Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SPIDER-MOVIE - EPILOGUE: The Final Spider-word

Well that's it folks.  At this point I've basically made every major argument that I was going to make as to why 'The Amazing Spider-man' is a better Spidey film than ANY that preceded it.  If I haven't convinced you at this point, I probably never will.  But even if you're adamantly sticking by Raimi's side, I still feel its only fitting to wrap this little series of mine up with a few final words.

There were a number of things that I really liked about TASM that I was never able to work into any of my arguments, or that weren't worthy of an entire 10+ pages of writing each, like the rest of my posts (I got a bit carried away.  I may have a problem).

So without further ado, I give you...


First up:

MUSIC TO MY EARS (James Horner)
A good soundtrack can really bolster a film, and this was no exception for me.  One of the big complaints a lot of fans had was that Horner's score didn't have anything you could hum to, unlike Danny Elfman's offerings.   This is not true.  I mean, I suppose we can agree to disagree all we like on this, but 'something I can hum to' would usually imply the presence of a melody of some kind.  And Spider-man definitely had a melody to accompany him in TASM. 

The music as Spidey swung across the city on his way to fight the lizard held the very definition of a melody (ie., it had a tune), and it was triumphant, and it was epic. The rest of the musical score, which acted as general background accompaniment for the different scenes throughout the film, was thoughtfully done, with recurring themes, and sweeping orchestral punctuations.

Was it better than Danny Elfman's score for the first two Spidey films?  Overall, I thought so, but I have no argument as to why you should agree with me; I hardly consider myself a real musician. 

To me, this is really more of a hobby

I still think Elfman's opening credits score is pretty nifty, but I found the rest of the score to be simply adequate, and find I don't particularly seek it out on my iTunes list.  I'm willing to admit that my opinion on this is entirely subjective, but that's how I feel.

Second on my list is...

THE BETTER BULLY (Flash Thompson)
This one I have much stronger feelings about.  I wanted to touch on the subject of Flash in my last post, but decided against it when I realized I was going to pass the 12 page mark. But this is one character that often gets overlooked, or even looked down upon, by a lot of viewers.  And it shouldn't be, damn it.

The thing a lot of people (even hard core fans) forget is that he's not just a simple bully.  Sure, he started out as a mean spirited jock who (in some tellings) would beat up 'Puny Parker', but he actually did grow beyond that.  At the end of the day Flash was never really so much evil as he was hotheaded and arrogant.  Eventually he grew up, realized he had been a dick all that time, and even became friends with Peter.  The trap that Raimi fell into was in depicting Flash as nothing more than an 80's stereotype.

That's a man suffering from 'lunch money withdrawal' if I ever saw one.

"Oh right! Like Webb's version was so much better?  Are you forgetting the scene where Flash punches Pete out in front of the school?"

No, I wasn't forgetting.  But I also remember this scene.

Another fight? It must be character development!

In Raimi's film we essentially have one significant scene featuring flash, and all of his screen time serves as an example of how truly irredeemable he is.  In Webb's film he's given three major character beats with one 'epilogue' scene.  In each scene we see a development of the relationship between Peter and Flash.

  • Scene 1: Flash punches Pete. Peter is powerless and Flash is a jerk.
  • Scene 2: Pete humiliates Flash.  Peter shows he has a backbone and Flash comes out a bit more chastised than usual.
  • Scene 3:  Flash, in a moment of humanity, reaches out to Pete in an attempt at manly reconciliation.  Respect is shown.
  • Epilogue scene: Flash thinks Spider-man is awesome.  Oh, and he and Pete are cool now.

Although the film doesn't end with the two boys being bosom pals it does lead to a resolution of their conflict, leaving room for the possibility of a closer friendship in the future. 

I'm not saying it's the most profound character arc that's ever existed, but it is an arc.   Conversely, this... also character develompent?

is a caricature.

Even the most jaded of Spider-Raimi fans will admit that TASM has better Spidey-acrobatic visuals.  And then they will flaunt it, as if it strengthens their argument.  They will claim that the new, more technically proficient, special effects are cold and without feeling, whereas the older, and notably dated, FX sequences from the first films have character.  Because those films were about ART and a LOVE FOR THE SOURCE MATERIAL, man.

Those people are wrong, primarily for two reasons.

REASON ONE:  the Special effects are better. Period.

"Older is better" is a perfectly valid argument for visual effects films Like 'Star Wars' or 'Indiana Jones', where physical stunts and puppet work are actually feasible.  Spider-man, however, is a superhero with powers beyond those of mortal men, and he swings between skyscrapers.  One of the reasons so many comic movies have been made in the last 12 years is because the technology capable of reproducing what the comics promised has only just been invented.

CGI isn't evil when it means creating something that practical effects can't accomplish.  To that end, it is ALSO false to say that older CGI has more character than newer offerings.  If anything the exact opposite is true.  Older is only (so far) better when it has to do with something like this...

Original Yoda
versus this...

'New and improved' Yoda

The first one feels more life-like because he/it is actually a REAL tangible object.  A puppet.  The other one feels like a cartoon that's trying to fool you, because that's exactly what it is.  Hence, puppet Yoda is better.

Both Spidey films used CGI, and in those regards the only thing that matters is who does it better, and TASM did it better because the technology has improved.  Period  If you still want to argue that the new film is soulless, then go to town, but to blame it on the CGI doesn't hold up.

REASON TWO: In spite of the odds, TASM actually has more practical effects.

For all my bluster about how it's impossible to film Spider-man using anything less than computer generated imaging, it turns out that I was wrong.  Sort of.  TASM actually has a BOATload of practical effects and stunt work where the previous films used CGI.

When I first watched TASM I noticed that many of Spider-man's 'slinging scenes' were significantly more advanced and realistic looking.  And obviously some of that is because (as I said) the technology is just better now, and it's not really fair to fault Raimi for that.  Now imagine my surprise when I decided to watch the featurettes on my Blu-Ray set only to find that a BUNCH of the scenes (which I had assumed to be computer generated) were in fact performed by actual stunt-men.  It would seem that part of the reason it looked so realistic is because it was, like the Yoda puppet, REAL.

So yeah.  Not only are the Spidey scenes in TASM superior due to advancing tech, but also because they DIDN'T rely on computers whenever they could get away with it.  Something I had assumed was impossible.

[Yes, I'm aware that some of the effects in Raim's film were also practical.  But Webb accomplished (in my opinion) a lot more without the use of computers, and THAT is what I find so impressive.] 

THE PLAYERS (also known as 'the cast')
I'll cut right to the chase on this one.  Cast vs. Cast.

  • Tobey Maguire vs. Andrew Garfield, as Peter Parker/Spider-man:  I'm not gonna bash Tobey, because I actually do think he did some really good work on the character.  But I do think he was tremendously miscast.  It's sort of like Michael Keaton.  I like him.  I liked his work in Batman.  But he's still not really an appropriate choice for the character. Andrew actually kind of LOOKS like the character from the comics, (on top of the fact that I thought his performance was sublime).  I never thought Tobey did.  End of story.
  • Kirsten Dunst vs. Emma Stone, as Mary Jane & Gwen Stacy:  This would be an excellent opportunity for me to get REALLY mean, but I'm going to hold back.  All I AM going to say is that I never once believed in Kirsten Dunst's portrayal of MJ. Bad characterization aside (it's not Dunst's fault she was written poorly) it was still her job as an actor to convince us that she was experiencing whatever was in the script.  In this she failed.  She failed so very miserably, and it made me exponentially more upset as the series progressed.   Suffice to say, I prefer Emma Stone as an actress, and I'd prefer her as either Gwen or MJ.   Gwen is who Emma was assigned to, and the result was excellent. And that's that.
  • Willem Dafoe vs. Rhys Ifans, as the Green Goblin & The Lizard: Both of these men are incredible actors.  They kick so much acting ass that I can't really tell you which I prefer, never mind that they played entirely different characters.  I don't think Norman Osborn (played by Dafoe) was perfectly handled by the writers or director, but as far as Dafoe's performance is concerned it was never dull.  Likewise Ifans is an incredible actor who brought real weight to his role.  Good work gentlemen.  Please keep doing what you're doing.
  • Cliff Robertson vs. Martin Sheen, as Uncle Ben:  I liked Sheen's Ben better only because of the writing.  Both men produced solid performances.  'Nuff said.
  • Rosemary Harris vs. Sally Field, as Aunt May:  First I just want to say that I thought both Women did really good work in their portrayals of this character.  I did prefer the character arc and relationship with May & Peter as seen in TASM, BUT Sally Field also had better scenes and dialogue to work with.  Some of Rosemary Harris' lines were just AWFUL or boring.  Often both.  Seriously, go back and listen to her lines and then subtract Rosemary's inflections and performance. Her lines are just wretched, and sounds nothing like how real old ladies talk.  And in SPITE of having TERRIBLE material to work with she gave a PHENOMINAL performance wrought with more heart, soul, and genuine-tear-jerking honesty than I have seen in most actors.  She did all that with a WRETCHED script.  As such, Rosemary Harris (for performance as Aunt May) wins against Ms. Field.  But it was a close call.

SPIDER-BATTLES: Injuries and consequences
I never really noticed before in the previous films but Spider-man really takes a hell of a beating at times, and yet he seems to come out of his costume relatively unscathed.  Realistically even the most durable crime fighter (besides Superman) would leave a battle with at least a few scrapes and bruises.  But besides the cut on Peter's arm in 'Spider-man' (which served a specific plot function), Pete seemingly came out from his battles with nary a black eye or bruised ribcage to show for it.  In 'The Amazing Spider-man' Pete would come home with bruises and cuts all over his face, and there were real emotional consequences as a result.

It's just the little attention to details that really helped bring me into the film, not to mention the touching 'egg scene' I talked about last time.

Oh gosh. I can feel the tears welling up again.

I thought it would be interesting to tally up all the grades I gave for each of the subjects I covered and give each film an average grade.

Let's go over them again shall we?  The following are all of the topics I covered, and the grades (between 1 and 10) assigned to each director's film/s.

The importance of the origin story, a comparison between both films, and which one did it better.
WEBB: 10

Concerning the topic of Peter's status and depiction as an outcast (commonly as a nerd) in the comics, and how each film executed the subject.
WEBB: 10

A look at who the hero is once the mask goes on, why he acts the way he does, and which film successfully showed the contrast between Spidey and his alter ego (Peter, in case you know nothing about the character, but have for some reason decided to read my blog anyway).
RAIMI: 6.5
WEBB: 10

A look at the two leading ladies of Spider-man's life, and which relationship was more engaging to watch.  And a look AT many of their 'tastefully drawn' images.
WEBB: 10

The title is pretty self-explanatory.  I gave each villain two marks; One for their effectiveness as an over-all villain, and another for their effectiveness as 'the first villain in a larger series'.

First as a general villain
RAIMI: 7.5

Then as the 'first villain'

In my final entry I compared the two films beyond their attributes as just comic book movies (as much as possible anyhow), and looked at them as just films in their own right.  Much like with my critique about the villains, I gave each movie two marks.  One for how they worked as stand-alone films, and a second for how effectively they work as a 'first chapter' to the rest of their respective franchises.

First as a stand-alone film
RAIMI: 6.5

Then as a 'Pilot' film
RAIMI: 4.5
TASM: 10

After working out the average for each film based on my scores, it looks like...


And you know what?  That feels about right.  Neither film was entirely without flaws if you want to look deep enough, but TASM just works better for me on a whole and I think it earned a 9 pretty fairly.  Conversely, 'Spider-man' works as a light popcorn romp, but is wrought with flaws that stop it from being taken too seriously.

WRAPPING THINGS UP (for the last time)
First, I just want to clarify, as a Spidey fan I do actually enjoy the Raimi flicks.  The whole point of my obsessive ranting on the subject was to touch on all the reasons why many of the criticisms regarding the newest flick are, perhaps, unfair and based purely on a biased love for the films that first brought our beloved web-head to the big screen in the first place.

I'm sure many of you (for the most part) don't really care what I think, but after getting a number of overly vitriolic online comments about my intellect simply because of my preferences (ie.  "Anyone stupid enough to think TASM is better has no taste" or "These people.  These sheep. They'll like anything new and shiny!"), I couldn't help leap in and list off some reasons why it's not fair to simply write the film off as a failure.

I'd also like to be clear that I am rating these films as COMIC BOOK MOVIES.  I've had a couple people point out that none of the Spidey films truly deserves a 10 point rating, especially compared to films such as 'The Shawshank Redemption", or "A Bridge Too Far" (or whatever).  They have a point, but I'm not comparing 'The Amazing Spider-man' to 'The Godfather'.  I'm comparing it to other Spider-man/comic book movies.  Based on that I don't have any issue giving these movies a higher rating than they otherwise might get.

Having gotten that out of the way, I am now officially done.  It's been a blast writing these, but I've said all I would ever care to say on the subject and more (movie forums notwithstanding).  For everyone who has been reading along, commenting, and messaging me with questions and suggestions, I thank you.  Without your continued support I doubt I would have been able to complete the series.

I'd like to offer a special thanks to my Dad who helped me immeasurably by proofreading each of these entries.  Anyone who's read even ONE of my posts knows that they are very long, and there are very few people willing to endure 70+ pages of amateur film analysis.  Thanks Pop.

And, of course, I owe one final thank you to my wife, who put up with me stealing away to write these for several hours at a time.  Without her I probably would have written them anyway, but I would have been a lot less happy about it.  Thanks Babe (my wife's a babe, deal with it).

And I think that officially brings us to an end!  Until I find something else to go on a tangent about...

Cheers, thanks for reading, and a belated happy new year to you all.



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  2. An interesting, enlightening read for sure. I always wondered exactly WHAT was it that TASM lovers loved so much about it, and now I understand that a little better. I have to say, though, that many of my personal complaints were somewhat absent in your review, so I hope you don’t mind me listing them in my post. I wasn’t one of the people who were ready to hate the reboot, or who even groaned at another origin story. I wasn’t crazy about some changes, but they weren’t deal breakers to me. I liked the costume. It doesn’t bother me that there’s no wrestling, or even that Peter dresses punk-ish-ly. I liked Andrew Garfield, and one thing I MUST concede is that this was a much more compelling portrayal of the character itself. But that’s just it, the character is not the whole movie. And if there’s one word that perfectly sums up this story for me is… ‘sloppy’. It’s a sloppy product – tampered with, incomplete on purpose, vague on important parts and repetitive where it shouldn’t be. You finish watching Raimi’s SM1 and regardless of whatever details from the comics were left out, important as they were, you UNDERSTAND who Spider-Man is and what he’s all about. His uncle was killed because of him, and he has to atone for it. He won’t allow ever letting someone else be in danger because of him. And he can’t be with MJ because he’s learned a valuable lesson: ‘With great power’, etc. Yet you finish watching TASM and you still wonder – what did he mean with his “Promises you can’t keep” line (a question I ask because I REFUSE to accept he’s such a dick)? What’s the ONE, DECISIVE reason he’s being Spider-Man? Why is he so unpopular and friendless if he’s so cool and handsome and witty and funny? What was his parents’ real role in THIS movie, and why was I led to believe I should care? Why is a high school intern given such an important job in a huge corporation, was there a shortage of qualified college students? What the hell kind of an after-credits scene was that? And who the hell WAS that guy, why does the movie take for granted that I will return for the sequel and that I don’t want my answer and my money’s worth in THIS movie, not in another one 2 years down the line? Sure there’s potential for sequels… but goddamn, can’t movies be allowed to be MOVIES instead of freaking franchise-starters? Was it a crime to let this movie be as satisfying as it could be, as other 1st episode have been?

    About Peter’s smarts… sure there’s web shooters, but it’s hard for me to see how fans can be so happy with something that’s presented as nothing more than condescending fan service. “Oh, you want web shooters? Here’s a quick montage of him building them. That’s all we assume you need. Take a good peek, because for the rest of the movie it’s the one and only time you’ll see any difference between them being organic or mechanical.” They never integrate them into the story, they never go creative or take any risks with the element. They’re only focused on plot, plot, plot! “There’s no time for fun, we have to show him at Connors’ lab seeing the giant lizard rat!” How cool would it have been to see them being developed throughout the movie, with the fluid working like crap at first and maybe even being the reason he almost dies or something.

  3. (Continued from previous post)

    Also, Marvel boasts on and on about how Spidey is the most relatable superhero of them all. It’s true in the comics, because HIS problems are OUR problems. Girl problems, money problems, reputation problems, enmity problems, what have you. Well, this movie seems to say “Eff you, Parker’s BETTER than all of you. He’s 17 and already handling holograms in Oscorp like he’s Tony freaking Stark, helping find the formula for limb regrowth. You thought he represented YOU, the common folk? Dream on.” Where’s his struggle to help Aunt May pay the bills? Him having to deal with the media badmouthing him? I’d say that’s an integral part of the character as much as other elements. Cops going after him is not the same. They’re only pawns he has to beat up. The philosophy’s absent.

    I had no problem with the reworking of the “responsibility” line. Uncle Ben’s saying the same thing anyway, even if he uses different words. What annoys me is that it takes a giant mutant lizard for Peter to learn that with great power comes great responsibility, when he realizes he had a hand in creating it (in the bench scene). Is there need of something so outlandish and sci-fi-ish for him to learn such a simple human lesson?

    As for the villains, the Raimi movies at least gave them a context. After 9/11, you could have pointed at Green Goblin and thought “That’s a terrorist. A high-tech terrorist”, as simple as that. When the Lizard appears at the school – a giant, mutant Lizard, and naked to boot – all the students must have thought was “Wtf. Seriously, wtf?” The concept for the character is otherworldly, but the movie didn’t have to treat him as such. One second everything’s normal and mundane; the next, A HUGE MOTHER***ING LIZARD SHOWS UP, without build-up or warning or context… it’s like “Are you kidding me, movie? Am I supposed to not chuckle at this?”

    It goes on and on, and I don’t want to bore you (more). I just find it tragic that ‘Spider-Man 1’ is as undervalued as it is. Could you consider exchanging in your mind the portrayals of Peter from one movie to the other and still say TASM is a better movie with a better story? With a better understanding of the themes behind the character, if not his minutiae?

    Thx for reading, if you did.

    P.S: No disrespect... this is your blog, after all… but did you SERIOUSLY like the Horner score better than Elfman’s? Just… come on. (This coming from Jimmy Horner’s number one fan in the planet)

  4. Thanks Mario, and I certainly do not take any offence to your comments. If anything, I appreciate your thoughts.

    So, first up; Ultimately you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on a lot of things (nothing wrong with that). That said, I will try to address your points as best as I am able.

    My first question to you is; Did you read ALL of my posts? It's totally fine if you didn't, (as there are a lot of them [8 in total] and they do tend to be a bit lengthy) but I thought I did a pretty adequate job of a addressing a number of your issues. For the moment I'm going to assume you have read them.

    DANNY ELFMAN VS. JAMES HORNER: Yes I did prefer Horner. I don't think Elfman's is bad, just not as good as Horner's. I don't really have an argument beyond what I wrote in my post earlier, but that's how I feel.

    WHY CAN'T A MOVIE JUST BE A MOVIE: This was the point of what I was trying to get at with Part 7. You are correct, you can make a movie just as a standalone film and there isn't anything wrong with that. But it all depends on the stories you're trying to tell. Star Wars (the original series) is far better served as a SERIES, because it allows for broader themes to be explored without having to cram it into one film. Spider-man is a character that also works better (in my opinion) as a serial character. Why can't this just be a single standalone film? Because if it was then you wouldn't be able to explore any bigger themes. By making this a 'series starter' we can build to a way bigger climax in the subsequent sequels.

    Was 'Spider-man' a good movie? Despite the other flaws I pointed out, sure, I think so. There's obviously a reason I go back and re-watch it from time to time, but it didn't really leave itself a lot of room to grow for the sequels.

    Why does Spider-man/Peter have to take 'the whole film' to learn his lesson? Because it makes for better character pacing. I saw it that he was learning the importance of responsibility over the course of the film, like a dimmer switch, as opposed to an on/off switch. Why can't he 'just be a full fledged Spider-man' by the end of the film? Because (I think) it's more interesting to watch him continue to grow and learn from his mistakes. Very few people 'learn a lesson' and then just radically change. It takes time, and it's more rewarding if we get to see that.

    That said, all the rest of my points are going to be made with the understanding that I believe a serial franchise is a better match for a character like Spider-man than a series of standalone films.

    ISSUES BESIDES PETER: The thing is, I actually did discuss the other factors of the films besides the character of Peter.
    I prefer TASM's origin (which has to do with Peter obviously).
    I prefer the treatment of the romantic relationship in TASM (which I discussed in Part 5).
    I prefer the relationships in general actually. Everything from Uncle Ben, down to Flash Thompson.
    I preffered the pacing and integration of Peter's development as a character with the overall plot.
    And yes, I even preffered the Villain. Which I'll touch on next.


    VILLAINS: As I stated in part 6, I don't think the Lizard is a 'better villain' per se, but I do think he's a better first choice than the Green Goblin. The Green Goblin is a way better villain, but by the end of the first film he was dead. When you kill your main villain off right away it's really hard to build to a satisfying climax later on, and you can't tell me Spider-man 3 didn't suffer for it (well I guess you can, but I would disagree strongly). By using the Lizard first we get a good 'starter' challenge for Spider-man without having the franchise 'blow it's load' for the series prematurely.

    WEBSHOOTERS: I liked the mechanical webshooters just fine, and I also liked the organic ones. The Webshooters was never really a big deal for me in the first place. What I cared more about was seeing Peter apply his intelligence (which is a major factor in the comics). We did get a chance to see that in his battle with the Lizard, and daily in his life.

    IF HE'S SO COOL, WHY ISN'T HE TREATED AS SUCH: Because he's an outcast. That was the entire point of my post in Part 3. The writers used his emotional daddy issues to paint a portrait of why he would be so disconnected from his peers. Painting him as a Nerd isn't relevant today in the way it was back in 1962, so they made him into an outcast. I can totally relate to Peter, even though I'm not a genius, because I understand what it is to desire human connection, but not be comfortable reaching out as well. In fact I'd say a lot of people (even the popular kids) understand that on some level. That's what makes him relatable. Not his Powers. Not his intellect. Because those were never what made him relatable in the first place.

    Anyhoo. I'm looking over your post, and I think I've covered most of your points. I apologize for any incorrect spelling or grammar issues with my response, its a bit late for me and I don't have time to proofread.

    If I've missed anything, or you have any other points to make, I'd love to read them, and (if possible) would be more than happy to continue discussing this.

    Thanks again for your time.

  6. My pleasure.

    I did read them all. You do mention the issues, but you don’t delve too much into how they may also be weaknesses. Understandable, since you evidently don’t regard them as such. I mean, come on, you’re giving TASM grades of 8, 9 and 10.

    I’ll have to insist on the issue of Peter the Outcast. He’s unadjusted because of his abandonment issues – that I can take. But then he has no problem getting a girlfriend, or being a normal guy throughout the rest of the movie. There’s no moment when I can say “Aha, HERE’S when he acquires the social skill that he previously didn’t have.” It’s like he’s the same guy pre-Spidey and post-Spidey, but then why didn’t he get with Gwen sooner? Why didn’t he fight Flash’s bullying sooner? Shyness wasn’t the issue… but then, what was? They wanted to go a different way this time… “Let’s make him less of a wimp than Maguire, let’s make him cooler this time… no, no, but he HAS to be bullied as well. He HAS to be friendless as well.” If you take a different road, take it all the way. The movie’s very vague about what TYPE of person Peter is, and therefore we (I) don’t understand exactly why he behaves the way he does. I’ve NEVER met anyone like this Peter in my life – cool but shunned, hip but meek. The ‘real person in the real world’ factor just isn’t there. And that’s not an issue of the character’s differing versions from the comics, it’s just poor character work, in my opinion.

    About Peter’s relateability… Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The last man) said in an interview that, curiously, people relate more to characters when they have more particularities rather than when they’re generic everymen, and that’s true in Peter’s case, definitely. Still, there’s something about him already working with one of the world’s smartest men at 17 that crosses the line into “too much” for me. It’s like they’re removing him from the ground level, where I think he belongs, especially when I’m used to seeing him deal with so much mundane stuff, and taking him beyond reach, into improper futuristic sci-fi territory. Hard to explain. It’s one of many new things in the movie (along with the web shooters) that I think they went for just for the sake of them being new, not necessarily better or even necessary.

    Lastly, the planting of “seeds” for the saga… the parents thing… it’s a good idea, in theory. And while I’m not a fan of removing the “this could happen to anyone” aspect of the Spidey mythos, I can deal with it. It worked (kind of) well in the Ultimate comics. It CAN lead into interesting stuff in the sequel. And if they go for an “I’m in too deep, how do I get out of this?” theme in TASM 2 involving Norman, I’ll be pretty intrigued. But… did it work in THIS film? And I’m talking about TASM, not the as-of-yet unfinished Marc Webb Spidey trilogy. Just TASM, and TASM alone, potential for sequels be damned, because potential for sequels does not a movie make. Did we hear from the parents ever again after Peter got bitten? Is the theme of abandonment EVER brought up again after he becomes Spider-Man? Doesn’t it strike you as cheap that that was all the purpose they served, leading him to Oscorp and that’s that? I can’t stress enough just how unsatisfying and unforgivable that is to me, introducing something like it’s a big deal and then dropping it faster than a hot potato. It’s Movie-making 101. Bear in mind, Star Wars left the huge cliffhanger for its 2nd film, when people were already in for the ride, not the 1st one.

  7. I’ll say this last thing, because this is as good a place as any, and it’s concerning Dunst as MJ. People seem to REALLY hate her for whatever reason (‘Snaggletooth’? Give me a break, 16-year-old, let’s see YOUR girlfriend). But there’s the scene in SM1 when they’re in the hospital, and Peter practically tells her how he feels, and from the very look of her, you can see she realizes… “awkward monologue” aside, because if we’re gonna hate awkward monologues, whew, does Martin Sheen have a lot to apologize for… this is the guy she’s been hoping for, a guy who sees her for what she is, not what others want her to be. It’s not like her self-esteem was sky high to begin with - she NEEDED that. Everyone’s telling her just how little she’s worth, and this dude is letting her know she’s wonderful just as she is, simply by being herself. (Bear in mind, I don’t even take into account her transformation into a bitch in SM3. That movie sucks harder than a Dyson, and I’ll much sooner eat raw plantains than defend it).

    He loves her for no particular reason, you say? Well, sometimes… you just like people. You like their looks, you like their voice, their movements, the way they handle themselves. I know I have in the past, and the girls in question weren’t geniuses or brilliant artists. By that I mean that I have zero problems understanding why he likes her. Now, as to why he EXTRA-likes her… the way I see it, by being her neighbor for most of his life, he knows the side of her that she’s not showing people, and he digs it. He knows how frail and sensitive she is, and that endears him to her. Just imagine young “Interview with the Vampire”-aged Kirsten Dunst moving next door to you and growing up living next to her, knowing how much her dick dad makes her life hell. Yet she perseveres, she makes the best of her social situation, she makes friends at school, she pours herself into her acting (there’s your “gifted in the arts”). How do you not keep her in your radar? And while it’s true MJ doesn’t give Peter the time of day, well, he’s not giving her any reason to. But about the moment in question… it’s such a great, wonderful, poignant moment to me. For that moment, you stop seeing MJ as the mandatory love interest with the great boobs and you see her as a PERSON, a frail, insecure, but good-hearted person (or character) who needs validation just as much as anyone else. She comes alive, she becomes REAL to me. And while I understand that this MJ was a bit of a scream queen and wasn’t as curvaceous or as fiery or as strong-willed as her comic counterpart… I simply don’t understand how some people find zilch to appreciate there.

    That’s all. Sorry for the novel.

  8. FENSKE. Review The Amazing Spider-man sequel! :D I'd also love to here your insight on The Superior Spider-man comic series.