Archive for the ‘Spider-Man’ Category

Best superhero scenes

June 20, 2007

I do like lists, especially movie ones. Here’s an MSNBC article about the best superhero movie scenes (most of which are of recent vintage).

Here’s a sample:

Later, Peter will realize the man who killed Uncle Ben is the burglar he let go (allowing him to kill Uncle Ben), and so he will fight crime, not for revenge, as Batman does, or simply to do good, as Superman does, but out of guilt. Not only is guilt a more complex, more adult emotion, it’s more universal. Few of us walk around every day with revenge in our hearts, but the weight of the guilt in the world is heavier than gravity. Another reason Spider-Man is so popular.

An excellent scene, and well put. Establishing motivation for superheroes is sometimes deemed unecessary, because people already have a basic idea of what the hero’s all about, and there’s a built-in audience anyway. But director Sam Raimi decided to tweak S-M’s motivation just a teeny bit, and the result is a much more complex Spider-Man than even is in the comic books.

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115 – Spider-Man

May 14, 2002

Is he strong? Listen, Bud
He’s got radioactive blood!
Can he swing from a thread?
Take a look overhead!

The long-awaited big-screen version of the Webslinger, your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, is finally upon us! If you’ve been under a rock for the past few years or were suffering at the hands of the Taliban, Spidey is in real life Peter Parker, a nondescript high school student who is bitten by a radioactive spider while on a field trip. And zowie! He has spider senses, and can climb walls and shoot webbing from his hands! How cool! Chicks dig the web.

The movie concentrates on Spider-Man’s origin and beginnings, including his relationship with his soon-to-be-beloved, Mary Jane. In the movie, Mary Jane goes from the hunky rich kid to the nerdy rich kid… to Peter. Yes, that’s right, folks, she goes through three men in one movie, faster than a Cuisinart on acid. That slut! But she’s very well played by the growing-up-before-your-very-eyes Kirsten Dunst, who once upon a time was the little kid in that Tom Cruise vampire movie that virtually no one with a brain liked. Dunst is respendant in a not-bad red dye job (although there’s one scene that contains some gratuitous faux nudity; she’s braless), and she performs the task of measuring up to the comic-book MJ admirably. In fact, Dunst is rapidly becoming a more complete actress; she has an infectious laugh and a twinkle in her eye, something this movie definitely needed.

As Peter, Tobey Maguire is… well, he’s Tobey Maguire. Thankfully, he’s behind a mask a lot of the time and therefore is not called upon to emote very much. He’s bland. He was hired because he was bland. No one expected a master thespian, and no one (hopefully) was disappointing. Sure, he brings some flavor to the role, as long as you consider vanilla a flavor. But all jests aside, the kid did okay.

Spidey wouldn’t be a superhero if he didn’t have an arch-nemesis, and in this flick it’s Dr. Osborne (Willem Dafoe, campy but effective), who runs this super-hi-tech lab that’s trying to hold onto a government contract. But Osborne’s haunted by his own inner demons, one of which manifests itself as…. (cue dramatic music) … the Green Goblin, who rides around on what looks like a glorified trash-can lid, throwing exploding balls and whatnot. In the comics, if memory serves, the Goblin looked less human and more …. well, more goblinic. In the movie, his costume is like knight’s armor, only green. But he’s played with maniacal glee by Dafoe, and it’s that kind of over-the-top scenery chewing that makes evildoers so appealing in superhero movies. Go Willem go!

Familiar faces from the comic book populate the movie, too; Peter’s Aunt May, his Uncle Ben (who knew he had one??), and the newspaper editor, J. Jonah Jameson. All are pretty well performed (J. K. Simmons as Jameson was a real hoot), but more often than not their presence only detracted from the main plot of the movie. I mean, it’s cool that Peter’s just like the rest of us (as opposed to the superhuman strength of Superman or the batbrains of Batman), but sometimes the movie lagged because the plot was concentrating on something other than Spidey saving the day.

Also, the movie wasn’t as funny as it could have been. Now, don’t get me wrong; it’s not as dark as any of the Batman movies, but I kind of missed those pithy comments that, say, James Bond might spout. Those are all the rage now, those pithy comments. Peter has a few of ’em, but they’re not all that interesting. The director, Sam Raimi, has been down this road before, albeit on a much smaller scale (Darkman, with Liam Neeson, in 1993), and that film also could have used a syringe full of funny. This isn’t much of a knock, though; the action was pretty good. I just wish Spidey had whooped it up a little, let loose. I mean after all, he’s a kid.

My biggest complaint about the movie is the ending. If you haven’t followed the comics at all, you might be okay with the ending (although it unquestionably opens up the possibility of a sequel or five). If you know anything about the comic, however, it’s a horrible ending. Really crappy. A huge disappointment, and completely unnecessary. In short, a shame.

Spider-Man is a good movie that doesn’t try too hard to please. It’s not a great film. It may make $4 billion, but it’s still not a great film.

Spider-Man: 6