Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of the Convoluted Everything

I know it's late to the party but I have some thoughts about Amazing Spider-Man 2 that I 'm gonna share because I can do that since it's my blog.

Sure Spidey acts like a bit of a dick, but most superheroes are dicks really. I mean, the only reason we put up with Iron Man's ass-dickery is because Robert Downey Jr. is so charming and charismatic and chill in the role. Even when he's behaving like a total tool. So, we not only forgive him but actually love him for it.
Tony Stark. Corporate tool.

Okay, I guess you could say that Spidey's dickery is a bit different because of Electro. When he was being kind of a dick by telling Max that he was his 'eyes and ears', this douchey behaviour ultimately led Max on his path from obsessed creepy comb-over stalker to obsessed creepy light bulb super villain who thinks the superhero wronged him.

I mean, Tony Stark sorta kinda maybe created the villain in Iron Man 3 when he acted like a dick by saying he'd meet Killian and listen to his science stuff and then didn't. But hey, that guy was a loser scientist with bad hair no one took seriously that is obsessed with the hero. Which is completely different to Electro, who was a loser scientist with a comb-over no one took seriously that is obsessed with the hero.

But there's no way Spider-Man could have known that of all the millions of people in New York, he was telling the one obsessed fan who will take those words too strongly to heart and then turn into a supervillain who can throw electricity, right? I mean, it's not like ol' Webhead had any reason to believe that the fictional universe he inhabits seriously believes in karma and would punish him severely for being a dick or lying to someone?


Some critics, like the good people over at Cracked, have noted that there are several aspects of the Amazing Spider-Man movies which make little sense. Like the way in which Spider-Man doesn't seem all that beat up that uncle Ben died, perhaps because he was kinda bad at dealing out advice since he avoided a certain phrase which could have easily distill the importance of being responsible with power? Or how terrible Peter Parker is at picking up on obvious foreshadowing. Or how he completely lacks the ability to be be part of a coherent series of events, kinda like how the paragraphs in this blog are arranged in no real order. 

For instance, while interviewing 'Spidey' for Amazing Spider-Man 2, an interviewer noted that "last week you fought Electro, who was mad at you for missing his birthday. After you defeated him, you went
home and watched TV for a while. Then you decided to investigate your father's disappearance because you were mad at his briefcase."

Which is like starting at A, then jumping past to 29, before skipping back to Q, stopping around Y, and then heading off to llama, because fuck coherence or trying to give any reason for why things are happening. They just happen, deal with it.

"I have no idea why any of this is happening. Or what even is happening. Am I the bad guy yet? Do I still have to become the bad guy? Was this comb-over necessary to highlight my character was originally a loser or just a cruel joke? 

Now, I actually enjoyed the movie despite its many, many, many flaws. It was fun. It was Spider-Man. Like the aspects of Spider-Man that make him who he is. He was funny. Like actually funny in the way he stopped crime.

That scene in the beginning where he's trying to stop the canisters from falling out the truck, trapping them with webs, grabbing them with any limb he can, saying "oh, no you don't" and "come here". Hilarious.

And it's exactly how Spidey, the Spider-Man I have in my head that makes him different to all other superheroes, would do it. With humour and fast quips.

"Gotcha! ... Okay, now what?
I'm dangling from a web here with like a bazillion canisters of something... radioactive? I don't know."

And Spidey moves like he does in the comics, limps twisting and body contorting like a spastic ballerina in the sky as he swings over head, while a couple of the fight sequences were possibly some of the best in a Spider-Man movie, and yes that includes the original Raimi trilogy (I know of the blasphemy which I speak).

I even liked the now-loathed Electro soundtrack which I thought was an interesting decision that actually tried to do something different in terms of soundtracks in superhero movies. Maybe that's why people didn't like it, since it was kinda weird and sorta broke your immersion in the movie by having lyrics relating to how the character was feeling sung progressively louder as he got angrier over dubsteb, but it was nice to see them try something different even if it didn't quite work.
Sorry, it didn't work out Electro, but hey you can put the lyrics, "No one likes my music, they're making fun of me" in your next soundtrack.

The relationship between Peter and Gwen hit a number of solid emotional beats and felt more 'real' than Weepy Parker and Mary-Jammed-Stiff, although their relationship seems really unhealthy and at times, Peter is pretty much a dick to her. That's because he kept alternating between pinning over her and loving her in an obsessed fashion or just blowing her off because of a half-arsed attempt to keep his promise to her dead father. Which, by the way, is a promise he doesn't really plan to keep anyway because like he says, the best kind of promises are those that you can't keep. Because that's supposed to be endearing and cute, not a full-on confession that he is a guy who can't keep promises he doesn't want to and therefore, his word doesn't really mean all that much, which is an odd character trait for a superhero to have.

But that's not really a problem is it?

[Oh, I get it! These paragraphs were meant to be the opening paragraphs and this leads on to the paragraphs  about being a dick he actually put first. But why would he arrange it like that? It makes no sense.]
This picture of Spider-Man holding a loudspeaker and standing on the roof of a police car is presented for some reason.
We think. Possibly.

So, Spidey probably should have known that being an asshole or breaking your promise, like promising to pick up your aunt but then not picking up your aunt, only ends with karma making you its bitch [Oh, now he's back to the dick thing, it's like trying to pick up the plot-lines of a movie that doesn't really care how or when different parts of the story are told. Why is he writing it like that? Is that a veiled comment on the movie?] and the death of a loved one.

Didn't he see the first movie? I mean, it's based on his life.

And since karma is apparently a real thing in this fictional universe, Harry Osborn must have done something terrible for what happens to him. And I mean, like just horrible. He must be, like, the worst person ever. In the history of things existing. Because how else do you explain why this happened to him?
Wow, um... wow. Ah, I am so sorry, Harry. If there is anything I can do to alleviate your suffering let me know.
There's um, there's a shotgun in the trunk...

And all of these bad things, of which there are so many it's not really possible to elaborate on them all (we haven't even got to the Peter's Golden Token to the Subway of Anti-Climatic Revelations or how Rhino looks like he got lost on the way from his trailer on the latest Transformers movie), ruined what really could have been a great Spider-Man movie.

But wait, let's go back to that point about Rhino just because. Rhino is just a guy in a giant mechanical tank that is shaped like a rhino for reasons, I guess. Because there's no reason it needs to be shaped like a rhino in the movie since it's essentially just a tank with legs.

In the comics, his suit gives him super strength and thick skin with a horn on his head that he uses to smash things. Of course, there is no real practical reason for him to be a rhino other than to give Spider-Man more animal themed villains but at least his suit had rhino-like qualities. Even in the Ultimates line of comics, where his suit is also essentially just a big tank with legs, he uses it like a rhino- to smash things head on with his horn.

Paul Giamatti's Transformer-Rhino has guns and shoots missiles. So, why does it need to look like a rhino, again? It could just be shaped like a tank. Since that's what it is. It has machine guns. Why would he ever need to use his horn when he has machine guns?
Seriously, though. What about this screams 'rhino' to the Oscorp evil scientists who made it?
He has guns on top of his guns!

Yes... so, The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of the Clusterfuck could have been a great Spider-Man movie, if they let it be a Spider-Man movie. Andrew Garfield is a great Spider-Man despite his character being an asshole. No, really, he is. He trades quips as he's trading punches, mocking the villains and talking incessantly in order to confuse or frustrate them. All good things. But they didn't let it be a Spider-Man movie.

Instead, as many people have pointed out, it was instead supposed to kick off the Spidey-verse megafranchise, leading on to a Sinister Six movie, because it would be awesome to watch Spider-Man's rogue's gallery shoot the shit while they discuss how they're going to kill Spider-Man, and then potentially a Venom spin-off because Venom. And this scuppered the film's chances or ever telling a proper story because it tried to juggle a bazillion different things and failed miserably.

Not even failed spectacularly, when there is some redemption in the attempt even if it didn't work. It failed so hard it makes people sad. Because there were elements there, like Spidey being a wise-ass, like Peter and Gwen's twisted but heartfelt relationship, like the better parts of the fights scenes, like the nice little touch of the web reaching out like a hand to catch Gwen when she's falling, that could have been awesome and actually amazing, finally delivering on the promise explicit in the very title of the movie.

But it wasn't.

Also, Gwen died.
I won't lie. Even though I knew it was coming, I cried.

Actually that was a better part of the movie.

But you know, whatever, something something Sinister Six.


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This introduction is supposed to let you know that you have found the correct Caleb. 

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