Godzilla

Godzilla_(2014)_posterHighly intense and fast-paced, Godzilla is a great remake of the movie about the god of monsters.

I missed watching monster movies and watching Godzilla made me feel so good I could watch it again anytime soon. In comparison with another early summer flick, Godzilla was more enjoyable than Spider-Man. When suspense in this film hit really hard after some time, it just kept on growing and growing. There were moments when the suspense was too high and couldn’t have gone any higher, but thanks to the great directing by Gareth Edwards and editing by Bob Ducsay, the scenes ably shift into essential quiet moments to pacify the high tension. People would have experienced a heart attack if this wasn’t done. Haha.

The different settings the movie had shown were so intricately designed one would know they’ve been worked on meticulously. I was awed on how they were able to do the scenes, with or without the monstrous creatures, into something of a great spectacle.

The movie is filled with action scenes: monster-to-monster battles, monsters destroying cities, humans defending against the creatures, humans evacuating but are caught on the monsters’ wrath, among others, that is why action fans (like me) would find Godzilla a great movie to watch. Meanwhile, the special effects and sound departments should be proud of what they have made. The screen sizzled with awesome visuals and trembled with great sound making the movie more realistic. Scenes in the San Francisco bridge, along Nevada railroad and in San Francisco’s Chinatown were real standouts; action movie directors should have taken notes. These great directing, stunning special and sound effects plus the whole lot of non-stop action bode well for this type of flick.

The senior actors may have dominated in the movie but the younger ones held on their own. Bryan Cranston, best known as Walter White in the television series Breaking Bad, was outstanding as Joe Brody, a nuclear physicist who dedicated a big part of his life in unraveling the mystery of the disaster that brought down the nuclear power plant he’s working on  in Japan. I didn’t see Walter White but the character he’s portraying with the way he carried out his scenes. Ken Watanabe, meanwhile, looked like he’s clueless or confused most of the time, but it worked to define his character as Dr. Shiro Serizawa, a lead scientist working for Monarch, a secret organization that is tasked to keep true reasons of disasters in nuclear power plants a secret and protect the world from monsters like Godzilla. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as the son of  Joe Brody, was successful in unraveling the mystery his father was working on. Even though he moved along with the military to fight the monsters wreaking havoc on Earth, he’s able to carry the movie on his shoulders as the key character in resolving the conflict in the movie.

A lot of things happened in the movie’s two-hour screen time and yet it seemed like it wasn’t that long. I felt great suspense  in those two hours and the quiet moments mentioned before served as much-needed breathers in this action-packed movie. Some people might find the beginning arc of the story long as Godzilla wasn’t featured until after an hour or so but I think that was needed to keep it more interesting. Moreover, other people might find the ending as an abrupt conclusion of the story but for me, it’s as good as it gets. The suspense was so high during the entire final scenes and what’s a better way to end it but to cut it short and sweet?

Godzilla’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4.5 out of 5

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Who wouldn’t get excited when the web-slinging superhero is back along with his beautiful lady love, new super villains with impressive powers and strengths are on their way and many more visual spectacles are to expect?

I expected much in this film as I loved the first Amazing Spider-Man. I was happy after watching it and there were a lot of reasons why. The most fascinating part (and the bulk of the reason why I was happy) was its battle scenes. The first battle between Spider-Man and his main nemesis in the movie, Electro, was fantastic, but the second and final one was spectacular. The electrons pulsing in and around Electro and his surrounding environments were made outstandingly, resulting to a number of great scenery with the striking combination of the illuminating current, the dark city landscape, the quiet background of the dimming lights and the dynamic action happening at the center of the scene. If the battle between Spider-Man and Lizard in the first movie was fiercely exhilarating, the ones with Spidey and his electricity-laden nemesis were radiantly invigorating. Meanwhile, even though the fight scene between Spider-Man and Green Goblin was relatively short (I really wished it was longer!), it did not disappoint. The action sequences were well-choreographed and the final scenes were downright thrilling.

The chemistry between onscreen and off-screen couple Andrew Garfield (as Spider-Man) and Emma Stone (as Gwen Stacy) was undeniable. They lit up the screen every single time they were together. And when they were together, it seemed like they just shut everything out, which was good for the roles they portray. Garfield was able to maintain the funny, romantic and dependable masked vigilante of the New York City. On the other hand, Stone was able to keep up as his sweet and understanding lover. The roster of supporting actors kept the movie interesting as it rolled along. Sally Field as Aunt May, Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn and even Paul Giamatti in his short stints at the start and end of the film were remarkable. I was most impressed, though, with Jamie Foxx as he portrayed Max Dillon, the eccentric electrical engineer whose accident turned him to the powerful Electro.

One of the best things that I like the most in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the lessons it wanted to teach its viewers. Early on the movie, Gwen Stacy already shared how to make our lives meaningful with her valedictory speech:

“I know that we all think we’re immortal, we’re supposed to feel that way, we’re graduating. The future is and should be bright, but, like our brief four years in high school, what makes life valuable is that it doesn’t last forever, what makes it precious is that it ends. I know that now more than ever. And I say it today of all days to remind us that time is luck. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life, make yours count for something. Fight for what matters to you, no matter what. Because even if you fall short, what better way is there to live?”

Meanwhile, nuggets of wisdom kept pouring from the mouth of Aunt May as she advises Peter Parker about the truths and secrets of their family:

“I once told you secrets have a cost. The truth does, too.”

Everyone has a part of themselves they hide, even from the people they love most. And you don’t have forever, none of us do.”

And of course, our favorite hero has his memorable lines as well about fate and the decisions we make:

“We all gotta make a choice.”

 “I made a choice. This is my path.”

Major drawbacks in the film include the implausibility of a few key scenes (Harry turning into Green Goblin among others). The writing was funny and smart for the most part, but credibility happens in the consistency of details. Sad to say, some major plotlines showed loopholes.

The Spider-Man sequel was far from being better than the first one. It should be noted, though, that much of the energy and the action of the first could be seen and felt here. Loopholes in the plotline made the movie annoyingly childish at times. Most scenes were actually good, and a few were even great. It’s the consistency that the film lacked to be considered a great superhero flick.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s movie rating by the pondering movie fan: 4 out of 5