Sunday, May 11, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man 2 -SPOILED EDITION!

Karen: OK, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been out in the States for over a week now. It's time for a wide-open discussion of the movie -anything you want to talk about! We'll get things rolling with some of our thoughts on the latest Spidey flick:

Overall, I was disappointed. The film felt like it was trying to pack too much into one movie. The Electro character was a one-note, stereotypical dork turned villain that had the most idiotic of origins (electric eels? really?). Jamie Foxx seemed to be channeling Jerry Lewis for some reason, and it was awful. I'm still not sold on the mysterious back story with Peter's parents -and that subway car headquarters of his dad -oh please! The heavy-handed foreshadowing of Gwen's death by having Capt. Stacy show up every five minutes made me feel like attention spans must really be short nowadays. Gwen's demise itself felt like it was tacked onto the end and didn't get the attention it truly deserved. To be honest, I hate to see Emma Stone go, because her chemistry with Andrew Garfield is one of the things I have actually really liked about the new Spider-Man films. I have little to say about Harry/the Goblin -he was pretty wretched all the way around.

Now there were some things I liked. I still enjoy Andrew Garfield as both Peter and Spidey. He's a great wise-cracking Spidey, which I missed in the Raimi films. As I mentioned above, Gwen and Pete have a wonderful chemistry together. The action sequences in the film were pretty good -except I can't stand the weird, random freeze-frame. Why is this necessary? The web-slinging looks fantastic though, and much of Electro's effects were great.

I have to say the soundtrack really took me out of the movie at times though. It seemed oddly generic at points and at other times just oddly dissonant and annoying (especially when Electro was on screen). It's rare that a soundtrack bothers me, but this one did.

I liked this less than the Amazing Spider-Man, and I'd have to say neither of this films comes close to any of the Marvel Studios films (well, I might watch either of them over Iron Man 3, but I really dislike Iron Man 3....)

So have at it!


J.A. Morris said...

I agree with just about everything Karen posted. I don't know what they were thinking with Electro. Does anyone still wear pocket protectors? Why would an electrical engineer try to fix the problem at Oscorp all by himself while wearing no protective suit?
One thing Karen didn't mention was Dr. Kafka. He and Ravencroft are in the comics, but they didn't become part of the Spider-verse until after I'd quit reading. Why did the film need a stereotypical Nazi mad scientist? Felt like he was shipped in from another movie.

Anonymous said...

Why I liked the movie? With where we are with CGI/motion capture/SFX and what not, I can finally see those awesome fight scenes and Spidey moves I loved in the comics. All those panels of multiple images showing how Spider-Man moved from point A to point B are finally realized on the big screen. I do agree with Karen that at times it seems video game-y, but, gosh darn it all, I like it!!!!

While I'm on the positive side, Sally Field's "You're my boy" scene was out of the park, heck out of this world. If that's not shown in every acting class/workshop, then the world we live in will be a less special place.

Now, for the less positive side. TOO MUCH MOVIE!!!! My brain hurt trying to fit everything in. Couldn't someone somewhere have just said "Peter Jackson! Peter Jackson! Peter Jackson! While we have everybody here, lets just film Spider-Man 2 & 3." It worked for LOTR. It so would have worked for the Spider-Man franchise.

Case in point, Flash Thompson!!! (I know, too many !!!!) If you're making a Spider-Man movie and you've reduced Flash Thompson to an uncredited cameo, you're making the movie wrong. (So want to throw in an exclamation point; I can see how this gets away from you). What would I have done with Flash? Have him join the Police Academy the day of graduation. Why? Cause with the death of Capt Stacy, people need to step up, do what they can. "Come on, Parker, put the camera down and get involved." The love triangle should be Peter/Flash/Gwen. A Gwen who doesn't know Peter's Spider-Man!!! (Crap, they're back)

You could have clipped the Green Goblin fight from this movie and still have had a great movie. That's the third movie, right there.

The ship has sailed department: Gwen knowing Peter's Spider-Man. I don't think it made for a better story/movie. Making the whole franchise Parker V Oscorp. Making Oscorp the underlying foundation of the entire Spider-Man universe.

Little points: Kafka? Metamorphosis? Is this leading up to an six-armed Peter? Eight with the legs? The Sinister Six laid out? Again TOO MUCH MOVIE. The whole Rhino fight happens off screen?

Wants: A shirt of Spider-Man with his hand up saying: Lick This.

Will I go back and see this again. No, not at the theatre. When I had the chance, I saw Captain America again, and even in 2D it still rocked. Will I go see the rest of the movies? Yeah, I'm that committed to Spider-Man. (Damn you Marvel for roping in this 8 year old!!!!)

The Prowler (hope all you Mother's have a great day).

William said...

I personally like this movie very much. I saw it for a second time yesterday, and I must say, I actually enjoyed it more the second time around. I went with my wife this time. After it was over, I asked her if she liked it, and she said "What's not to like?" My wife isn't any kind of comic book fan (other than Archie), so her opinion is one of someone who's basically experiencing this stuff for the first time. (Like a lot of other movie goers). During the movie, she leaned over to me and said this movie is better in every way than the older ones. She said, the story is better, the director is better, the actors are better, the dialogue is better, the action scenes are better, everything. And in many ways, I have to agree with her.

When I really break it down, this is probably my favorite Spider-Man movie to date. Mainly because this one finally got the most important thing right, and that is Spider-Man himself. This is the version of Spider-Man that I've been wanting to see on film since the very first movie. First his costume was nearly perfect. He looked like he jumped right out of a comic book and onto the big screen. Second, his personality was spot on as well. This is Spider-Man how he should be portrayed. Web-swinging, fighting, flipping around, and cracking jokes the whole time. That was one of my biggest complaints about Maguire's Spider-Man. When he was in costume, he was too quiet. And when he did speak (in or out of costume) he was hardly ever funny. In fact, Spider-Man was somewhat a pretty grim and morose individual in the Raimi films.

I really had no problem with the way Electro was portrayed in film. He was a little cartoony and over the top, but after all, this is a comic book movie. (Same with the Rhino).

I very much enjoyed the Peter and Gwen relationship. Garfield and Stone's chemistry is undeniable on film. And I was pretty bummed when she died at the end. Even though I pretty much knew it was inevitable. (Damn you Gerry Conway!!!) However, I was hoping they might spare poor Gwen in the movies. After all they changed a lot of other things from the comics. Most notably the Green Goblin.

William said...

The portrayal of the Green Goblin is my biggest complaint about this movie. In fact the way they handled the Osborns in general was a major head scratcher to me. First of all the whole genetic disease plot point was out of left field. Plus, they completely changed comic book history by not having Norman become the Goblin before Harry. I thought that was a really strange decision. Especially after they set up a big reveal moment in the first movie, by not introducing Norman, and just mentioning that he was dying. I thought in this movie the cure for his illness was going to turn HIM into the Green Goblin. Instead, they killed him off (supposedly) right near the beginning of the movie. Then they went about shoehorning Harry into the role of the first Green Goblin.

I liked Dane Dehaan as Harry, but his character was pretty thin. It almost seems like his inclusion in the movie was an afterthought. (Kind of like Eddie Brock in SM3). First it's revealed that he was once "best friends" with Peter, but they haven't seen each other for 8 years. So, that means the last time they saw each other was when they were 10 or 11 years old. But when they meet again they pick up their friendship right were they left off. How many of your elementary school friends would you still have a close connection with after you graduated high school, if you hadn't had any contact with them since the fifth grade? I'm going to guess none.

Second, Harry starts out as a very sympathetic, funny, and likable guy, and then for some very suspect reasons, he goes over to the dark side. But even then, he still remains a sympathetic and likable character. Even after he helps Electro escape from Ravencroft, and then starts menacing people, you are still rooting for him to succeed. He feels much more like a victim than a villain in this story. So, even when he causes the death of Gwen Stacy later in the movie, it's still kind of hard to totally hate him.

And then there is how he became the Green Goblin. That was the weakest part of the whole movie, IMO. To summarize: He injects himself with radioactive, Richard Parker infused spider venom, and then pretty much immediately starts wigging out, and mutating into a member of a 70's punk band. Then, on instinct alone, he slowly crawls toward the Green Goblin suit from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films (sans the dumb helmet), and puts it on. Immediately the suit detects his injuries and starts to heal him. What??? The suit can heal him? Why wasn't Norman wearing this suit? Also, Harry somehow knows how to operate said suit (as well as the glider it comes with), and apparently becomes completely adept at flying it without any training whatsoever.

Then he promptly flies over to the power plant, quickly deduces that Peter is Spider-Man, then he suddenly scoop up Gwen and (basically) drops her to her death. And that's pretty much all he does in the movie. I thought that was a pretty lame way to introduce and utilize Spider-Man's greatest enemy.

Humanbelly said...

I think the good definitely outweighed the less-than-good, yes. Perhaps we've become too jaded and demanding regarding our super-hero films? The media reviewers especially seem to take the stance that one of these films is either outstandingly successful or else it's an abject failure. It seems like a film doesn't have the option of being "just fine" or "pretty good" anymore.

I'm really liking Andrew Garfield a lot. He's a slightly different take on Peter. . . but he is indeed funny, and I BELIEVE him when he's onscreen. He comes across as a person and not as a portrayal-- he's creating life.

Emma Stone makes me believe in Gwen Stacy as a real person in a way that was never quite as clearly defined in the comic book. I absolutely love her, and was fully ready for them to change the canon in order to keep her alive.

Prowler swiped a comment that formed right there in the theater. Sally Field is so good here as her own version of Aunt May-- and the "You're my boy" seen left me hopelessly broken down (good thing I was sitting by myself!).

The Garfield/Stone chemistry cannot be overstated or overpraised. That alone would have been worth changing the story for.

Spidey in the firehat helping the firemen was classic old-school Spidey. Also enjoyed the almost Superman-esque level of how the good citizens of New York clearly embrace the Wallcrawler throughout.

Action sequences were dynamic and exciting, although still visually hard to follow sometimes. But boy, they've really nailed how Spidey should operate in real-time & real space.


As soon as Jamie Fox "turns evil", he becomes completely one-dimensional and boring-- playing it as the stereotypical mono-syllabic rage-monster. Clearly it was supposed to read as menacing, intimidating, and dangerously powerful. . . but really it's just another Terminator clone. Ugh.

The boy-bonding camaraderie scenes w/ Pete & Harry came across as painfully forced and not at all endearing or believable-- probably some of the weakest moments in the film for me.

Yeah, the whole dark-overplot/conspiracy angle is exactly what Spiderman SHOULDN'T be about in my book. That's much more a television-style element (crutch, really-- and a series-killer, IMO). And since I'm working my way through SMALLVILLE these days, the similarities to Lexcorp/Luthorcorp as the whole malevolent Oscorp scenario is being built are just too obvious and unoriginal. It's a complete and unnecessary sidetrack from Spidey-as-regular-guy, y'know? That's one of the main weaknesses in Ultimate Spiderman, as well.

Geeze, yes---TOO MANY VILLAINS AGAIN! Did we not learn anything from the struggles of Spidey#3??

Gwen's death was handled well-- it destroyed my life once again-- and then the movie kept going. I get why the writers felt it was necessary: to show that Spidey could survive and carry on, and leave us a hero to have for the next film. But it just DOESN'T work well from a dramatic/structural standpoint. It's like. . . a movie isn't the right medium to try to tell this aspect of this story. It's too brief, and too dependent on understandably formulaic moments of climax and resolution-- which diminishes the impact of such traumatic events for the audience.

Ah-- gotta go!


Anonymous said...

Hey, me again. The point I forgot in my earlier rant was the flip side of technology. It has become our boon and our bane. As HB states, it does allow Spidey to move in real time and, to my eyes, realistically. What I think is unforgiving is with the actors as people. I buy Garfield as Spider-Man, I think he does a great job as both Peter and Spider-Man. I don't buy him as High School Senior/College Freshmen. Case in point, Doug's family portrait. His sons are what young men look like. Garfield doesn't quite pull that off.

For my last note, I nominate Emma Stone as the only actress who could/should play both Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson.

The Prowler (helped the kids with the Mom's Day dinner and really way too full).

Edo Bosnar said...

...I didn't think Iron Man 3 was THAT bad...

Humanbelly said...

. . . and agreeing w/ edo on the IM3 comment. I really liked IM3-- thought it was considerable better & more engaging than the 2nd film. Of all of the successful Marvel films I've seen (never saw Daredevil or Electra), X-Men 3 was by far the worst-- an actually BAD movie. Nothing else has sunk to that level for me. Spidey 3 was a flawed but certainly watchable and entertaining film. IM2 was still okay, just not great. Thor 1 was flawed, but kept me in my seat, etc. It all goes back to my original point, really. . .


david_b said...

Haven't seen it yet, but from Karen's post I get the sense of 'too much', which has always been my complaint when they pile on villains or 2nd/3rd stories.

I feel like yelling at the producers: 'HAVE FAITH in the stories you're telling, and tell them well', don't just do the Joel Schumacher-route and layer up more villains.

One hero.., one villain, one damsel.

Not that difficult.

But from the other comments here, I may still have to see this movie soon. Despite shortcomings, sounds like a treat.

Fred W. Hill said...

To be honest, I really wished they had let Gwen make the trip to England or that the film ended without the battle between Peter and Harry. This movie version is soooo different from the Spidey-verse created by Ditko & Lee already, why did they feel it necessary to kill off this new version of Gwen, especially when any version of Mary Jane that might exist has not been introduced or even referred to yet.
Overall, I liked the film, but it definitely dragged on far too long and really should have been split into two films.
As to stormin' Norman, I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a comeback in a later film in this series. Funny how important the revived Norman has become in the Marvel Universe of the last 20 years when he was solely a Spidey villain up to the moment of his death in ASM #122, only briefly interacting with the Hulk and Human Torch, and in each case in Spidey's own mag in his first two appearances as the Green Goblin and long before readers saw the name Norman Osborne.

Humanbelly said...

OMG-- I realized while I was driving in to work this morning.
The "mysterious figure in the hat" we've seen at the end of both films is, of COURSE, going to turn out to be Richard Parker. That is the ONLY thing that would justify this unnecessary fixation on the details of the Parkers' industrial espionage backstory.

We don't actually see that plane crash; he was clutching a parachute while gazing at his (maybe dead?) wife; and the only structural reason to keep that character's identity a secret is because it will be a "shock" when his identity is revealed. And the only person that could possibly fill that bill at this point is the elder Mr. P.

Ugh. I'm hating that move. I'm truly hating it. And I'm certain that's what it will prove to be.


Martinex1 said...

I've been reading the blog for a while now and have not commented yet, but now that I am I must say that you Karen and Doug have done an amazing job. I applaud your work.
Regarding the movie, the jarring part for me is that Peter Parker is not the shy introvert that contrasted with Spider-Man's bravado and humor in the comics. The scene in which Peter kisses Gwen on the graduation stage is so uncharacteristic of the comic character I knew. Peter would have brooded about kissing her, wishing he could, and then not be able to pull it off. He should feel a freedom as Spider-Man doing all the things he could not say or do as Peter. He seemed too quick witted for my taste. I think they got Spider-Man right but got Peter wrong (at least in terms of being faithful to the high school years' pathos).
Electro was a complete misfire - also in my opinion with the non-powered character Max Dillon. He was too much of a victim and in a caricature sort of way that the transformation seemed odd, out of character, and raising of sympathy that felt false. I would have rather seen somebody with some backbone and strong conviction even if victimized in the character of Electro. Single event sudden transformations to villainy seem so weak. Harry falls a bit into that "development" as well. The rhino even though in a small role seemed so one dimensional that it was a distraction. At the end of the movie I could not help asking why Harry would choose this buffoon and complete failure as somebody to join his team and wear high tech armor. That judgment makes Harry seem weak and not so diabolical.
I agree that Gwen was a highlight as was May. Although I am not sure what advice May was giving Peter toward the end. It was a little convoluted and seemed to be distilled as, "Pack up your feelings and move on already!"
Lastly I just have a huge problem with the Green Goblin not being green. He just looked sickly with some Halloween face paint. Horrible. The other villains at least looked cool. They must have been running low on budget and figured some moose and bad teeth would hold over the audience. They should have used that money to hire somebody adept at cosplay.

Jonathan Stover said...

'Too many villains' is an unfortunate result of the toys that need to be sold to justify the cost of these movies. Irritating but probably inevitable as a series goes on.

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