Another summer brings another slew of supposed “Blockbusters”. Which ones made the cut? Which ones fell short?
Votes by EAO, reviews by Skylar Stone
Amazing Spider-Man 2: Skip
Marc Webb returns to the director chair for the second outing of Sony’s Rebooted web-slinger. While some of the first film set Andrew Garfield as the awkward teen turned hero with a smart mouth, much of this film convolutes his backstory and loses much of his character development. Emma Stone‘s Gwen Stacy has a focus in the film which is more than any of the villains have. Jaime Foxx, Dane DeHaan, and Paul Giamatti make up the villain roster any which of one could have been the focus but sadly this sequel fails from the same issue that many faulted Sam Rami’s Spider-Man 3. If less time was spent on Gwen Stacy and setting up the Sinister Six spin-off supposedly in the work, the screenwriters may have crawled their way to the rent mark but sadly Amazing Spider-Man 2 is squashed at Skip.
Godzilla (2014): Skip
The King of Monsters returns…or does he? America’s second attempt at the Japanese icon, had about 20 minutes of screen time for the title character but yet had time to introduce Ken Watanabe as Godzilla expert Dr. Serizawa, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen as the Brody family. This misappropriation and imbalance of the film harkens to the Cloverfield model of monster making. While the film did win over new fans and finally washed out some of the bad taste from 1998 Godzilla, it fell buildings short of matching the atomic thunder that the Toho creature has had for decades. Awkwardly jumpcut away to Battle LA if you want military/alien action or to Pacific Rim if you want Kaiju carnage because Gareth Edwards‘ 2014 Godzilla is a definite Godzilla happydance Skip.
X-Men:Days of Future Past: Buy
After being dumped by DC for Superman Returns, Bryan Singer returns to first big screen Superhero team the X-Men. The X-Men cinematic continuity was seemingly mangled beyond recognition, with differing spin-offs First Class, Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine creating their own universes. Despite this Singer signed on to try to make the Fox franchise jump onto the Avengers method of interconnection. First step was to include a combined cast and introduces newcomers Peter Dinklage as Dr. Trask, Evan Peters as the Fox version of Quicksilver, as well as Comic Book favorites Bishop, Blink, Hotspot and Warpath played by Omar Sy, Bingbing Fan, Adan Canto, and Booboo Stewart respectively. This step tries to weave a “true” continuity and still create a unique story based off a landmark run from the comic. Much like Captain America: Winter Soldier,the film uses the comic basis to engage fans and shape the universe into a hopefully long lasting future. X-Men: Days of Future Past has passed our test, and as such is a buy. We look forward to X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016!
Transformers: Age of Extinction: Rent
Optimus Prime returns to save the Earth from another Micheal Bay explosion plot but brings in more the 80s cartoon feel then any of the other films previous. Yes I know its the 4th in a series that was weak to begin with but hear me out. The 1986 Transformers animated movie established a story that spread the universe over, showed the death of a main character, and even cursed! This dark gritty nature against the bright toy-ad that was the TV series was shocking, and now is found in any blockbuster movie. The first Transformer movie saw far too much exposition with Shia LaBouf‘s and Megan Fox‘s characters in a fashion that fits with summer movies but this film created a very different atmosphere. The removal of LaBouf and Fox does a lot to the focus to the true stars of the franchise Optimus Prime and the Autobots. The film deals with the consequences of the previous movies and in the wake introduces much more serious characters Harold Attinger played by Kelsey Grammer, Hound voiced by John Goodman, Drift voiced by Ken Watanabe, and Crosshairs voiced by John DiMaggio. The Grammer character seems to be the character that John Turturro‘s Agent Simmons was parodying while the latter three make a edgy mecenary like autobot team that has now become the standard in the aftermath of the 3rd film. All of these characters are confronted by the addition of the new villianous Transformer Lockdown voiced by Mark Ryan which is neither Autobot nor Decepticon but is more of a space pirate complete with a giant interstellar ship and crew. Overall this movie still suffers from the Bay-ism and summer Blockbuster fever but it is far better than Revenege for the Fallen or Dark of the Moon. We say Roll on Out to your local Redbox or online rental since this is worth a Rent.
Not to be confused with the January release The Legend of Hercules, this film brings the muscle bound Grecian superhero to life using the well cast Dawyne “The Rock” Johnson. Joined by Ian McShane‘s Amphiaraus, Aksel Hennie‘s Tydaus, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal‘s Atalanta, and Rufus Sewell‘s Autolycus; Hercules wanders as a member of a sword for hire group given his demi-god status and troubled past. The plot is sorted and would have worked better if not using the moniker of the famous hero but still holds together as an okay premise. In the end, The Rock out lifts, out sells, and out beards the puny Kellan Lutz for the Herculean title. Put “Renting Hercules” as one of your 12 heroic tasks.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Buy
Marvel continues its Cinematic domination with the craziest comic fueled space opera Marvel had to offer and managed to not only to build buzz but delivered. James Gunn‘s love for space, and the 80s is well documented in the film and is a welcome breather from the modern reboots and alien on earth craze. Chris Pratt excels as Star-Lord aka Earth-man Peter Quill, framed by crazed space alien mercenaries Zoe Saladana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper and the now viral monosyllabic Groot voiced by Vin Diesel. While the film tapped into a source long believed to be too crazy for movie-goers, the movie never once tied into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Before you complain, yes Thor:Dark World had Benicino Del Toro‘s the Collector and yes The Avengers had Thanos but nothing in this film connecting outward to those, or even mentioned those. In fact this movie uses a brand new version of Thanos complete with Josh Brolin‘s voice and its after credit scene only comically included a character thought gone from the Marvel cinematic universe instead of prepping us for Avengers: Age of Ultron next Summer. This combined with the one dimensional nature of some of the secondary characters makes it one of the weakest movies in the new Marvel collective in terms of plot driven impact. According to our group however the Guardians of the Galaxy need your help to continue there quest for cash, women, and oh yeah justice as they have voted that it is a Buy.
DragonBall Z: Battle of Gods: Buy
Never once in the heyday of the 90s Anime fever caused by Pokemon did the super successful DragonBall series ever make it on the big screen, that is until now. This past summer the Toonami tentpole DragonBall Z had an American theatrical release with its latest full-length movie Battle of Gods. Now this is a different animal than the rest of the movies in this list as it was actually produced back in 2012 and even released in Japan in 2013 but was lost in distribution limbo until about May of this year. The film creates Beerus, the god of destruction, voiced by Jason Douglas and Weis voiced by Ian Sinclair. These characters are some of the most powerful, if not the most powerful characters ever in the history of the series and they show it off. While the movie combined elements of DragonBall Z’s action driven nature the movie felt more like the light-hearted DragonBall series.This movie did not have the impact of the more noted DragonBall Z movies such as Broly: the Legendary Super Sayian so the Buy vote in this case is in favor in enjoy-ability and to hopefully further the franchise in America. Do not take this too harshly as the movie is great, it is just not the best DBZ movie.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles(2014): Rent
Micheal Bay takes the helm of another noted 80s franchise with his trip down the NYC sewers. Initial reactions to the CG lizards were not unwarranted as the new visible nostril/lip combo is creepy no matter the art style. Once you can look past this though the story really is not too bad, granted it is not a well executed as it could have been better. The balance of seriousness and teenage humor from Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, and Johnny Knoxville playing the iconic color coded turtles Raphael, Michelangelo, Donetello, and Leonardo respectively is spot on with the color comic series. Use your Ninja skills to find it on RedBox, Tohoru Masamune‘s Shredder alone is worth the rental cost and maybe you can fast forward through the Megan Fox and Will Arnett portions, we sadly could not.
There it is, our rundown to guide you through the RedBox list, Netflix que, or the Blu-ray racks in the near future. Did we get something wrong, miss a movie, or did you take our advice? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org