Friday, May 04, 2007

Franchise players

Spider-Man 3 = the suck, in case you were wondering. Too many villains, too many plot threads, too many uninspiring action sequences, and too much Aunt May. Not to mention that it was way, way too long -- I don't when it started to become okay for summer blockbusters to start pushing the two-thirty mark, but it needs to become un-okay again. And to give you an idea of how slow and dull this thing was, Venom doesn't become Venom until about 1:40. The rest of the time is wasted with a stupid amnesia plot, clumsy scenes stolen from the second act of every romantic comedy you've ever seen, and the Sandman, perhaps the worst villain ever to appear in a comic-book movie not directed by Joel Fucking Schumacher.

Sure, it had its moments -- the inevitable Bruce Campbell cameo was gold, as usual, and there were a few worthwhile flashes here and there. But on the whole, what a terrible, terrible film. Call it 1/2*, and I'm being pretty generous.

Speaking of franchises, we're on the doorstep of a bunch of them this summer. The next (final?) Pirates of the Caribbean comes out in a few weeks, and while I enjoyed Dead Man's Chest immensely, and I love the new trailers, I'm starting to get a real Matrix Revolutions dread for At World's End. I'm not sure why, but I think it's the way the teasers insist we take this movie so damn seriously. This is an Epic Battle, a Massive War between the Armies of Now and the Armies of the Pirates, whose Time Has Come! They will Make Their Final Stand! A battle for the Fate of All Mankind! Like we're supposed to forget this is a film franchise based on a fucking Disneyland ride. Same thing happened to The Matrix -- what started out as a perfect action film with some freshmen-year-heavy philosophy became this gargantuan thing with random supporting characters spouting these Very Serious Monologues about war and honor and death like they're George S. Patton. Oh, and death sequences that seem to never end. In fact, I'm pretty sure Trinity is still dying.

The new Harry Potter movie comes out at some point this summer, but it's hard to get that worked up over the Order of the Phoenix adaptation when the final (?) book comes out right around the same time.

But then there's Live Free or Die Hard, which is an entirely different beast altogether. If you haven't seen the new trailer, you've got to. I certainly don't know if it's going to be any good, but those are some pretty awesome action set-ups they've got there. Bruce Willis was born to play John McClane, the obligatory family-member-in-danger plot is there, and is that Kevin Smith?!

And now, watch, as I erase all that optimism with a single complex sentence: the movie is directed by Les Wiseman, who co-wrote and directed Underworld, Underworld 2, and the soon-to-come Underworld 3.

Oh, and Ocean's Thirteen. That'll, it'll...I mean, Clooney, ya know. And Pitt. Yeah. Damon. It''ll...uh. Huh. Yeah.


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