The Amazing Spider-Man
7 10 1
It’s only been a few years since the conclusion of director and producer Sam Raimi’s take on the Spiderman franchise, but why would that stop Hollywood from rebooting a guaranteed cash cow? The Amazing Spider-Man, led by director Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) and Emma Stone (Easy A), turned out to be one of the biggest hits of the summer. Garfield gives a solid performance and, as usual, Stone is incredibly charming. Coming from a Hollywood of remakes and headaches, the movie mostly avoids redundancy and has some moments of inventive variation on the tiring superhero template.
8 10 12
Using the “found footage” aesthetic made popular by movies like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, Chronicle tells the story of a few high school students who develop telekinetic powers. The movie pulls from a variety of genres and styles, congealing into a superhero, sci-fi, pseudo-docudrama. Chronicle works to satisfy fans from many different backgrounds and tastes — and it mostly succeeds. The film is Josh Trank’s directing debut and features new acting talent in Dane DeHaan and Alex Russel.
6 8 10
Super, starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page, plays on the recent popularity of powerless superheroes. The film carries some acute observations on the nature of loneliness and the psychosis that it can inspire. Wilson plays a man-child who has lived a dull life until his drug-addicted wife leaves him for a strip club owner. He is then divinely inspired to pursue superheroism and teams up with Page to fight petty crime throughout the city, becoming a media sensation. Like Kick-Ass, a movie made concurrently, Super uses extreme violence and melodrama to draw a portrait of the geek psyche.