Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Amazing Spider Man 2: What do you people want?


I saw Amazing Spider Man 2, and thought it was excellent.  Apparently that sentiment is not unanimous.  There are a lot of really stupid reviews being filed, with some absolutely stupid opinions.  There tend to be two camps here, the 'First series of movies were better' crowd and the 'I hate all of these movies (even though I go see them all at the theater) crowd'.  Both crowds are inconsistent as hell, insufferable, a just plain incorrect.  Look, no movie is perfect and I'm sure I'll find shortcomings with this one after repeated viewings.  But.....come on people.  These arguments need to be shot down because they're just dumb.  So it's time to knock them down.

The Raimi trilogy was better

Uhh.....no it wasn't.  Of course, the first concession you get from these people is that Spider Man 3 was bad.  They offer that up before you can even mention it yourself.  And that's fine, because then we can just compare the first two Raimi movies with their counterparts from the new series.  And when we do that...I'm sorry, but the Raimi films come up short.  Now don't get me wrong, the first one was great at the time and still is good in my book but the second Raimi film was called the best superhero movie ever when it came out and now......not so much.  I will make one concession to the first Raimi film.  The leadup to Uncle Ben's death was straight from the comic book and is better than in the new series, where they seemed to want to get through it quickly so they could move on to the main thrust of the story.  Beyond that.....please.  The organic web shooting seemed like an interesting departure to me at the time, but now it just looks silly.  The other spider-like qualities developed are enhancements of normal human abilites; organic webshooting means that he grew new spider-esque glands as a result of being bitten by a spider and taking on some of it's DNA.  Uhhh.....no.  The web shooters are both a representation of Peter embracing what happened to him and a demonstration of his intellect as a scientist. Getting rid of that just deletes an important part of the character.

And let's look at some other things, filmmaking issues.  First, the Green Goblin looks like a Power Ranger.  Second, there's the just stupid kidnapping scene where the Goblin gasses Spider Man, takes him to a rooftop and gives him a chance to join him.  He does all of this without bothering to takes Spidey's mask off to see who he is.  Third, Gwen Stacy is a much better character in the new series than Mary Jane was in the Raimi films, and just because of Kirsten Dunst's not so good acting.  Mary Jane only has two purposes: to fall in love with Peter and fall into danger so he has to rescue her.  On the other hand, Gwen helps Peter infiltrate Oscorp and is his intellectual equal.  She helps him figure out how to beat Electro, and helps him actually do it.  She is a true partner, despite having no super powers.  The movie version of Mary Jane is just a hot babe that Peter fell for in high school for obvious physical reasons; beyond that the character doesn't provide any real reason for Peter to dig her other than her being hot and being in close proximity to him.  You can imagine a 40-something year old Gwen and Peter still challenging each other intellectually and stimulating each other in ways beyond the physical.   Not so with Peter and Mary Jane from the Raimi films; Peter was totally her superior in every way and would have gotten bored with her over time.  You cannot ignore these things when comparing the two films.

It's get worse with the second film.  Raimi's Spider-Man 2 gave us:

  • Peter losing his powers because he lost his smile (h/t to the guys at movietrailerreviews.net for nailing this).
  • Doctor Octopus under the control of his AI-infused robot arms.  The guy was having arguments with the damn robot arms throughout the movie and eventually won the argument which allowed him to sacrifice himself and save the day.
  • Harry Osborn getting pissed enough at Peter to want to kill him, but then showing up Mary Jane's wedding where he would likely run into the same guy that he unmasked as Spider Man, blames for his father's death, and literally wants to kill.
  • Harry's butler waiting until the next movie to tell him that hey, Spidey didn't kill your Dad!
  • Spidey getting unmasked in front of a subway full of people, all of whom pledge to not tell anyone.  
There is literally nothing in Amazing Spider Man 2 that approaches those levels of stupidity.  By the end of ASM 2, Peter is a changed man.  He's made hard choices, seen them backfire on him with dire consequences, and is faced with giving up or manning up and moving forward despite his loss.  No such thing happens in the second Raimi film; Mary Jane basically makes Peter's decision for him regarding their relationship.  He never really figured out why he needed to be Spider-Man; his powers were triggered back into effectiveness when Mary Jane was in danger and away he went. 

These movies just suck

I'm going to be brief here.  There's a segment of the comic book/superhero fan world that finds reasons to hate on almost every movie that comes out.  Whether it's source material truthers or costume scolds, they always have some logic that ultimately leads to them hating the movie.  ASM 2 gives them a few bits of gold which of course they are running with.  Rhino's suit, a mech suit instead of the suit from the comic book costume that looks a rubber rhino Halloween costume, offends the costume scolds who want every costume to look exactly like the comic no matter how ridiculous it would look onscreen in a live action film.  These are the people who want Sam Wilson to don a red and white falcon suit in a movie when he's flying around and getting shot at.  They also wanted the orignal Electro costume, which looks absolutely stupid in the comic book, instead of the way they made Jamie Foxx look.  I got nothing for you folks.  Really, I got nothing.  If you complaining about this kind of thing, to the point where it's a disqualifier, you need to just get a life already.

If you haven't seen Amazing Spider Man 2, go see it.  It's excellent, and please don't let anyone tell you other wise.

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