The Amazing Spiderman 2: Doing the comic proud?
For those of you who have been living under a rock, the ever popular comic book
masked menace superhero Spiderman swung back onto our screens recently and I just had to go see the film in 3D. I'm glad I did because it was awesome. A train wreck but still an awesome train wreck.
With this post I will be going into what happened in the film as well as some of the stories that is based on from the comics. So for those of you who don't want it to be spoiled I would stop reading now and come back later when you have watched the film. For those who have watched it or don't care about spoilers read on!!
The storyline for the film was:
Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.
I've mentioned previously that I love comics, however what I didn't mention was that one summer way back when I decided to read Spiderman from his humble origins up until the current issues at that time. So watching The Amazing Spiderman 2 was like watching a bunch of those stories all mashed into one long arc. With what I would consider to be the main point of the story (Gwen and Peter), they did it justice.
However with other parts there was a slight disconnect I feel due to just sloppy writing or the issue of different franchises that will unfortunately never connect (yes that X-men clip at the end was a contract deal not an indication of the two franchises having anything to do with each other).
Modernising the story too much
The original story of Spiderman has been told and retold for decades to adapt with the times. What has also been (sometimes) retold to adapt with the times is the story behind his parents Richard and Mary Parker.
Originally, back in 1968 they were introduced as possible traitors to the country (it was the 60's...) who died in a plane crash. After a convoluted story where Spiderman goes to Algeria of all places, it is revealed that they were actually American counter spies.
In Ultimate Marvel, a more recent incarnation of the Marvel universe (which is what this Spiderman is based on more) Richard is a biologist looking to cure cancer with a biological suit. When he realises it was to be used as a weapon he recorded a series of tapes for Peter before dying in a plane crash.
The story that is revealed in the film is very similar to that of the one in the Ultimate version as Richard Parker is also working on a miracle cure of sorts.
Now I have no problem with the idea that he was able to encode his DNA into the spiders (okay I have some problem with it) and get away with no one realising it for over a decade but I have to question the secret train station lab.
I mean come on!! How did he have time to create that under the city's nose?
I feel they could have brought in the idea of a secret spy organisation being the ones bank rolling the secret lab without ruffling too many feathers.
They just had to put in a little easter egg in the corner of a document or something. A nod to tie up the ridiculousness of a secret train lab! A secret train lab!!!
Who knows...maybe they did and I missed it. I highly doubt it though. As with the comics the story of Richard and Mary Parker was a short and underplayed one.
Another underplayed story was that of Rhino. He got four minutes of screen time. And he was upstaged by a little kid. Now I'm not a huge fan of the Rhino but his gimmick was always that it was a guy stuck in an indestructible Rhino suit (how did he shit?) who was super strong and a little stupid. Instead he is now the guy that spidey caught at the start of the film but wants revenge now so when the opportunity to pilot a Rhino mech with guns came along (how easy must those controls be to use?) he took it.
My hope is that his story is fleshed out more in the upcoming Sinister Six film which he is bound to be in along with the vulture, the green goblin and Doc Oc. In all honesty however I don't see that film being in the same league as the Avengers or even the X-men...maybe the Fantastic Four? So the chances of his story being fleshed out are slim.
Max Dillon aka Electro was meant to be the main villain in this film but was unfortunately upstaged by other characters and storylines.
The character's story and look are slightly altered to match with the times. They made Max Dillon a bit of a loser with absolutely no friends and an obsessive personality with some hidden rage mixed in. The perfect mix for a super villain. Once that accident happened to make him Electro it was obvious he was going to use his new found power for vengeance on those who tried to hurt him.
And with the new modern look the film was going for we said goodbye to the green & yellow spandex and said hello to the blue skinned Electro.
However as powerful (and supposedly smart) as his character was, he didn't get much screen time and submitted as a subordinate to the weaker Harry Osborne far too easily.
As with the Rhino his character felt like just another add on to the story to avoid it being just about Peter, Gwen and Harry which would be too close to Spider-Man's story.
Peter and Gwen
The saving grace (and main story) of this film is the story of Peter and Gwen.
In the comics Gwen Stacy is the first love of Peter Parker and also the most tragic loss he suffers next to Uncle Ben.
Back in 1973 it was unthinkable to kill off a character so pivotal to the development of the protagonist and it was devastating to read (even if I knew she was going to die). As I was watching the film I sat there waiting...hoping this would be the film that I would finally see her die. (Wow that sounds pretty dark...)
The entire film is a set up for her death as the audience was pulled into a sense of hope for the future of this couple. They pretty much made a romantic comedy centred around these two with a criminal or two thrown in for good measure. The fact that the characters are played by actors who are a couple off-set probably helped it that much more.
When he put the message on the bridge I hung my head for a second thinking "oh no here it comes" but I could feel that wasn't the time. When that moment did come I had the biggest grin on my face as every single person in the audience expected Spidey to save her from the fall. I had to hold back my laughter as he held her in his arms. God love you Marc Webb, you threw a few too many stories in there but with this one...you did good. You made the audience hope against hope she would survive.
Then so as not to end it on a note too similar to the Spiderman starring Tobey Maguire which borrowed far too many aspects from this story he added in a period of grief before giving that audience back that hope with a kid who could run past a bunch of cops (this film does not portray a great image for NYCPD...FDNY maybe but not NYCPD) and stand up to an idiot in a Rhino mech.
Overall this mishmash of storylines does not work. However to keep the Gwen Stacy story as true to the comics as possible without looking like a rip off of the story from the 2002 Spider Man film it had to be done...right?
But what does work is the story of Gwen Stacy. For that story and Sally Field as Aunt May (fun fact: I love Sally Field as Aunt May) this film will always be awesome.
That's about all I have to say on that. An enjoyable albeit long film to watch (seriously do not take a drink unless you have superb bladder control!)
As always I will end it with something that sums it up.
An awesome train wreck.
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