My favorite part was the denouement.
Today I saw:
30 for 30: Four Falls of Buffalo (2015)
Ender's Game (2013)
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Four Falls of Buffalo
This wasn't quite as good as some of the other 30 for 30's I've seen, but I appreceated that it is a feature length sports documentary (found on Netflix) about the four straight years the Buffalo Bills lost the Super Bowl. I was glad they were able to devote large portions of the documentary to each Super Bowl loss instead of glazing over one or two. I feel like some other sports doc filmmakers would have done that to focus on storylines from other years they found more interesting, but I think it was useful to show the completeness of the year to year misery of the team and their fans.
Even though I was old enough to watch all four of those Super Bowls, I didn't remember them very well. My only memory is making a bet with my brother the year the Bills played the Cowboys over the outcome of the game as well as the outcome of the Bud Bowl, a fake sporting event a 10 year old should not be invested in. I also remember my brother never paid up on that bet and those $5 has accrued interest since 1994. I'm not good at math but I'm pretty sure he now owes me $20,000.
I'm not sure I'd recommend this movie over any other 30 for 30.
I was very hesitant to see this movie when it first came out. I didn't think the trailer looked very good, it looked like it was in the vein of all the other YA science fiction movies that have been coming out and also failing to grab my attention. I was also very troubled by the author's reputation of being a creepy guy and being outspokenly anti-gay. I think a couple of friends brought me out to the theater to see it and I was interested as I watched. It's a visually striking movie and the child actors do a good job of not performing like child actors. It was much more violent than I expected and I found myself feeling troubled by the message of the movie as it hit the denouement.
The movie builds up to the point where Ender (not Inciarte) wins a space battle in what he believes is a large simulation in preparation for fighting the space ants and blows up their home world. He then learns it was not a simulation and that he had committed genocide. When I thought it was a simulation I was troubled that he would choose mass genocide even if it wasn't real. The character was devistated to learn what he had done, and I was very glad to see that this was the real message of the movie. No matter how evil the ant monsters from space seem, no matter that they had previously tried to invade earth, it does not make humanity better to sink to those evils in retaliation.
When the blu-ray came out I was excited to buy it and watch the director commentary. It seems the story was much more personal to the director and he may have made it completely his own from the books and the author. The director, Gavin Hood, was drafted into the Apartheid South African military when he was younger than 18. He found himself learning how to kill as a child by a government that he disagreed with. Aside from the space aspects of the movie, Ender's Game tells his own story. I have come to reconcile liking this movie as his story and not the original author's story.
Amazing Spider-Man 2
I think this is the last time I include it in my MCU+. It just plain misses the mark in so many ways. The first time I saw it I liked it but thought there were maybe three areas that if they were fixed would make it a really good movie. I thought that if they took out the voices in the soundtrack of Jaime Foxx's character's sound track, took out the images of the Green Goblin at the end, and if did more special effects in stunts rather than computer graphics (as was done in the first movie) this movie would have worked.
Every other time I've seen it, there is more and more of the movie that needs to be cut out. There is not enough humor from Spider-Man, the love story with Gwen Stacey doesn't play well enough, Paul Giamatti's character shouldn't be so over the top (although I am okay with the suit he uses at the end). The storyline with his parents and the trainstation feels tacked on and is unnecessary to the stories of both Amazing Spider-Man movies.
I like Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man but everything around him just misses the mark. I think this movie could have worked if it was formatted in a way where it was Spider-Man dealing with way to day obstacles as Spider-Man and the broader story is not seen except on the perifery of the Spider-Man story.
He could fight bank robbers, run into a problem there, solve it. Get home, there's a bigger problem as Peter Parker, he makes it work but it's still an underlying issue. Go out at night as Spider-Man foil a plot by a villain, he runs into more and more villains and gets overwhelmed and needs help from Gwen to juggle all of them. This seems to solve his Peter Parker problems until he sees the small clues of a bigger story of Harry Osborn planning a team of teched out super villains building up. It would be like episodic scenes like individual comics that build up to a bigger story, an annual, where the villains and the story of the villains come together.
In the end he saves people, maybe he still loses Gwen (and completely cuts out the weird story about her going to London days after she interviews for a school) where she sacrifices herself rather than is killed to get at Parker. He makes the city safe but he really loses to Harry Osborn's team of villains who carry out their nefarious plan. They don't go to jail, they don't get exposed, but mass destruction is averted. Peter Parker is hurt by losing Gwen, but has still been a hero to the city. The way Gwen dies should set up that she is not really dead and that she can come back as Spider-Gwen from the comics. Perhaps there is a hint at another universe where she survives, and Miles Morales also exists as Spider-Man. The Villains are empowered despite not taking over the city or satisfying their bloodlust, and Spider-Man has additional motivation to remain Spider-Man despite the dangers because he must stop Harry Osborn's villains.
I'm not sure I like that Peter Parker will be a high schooler again in the next film he shows up in. I grew up reading Spider-Man as a photographer in a struggling marriage... Then again, I stopped reading because those comics ran into an unfollowable story line about Peter Parker clones and not knowing who the real Peter Parker was.