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  1. #1
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    Default Amazing Spider-Man 2 Thread Drift: Should Heroes Kill?

    I already mentioned this in my review but I find this whole "the hero isnt supposed to kill the villain" controversy tiresome. Its Man of Steel all over again. So what if Spidey did kill Electro? Why get people so worked up over this kind of stuff? I mean I dont think Peters plan was actually to murder him, just overload him to stop him. There wasnt much time to think about if Max would survive this. In my opinion once you become a villain you have chosen your path and that means that in the battle against the heroes you can die. Yes a superhero should not go into a battle, planning to murder their opponent but if it happens as a result of the battle then that is not the end of the world to me. Why do people lately always make such a fuss about this kinda stuff. First Man of Steel, now again with ASM 2? As Hit-Girl once so rightfully said to Kick-Ass - This isnt the Silver Age.

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    Hey! Zod isn't a villain! Just sayin'. Electro wasn't a villain in the movie either! He just wanted someone to like him!

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    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile001 View Post
    Is anyone else disgusted that Spider-man intentionally kills Electro?!? Seriously, he doesn't even care. In fact, he doesn't even act as though anything has happened!
    One, I see no evidence in the film that Electro was destroyed. Two, by the end of the movie I think it's a bit of a stretch to say he was alive. He's basically an electrical current that has sentience. Sort of.

    In any case, what eventually happened is no more killing than the end of Superman II resulted in killing Zod, Ursa and Non.

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    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slade Wilson View Post
    I already mentioned this in my review but I find this whole "the hero isnt supposed to kill the villain" controversy tiresome. Its Man of Steel all over again. So what if Spidey did kill Electro? Why get people so worked up over this kind of stuff?
    No, what's tiresome is the constant insistence that it's ok for heroes to kill. That is the fundamental distinguishing factor of a superhero. Trying to change that with a shrug and a "so what" is really, really irritating.

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    Incredible Member normanosborn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slade Wilson View Post
    I already mentioned this in my review but I find this whole "the hero isnt supposed to kill the villain" controversy tiresome. Its Man of Steel all over again. So what if Spidey did kill Electro? Why get people so worked up over this kind of stuff? I mean I dont think Peters plan was actually to murder him, just overload him to stop him. There wasnt much time to think about if Max would survive this. In my opinion once you become a villain you have chosen your path and that means that in the battle against the heroes you can die. Yes a superhero should not go into a battle, planning to murder their opponent but if it happens as a result of the battle then that is not the end of the world to me. Why do people lately always make such a fuss about this kinda stuff. First Man of Steel, now again with ASM 2? As Hit-Girl once so rightfully said to Kick-Ass - This isnt the Silver Age.
    The issue is Peter did not show any reaction at all. Not even a shrug.

    I don't think it was intended for Electro to die, but from what we saw in the film, there would be no reason for Peter to assume that the guy is still alive.

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    He might have just been in shock...

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    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DV1Band View Post
    He might have just been in shock...
    YES! For this joke alone, you have just made a friend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJBopp View Post
    No, what's tiresome is the constant insistence that it's ok for heroes to kill. That is the fundamental distinguishing factor of a superhero. Trying to change that with a shrug and a "so what" is really, really irritating.
    Not to me. heroes kill villains all the time. How many Stormtroopers were killed by Luke, Leia and Han in Star Wars? How many Orcs were killed in Lord of the Rings? Legolas killed Saruman. Vader killed Sidious. Harry Potter killed Voldemort (well sort of). Indiana Jones killed virtually every opponent he came across. How many heroes in action movies kill dozens of bad guys and people cheer for them?

    Only when it comes to comic book superheroes suddenly its completely out of the question to ever kill a villain. Though some superheroes have killed dozens of bad guys. Wolverine. Captain America. The Punisher. Ghost Rider. Spawn. Or probably the best example of them all - Hit-Girl.

    Its also a matter of how. Killing isnt just killing. It makes a huge difference wether a superhero goes into a battle intent on killing someone or if it happens out of necessety. Sometimes there seems to be no other choice in that moment to the hero in the heat of battle and despair. Sometimes the death of one can save millions. Sometimes the hard choice has to be made. Yeah there is the popular phrase "There is always a choice". But thats black and white thinking. Its a noble way to think but I think those who say it like Superman for instance are simply wrong. Because they only see the light and dont stare into the abyss. To me thruth is much less inspiring and noble. Sometimes there really is no choice. Sometimes a tough choice has to be made to save others. A superhero who refuses to kill a sadistic psychopath and rather sacrifices a million people instead of taking one life just out of principle and because he needs to stand for something is a fool.

    Its a good thing to wanting to stand for something greater and superheroes shouldnt go into a battle intent on killing. They should be noble and better and inspiring and heroic. But they also shouldnt shy away from making the tough choices when it saves more lives then it takes. Sometimes you gotta see the bigger picture.

    Like on Arrow after Oliver swore that he would never kill again but then Vertigo kidnapped felicity and was about to kill her - unless Oliver kills him. And so Oliver did. Because letting Felicity die just so he could stand by his new moral code was not an option. Sometimes making the tough choices like that is what defines a hero.

    Its never "okay" to kill. Not for heroes, not for anybody. But sometimes it is indeed necessary.

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    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJBopp View Post
    One, I see no evidence in the film that Electro was destroyed. Two, by the end of the movie I think it's a bit of a stretch to say he was alive. He's basically an electrical current that has sentience. Sort of.

    In any case, what eventually happened is no more killing than the end of Superman II resulted in killing Zod, Ursa and Non.
    He exploded, like the battery. He was completely destroyed leaving no trace. In fact, the shot lingers on the 'charge-o-meter' showing it counting down to zero charge.

    Electro's body was really inconsistant throughout the film, but as he de-powered he seemed to become more corporeal. Regardless, you say he wasn't 'alive' be he was clearly a sentient being and Spider-man ended him without regret, remorse or afterthought.

    Also, killing is anathema to Spider-man. It isn't even a last resort to him. He just does not work that way, so to craft a situation in which he is forced to kill the stakes have to be infinitely higher than 'the city is dark'. And it should emotinally destroy him ot do it.

    I have in no way said I am okay with Superman killing in Superman II. I am not okay with it, Superman and Lois casually tossing the de-powered Kryptonians to their doom is lazy writing.

    I AM okay with him killing Zod in man of Steel because he is a legitimate threat and is trying to murder every living thing on Earth! Superman had just stopped him terraforming the planet and had no way of containing Zod if he had captured him. He also lets out a soul-crushing scream of anguish on doing it and breaks down in Lois' arms.

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    Incredible Member normanosborn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile001 View Post
    He exploded, like the battery. He was completely destroyed leaving no trace. In fact, the shot lingers on the 'charge-o-meter' showing it counting down to zero charge.

    Electro's body was really inconsistant throughout the film, but as he de-powered he seemed to become more corporeal. Regardless, you say he wasn't 'alive' be he was clearly a sentient being and Spider-man ended him without regret, remorse or afterthought.

    Also, killing is anathema to Spider-man. It isn't even a last resort to him. He just does not work that way, so to craft a situation in which he is forced to kill the stakes have to be infinitely higher than 'the city is dark'. And it should emotinally destroy him ot do it.

    I have in no way said I am okay with Superman killing in Superman II. I am not okay with it, Superman and Lois casually tossing the de-powered Kryptonians to their doom is lazy writing.

    I AM okay with him killing Zod in man of Steel because he is a legitimate threat and is trying to murder every living thing on Earth! Superman had just stopped him terraforming the planet and had no way of containing Zod if he had captured him. He also lets out a soul-crushing scream of anguish on doing it and breaks down in Lois' arms.
    Yeah I pretty much completely agree. I think it's a good idea to make an adaptation where Spidey is forced to kill someone but it should be a good scene in a good story. Electro's apparent death is not very powerful.

  11. #11
    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slade Wilson View Post
    Its never "okay" to kill. Not for heroes, not for anybody. But sometimes it is indeed necessary.
    You are making my point. The stakes were nowhere near high enough to kill Electro.

    The city is in blackout, that's all Peter knows about the situation.

    Btw, in my opinion Spider-man and Batman are the only two heroes who should never, ever kill under any circumstances. It doesn't make it any less of a failing if a writer can't or won't consider this integral to the character they are writing.

    Also, the examples you site are really bad for this arguement.

    Captain America is a soldier. He has been trained to fight a certain way and to kill if necessary.

    Wolverine, Punisher, and Ghost Rider will kill at the drop of a hat and have done so throughout their entire history.

    Spawn. Ugh!

    Hit-Girl is the worst of all. She was specifically designed to shock with her methods. She killed in her first appearence so doesn't have the weight of a 50-odd-year no kill policy.

    I don't dislike any of these charcters, by the way, they are just very different from Spider-man.
    Last edited by exile001; 05-13-2014 at 09:21 AM.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJBopp View Post
    No, what's tiresome is the constant insistence that it's ok for heroes to kill. That is the fundamental distinguishing factor of a superhero. Trying to change that with a shrug and a "so what" is really, really irritating.
    Quote Originally Posted by Slade Wilson View Post
    Only when it comes to comic book superheroes suddenly its completely out of the question to ever kill a villain.
    Yes, only when it comes to comic book heroes. Because that is the fundamental distinguishing factor of a superhero. It's what separates them from Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, James Bond, and all the rest.

    Arguing that superheroes have killed before doesn't mean that it's ok to keep doing it. Arguing that non-superheroes have killed doesn't mean that it's ok for superheroes to kill. When they go down that road, they stop being superheroes.

  13. #13
    Astonishing Member AJBopp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile001 View Post
    I have in no way said I am okay with Superman killing in Superman II. I am not okay with it, Superman and Lois casually tossing the de-powered Kryptonians to their doom is lazy writing.
    I did not suggest you said you were OK with it. I was pointing out that no one died at the end of Superman II. Superman specifically lived up to the ideals of the superhero by not killing the bad guys.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slade Wilson View Post
    I already mentioned this in my review but I find this whole "the hero isnt supposed to kill the villain" controversy tiresome. Its Man of Steel all over again. So what if Spidey did kill Electro? Why get people so worked up over this kind of stuff? I mean I dont think Peters plan was actually to murder him, just overload him to stop him. There wasnt much time to think about if Max would survive this. In my opinion once you become a villain you have chosen your path and that means that in the battle against the heroes you can die. Yes a superhero should not go into a battle, planning to murder their opponent but if it happens as a result of the battle then that is not the end of the world to me. Why do people lately always make such a fuss about this kinda stuff. First Man of Steel, now again with ASM 2? As Hit-Girl once so rightfully said to Kick-Ass - This isnt the Silver Age.
    On a practical level, I like to see villains survive their encounters with heroes because it gives them the option to return in future films, even if it’s just as a cameo in a prison cell to remind the audience they’re still out there. Look at how effective Magneto has proved in the X-Men franchise. If they killed him off at the end of the first movie, the sequels would have suffered for it, in my opinion.

    Traditionally, superhero films have a mixed record when it comes to villains dying. In the Iron Man movies, Iron Monger, Whiplash, and Adrian Killian all died at the end of each film. Who even knows what happened to the Red Skull at the end of the first Captain America film? In Thor: The Dark World, Maleketh is destroyed. Raas Al Ghoul died at the end of Batman Begins, Two Face died at the end of the Dark Knight, and Bane and Talia die at the end of the Dark Knight Rises. That’s just off the top of my head.

    Sometimes a villain’s death can give a story greater resonance, but it makes it harder to have a Masters of Evil or a Sinister 6 when all the villains are dead.

    I think things may be starting to change though. In TASM 1, Peter saved Dr. Connors’ life and left him in Ravencroft. In TASM 2, Harry ends up in Ravencroft (though we never see if Peter drops him off or the police pick him up, one of the film’s missed opportunities, in my opinion). In the Winter Soldier, Bucky survived.

    As far as morality goes, I think you’re right that the idea that heroes don’t kill is more deeply associated with the superhero comic medium, but I don’t think that it is a bad principle. After all, most superheroes are masked vigilantes who are breaking the law. Granted, it is in the service of the greater good, which is why someone like Spider-Man gets pass for violating something like due process or Miranda Rights. But in the specific instance of taking a life, I think the message intended to convey is that killing--the ultimate punishment--should be a power reserved for those legally authorized to do.

    Having said that, I think adherence to this code depends on the hero. The Count Vertigo example you listed was a good one. I also wouldn’t go into a Punisher movie without expecting a high body count.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJBopp View Post
    Yes, only when it comes to comic book heroes. Because that is the fundamental distinguishing factor of a superhero. It's what separates them from Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, James Bond, and all the rest.

    Arguing that superheroes have killed before doesn't mean that it's ok to keep doing it. Arguing that non-superheroes have killed doesn't mean that it's ok for superheroes to kill. When they go down that road, they stop being superheroes.
    There is some debate about whether it's a feature or a bug of the superhero genre. Does the hero spare the bad guy because it's the right thing to do, or because they need the bad guy for future stories?

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