Roundtable Discussion On The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Martian Luthor Kang and Biff Tannen got together via email to dissect the newly released Amazing Spider-Man 2. Their transcript has now been released…
Biff: My immediate fears going into this movie were largely the same problems I walked away with. It’s too long, there are too many characters and so much of it seems like set up for future installments and spin offs. The Sinister Six launching point scene towards the end felt so unnatural. However, it makes me wonder if we lived in pre internet world if I would have felt different? I knew about these “problems” going into the movie, so it’s hard to say that they didn’t inform how I felt.
Can you imagine if they did keep the Mary Jane scenes that were originally filmed? I mean they went on record with saying they cut them because the movie was already too chuck full of characters.
Kang: Actually, I was half-expecting them to have secretly snuck a scene with MJ in as a mid-credits Easter Egg or something. That “Face it, Tiger” moment wouldn’t have been a total surprise, except for the fairly maudlin tone of the ending. I agree that the movie already had a lot of characters in it, but it could certainly have been pulled off.
Biff: I’ll praise and defend the casting choice of Dane DeHaan’s as Harry Osborne to anyone. For me, he was the best part about the movie. One look at him and I’m already annoyed by his $4,000 haircut. He looks like someone who would use his money to stomp out anyone in his way. He’s corporate sleazy, conflicted and troubled…a perfect villain. I didn’t so much buy the scenes with him and Peter they felt a little forced.
Kang: I liked him as Harry Osborne, but hated him as the Green Goblin. He was very good in the character of an over privileged rich kid who actually missed an old friend. I do think, though, that it would have worked better if he didn’t almost immediately turn legitimately bad. If they had introduced him in the first movie and waited to turn him, I feel it would have better served the character and actor.
Biff: They definitely pushed that angle a little too fast, but I think part of his transformation and anger was due to severe sexual repression. I have a whole Freudian theory about Harry and Peter’s relationship that I’ll abstain from getting into…
Let’s talk a little about costume designs. I actually think this is the best Spider-Man costume that’s been in a film yet. It looks incredible; I love the huge white bug eye approach too but unfortunately that’s pretty much the only praise I can give the design team.
Kang: I definitely agree that this is the best-looking Spider-Man to date. While I prefer the Raimi movies and Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker performances, Andrew Garfield has the build I imagine when I think of Spider-Man; a stick of a guy with a big head. And the costume in this movie is far more traditional than the one in the previous installment, for sure. I’d love to see them do a flat black symbiote design; the webbing kind of ruined the Maguire version for me.
Biff: What about Electro? For me he was…ok…at best. I’m fine with them using the Ultimate Electro look rather than his classic Marvel U appearance.
Kang: He looked pretty cool, in my opinion. But they went to the trouble of showing his power register earpiece thingy on the ground at the end to demonstrate that he’d been dissipated. How, then, was it (and the costume) following him around through electrical outlets and so forth prior to that? The plain blue electrical form would have been just fine for now, I think. (Also, I’m quite sure he’s not gone for good)
Biff: Then there’s the Green Goblin, when we finally get to see him, I laughed out loud. It’s unfair because some things in comic books the visual is so much easier to swallow. The Rhino might be the perfect example; I understand that translating a man in a Rhino costume would look absurd and ridiculous. I just don’t know if a huge mechanical Rhino machine was the way to go…
Kang: The Green Goblin design was ridiculous. I realize the comic design is, in itself, absurd and would not translate well to film, but they kept the redesign to close to the Raimi style for Harry’s costume. In the name of keeping it pseudo-realistic, I can understand that but at least tweak it a bit more. The pumpkin bombs were, from what I could tell, identical. As far as the Rhino goes, I think the mechanical suit could work if it was closer to human size and the character wasn’t just a one-note joke/taste of things to come. Paul Giamatti is a very good actor, but he was wasted in his role as a barely audible Russian simpleton.
Biff: I’m not sure if this falls under design or not, but one thing I do love about the Marc Webb movies is the web slinging. I think they finally got it down from a visual stand point.
Kang: The direction of the action in general is very well done, I think. The constant usage of slow-motion action in superhero movies has gotten very, very old but I think it belongs in these movies, since it’s a facet of the hero’s powers to be able to effectively slow down time in his head.
Biff: Normally, with superheroes I like seeing the man behind the mask. Hell, give me Matt Murdock any day over Daredevil but this movie had far too little actual Spider-Man. There were a bunch of little kids that were in the same theatre as me and I can’t imagine there was much for them to like in this movie. It was dark and complex with smaller dose of heroics.
Kang: I was thinking the same thing. A father and son in the row in front of me were both napping around the time of Peter and Gwen’s little makeup session in the park. Never during the movie did I personally think that their relationship storyline was a bad thing, it was actually well done, but it was on too grand a scale for a popcorn movie about a teenager with spider powers.
Biff: I think it’s safe to say that Peter and Gwen’s relationship and seeing their interactions were the best part about either of the Amazing Spider-Man films. Did you definitively know that Gwen was going to die at the end of this one before it started? I did unfortunately, but I can imagine that would be quite a shock for people who had no idea it was coming. I thought they handled it on screen very well. I loved the cemetery scene(s) afterward with Peter just visiting her grave in different seasons, it really helps to add some more depth and emotional weight to the whole situation and drives home the whole Superheroes shouldn’t have girlfriends point.
Kang: I only found out the night before I saw it, someone on social media commented that it was a wonderful adaptation of Amazing Spider-Man #121-122. I agree that it was handled quite well, the same person who spoiled it complained of Garfield’s acting during the death scene and I think that was out of line. One does not carry oneself gracefully when cradling their broken lover, brah.
Biff: I was surprised to hear Felecia Hardy’s name in the movie (muck like Stephen Strange in Winter Solider do you think this is an Easter Egg for fans or do you think we’ll be seeing more of her as The Black Cat in the future installments?
Kang: I was not aware of that going into the movie, and I didn’t catch her last name if they said it (admittedly, I took a bathroom break just before Harry and Peter met up). I very much doubt, though, that they don’t have plans for her. Whether she’s another romantic interest in a future Spider-Man movie or she’s going to be in the Sinister Six spinoff, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of her.
Biff: Right. Exactly. She was Harry’s newly appointed secretary when he’s at that board meeting after Norman dies.
What the hell was the deal with X-Men: Days Of The Future Past popping up in the post credits scene? I mean…that’s just confusing for so many reasons. Legally though, how did that happen?
Kang: I was totally surprised by that, and I was wondering if it wasn’t just Sony and Fox scrambling to combat the movie machine that is Disney. However, having read a bit more about it, it seems that it was a deal that Fox made as part of allowing Marc Webb to work for Sony while under contract with them. If they did parlay it into a shared universe, though, and I were Disney? I still wouldn’t be terribly worried.
Biff: One thing I did come away with from the movie is that Peter Parker is a fan of the Velvet Underground, The Ramones and The Fleet Foxes. I have this really strange fascination of surveying teenage bedrooms in movies & TV to see how they express themselves and what bands they promote, particularly old 80’s and early 90’s sitcoms. My theory is that Marc Webb made Peter have the Velvet Underground and the Ramones to further drive home the NYC aesthetic but let Andrew Garfield pick a band of his choosing and that’s how we got the Fleet Foxes. Either way, Peter Parker and I apparently have more in common than I thought…
Kang: That’s definitely a trope in movies, the teenaged hero having tastes very much in line with those of the director. At least they didn’t arbitrarily assign Sony-backed musicians. Even in the flashbacks to Richard and Mary Parker, they were using VAIO notebooks. Thankfully, though, Peter came around and traded in Bing for Google in this movie.
You know what blew me away about Peter’s bedroom? The inside of his closet door was covered in Polaroids of Gwen Stacy. He’s only been dating her for a little bit, does that little hipster still use a Polaroid camera?
Biff: Yea, I wasn’t going to comment on the photos with this being the selfie generation and all, but I have to admit it creeped me out a little bit.
I think the best review I read was someone on twitter who wrote that “it was neither good nor bad, it just existed”. That pretty much sums up how I felt about it and also the first one. Ultimately, I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, I just kind of saw it. I liked it enough for what it was and I will continue to watch the new ones as they come out but I will likely not go back and re-watch any of them again.
Kang: I feel the same way. I walked into the theater expecting very little and upon leaving felt that I received very little. But I wasn’t upset or anything, it was a nothing wagered nothing lost situation. Obviously Captain America: The Winter Soldier was Citizen Kane compared to this movie, but this didn’t break my heart in any way. I’m definitely on board for another one and even if the Sinister Six movie looks like a total shit sandwich, I’ll be on board. The idea of a supervillain movie interests me greatly, and I hope it ends up being that and not some deviation. One thing that I wish that they had done with this movie was to name it The Spectacular Spider-Man. That would have made the child inside of me smile very broadly… very broadly, indeed.
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Posted on May 7, 2014, in Movies, Reviews and tagged Andrew Garfield, Dane DeHaan, Electro, Emma Stone, Green Goblin, Jamie Foxx, Marc Webb, Marvel, SONY, spider-man, The Amazing Spider-Man. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.