Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2

Believe it or not kids, there was once a time when Amanda Seyfried and Rachel McAdams were largely unknown actresses with second billing to Lindsay Lohan, who was considered the most promising star of her generation, when Tom Cruise could star in a movie without Scientology and Oprahgate entering the discussion and when an M. Night Shyamalan film was something to look forward to. If I said that 2004 was the most important summer in filmdom I’d be biased, because that was the first time I started to treat the critical viewing of films as a serious pursuit, so if I said that the films that came out that summer — Anchorman, Shrek 2, and Mean Girls — were like nothing I’d ever seen before, that’s accurate in a way, as I was paying attention to films in a way I hadn’t before. Still, 2004 was an unforgettable summer (if you don’t count the forgettable films like Catwoman and White Chicks). Here were the highlights:

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There used to be a time when only die-hard comic book fans knew what Stan Lee looked like. His likeness appeared in many of the Marvel comic books for the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but to the average person, he was nothing more than a guy with some shaded glasses. Then Hollywood started putting the guy in some movies. He’s never had a very big part, but to honor the man for helping to create some of the most legendary superheroes (and some of the biggest moneymakers for the movie business), Lee has been given customary cameos in almost every major movie that has been made from characters he helped create. Those who have seen The Amazing Spider-Man (which should be most of you faithful readers, by now) were treated to one of his best and funniest cameos yet. And with more Marvel movies coming down the pike, he’s sure to show up many times again. This gave us a chance to look back on his many appearances over the years and assemble a list of his ten best cameos. Excelsior!

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For a moment, especially in the looming shadow of yet another origin story, it would be easy to overlook the fact that like many a great superhero story, the tale of Spider-Man is one of great action. And with great action comes great action moments. And responsibility. Definitely some responsibility on the part of the filmmaker. While Sam Raimi wasn’t always completely responsible with his Spidey story — he let part three get way out of hand with villains and dance numbers — he never did let us forget that Peter Parker is once-bitten, thrice an action hero. It’s a fact we celebrate proudly in this week’s Scenes We Love, in the hope that Marc Webb will do the same with this The Amazing Spider-Man.

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Iron Man Movie Poster

With the release this weekend of Marvel Studio’s Iron Man I can be certain of two things: Comic book movies are here to stay and Iron Man is among the best of them. Thus, it is time to see just how well it stacks up.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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