Movie Review: Amazing Spider-Man2

I am a sucker for superhero movies. I rarely ever dislike them. So, my reviews are unabashedly biased in their favour. More often than not.

But this time, that’s not the case. Because Amazing Spider-Man is not really a super-hero movie. It’s a Romtion movie. I am not sure if I am coining a new term. But what I mean is that AS-2 is a romance drama disguised or wrapped up as an action movie.

Why do I say so?

A big part of the movie is dedicated to Peter’s estranged (and non-existent) relationship with his parents who left him at his uncle/aunt’s doorsteps, his maturing relationship with Aunt May, his on and off and on and off romance with Gwen Stacy, a confused friend (Harry Osborn), a distraught fan (Electro/ Max) and life in New York. Somewhere in there is a bit of a thriller plot about what’s really going on at Oscorp, the power politics, the hidden secret projects, a dying Norman Osborn, and so on. And somewhere towards the end, are a few well choreographed action sequences. And a mechano-Rhino.

Should that matter?

Not quite. A the Dark Knight taught us, Superhero movies can be as much about heroic action as they can be about the internal conflicts, the moral tussles and great character depth.

Is AS-2 that then?

No. The movie drags on for most part.

So, what went wrong?

While Peter’s story has always been the conflict between his personal sacrifices and the greater good, one wonders whether the construct is stretched too thin. Next, the adversaries. In the spiderman arc, most of his archnemesis have a human side too, whether its Otto Octavius or Norman Osborn. So is the case of Max/ Electro this time. However, unlike the other instalments, Max does not ring a strong connect this time round, and his self-obsessed insecurity complex works only because Jamie Foxx desperately tries to pull it off. Jamie Foxx is wasted as Electro, even as he shines as Max. Harry Osborn on the other hand is blah, at the best.

Andy Garfield, I think, is a finer spiderman, with a little more of the spidey charisma and humor quotient than Tobey Maguire. And he plays the conflicted yet responsible Spidey very well. Emma Stone seems continuously clearheaded about not having too many expressions, but is probably still an improvement over Kirsten Dunst in the looks department. Jamie Foxx, in his effort to make Electro credible, makes a worse caricature of himself than Suniel Shetty. Dane DeHaan shows promise as Harry, only to make it a rather unfulfilled one by the end of it as the new Green Goblin.

One expects long shots and droolworthy action sequences. And when they are there, they are as good as any that you’ve seen. But they are fewer.

The editing leaves a lot to be desired.

And before I forget, James Jonah Jameson has no role this time. How could you Webb?

 

Net net – the movie did not work for me. Slower pace, confused positioning on the dark side for a rather clean super hero, lack of action, and not so awesome electric adversaries.

 

 

Book Review: Love @ Air Force

“This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

 

“A heart is a more sophisticated device than a Sukhoi”

“The violent romance of the Fighter planes with the clouds in sky… the pulchritudinous Officers walking around arrogantly… the runway with the logo constituted by the concentric tricolored circles in the background… is the spectacle meets our eyes at the feeble mention of the Air Force but there is more about the Air Force besides these…” – Official book blurb

 

Love @ Air Force is Gaurav Sharma’s debut novel, and is a love story set against the backdrop of the actual and perceived hierarchies at an air force base station. Most of us would have heard stories about what hierarchy and order means in the armed forces. Most of us are familiar with the world of class based societies where the rich and the poor don’t mingle, the masters and the servants don’t, and so on. And we are familiar with the fact that some of these divides and biases flow from one generation to another. A King’s daughter doesn’t marry a foot soldier’s son.

Such is the premise of the book, and Gaurav weaves a simple tale of unfulfilled love and compromises about JWOs and Seargants and Officers. The book is written with a lot of heart, and one can feel the personal nature of this story. Gaurav’s father was a JWO in the Indian Air Force for more than 26 years, and the narration for most part seems autobiographical.

The central theme of the plot is disarmingly simple. It does not have many layers, neither for the characters, nor for the story. One hopes for the author’s sake that such a plot lends itself to being a Bollywood romance drama, wherein an old-ish Shahrukh Khan gives up on his love for Madhuri Dixit to find happiness with Sri Devi. Or something like that. The question is – would you want to watch that movie? Or read that script?

When the theme is simple, the narration takes precedence over the story. The language, the imagery, the characters, the conversations. And that’s where the book fails to delivery. The quality of editing is horrendously disappointing. Without reading the book with great attention, I could find more than 20 glaring mistakes. A 50-page shorter version with crisper editing, a scrupulous editor with zero tolerance for grammatical errors and irrelevant flowery prose would have made the book so much more bearable. I had a tough time finishing the book, simply because halfway through the book, one could foresee the end. The quality of prose was far from being noteworthy. And unfortunately, the excitement that the air force delivers on a screen was completely missing from the narration, as most of the book is a bland narration of a love story come undone by the class distinctions of a military society.

 

I will go with a 1 on 5 for this one. Passable. Breaks my heart to say this, but your first and the freshest piece has got to deliver a little more passion.

 

“This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

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