Tom Hardy is a web-slinging anti-hero!

A few weeks ago, Sony Pictures announced that the Marvel character and Spider-Man antagonist Venom would be featured in a standalone spinoff set to arrive in theaters sometime next year. The fan-favorite character has already made his big-screen debut in the disappointing blockbuster Spider-Man 3, portrayed by Topher Grace, but this project is seen as an opportunity for Sony to get the character right and potentially usher in a new anti-hero universe based on Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.

News has broken that names have now been confirmed to sign on for the spinoff. Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer will direct and Oscar nominee Tom Hardy is set to star in film.

Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, the latter of whom worked on 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, wrote the script for Venom. Plot details are being kept in the black but Hardy, who is said to be a Venom fan, will play Eddie Brock, the character who first became Venom.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing along with Amy Pascal.

The internet is calling this casting a coup and I can’t help but agree. Hardy is an excellent actor who is a year removed from his first Oscar nomination in The Revenant and has starred in action and drama movies a plenty including Inception, Warrior, has a superhero movie under his belt already portraying the sinister Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, rode through the wasteland in Mad Max: Fury Road and will star in the upcoming Dunkirk; I can’t help but be impressed by Hardy’s body of work thus far and I look forward to seeing him give life to this tragic and deadly character. Venom is set to snare an audience on October 5, 2018.

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It appears Spider-Man will be a part of the Avengers Initiative after all

Spider-Man will be rebooted yet again

If I could sum up the Amazing Spider-Man franchise in one word, that word would be: disappointing. There were so many detractors as to why the franchise never took to audiences the way that the original Sam Raimi-Avi Arad trilogy did, but quite simply, the franchise never really caught fire with audiences and critics. After The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the franchise which explored the early years of Peter Parker and his connection to his parent’s work at Oscorp, was left in a state of suspended animation; Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield expressed that they would not see the franchise through, the Sinister Six movie was in turnaround, there was no way of knowing whether or not Shailene Woodley would sign on as Mary Jane Watson in future films and there was talk of a potential Venom movie down the road and now, all of that is potentially wasted. Assuredly so, because New York’s friendly neighborhood wall-crawler will no longer be under Sony’s banner. Spider-Man is coming home to Marvel, where he will be given yet another reboot but this time, he will have a role to play in the grand Avengers Initiative.

Spider-Man could make his Avengers Initiative debut in Captain America: Civil War next summer

In an announcement confirming the move, Spider-Man will be recast and the new Spider-Man film will arrive in theaters on July 28, 2017. There is speculation that the character will make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Captain America: Civil War next summer. The announcement also indicates that the release dates of several Phase Three features will be shuffled around to accommodate the new Spider-Man reboot; Thor: Ragnarok will be pushed back to November 3, 2017 and Black Panther will move up to July 6, 2017. This is certainly an exciting lineup Marvel is assembling!

2014: A summary about this summer in cinema

The “Back to School Era” is almost coming to a close and with it, the summer of 2014 is well into its twilight. September 22, will officially be the first day of fall but with all of the back to school shopping and the fact that my next semester at NYU begins in a few days, I quote Tony Stark from the first “Iron Man” film:

Yeah, vacation’s over.

Anyway, here’s my opinion about this year’s crop of summer blockbusters: “Meh.” I’m saying, that this year’s collection of big budget flicks were highly anticipated but one way or another, they missed the mark in terms of effectiveness. This summer is highlighted, by aliens, heroes, apes, turtles, dragons and mutants. There were some defining moments and tragic letdowns in all, so let’s take a look at the best and worst of the blockbusters of 2014.

Surprise of the summer: “Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel’s band of anti-heroic outlaws are the biggest surprise of the year.

When this feature was announced as an installment of Marvel’s Avengers Initiative, I thought it was doomed for failure. I understood that it was a necessary platform to introduce the “overlord of villainy” whom the Avengers would stand toe-to-toe with in their final battle, but once I finally saw the finished product, I am proud to admit that I was impressed. James Gunn, did a great job bringing the cosmic corners of the Marvel Universe to the big screen and he did right with the cast including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Glenn Close and a great assortment of diverse actors. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a surprising and entertaining feature.

Biggest Disappointment of the summer: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The rebooted tale of Peter Parker and his alter-ego is beginning to spiral into a chaotic mess of a franchise. Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield began this project of taking Spider-Man into his early origins and went in with big shoes to fill trying to follow Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire’s version. Spider-Man had to contend with three villains in his second outing: Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, Dane Dehaan’s Green Goblin and Jamie Foxx’s Electro and this movie failed when it tried to juggle multiple subplots and it simply couldn’t handle everything Webb and the writers wanted to accomplish and now the franchise is at a trending downwards-crossroads. Big disappointment.

Best Superhero Movie of the summer: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The First Avenger earns top marks in his second solo outing

Marvel Studios has it all going on! Phase 2 of Marvel’s Avengers Initiative closed with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but the film that came before it was top of the class in terms of the superhero genre outings of the year. The Russo Brothers took the helm of Captain Rogers’ solo installment, pitting Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson against the mysterious Winter Soldier and the resurgent H.Y.D.R.A., while setting the stage for the next grand adventure that lies in store for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and they did it with aplomb! This was the smartest, action-packed, outstanding superhero summer blockbuster of the year.

Worst Superhero Movie of the summer: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

I don’t want to say Spidey fell on his face in his second outing but…

Spidey may have won against the Goblin and Electro but he failed to win over audiences. The biggest lesson to learn from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is that handling multiple plots in a rushed method is hazardous to a film’s chances for success.

Best Visual Effects: “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

This was a close call between “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Captain America: the Winter Soldier,” “Godzilla,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” but the film with the elite visual effects had to go to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” What separates “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” from the rest of the films of summer 2014 is not only the quality of the visual effects but also the subtlety of their usage as well as the camerawork/cinematography utilized by Michael Seresin.

HTTYD 2 didn’t get the respect it deserved at the box office, but it was first class in my book

Best Animated Film of the summer: “How to Train Your Dragon 2

This was hardly a close call at all. In fact, I consider this film to be one of the best of the year. The flying sequences, the setting designs, the characters were all as lush and beautiful as the story written and directed by Dean DuBlois. I expect this film to be recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be one of the best animated features of 2014.

Best Motion Picture of the summer: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

This was another close call, but in terms of overall craftsmanship, entertainment and exceeding expectations “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” ended up coming out on top when it came to the class of 2014 summer blockbusters.

Worst Motion Picture of the summer: (tie) “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Michael Bay may feel insulted by this but this was no contest. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” had a lot of shiny bells and whistles, but let’s face it, there was virtually no substance behind it and the plot-holes were as large as Texas. Michael Bay must have exhausted his personal ammunition cash making this unnecessary sequel and maybe that was the entire point of making this unnecessary sequel. As for the movie he produced, not directed (that “honor” belonged to Jonathan Liebesman), the sole honest truth about “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is that when people saw it, scores of brain cells lost their reason for existing. A lot of factors worked against the live-action reboot of the heroes in the half-shell. Let’s leave it at that.

Final Summary: To be honest, this year’s summer blockbusters weren’t exactly awesome as a whole but there were steady and entertaining films released this summer. Anyway, that is the final word of the summer season of 2014 blockbusters and now we can look ahead to the fall season where potential Oscar contenders could come out to play. It will probably be a while since I come back to give reviews; nothing notable will be out until at least mid-September, but I will be about if anything newsworthy needs to be reported. Check ya later.

The Sinister Six are a go.

At the conclusion of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the Green Goblin was making plans to assemble a small team for some nefarious reason and now that team is going to be featured in a spin-off, that has just been recently confirmed for a release date. This film has been cooking for a while now, with Drew Goddard attached as writer and director.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will lead to a spin-off featuring a team of his deadliest enemies: “The Sinister Six.”

“The Sinister Six,” has been given the green light for production and plans to arrive in theaters on November 11, 2016. The film plans to bring six of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies together in their own feature length motion picture, then set them upon Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man (potentially) in “The Amazing Spider-Man 3,” which has been pushed back to 2018. Though the cast of the six is unknown and unconfirmed, the rebooted Spider-Man franchise has touted Paul Giamatti as The Rhino, Dane Dehaan as the Green Goblin, inserted a couple of teasers regarding the characters Doctor Octopus and Vulture and rumors are circulating that rounding out the team of super-villains are Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio. Avi Arad and Matt Tomlach will be attached as producers for the 2016 blockbuster.

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

You know what it is I love about being Spider-Man? Everything!“-Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has the hero up against dangerous new enemies

Webs are spun, lives are changed and dangerous new enemies run amok in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” starring Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network,” “Lions for Lambs”).

Director Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”) returns to helm the rebooted superhero franchise and story picks up a few years where its predecessor leaves off, with Peter Parker and his sweetheart Gwen Stacey, played by Emma Stone (“Easy A,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”), graduating from high school and prepare to embark on new adventures, but Spider-Man is still keeping the peace in the Big Apple.

The franchise introduces us to new characters such as the ignored and overlooked Max Dillon, played by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Django Unchained”), an engineer at OsCorp who in his private world, worships Spider-Man to an almost unhealthy level.

On Max’s birthday, he is called in to work overtime in one of the research labs, but he has an unfortunate freak accident that changes him completely. After falling into a vat of electric eels, Max’s body is surging with abundant amounts of electricity but he craves more power and he will stop at nothing to get it, even if Spider-Man stands in his way.

Jamie Foxx is all charged up as Electro in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

I can feel it in the walls, I can feel it in my veins…no matter what you do, Doc, you can’t contain me. You wanna know how powerful I am? Well, I wanna know too. I’m Electro!“-Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro

While Spider-Man has his hands full trying to stop Electro, Peter Parker reconnects with his old friend Harry Osbourne, played by Dane Dehaan (“Chronicle”). Harry has returned to New York after ten years abroad, because his father Norman Osbourne, played by Academy Award winner Chris Cooper (“American Beauty,” “Adaptation”), died of a genetic disease that Harry would one day die of himself.

Harry turns to Peter because he takes pictures of Spider-Man and supplies them to the Daily Bugle in exchange for money and Harry believes that Spider-Man could be his one chance at surviving his terminal illness because Harry has reason to believe that Spider-Man received his powers from a genetically altered spider developed by OsCorp and those spiders, or as Harry sees it Spider-Man’s blood, could hold the key to eradicating the illness.

Feeling desperate, he turns to Electro for help. In exchange for the power substation supplying New York City with its sole source of electricity, Electro must acquire the DNA from the OsCorp spiders and bring it to Harry before its too late.

Soon everyone in the city will know how it feels to live in a world without power, without mercy, without Spider-Man!“-Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro

Spider-Man will face the most dangerous adversary he has yet to encounter in Electro, but something more dangerous awaits him down the road. As for Peter Parker, he is close to uncovering the truth about OsCorp, the disappearance of his parents and the origins and purpose of the spiders who gave him his amazing abilities but the answers to his questions will come at a terrible price.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is loaded with dazzling visuals and great action but unfortunately the film tries to do too much, answer so many questions so quickly there is no time to digest everything and the character development is so radical and rushed, it becomes lost on the audience.

Marc Webb directed a film that revealed how frail and shallow the hero really is and how he is quickly makes a mess and spends so much time trying to clean it up, it is difficult to enjoy. He tries to showcase so many characters that focus is just lost and erratic to pinpoint.

Screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci (“Transformers”) and Jeff Pinker, overloaded this story to the point where it becomes somewhat exhausting to follow everything that is going on. The saving grace is that it leads to something rather promising, however it isn’t what audiences may think it is.

Andrew Garfield did the best job he could regardless of what was given to him. The rest of the cast including Emma Stone, Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx, Academy Award winner Sally Field (“Norma Rae,” “Lincoln”), Colm Feore (“Thor”), Felicity Jones (“Brideshead Revisted”), B.J. Novak (“The Dictator”) and Academy Award nominee Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man,” “Sideways”) were collectively decent despite the constant overshadowing of each other and rapid exchanges between their characters.

Some of the actors such as Field, Novak, Cooper and Giamatti are simply rushed through whatever screen-time they are given and hardly contribute anything worthwhile to the film.

The main problem with “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a simple one: it can’t help its franchise step out of the shadows left by other successful franchises of its genre and really make a name for itself. It has an abundance of promise and it is trying to accomplish something rather unconventional yet there is no growth, no impact.

The ending is rather shocking yet, fans of the comic lore seem to see it coming.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a rather peculiar head-scratcher for a super-hero film. In fact it is a film, like its title character, that is its own worst enemy.

Movie of the week: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Andrew Garfield swings around the skyscrapers of New York City once more in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Marc Webb returns to direct the adventures of New York’s friendly neighborhood wall-crawler. In this sequel, Peter Parker is living the good life. He has Gwen Stacey at his side to confide in, his old friend Harry Osbourne returns after ten years abroad and he loves being Spider-Man and the city reciprocates that love for they see him as “The Hero,” especially in the eye of Max Dillon, an employee of Oscorp who is often overlooked in life. While on the job, Dillon suffers a horrible accident that gives him extraordinary electrical power and he quickly becomes a threat to New York City. Through Dillon, Spider-Man realizes that everything in his life goes back to one source: OsCorp. Peter Parker may finally find the answers to why his mother and father disappeared when he was young and why OsCorp is at the center of everything significant in his life, but in order to find the answers he has been looking for, he will have to survive the fight of his life.

What am I expecting to see?: “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise is somewhat overlooked due to both DC and Marvel producing, what some might call, more exciting an innovative features but what Marc Webb is doing with his adaptation of Spider-Man is very fascinating because it attempts to give insight into a particular character and the direction they are steering the film in is very bold. I’m expecting this to assert itself as one of the super-hero film franchises audiences should see because there is a lot packed into this film. The cast of Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti look as if they can surprise audiences and fans of the comic lore but the visual effects seem to be at the forefront of what is driving this film. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Jeff Pinker’s screenplay better be chocked full of the unexpected because “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” has a difficult task of trying to crawl out of the shadow of Marvel’s Avenger’s Iniative or what DC is trying to accomplish with Zack Snyder’s Superman saga.

The final “Amazing” trailer, an “Incredible” sequel in the works and 30 years later in a galaxy far, far away

A lot of news dropped over the last few days about upcoming projects. Such as the final trailer for the upcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” which features new footage of New York’s friendly neighborhood wall-crawler, played by Andrew Garfield, having his proverbial eight hands full with the two supporting villains, Rhino and the Green Goblin, and the central antagonist Electro. In this trailer, the history between Peter Parker and childhood friend Harry Osbourne is revealed and in the process, Peter starts digging into his parents’ history, in particular their history at OsCorp. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” is directed by Marc Webb, and stars Emma Stone, Dane Dehaan, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Paul Giamatti and Chris Cooper and set for release on May 2, 2014.

Disney and Pixar’s famous superhero family is making a comeback in the not too distant future.

In 2004, Disney and Pixar released one of their most celebrated animated achievements in “The Incredibles,”a film about a family of superheroes who are forced into action to save the world from an old foe with a grudge, featuring the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Samuel L. Jackson and Jason Lee. Screenwriter and director Brad Bird’s animated adventure was a big smash at the box office and took home two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature and for a while speculation has been circling that maybe a sequel could transpire and now, the speculation about a potential sequel can be put to rest. Ten years later, speculation has now led to confirmation: an “Incredibles” sequel is on the horizon. Unfortunately, that is all the news we’re getting. There is no confirmation on whether or not Brad Bird or the cast of the first installment will return nor has any technical information been released at this point, but there is confirmation that an “Incredibles 2” is about to get the green light. Stay tuned for updates.

The Star Wars franchise lives on under the direction of J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams has big shoes to fill as the director of the latest installment of the legendary “Star Wars” franchise, carrying on for George Lucas. So far, not much is known about “Star Wars Episode VII” aside from the director, the screenwriting team of Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, speculation about the cast from the original saga from Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford, as well as potential newcomer Adam Driver, but one thing that is known is that the new installments will take place 30 years after the events from “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.” The other known certainty is that “Star Wars Episode VII” will be released on December 18, 2015.