Continuing with my last point, 2012 is a rough year for movies. The last two years where undeniably great, while this one is just meh. Then The Avengers came and surprised everybody by not only having lots of explosions and special effects, but by having a heart, and having every part of the ensemble in top-gear, and being one of the funnest movies I’ve seen. Then.. Nothing. No other movies came out that even approached the Avengers. Here’s my top list for 5 lists for disappointments of the summer. Granted none of these movies are bad per see. Just big let downs for people out of it’s core fan bases.
5. The Dark Knight Rises
Let’s start this list right. The mighty Dark Knight falls. On it’s face several times. There’s three real problems with this movie. One Nolan tries too hard to make this feel like it’s an important piece of film. So much so he forgets to make a superhero movie. Except a few moments that feel like he put them there. I’m not going to spoil anything but basically Batman puts a big ass Bat symbol in the middle of Gotham for no real reason. Stupidest shit ever. Also the dialogue is horrendous. He works best when Batman is more of a symbol as opposed to a superhero. That’s when you get lines like “I’m the hero Gotham needs, not the one it wants”. That corny shit they put on the poster. Next He’s making a crowd-pleaser. Anybody with a brain could figure it out but for my readers who just got a lobotomy, it’s for a broad audience. Nolan has no teeth, that’s why there are no on-screen deaths, No real violence to speak of and everything in the last hour is predictable. I’ve never seen a Nolan movie that doesn’t get lazy at the end. Even Inception buckled under it’s own weight in the last 15 minutes.
Lastly there’s so much to digest, and the sloppy editing doesn’t help.A good conclusion needs to feel like it completes the series, answers all the questions, and needs to feel like all hell broke loose. TDKR does none of the aforementioned. There’s no real tension because we know all the characters are going to be okay and it’s a Nolan movie. They could easily make a new movie, hell like two movies and they did a terrible job of concluding the series. The returning characters are no different then where they start, Lucius Fox getting once again next to no screen time, and Officer Gordon doing basically the exact same shit he did in the last movie. The problem with wanting to make everything important is that he adds unnecessary undertones to everything. Bane is a solid villain, even though he’s really copy of the joker (Note the facial deformity, the hidden face in the intro, and even having basically the same plan on a larger scale), but I really think he could easily be a great villain. Nope. Not only does the twist at the end undercut his entire character, but his political views contradicts his plan. He wants to have an anarchy basically, which we never see play out, and then he plans to blow up the city.. How about you stick to one or the other. Not to mention the movie is long as shit, for no reason. It takes Nolan an hour and a half what would take any other director half that. Then you have more time for character development, and letting all these themes of identity, self-preservation, and darwinism come into play. Once again , not a bad movie. Just a sloppy, long, kind of boring, disappointing one. Not to act like there’s nothing positive, but everything they do right is completely ruined by a decision made later in the movie.
It’s not higher on the lists because I really didn’t expect too much from it to begin with. I love Dark Knight, but it basically had a few of the same issues, but everything I saw from the trailer made me figure out I probably wouldn’t enjoy it that much. The problem with wanting to be so relevant is you look at it more closely then you would say Ironman or X-Men. Ironman and X-Men had political statements that wasn’t too obvious and really anybody could understand. Respectively, Responsibility and Equality. Simple, you learn that in Kindergarden . You can’t rap up Bane’s political agenda in one word or even a paragraph. If you want to make a real movie make it, get your head out of your own ass and just make a political thriller or a superhero movie. Anybody who thinks I’m crazy you’re probably a fan boy and wanted to do all the extra work that the film made you do to enjoy it. I didn’t so there you go.
Now I could put Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus on the same bracket because they have the same problems. Bloated length, illogical character motivations, contradicts it’s own themes, overstuffed, and a false sense of self importance. First off, I needed to do several hours of research to figure out this movie. Anytime a movie makes you so intrigued you go off and do research outside of it that’s great. Anytime a movie Requires you to go off and do research it automatically gets knocked a few notches down. Now when I mean several hours, I mean SEVERAL HOURS. Between youtube, wikipedia, and a bunch of lists, I got it down what the movie wanted to get across. Still, several notches down.
Positives. This is actually an easy section to write because there are a lot of positives. I can understand why some people, who actually followed the movie and love Aliens, could love it. I could see even enjoying it completely in the dark. But as I discussed a positive can easily become a strike against the film if followed up poorly. The visuals ride the line between physical and clearly CGI but are incredible, jaw-dropping in some parts. The only minor complaint is that since it’s a prequel the technology looks so futuristic it doesn’t fit, but I can let that go because they’re so many beautiful images in this movie. The performances are still great. And when they aren’t it feels like the scripts fault, but Ridley Scott’s strength is clearly in set design and working with actors. Micheal Fassbender… Ahhhhh he’s so dreamy. And creepy. And fun to watch. If he doesn’t get, no win, a Best supporting Oscar Trophy I’ll be mad. The atmosphere works great through the whole movie. Here’s where the line grays. The story works great at the start, it’s a slow-burn but it’s taking it’s time it feels like it’s leading up to something.
But….as the story progresses it hits the half way mark and gets dumber and dumber and dumber and dumber, while still pretending to be a smart movie. When you take away all the fixings it’s your typical space horror movie. The fixings being psychological jargon, metaphors, and so much ambiguity. It feels like the writer didn’t know the answers to the questions he presented so he said fuck it we’ll make a mystery where none of the questions get answered people will call it brilliant. No..No…NO. Mr. Screenwriter you’re the sole reason this movie is weak. Everything but your smart stupid ass script works. But then you come in and throw a wrench at the whole thing. Everything that can be wrong with a script is here. Overarching themes, stupid characters, overly insightful characters, too much ambiguity, poor dialogue, just overall sloppy. This script needed to be tight and this easily could’ve been one of the best movies in the world. The writer even acknowledged they should get somebody else. It would’ve taken like a week to just punch up this script and make it good again. Nope I’ve been noticing that a lot. Dark Knight I’m looking at you buddy.
3. The Amazing Spider-man
Now I love Comic Book Movies. They’re basically character studies that get millions of dollars and get to be epic and dark and funny possibly all at the same time. Now my favorite CBM is Spiderman 2. No Ironman. No Avengers…. No Spiderman 2 actually. Sam Raimi took a great comic book hero and made this magical movie that did the best possible job in adapting a comic book. He got the spirit of the character and the comic right, while also putting his own spin , Much like Nolan with Batman, and Matthew Vaughn with Kick-ass. Crafting a movie that’s fun on the exterior and dark and depressing on the inside. So to say I have a chip on my shoulder for the reboot, is an understatement. The Spiderman trilogy is my favorite. I even liked Spiderman 3 a lot. So I hated it before it even came out, and I still came out disappointed.
The New Spiderman is okay. It’s not horrible, it’s not bad, it’s just okay. The problem is it has an entire trilogy of movies hovering over it’s shoulder. It’d be different if it’s just one movie, but no 3 separate movies it has to be better than. Basically Sam Raimi scored a 100 percent. There was no conceivable way to make this reboot work as well as the original. I don’t know why they didn’t just make a sequel with a new guy and director. The acting doesn’t have that charm as the originals, the action scenes don’t come close. Not even the special effects, the one thing that could work.. They look.. like special effects. The original two movies where stuck in that golden age of film making where CGI and pratical effects met in the middle and created a genuine look that can never be recreated. ASM has special effects that look like any other movie out there. Now with Avengers you have the epitome of a fun superhero film and Dark Knight you have the opposite in an, arguably, dark realistic tone. It kind of just floats somewhere in the middle not really committing to one side, unlike the original which ended up working as both very well. As a kid I watched it and loved it then grew up as a teen and appreciated the more moody aspects and related to them. This is like Twilight meets Spiderman. And I have to keep bringing up the original since it just ended 5 years ago. It dips into too much of the moody stuff instead of keeping it hidden under the surface. If this was the first movie, it’d probably be a little better but it did feel like set-up so we’ll see how the next one does.
2. Dark Shadows
My main fear with this list is that I would alienate people, but this is not a problem for Dark Shadows. Nobody saw it , Nobody cares about it, and it pretty much flopped at the box office. Normally this is the kind of movie that’s really fun, a little goofy, but no this has to be the dullest vampire movie i’ve seen in a while. Really all these movies are on this list because they have a decent start decent end but kind of just take a nap in the middle. This doesn’t have that decent ending to back it up. There’s only two good thing in this movie. The visuals and set designs and Eva Green. She plays the worst psycho ex girlfriend ever. She goes from looking absolutely sexy to fucking crazy every time she’s on screen. I wish this movie was better because she honestly deserves Best Supporting, but Tim Burton pretty much ruins any chances of that by having her be in one of the worst sex scenes I’ve ever scene.. Ha.. Johnny Depp is kind of just phoning it in, I’m not sure to blame the script him or Mr. Burton so I’ll pass it around. The underlying problem is the tone and the decisions. It’s so goofy, then it tries to be really scary. And when I say goofy, I mean like Looney Toons type shit. Besides Eva Green a complete and total waste of time.
1. The Expendables 2
Now I actually hate this movie. I hate this movie I hate the last one I hate what it stands for. HATE. This has to be the laziest fan service movie I’ve ever seen. When you do a team movie right you’re effectively making a movie better than any standard movie of the genre. That’s why Toy Story is better than Shrek. Lord of The Rings is better than Harry Potter. Why Avengers is better than Dark Knight. If done right, every actor can turn in a memorable performance and also the pacing can improve since the screen time is spread out more cuts which means faster editing.
Now this isn’t an ensemble. This isn’t even a team movie. There’s no since of “We need this guy for this” or “wow that guy is a badass”. Nobody in this series has any personality, beyond what kind of weapon they use. They don’t even have a good performance to carry the movie. There’s literally nothing good in this movie. It’s dumb but not dumb fun just dumb lazy. The villain name is Villan.. No irony seriously that’s his name. The action scenes aren’t even all that good, only having a few moments of inventiveness, but mostly being routine and outright confusing. The worst part is most of the actors here can do combat. You have three action stars, a master martial artists, a lineman, and a UFC fighter. If Jackie Chan did the choreo we’d have a bad ass movie on our hands, but nope.
This movie shows a devolution of what we call an action movie. Horror movies and comedies are already in the shitter but action is slowly sinking to their level. There’s no effort they have a cast that could be decent with an okay script and good direction, but nope both are terrible. Really the cast isn’t that great either the only one I’d consider a good actor is…… I guess Stallone, but he’s been in his fair share of shitty movies himself so yeah.. All they said was “If we get all these guys together people will come see it and love it.. A script.. Yeah I got my 13 year old nephew he writes fan-fiction he’ll take care of that”. I said none of these are bad movies but this one is easily a bad movie, I’m out.