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Spidey

My husband and I caught The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theaters on the Saturday after it opened and we were both incredibly happy with just about every part of the film, including the shock at the end.  A week later, I read an article on Cracked.com that tore down everything I loved about the movie, took a dump on it, and then set it on fire.  Financially, it’s not as successful as other superhero films, but it’s still raking in millions upon millions.  Critically, it’s catching hell from fans and critics alike, with an average rating of about 5 out of 10.  The few people I personally know who have seen it don’t have many positive things to say about it.  It seems as though I’m among the very small minority who disagrees with the points made by Cracked.com.

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Point #1:  “It’s a bizarre homage to the worst Batman movie.”

Apparently the Green Goblin and Poison Ivy are the same person, if the writers at Cracked are to be believed.  Jamie Foxx’s Electro was also too similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze for the Cracked staff, who were unimpressed with two characters who “gained elemental powers in accidents involving their own scientific research.”  And, like many people, they did not understand why Paul Giamatti appeared as villain Rhino.

I thought Harry Osborn’s transformation into the Green Goblin was perfect.  He was wrecked, but not overdone, making him look more menacing than I thought possible.  To compare him to Batman’s bright redheaded Poison Ivy is simply stupid.  As is the Electro/Mr. Freeze comparison.  Spider-Man 2 wasn’t written on a whim, it is based on the comics.  It’s silly to fault the movie for being similar to another when the characters in question are pulled from comics that have existed for years.  As far as Rhino goes, I do understand how some could be confused.  Not familiar with the comics myself, I had to have my husband explain the Sinister Six to me.  But even not knowing that, I found it painfully obvious that the introduction of Rhino was done with the sole intent to set up future films.  It made perfect sense to give the fans a few hints of what is coming in the next movie or two.  You know, like virtually every other superhero movie is doing nowadays.

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Point #2:  “The costume design stepped backward.”

Again, Cracked took a stab at Green Goblin, saying he resembled “a bionic Evil Ed from the 1980s vampire flick Fright Night.”  They were also unimpressed with the changes to Spider-Man’s suit.  The eyes on the mask have enlarged and are bright white, which stays true to the Ultimate Spider-Man comics but differs from the first film in this reboot.  The logo on the chest was tweaked and made to look similar to Sam Raimi’s design; it was meant as an homage to Raimi.  The color is a bit darker and richer.  He has a belt.  Belts are the worst.

To be quite honest, I didn’t even notice the changes to Spidey’s costume until reading that article.  I saw nothing wrong with the design whatsoever and was not put off by the fact that the costume changed without explanation.  The story wasn’t affected one way or the other by what shade of blue was used in the suit and I wasn’t put off by not knowing why Peter decided to change.  The belt makes sense, as it’s in the comics and gives Spider-Man a place to store extra webbing.  As far as Green Goblin goes, I’m not familiar with the character in Fright Night that Cracked compared him to, but I found his transformation to be fantastic.  Dane Dehaan proved in Chronical that he can go from sweet to scary at the drop of a hat, and his shift from Harry into the Goblin was on point.

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Point #3:  “The return of the “hip 1990s soundtrack” trend.”

According to Cracked, the days of top 40 songs meshing with superhero movies are over.  Batman Forever’s soundtrack, which was always a favorite of mine, gave us Kiss From A Rose by Seal.  Batman and Robin featured R. Kelly’s song about Gotham City.  The Cracked writers point out that this trend ended with 2002’s Spider-Man, after Nickelback and Macy Gray failed to find success with their soundtrack contributions.  For Amazing Spider-Man 2, Hans Zimmer put together “The Magnificent Six,” which consists of Pharell Williams, Michael Einziger, Junkie XL, Andrew Kawczynzki, Johnny Marr, and Steve Mazzaro.  One of their most notable contributions was the hard dubstep that played while Electro was on-screen, featuring narrations of the actions to the beat of the music.  Cracked did not approve.

I am going to buy this soundtrack.  I might buy two copies.  Electro is a powerful character, of that there is no doubt.  Having hard electronica playing while he attacks Spider-Man and the city was brilliant.  Having the narration, which to me was what was going on in his mind as he made the shift from reluctant victim of circumstance to a super villain, was a genius move.  I left the theater commenting on how whoever was in charge of the soundtrack and sound editing should win all the awards.  I stand by that.  The soundtrack made the movie so much more than it was by itself.

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Point #4:  “The plot was basically Spider-Man 3.”

Spider-Man 3 had three super villains with coincidental connections to Peter prior to their origins, a breakup between Peter and Mary-Jane, new revelations concerning Uncle Ben’s death, the introduction of Gwen Stacy, and an alien parasite that changes Peter’s behavior.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had three super villains with connections to Peter prior to their origins, a breakup between Peter and Gwen, new revelations concerning Peter’s parents’ deaths, and the introduction of Felicia Hardy.  Same movie, according to Cracked.

I feel as if no one understood that this is A MOVIE BASED ON A COMIC.  A movie based on existing material in a universe where taking all sorts of creative liberties is frowned upon.  A movie that is rebooting a movie series we just saw ten years ago.  Of course there are going to be similarities.  Of course the story is going to be repetitive when compared to another movie that was trying to tell the same damn story.  I don’t know what the hell they expected.  A Gwen and Peter wedding?  A rewrite of villain back stories so there is no connection to Peter?  Mary Jane?!?

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This was a fun and exciting movie that allowed me to escape the real world for 2 1/2 hours and leave the theater with a smile on my face.  It successfully told the story of how Harry fell out with old friend, Peter, becoming his enemy and desiring revenge.  It successfully told the story of Gwen and Peter, which ultimately had to end because of what has already been written about Peter’s love life.  It successfully gave us the rise and fall of Electro, who Foxx turned into quite the dynamic character.  It successfully set up future films.  If you want to sit and nitpick at a movie based on a dude who got superpowers from a spider, have at it.  Personally, I find it much more satisfying to simply shut my mouth and enjoy the ride.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on May 19, 2014, in TV/Movies, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Maybe they would have liked Electro better if he had been the result of one of the Red Skull’s attempts to create the Aryan dream soldier (from the 1990s Spider-man cartoon), complete with dipshit costume with a lightning starfish on his face.

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