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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Movie Talk - The Amazing Spider-Man Duology

After finishing Mass Effect: Andromeda (I’ll talk about that soon), it’s time to get to these two movies. We’re this close to another Spider-Man movie coming out. The first reactions are out and they’re saying that it’s good. I probably will see it. Since some critics I follow have said good things about it, I may do it.

Last time, I looked at Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. While its last movie wasn’t good, it was cool revisiting it. When I heard that Sony was going to reboot Spider-Man, I was kind of shocked. While Spider-Man 3 was a disappointment, you’d think that Sony would continue with what they were doing. Unfortunately (for most fans), that wasn’t meant to be since Sony and Sam Raimi couldn’t agree on what to do next. When Raimi left, Sony went on and decided to reboot the whole thing with a new origin and new actors. Director Marc Webb was brought on to direct the two movies.

The Amazing Spider-Man was released in 2012 while its sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, was released in 2014. I didn’t see any of these movies at the cinemas. I almost saw the first one in theaters, but I think I was already off the Spidey train at that point. I did eventually see bits and pieces of it on some cable channel one night. As for TASM2, the word of mouth kept from that one. I still remember Spoony’s epic 2 hour rant about the thing. By the way, whatever happened to that dude? Anyway, I finally watched these movies over the week.


The Amazing Spider-Man
We all know this story: nerdy boy gets bitten by radioactive spider. Boy loses uncle to crime. Boy decides to fight crime as well as find the killer who killed said uncle. Boy flirts with pretty blonde girl... oh, it is a little different, ain’t it?

Anyway, high schooler, Peter Parker, has questions about his dead parents. While on a trip to Oscorp to meet Dr. Curt Connors, he gets bitten by a genetically-engineered spider. He gains extraordinary powers but doesn’t know what to do with them yet. After his uncle is killed, he decides to hunt for the killer and ends up becoming a vigilante named Spider-Man. Not only does have deal with a sweet blonde by the name of Gwen Stacy, he also has to deal with the police and a new threat called The Lizard.
Tell me that these two aren't cuter than Peter/MJ! Tell me!

While this reboot wasn’t necessarily needed, I did think it was a fine movie. I thought the movie was well-cast for the most part. It’s not every day where you get the President of the United States as Uncle Ben. I thought Andrew Garfield was pretty good as Peter/Spider-Man. While I did like Tobey Maguire’s version, I do kind of like Garfield’s version a little better. It’s just a matter of taste to me since I felt both versions played up different aspects of Spider-Man in general. I also thought Emma Stone was nice as Gwen Stacy. While their relationship was kind of rushed, those two were good together.
I now feel compelled to play some basketball... not sure why.

The story is your now-standard origin story. It is more grounded (for a superhero movie) than Raimi’s trilogy but there is fun to be had. I did like some aspects that were added like the backstory of Peter’s parents. I thought it was also cool to see the Lizard in a movie even though he wasn’t handled too well. I also like that that they showed that Peter was incredibly smart with a lot of the things he does here. The action was pretty good overall. The fight scene at the school was my favorite one from the movie and the final fight was nice. Peter’s costume was okay, though. I felt like grabbing a basketball and playing “HORSE” afterwards.
Man, the guy has the face that only a mother would love...

While I liked the film, it has some pitfalls. While I liked that the Lizard was used, he wasn’t used to great effect. His motives weren’t really clear but I remember that some key scenes involving him were deleted out of the film. Also, what was up with that face? Anyway, the pacing could sometimes be off. It felt like we took too long to get to Peter doing his webslinging thing. I also felt that some things were rushed like Peter and Gwen’s relationship and Connor’s quick descent into madness. Other than those things and some nitpicks, this was fine. I can’t say it’s better than Raimi’s first movie, but it’s not a bad reboot.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Next up is the 2014 film. It takes place a year after the events of the first movie. Peter has graduated high school. His time as Spider-Man is also going well. Unfortunately, other things aren’t going too well. His relationship wit Gwen is strained because he doesn’t want her in danger. Harry Osborn comes back into Peter’s life with some startling news. Then, there is a threat from a new super-powered dude called Electro. There’s also the ongoing story of what his father was really up to at Oscorp. You could throw the Rhino in there but he really has no bearing on anything. In the end, you have another bloated movie.
Okay, this scene was pretty nice.

So, where do I begin? After a pretty decent start with the previous movie, we get this. While it was another poor attempt by Sony, it has some merit to it. I did think it was once again well-casted for the most part. Garfield and Stone were good as Peter and Gwen. When he was actually threatening, I did think that Jamie Foxx wasn’t a bad Electro. At times, the story could be good. The action scenes were good as usual but not too much stood out to me this time. Spidey’s and Electro’s final fight was cool, though. Lastly, Peter’s costume was really good. To me, it’s the best of the live-action versions.

Now, here are the pitfalls. The story wasn’t bad but there was too much going on here in a 2+ hour movie. They actually had more to throw in this movie like another Mary Jane, but she got cut out.  You had Electro’s origin, Harry’s problems, Peter’s relationship issues, and the whole thing with Peter’s dad. Most of it doesn’t get fleshed out too well.  Peter and Gwen’s relationship was a little too “will they-won’t they” at times. At least they still looked adorable. There is a scene between them at the end that does fall flat to me, though. It could be the fact that I knew about it beforehand, but even then, it probably would have still felt flat to me.
Friend!

The whole thing with Peter’s dad could have been handled better as well. The villains especially get the worst of it. Their turn to the dark side was really rushed. I thought Foxx’s portrayal of Max Dillon (Electro) before he got his powers was weird. It wasn’t even that funny. While I kind of liked Dane McHann’s Harry Osborn, the movie didn’t do him any favors. Man, he looked ugly towards the end.  I will say their “team-up” was better set up than Venom’s and Sandman’s team up.  
I knew he reminded me of someone! 

The tone was also puzzling. It didn’t mesh much with the previous movie’s tone. While that’s not a bad thing, this thing gets a little too silly at times. Even the previous trilogy didn’t go as far as this does. Also, I kind of wasn’t a fan of the score here. I liked that they tried to use something other than an orchestral score, but the dubstep was a bit much at times. Overall, while it had some good things here and there, this was disappointing. I don’t even know if it’s better than Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man: Hey, it's another villain with an ugly face! How do I keep running into these guys?

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In the end, the second Spider-Man film series wasn’t that good. It had some promise here and there, but it does pale in comparison to most superhero films out there including its predecessor. Sony was really banking on the second one to do good but that wasn’t meant to be. At least the character is sort of back at Marvel. It seems like Sony wants to carry on with some elements of Spider-Man like a new Venom movie. Whether that thing works is a guess. Well, I’m off. I got some other things to take care of. Until then, Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there. 

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