Way back in March (wow, over a year ago), I posted a blog about my predictions on the top five movies I wanted to see this year. As of December, all five movies have been seen (some more than once) and, as of Tuesday, I own four out of the five. Granted, there have been other movies that I wanted to see this last year, but the five listed were the ones I wanted to see the most. Now, I can share my thoughts on each of the movies and say if any of my predictions came true. However, unlike the March blog, the movies shall be listed in reverse order, starting with my fifth must-see movie and going up to first must-see movie. I'll also say what I liked best about each movie. Let's go.
THE HUNGER GAMES: Based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games pits Katniss Everdeen against others kids in the, well, Hunger Games. It's a life-or-death battle that has only one winner. Twenty-four contestants are randomly chosen, but Katniss isn't. She nobly sacrifices herself, a sacrifice which may very well include her life, to save the life of her sister, who was chosen. The movie follows Katniss as she battles for her life and wondering whether or not the other Tribute from her District, Peeta Mallark, is an ally or enemy...hey, if there's only one winner, won't he turn on her eventually? Or will she have to kill him first? I won't answer that, though. You have to see the movie. I was happy with the film adaptation. I have seen some other poorly-made adaptations of novels, so I was glad this one was accurate to the story. There were times where it seemed a little TOO accurate, but that's not as bad as leaving too much out. While the book is emotionally-gripping at times, the movie gave a physically and visceral insight into what the Games were all like. Though violent, I personally did not think the movie was overly gory or descriptive in its depictions of death. The Districts were done differently than I imagined them, so it was cool to see how the filmmakers saw them. All in all, Hunger Games was one of the better film adaptations I've seen and, though it wasn't my favorite movie of the year, it was one I would watch again.
Favorite Thing About The Movie: How close it was to the book. Like I said, Hunger Games did a good job sticking to the novel. I was fairly worried that the filmmakers would mess up. Fortunately, they didn't, so I was pleased.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: As I have said before, I had worried about this movie, more so than others. It's been only a mere five years since Sam Raimi wrapped up his Spider-Man Trilogy. Though he was planning on doing Spider-Man 4, that fell through and Sony opted for a reboot of the Web-Slinger's franchise. And they used The Lizard as the main antagonist, a villain who I was pretty sure would have been used in Spidey 4. Spidey's my favorite hero, however, and seeing previews got me more excited than I had originally anticipated. Once seeing the movie, I was pretty certain director Marc Webb had created a film equal to Raimi's. Pitting Spidey against The Lizard, though obvious, was still a fun match-up, as The Lizard is capable of duplicating a few of Spidey's abilities (wall-crawling, for instance). And, unlike he's portrayed in the comics, Curt Connor's alter-ego is no mindless brute. He's as smart as the Doc is and much more brutal. Introducing Gwen Stacy as the love interest was different than having Mary Jane, but (bit of a future spoiler here) knowing the comics like I do, Gwen ends up deceased, so we'll see how that plays out. The Norman Osborn references are intriguing and the final scene in the credits envelops the story in a web of mystery that makes me hungry for the next film.
Favorite Thing About The Movie: Peter Parker's youth. Being a high school student, this means Peter is young and is prone to making mistakes. But that makes him stronger, because he learns from his mistakes. He starts out arrogantly, but he learns a valuable lesson about his power. He knows he can't just do what he wants, even though he's superhuman. He has to accept the fact that "with great power comes great responsibility." A cliche Marvel quote, I know, but the idea behind it is still powerful. It forces Peter to grow up and change. ASM makes for a fun character trip.
THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: This was the last movie I saw in 2012, but it was by far one of the best films I saw. The Hobbit is one of my favorite novels of all time, and it was only about a year-and-a-half ago (at least) that I had heard that Peter Jackson was going to be directing the prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Though this unexpected journey is going to be in three movies rather than two, the wait will be well worth it! It's been about five or six years since I've read book, and seeing the movie makes me want to dive into Middle-Earth again. Jackson delivers a movie that, despite a few negatives reviews, is the equal of his earlier trilogy. (NOTE: Tolkien stated he wanted to rewrite The Hobbit to be more of the epic scale of his later LOTR trilogy, so the critics' complaints of a Hobbit epic are thus unfounded, I think). A small confession: I have always thought Thorin Oakenshield somewhat lame. Why? Well...(BOOK SPOILER): The guy leads his band of Dwarves into the clutches of Trolls, Goblins (here the movie ends, but the book continues...), Elves, and Spiders. Once he reclaims his kingdom of Erebor (with a huge amount of help from Bilbo and his magic Ring), he is promptly slain in battle. Fortunately, Richard Armitage's portrayal gave me some extra confidence in the exiled Dwarf prince, allowing him to become my second-favorite character of the film. Who's my favorite? Funny you should ask...
Favorite Thing About The Movie: Gollum. If you didn't see that coming, shame on you. He's my favorite LOTR character, and Andy Serkis's portrayal made Riddles in the Dark my favorite Hobbit scene (did I not say this earlier? Yes, I did!). The back-and-forther banter between Gollum's duel personas is great, and his verbal-battle with Bilbo was exciting and very enjoyable. Others in the theater (besides me) were laughing. Admittedly, I started laughing before the scene, when Gollum was hitting a Goblin in the head with a rock, so I suppose I'm either (A easily amused 0r (B I have, as my history teacher put it "a beautifully twisted mind" or something like that. Probably both.
THE AVENGERS: The first superhero blockbuster of the summer, Avengers is the culmination of four years of building by Marvel. I remember being at The Incredible Hulk when one of the first hints was dropped. I believe I pumped my fist and started yelling "AVENGERS!" with about half the other people. Though I'm much more docile now in my excitement (Avengers...whoopee...), my anticipation for this film did not falter. The movie pits Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Hawkeye, and Black Widow) against Thor's half-brother, Loki. The movie is hilarious, and the DVD has Marvel's very first gag reel. The action is spectacular, and a final battle turns New York into a battle zone. Though I will adamantly argue that the Loki capture/interrogation/breakout scene was stolen from TDK (but Nolan is still better than Whedon), the action was pretty epic and the story bombastic (does anyone seriously say that word anymore?). The only question it left me with was this: Where the heck was War Machine?
Favorite Thing About The Movie: The humor. The jokes were great. Many quips were shown via dialogue, which makes it even better. Example: A SHIELD agent gets stabbed by Loki but, before dying, he blasts the god with a gun that does-who-knows-what. In other words, he's clueless. Lying there, bleeding to death, the guy mutters "So that's what it does." If you're not laughing, I guess that means you have to see it. But the idea is the same: This poor dude is dying and he throws out a joke. Marvel is funny. And if you haven't yet seen the Hulk vs. Loki scene, go to YouTube or whatever. It's worth it...though I guess the correct title would be "Hulk trounces Loki"...because he sure does.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Though marred by a horrific tragedy, TDKR was still an excellent movie. My dad and I saw it opening night. Whereas the previous movies broke Batman mentally, this one attacks him physically. Enter Bane, a big bruiser who wins my award as best supervillain of the year. Perhaps his voice is muffled, but he's still pretty cool and delivers some very amusing lines of dialogue. Many of the things I predicted came true in the movie. While I had a few issues, my dad fortunately sorted most of them out. Christopher Nolan wrapped up an excellent franchise that many fans will no doubt wish went for many more movies. The way he ended it was not obvious, which I liked, and it made you think, which is something Nolan is good at. Filled to the brim with action and thought, TDKR was, above all, satisfactory. And that was all I really wanted.
Favorite Thing About The Movie: The twist ending (BIG SPOILER). I had heard that Miranda Tate was Talia al Ghul. Then I heard she took it back. I wasn't sure what to expect. Though I myself had said Talia was going to be in the movie, her revelation still took me off guard. Despite the fact that it lowered Bane's status to that of a henchman, the twist was still satisfying and made the plan all that cooler (because revenge is way more awesome than pure anarchy...wait...okay, not AS much). Plus, there is a subtle "twist" fans may not have noticed, one I'm not sure was even intentional (guess what? Another SPOILER): Due to the fact that Bane reveals Gordon's lie to the public, hiding Harvey Dent's secret is revealed as well. In that respect, the Joker wins. This is never addressed, but fans can still figure it out like I did. The Joker wins. I enjoy the villains, sure, but I don't often root for them. However, once I did think this through, it was almost like the Joker said "Let's put a smile on that face!" and I did.
My five big movies of 2012. All of them were good, some were as I expected, and others were better than I expected. Very fulfilling films, if anything. And if you wait a few more days...or weeks...you may see me put out a blog about the epic films coming out this year!