The Amazing Spider-Man -Directed by Marc WebbStarring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys IfansThe Amazing Spider-Man is a reboot of the popular franchise and easily my favorite of the series, easily beating out the 2002 Toby Maguire version.
Although we've heard the origin story many times this film portrays it in a more realistic and progressive way. We see how Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) struggles with learning his new powers instead of just suddenly being awesome at them. Some people complained that this Peter is a bit more "hipstery" but I found him easier to relate to and more enjoyable. The story is also lighter and more colorful than the original - more like a comic book, less like a drama.
Peter and Gwen (Emma Stone) have terrific chemistry which makes their budding romance a treat to watch. (It isn't surprising that they're dating in real life.) And I liked how Gwen is a strong, smart character rather than a helpless ninny. She actually helps solve the problems.
Dr. Curt Conners aka Lizard (Rhys Ifans) also does an excellent job playing a villain with complexity and inner conflict.
A backstory thread raises many intriguing questions about Peter's father and I can't wait to see where that goes in future movies.
I also liked how Spider-Man moved - quick, agile, and employing lots of momentum. It was less about strength and more about speed and dexterity which made the action scenes more intense and exciting to watch.
Overall better cast, better story, and tons more fun!
The Dark Knight RisesDirected by Christopher NolanStarring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Michael Cane, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion CotillardThe Dark Knight Rises is the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy and it does not disappoint. In fact, it was amazingly awesome!
Eight years have passed since The Dark Knight and both Batman and Bruce Wayne have been living in exile, but when a new terrorist leader, Bane emerges, Wayne redons the cape to save Gotham.
I wept tears of joy and awe when the credits started rolling. I have never been so satisfied with a conclusion in my life. This film accounts for every little detail and plot line in all of the previous movies and incorporates them beautifully. This is backed by a fabulous cast including series new comers Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Coutillard.
While Hardy's Bane is no match for Heath Ledger's Joker, his performance gave me chills and endless quotes. His imposing stature and precise diction made for a villain with both brains and brawn. I was also very skeptical of Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman but by the end she was one of my favorite characters. Her sexy, seductive, street smart character was a departure from previous roles but she nailed it.
The twists are shocking yet layered with perfection as you look back over the movie, which makes seeing the film a second time all the more enjoyable as you catch the clues.
I also highly recommend seeing the film in IMAX. After enjoying it in both standard and IMAX I can attest to the later as the superior format. The majority of the movie was shot in 70mm format which makes for some impressive shots and truly immerses you in the story.
If you are looking for powerful drama with tremendous action, suspense, emotion, complexity, and make-you-gasp surprises, as well as a stunning conclusion to one of the greatest trilogies of all time, go see The Dark Knight Rises!