Author Topic: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise  (Read 42550 times)

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Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #210 on: May 05, 2014, 06:11:02 PM »
Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is really hard to unpack. It's good, yet it doesn't deserve to be... Or maybe it shouldn't be good, but is somehow good in spite of itself. I don't even know where to start. I'm going to try not to spoil, but there may be some stuff given away here.

I liked it quite a bit actually. I'll start there I guess. It's certainly not the train wreck that was Raimi's Spider-Man 3. More importantly, it's not (quite) the train wreck the trailers make it out to be. Despite some individual lapses in situational logic, it's a cohesive well-constructed story that actually builds upon itself in a satisfying way. It may be the first superhero movie where multiple villains actually make sense.

The first half-hour or so really sings. There's a Bourne-style opening scene showing exactly how Peter Parker's parents died which sets up some stuff with big nasty genetic mega-corporation Oscorp later. Then we see Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man doing his thing versus a funny, un-superpowered Paul Giamatti who gets thwarted and doesn't show up again until the epilogue as "The Rhino." The way he's used is basically as a bookend to illustrate the growth Spider-Man goes through over the course of the movie. It's a sort of cheesy device, but boy does it work.

Anyway, Peter's Spider-Man adventures almost make him late for his high school graduation where his on again/off again girlfriend Emma Stone is valedictorian. Like the first movie, the scenes between Garfield and Stone are the best part of the movie. They're seeing each other despite Spidey's promise to her dying father at the end of the last movie that he wouldn't get her involved with his shenanigans.

Then Jamie Foxx gets his villain origin story which feels like it should be in another movie, specifically Batman & Robin. It's necessary for what comes later, but it's way too overwrought and straddles the line of pure awfulness. There are lots of little logic details that threatened to take me out of it. Anyway, he turns into Electro but Spider-Man quickly dispatches him to Ravencroft, the supervillian prison. (The Ravencroft scenes are also pretty bad. I recommend going to the bathroom during them if you have to.)

Soon, Harry Osborn returns from boarding school to find out he's got the same disease as his dying father who was trying to find a cure with Peter Parker's father. He and Peter reconnect which works, but I don't know if it works because I believe these guys as friends or because the Raimi movies set up James Franco and Tobey MacGuire as Harry and Peter who are buds and I've been programmed to accept it. (The movie also asks to me believe Harry Osborn and Peter Parker are still really tight even though the last time they saw each other was when they were ten.) Anyway, Harry needs Spider-Man's blood to cure him, which he needs to do before his super-evil corporate board of directors cut him off from Oscorp completely. Emma Stone threatens to leave for Oxford and Peter starts digging around his father's past.

Writing this out makes it all sound absolutely ridiculous, and yet after a short section in the middle where they have to set up the clunkier plot elements, everything starts to fall into place and the movie whips along in a way that makes utter sense and in a weird comic book way is totally organic. By the time they get to the crazy battle royale in the third act, there are actually big stakes involved. I was riveted and 100% emotionally involved. I don't know how they did it.

The devil of course is in the details, and there's a lot of really little conveniences you're forced to swallow. The most egregious is when Emma Stone goes data mining at her Oscorp job which sets off the security dudes who have previously been established as utterly evil. There's this weird chase in the office building that Peter Parker eventually helps her get out of by thrusting into an elevator with Harry Osborn so he can find out she's Peter Parker's girlfriend. Convenient, sure, but not the biggest screenwriting crime ever committed. Right? However, it brings up all those nagging questions. Is her life in danger? Did she just quit Oscorp? Are these thugs going to keep hunting her? But the next time we see her, she's like, "I'm going to study at Oxford. I need to be happy, and I can't do that being Spider-Man's girlfriend." No mention of the time she played spy-games at her old job.

Most of the logic lapses aren't that bad, but could have been avoided if they hadn't tried to shove so much story in there. And maybe here lies the larger problem. (It's the heart of my "decline of the superhero movie" argument.) Many of the plot points I found extraneous seem to have to do with the "Spider-Man Universe At Large" rather than the particular chapter the moviemakers were laying out in front of me. The story of "Harry Osborn and the Quest for Spider-Man's Blood" is actually pretty solid if standard superhero fare. Even Foxx's Electro makes sense in it. Yet there's the greater "conspiracy" going on that they're using to set up other movies that seemed to get in the way.

In the end though, it charmed me more than not. Garfield and Stone have amazing chemistry. The story is pretty engaging, and the effects are just mind-blowing. (Spider-Man has never looked so good.) And the last few scenes are just perfect. In fact, I don't know if it could have been a more perfect way to end this imperfect movie.

So I don't know anymore.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 07:27:00 PM by RottingCorpse »

Offline nacho

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #211 on: May 05, 2014, 07:10:23 PM »
Wow... I didn't expect that.

So...what's this do to the front page article you'll never write?

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #212 on: May 05, 2014, 07:15:53 PM »
Well, I think the core elements of my argument (slavish fan service, shared universe fatigue, the church of "bigger, better, faster") are still valid and part of what make ASM2 merely pretty good instead of great. Also, I'm not sure if this wasn't a case of being aided by low expectations. I won't know until I sleep on it a while.

Now really *is* the perfect time to write that piece.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 07:31:29 PM by RottingCorpse »

Offline nacho

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #213 on: May 05, 2014, 08:07:55 PM »
You keep saying that!

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #214 on: May 05, 2014, 08:42:36 PM »
And I'll keep saying that...

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #215 on: May 07, 2014, 10:16:14 AM »
After a couple days sleeping on it, I've decided ASM2 is about in the same class as the first Amazing Spider-Man... unoffensive with really nice moments, but never quite soaring either.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #216 on: May 08, 2014, 03:38:20 PM »
Spoilers galore, but this is a really good piece on ASM2.

Quote
How The Amazing Spider-Man 2 fails at shared-universe storytelling

http://www.blastr.com/2014-5-7/how-amazing-spider-man-2-fails-shared-universe-storytelling

Offline nacho

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #217 on: June 10, 2014, 05:09:23 PM »
Okay... I tried to watch The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

I couldn't bear it. It was an absolute mess, and clearly skewed to their 8 year old market. It made Spider-Man 3 look like high art.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #218 on: June 10, 2014, 09:12:42 PM »
Wow, you're ranking it below Raimi's Spider-Man 3? I don't understand how that's possible.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #219 on: June 11, 2014, 06:56:00 AM »
I'm ranking it below every Spider-Man where he did not constantly make sixth grade-level jokes to himself/directly to the audience, yes.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #220 on: June 11, 2014, 11:56:08 AM »
Well, it is really for kids.

Offline nacho

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #221 on: June 11, 2014, 12:13:02 PM »
And that's fine! But this was "for kids" in the same way Romper Room is for kids. They might as well have just given up the pretense and broken the fourth wall. "Hellooooo boys and girls!"

I think what really irked me was him singing the traditional theme song as he beat people up, after flying through the city jabbering nonsensically to himself (to us). It's actually technically bad at that point. He never runs out of breath or reacts to an impact? It feels like what it is -- the actor looping in a battery of unrelenting quips with no sense of the action taking place.

If I were a bad guy, I'd want to just start screaming, "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!!!"

And then we get Comedy Jamie Foxx, eh? What, they couldn't afford to hologram in Jerry Lewis in his Bellhop era?

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #222 on: July 23, 2014, 03:19:59 PM »
The Death Knell of the Superhero Movie approaches...

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/spider-man-villains-movie-sinister-720605

Quote
Spider-Man Villains Movie 'Sinister Six' Gets Nov. 2016 Release Date
As part of the move, Sony pushed back "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" by two years to 2018.

Watch out Avengers, X-Men and Justice League.

Sony is entering the fray of comic-book super-teams.

The studio has dated The Sinister Six, a movie that features an all-star lineup of Spider-Man villains, for Nov. 11, 2016. As part of the move, Sony moved back its The Amazing Spider-Man 3 by two years to 2018. Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 had already been dated for June 10, 2016, and May 4, 2018, respectively.

The studio will move Uncharted into the June 10, 2016, spot. The Seth Gordon-helmed film is an action-adventure based on the best-selling PlayStation video game series that follows the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake.

Sony is very high on Drew Goddard's take on the Sinister Six material, which is described as a rough script at this point. Goddard will write and direct the Spider-Man spin-off.

"With Sinister Six in the hands of writer-director Drew Goddard, we feel extremely confident placing the film on a prime date in 2016,” said Doug Belgrad, president of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

First introduced in 1964, the original members included Electro, Doctor Octopus, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Vulture and Sandman. Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, was already introduced in Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this summer.

It is unclear which villains this incarnation will feature. Among the possibilities include Green Goblin, played by Dane DeHaan in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The film's third act dropped so-called Easter eggs for the fans that hinted at potential future villains for the franchise. For instance, Doc Ock's mechanical arms were seen in the background of one scene. The movie also introduced The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) in its last scene.

Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing Sinister Six.

As for Uncharted, the latest draft of the screenplay is being written by David Guggenheim, and the film will be an Arad/Atlas Entertainment production, produced by Charles Roven, Arad, Alex Gartner and Ari Arad. The video game series was developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

 "June 10 is a great date for Uncharted," Belgrad added. "It's just the right place for this exciting action-adventure film."

Offline nacho

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #223 on: July 23, 2014, 04:49:59 PM »
Tell us why!

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: The Rise & Fall of the Spider-Man Franchise
« Reply #224 on: December 10, 2014, 05:38:31 AM »
I guess the bigger story here might be the Sony hack which North Korea apparently did with a Commodore 64, but some interesting tidbit about the future (or lack of) Spider-Man movies. Nothing incredibly new as there had been rumblings about Sony trying to figure out something with Marvel to help the ailing franchise, but it's interesting to know there was real fire behind that smoke.

The Spider-Man franchise is my biggest argument (or maybe Exhibit A is a better term) for what ails superhero movies in the long term; bloat, quantity over quality, and uncertain story direction in a desperate attempts to keep up with the Joneses who in this case is Marvel.

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/12/09/sony-marvel-discussed-spider-man-movie-crossover/

Quote
Sony, Marvel Discussed Spider-Man Movie Crossover

Sony Pictures has considered partnering with Marvel and producing an animated comedy as it looks to revamp its big screen strategy for “Spider-Man.”

Details of the discussions are contained in e-mails to and from Sony’s motion picture chief Amy Pascal, which were released on the Internet by hackers this week.

The e-mails reveal extensive discussions between executives at Sony and Marvel owner Walt Disney, all the way up to their respective chief executives Kaz Hirai and Robert Iger.

In an Oct. 30 e-mail, Sony Pictures president Doug Belgrad tells Ms. Pascal about a potential scenario that would see Marvel produce a new trilogy of Spider-Man movies while Sony retains “creative control, marketing and distribution.”

In a separate e-mail, Ms. Pascal tells a business partner that Marvel wanted to include Spider-Man in its planned third “Captain America” movie.

Some fanboys have clamored for Marvel Studios, which producers the blockbuster “Avengers” and “Iron Man” films, to take back control of Spider-Man from Sony, which has a long-term license. Sony’s last Spider-Man movie, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” received a mixed reaction from fans and modestly underperformed at the box office.

The talks with Marvel eventually broke down and Sony is now planning to go ahead with its own Spider-Man slate, according to people familiar with the matter. As of late November, executives were planning a “Spidey summit” for January to discuss future plans.  Among projects in development are an animated Spider-Man comedy that would be produced by Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the team behind “22 Jump Street” and “The Lego Movie,” as well as previously disclosed Spider-Man spin-offs focused on villain team Sinister Six, super-foe Venom, and women from the webslinger’s life.