it’s worth your time to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Stargate (1994)

 

 

 

Predators

Year: 2010
Directed By: Nimrod Antal
Written By: Robert Rodriguez, Alex Litvak, and Michael Finch

RYAN’S REVIEW

I remember when it was first announced that there would be a new Predator movie penned by Robert Rodriguez. As a Rodriguez fan I was instantly stoked at the idea of what he might do with it. Somewhere along the line I lost track of it and the movie seemed to fly under the radar during development. A year or two came and went seemingly before Predators was finally made and I don’t remember reading much about it before it was suddenly ready to hit the screens. I could have just forgotten but I remember nothing about the development of this movie beyond my initial excitement at its announcement. I consider that odd because when I’m interested in something I follow its development fervently. Despite my interest in the film I didn’t make it out to the theater to see it on the big screen, such luxuries perish with parenthood, but I bought it as soon as it was available. Trusting, that without having seen it, I was making a sound investment in a movie I would undoubtedly love.

I can say that I made a good investment. I consider this to be a perfect sequel to the original film, if you were to just forget about all the others. The original sequel and the offspring of the franchise are all hit or miss but this movie mirrors the original with an interesting idea that makes too much sense. In the first movie the Predator comes to Earth to hunt, in this one he simply grabs his prey up and drops them, literally, on to the hunting grounds. Perfect idea, and they obviously had a lot of fun with the story. The group chosen by the Predators is as interesting as the men who played the parts. You have military badasses from America, Russia, Israel, and Africa, but you also have criminals. There is the Yakuza enforcer, the Mexican cartel lieutenant, and the prisoner about to be executed on Death Row. Then there is a doctor thrown in the mix for good measure, a medic that can make the hunt more interesting, or so it seems at first. Like the first movie, they took a group of badasses, gave them really cool weapons, and dropped them in the jungle. Although in this one they kick it up a knotch by actually dropping them into that jungle.

I wasn’t sold on the idea of Adrien Brody being the hero in this film. I specifically remember seeing this in the beginning and thnking “really?” However, I think Brody pulled off badass soldier fairly well and I was quite surprised. Adrien Brody often surprises me in this way, aside from that awful thing he did in Splice, I am usually impressed with him. Not only did I like what Brody brought to the film but I felt the cast as a whole was terrific. I am a big fan of Walton Goggins and though he plays the character easiest to despise in this movie he plays the character well. It wouldn’t be a Rodriguez movie without an appearance by Danny Trejo, and who better to play the part of the Cartel man? Laurence Fishburne has a nice part as the survivor that has outlived his sanity. Fishburne can never be Morpheus again, but I still think he brings a great presence to the movies he is in today. I have never been a fan of Topher Grace, and frankly I find his continuing career so perplexing. There’s nothing wrong with him in this movie though. His whinny voice actually enhances his performance as the weakest yet secretive character of the out of place doctor.

This movie really brings it with an exciting and action packed story but more importantly it adds depth to the Predator lore. Through Laurence Fishburne’s unbalanced survivor we learn things about the Predators that have never been revealed before. The Predators use the planet as a hunting ground to enhance and utilize new hunting tactics. They only come to the planet in groups of three and there are two different types of the Predators. He explains that there is a blood feud between the larger and smaller Predators which explains the captive Predator the group comes upon earlier. Later Brody uses this knowledge to his advantage. Freeing the captive Predator to battle the only remaining hunter of the three while he tries to escape on the Predator spacecraft. Sensing a trap he doesn’t board and shows up just in time to help his last comrade after Topher Grace reveals himself to actually be a murderer who wasn’t simply a doctor thrown in for good measure. Adrien Brody’s battle with the Predator can never match up to the original ass whooping Schwarzenegger took but he holds his own well with interesting tactics that make for a great climax.

I started this review weeks ago and had to do a little research in order to finish it. Found out some interesting things though. This movie was actually written way back in 1995 when Rodriguez was working on DesperadoIt was considered too expensive at the time and laid dormant for almost 25 years before the studio decided it might have potential to relaunch the franchise. The movie was re-written to specifically distance itself from some of the other installments such as the AVP films. It doesn’t discount the underwhelming Predator 2 but doesn’t acknowledge it either. This movie was meant to serve specifically as a sequel to the first one and in that it was tremendously successful as far as I am concerned. As an effort to relaunch the franchise I at least hope it succeeds. There has been talk of another Predators film but talk means nothing until something is in production and that hasn’t happened yet.

If you are a fan of Predator then this is a must see. A sequel that does everything right. A cool group of characters in a fun and exciting scenario with plenty of action to keep our attention. According to Rodriguez the studio does want to do a sequel and this film was made smaller in scale simply to be built upon in the future. Five years have passed with no activity though so it’s hard to say what might happen. It took ten years for him to give us the long awaited follow up to Sin City. Yet only a year or so before we saw another Machete. That makes it hard to say what will happen but in the event we don’t get more at least this movie gave us something to enjoy. This movie is worth your time and it’s a must see for fans of the franchise.

NEXT MOVIE: The Prestige (2006)