Every single year we have movies that have all the expectations in the world, yet end up falling flat among critics and fans alike. Among those are some "duds" whose reputation doesn't suit them fairly. These are the films you walked away from with a bad taste in your mouth, but should actually give a second chance. In other words, this is my formal application to be the most hated writer on Movie Pilot.
Iron Man 2
I remember a lot of people hating this one, and I still don't see how you could. The action was better than the first or third Iron Man installments, the villain was second to the first, and the Monaco Grand Prix scene is the best one in any Marvel movie not called The Avengers. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow was great, as was Sam Rockwell's Justin Hammer. The blood poisoning subplot is often criticized for having no reason to be there, but in reality it gave the movie an urgency we wouldn't see again until The Winter Soldier. It is in some ways superior to either of the other two movies in the franchise.
Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
So what if it was different from the first three? So what if aliens seems like a weird thing for Indy to chase? So what if Shia Labeouf is in the movie? The final product here is a visually stunning, gripping adventure of a movie. The jungle chase scene is one of the best action scenes of the latter half of the decade. The idea to bring back Marion was a fantastic way to reminisce about Raiders. The rocket sled, the jungle cutter, the atomic bomb, the waterfall drops, and nearly every damn thing about this movie were brilliant. Harrison Ford even managed to put on a great show in his older age. If God willing a fifth installment is made, I hope it's just as great as this one.
This is the one I'm going to catch the most crap for. It's basically the Nickelback of movies in how much it's hated. Not that I like Nickelback. But Spider-Man 3 gets written off as bad in an unjust way. Maybe emo Peter Parker is a bit much, and Eric Forman isn't the right choice to play a vicious symbiote monster. And Kirsten Dunst will never be a good actress. But the Sandman's tragic admittance to Peter about his uncle is completely heartbreaking, and Harry's continuing evolving as a character is as great as it always has been. The villain overload is very easy to ignore, to the point where it really doesn't have to matter that much. Just enjoy the damn good movie.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Yes, the prequels were inferior. And yes, The Phantom Menace sucked. But Attack of the Clones was okay, and Revenge of the Sith was good. Yes, Hayden Christensen is a flimsy actor. And yes, the arresting-of-the-emperor scene was sort of ridiculous. But the movie made up for it with an awesome Wookiee scene, an amazing climatic lightsaber duel between master and apprentice, and General Grievous. Just General Grievous in general is enough to make this movie good. They even managed to sneak some politics in there and it worked beautifully. I put Revenge of the Sith as the fourth best Star Wars movie, behind the original trilogy.
This one I'll have the toughest time defending. Because let's face it, this movie had its flaws. The way everything except the characters' runway fell into the Earth. The monumental convenience the characters ran into around every corner. And, of course, those two little Russian kids. But, my God, the effects! Watching Los Angeles sinking down into the Earth's mantle is literally the only time I've ever felt scared watching a movie. I felt like little kid inside one of those cars as it drove off the highway, into the carnage below. This is actually one of those movies where you can look past some of its huge faults (no pun intended) and just appreciate how awesome the rest of it was. Make no mistake, the Michael Bay-style explosion-based movie is still terrible, but 2012 just wasn't.
The Expendables 2
This is a movie that wasn't meant to be taken seriously. And that's how you have to watch it, not taking it at all seriously. It's just a balls-to-the-walls action film featuring AARP's defense bureau. And it pulls that off without a hitch. It's just awesome. Not a cinematic masterpiece by any means, just awesome. But because so many people tried to look at it in the same light they would Inception or The Dark Knight, it got bad reviews. Let's hope the third installment will be appreciated for what it is.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has a few things going for it that make it good. First of all, the visuals. Come on, even if the plot was kind of weak, it looked freaking awesome. And then, there was the character arc. Yes, Peter and Gwen's brief breakup felt forced, but Gwen's death was a stroke of filmmaking genius. It carried tremendous power in Peter's life. Not only that, but it did an excellent job of shocking the audience. There seems to have been an unwritten rule in film that the main protagonist, main female character, and children in the movie always survive. This movie gave a bold middle finger to that rule, and subsequently dropped the main female character down a clock tower. What other movie has the guts to do that?