Batman Over Spider-man?: Steve’s Reflection on The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-man

The question in this post’s title (Batman over Spider-man?) has two meanings. The first has to do with why I thought The Dark Knight Rises was a better movie than The Amazing Spider-man. The second has to do with why James Holmes chose to commit his horrendous crime at the opening of The Dark Knight Rises rather than the opening of the The Amazing Spider-man. As it turns out, the answers to those two questions are related. I would prefer to ignore the second sense of the question, but that seems impossible at this time. Eventually, the connection of that crime to the movie will fade somewhat, but, at the moment they are too intertwined to avoid some reflection on the events in Aurora.

A little background on my Dark Knight experience: At the time that Holmes was opening fire upon the theater patrons in Aurora, I was at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises here in Montana. I do not regularly attend midnight showings, but at the urging of my son I decided to give it a try. During the first twenty minutes or so of the movie I was thinking that it was a big mistake. There were a few guys (and, yes, they were all males) yelling out comments. I think their actions had more to do with it being the midnight hour and quite possibly alcohol consumption than with the fact that it was The Dark Knight Rises being shown. These selfish boors were clearly reveling in their attention-seeking activities. Interestingly, there has been much pondering in the last week about the role that attention-seeking played in Holmes’ actions. As I became increasingly irritated, another guy decided to take matters into his own hands. (Again, it is interesting that at a Batman movie someone should decide to play the role of the vigilante.) He approached the guy making the loudest and most frequent comments and requested that he cease and desist. A scuffle broke out. An usher quickly moved the offending parties to the lobby where the disturbance continued. A surprisingly large number of folks rushed out to the lobby to see what was happening. I guess they thought the drama there would be more intriguing than what was being offered on the screen. Before long things settled down and we were able to enjoy the rest of the movie in relative peace.

Given that experience, it felt quite strange to hear about the events in Aurora. As I’ve already mentioned, I don’t believe that the events in our theater had much to do with the particular movie being shown. However, I do think that Holmes purposefully chose The Dark Knight Rises, although his actions were clearly based on the second movie in the trilogy because he could not have seen the new movie yet and he refered to himself as the Joker. Why this movie rather than, for instance, The Amazing Spider-man that opened just a couple of weeks before DK Rises? As many have noted, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is darker than most superhero movies, but I think there is more to it than that. Spider-man, along with most, if not all, other superhero movies, comes from the realm of fantasy. Heroes in the real world simply do not take on the properties of spiders and villans do not become large and vicious lizards. Batman’s gadgets aside, the Dark Knight movies come much closer to reality. Batman’s mask, the Joker’s makeup and whatever it was that Bane was wearing are the thin veneer that separates these characters from the real world. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker was a particularly powerful evocation of the evil that we face in the world. We need not live in fear of someone becoming a rampaging giant lizard, but someone could be as twisted as the Joker. James Holmes was speaking the truth when he said that he is the Joker. I do not mean to imply that these movies made him do what he did. Without these movies his inclination to evil would have found another context in which to be manifested. Nonetheless, I am not at all surprised that he chose The Dark Knight Rises over The Amazing Spider-man.

Getting back to my reactions to the movies themselves, all of this does play into why I thought The Dark Knight Rises was a better movie than The Amazing Spider-man. It is not just that DK Rises was more realistic than Spider-man. There is certainly a place for fantasy in the movies. In fact, sometimes fantasy can help us more clearly see the truth of our reality, but I didn’t feel that was the case with Spider-man. Movies are works of art and art serves two basic purposes: to entertain us and to enlighten us. A work of art may lean more in one direction than the other, but they are both generally there to some degree. Marc Webb, the director of Spider-man, leaned more towards entertainment, and Christopher Nolan more towards enlightenment, but they both had protagonists that were seeking answers to a fundamental existential question. It was put this way in Spider-man. Towards the end of the movie, Peter Parker’s English teacher says that a professor once told her that there were only ten plotlines in all of literature. She says that is wrong and claims there is only one plotline: who am I? Both Batman and Spider-man struggle with that question. That struggle included wondering about the degree of responsibility that they owed to others. However, the struggle seemed more superficial in Spider-man. Maybe because the story was set during the time that Peter Parker was in high school, Spider-man felt like a coming of age story that happened to feature a superhero, while DK Rises felt like it was attempting to dig deeper into the human condition.

I’ll soon post my first rankings for 2012 movies. When I do, I’ll include a few particular likes and dislikes for these movies. But, to wrap things up here, I’ll simply say that Spider-man  had two big drawbacks for me. As much as I enjoyed Andrew Garfield as Spidey, I felt over all the characters were stock types and that the movie did have a number of plotlines that were clichéd. The movie had a been there, done that feel to it. I guess I would side with those who wonder if we really needed this reboot. The second problem was that there were too many inconsistencies within the movie. Even a fantasy movie needs to have internal logic. Two examples: when Dr. Conner converts back into human form in the sewer he is wearing a robe; much is made of the fact that Peter’s hands are sticky when he turns into Spider-man, but he is shown looking through his father’s papers and they don’t stick, while moments later the keys from his computer keypad do stick. On the other hand, in The Dark Knight Rises I found many of the characters intriguing and my engagement with the film wasn’t disrupted by inconsistencies. It’s not an all-time classic, but it’s darn good. Despite its flaws, The Amazing Spider-man is fairly entertaining. Bottom line: I recommend both of them, but if you can only see one, make it The Dark Knight Rises.

Advertisements

Group Effort: Steve Recommends The Avengers

There are folks proclaiming that The Avengers is an incredibly awesome movie. If they mean that it is awesome in its ability to make money, they are certainly correct. After all, it did shatter the opening weekend money record. However, if they mean that it is a great movie, they are wrong. It is not a great movie. There are others lamenting that it is terminally boring. I understand where they are coming from since I found last year’s Captain America to be as dull as its muted color scheme and Thor to be, well, terminally boring. They are currently ranked at 56 and 62 on my list of 2011 movies. Given that they were both lead-ins to The Avengers, I did not have huge expectations as I walked into the theater, despite the fact that the trailers looked fairly good. I was pleasantly surprised. No, it’s not a great movie, but it is quite good. I found it to be fun and entertaining. I know that won’t be near enough to earn it a spot in my top ten for the year (or most likely even my top 20), but in this case it was enough for a satisfying movie experience.

So, what worked here that didn’t in Captain America and Thor? As it turns out the difference was the group effort. When I heard that they were making this movie, even before CA/Thor nearly turned me off of superhero movies for good, I thought that it could never work. There were just too many characters to give them all their due. I figured the story could only turn out to be a jumbled mess. I knew Joss Whedon had good credibility as a writer, but his resume didn’t seem impressive enough to make me think he could pull off writing and directing something of this magnitude. Although the overall story that Whedon and Zak Penn came up with is hardly special in any way, there is enough good writing here to keep things moving along quite nicely. In fact, even at two and a half hours, the movie did not feel too long. The writing provided some good humor and even attempted to add some depth by pondering such things as the nature of freedom versus the human need to feel connected to (and protected by) a greater power; the irony of attempting to achieve peace and security through war and violence; and self-centeredness versus self-sacrifice. True, none of this was deeply profound, but at least they made an effort. Where the writing was at its best was in giving each of the Avengers (with one exception), along with the villain Loki, an adequate amount of screen time to establish some sense of character. Again, there was no deep character development, but what I thought would be the movie’s downfall turned out to be its strength.

Although there will be no Oscar nominations, the group effort of the cast saved the day. I know I was not in the minority in thinking that having Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man brought this movie its greatest hope of success and he did not disappoint. I’m not tired of his Tony Stark schtick yet. Actually, he was better here than in Iron Man 2. I was underwhelmed by Chris Evans’ performance in the movie that introduced Captain America. On his own, the noble nature of Captain America was bland, but here it worked well as a counterpoint to Tony Stark’s self-centeredness. Samuel L. Jackson provided a Nick Fury who showed strength with an undercurrent of mystery. (Sidenote: Jackson threw a twitter hissy fit over a lukewarm review. Sam, I love most of your work and you do a good job here, but do you really want to put your professional record on the line for this movie? I don’t think so.) I was one of those who was bummed when Edward Norton got bumped as the Hulk, but I must admit that Mark Ruffalo did a fine job as Dr. Bruce Banner. He gave the movie a much needed grounding in human compassion, along with his struggle with the other one living in him. I’m still not sold on Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Maybe it is just hard to play a god. (Although, are Thor and Loki really gods or is that just the human perception? Hmmm. My son also raised an interesting point, why does Thor have that strange accent, but Loki does not? I know Loki was adopted, but he was raised in the same family.) Speaking of Loki, Tom Hiddleston was one of the few highpoints of Thor and he is up to the task again in this one. I especially like Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Her fighting style is fun to watch and her cleverness was captivating, but is she a superhero? That question applies to Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, also. He is the one that the script is not kind to. Renner gets little chance to do much more than brood. He’s good at that, but hopefully he’ll do more than that in The Bourne Legacy.

The strength of the movie is the group effort, but it is certainly no surprise that there is conflict when this wide range of personalities first comes together. The verbal sparring between Stark and Captain America is especially fun, much more so than the various physical fights between the characters. It is also no surprise that when push comes to shove and the Avengers are needed to save the world, they come together as a team. Sure, it is expected, even inevitable, but, if done right, even what we expect can be nearly as satisfying as a cinematic surprise. I was satisfied. The group effort here can teach us something. My co-blogger, Bill, has written a piece on The Avengers and the Church that can be found below. If you haven’t read it yet, by all means do so. Also, use this movie to ponder why we are drawn to superheros and what that might say about the human need for God, especially a God who comes as a savior. I may write a few thoughts on that later this summer as we anticipate the arrival of both Batman and Spiderman.

Moneyball Scores! A Recommendation from Steve

I used to be a big baseball fan. I’m not anymore. Back in those days I would get quite irritated by those who said baseball was too slow, boring even. I considered them to be barbarians. They couldn’t see and appreciate the subtlety, the poetry of the game. Each inning, each at-bat, held its own drama. I now find it difficult to sit through an entire game. (Although last night’s Game 6 was delightful!) Football has regained its place as my favorite sport. I mention this not simply because Moneyball is about baseball, but because watching it is a bit like watching baseball. In movie terms, football is like a summer blockbuster, whereas baseball is more often like a character-driven drama. Baseball is subtle. Baseball is nuance. Baseball is poetry. When a poem works for us, there is nothing more beautiful, more powerful. When it doesn’t work, when we can’t make the connection, we wonder what the fuss is about. Moneyball worked for me, so much so that it currently sits at the top of my 2011 movie rankings.

Moneyball is a good looking movie, but there is nothing flashy about it. The director, Bennett Miller, leads with a sure hand, but doesn’t show off. With this and the equally wonderful Capote under his belt, he is a director I’ll be keeping my eye on. The writing by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (who also penned The Social Network) is also strong, witty and poignant, without being overly sentimental. Look for their names at Oscar time. The flashiest element of the movie is the name of its star: Brad Pitt. His name provides the flash, but his performance as Billy Beane is powerful in its subtlety, its nuance, yes, its poetry. He could have used this as a star vehicle and swung for the fences, but he didn’t and the movie is all the better thanks to his restraint. One of the themes of the movie is that getting on base leads to scoring runs, which leads to winning games. A player’s true value is determined by how he uses his skills for the good of the team, even if that means being patient at the plate in order to draw a walk. The cast understands this premise, so the movie is filled with quietly effective performances, including Philip Seymour Hoffman (as the manager, Art Howe), and, especially, Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, the computer geek who provides a new way to evaluate players. I’m not a big fan of the kind of movies that have filled Hill’s career so far, but he blew me away here. He is able to convey so much with a glance, a raised eyebrow, a softly spoken line. Incredible. Again, look for his name at Oscar time.

If there is a weakness to the movie it is that, other than Beane and Brand, the characters are under developed, but I see this as a minor problem. I can understand Howe’s complaint that the movie does not give him the credit he is due as manager, and given that the A’s let him go after seasons of 102 and 103 wins seems to indicate that the team, or especially Beane, didn’t value his talents highly enough. If the movie’s goal was historical accuracy, Howe’s character may have been presented differently, but the movie is not overly concerned with such accuracy. It is tricky business to make a movie based on a true story, especially of events that happened less than a decade ago. But, more than history, the film seeks to give us metaphor, and the movie is all the better for this, also. The historical events do provide wonderful drama. It is the classic story of the triumph of the underdog as the poor team that is gutted of its superstars by the rich teams finds a way to win. This would have made a good movie. Indeed, I had tears rolling down my cheeks during a number of the game sequences. Yes, baseball can be exciting and quite moving in its drama. A simple, historical view of the 2002 A’s would still have been better than most of this summer’s movies, but Moneyball offers us even more. I’ve read reviews that complain that the movie ignores players that were instrumental in the team reaching 103 wins and a trip to the playoffs, especially the starting pitchers Zito, Hudson, and Mulder, who accounted for 57 wins. True, they are nearly invisible in the movie, but there is an obvious reason, they don’t fit in the metaphor. They were with the team before Brand showed Beane the new way to evaluate talent, or more importantly, a player’s value to the team. The movie focuses on Bradford and Hatteberg because they were players who the old system undervalued. That is the true power of this film. It gives us an opportunity to look at things in a new way. The great irony is that the new system, which relies on a computer and cold, hard facts, gave an opportunity to players who were left out in the old system that relied upon, among other things, the intuition of the scouts. See this movie and then ponder these things: how can we best uncover the gifts that the Bible tells us everyone has? How can we best use our gifts for the good of the team, or more broadly, for the good of others? What is truly the difference between losing and winning?

Steve’s Summer Movie Wrap-up

Summer is over, at least unofficially, and so ends a rather uninspiring season at the theater. Earlier in the summer, my blog partner, Bill, wrote a column called “Bill’s Summer Movies…So far…” I was tempted to entitle this column “Summer Movies…So What!” There are a couple of keepers in the bunch, but overall I was unimpressed, which, explains at least in part why I’m just now getting around to writing about them. I’ll cover them in the order that they landed on my rankings, which I posted earlier. I’m including a couple of Spring releases that I haven’t blogged on yet, one that I saw then and one that I didn’t see until it was released on DVD.

Here we go…

Super 8 – I am not a huge Spielberg fan, but this Spielberg-produced movie, which is in so many ways an homage to his work, caught my fancy, so much so that it currently stands at No. 3 in my 2011 rankings. In addition to being an homage to Spielberg, this film is also an homage to childhood, the ’70’s, monster/sci-fi movies, and film-making itself. It is said that J.J. Abrams fell in love with movies at an early age and borrowed his father’s Super 8 camera to make his own movies. For the most part he does a good job here capturing the delight of kids stretching their artistic wings. Without a doubt, the movie is at its best when it focuses on the kids. While the acting of the adults in the film often seemed clichéd and perfunctory, I was impressed by the youthful actors, especially Elle Fanning. It is worth seeing the film just for her performance. The guys convince her character, Alice, to join them in making a zombie move. Alice is nervous because she’s never done any acting. This sets up a scene that Elle totally nails. Alice and one of the boys rehearse some dialogue and Alice’s performance is so powerful that the guys’ jaws drop, as did mine. She then follows that up with a self-effacing, “Was that o.k.?” Elle pulls off the difficult trick of seeming quite natural in her role as Alice, while at the same time kicking it up a notch when Alice is “acting” in the boys’ film. One of the boys (I forget which one) pulls off the opposite feat, seeming natural in his role, but then being quite wooden when his character is “acting.” Not as impressive as Elle, but quite good nonetheless. As good as the kids were, this movie falls far short of classic status. As already mentioned, the adults don’t come across well. The more the plot involves them, the sillier it becomes. The revelation that the military mistreated the alien is a bit obvious in its stab at our societies difficulty with outsiders (for more on that issue, see The X-Men). Which brings us to the problem of the alien itself. After all the alien movies these past few years, it is hard to present an alien that is very shocking (see Cowboys & Aliens). In this case, I wasn’t sure how we were supposed to feel about the interplanetary visitor. Were we to have empathy because he was abused? Did that really excuse the fact that he was quite nasty? And why was he capturing people, to eat them? Much of the plot dealing with the alien didn’t make much sense. I think they shouldn’t have even shown the alien, just left it a mystery, and kept more of the focus on the kids. Be that as it may, this was still the best movie that I had the opportunity to see this summer.

Source Code – I somehow missed this when it was in the theaters, but I saw it this summer on DVD. This is quite the concoction: a sci-fi/mystery/action/thriller/love story. As rare as that complicated combination of elements may seem at first glance, this movie actually finds itself in company with this year’s Adjustment Bureau and last year’s Inception. Of those, I like Adjustment Bureau the most. While Inception is a dazzling achievement, I think that Source Code is a whole lot more fun and, as such, provides a better viewing experience. Yes, the premise is a bit ridiculous, the ability to send someone into the last eight minutes of another person’s memories to try to solve a crime and prevent another terrorist attack. The movie struggles to maintain its own twisted logic, but that really doesn’t matter. Despite all the other adjectives, at heart this is a love story (as were Bureau and Inception) and in its own strange way it worked for me. This has been called a sci-fi Groundhog Day and that comparison is certainly appropriate. While this film lacks the whimsy of Groundhog Day, it does find some clever ways to work with the tricky scenario of repeating the same eight minutes over and over again. Though he is no Bill Murray, I was surprised by the effectiveness of Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance here. While hardly Oscar-worthy, he does a nice job of moving from confused to reckless to in control of the situation. Most importantly, since this is a love story, he presents his character in such a way that you can feel him falling in love and understand why Michelle Monaghan’s character would fall for him. There were huge holes in the plot, but I really enjoyed watching this and isn’t that really the bottom line when it comes to movies.

Cowboys & Aliens – Yep, this movie was a mess. I had high hopes for it, which certainly were not met, but I still enjoyed this more than most people seemed to. As with Super 8, one of the big problems was the aliens. When they appeared, it felt too much like been there, seen that. The one big change was that the aliens’ chests opened to reveal a set of arms. Really? And the aliens were here to look for gold. Really? Well, I guess everyone was searching for gold in the Old West! And the aliens captured people to study our weaknesses. Really? Shoot us and we die. How much studying does that require? To transition to the Cowboys in the title, there was also a problem with how the humans reacted to the aliens. Sure, they saw them as a dangerous foe, but they still seemed to take the appearance of the aliens too much in stride. These were aliens, in spaceships shooting laser beams, in 1873! Despite all those shortcomings, the human side of the story still drew me in. Sure it was filled with clichés, but I thought they were kind of fun in this context. Harrison Ford has indicated that he simply mailed his performance in, but I liked him as the grumpy cattle baron. Paul Dano was a hoot as his son. He sure knows how to play an obnoxious jerk. Unfortunately, after the aliens nabbed him, we didn’t see much more of him. It was Daniel Craig, though, who saved the movie for me. I loved his stoic looks as he tried to figure out who the heck he was and why he had this metal thing on his arm. Because I so enjoyed him here, I finally got around to watching Casino Royale last night. I now look forward to seeing more of his work. There is definitely something about those eyes! Finally, this movie had some of the clearest spiritual themes of the big summer movies. The name of the town was Absolution! Maybe some of it was a bit over the top, but the idea that God is not concerned with what we did, but with what we do, is an interesting notion to ponder.

X-Men: First Class – This movie was most definitely not on my must-see list for the summer. As I mentioned in my review of Thor, I’ve grown a bit tired of superhero movies. Also, as superhero movies go, I could hardly be called a big fan of the X-Men series. I’m pretty sure I saw the first one on tv at some point, but that’s about it. Even though this one had received fairly good reviews, I was quite satisfied to let it leave town without seeing it, just like Pirates 4 before it. But my son convinced me to go to this and I’m glad he did. This movie restored my faith in superhero movies, at least for the time being. I found the story and characters to be more engaging than in most superhero movies. The notion of human mutation makes enough sense, but my one complaint in regard to the X-Men is that the particular mutations that they present strike me as ludicrous. That being said, and whereas all superheros are misfits in their own way, the X-Men series seems to tackle the issue of prejudice against outsiders in a deeper way. There certainly seem to be undertones of the gay/lesbian experience here. For instance, when the Beast reveals something about himself the others didn’t know, someone says, “You never told us.” The Beast responds, “You never asked.” Hmm, don’t ask, don’t tell? Overall, the performances were solid. Jennifer Lawrence, who was so spectacular in Winter’s Bone, could have been put to better use here, but that’s the problem with large ensemble casts. (I don’t know how they are going to give everyone enough screen time in The Avengers!) My only real complaint was Kevin Bacon. I usually like him, and I thought he was good here in his opening scene, but after that his performance reminded me too much of his role as Chip Diller in Animal House!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes – I’ve mentioned plot holes and ridiculous notions in many of these reviews, but in this movie stupidity rose to its highest level for the summer. I thought the script was atrocious. Of course, James Franco did warn us. He said the intelligent stuff was cut to focus more on the apes. Given his acting here, that was an intelligent move. He was definitely out-acted by a bunch of CGI simians! (Overall, the CGI stuff was pretty impressive.) Seeing Franco in this reaffirmed for me how great a director Danny Boyle is. How did he coax such a fine performance out of Franco in 127 Hours? But, again, when all is said and done, this movie, despite being incredibly stupid, was actually quite fun to watch. So what if I laughed for all the wrong reasons, at least I laughed (which is more than I can say for the next movie in this list).

Harry Potter 7.2 – Let me start by clearly stating that I am not a big fan of the Harry Potter movies. If I’m going to watch a movie featuring a Potter, I’ll take It’s a Wonderful Life any day. I would probably say that this was the best of the eight films, but that is faint praise. At least I stayed awake through all of this one. I can’t quite put my finger on why this series never cast a spell on me. It seems like something I should really like. Part of the problem stems from the early films where it felt like no one was quite concerned enough about Valdemort. Here was this great force of evil and everyone seemed to go on with life as if nothing was particularly wrong. Finally, in these last two installments they seemed to take the threat seriously, but by then they had already lost me. Whatever.

Captain America – Along with Thor, Captain America was my favorite superhero in my younger years. Now, in the same year they both make their way to the big screen and, unfortunately, I found both movies to be deeply disappointing. Roger Ebert gave Captain America fairly high marks because he thought it had a better story than most superhero movies. I disagree. I give best superhero screenplay of the summer to X-Men without a question. I thought the story here was hackneyed. Weakling becomes hero…whoop-di-do. Guy and gal fight at first, then fall in love. Sure didn’t see that coming. Frankly, I was bored. This movie added to its sins by wasting the talents of Hugo Weaving. Then there was the look of the film, which I really didn’t like. I assume they chose the muted colors to give it a retro feel since it was set in the 1940s. At times it looked almost black and white, a problem that was exacerbated by those darn 3D glasses which make everything appear darker. Dull story, dull colors, nuff said.

The Music Never Stopped – I actually saw this one in an art house theater when I was in St. Louis in April. I should have gone to Win Win  or Certified Copy. I wanted to love this movie. I didn’t. I should have cried a bucket of tears. I didn’t even weep. Although this had received mixed reviews, I thought it would be perfect for me. A movie about a father/son relationship and the power of music to connect us to our memories and bring healing, starring J.K. Simmons, how could it miss? It did. Lou Taylor Pucci, as the son, was bland. I didn’t like Simmons as the rock and roll hating father early in the film. I guess you weren’t supposed to like him. But then, his shift to caring, compassionate father was too quick, too easy. There were a few good scenes, especially the one where Gabriel, the son, first hears the Beatles and shows a spark of recognition and life, but they were few and far between. Most of it felt forced and phoney, including the climatic trip to the Grateful Dead concert. If you love music or the Grateful Dead in particular, you should still probably see this. Or maybe you shouldn’t.

Bill’s Summer Movie Reviews… So far…

I find the summer to be the time I go to the movies the most. Sci-fi and fantasy flicks are all over the place this time of year. And most weekends one or more of the newest pictures are appealing to me or my children.

But if you were to go to the movies…which movie should you see? What’s good out there?? Well, here’s my review of the summer movies we’ve seen…so far.

Thor… Already offered my review of that movie as well as the Christian elements in it. See it in 2-D though. I don’t see the value of 3-D with this one.

Kung Fu Panda 2… This movie surprised me. I was not a fan of the first movie, nor do I particularly enjoy Jack Black’s brand of humor, but this movie was funny…and really very deep in parts! The 3-D isn’t all that bad either. If your children or grandchildren are itching to go(as my kids were) I’d just go…with the knowledge that YOU might be surprised. And YOU might get something out of it.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4… If you’re familiar with the ride at Disneyland and are semi-familiar with the characters from the previous films, this is a great movie to watch. If not… might be one to skip. Especially if you’re not in the mood for the supernatural pirate stuff… but that’s just me…

X-Men: First Class… My wife and I saw this for our anniversary. I was nervous(it being our anniversary and seeing a comic book movie…)… but this movie was AWESOME! It tells the story of Magneto and Professor X before they split up. It helps if you know the comic books or have watched one of the previous movies. If you haven’t…you might want to skip it.

Super 8… I had high hopes for this movie, especially with Speilberg and Addams on board with it… but it didn’t match my expectations at all and felt like a modern-day remake of a B-rated movie back in the 70’s. Maybe that was the point… but it didn’t work for me.

That’s my review of the summer movies so far… and there are more to come. With Green Lantern, Harry Potter, Smurfs, and so many others on the horizon you can be guaranteed a sequel to this post soon.