Movie Reviews: The Other Woman and The Amazing Spiderman 2

stone garfieldAnother weekend, another superhero movie review. And the question becomes – are we over superheroes yet? Well, yes and no. Though, in more surprising news, is it possible I – lover of all things chick flick and rom com – has found one she really doesn’t like that much at all? Well, maybe! Read on…

The Other Woman

I went to see this chick flick – starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and someone called Kate Upton who is famous for something but I don’t know what – with my sister. It should be said that my sister, professional movie reviewer and hard core Star Wars fan, is not generally a fan of the chick flick/rom com genre – unless they are so good that they kind of transcend the genre entirely. Going into this then, knowing from the trailers that it looked pretty stupid indeed – I was expecting to hear sighs and see eye rolls coming from her general direction. Blow me down then when, near the end of the film – she was the one crying with laughter (literally crying) and I was the one looking at her going ‘are you mad? That really wasn’t that funny’. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

The Other Woman tells the tale of a philandering douche bag (played by Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who is found out by both his wife (Mann), his girlfriend (Diaz) and then his other girlfriend (Upton). The females form an unlikely (and I really do mean unlikely) bond and conspire to humiliate and ruin the cause of their trouble. So yeah – high brow this is not. But, it is not without its moments of humour – both physical and otherwise. It also has a decent dose of what I like to refer to as ‘location porn’ – in the final part of the movie the trio jet off to The Bahamas to execute part of their plan and have deep and meaningfuls on white sand beaches. And of course their more run of the mill locations look amazing as well – Diaz’ minimalist apartment, Mann’s incredible home (which amusingly she does some damage to at one point), and the ‘love interest’/Mann’s brother’s holiday home.

However, the beauty of the scenery can’t make up for the complete lack of heart in this film. Yes – I am a hopeless romantic so yes I was hoping for more in the romance stakes (and the ‘love interest’/Mann’s brother provided great opportunity for this) – but instead the movie focused on the ‘relationship’ between the three women. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for movies with strong female leads and about the strength of female relationships – but it was just such a stretch to imagine these completely different women even coming close to being friends that it all left me a little cold. It’s a shame – as female comedy has been making a decent mark for itself off the back of Bridesmaids – but Bridesmaids this is not. It fell foul of my ridiculousness test – which unfortunately many chick lit books also do these days. Humour can be found in the mundane – you don’t have to push the boat out past the Barrier of Believability to make it funny. Though, I may be in the minority here – as my laughing/crying sister can attest to. So maybe judge for yourself, but I can only dig out 2 M&Ms for this one.

The Amazing Spiderman 2

I was as surprised as anyone when I jumped on the bandwagon of fandom for the first Amazing Spiderman film a few years back. A reboot of a franchise which had hardly even gone cold – and which completely left me cold – about probably my least favourite super hero? But, colour me surprised when I loved it. It was largely down to the casting – The Social Network’s Andrew Garfield and Easy A’s Emma Stone are in my top 5 most interesting actors of their generation – so watching them eat up the scenery in a big budget action movie was a sight to behold. And add to that a surprisingly witty script and some simply incredible 3D swinging around the city action scenes and the movie had me sold.

The second outing – not so much. Although it kept much of what made the first one great – the casting, the small stories within a bigger story (Spidey and Gwen’s relationship, Peter’s relationship with his aunt – the fantastic Sally Field (seriously – does that woman EVER get older?)) and the fast flowing and hilarious one liners from Spidey – it just didn’t grip me as much as the first. Some of that could be put down to a little  (and overly common in sequels) thing I like to call ‘Villain Overdose’. As The Avengers proved, sometimes one smart talking, kick arse bad guy is all you need (especially if that guy is Tom Hiddleston). Here, though, we had the excellent Jamie Foxx as Electro but also the fantastic Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/the Green Goblin. Oh, and Paul Giamatti as…well, I will leave you to find out. By the end though I was literally crying out ‘oi with the villains already’. There was just all too much going on.

However, this is still a pretty gripping watch. Again the 3D swinging scenes are quite breath taking – and director Marc Webb (best name for a Spidey director EVER) really makes the most of his NYC locations. The cast is across the board excellent – and the chemistry between Spidey and Gwen (Garfield and Stone being an unofficial but very much real life couple) is both palpable and moving. But – tonally the movie was a little all over the place. The slow, relationshippy bits just felt a bit jarring after a full on epic battle in Times Square. Other movies have managed it – and I can’t say why this didn’t, but it just didn’t. It was interesting that probably the most emotionally moving moment involved none of the main characters – but a little kid dressed in a Spidey costume. But maybe I just have a thing for kids and animals dressed as super heroes. Anyway, this is definitely not a flop – but it also doesn’t reach the high bar set by Marvel Studios for what a superhero movie should deliver. But worth a watch. 3 and a half M&Ms from me.

 

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