This is it, guys: the last superhero movie. We’re done here. It’s all over.
Here is modern Hollywood’s final statement on the rise of the superhero film and the place of the summer blockbuster in American society. An interesting story, tasteful special effects that complement that story without overwhelming it, logical character motivations, comfortable pacing of the major plot developments, and the common courtesy of making a film that stands by itself as a self-contained story are all out of the window. None of the conventions that have shaped the cinematic artform for the past century need to be adhered to. Cinema does not have to stand as a work of art and/or entertainment. It does not have to have anything to say. It does not have to be anything. The modern blockbuster is simply a PowerPoint presentation anchoring the release of related products across the realms of toys, video games, trade paperbacks, and whatever else. The Amazing Spiderman 2 was released so that America would know that, from the perspective of its corporate overlords, they’re not fucking around anymore.
That’s right, guys: they’re going to be releasing a whole bunch of Spiderman shit in the next couple of months. That’s it. That’s what this movie is about.
Before I get too far into this, let me just say that I felt that the first half of this film was pretty good. In fact, I thought at the time that this might actually be the best Spiderman film they’d made yet. The second half, and especially the last 20-30 minutes, are where everything goes off the rails. Still, I think this is the best Spiderman movie yet. He doesn’t have the organic webshooters, so it’s better than the first three right off the bat. He doesn’t break down into tears every five minutes, so it beats Spiderman 2 and Spiderman 3 even more. Finally, they don’t have to go through the boring origin stuff again like they did in Spiderman 4: Spiderman Is Now Amazing, and the movie just starts up with Spiderman goofing off and fighting bad guys. How did they fuck this up, again?
Oh yeah, I should also note that I’m not exactly a Spiderman expert. My favorite superhero has always been Batman since I saw the first Burton/Keaton film when I was five. I bring this up only so that when I start calling bullshit on things in this movie, you know that it isn’t coming from some arcane realm of hypergeek nerdfuckery. Well, it is, but it’s not a Spiderman-centric nerdrage realm. It’s just the standard nerdrage realm. So, as always, there is a nonzero chance that I have no idea what I’m talking about. An earth-shattering revelation, I know.
Anyway, here we go, guys. There may be a SPOILER or two coming up (no, not the girl from Batman), so I don’t want to hear any whining. You’ve been warned! Really, though, it’s Spiderman 5, so who cares?
So When Did Electro Learn To Teleport?
I always thought Electro was just a giant capacitor. He can absorb electricity and then shoot it back out. They got that much right in the first half of the movie, but I guess they decided that it wasn’t enough, because in the second half he turns into Doctor Manhattan, able to disintegrate into energy and reappear anywhere. I shit you not, they have a re-enactment of Manhattan’s “birth” scene from Watchmen, with Electro in the same pose as Manhattan and everything. Why is this in the movie? I don’t know. All I could think was: Who were the ad wizards that came up with this one?
After a rigorous analysis that consisted of browsing Electro’s Wikipedia entry for all of 30 seconds (easily enough to pass peer review at any respected academic journal), I noted that the only instance of such a power seems to be in the “Other Versions” section surrounded by “citation needed”. So I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit on this. I’m sorry, guys, but you’re wrong about things that come from comic books. I don’t know how you’re going to live with yourselves.
Is That Felicia Girl Supposed To Be Black Cat?
Didn’t we have enough bullshit in this movie already, guys? I mean, Black Cat is cool, but why are we setting up Black Cat here? Maybe she just happens to be named Felicia. I guess it’s possible. Hell, maybe she’s really Felicia from Darkstalkers. Now that would be a mindfuck!
So anyway, Harry Osborn’s assistant at Oscorp is named Felicia, and I spent every moment she was onscreen trying to figure out if she’s supposed to be Black Cat, while also visualizing her posterior in a Black Cat outfit, because I have mental issues. It’s just another day…
Why Is Harry Osborn Dying From A Hereditary Disease At 20 When His Dad Lived To 63?
Norman Osborn dies and Harry inherits the company, but everyone on the board is EVIL and they want him gone. They needn’t worry, however, as the hereditary disease that killed his father is already killing him. Why? I don’t know. I suppose we could claim that Harry is crazy and only thinks that the disease is turning him into the Ultimate version of the Green Goblin. It sounds like total bullshit, but as anyone used to watching contemporary Hollywood blockbusters knows, you generally have to make up bullshit character motivations to explain things that no one involved thought about because they had their face buried in a stripper’s cocaine-powdered breasts. It’s just how things are done today.
Anyway, I vaguely recall that the version of the Green Goblin from Ultimate Spiderman was actually some type of mutant. So I guess they were going for that. Whatever, let’s just say they were going for that before we hurt our precious minds thinking about it. This then raises the question: Why do we need to have the Green Goblin in this movie? Why can’t we just introduce Harry and leave all of that for future films? Why does Harry have to be dying right fucking now? Do you think the audience is that impatient?
Imagine if Bad Boys 2 started with Martin Lawrence proclaiming that “Shit just got real.” Would that have made any sense? No shit had occurred at that point. How could we possibly reify it? We’d be lost in the wilderness, as we are for much of the second half of Spiderman 5.
Oh Yeah, They Actually Have A Surprise Fight Against The Green Goblin In This Movie
I thought this movie was supposed to be about Spiderman fighting Electro. Then, as the subplot, you have Peter occasionally screwing things up with Gwen because he’s Peter Parker and this is his life. Isn’t that enough for a movie? No. Not enough toy possibilities! Not enough bullshit leadup to future Spiderman films! We need more!
So Electro blows up and then the Green Goblin flies in. It’s like they spliced the end of The Amazing Spiderman 3 onto the end of The Amazing Spiderman 2 for no fucking reason. Why is this shit in the movie? I just sat there dumbfounded. Electro already exploded, guys! If this was Marked For Death, we’d be halfway through the credits already! What is this shit?
I couldn’t even get excited over the pumpkin bomb dropping next to Spiderman because there was no buildup. There was no foreplay. Can I at least take my pants all of the way off first? Christ! I mean, I love the pumpkin bombs. How can you make me not like the pumpkin bombs? What have you done?
I swear to God, the Green Goblin just swoops in and starts fighting Spiderman with no warning. It’s just like:
Wait, you’re in this movie, man? When did this happen? I know they had a brief bit showing Harry turn into the Goblin, but still. I thought that was just setting things up for the next one. Whatever. Here he is, he’s already figured out the pumpkin bombs, and shit is real before it can even become real of its own accord. Shit is real because Hollywood says it is. We are not invited to exercise our minds and determine whether or not the shit is real. It’s real, so just shut the fuck up and watch!
Of course, you’ve got the Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy in a scene together, so whether the movie needs it or not, it’s time for:
Gwen Stacy Fucking Dies
Yes, they killed off Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone, who is easily one of the best things about these last two Spiderman movies. Brilliant decision there, guys. You know, they could have taken all of this shit and put it into the next movie, but no. We have to throw it in here at the end because some producer demanded it or something. Honestly, what’s the rush? Are you afraid that you’re not going to make any more Spiderman movies? Is Putin going to fire off some Russian mind control weapon that causes people to hate Spiderman and love Aquaman all of a sudden? HEY, ASSHOLES: Put all of this shit in the next movie! I should be ten minutes into Under Siege by now!
So Gwen Stacy is dead. Maybe they can bring her back as Ultimate Carnage. Wait, no. Don’t do that. No, don’t do that!
Oh God, what have I done? I’m so sorry, everyone.
There’s also some bullshit with the Green Goblin plotting to use Oscorp tech to form the Sinister Six and a final bitchslap of the Rhino as we cut to credits. Oh yeah, the Rhino is in this movie as well. To paraphrase Joe Bob Briggs for the millionth time: Way too much plot getting in the way of the story in this one. Rhino is played by Paul Giamatti, which means that they just need to put Sandra Oh in the next one to complete the Sideways set!
Note that I didn’t even bring up all of the nonsense with Spiderman’s parents, their scientific research, the opening scenes telling the real story of their fatal plane crash, the deeper reason why the radioactive spider only worked on Peter, and God knows what else! Oh yeah, and the end credits get hijacked by a scene that appeared to involve some military guys and Mystique from X-Men First Class. I’m not really sure if this actually happened, or if I’ve just gone insane. Aren’t the X-Men produced by Fox, and Spiderman by Sony? What the fuck is going on, here? I’m going to call up Deadpool and we’ll get to the bottom of this. I just want to keep you guys abreast of all developments.
You know, sometimes I forget that Electro was even in this movie.
Anyway, what have we learned from this experience? Well, I’ve learned that Hollywood summer films have officially divorced themselves from making any sense. They can pretend for awhile, but eventually they just stop giving a damn and start shoving everything in your face because, really, who gives a fuck? Just throw everything at the screen that you can. Shove in as many plot threads and setups for the future as you can. It’s not a film, you see. It’s just a calculated attempt to make money. Sure, it’s always been this way, but they used to try to make money by making a good movie with an interesting story. They’ve been shifting away from that for a long time, but it’s official now. Fuck story. Fuck characters. If you can make a new toy out of something, put it in the movie. If you wait for the next movie, the shareholders will bitch about lost potential in this one. We need it all, right now.
I’ve also learned that I’m too old for this shit. The previews before the film included an X-Men film that appears to be a sequel to both First Class and Wolverine 2, includes characters from the first three X-Men films, but actually seems to take place before them in the timeline. I haven’t really been following the new superhero movies coming out, so this was my first exposure to it. But yes, they’ve unlocked the secret. They’ve successfully made a movie that is a sequel and prequel to six preceding films. It’s all over. Cinema just saw its White King get checkmated. Get ready for the future.
But at least they didn’t have Venom get killed by one piddly little explosion, and Spiderman never got Spider-impotence or anything. There is that. He never landed in front of a American flag and did a patriotic pose, either. So it definitely could have been worse. And hey, they even had one of Spiderman’s webshooters get fried by Electro’s electric shocks! I loved that, along with the slow-motion Spider-sense bit where he notices the fleeing innocent people about to get fried by touching the metal handrails. Really, pretty much everything up through the first Electro fight was great. Just get up and leave after that. It’s all downhill from there.
Maybe he can fight Mr. Freeze in the next one. Just do it, Hollywood. My body is ready.