Sunday, July 22, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight Rises movie review

I did something I’ve never done before – I went to a screening of the Batman Trilogy which included seeing the first two films before seeing the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. I went with three friends to see it and we’d all been up since early morning (5:45am for me), went to work or school, and were determined to stay up until 3am the following morning – and we all made it. And it was a blast.

I saw it at the AMC 20 in Mission Valley and they gave out commemorative lanyards and a poster that had all three movie posters on it. It was a great crowd that laughed, applauded, and was really energetic.

After seeing three great movies, I come home about 3:30am and turn on CNN while I get ready to go to sleep and hear about the massacre in Colorado. And I watched the coverage for another hour.

While the shooter is from Rancho Penasquitos and the closest major theatre is in Mira Mesa, if he hadn’t been in Colorado, it’s not unreasonable that he could have made the 14 mile journey down to the theatre I was in. The trilogy was playing on three screens and the midnight screening was showing on 10 screens.

I’m so glad that I didn’t have to face what the people in Colorado did. I’m happy that I had a great time with friends without a care in the world (other than worrying about falling asleep – which none of us did).

Seeing the entire trilogy at one time was a very rewarding experience. I haven’t seen the first two since I saw both on the opening weekend they were released in. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these Batman films, I just wasn’t a huge fan. While I agreed that both were pretty well done, I didn’t appreciate the rich texture of the films – probably because my first viewing was flavored with my expectations of what the movie should be.

Having seen all three together, I was able to appreciate what Christopher Nolan did. There are no radical changes in tone or character throughout the movies so there’s a consistency to the narrative. The characters are really well written throughout the movies and, my expectations aside, the third movie is a satisfying reward for fans of the franchise.

Throughout the three films, the theme is that Batman is a symbol – not a man. In the first movie, Bruce wants to create a symbol. In the second film Harvey Dent says that he is Batman to protect the Bruce from revealing his identity after giving a speech about how the city needs Batman. In the third movie Batman’s return fills the city with a newfound sense of hope but as the film ends and Bruce Wayne can no longer be Batman, another is called to take his place. While the person called at the end of the third film may not be a new Batman, Gotham will have another hero to believe in.

The thing I appreciate the most about the films is that, with the exception of Batman and Two-Face, we don’t have to sit through a long origin of any of the characters. We get Bane’s origin through a few flashbacks but almost nothing for Scarecrow, The Joker, Selina Kyle (they never call her Catwoman), or Bane. I also like Scarecrow appearing in all three movies – there was applause for this villain when he made his first appearance onscreen in The Dark Knight Rises.

As for the third film alone, I won’t go over the details – you’ve probably seen the movie by now. The movie mixes two of America’s biggest CNN topics, terrorism and economic collapse and uses them to great effect. There’s one especially amazing shot of thousands of cops having a standoff with Bane’s army of thugs.

The addition of Talia al Ghul was fantastic but her death was pretty lame. It would have been great if you’d seen Talia pregnant at the end of the film (in the comic book, she gives birth to Damian who is trained by the League of Assassins and eventually becomes Robin). I think people will be talking about the end of this film for years. It’s definitely a fitting way to end the trilogy and should make even the die-hards happy.

So, viewed as a trilogy, this is a fantastic body of work. Marvel usually drops the ball on their third films (Spider-Man 3, Blade Trinity, X-Men 3) so it’s nice to see the one good DC superhero film I’ve seen since the last Batman film pay off the two films that came before it. While this ends the trilogy and ends the only good superhero franchise Warner Bros has, Christopher Nolan is producing and wrote the story for the new Superman film which is good news for the fans.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick Reviews: DC Universe's Second Wave

It's been almost a year and I'm still excited about DC's new direction. Now, with some titles biting the dust (including some that I really liked), it's time for a new crop of titles to take their place. I reviewed the first 104 new titles (all #1 and #2 issues) back on New Year’s Day so I wanted to get and review the first two issues of the 'Second Wave.'

BATMAN INCORPORATED #1-2 by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham.
Batman Incorporated is a franchise Batman has built to handle jobs that he either can't do alone or he can't get to quickly, or are in another hemisphere altogether.

Batman & Robin go after cells of the followers of Leviathan while a sniper out to collect the bounty on Robin...kills Robin. And we get a very abbreviated of Talia’s formative years from conception to her relationship with Bruce to Damian’s birth to overthrowing her father.

For me, Grant Morrison is way overrated. I get that he writes hard-hitting better than anyone but I don't like the way the characters act or speak when Morrison writes them - they become foreign. But Batman Incorporated is a fantastic blend of action and comedy and has been the most fun Batman & Robin pairing as father & son in recent memory. Although I’m not sure why we had to get the roller-coaster recap of Talia’s life when a more thorough exploration, even a story arc featuring it, would have been more satisfying.

I don't think I've read anything else with Chris Burnham's art in it but it's incredible here. I thought Frank Miller was drawing the pages. The characters are bulky but agile and incredibly intimidating on the page.

As far as the title, Batman Incorporated, we didn't get a lot of that - mostly Batman & Robin. For this title to have a chance of standing on its own, it needs to get away from Batman & Robin and the franchise players need to be front & center. But despite that obvious flaw, the title is interesting and I’ll wait to see where it’s going before deciding to drop it or stay with it.

EARTH 2 #1-2 by James Robinson & Nicola Scott
On Earth 2, Darkseid is about to conquer when Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman make one last ditch effort to turn the tide. It will require a large fight, an uploaded virus, and the sacrifice of all three of Earth's greatest heroes. But from their ashes, a new superhero group will rise up to protect the Earth - The Justice Society.

James Robinson is one of the most underrated writers in comics. His books are consistently fantastic and he's the definitive Justice Society writer (or at least the one I'm most familiar with having read his run). Nicola Scott's art is equally fantastic and the fight scenes look gorgeous.

The first two issues are slowly, satisfyingly, introducing us to the characters and how they get their powers. In the first two issues, the only two characters we’ve been introduced to are Alan Scott and Jay Garrick and only Jay has gotten his powers. Of course we’ve also seen Mr. Terrific wind up on Earth 2 to that will eventually provide a nice perspective for the new team because he’s probably worked with the heroes who were killed on that world.

Having the Justice Society rise up from the ashes of the dead Justice League members is a nice twist on continuity and the first two issues are a solid setup for what promises to be a terrific reintroduction of a classic team.

WORLDS' FINEST #1-2 by Paul Levitz., George Perez, and Kevin Maguire
Power Girl and Huntress were Earth 2's Supergirl and Robin. But when they become stranded on our world, they carve out a place for themselves which include new identities.

This is easily one of my favorite reboots. Both characters are comparable to their original DCU counterparts but their back stories now include each other. In the original DCU, Power Girl was essentially alone but now she has Huntress. I like the idea that Power Girl and Huntress know all these secret identities of friends they fought alongside but the heroes don't know them. It gives them an advantage and we may get to see a hero differently through their eyes as they reflect on who that hero was on Earth 2. And I especially love that Huntress is Bruce Wayne's daughter on Earth 2 - there's a deep connection there that I can't wait for her to explore with the current version of Bruce Wayne.

This book reestablishes Power Girl and Huntress while giving writers a gigantic, continuity-free canvas to paint new stories on. It’s a fresh take on the ‘World’s Finest’ dynamic of Superman and Batman. Paul Levitz, George Perez, and Kevin Maguire are a terrific team and I'll be back to see what happens next.

DIAL H #1-2 by China Miéville & Mateus Santoluoco
When a man desperate to save his friend reaches up for a payphone to dial 9-1-1, he's transformed into Boy Chimney and saves the day!

While I like the idea of Dial H, previous incarnations have been either campy or very dark. This is pretty much in the middle. It's dark enough to be taken seriously but not so dark that the hero still fills you with hope (the really dark stories have been about getting that power and abusing it so there was never a protagonist to really root for).

Still, the story sort of drags and doesn’t make much sense. Still, it did give us the Iron Snail so it wasn’t all bad.

If you’re a fan of previous incarnations, you’ll probably like this one, but I’ll pass on getting more issues.

G.I. COMBAT #1-2
THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT by J.T. Krul and Ariel Olivetti.
THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Dan Panosian
To be fair, the stories presented here are very short so it's hard to judge a title on snippets of story but as a reader I'm turned off by anthology-type titles so take these reviews with the grain of salt.

The War That Time Forgot spends a little time on two of the characters, a briefing, and then the helicopters are flying among pterodactyls. The soldiers fight dinosaurs, join forces with a North Korean. It's a little jarring there really a version of Marvel's Savage Land in North Korea? Huh....I guess.

The Unknown Soldier is about a normal man whose family is killed by terrorists and craves revenge but is rejected from joining the military - so he trains and finds his way into combat on his own. A terrorist attack leaves him disfigured with no memory of who he is but he does remember how to kill terrorists. The United States recruits him, augments him by making his bone structure strong and making him a quick healer – then unleashes him against their enemies.
The Unknown Soldier reminds me of Snake Eyes with the disfigured face and amazing combat skills. This could be the creation of the DC Universe’s own Punisher.

THE RAVAGERS #1-2 by Howard Mackie and Ian Churchill
This is a spin off from Superboy and Teen Titans (though I haven’t read the issues that lead up to this title) which finds Fairchild leading an escape from a lab where the meta-powered subjects are being tortured and brainwashed to be ‘Ravagers.’

If you’re old school like me you’re thinking, Fairchild leading an escape from a facility doing experiments on her sounds like her beginnings in Gen13. But you’d be wrong. The issue begins with Fairchild leading the escape and quickly turns into a free-for-all as the teens ignore her, unwilling to listen to a former employee of the same facility that tortured them and fly away, leaving Fairchild to take care of the handful that is left.

The dialogue in this book is powerfully written by Howard Mackie and perfectly reflects how teens would really react to being freed by someone they blame. Most pair off and fly away. When the troops surrender and Fairchild has to convince the escapees not to kill them, it's some of the best dialogue and is a great beginning to cementing a relationship with the kids, creating some boundaries for them, and establishing herself as the leader.

This issue introduced me to the 'New 52' versions of Beast Boy and Terra. I love that they've added this to Gar's background and that he and Terra escape together. I don't know if they'll stay in this title but it was great seeing them together. Also, I hope I'm not alone in being happy that Rose is a villain again. I know the facility changed her into a psychopath when means that we'll get to explore her redemption against the people she's killed who were friends of the kids in the facility. I can't wait to see her try and apologize to Beast Boy while he tries to rip her face off.

This title contains some of the most volatile characters in the DCU and I can't wait to read more.

Quick Review: Smallville Season Eleven #1-2

Smallville Season Eleven #1-2 by Bryan Q. Miller and Pere Pérez
Smallville Season Eleven is a welcome addition to the 'season-style' books out there. Fans of the cult show had to wait for 10 years for 'Smallville' to become Superman and only got a tiny taste of how great that could be.

I started watching Smallville from the first episode but somewhere in the third season I lost all interest. It was back in the days when each episode ended with Clark and Lana in the barn talking about how they can't be together because he has secrets. I came back occasionally when there was a guest star hero like Aquaman or Cyborg. I came back for 'Absolute Justice' which featured the Justice Society and stayed with the series until the end.

The show wasn't always great - there was a lot of angsty stuff and that last minute "I can't marry you" stuff with Lois at the end. But it gave us a lot of other superheroes, a super-powered Lana, and the return of Superman's ultimate nemesis, Lex Luthor without any memory of who Clark really is. Smallville Season Eleven is an opportunity to do all the stuff no one could afford to do on the TV show (like make Blue Beetle not look like a robot) and introduce ANYONE in the DC Universe. It makes complete sense that a comic book company with a successful television show would want to continue it as a comic book. I hope this becomes the new normal (except for The Walking Dead - that comic book is already being recreated on the television screen and is mostly faithful to the original material).

As I recall, one of the reasons you couldn't have Batman show up in Smallville was because it would undermine the films. That roadblock is removed in a medium overflowing with Batman titles. Actually, according to the previews, I think we'll be meeting the Smallville version of Bruce Wayne pretty soon.

Now that that is out of the way, how was the books themselves? Bryan Q. Miller, one of the series writers, knows these characters histories and how they relate to one another and how they speak. The dialogue feels authentic and the first two issues spend time showing Superman saving people and spend some time reacquainting Clark and Lex as the latter confesses that he's not sure why they'd even have been friends when they were younger.

There's great contentious stuff with Lex and Oliver. Of course the stuff between Clark and Lana and Oliver and Chloe is terrific and reminds us of how happy they all were together. It's great to see life continuing instead of starting the series with the characters unhappy. It's also great they didn't do a 'five years later' sort of thing where the characters are in different places and the question is, 'how did they get this way?'

The few times we get to see Superman in these issues, he's everything we attribute to the original Superman: honest, friendly, helpful, and genuinely cares about the people he helps. Tom Welling always brought that to life so well in the series that I can hear his voice in the dialogue makes me feel like the show really is back and that they kept all of the actors.

I'm not sure who the alien is who lands in #2 and you can see in some kind of uniform at the end of the book is, but I can't wait to find out. The first two issues are a good, solid start to Season Eleven and a great way to break readers in and remind them of the status quo. Now it's time to put those characters through their paces. I'm not sure who the alien is who lands in #2 and you can see in some kind of uniform at the end of the book is, but I can't wait to find out. Oh - and since this is the first time our heroes are meeting him/her, expect a fight.

Quick Reviews - Danger Club, AVX: VS, Trio, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual

Danger Club #1-3 by Landry Q. Walker, Eric Jones, and Michael “Rusty” Drake
The story picks up a few months after all of the adult heroes have gone to fight evil and haven’t returned. Assumed dead, Apollo, the most powerful sidekick, has started recruiting people for a team he’s leading and he’s killing people in his way. At least he was until the non-powered, Kid Vigilante stops him permanently.

The title’s first three issues are interesting and the art is fantastic. While the introductions to the characters themselves are sparse and you only get a little taste of people’s histories with one another, the story takes you through things like Kid Vigilante pulling the plug on his brother’s life support. Unfortunately, without a context, the story is a little hollow and leaves you no one to really root for or anything to care about. It seems like ‘Lord of the Flies’ but with superhero sidekicks.

Since it turns out the president of the United States, himself a retired super-hero is really behind the reason the heroes are missing, it might be worth sticking with to get to know the characters better and see if there’s anything more to this story than just the action…but we’ll see.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39 by Brian Reed, Lee Garbett, and John Lucas
When a Horizon Labs experiment takes Peter out of the time stream, he gets a peek at what life without him would have been like. As he jumps to different places in his history Quantum Leap-style, he is forced to relive.

This story is sort of a jumbled-up, uninteresting time-travel story. The story of life without Peter Parker should be told but I would have preferred to see a life where Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacey were alive and happy but Norman Osborn controlled most of New York (like Lex does in Metropolis). I’d love to see a Peter Parker that no one knows or remembers trying to be a normal human being in that time-period before Dr. Strange and a team of Avengers came to rescue him from the time-stream. I’d love to see a Peter trying to decide whether or not the world was better off without him. That seems like a better conflict and would have more emotional resonance.

Instead we get a choppy story that ends with Uncle Ben telling him he’s proud of him (how many times have we seen that?) and breaks no new ground.

X-Men #29 by Victor Gischler & Will Conrad
Pixie and Spider-Man along with a group of Skrulls take on another Skrull who has taken a young boy hostage and is trying to escape into space.

What can I tell you – there were a ton of heroes on the cover of this book and very few were actually inside. So I judged the book by its cover. Not a great story (granted I didn’t read the previous part of the story) and I’m again reminded why I stay away from this title. For all the times that a character like Pixie looks up to Spider-Man and gets to meet him, half the time I’m disappointed that Spidey couldn’t inspire them more.

Trio #1 by John Byrne
Rock, Paper, Scissors. That’s who the Trio are. Ignore the similarities to the Fantastic Four because every comic book company or creator comes up with heroes that at least bear a passing resemblance to an existing superhero in either power, origin, costume, or attitude. I usually get the first three issues of something before I read them so I can give the title a fair shake but this is John Byrne so I dove right in and found the water gone and replaced with air. So as I lay at the bottom of this pool, broken and bloody, I curse John Byrne for tricking me into reading this mess.

Avengers Vs X-Men: Versus #3 by Jeph Loeb, Ed McGuinness, Dexter Vines, Christopher Yost, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson
I know – I reviewed the first issues and I was less than flattering about one of the fights (Thing vs Namor). But I saw one of my favorite characters, Magik, up against one of my favorite Avengers characters, Black Widow and had to make the purchase.

I’m going to start with the Thing vs. Colossus fight. You so rarely get to see Colossus fight anyone of his power level and I don’t think Thing has fought him since his power has been augmented. But in an all-out fight with the Juggernaut, Thing loses and should lose.

Now, the Black Widow vs. Magik fight was AWESOME. Black Widow is an expert fighter, spy, and marksman but Magik is a spellcaster with access to a host of abilities and practically grew up under the tutelage of The Danger Room and the many battle-hardened X-Men who trained with her. And you get to see Magik use all of her abilities – this is Magik at her best.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Star Trek vs Star Wars: Round Five

Back in my February 18th post I explained how I wanted to compare the first six Star Wars and Star Trek movies to see how I felt about them after all these years of not seeing them. You can see the first four rounds here: Round One, Round Two, Round Three, and Round Four

ROUND FIVE: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier vs Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Captain Kirk’s shore leave is interrupted by a hostage situation in the Neutral Zone. So Kirk and his crew take a half-functioning Enterprise with less than a skeleton crew and have to contend with a Klingon trying to make a name for himself and Spock's half brother who hijacks the Enterprise to search for God.

This film has one of the best first acts in an Star Trek movie. We finally get to see Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on leave. They’re enjoying camping in Yosemite National Park and it’s some of the funniest dialogue in the entire Trek series. There’s a lot of great stuff with all of the crew.

After the crew gets moving to the Neutral Zone the story gets painfully slow and pretty ridiculous. Sybok takes control of the Enterprise and ‘frees’ the crew of their pain turning most of them into his acolytes. Then they pass (easily pass) a supposedly impenetrable barrier at the center of the universe where they discover a planet. On the planet, the being from Sybok’s vision (who claims to be God) tortures Kirk while demanding he bring the Enterprise closer to the planet (all because Kirk had to ask, “What does God need with a starship?”).

Sybok seems to struggle with the being yet a photon torpedo isn’t enough to kill it. Then the energy cloud thingy chases Kirk around shooting lightning at him until a Klingon Bird of Prey lasers it into oblivion (a photon torpedo can’t kill it but a Klingon laser can?). So, no clue what the energy thing was that shot lighting at Kirk was. And given that Klingons prize battle over all, is it realistic that even a Klingon General could talk a junior office out of killing Klingon enemy number one and becoming the most respected warrior in the Empire in the process?

Still, there’s a nice moment at the end of the film that helps cement the relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.

Here’s a bit of dialogue from the beginning of the movie (this is from
Dr McCoy: All that time in space, getting on each other's nerves. And what do we do when shore leave comes along? We spend it together. Other people have families.
Kirk: Other people, Bones. Not us.

Here’s that dialogue being addressed at the end of the film (this is also from
Spock: I've lost a brother.
Kirk: I lost a brother once. But I got him back.
McCoy: I thought you said men like us don't have families.
Kirk: I was wrong.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
They’ve destroyed the Empire’s ultimate weapon but they’re still outnumbered, outgunned and hiding on Hoth. When the inevitable happens and the Empire comes calling, Luke splits off from the Rebel fleet and heads to Dagobah to meet up with Yoda and learn the ways of the force. Meanwhile, Han, Leia, and Chewie get cut off from the fleet when they can’t jump into hyperspace and wind up playing hide and seek with the Empire, dodging bounty hunters, getting reacquainted with old friends, and Han gets turned into an icicle.

Now, putting aside Leia kissing Luke on the lips twice in this film (while simultaneously having Yoda foreshadow Leia being Luke’s sister) which is uber-creepy, this is a fantastic story. I’m going to ignore the fact that midichlorians give a Jedi their power – I like what Yoda said about it better. I’m going to let go of the fact the Emperor tells Vader that the boy who destroyed the Death Star is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker but in Revenge of the Sith, he tells Vader that Padme and the kids are dead (Vader does ask how that could be possible so it could be reference to Revenge of the Jedi but I’m ignoring it anyway). Also forget the fact that Luke has only had maybe a month of training while Vader had decades of training and another few decades as a master (which you only realize when you’ve seen the prequels – until then I figured Vader had as much training as Luke but had more time to practice). I put all that prequel damage aside to see the amazing movie I saw as a kid.


The Empire Strikes Back gave us Boba Fett, AT-AT’s (the second coolest ride in the Star Wars galaxy next to the Millenium Falcon), and Lando Calrissian. It also gave us the coolest spaceship/asteroid sequence in science fiction history. The way the Millennium Falcon twists and rolls and maneuvers, beautifully avoiding asteroids by a few feet, is still an absolute pleasure.

The Empire Strikes Back was part two of the greatest romance in sci-fi history: Han & Leia. And when Princess Leia finally tells Han how she feels (“I love you.”) it gave us the best line of the entire trilogy: “I know.”

The Empire Strikes Back gave us a journey complete with new ideas, new adventures, new characters, love, loss, and enough twists and turns to make it a thrill ride. The Final Frontier had a few funny moments, almost no action, and an ending even the most hardcore fan can’t explain.

Star Trek: 2
Star Wars: 3

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man *SPOILERS*

As a comic book fan I’ve seen a lot of different versions of Spider-Man’s origin and personality. Understand that if Sony doesn’t make a Spider-Man movie in five years then the film rights return to Disney. So is this film a product of love for the character or a desperate move to keep a lucrative franchise going?

I’m not going to go over the basic story (boy who is picked on at school is being raised by his aunt and uncle then gets bit by a spider and manages to stick up for himself, suddenly become interesting to the girl of his dreams, and becomes a hero) because the movie hits all of Peter’s standard origin story.

What’s good about the movie is the addition of the mystery of Peter’s parents. Peter finds his father’s briefcase and examines the contents including a file with a mysterious equation and a photo of his father with Dr. Connors. Of course this sends Peter to Oscorp where Dr. Connors is working. Peter uses Dr. Connor’s published work along with his father’s equation to make Dr. Connor’s research work. Of course whenever Oscorp is involved in science, someone wants to shut someone down so they always use an untested formula on themselves which results in them becoming the deranged villain (in this film’s case, the Lizard).

I’m going to ignore how dumb the Lizard’s face looked (the comic book version might have been harder to pull off but I would’ve liked it better) and say that he and Spidey throw down a few times and the action is great. And instead of the love interest, Gwen, being in the dark the entire time then getting surreptitiously being swept up in the action, Peter reveals his identity early on and involves her in stopping the Lizard.

And we get web shooters! Honest to god web shooters. Of course the web cartridges are from Oscorp but the mechanisms are Peter’s. Spidey faithfully uses those web shooters every chance he gets and they’re awesome. A little red light comes on every time he uses them and the sound they make is awesome.

But this film was missing a few things, namely J. Jonah Jameson and spider sense. It’s possible that the film’s action alluded to spider-sense but he didn’t seem to have any heads up to danger around him. There was no great way to wedge Jonah into the story and the one time Peter attempted to take a photo of himself as Spider-Man was foiled when the Lizard destroyed his camera (while simultaneously discovering Spidey’s secret identity). Plus, it’s the cops who label Spider-Man a menace in this film, led by Gwen’s father, Captain Stacy.

Oh yeah – it’s also missing the one line that makes Spider-Man who he is: With great power comes great responsibility. Instead, we get a rambling speech that approximates that sentiment but would look awkward on a bumper sticker.

While Andrew Garfield is a good Peter Parker (maybe better than Tobey Maguire - let’s be honest, we didn’t have anyone to compare him to until now), Emma Stone is a fantastic Gwen Stacy and is a much better love interest for Peter. I liked the ending when the two kind of reconcile so that the next film doesn’t begin with them at odds with each other.

Of course the story foreshadows Norman Osborne’s involvement in the disappearance of Peter’s parents and promises that the sequel will involve him in some way. And of course we all know what Norman does to Gwen so that might come to pass in a sequel.

SEE IT/SKIP IT/OWN IT: So did I like it? It was okay. I’ve seen almost all the beats in that story and there were no surprises but when you reboot a franchise you have to give the origin. Sony didn’t make a film just for the hell of it, it seems they gave it a lot of time, attention, and talent. If anything else, it has the best Stan Lee cameo of any Marvel film so far (with the exception of The Fantastic Four in which he played their mailman). If you saw the original, this isn’t exceptional but you should watch it so you can compare the two for yourself. It might be worth owning but that’s something I’ll decide after I’ve seen the next movie.