Tag Archives: comic books

The Problems Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ (SPOILERS)

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Evening all. Some people reading this will know, from my activity on Twitter and on the Bastnerds podcast, that I have been an avid Spider-Man fan for the best part of 25 years. I recently took part in a spoiler podcast with Chris Byrne, Christopher Ejizu and Amon Warmann for Marc Webb’s latest effort – ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’.

On the recording, I was pretty critical and decidedly negative about the movie as a whole. Give it a listen here.

Now, instead of a review. I decided it would be more ‘my style’ to basically talk about why I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others. There are more issues than what I talk about here. These are the worst offenders, in my opinion.

So here it is, my ANAL-sis for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’. Yes there are SPOILERS, so don’t moan.

 

1. Jamie Foxx’s character is fucking wasted…. And I don’t mean drunk.

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Jamie Foxx plays electrical engineer Max Dillon at Oscorp, later transformed into the villain ‘Electro’. From the marketing (extensive within the first 6 months of promotion) of the movie, Electro is extremely prominent and was confirmed as the ‘lead protagonist’. However towards the tail end of the marketing campaign, I noticed that the focus shifted from Electro and more prominently to Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) and Oscorp. This seemed odd – but I remained excited to see the final product.

Now I’m not saying that Electro is a BAD character, or that Foxx doesn’t do a great job. Quite the opposite actually. The issue with Electro is that his character is built up to absolutely be a potentially awesome and dangerous villain for Spidey (Andrew Garfield) – but as soon as he’s built up, he’s left hanging in limbo. While Osborn’s ‘sickness’ plotline is fast-tracked through the movie’s midway point (more on that later). Dillon is the sympathetic, misunderstood man that becomes endowed with immeasurable power while struggling to fit in with the norms of society. Max, through his own admission,  just wants to be noticed. In terms of personality, being polar opposite of Spider-Man is a potentially fruitful plot device – As we could potentially see the character gradually unravelling through his jealousy of Spidey’s attention – THEN develop him into Electro, powers and all. Give him something to run with first. The direction they took the character was rushed and half-resolved until a convenient way to bring him back into the narrative was presented through Harry Osborn.

*Side note – that whole Doctor Kafka/Electro conversation felt completely ill-judged and seemed to be hammed up as fuck.*

 

2. Uncle Ben’s murderer…. Yes, remember now?

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Ben Parker (portrayed by Martin Sheen) is the moral compass and strongest paternal figure of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. So whether you’ve seen the comics, the cartoons or the movies themselves, you know that he’s a prominent fixture in Spidey adaptations.

Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man movie was pretty much a retread of Raimi’s original in regard to Peter and Ben’s relationship. Culminating in a robbery that Peter had the opportunity to stop, electing to ignore it. Which in turn resulted in the fatal shooting of his dear old Uncle. In ‘ASM 1’, there’s a meaty sequence where we see Peter attempting to find the killer, using a likeness as a template. Unfortunately, there’s no resolution. And Peter vows to find his uncle’s killer. So were we expecting to see this plot point, this massive part of Peter’s life at least continued? Of course……..

Barely even mentioned. That’s right.

 

3. Hollywood 101 – Using the last shot in the movie as the last shot in a trailer.

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Paul Giamatti’s  Aleksei Sytsevich is introduced at the top of the movie. Attempting to steal plutonium (why? who cares!), and is quickly and effortlessly thwarted by Spider-Man (again, spoiled by the trailers and tv spots). At the film’s end, we find out Oscorp made a big robot suit, and apparently Sytsevich is qualified to operate it….. Enter ‘Rhino’, his giant robot suit and its Transformeresque nonsense that pulls Spidey out of the doldrums and back into saving the day mode. Cue the dramatic final shot…. That we’ve all seen months prior. Killing any anticipation for the next movie.

Way to go guys, you fucking turnips.

 

4. Harry Osborn and The Mystery Of Harry Osborn.

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Dane Dehaan’s casting as Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn, was particularly one of the movie’s strongest. Dehaan is absolutely commanding in his conveying of emotionally tumultuous characters. He does indeed showcase this as the young Osborn, later as this movie’s incarnation of The Green Goblin (never Christened/labelled). But like Max Dillon’s character, it’s underdeveloped and a hugely missed opportunity to demonstrate one of the key relationships in the life of Peter Parker. Harry just appears out of nowhere after a decade (?) away and there’s no real in-depth insight into their friendship or what’s been going on with Harry himself – the whole thing feels rushed and only as a servant to get things moving with the Sinister Six development. This becomes more apparent when Harry’s ‘sickness’ conveniently becomes more aggressive after his father Norman (Chris Cooper) is killed to death by the unnamed genetic disease. Peter and Harry’s brief time together feels vacuous because we, the audience, have seen Peter go through these differences and changes in his life, without Harry around. For the friendship to look and feel natural and resonate – Harry needed to be a figure in Peter’s life during the events of first movie.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies showcased the pair as school friends right from the get go. We knew exactly what motivations Harry had for going after Peter by the third movie, and it was an actual, properly constructed plot that made sense in terms of the story and its development of the characters. Here, it’s condensed into about 30-40 minutes.

 

5. Richard & Mary Parker Became Sony’s Bitches

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Maybe not everyone felt this way.

We know Richard and Mary were both involved in Oscorp and the experimentation that was going down. Spider-Man himself being a successful result of this. To me, this all seemed irrelevant to the story as a whole. Peter just wanted to find out why his parents had to leave him and to understand the reasoning behind it. Now, as the second movie progresses, we find out that Richard worked with Norman on many ‘cross species’ experiments in aid of potentially curing Monster Mash and his fingernails. Eventually leading to Richard removing himself from the project and thus getting ‘removed’ permanently on an airplane during the film’s opening sequence.

From this, and the subsequent reveal of Oscorp/Ravencroft’s intention to create a group to, I dunno, take over the world… It felt like the true nature, the raw humanity and the effects of the Parkers’ absence from Peter’s life had been substituted, or rather discarded in favor of just a cheap. convenient method of pushing the establishment of more villains. Sequel bait, folks! $$$$$$$$$££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$ 

 

 

 

So there you go. Anyone agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts.

 

Love you lots.


Trailer Tidbits #3 (December 2012)

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Been a little while since my last recap. So let’s make this a gooden! On the radar today is Star Trek sequel – ‘…Into Darkness’, M Night Shyamalan’s latest excuse, ‘After Earth’. And finally, the highly anticipated Superman film – ‘Man Of Steel’.

 

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ – Dir. J.J Abrams

Much to speculate of course, and many will. But right off the bat I’ll say this is probably the one I’m holding out for next year. The standalone voiceover of the antagonist, whoever it may be, Benedict Cumberbatch, and escalating score really does build this one way way waaaay up. Great stuff. Draw your own conclusion at the trailer’s close.

 

‘After Earth’ – Dir. M. Night Shyamalan

Without question, this could easily be the biggest flop for next year. Haven’t we seen all this before??

 

‘Man Of Steel’ – Dir. Zack Snyder

Ok, Zack, I’m sold. Taking an enormous cue from producer Christopher Nolan, and a nuance that only could be attributed to the work of Terrence Malick – this retelling of the Superman origin could possibly surprise many. It’s not the most action packed of all trailers, but it goes more along the lines of building character and outlining what could be a very interesting and engaging screenplay. Cavill looks the part indeed, and we’re given brief glimpses of Lawrence Fishburne as Perry White, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon as the incomparable Zod! Check the fuck out!

 


#3 ‘Watchmen’ (2009)

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Cast:-

*Jackie Earle Haley

*Jeffrey Dean Morgan

*Malin Akerman

*Patrick Wilson

*Matthew Goode

*Billy Crudup

Director:- Zack Snyder

Superhero films have become a more common entity during the last ten years. From the jump-starting ‘X-Men’ to the genre re-invention of ‘Batman Begins’, the influx of comic book adaptations into cinema features has turned the genre into an overwhelmingly popular market for all demographics.

There’s not usually much inward depth to these films in all honesty.. with a few exceptions. You take a guy, give him a power, create a villain, guy becomes hero and defeats villain (with possible smoochies at the finishing post). Simple, but an executable way to tell a story of triumph over evil. And who doesn’t like a good popcorn flick over good guys versus bad guys? It’s the bread and butter of most things we see on tv and at theatres.

Writer Alan Moore, however, took the archetypal redundancy of the genre and it’s ‘stay-safe’ elements. And created one of the most well-received and popular superhero stories of our generation. ‘Watchmen’.

In development hell for the best part of 20 years, ‘300’ helmer Zack Znyder finally got the gig after a torrent of rumours plagued the internet on who would direct the so-called ‘un-filmmable comic book’.

Set in an alternate 1985, nearing the end of the Cold War. Watchmen is not your average superhero movie. Besieged with the surrounding sensationalism of a ‘Doomsday Clock’, Americans have turned their backs on the vigilantes that had protected them before – with impending nuclear war on the horizon, they have simply accepted that they cannot be saved. Well that’s the basic synopsis… Trying to keep this spoiler free!

The film’s first part is narrated (through diary entries) of a masked vigilante named ‘Rorshach’ (Haley), a tormented soul dedicated to seeking out and ridding the cities of criminals, murderers and rapists. As the sole member of Watchmen still operating at the start of the film, he is disappointed that the others (most notably Dreiberg) had given up their mantles long before.

Supporting characters, are fellow members Dan Dreiberg, a tired, bloated Batman-esque former hero. Lost, and at a crossroads over his retirement from vigilantism. Laurie, daughter of a past heroine. And Dr Jon Osterman, a former scientist, who after a freak accident becomes a powerful being capable of controlling matter at his will. The rest is rounded up by former enemies, love interests, and probably the worst portrayal of former US president Richard Nixon ever committed to film. Let alone the comically oversized schnozz.

To be frank, there are some really strong performances. The sore thumb is most certainly Jackie Earle Haley as Kovacs/Rorschach. Who is not your average, friendly crime fighter. An emotionally uncomfortable man with a knack for breaking digits, Haley delivers a genuine fluidity through some of Rorschach’s most nightmarish of scenes.

The screenplay fully encapsulates the graphic novel more or less frame by frame. There are some differences that will certainly alienate a great deal of fans of the book – but in terms of keeping true to source, Snyder hasn’t really done a bad job here. Minor spoiler – One abundant aspect I took notice of was that the group are frequently referred to as ‘Watchmen’. Although, they were never referred to that name in the book – ironically, at the first meeting of the group they are labelled as the Crimebusters.

The story is full of ambiguity, and this is one of those examples. I believe this was Snyder’s way of avoiding confusion with audiences not familiar with the book.

Of course there’s a lot of CG, but it’s not over-utilized where it becomes stale and boring. A rare find is a big summer film whose story isn’t farted on constantly by green screen and computer effects – so it earned Watchmen some points in my view. Cinematography by Larry Fong is also very cleverly in-sync and much akin to the book’s frame flow.

A decent popcorn flick for the film buff, but it’s complexity and more risqué tones than your standard Superhero movie may not make Watchmen everyone’s cup of tea.

7/10


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