Tuesday, June 3, 2014

15 Thoughts and Reactions To The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Maybe someday I will review a movie that is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is not this day.  I went to see this two weeks ago with friends, and it was awesome.  We left the theater a bit shell-shocked, but I still liked it.  It's all the fun you'd expect from an Amazing Spider-Man movie, with enough realism to cause fans to start bringing out the term "feels".

There are major spoilers in numbers seven and eight.  I'm not joking around with these, either--if you don't want to know, cover the screen when you scroll.  They're marked again in bold caps lock, but, well, we know how that goes.
  1. Alternate titles: The Amazing Spider-Man 2: We Do Not Speak of Tobey Maguire, The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Would Marvel Please Buy These Rights Back kthnxbai, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Gwen Stacy, The Amazing Spider-Man 2: We Don't Care About Your Feels.  (Really, We Don't.) 
  2. From this movie's IMDb page: "Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of super villains against him, impacting his life."  "impacting his life"?  Seriously?  Someone at IMDb needs to work on their summary skills.  Also, Oscorp itself doesn't send any super villains against Peter.  Electro and Green Goblin are on their own.  So I'm not sure what's happening here.  
  3. It does a perfect job of making superheroes' lives real.  In one of my favorite scenes, Peter is at a convenience store, trying to buy cold medicine, when a guy tries to rob the store.  Peter reluctantly pulls on the mask, deals with the robber, and gets on with his errand.  Being Spider-Man is clearly the last thing he wants to do in that moment, but he does it anyway.  It's his self-imposed duty.  This does a wonderful job showing all the pressure put on people like Peter: they don't get days off.  Even if they have a cold, they have a responsibility, and that wears on a person.  And I love how the movie acknowledged this.   
  4. All I want is to see interaction between Peter Parker and the other (older) Avengers.  It's not likely that we'll see him in an Avengers movie, but I want it anyway.  I would love to see how someone like Tony Stark would react to having a teenager on the team.  Everyone else is an adult, at least, but Peter is so young compared to them.  I imagine that Steve would take him under his wing, that Tony would tease him relentlessly, but also that everyone would look out for him in a different way than they look out for everyone else.  (I also want a Spider-Man/Deadpool movie, but that's an entirely different subject.)
  5. It never takes itself too seriously.  It gets serious and intense in places, but it always lightens the mood in just the right places.  Peter Parker is amusingly awkward in a way that feels natural.  Maybe we're dealing with something grave, but there's always a scene or two like this: 
  6. I kind of want to live in New York.  But I also want to survive.  I am divided about this.  Part of me thinks it would be awesome to live in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's New York City.  After all, that seems to be where all the superheroes are: Captain America, Spider-Man, and the Avengers.  Then again, I want to stay alive, and my odds are far better in a city that isn't prone to superhero action.  
  7. ACTUAL SPOILER ALERT: GWEN STACY. NOPE NOPE NOPE.  After Phil Coulson, Nick Fury, Loki, and probably someone else I'm forgetting, I figured Marvel deaths were...well, not.  But then they have to throw this curveball at us.  There's actually this awful snapping sound, and from that moment onward, it's just pain.  Peter's reaction is just heartbreaking.  It's just so...final.  I'm still trying to find a loophole, but I'm drawing a blank.  Guys, this was it.  I get the impression that this comes as no surprise to viewers who have read the comics, but I didn't see it coming.  (Also, if you want to read an interesting article about the ambiguity over her cause of death, I've got you covered.)
     
  8. ANOTHER SPOILER: The cemetery scenes killed me.  Continuing off #7...ouch.  What follows Gwen's death is a series of shots of Peter sitting at her grave in every season.  He just can't get over it, and that's more painful to watch than the death itself.  Excuse me while I go curl up in a corner and cry.  Remember what I said about this movie maintaining a bit of lightheartedness?  That only applies up until about the last twenty minutes.  After that, it's just FEELS and Peter Parker's tears.  Or the audience's tears.  Or all of the above.  Also, is nobody going to mention the fact that Andrew Garfield is having to watch his real-life girlfriend die on screen, then act out his reaction?  Maybe that's the worst part of all.  
     
  9. Need to tone down a transformation from human to Green Goblin in order to keep it a tame PG-13?  Just add some red and blue strobe lights.  Apparently someone has taken some lessons from The Hunger Games's shaky camera.  When Harry injects Peter's blood into his system and becomes the Green Goblin, it's hard to see anything.  It's just scattered shots of him with a bunch of colored flashes.  It's a bit weird, and a bit disorienting, but then again, that was probably the goal.  
  10. Andrew Garfield is so awkward, and it's perfect.  He does an excellent job capturing the awkwardness of Peter Parker, from his voice to his twitchy mannerisms.  Maybe he's awkward, but at the same time, it's adorable.  It's relatable and endearing.  Then again, how can you not love Andrew Garfield?  I told myself I wouldn't link to this video, but here I am.  All I'm going to tell you is this: Andrew Garfield.  Chris Martin.  Kiss scene with a blonde wig.  Yeah, it's weird. 
  11. Harry Osborne is a fantastic character.  I don't know what it is about these type of people, but they tend to be some of the most interesting characters.  He reminds me so much of Robert Fisher from Inception: heir to a massive, powerful company, strained relationship with dying father, has a few too many secrets.  (Just like a character from my previous novel, actually.)  I felt for him, and his progression from Harry to Green Goblin was believable in the worst way possible.  I didn't want it to happen to him, but it made sense.  It almost seemed...justified, for lack of a better word.  These movies are following the same technique Marvel uses of giving darkness to their heroes and giving heroic qualities to their villains, and it works wonders.  
  12. It's surprisingly less cheesy than The Amazing Spider-Man.  I haven't seen the original Tobey Maquire Spider-Man movies, so I have no basis for comparison in that regard.  I've heard, though, that the remake is so much better.  Even so, I found The Amazing Spider-Man slightly cheesy, in a few places.  The CGI lizard people just didn't sit well with me.  Something felt off about it, like it was a lower-budget movie.  Like I've said before, most superhero movies of this type will always be a bit cheesy, on some level.  Still, some hold up better than others, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is easier to take seriously.
  13. This movie gave me unrealistic expectations for my own high school graduation ceremony.  At one point during this movie, Peter is nearly late to his own graduation.  I just graduated over the weekend, and I kept thinking, "Okay, when is Peter Parker going to show up?"  Spoiler: There was no Spider-Man at my graduation.    
  14. The Electro plot is basically the plot of The Incredibles.  There's a guy, forgotten by everyone, who looks up to the superhero.  Said superhero gives him a little bit of attention, and the guy takes it too much to heart.  The guy is then angry and hurt when he is subsequently ignored by the superhero, and loses faith in everything.  Now, he wants to destroy the hero, all because he was a disappointed fan.  Am I talking about Syndrome, or Electro?  
  15. I no longer trust these movies.  If it's Marvel-related, I have to be wary.  Are they dead, or will they come back?  One post-credits scene, or two?  At this point, I'm ready for anything, and I'm prepared to wait out the credits.  If nothing else, Marvel excels at keeping us alert and in anticipation.
It's not perfect, but overall, I enjoyed this movie.  Except the excuse-you-those-were-my-feels part.  Did you see The Amazing Spider-Man 2?  What did you think?

Stay tuned in the next week or so, because I'll actually post about a non-superhero movie.  I'm super excited for The Fault in Our Stars, so you'll definitely be hearing about it from me.

Blog note: If you haven't noticed, I've added a "song of the week" feature to the bottom of the right sidebar.  I'm not quite sure where I'm going with it yet--I put it there because there are so many times when I want to share an amazing song I've found, but have no good place to do it.  If you have a comment about the song of the week, feel free to leave it on whatever post you happen to be on (I'll see it no matter what).  It would be cool to hear your thoughts!   I've actually thought about starting an entirely separate blog where I share songs I've discovered. Does anyone have thoughts about that? Tumblr or Blogger? Would you follow it?
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2 comments:

  1. I admit that I'm a Tobey Macguire person. While I like Andrew Garfield, I think that Macguire captured the complete strudel-bunny-ish-ness of Peter Parker really well.

    Having said that, I am really enjoying the newer versions too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the Avengers.

    I knew about what happened at at the end; my sister did not. So cruel of me, but I was relieved that she finally cried through something--now she can stop teasing me about Les Mis. And The Book Thief.

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    1. I might have to watch the Tobey Maguire ones at one point, to see which I prefer. It would be interesting to compare the preferences of people who watched that trilogy first, versus people who watched the Andrew Garfield movies first. I wonder if there would be a difference.

      I've never cried at a movie (not because I don't feel anything--it's just not something I do), but I can definitely understand crying at Les Mis and The Book Thief. They just kind of...hurt.

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