6 May 2014

The Spider's Feeling Blue

There’s so much about the second Spider-Man movie that I love that I almost don’t know where to start. To put it frankly- it’s a masterpiece.  A hero is, I suppose, judged against his nemeses and here we have a more-than-menacing villain for Spidey to be tested against and also possibly his most iconic. However, rather than being a dribbling fucknugget, this baddie has wit and even to some degree a sympathetic human side that allows us to slightly understand the reasons behind his demented but enjoyable murder spree. However that’s not to say we don’t also get exposed to the burden of balancing the webslinging lifestyle of a hero with the real-life existence of being a cash-desperate member of society who wants nothing more than to have a roof over his head and a loving partner with flesh-holes, consent and a box of tissues. The action too is out of this world with the film’s legendary director at possibly the height of his career, having managed to seamlessly blend blockbuster thrills with that distinctive style that has of course led to him being one of the most influential filmmakers of our generation. I am of course talking about Sam Raimi and his film Spider-Man 2 which came out ten years ago. There’s only one Spider-Man 2 and for anybody who thought that I've been talking about the latest edition to this unnecessarily rebooted franchise… Obviously I wasn’t, now fuck you!
Anyway, they’ve made it now and so I guess we may as well talk about it… So The Amazing Spiderman 2 tells the story of Peter Parker as he attempts to battle a sympathetic villain whilst maintaining his relationship with a girl that’s clearly out of his league. To quote the great Morrissey, ‘stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before’. This time however the pain in the arse itch-in-need-of-arachno-boy’s sticky-fingered-scratch is Jamie Fox’s gravelly voiced, panto-twat Electro. If you somehow haven’t seen any of the million trailers that feature him, then imagine him as the third member of a slightly shit boy-band alongside Schwarzenegger’s Mr Freeze and Billy Crudup’s Dr Manhattan. I don’t know what that band would be called but with big bald heads and unnaturally blue skin it’d be a bit like if you dragged the lifeless corpses of Right Said Fred's only three fans out from the bottom of a toxic lake. Anyway, so there’s Electro and then also Spider-Man’s best friend Harry who just kind of shows up out of the err… blue, and who then turns evil too. Hmm I didn't mean that to rhyme although I guess that line could be a taster of the kind of lyrics you'd hear from Electro's boy-band. Oh, and I know by the way that telling you Harry turns evil is a spoiler but it's been in all of the trailers so fuck it!
Anyway, so in my humble opinion, the first film in this new franchise was alright but in no way justified a reboot especially as it'd mean that we're now deprived of Toby Maguire’s hilarious screwed up running/angry cum face. If there was anything the last film did well it was to not kill off its main villain and to cast Andrew Garfield in the main role. Other than that though, it went over the exact same ground as Raimi’s first Spider-Man which, to someone as old and decrepit as a 25 year old called ‘me’, doesn’t exactly seem that long ago. So now, free from the constraints of telling a common knowledge origin story, does this sequel yet justify the need for a reboot? As the opening paragraphs probably hint towards… well, not really but I suppose it's getting there. Ignoring that though, is the film even any good? To summarise, meh, it's okay. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is no Spider-Man 2 but then not much is I suppose. On the bright side, Andrew Garfield is still great in the role although he's probably less Peter Parker than Toby Maguire was. Seems as you're now about three paragraphs into this film blog, I'm guessing you're either a friend of mine that I've forced to read or a stranger to me whose also a bit of a fucking geek. Either way, I'm sure you'll probably know that in the comics Parker was meant to be the nerdy underdog, however with his confidence and lack of bad-looks here there's no denying that Garfield is always cool. Not really a problem particularly, as films are more than welcome to alter things during their adaptation and we're still left with an brilliant performance from him, but I just thought I'd point it out. The same is also true of Aunt May who is played here by the amazing Sally Field who always seems like she'd be one of the loveliest people in the world to actually know. This is in stark contrast to the Aunt May of Raimi's films who was so annoying that if I was Spider-Man, there's no way I'd be able to live with her and her bullshit advice without snapping one night and holding a pillow over her wrinkled old face to shut her the fuck up.

This skanky little bitch has definitely got the bad AIDS!
With Harry Osborn turning to the ugly side, Electro and an enjoyably over the top performance from Paul Giamatti as The Rhino, people were worried that there might be too many villains. They weren't wrong. Electro is, I guess, the main villain and he's okay although unlike Watchmen, you'll notice that despite being naked, the filmmakers didn't have the balls to show his bright blue balls. I suppose the problem is that he doesn't get much of a backstory and so the majority of his motivation seems to be because people forgot his birthday. When I was nineteen, everybody forgot my birthday too but I didn't go out and kill people, choosing instead to stay in and watch the remake of Alfie on television using the adverts as an opportunity for some quiet sobbing time. It's kind of a shame really because despite being massively over the top, I quite liked his pre-blue celebrity obsessed human-self. After getting his powers, he became a one dimensional killing machine when before hand he was the kind of Rupert Pupkin fucknut who should probably avoid reading Catcher In The Rye in case it ends with him putting a bullet into his heroes head. Anyway, so that's him. The problem with Harry however is that he just kind of appears with such suddenness, it's like the film took character introduction inspiration from Street Fighters multiplayer by more or less just announcing, “Best friend has entered the game”. This is also a shame because, as an only child, I apparently collect close male friends in a subconscious but desperate attempt at finding a brother. I therefore really enjoy seeing friendship in movies and in the one scene where Harry and Peter hang out, it seems really natural and sweet. But by the next scene, Harry's gone a bit fucking loopy and like a drugged up Charlie Sheen has started screaming about needing some rare blood to drink. I dunno, I just thought it was a shame because despite the potential, there wasn't a chance to develop a sense of tragedy regarding the decline of his and Parker’s relationship. On the bright side, I did like the make-up used to make him look like the Green Goblin which, compared to James Franco's character in the Raimi's films is much closer to that of the comic in which he looks like a mental flying crack-whore.

So like me on my nineteenth birthday Electro is nothing special, and Green Goblin is sadly neglected but what about Rhino? …That was a fucking grim sentence wasn't it? Talk about needy! Anyway, in all honesty Rhino has a screen time of about one nano-second and that's fine. Although for the record I think that Giamatti is so amazing in how ridiculous his performance as the Russian goon is that I honestly think it could do more damage to the West’s relationship with Putin than the fucking Ukraine crisis. However as fun as he is, he's here to serve two purposes and that's to firstly bookend the film with a little extra action and secondly to lead towards this Sinister Six film that they're now banging on about. This is, I suppose, where the question of whether this film yet justifies the reboot can possibly be answered. As a movie on its own The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't really do anything new at all, however what it does do is start to pave the way to this expanded universe of multiple sequels and spin-offs that are about to start getting churned out. This obviously wouldn't have been possible with Raimi's films because the villains in his movies all ended up fucked and dead. However if the justification for the reboot was to allow for a larger universe, you've got to question if this is even something we want? Just because something works for Marvel Studios doesn't mean it'll work for every franchise in which a slightly mental do-gooder puts on a mask and goes out to punch arse holes in the face. I think we're also getting too close to a point of oversaturation within this genre with each year having more comic book movies than John Goodman's had hot dinners... well, maybe not that many but you get my point. Personally I think films should be made because there's a story to tell and not as how it seems here, and even with this whole Batman Versus Superman thing because The Avengers shat out a fuck load of cash. Having said that, a Sinister Six film sounds intriguing because it's got a good writer and director attached and I've just no idea what it'll be. In a world in which the same old shit is dumped into some glitter and then thrown at the screen, this new Spider-Man Cinematic Universe I suppose has some potential. It's just a shame that where this film is concerned, they prioritised sign posts for their future over something as basic as you know... any fucking story what-so-ever.

So yeah, the film’s pretty good so long as you're in the mood for something fun but unoriginal.. and it does have a nice central relationship between Peter Parker and his on/off girlfriend Gwen Stacey. I've avoided talking about them because on the one hand they were my favourite part of the film but on the other it's a massive fuck-off spoiler to say anything. I enjoyed the two characters when they were together and I enjoyed that Peter was constantly getting cock-blocked by the ghost of his girlfriend’s dead Dad. In fact, thinking about it, every-bodies Dad seems to be dead in this film. Peter, Gwen, Harry and unless there's a 200 year old man knocking about somewhere, presumably Aunt May too are all fatherless. Shame the film didn't explore that as a theme either. Oh well. But yeah... I won't say what happens, but the thing revolving around the future of Peter and Gwen’s relationship at the end of the film was an amazing scene and probably my favourite. I also really loved the fucking weird score too by the way. For once, Hans Zimmer has done something that doesn't sound like Gladiator with Electro's theme being particularly cool. It probably helps for me that Johnny Marr was involved and  to reference Morrissey again, I'm such a huge fan of The Smiths that it's probably for the best that, like Electro's pre-blue self, I've never read Catcher In The Rye either. If you ever see me wandering the streets at two in the morning, the odds are I'm listening to a soundtrack whilst slightly blitzed with The Amazing Spider-Man’s being a current favourite. To keep the positive theme up, the action was also really good and although director Mark Webb is no Sam Raimi, he manages to retain the excitement of Spidey's swinging by throwing in so much slow motion that it always looks cool and just about avoids becoming a pain in the balls.

"Pull my finger!"
In fact, going back to the score as I’m listening to it now, some of it really reminds me of Batman and Robin which is kind of what I liked about The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The first film in this new reboot I thought suffered because it was trying too hard to ape the feel of Nolan's Dark Knight franchise which is a stupid thing to do. Spider-Man is as iconic as Batman and so to make a great film he needs to have his own tone which is lighter and more fun than Batman’s gritty or pissed off. This new film however does have a more whimsical feel to it and so, like Batman and Robin, feels like it's going for the camp, brightly coloured joy of simply being a comic book movie. Although for the record I'm not saying that Batman and Robin was any good.. or that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is as fucking diabolically awful as watching George Clooney's gimpy looking Batman fight Uma Thurman's slaggy Poison Ivy. In no way is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 perfect but it's a hell of a lot better than the first film was. In fact, I'd say that although it's held together by a matrix-sized load of shit, there's still plenty of great things in it to make it worth the price of a ticket. This is a fun but disposable film with basically no story, some good performances and plenty of pretty nice action. Just remember though that if there's one thing that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't, it's Spider-Man 2. Now if you'd find somewhere useful to share this blog before fucking off I'd appreciate it. I don't really care if you do or don't but I needed a sentence to suggest that this was all coming to an end and that seemed like a good one to me. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week, motherfuckers!


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