A Stupid Opinion about Spider-Man that Aimlessly Wonders Off Topic

8 May

Whoa, another month off, how nice was that? I didn’t have to bother the world with either my stupid opinions or my whining about nobody reading my stupid opinions for thirty days. It was truly an inspirational time for everyone involved with the hiatus; me, my carpel tunnel syndrome, the four people who follow this blog and everyone within earshot of my occasional whining. But I’m back again to wipe off the dust from the old keyboard and resume slangin’ stupid opinions written poorly. So, to get me back into the poorly written spirit I’m going to start with an especially stupid opinion about something I don’t quite get: Spider-Man.

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I know everyone loves Spider-Man the character, but live-action Spider-Man should’ve kept suing Facebook or have been content being a clone who drew and left the real spidey business to Nick Carraway. I’m not shocked when a character as beloved as Spider-Man keeps showing up in movies, but I do reserve the right to be shocked at why he is so beloved, especially when this movie does everything in its power to negate every reason for liking the web-slinger in the first place. Respectable folks like Patton Oswald claim Spider-Man as their favorite superhero. I see why; Spider-Man is just a teenager, he’s got to balance fighting crime and being a student. It’s fun to watch his day-to-day life as he kicks back, catches a few bad guys and drops some witty quips on ‘em before handing them over to the authorities. I get it. It all sounds great, but this “Amazing” re-boot zaps any joy from the wealth of built-in potential. But I don’t want this to be another review.

Comic book movies have such an established and built-in audience that it gives the studios the security to spend lavish amounts on them, but the financial freedom doesn’t translate to artistic freedom. The formula seems simple enough, cut and paste enough from the comics to make the diehards happy, put enough pretty, famous faces on-screen and hope more people like it than don’t. The character of Spider-Man is so popular that there’s no reason to take a chance or develop the character to reflect contemporary human nature. As far as I can tell, everyone loves Spider-Man for being an underdog, which is a timeless trope. But in Amazing Spider-Man 2 it’s an undeveloped cliché the audience has to accept just because we already know Spider-Man’s backstory. Now, Spider-Man is still an underdog, but it’s the franchise, not the character, that fills the role as it seems woefully mismatched when standing next to the Disney owned Marvel-verse. Even the potentially dreadful Thor 2 turned out to be a more complete and entertaining movie than this.

Was that film more artistically developed than a Spider-Man 2? Any of the Disney Marvel films? Not necessarily, but they don’t treat their characters with white gloves. And they can afford to, they have the rights to so many characters in the Marvel Universe, that they don’t need the super star Spider-Men and X-Men. The anonymity of their characters allows them to 1) get better deals on actors 2) portray the characters with more depth, because if they make a mis-step with a character they can just kill ‘em off and let another character take their place. But Sony isn’t as lucky. Spider-Man is only allowed to desire the girl and miss his parents. He has to have the most fundamental desires to keep this franchise rolling. The film touched on a slightly interesting themes of modern isolation and desire for attention, but in another “safe” move it was given to the villain of the film. Instead of investigating these themes the filmmakers damn them and discount them. It’s a sad state of affairs and as A.A. Dowd suggests in his review this film reeks of the less sophisticated 90s era super-hero films.

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There is more than enough in this film to write a positive or a negative review of the film, and that is what is going to happen. There are already a million and one of each, with another million right smack dab in the middle and I think what that really means is that this is a mediocre movie. It might be successful, but will be forgettable. The way of the modern blockbuster is such. It’s competently put together, but there is very little character-development to it. All movies are too safe for their own good and super-hero movie all the more so. There was a long time in my life when all I wanted was to see movies based on characters, but now in some kind of Twilight Zone irony the comic book characters are driving the show, but there is still no room for developed, unique characters.

-C. Charles


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