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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    I saw that movie three times. The first time I saw it in theaters I went in with high expectations and came out feeling let down but liking it overall. The other times I saw it on TV with friends and others and my feelings toward it haven't changed for the better or the worse. I find Spider-Man 1 to be a better film on every level compared to 2, it had a perfect structure and wonderful concept of Norman and Peter having separate parallel origin stories that are intercut and gradually and organically cross over building to a perfect and bloody climax which is quite satisfying and impressive. It's got two parts...Part 1 is the origin, AF#15 stretched out for a full hour, Part 2 is basically all action with a series of fights between Spider-Man and Green Goblin, each one different from the last in staging and fighting.

    -- Spider-Man 2 is very poorly structured on the whole. Everything until the train sequence works (more or less). That's the emotional climax of the movie and that should have been the actual climax. Instead, right after that we have a series of denouements one after the other -- Harry finds out Peter is Spider-Man, MJ finds out Peter is Spider-Man, Peter defeats Doctor Octopus, Harry finds out Dad is Goblin, and then MJ chooses Peter over rich suitor. It's basically one after-shock after another, and its a comedown after the intensity of the train scene. People who talk about movies having an ending problem often talk about the third LOTR movie, but Spider-Man 2 is a better example and less justified than LOTR.
    -- The other issue is that the main story of Spider-Man 2 is Peter's romance with Mary Jane and Doctor Octopus and all that is basically an after-thought next to it. In Spider-Man 1, the whole point is that Norman Osborn is a cautionary tale for Peter, a character who is essentially an older version of what Peter could be...isolated, aloof, disliked by his company and his son, a misogynist. He reinforces the entire theme of "with great power comes great responsibility" (hence Tobey's Peter saying "I have a father his name was Ben Parker" to Norman when Goblin unmasks himself). Molina's Doctor Octopus though doesn't really illustrate that at all. Initially when Otto and Peter meet, he's an example of a scientist "who has it all" (great work, job he likes, happy marriage) completely different from Dafoe's incredibly selfish and self-destructive Norman. And then the character spends the rest of the movie as a meat-puppet to his AI rather than an actual person. So there's literally no characterization there to speak of after the accident.
    -- The final scene with Peter and MJ is great but the stuff leading up to it is less satisfying and interesting. The whole MJ romance with JJ's sap of a son is cheap melodrama and it probably did a lot to add to this idea of KD's Mary Jane being a selfish b-word. It's illustrative of "false good" ideas in Hollywood screenwriting where the idea is to give a character an arc and dramatic hurdles to jump over...which is not bad, but it often leads to the cheapest dumbest melodramatic shorthand. The big disappointment is that the ending of SM-1 implied that she suspected Peter was Spider-Man after kissing Peter at the grave and looking at him clearly thinking of when she kissed Spider-Man. And in the sequel you see her piecing it little by little, but rather than actually have her figure out Peter is Spider-Man on her own before Peter tells her...the finale simply has her seeing Spider-Man without a mask...and that's just lame. I mean the movies clearly set that up...and had she figured it out, I think that would have been stronger for her as a character.
    -- Speaking of melodramatic shorthand, the whole impotency metaphor in the movie, and Spider-man's powers going out and that being the reason he goes "Spider-man no more" is a lame dodge. The point of the original story is that Peter quit being Spider-Man in ASM#50-52 because he was overworked and stressed out not because he lost his powers. Peter having powers and quitting proves that the character is making a conscious choice...whereas when Peter loses powers, and he sees a mugging in the street at the end of the Raindrops montage and walks past, well he doesn't have powers so what can he do. So it's a way for the movie to invite and pile guilt on Peter without actually driving home consequences for his decisions. So that I felt was weak. I mean when Peter ruses in no-powers as a civilian to save that kid from a fire and then we realize that some others died in the fire...that didn't happen because Tobey's Peter didn't use his powers, he genuinely didn't have it at that time. Using elements of Spider-Man no more is not a bad idea, but the way it was done, largely to give Tobey's Peter acting stuff to do without the mask, feels quite transparent.
    -- Spider-Man 2 is also the movie where the concept of Spider-Man losing his mask to show the actor's face in big moments began*...the train sequence being most blatant really took off. And that felt lame then and even moreso when later movies continued this tradition of laziness.

    That said, let me belt out positives...Tobey Maguire's performance here is aces. That scene with him and Aunt May is incredible. The scenes with him and Kirsten Dunst at the Cafe right before Ock throws a car into the restaurant and she askes him if he loves her and he obviously lies to her and she knows immediately that he's lying is well acted by both of them. Whatever issues I have with how the movie handled Doctor Octopus, Molina's Octopus is an impressive visual presence...the brown suit, chic glasses, and those gunge covered arms looks really scary and effective. The train sequence and also the bank heist before are great action sequences. For this stuff alone, Spider-Man 2 is an excellent movie and a worthy sequel.


    * Some would say that Goblin blew up Spider-Man's mask at the end of 1. But a) Goblin already knew Peter's identity and Peter knew he knew, so it makes sense to have Peter sans mask there, b) the bomb blew up a part ofthe mask and both of the lenses but Peter's face was still largely covered by the cloth of it, looking unrecognizable (as Harry when he sees Battle-Ravaged Spider-man in the third to last scene.
    I agree with all these points. The Raimi movies are certainly flawed and they break down a bit on a story level when you really pick at them (I think Homecoming, regardless of how one feels about the changes it makes to the characters, is the best movie from a pure storytelling standpoint). However, the Raimi movies have a charm and authenticity to them that the MCU movies lack. They feel so vibrant and full of life, and they are all packed with wonderfully iconic moments. All three are very watchable, and I would know. I've probably seen them each at least a hundred times over the years (I was a really little kid when they were coming out and I basically had the DVDs playing constantly). The MCU movies are fun and have a spunky, 80s attitude to them, but they aren't as iconic or as memorable, and they represent a more compromised vision of the character because they've had to avoid certain elements on the basis of being the 3rd live action version of Spider-Man in less than 20 years.

  2. #47
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    I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't simply blame the studio with S3. Rami had a lot of responsibility for that movie's problems too. Giving Harry amnesia for the middle of the common ..
    Peter and MJ go through the exact same arc they did in the last 2 movies. By the 3rd movie it was getting repetitive.

    Thing is he didn't need to use Venom, he couldve just introduced the suit leaving Venom for the next movie. That was an option Iv read but Rami said no and child like decided to burn the Toy box down instead. If he can't play with them then no one can.

    Also In SM1 doesn't Peter kill the guy he thought killed Ben. Now I always had an issue with that anyway (Peter doesn't kill) but basically Peter killed a man innocent of that crime with the Sandman retcon.

    As for his Spider-Man 4 ideas with Felicia as the Vultures Assistant urgh no just no

  3. #48
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't simply blame the studio with S3. Rami had a lot of responsibility for that movie's problems too. Giving Harry amnesia for the middle of the common ..
    Peter and MJ go through the exact same arc they did in the last 2 movies. By the 3rd movie it was getting repetitive.

    Thing is he didn't need to use Venom, he couldve just introduced the suit leaving Venom for the next movie. That was an option Iv read but Rami said no and child like decided to burn the Toy box down instead. If he can't play with them then no one can.

    Also In SM1 doesn't Peter kill the guy he thought killed Ben. Now I always had an issue with that anyway (Peter doesn't kill) but basically Peter killed a man innocent of that crime with the Sandman retcon.

    As for his Spider-Man 4 ideas with Felicia as the Vultures Assistant urgh no just no
    Raimi really wanted to do Mysterio. All those Bruce Campbell cameos he set up in the first and second movie was supposed to lead up to a reveal that this guy was Quentin Beck all along. But none of the producers at the time believed in Mysterio (Raimi's Mysterio almost certainly would have been very different, and superior to, the one in FFH). So Raimi had to find a way to string together other Spidey rogues which he really didn't feel as connected to.

    Felicia in the planned and never made Spider-Man 4 was something the producers were more interested in than Raimi. Raimi didn't have any interest in any other love interest other than Mary Jane. For instance, Gwen Stacy in the third film was something the studios insisted and not him, and Raimi had issues with that, not least because Gwen wasn't a character he liked. The proposed idea to make Felicia a female Vulture came because of the "Catwoman problem"* and the fact that there were rumors that later Batman movies would feature her.

    Raimi should have just walked away after 2. The cast and crew would leave with him definitely and they might have to recast but I think it could have been done...and you could have done it like the James Bond series where without a reboot, you cast new actors as Peter and the supporting cast and keep the continuity broad-strokes and move forward.



    * Felicia Hardy's similarity to Selina Kyle is the main reason why she's had such a hard time crossing over to the big screen. There are multiple live-action versions of Catwoman over multiple decades (Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Anne Hathaway) so any attempt to bring her over would look like a copy.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Raimi really wanted to do Mysterio. All those Bruce Campbell cameos he set up in the first and second movie was supposed to lead up to a reveal that this guy was Quentin Beck all along. But none of the producers at the time believed in Mysterio (Raimi's Mysterio almost certainly would have been very different, and superior to, the one in FFH). So Raimi had to find a way to string together other Spidey rogues which he really didn't feel as connected to.

    Felicia in the planned and never made Spider-Man 4 was something the producers were more interested in than Raimi. Raimi didn't have any interest in any other love interest other than Mary Jane. For instance, Gwen Stacy in the third film was something the studios insisted and not him, and Raimi had issues with that, not least because Gwen wasn't a character he liked. The proposed idea to make Felicia a female Vulture came because of the "Catwoman problem"* and the fact that there were rumors that later Batman movies would feature her.

    Raimi should have just walked away after 2. The cast and crew would leave with him definitely and they might have to recast but I think it could have been done...and you could have done it like the James Bond series where without a reboot, you cast new actors as Peter and the supporting cast and keep the continuity broad-strokes and move forward.



    * Felicia Hardy's similarity to Selina Kyle is the main reason why she's had such a hard time crossing over to the big screen. There are multiple live-action versions of Catwoman over multiple decades (Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Anne Hathaway) so any attempt to bring her over would look like a copy.
    I can kind of understand Studuo reluctance to use Mysterio. I mean even the Mid 90's kids cartoon mocked him as the guy with a fish bowl on his head. The General audience would have a hard time taking him seriously as a threat.

    He was only interested in MJ yet he really didn't write her. He basically did the whole will they won't they then have her scream for help for Peter to save. In all 3 movies he had her go through the exact same story beats. Also for a guy whose only interested in the classic era, MJ wasn't even the Love interest at the time that was Betty Brant.

    I can't blame him not being that interested in Gwen because I don't find her that interesting either. She's seen as the Major Love Interest after MJ which I never understood. But how she was portrayed was like a parody joke and Peter kissing her (in front of his Girlfriend) was such a stupid out of character thing for him to do.
    Yeah I get he didn't want to introduce these characters but there's ways to work around this than how he did it.

    This will sound strange but long term it could be argued that its just as well he didn't walk away. This way he failed and allowed the Spider-Man Movies to move on without his shadow on everything. Now granted moving on to Vamdebilt and Orci and Kurtzman was not the way to go but it still gave them options at the time.

    That whole Black Cat/Cat woman argument is ironic what with Dr Strange and Iron-man (movie wise) pretty the same character and backstory albeit with a different Superpower. Or Daredevil having the same backstory/motivation as Batman. Felicia could be awesome if done right imo. She's worked well enough in the Cartoons.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    I can kind of understand Studuo reluctance to use Mysterio. I mean even the Mid 90's kids cartoon mocked him as the guy with a fish bowl on his head. The General audience would have a hard time taking him seriously as a threat.
    Wasn't the plan to just have him cameo in a montage of crooks Peter was brining in in the unmade forth movie?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    He was only interested in MJ yet he really didn't write her. He basically did the whole will they won't they then have her scream for help for Peter to save. In all 3 movies he had her go through the exact same story beats. Also for a guy whose only interested in the classic era, MJ wasn't even the Love interest at the time that was Betty Brant.
    Well, Betty wasn't exactly the most well-written girlfriend character ever and her role as Peter's first love interest hasn't exactly left much of a mark on the franchise (probably not helped by a teenager dropping out of high school to get a job has dated really badly).

    Not sure MJ was stuck on the same notes, though. She does get her own running subplot of tying to deal with the damage the verbal abuse she suffered in childhood did to her self-esteem (possibly least noticeable in 2, but the extended edition did add a scene indicating that her engagement was partially motivated to prove her father wrong), which tied into seeing her trying to make a career. Her's and Peter's relationship did grow over the series, thus creating minor changes as it went. I also appreciate that earlier movies showed her as needing more support but that she was willing to give that support too, if needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    I can't blame him not being that interested in Gwen because I don't find her that interesting either. She's seen as the Major Love Interest after MJ which I never understood. But how she was portrayed was like a parody joke and Peter kissing her (in front of his Girlfriend) was such a stupid out of character thing for him to do.
    Yeah I get he didn't want to introduce these characters but there's ways to work around this than how he did it.
    Wasn't Gwen intended to be an original character that was then given the name of a preexisting character to stick Gwen Stacy into the series even if the series had already erased the possibility of writing the Peter/Gwen love story? I'm not much of a Gwen fan, either, but I did get a kick out of how Raimi MJ had taken on a lot of Gwen's traits, so Raimi Gwen picked up some of MJ's (to the point that a blond actress was cast as the redhead, and vice versa). Thought Bryce Dallas Howard did fine with what she was given (although I will concede I liked her better in the Jurassic World movies).

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    This will sound strange but long term it could be argued that its just as well he didn't walk away. This way he failed and allowed the Spider-Man Movies to move on without his shadow on everything. Now granted moving on to Vamdebilt and Orci and Kurtzman was not the way to go but it still gave them options at the time.
    As I recall he did walk away, on the grounds that the forth movie treatment wasn't going well and that it would be better for Sony to have a fresh team do something different. While I think he's a little hard on himself for that third movie, I respect his candidness about the experience and what he thinks he didn't get right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mauled View Post
    That whole Black Cat/Cat woman argument is ironic what with Dr Strange and Iron-man (movie wise) pretty the same character and backstory albeit with a different Superpower. Or Daredevil having the same backstory/motivation as Batman. Felicia could be awesome if done right imo. She's worked well enough in the Cartoons.
    Not much of a Black Cat fan, but I do regret that we never got Felicity Jones in a Black Cat heist movie (although Jones did get to do Star Wars, so it was a fair trade).
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
    X-23: "I know there are people who disapprove... Guys on the Internet mainly."
    (All-New Wolverine #4)

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Parker View Post
    Ya'know, Spider-Man 3 has a lot to like. Like I said above, I think Tobey's performance has an energy to it that he was somewhat lacking in the first two movies, and I really like his arc on paper, being a complete flip of Spider-Man 2. 2 starts with him being really sad and feeling weighed down by his responsibilities and his arc allows him to realize that being Spider-Man isn't just important for moral reasons, but he also enjoys doing it and it gives him purpose in life. 3 starts with a completely overconfident Peter who needs to be reminded that he isn't perfect and essentially be taken down a peg (I love the idea of the jazz montage as the dark mirror to the "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" scene in 2). Sure, the execution is pretty bad and I think the film goes too far and makes Peter a murderer who is just lucky that the guy he thinks he killed escaped with his life, but the ideas are great.

    I love the casting of Thomas Hayden Church as Sandman, and the effects for his powers are breathtaking. James Franco gives an excellent performance throughout, even if he gets completely shafted. Venom looks AWESOME (I prefer his design here to the design in the Venom movie) and the idea to characterize Eddie Brock closer to his Ultimate counterpart is inspired. The movie also has some of the best action of the trilogy, particularly the first fight with Harry and the last fight with Venom. Finally, I think, discounting Spider-Verse, this is the best looking Spider-Man movie. The cinematography is beautiful and so many scenes stick out in my head as being well shot, like the birth of the Sandman or the whole Bell tower scene.

    The movie doesn't come together in the end and I think it has a few irredeemable flaws (all of which stem from the Sandman subplot I think), but it's still a beautifully crafted, watchable movie IMO.
    The Sandman part was originally the dealbreaker for me when I first saw SM3. A lot of the other stuff was a bit out there as well, but replacing the killer with Sandman and making the Burgler just an accomplice unnecessarily muddies the whole affair. At the time, I was thinking we would be getting a SM4 movie, though. Plus we had just seen SM2, still the best SM movie of all of them. I went into SM3 super-optimistic with very high expectations.
    Over time, though, as I have rewatched SM3 (and it totally is very watchable), and seen the tragedy that was the two ASM films and the milk-based Disnified SM MCU films, the Sandman involvement bothers me less and less. At least the SM films were aimed at adults and had some actual respect for the way Peter Parker is supposed to be.

    So that scene. Uncle Ben still died, and it was still not the Burglar who did it. But there still is a direct connection between Peter letting the Burglar go and Uncle Ben getting shot. Had the Burglar not surprised Sandman, he would not have accidentally shot Ben. And Raimi added a little dialogue from Uncle Ben (told by Sandman) where he actually was in the middle of trying to reform Sandman, give him something to think about. This is where it was absolutely brilliant to have Thomas Haden Church plan Sandman. That brief moment between Church and Cliff Robertson is just facial expressions but wow.

    So the connection is still there. Had Burglar not come out when he did, Sandman probably would have put his gun down and walked away. Uncle Ben may not have been shot. I'm much more forgiving of the scene now than before. Besides, no other SM movie has even had Uncle Ben on screen or discussed in any way. Thats the real crime.

    When Peter forgives Sandman, its still a bit too easy. And Sandman should be behind bars! So that part with him getting away still twists my gut.

    Also that the butler didn't tell Harry about Norman's glider wound long before. But oh well its a plot device. And butlers are sometimes weird, Alfred has done stuff like this before too.

    Dunno, overall I like the movie. It brings the goblin arc to a satisfying close. Unfortunately it begs for at least one more follow up film, but Raimi was so burned out with Sony at that point. I have to respect the effort Raimi made in all of those movies, they really are a labor of love for him. He just may have left his mojo on the cutting room floor, he put so much into them.
    Last edited by Scott Taylor; 07-12-2020 at 12:14 PM.
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