REVIEW: THE INTERVIEW

CAST

James Franco (This Is The End)
Seth Rogen (Bad neighbors)
Lizzy Caplan (Bachelorette)
Randall Park (Sex Tape)
Diana Bang (Sorority Wars)
Timothy Simons (Goosebumps)
Reese Alexander (The Day The Earth Stood Still)
Anders Holm (Sausage Party)
Dan Shea (Stargate SG.1)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Eminem (8 Mile)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper)
James Kyson (Sleepy Hollow)
Rob Lowe (Sex Tape)
Seth Meyers (American Dreamz)
Emma Stone (Easy A)

James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview (2014)Dave Skylark is the host of the talk show Skylark Tonight, where he interviews celebrities about personal topics and gossip. After Skylark and his crew celebrate their 1,000th episode, the show’s producer Aaron Rapaport is upset by a producer peer who criticized the show as not being a real news program. A while later Rapaport reveals his concern and urge for change, to which Skylark agrees. Skylark discovers that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of Skylark Tonight, prompting Rapaport to arrange an interview. Rapaport travels to a place outside Dandong, China to receive instructions from Sook-yin Park, the North Korean chief propagandist, and Rapaport accepts the task of interviewing Kim, on behalf of Skylark.James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Diana Bang in The Interview (2014)The next day, CIA agent Lacey shows up at Skylark and Rapaport’s place, proposing that the duo assassinate Kim using a transdermal strip that will expose Kim to ricin via handshake; they reluctantly agree. Skylark carries the ricin strip hidden inside a pack of gum. Upon their arrival in the presidential palace in Pyongyang, they are introduced to security officers Koh and Yu; Koh discovers the strip and chews it, believing it to be gum. That night, Lacey airdrops them two more strips from an UAV, but in order to smuggle it back to their room, Rapaport has to evade a Siberian tiger and then hide the container in his rectum. Later, Kim shows up and introduces himself to Skylark.Randall Park in The Interview (2014)Skylark spends the day with Kim by playing basketball, hanging out and partying. Kim persuades Skylark that he is misunderstood as a cruel dictator and as a failed administrator, and they become friends. At dinner, Koh has a seizure due to the ricin poisoning and accidentally kills Yu before dying. The next morning, Skylark feels guilty and discards one of the ricin strips, then thwarts Rapaport’s attempt to poison Kim with the second strip. After another dinner mourning the death of Kim’s bodyguards, Skylark witnesses Kim’s malicious side as he threatens war with South Korea. Skylark leaves, and after taking a walk, he discovers that a nearby grocery store is merely a façade and realizes that Kim has been lying to him. At the same time, during attempted sexual intercourse with Rapaport, who still has the ricin strip in his hand, Sook-yin reveals that she despises Kim and apologizes for defending the regime. Skylark, Rapaport, and Sook-yin form a plan to break Kim’s cult of personality by causing him to cry on air.

As they arm themselves for the event, Rapaport and Sook-yin have sex. Before the broadcast starts, Kim presents Skylark with a puppy to keep. During the internationally televised interview with Kim, Skylark addresses increasingly sensitive topics and challenges Kim’s need for his father’s approval. Meanwhile, Sook-yin and Rapaport seize control of the broadcasting center and fend off guards trying to halt the broadcast. Despite his initial resistance, Kim eventually cries uncontrollably and soils himself after Skylark sings “Firework” by Katy Perry (having learned of Kim’s fondness of Perry earlier), ruining his reputation. Feeling betrayed, Kim shoots Skylark and leaves, but Skylark reveals he has survived due to wearing a bulletproof vest. Skylark, Rapaport, and Sook-yin regroup with the puppy in tow and escape the presidential palace with the unexpected help of a panel-control guard. The trio hijack Kim’s personal tank (which had been given to Kim Il-sung by Joseph Stalin and then passed down to Kim) to get to their pickup point. Kim boards a helicopter, and his army pursues the group. He prepares a nuclear missile launch, but before he can issue the command to launch, Skylark fires a shell from the tank and destroys Kim’s helicopter, killing him. With the immediate threat over, Sook guides Skylark and Rapaport to an escape route, and they are rescued by three SEAL Team Six members disguised as Korean People’s Army troops and are loaded onto a rescue craft. Back in the U.S., Skylark writes a book about his experience, and North Korea moves toward becoming a denuclearized democracy with Sook-yin as interim leader.The Interview was a pleasant surprise with believable character development, an interesting plot that only gets better after the second half, with plenty of toilet humor and gags that do not fail to amuse. This will most likely be the most anticipated movie of 2015, causing the trouble it did, making more people interested in what made this movie so threatening and offensive to North Koreans. It is a great effort from both Rogen and Franco, and I recommend this film to everyone who can actually take a joke andhas a sense of humor.

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REVIEW: 127 HOURS

CAST

James Franco (The Interview)
Kate Mara (Fantastic Four)
Amber Tamblyn (Two and a Half Men)
Clémence Poésy (In Bruges)
Lizzy Caplan (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Kate Burton (The ICe Storm)
Treat Williams (Deadfall)

James Franco in 127 Hours (2010)Mountaineer Aron Ralston goes hiking at Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. He befriends hikers Kristi and Megan, and shows them an underground pool. After swimming, Aron parts ways with the hikers, and continues through a slot canyon in Blue John Canyon. While climbing down, he slips and falls, knocking a boulder which smashes his right hand and wrist against the wall. Stuck, he tries calling for help but realizes that he is alone.James Franco in 127 Hours (2010)Ralston begins recording a video diary to maintain morale, chipping away parts of the boulder in order to free himself and to keep warm at night. He rations his food and water, in order to survive the ordeal. He sets up a pulley using his climbing rope in a futile attempt to lift the boulder.James Franco in 127 Hours (2010)Days pass. Ralston considers using his pocket knife to cut himself free, but finds the dull blade unable to cut bone. With no water, he is forced to drink his urine. His videos become desperate and depressed and he hallucinates about escape, relationships, and past experiences including a former lover, family, and Kristi and Megan. During one of the hallucinations, he realizes that his mistake was that he did not tell anyone where he was going. He thinks that it was destiny that the boulder trapped him.James Franco, Kate Mara, and Amber Tamblyn in 127 Hours (2010)Using his knowledge of torque, Ralston fashions a crude tourniquet from CamelBak tube insulation and uses a carabiner to tighten it. He then slowly amputates his arm successfully. He wraps the stump of his arm to prevent exsanguination and takes a picture of the boulder. He then rappels down a 65-foot rockface using his other arm and drinks rainwater from a small pond. He meets a family on a hike, who alert the authorities, and a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter brings him to a hospital. Ralston starts a family, continues climbing and always leaves a note saying where he has gone.James Franco in 127 Hours (2010)127 Hours is not just a film – it is an experience.. It is an amazing movie centred around an absolutely incredible, legendary performance. Watching Franco bare his soul on-screen is practically a cleansing experience. I went in with high hopes, and left with a huge smile on my face. It is authentically emotional, and in a year merely punctuated with a handful of amazing movies amongst a sea of filth, it more than just stands out. It is quite simply, unforgettable.

REVIEW: SAUSAGE PARTY

CAST

Seth Rogen (Knocked Up)
Kristen Wiig (Mother!)
Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Michael Cera (Juno)
James Franco (This Is The End)
Craig Robinson (Pineapple Express)
Danny McBride (Alien: Covenant)
Paul Rudd (Ant-man)
Nick Kroll (The House)
David Krumholtz (Mom)
Edward Norton (Fight Club)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Ian James Corlett (Beast Wars)
Lauren Miller (For A Good Time, Call…)
Alistair Abell (Freddy Vs Jason)
Sugar Lyn Beard (The Flash)
Michael Daingerfield (Smallville)
Brian Dobson (Transformers: Armada)
Michael Dobson (Dreamcatcher)

Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, and Jonah Hill in Sausage Party (2016)A supermarket called Shopwell’s is filled with anthropomorphic grocery items that worship the human shoppers as gods who take groceries to a utopia known as the “Great Beyond” after they are purchased. Among the groceries in the store is a sausage named Frank, who dreams of living in the Great Beyond with his hot dog bun girlfriend, Brenda, and of finally consummating their relationship.Salma Hayek and Kristen Wiig in Sausage Party (2016)After Frank and Brenda’s packages are chosen by a woman named Camille Toh to leave Shopwell’s, a returned jar of Bickle’s Honey Mustard tries to warn the groceries that the Great Beyond is a lie; nobody listens except for Frank. Honey Mustard calls on Frank to seek out a bottle of liquor named Firewater, and then falls to his death. This creates an accidental cart collision that causes Frank, Brenda, and several groceries to fall out, including an aggressive douche who gets his nozzle bent, and plots revenge against Frank and Brenda.Greg Tiernan in Sausage Party (2016)Seeking to verify Honey Mustard’s warning, Frank leads Brenda, a lavash named Kareem Abdul Lavash, and a bagel named Sammy Bagel Jr. to the store’s liquor aisle under the guise of taking a shortcut to their proper aisles. There, he smokes cannabis out of a kazoo and learns from Firewater that he and other non-perishable foods invented the story of the Great Beyond as a noble lie to assuage past foods’ fears of being eaten by shoppers. Frank, vowing to reveal the truth to the groceries, is encouraged to travel beyond the store’s freezer section to find proof. While waiting for Frank, Brenda and the others are led into the Mexican aisle by a bottle of Sigueme Tequila, where they meet Teresa del Taco, a taco who falls in love with Brenda on sight.Meanwhile, Frank’s friends Carl and deformed sausage Barry are horrified as they witness the other purchased foods being cooked and eaten by Camille, shown from the foods’ perspective as a brutal murder. They try to escape out a window, but Carl is sliced in half and killed by Camille and only Barry succeeds. He then stumbles across a human druggie, who becomes able to communicate with his groceries after he injects himself with bath salts. After unsuccessfully attempting to cook Barry, the druggie is decapitated in a domestic accident.Brian Dobson in Sausage Party (2016)After Frank separates from his friends, who disapprove of his skepticism of the Great Beyond, he discovers a cookbook behind the freezer section and reveals its contents to the rest of Shopwell’s groceries. Initially panicking, the groceries choose not to believe Frank out of fear of losing their sense of purpose, prompting Frank to lash out at them for their blind belief. Barry and other groceries from the druggie’s home return to the store with the druggie’s severed head, revealing that the humans can be killed. The groceries are able to drug the human shoppers and employees using toothpicks laced with bath salts. When the drugged humans begin attacking the groceries, Frank convinces everyone to listen to him and join the fight against the humans.Edward Norton, David Krumholtz, Seth Rogen, and Kristen Wiig in Sausage Party (2016)A store-wide battle ensues with several humans getting gruesomely killed. Douche, who has absorbed the contents of liquor bottles, becomes a wild monster and takes control of Darren, the store manager, by inserting himself into his anus and yanking on his scrotum to puppeteer his actions. Once they catch Frank, Douche strangles him and bites on his torso. Barry and the other foods launch a rocket at Douche and Darren made from propane tanks and a garbage bin used to dispose of expired foods, killing them both right after Brenda rescues Frank. With the battle over, Frank, Brenda, Barry, Kareem, Sammy, Teresa and the other foods celebrate their victory with an orgy. Afterwards, the gang meets Firewater and Gum, a Stephen Hawking-esque wad of chewing gum, who have had a psychedelic experience and discovered that their world is not real, and that they are merely cartoons voiced by famous actors in another dimension. Gum has constructed a portal to this dimension, and the groceries decide to travel there to meet their creators.1100Sausage Party is a funny, funny, funny movie that doesn’t just hand in shock value laughs for the sake of shock value laughs. It’s also a well-created hero’s journey with something to say and avoids all the pratfalls of modern comedy.

CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: WHY HIM?

CAST

James Franco (This Is The End)
Bryan Cranston (Power Rangers)
Zeoy Deutch (Bad Grandpa)
Megan Mullally (Will & Grace)
Griffin Gluck (American Vandal)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Cedric the Entertainer (Be Cool)
Zack Pearlman (The Intern)
Keegan-Michael Key (Just Go With It)

Stanford student Stephanie Fleming invites her boyfriend Laird Mayhew over to “Netflix and chill”. Meanwhile, back home in Grand Rapids, Stephanie’s dad Ned is celebrating his 55th birthday with friends and family at an Applebee’s restaurant. During a slideshow presentation in his honor, Stephanie drops in via webcam to congratulate him, when suddenly her boyfriend walks in on her and flashes the camera.Stephanie drives her family (her parents Ned and Barb and her fifteen-year-old brother Scotty) to Laird’s huge house to meet him. She explains to Ned that Laird is the CEO of a video game company, which has made him extremely wealthy. Laird gives the family a tour of his house, complete with curse words and overly complimenting Barb’s looks in front of Ned. He even shows off a back tattoo that he got of the Flemings’ Christmas card, with “Happy Holidays” written on the bottom. In the living room is a tank with a moose filled completely with its urine. The basement has a bowling alley that Laird built with a mural of Ned, complete with a “crotch-chop” pose of his.Ned talks to Stephanie about Laird’s behavior and she asks him to give him a chance. Later, Laird invites Ned to go for a walk in the woods outside his house and asks Ned for his blessing to propose to Stephanie. Ned is quick to say no, which completely blindsides Laird since he was confident Ned would say yes. Laird promises to win him over. As the family gathers in Laird’s living room for a Christmas party, Laird reveals that he bought Ned’s struggling printing company as a gift to remove all his debts. Instead of expressing gratitude, Ned punches Laird in the face and they begin to fight. Stephanie and Barb are both angry at the men’s behavior, and the family leaves Laird’s home. It’s Christmas Day, and the Flemings are celebrating without Stephanie. They are surprised when Laird’s helicopter arrives with Stephanie. She is still mad at both Ned and Laird for their behavior and refuses to talk to either of them. Ned and Laird talk and Laird gets Ned’s blessing to propose to Stephanie.Stephanie declines the proposal saying she’s just not ready to get married, but she wants to continue dating Laird. Later during the party, Ned and Scotty approach Laird for a new business idea, since they are all part of the same company now. Scotty says they should sell the same toilets Laird has in his home since they would be very profitable. Laird likes the idea and agrees. The couples then dance together as music plays, with Ned referring to Laird as “son”. At the end credits scene, Scotty, Ned, and Laird turned the printing company into a toilet factory and became a huge success. Stephanie linked the Fleming-Mayhew company with the new foundation and helped third-world countries with their sewage projects. Finally, Laird got what he always wanted, to be part of a family.Definitely not a family movie but one of the best comedy movie ever seen. The combination of James Franco and Bryan was excellen. If you want a good Christmas movie aimed at adults, this is a sure bet.

 

REVIEW: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

CAST
James Franco (Spring Breakers)
Freida Pinto (The Immortals)
Andy Serkis (The Hobbit)
John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Tom Felton (Harry Potter)
David Oyelowo (Interstellar)
Tyler Labine (Deadbeat)
Jamie Harris (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
David Hewlett (Splice)
Will Rodman, a scientist at the San Francisco biotech company Gen-Sys, is testing the viral-based drug ALZ-112 on chimpanzees to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. ALZ-112 is given to a chimp named Bright Eyes, greatly increasing her intelligence. However, during Will’s presentation for the drug, Bright Eyes is forced from her cage, goes on a rampage, and is killed. Will’s boss Steven Jacobs terminates the project and orders the chimps euthanized. However, Will’s assistant Robert Franklin discovers that Bright Eyes had recently given birth to an infant chimp. Will agrees to take in the chimp, who is named Caesar. Will learns that Caesar has inherited his mother’s intelligence and decides to raise him. Three years later, Will introduces Caesar to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument. Meanwhile, Will treats his dementia-suffering father Charles with ALZ-112, which seems to restore his cognitive ability.
When Caesar reaches adolescence and sees a dog on a leash like his own, he questions his identity and learns of his origins from Will. Meanwhile, Charles’s condition returns as his Alzheimer’s becomes resistant to ALZ-112. Caesar injures a neighbor, Douglas Hunsiker, while defending a confused Charles. As a result, he is placed in a primate shelter where he is treated cruelly by the other chimps and the chief guard, Dodge Landon. Caesar learns how to unlock his cage, gaining free access to the common area. With the assistance of a gorilla named Buck, he confronts the sanctuary’s alpha chimp and claims that position. Meanwhile, Jacobs clears development of a more powerful, gaseous version of the drug – ALZ-113 – when Will tells him it can not only heal brain diseases but also improve intelligence. Will takes the drug home to try to save his father, but Charles declines further treatment and dies overnight.
 
After attempting to test the drug on a scarred bonobo test subject named Koba, Franklin becomes exposed to ALZ-113 and becomes ill. Attempting to warn Will at his home, he sneezes blood onto Hunsiker and is later discovered dead. Will attempts to reclaim Caesar, but the chimp refuses to go home with him. Instead, he escapes from the facility and returns to Will’s house, where he takes canisters of the ALZ-113. Upon returning, Caesar releases the gas and allows it to enhance the intelligence of the other apes. When Dodge attempts to get him back into his cage, Caesar shocks him by speaking for the first time, yelling “No!” Caesar then electrocutes the cattle prod-wielding Dodge by spraying him with water, unintentionally killing him. The apes flee the facility, release the remaining chimps from Gen-Sys, and free more apes from the San Francisco Zoo.
A battle ensues as the ape army fights their way past a police blockade on the Golden Gate Bridge to escape into the redwood forest. Buck sacrifices himself to save Caesar by jumping onto the helicopter in which Jacobs is riding. The helicopter crashes onto the bridge, trapping Jacobs in the wreckage. Jacobs is then killed by Koba. As the apes find their way into the forest, Will arrives and warns Caesar that the humans will hunt them down, and begs him to return home. In response, Caesar hugs him and says that, “Caesar is home.” Will, realizing that this is indeed their last goodbye, respects Caesar’s wishes. In a mid-credits scene, an infected Hunsiker leaves his house for work as an airline pilot, arriving at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. His nose begins to drip blood onto the floor. A graphic traces the spread of the humanity-ravaging virus around the globe via international flight routes.
A  very clever attempt at a prequel, explaining how the rise of the apes began. Given the current news surrounding Ebola and its daily inexorable spread, the ending credits of this film are rather chilling to watch.

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN 3

CAST

Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
James Franco (This Is The End)
Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
Rosemary Harris (This Means War)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
James Cromwell (Star Trek: First Contact)
Dylan Baker (The Cell)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Cliff Robertson (Escape From L.A.)
Elya Baskin (October Sky)
Ted Raimi (Odyssey 5)
Mageina Tovah (Sleepover)
Michael Papajohn (Predator 2)
Joe Manganiello (True Blood)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Bill Nunn (True Crime)
Steve Valentine (Mike & Molly)
Theresa Russell (Wild Things)
Perla Haney-Jardine (Steve Jobs)
Lucy Gordon (Gainsbourg)

Peter Parker has finally balanced his normal life and his life as Spider-Man. He plans to propose to Mary Jane Watson, who has just made her Broadway musical debut. Later, a meteorite lands at Central Park, and an extraterrestrial symbiote follows Peter to his apartment. Harry Osborn, seeking vengeance after his father’s death, attacks Peter with weapons based on his father’s Green Goblin technology. The battle ends in a stalemate, with Harry crashing out and developing amnesia, wiping out his memory of Peter as Spider-Man. Meanwhile, police pursue escaped prisoner Flint Marko, who visits his wife and dying daughter before fleeing again, and falling into an experimental particle accelerator that fuses his body with the surrounding sand, transforming him into the Sandman.During a festival honoring Spider-Man, Peter kisses Gwen Stacy, infuriating Mary Jane. The superpowered Marko robs an armored car, and Peter confronts him. Marko easily subdues Peter, and escapes. NYPD Captain George Stacy informs Peter and Aunt May that Marko was Uncle Ben’s true killer; the deceased Dennis Carradine was Marko’s accomplice. While a vengeance-obsessed Peter sleeps in his Spider-Man suit, the symbiote assimilates his suit. Peter later awakens and discovers his costume changed and his powers enhanced; however, the symbiote brings out Peter’s dark side. Wearing the new suit, Peter locates Marko and battles him in a subway tunnel. Discovering that water is Marko’s weakness, Peter breaks a water pipe, causing water to reduce Marko into mud, washing him away and believing him to be dead.Peter’s changed personality alienates Mary Jane, whose career is floundering, and she finds solace with Harry, but leaves in regret. Harry recovers from his amnesia and, urged by a hallucination of his father, blackmails Mary Jane into unwillingly breaking up with Peter. After Mary Jane tells Peter she loves “somebody else”, Harry meets with Peter and claims to be “the other guy”. An enraged Peter, wearing the black suit, confronts Harry about forcing Mary Jane to end her relationship with him and spitefully tells Harry his father never loved him. Another fight ensues, in which Harry throws a pumpkin bomb at Peter, who deflects it back, disfiguring Harry’s face.Under the symbiote’s influence, Peter exposes rival photographer Eddie Brock, whose fake photos depicted Spider-Man as a criminal, which results J.Jonah Jameson firing him. Soon afterward, to make Mary Jane jealous, Peter brings Gwen to the nightclub where Mary Jane now works, but Gwen catches on and leaves. Peter brawls with the bouncers and, after accidentally hurting Mary Jane, he realizes that the symbiote is corrupting him. Retreating to a church bell tower, he discovers that he cannot remove the suit, but that the symbiote weakens when the bell rings. Peter is able to remove the symbiote, and it falls to the lower tower, landing on Brock, who had been praying for Peter’s death. The symbiote bonds to Brock, transforming him into Venom. Brock locates Marko and convinces him to join forces to defeat Peter.Brock hijacks a taxi with Mary Jane on board, and hangs it as bait from a web above a construction site, while Marko keeps the police at bay. Peter seeks Harry’s help, but is rejected. While Peter battles Brock and Marko, Harry learns the truth about his father’s death from his butler, and goes to help Peter as he is being overpowered, resulting in a battle between the four. Harry subdues the Sandman before assisting Peter against Brock. In the ensuing battle, Brock attempts to impale Peter on Harry’s glider, but Harry intervenes and is impaled himself. Remembering the symbiote’s weakness, Peter assembles a perimeter of metal pipes to create a sonic attack, weakening Venom, and allowing Peter to separate Brock and the symbiote. Peter activates a pumpkin bomb from Harry’s glider to destroy the symbiote, but Brock dives in, and the bomb kills them both.Peter confronts Marko, who explains that Uncle Ben’s death was an accident, and has haunted him ever since. Peter forgives Marko, who then leaves. Peter and Mary Jane stand beside Harry, who eventually dies after the impalement. Peter, Mary Jane, and Aunt May attend Harry’s funeral. Later, at the nightclub, Peter and Mary Jane reconcile.The biggest problem with Spider-man 3 are two separate sequences that are meant to show how much the new alien costume has effected Peter Parker’s personality. The first sequence is silly, and by comparison rather innocuous. But the second scene, involving Peter’s attempt to woo new love interest Gwen Stacey (Bryce Dallas Howard), while making Mary Jane jealous, is just plain ridiculous. Comic book purists will hate this scene, and even die-hard fans of the films may find it a bit out of place within the cinematic universe.But despite the problems that plague Spider-man 3, it is still an incredibly fun film. Director Sam Raimi once again delivers the superheroic goods. And in terms of how the action sequences and special effects have been put together this time around, Raimi leaves the first two films in the dust. This is clearly the best of the three from that standpoint, as the action comes alive in sequences that would have been impossible cinematically less than a decade ago. In fact, the action may even be more spectacular than anything you could see in a comic book. Unfortunately, the film never manages to be anything more than a sequel. What made Spider-man 2 such an amazing film was that it managed to emerge from the shadow of its predecessor, standing on its own as a superior movie. Spider-man 3, however, is never able to come out from the massive shadow cast by the first two instalments.

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN 2

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CAST

Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
James Franco (This Is The End)
Alfred Molina (Frida)
Rosemary Harris (This Means War)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Donna Murphy (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Daniel Gillies (The Originals)
Dylan Baker (The Cell))
Mageina Tovah (Sleepover)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Joel McHale (Ted)
Hal Sparks (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Cliff Robertson (Escape From L.A.)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Elya Baskin (October Sky)
Ted Raimi (Odyssey 5)
Bill Nunn (True Crime)
Aasif Mandvi (The Dictator)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Jill Sayre (Hercules and The Amazon Women)

Peter Parker, secretly the superhero Spider-Man, struggles to balance his superhero and civilian lives and duties; he has become estranged from both love interest Mary Jane “M.J.” Watson and best friend Harry Osborn, and additionally discovers his Aunt May is facing eviction. He also finds himself suffering temporary, but reoccurring losses of his powers, often in life-threatening situations.Harry, now head of Oscorp’s research division, is sponsoring a fusion power project by nuclear scientist Otto Octavius’, who befriends and mentors Peter. While handling hazardous materials, Octavius wears a harness of powerful robotic tentacle arms with artificial intelligence. During a public demonstration that Peter and Harry attend, a power spike causes the fusion reactor to destabilize. Octavius refuses to shut down the reactor, which goes critical—resulting in the death of his wife, the fusion of the harness to his spine, and the burnout of the inhibitor chip blocking the arms from his nervous system. Peter shuts the experiment down, destroying it in the process.At a hospital, doctors prepare to surgically remove Octavius’ harness. However, without the inhibitor chip the arms have developed sentience and as a result, attack and massacre the surgical crew. Upon regaining consciousness and seeing the carnage, Octavius escapes and takes refuge at a harbor. Becoming increasingly influenced by the arms’ AI, he robs a bank in order to fund a second experiment. Peter and May coincidentally are there, and Octavius takes May hostage. Peter rescues her, but Octavius flees with stolen money. The Daily Bugle subsequently dubs the scientist Doctor Octopus.Mary Jane becomes engaged to astronaut John Jameson, son of Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson. Peter suffers an emotional breakdown over his inability to balance his life, resulting in him losing his powers. He discards his costume, abandons his Spider-Man identity, returns to his normal life, and attempts to reconcile with Mary Jane. A garbageman brings Peter’s Spider-Man costume to Jameson, who takes credit for driving Spider-Man into hiding. Peter tells May the truth behind his Uncle Ben’s death and how he is responsible. May forgives him, but the rise in New York City crime rate worries Peter.Requiring the isotope tritium to fuel his reactor, Octavius visits Harry to demand it. Harry agrees in exchange for Spider-Man’s life. He tells Octavius to seek Peter, who Harry believes is friends with Spider-Man, but requests Octavius not harm him. Octavius locates Peter, tells him to find Spider-Man, and captures Mary Jane. Her endangerment leads to Peter’s powers resurfacing. Just as Jameson admits he was wrong about Spider-Man, Peter steals his costume back from the Bugle and goes after Octavius. As Peter battles Octavius, they fall onto a New York City subway train. Octavius sabotages the controls and leaves Peter to save the passengers, which he does at a great physical toll. When he faints from exhaustion, the grateful passengers save him from falling and bring him into the train, seeing his unmasked face, but promising to keep their knowledge hidden. In vain, they try to protect him when Octavius returns to capture Peter, whom Octavius delivers to Harry.After giving Octavius the tritium, Harry prepares to kill Peter, only to be shocked to discover his real identity. Peter convinces Harry to direct him to Octavius’s lair. As Spider-Man, he arrives at the doctor’s waterfront laboratory and attempts to rescue Mary Jane discreetly. Octavius discovers him and they fight once again as the nuclear reaction swells. Peter ultimately subdues Octavius, reveals his identity, and persuades Octavius to let his dream go for the greater good. Octavius finally commands the tentacles to obey him, and gives his life to destroy the experiment. Mary Jane sees Spider-Man’s true identity and feelings, which he says is why they cannot be together. Peter returns Mary Jane to John, and leaves. Harry is visited by a vision of his father in a mirror, pleading for Harry to avenge his death. Refusing to hurt Peter, Harry shatters the mirror, unintentionally revealing a secret room containing prototypes of the Green Goblin’s equipment. On her wedding day, Mary Jane abandons John at the altar and runs to Peter’s apartment. After they kiss, they hear police sirens, and Mary Jane encourages him go help as Spider-Man.In short, the movie flows better. The characters progress nicely from the events in the first film. The effects are bigger and better and more effective. It feels like a comic book movie should feel like. It’s a more fluid.