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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 review: black and white and web all over

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yellow light

Suffers badly by comparison with the cogent, witty Avengers flicks. This feels like a campy Saturday-morning cartoon left over from the 1970s.
I’m “biast” (pro): like the cast

I’m “biast” (con): wasn’t a huge fan of the first one; the trailer looked generic

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Two years on from the first pointless reboot of the Spider-Man story — a mere five years after the previous version had wrapped up — the pointless sequel has arrived. Except now we’ve had two more years of cogent, witty Avengers flicks, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffers badly by comparison. This looks like a throwback to a time when comic book movies were kiddie stuff and nothing else. This feels like a campy Saturday-morning cartoon left over from the 1970s, and not the smart, relevant science-fiction action drama the genre has matured into on the big screen.

Sorry, Spidey: you’re just not that amazing anymore.

There’s nothing wrong with a movie that’s only for the little ones, and this one is fine for them. As long as they can tolerate the nearly two-and-half-hour runtime, that is. Returning director Marc Webb and his too-many-screenwriters — Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the hit-and-miss team behind Star Trek Into Darkness and Cowboys & Aliens, among many others), and Jeff Pinkner and James Vanderbilt (who wrote the first film) — clearly would like for this to be taken as serious drama, at least in part, so around the cartoonish action they crammed in some angst for Peter Parker over the mystery of his parents’ fate. This gives us one truly moving scene between Peter (Andrew Garfield: The Social Network, Never Let Me Go) and Aunt May (Sally Field: Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde, Forrest Gump) that pains both of them over their strong but still tenuous relationship: she doesn’t want to hurt him by sharing the truth as she knows it, or lose the boy she has come to think of as her own son, and he has to reassure her that this has nothing to do with him wanting to run from her. It nearly brought me to tears: Field is of course a cinematic goddess with a deeply sympathetic screen presence, and Garfield is the sort of actor who doesn’t sublimate emotion; it’s all out there on his face all the time.

It’s easy enough to pretend that the 30something Garfield isn’t too old to be playing the teenaged Peter, or that that scene, and a few others, don’t demonstrate more emotional maturity than we should expect from a 17-year-old boy. What isn’t easy to ignore is how at odds the few dramatic moments are with everything around them: it’s like they’ve been imported from another film. That Peter does not feel like the same one who engages in vaudevillian antics with caricatures of bad guys. (And he barely is the same guy: instead he’s a CGI construct who does not move in realistic ways, even for a mutant, with Garfield’s voice spouting some clownish jests from somewhere in the vicinity.) They’re the kind of cartoon villains who will pause in their evildoing for a warm moment between Spidey and a little kid from the crowd of onlookers… and Spider-Man’s coup de grace after defeating a bad guy will be to pull down the criminal’s trousers to reveal a pair of “funny” boxer shorts. Groucho Marx might approve, but who else?

And clearly there was no concern on anyone’s part to ensure that Peter’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone [The Croods, Gangster Squad], shamefully misused), is anything more than a caricature, either. Her only job seems to be standing around in her gorgeous wardrobe looking “amazing” and being “adorable” for Peter’s pleasure — and for that of the presumed straight male audience, of course — to the point where she dresses completely inappropriately for an interview for a coveted scholarship spot at Oxford University. (Hint: A flirty schoolgirl look is not the sort of thing you want to impress them with, Gwen.) Even after some extreme buffeting during the film’s climactic battle — in which she is naturally put in jeopardy in order to torment Peter — she doesn’t even have a run in her very expensive stockings. The only other things she gets to do is suddenly have secret, apparently impossible-to-come-by knowledge just when it might benefit Peter, and can move the plot along.

Hint to Hollywood: Using The Girlfriend as a pawn of the plot is not what we mean by “strong female character.”

Look: this is the sort of movie in which a mad scientist (Marton Csokas: Noah, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) is wearing actual lipstick and eyeliner; perhaps he’s channeling Dr. Frank-N-Furter. It’s the sort of movie in which the employees of world-class scientific operation Oscorp have to be so insanely undedicated to their work that they knowingly endanger the actual physical structure of their Manhattan skyscraper… because that’s funny, and because it’s needed to set up the Rube Goldberg situation that will create a new supervillain. This is the sort of movie in which both supervillains — nerdy engineer and Spider-Man fan Max Dillion, who becomes the electrifying Electro (Jamie Foxx: Rio 2, White House Down), and Peter’s friend Harry Osborn, who becomes the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan: The Place Beyond the Pines, Lawless) — turn on a dime from loving Peter and/or Spidey to hating him.

The bad guys are just bad, okay? The hero can crack wise in life-and-death situations not out of bitterness or cynicism or anger (like, say, Tony Stark does) but simply because he’s the good guy and neither he nor the story itself has any doubts whatsoever that he will prevail. Simplistic tales of good and evil may satisfy little kids, but those of us who’ve come to expect more of our mutants and caped crusaders demand more.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
US/Can release: May 02 2014
UK/Ire release: Apr 16 2014

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated OWAUW (oh what an untangled web)
MPAA: rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
BBFC: rated 12A (contains moderate violence, threat)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Matt Clayton

    I’m relieved it’s nowhere near as good as Spider-Man 2 was. That’s a really high bar for any Spider-Man movie to top.

    It’s sad how fanboys screamed for a reboot when Spider-Man 3 came out (still bewildered as to why it’s loathed so much, other than several lame scenes) and didn’t fulfill their expectations. And now Sony is granting their wish — and the results aren’t as fulfilling.

  • TheAvengersIsaBigDumbCGIFlick

    “This feels like a campy Saturday-morning cartoon left over from the 1970s.”

    That’s actually an apt description for The Avengers.

  • RogerBW

    If I were reviewing professionally, I’d need a traffic light for “not in the target market”.

    In the quest for eternal franchises, I dare say Sony will churn out a few more of these, with some namechecks to keep the fans coming back.

  • No 3 is already in preproduction.

  • Why?

  • RogerBW

    Yeah, not surprised. This seems to be the current trend: we’ve got a marketable franchise, let’s squeeze it for everything we can, with a film a year so that nobody forgets about it.

  • David_Conner

    Sony *has* to keep churning out Spider-Man movies, or the rights revert to Marvel (indeed, that’s why they made the first “ASM” movie). I think fans and the world in general would love to see the Marvel Films add Spidey to their stable, but it doesn’t look like that’ll happen any time soon.

    I haven’t seen either ASM movie yet, but it sounds like the “vaudevillian antics” aspect of Spider-Man is one of those things that just doesn’t translate very well from the comics page to the big screen. The dichotomy MaryAnn identifies is actually one of the keys to Spider-Man’s success in the comics. Peter Parker is this neurotic guy whose life is almost always a shambles for one reason or another, but Spider-Man (and his wisecracking, his tricking bad guys, etc.) his escape from that. (Even though Spider-Man is often a big part of why Peter’s life is a shambles, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

    It truly does work in the comics, but maybe not so much when you can’t see the actor’s face (which likely belongs to a stuntman or CGI entity most of the time anyway.)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the hit-and-miss team…

    That’s exceedingly kind. I’m starting to wonder who actually wrote the scripts of theirs that did work.

    he’s a CGI construct who does not move in realistic ways, even for a mutant

    12 years on from Raimi’s first Spiderman, and that’s still a problem?

  • Mormonfraud

    Because Avengers was campy, cheesy, and ultimately hollow piece of tosh. It is a movie in which the bad guy wears a cheap looking costume and controls people with a magic stick. A movie in which the characters make jokes as a city is destroyed. A movie with endless forced one-liners and a bloated, dull climax stolen from Transformers 3. It was dreadful. As are most Marvel movies aside from Iron Man and Winter soldier.

  • Bluejay

    So, are you saying that you like Amazing Spider-Man 2 better? If so, why?

  • Mormonfraud

    No. It will be more of the same. Crowd-pleasing camp and cheese. Zero emotion and substance. Same for Sinister Six and Avengers 2, 3, 4, and 5. My point is she acts like Avengers was something deep and unique. That is something a fanboy would say. Or a Marvel studios plant. It looked like a cartoon with all the cheap looking green-screen. Can anyone with a straight face declare Avengers anything beyond a campy 70s Saturday morning cartoon? Same as Amazing Spiderman 2.

  • Bluejay

    Did you read her full Avengers review? You don’t have to agree with her, of course, but you might want to know the reasons she likes it before you make a judgment on her opinion.

    Also, you seem to like Iron Man and Winter Soldier. What do those two films have, in your view, that the other Marvel films don’t have?

  • That is something a fanboy would say.

    So then wouldn’t I have said the same about this movie?

  • There’s no way in the world that “neurotic” applies to this Peter.

  • Mormonfraud

    I have read her reviews. She clearly is a Marvel studios shrill who is deluded into thinking Avengers was full of substance. The first Iron Man was fairly grounded for a comic book movie. It worked mostly because of RDJ’s charisma. Winter Soldier worked because it had great fight scenes, kept the cheese to a minimum, and had a good storyline. It was Nolan-lite. A real movie. Critics have to be consistent. You can’t say you hate camp, and then act as if another campy movie was deep and meaningful.

  • BucklingSwashes

    Even in those films, there was at least a greater hint of grace to his movements. I think they’re trying a bit too hard to get the “spider” aspect into the CGI in these new movies, and it ends up looking very, very odd.

  • Bluejay

    But she never claims that Avengers is “deep and meaningful” or “full of substance,” as if it were a deeply important film making profound cultural statements. Mostly she claims that Avengers is witty, engaging, and fun. She didn’t find ASM 2 witty, engaging, or fun.

    Again, you don’t have to agree with her. But what you’re saying is like “I don’t like ice cream, but if you like ice cream, then you have to like ALL ice cream. You have to be consistent!” Well, no. Just because you like ice cream doesn’t mean you can’t like some flavors and dislike others.

  • Bluejay

    I’m relieved it’s nowhere near as good as Spider-Man 2 was.

    Why “relieved”? If a new film turns out to be as good as (or better than!) a beloved older film, isn’t that something to celebrate? Why root for failure?

  • BucklingSwashes

    I think the biggest issue is that Sony misinterpreted people calling for ANYTHING better than Spider-Man 3 as a call for a reboot. Fans wanted one of two things: a sequel or spinoff that effectively avoided the issues of Spider-Man 3, or a complete halt to Sony’s Spider-Man films so that the rights could go back to Marvel. We got neither, and what we got instead has thus far been a technically impressive duo of films bolstered with fantastic talents that are utterly wasted on uninspired scripts and a production team with a greater interest in expanding a franchise than actually making a good movie.

  • Mormonfraud

    Simple. Marvel studios isn’t behind this movie. You only seem to like the movies with the shared universe. The ones that act as trailers for the next Avengers.

  • Mormonfraud

    She acts as if Avengers wasn’t a stupid Saturday morning cartoon. It was. Many of the criticism she throws at The not so Amazing Spider-man 2 can also be applied at Avengers. Including the simplistic morality and you know it.

  • Bluejay

    And yet MaryAnn liked the Raimi Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, which were not under Marvel Studios. She also liked X2 and X-Men: First Class, but not X-Men 3: The Last Stand. She also liked Man of Steel, from DC. And while she gave Iron Man 2 a pass for RDJ’s charm, she also had some very blunt criticism for its “many flaws and disappointments.”

    To suggest she’s some kind of paid shill for Marvel, and that she pans all non-Marvel superhero films, is ridiculous.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Might be best to leave this one alone. It’s just wrestling a pig, er, feeding a troll.

  • And yet many of the praise I’ve thrown at the Avengers movies would not apply to the new Spider-Man movies. And you know it. You may disagree with my assessments of the the films, but I’m not being hypocritical here.

  • She clearly is a Marvel studios shrill

    Now you have crossed the line into slander. You’d better back up your claim, or retract it.

  • JD

    Dude, you are clearly filled with hate for Marvel and-or the Avengers that it is impossible to take you seriously. I’m not saying it isn’t possible that the movie didn’t work for you – but the level of vitriol you are spewing over a f*#^ing SUPERHERO MOVIE can only mean one of two things:

    – You hate all superhero movies.
    – You are a blind anti-Marvel hater.

    Got to be one or the other. Acting like the fun ride that was the Avengers was similar to the very lame Fantastic Four movies, or the disappointing Spider-man 3 is laughable. You are already condemning Avengers 2,3,4 – even though they haven’t been made! That reveals your bias, and makes your rants irrelevant. You are a troll, no one cares what you say, and I will not waste a second of my time replying to anything you say in response. Have a happy life, troll, trying to stir shit. I will be doing better things with my life – like maybe watching fantastic movies like Avengers…you know, like the millions of other fans who made it one of the biggest hits of all time. BTW – I’m not ‘Marvel head’: I’d be saying the same thing to some idiot (and they are out there) who would be flapping their gums saying that the Nolan Batman films sucked. You trolls make me laugh…

  • Danielm80

    I thought the previous film was fairly mediocre, but as a Marvel Comics fan, I’m sure I’ll end up seeing the sequel, anyway. So I have to ask a technical question: How was the 3-D? In part one, it was so awful that it actually detracted from the movie. Characters who were supposed to be yards apart seemed to be only a few inches from each other, and vice-versa. However, I’ve seen the 3-D trailer for the new film, and the 3-D seems to have improved significantly. If that’s the case, I might pay extra for the glasses, if only to make the lousy CGI a little more tolerable.

  • STFU about Marvel Rights

    This movie was entertaining and fun it was nothing revolutionary but was probably the most comic booky superhero movie..

    “Suffers badly by comparison with the cogent, witty Avengers flicks.”

    Most of them are meh at best.

  • JD

    The real culprit is Batman Begins. The industry saw how Warner Bros was able to re-boot Batman a mere eight years after the poison that was 1997’s Batman and Robin. Once they saw that the audience would accept such a thing, they decided “that’s how to do it!” Hence, we get a re-booted Hulk movie a mere FIVE years after a failed first try, and a re-booted Spider-man a mere FIVE years after the finish of Sam Rami’s phenomenally successful series. Okay, yes, Spider-man 3 was pretty lame – but even so, there was no great appetite from the movie going public to see a total rehash of Spider-man. New Spidey movies? Absolutely – but no one wanted a complete rehash…yet after Batman Begins, they saw that as the formula.

    Do people really want this to happen AGAIN with Spider-man, when Andrew Garfield leaves the series in a few years? Dear God, I hope not. Why the hell can’t the studio understand that we would be PERFECTLY OKAY with seeing a Spider-man (or Batman, X-men, WHATEVER) film without seeing yet another origin, and without a director thinking “ah, but I need to put MY spin on things, show the world how brilliant MY vision is!” Screw that – just gives us an exciting movie, and quit trying to reinvent the wheel.

  • STFU about Marvel Rights

    Agreed. ASM2 was similar in this regard but unlike Avengers the third act ramped up the drama and emotion

  • STFU about Marvel Rights

    I believe the love is due to it being hyped up over several movies. It was okay but is viewed as more because it’s a culmination of a plan and part of a Brand.

    Much like how people will line up for a new IPhone every six months the Marvel brand is in full swing and will be loved, whether the quality is good or bad

  • Mormonfraud

    Yep. Anyone who doesn’t love Avengers is a troll. This is the mindset of the Internet fanboy, folks.

  • Mormonfraud

    I love good superhero movies. Iron man, Winter Soldier, Dark Knight Trilogy, X-Men First Class, and I enjoyed Watchmen. I’m just not impressed with most Marvel studio movies. They feel generic and very insecure. They hide their flaws with forced one-liners. The truth is that Avengers wasn’t a good films. I get the fanboys love it. Kids love it. But it simply wasn’t very good. It bored me to tears because it wasn’t anything new. I also thought it was poorly made.

  • Mormonfraud

    I didn’t say she hated all non-Marvel superhero films. I am aware she really liked Nolan trilogy. But post Avengers everyone wants all Marvel movies to be apart of the shared universe. As for Raimi’s Spider-man, Marvel studios didn’t exist back then. Surely you are aware of that. The old Spider-Man films are Sony/Columbia productions. The Avengers created this mandate for the shared universe junk which will ultimately destroy both DC and Marvel movies. It is clearly all about the $$$$$$

  • Mormonfraud

    He’s a fanboy of the old movies. Hence he hates the new ones.

  • Bluejay

    Marvel studios didn’t exist back then

    Back when? Back when she liked X-Men: First Class and Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel? Because Marvel Studios DID exist then, and if she’s a Marvel shill then she shouldn’t have given those films glowing reviews (which she did).

    MaryAnn’s been doing this for 16+ years and her reviews are her honest opinions. If you don’t agree with her, fine. But people who disagree with you aren’t automatically paid shills. Get a grip.

  • Bluejay

    By the way, it’s hard to reply to you when you keep going back to edit and add to your comments. I’d rather not have a conversation with someone who keeps changing what they previously said.

  • Karl Morton IV

    Obviously MaryAnn’s fatal flaw was disagreeing with the factually correct and indisputable opinions of Mormonfraud. Seriously, how dare she?

  • Bluejay

    Hence, we get a re-booted Hulk movie a mere FIVE years after a failed first try

    Well, I think that was because the first Hulk movie was a stand-alone that was done pre-Marvel Studios, and Marvel wanted to reboot in-house as part of their larger storyline leading up to Avengers. Also, the reboot wisely skimmed over the Hulk’s actual origin in its opening credits. The movie itself was about Banner on the run and searching for a cure, which, really, could be ANY Hulk adventure.

    New Spidey movies? Absolutely – but no one wanted a complete rehash… we would be PERFECTLY OKAY with seeing a Spider-man (or Batman, X-men, WHATEVER) film without seeing yet another origin

    There I agree. At this point the superheroes with existing movies should be like James Bond, with the role being recast as needed. It’s not unlike the comics themselves, where the same character can be drawn and written by different people from issue to issue without always going back to square one. (Although the comics do reboot themselves occasionally, too.)

    It’ll be interesting to see how Marvel Studios handles its characters when the time comes, inevitably, to recast. Hopefully whoever takes over from RDJ just keeps going on Iron Man adventures without doing another origin.

    (Having said that, I have nothing against reboots per se, if there’s actually a point to them. I’m fine with the Nolan reboot because it was actually good, and made us see Batman and his world in a new and fresh and relevant way. The Spider-Man reboot, not so much.)

  • Damn

    Damn…I tottaly agree when it comes to avengers…and I also only liked Iron Man and The Winter Soldier. :D

  • Matt Clayton

    Gee, thanks for a lot for putting words in my mouth. I really appreciate that.

    Personally, I thought Sony and the producers had a good thing going with the Raimi Spider-Man movies, until they started meddling big-time with the third. The Raimi films may not have been everyone’s version of the character, but they had personality and soul. The rebooted series doesn’t have any of that — it may be more truthful to the comics, but it lacks the soul.

    I really thought Webb would have something new and exciting to add to the table with the previous movie, but I was really let down. Hence the “being glad this movie isn’t better than the first.”

  • Bluejay

    *scratches head* I still don’t get how you can be let down by the first movie and then be glad the sequel isn’t better. I’m always hoping that a film — ANY film — exceeds my expectations and turns out to be great.

  • Bluejay

    Even after some extreme buffeting during the film’s climactic battle — in which she is naturally put in jeopardy in order to torment Peter — she doesn’t even have a run in her very expensive stockings.

    Sooo… I take it from the way you don’t seem too upset about what happens to Gwen here, that she gets put into extreme jeopardy… aaand that’s it? I think Spidey fundamentalists are expecting a specific comic-book plot point here, and I wonder if they’ll feel the movie is copping out if they don’t get it. Or is it that the plot point did happen, but the film couldn’t make you care?

  • Tonio Kruger

    Wait! Spidey fans are supposed to be disappointed if a specific comic book plot point involving Gwen Stacey doesn’t happen? What a bunch of sick bastards!

  • It’s mostly that I didn’t want to discuss something that’s a major spoiler for those who haven’t read the comics, as I haven’t. I didn’t see that event you refer to coming… and no, I didn’t like it, but it’s just more of the same shit that her story has been about the whole movie.

  • Okay, you need to stop it with the abuse. Behave like a reasonable adult here, or leave.

  • We have grownup conversations here. Get onboard with that, or go away.

  • But post Avengers everyone wants all Marvel movies to be apart of the shared universe

    I can’t speak for “everyone,” but I can speak for myself: I don’t want this.

  • My iPhone is more than three years old.

    Try harder.

  • Rianna Esquivas

    You’re a bitch.

  • Bluejay

    You know, I don’t want to put words into Spidey die-hards’ mouths. It feels like a can’t-win situation no matter how the film deals with the plot point: If they follow through on it, then they’re part of the problem of how movies deal with women*; and if they don’t follow through on it, they’re copping out on what’s arguably an essential turning point in the Spider-Man mythos. Or is it so essential? I don’t know. Just thinking out loud.

    *It looks like they’re part of the problem now anyway, even without the plot point.

  • STFU about Marvel Rights

    Well I wasn’t referring to you just the brand worship that goes on in general.

  • asimovlives

    “Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (the hit-and-miss team behind Star Trek Into Darkness and Cowboys & Aliens, among many others)”

    Perhaps you ment to say the miss-and-miss team behind those movies, my dear lady MaryAnn.

  • asimovlives

    “I’m starting to wonder who actually wrote the scripts of theirs that did work.”

    There isn’t a single one of those, unles you have to go all the way back to Xena.

  • Matt Clayton

    The Raimi films were part of my childhood during high school. Spider-Man 2, especially, holds a place near and dear to my heart. It was such a quantum leap from the first, and even if Spider-Man 3 did everything right — it’d still be in SM-2’s shadow. Moreso with the new Spidey franchise.

    I try to approach reboots and remakes with an open mind (which I can usually do). I have a free ticket for this movie for May 1, so maybe it’ll be better than I expected. I’m just not going to expect the second coming of Spider-Man 2.

  • Bluejay

    I’m not saying ASM 2 is likely to be great. Maybe it’ll disappoint you as much as you expect. I guess I’m just saying that, personally, I’m never glad when new films don’t match up to older, better, fondly-remembered films. I want new films to be great, because I want to live in a world where great films keep getting made, and aren’t just all in the past. So I’m never “relieved” that a new film is disappointing.

    I can understand an attachment to a film that powerfully affected me in my youth, though. I think Empire towers over all other Star Wars films ever made. But as difficult as it is to top Empire, if they ever DO make a Star Wars film that manages to do so, then I’ll be the first one to cheer.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah, I suppose you’re right. Though I don’t really recall the details of their Xena episode. But yeah, even the movies they wrote that do work (which, in order to say us having to rehash this argument, I will grant right now, don’t work for everyone), do so in spite of their remarkably stupid scripts.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, but if my memory of the first ASM serves, “passive-aggressive asshole” might.

  • asimovlives

    I think you are being too generous to the guys (movies that work despite their stupid scripts), but i understand your point.

  • I avoided the 3D version. Sorry.

  • Edstone1

    I kinda agree with you but the same can be said of the comics.They’re true to their source material at least:)

  • JD

    You are absolutely right with the Bond analogy. That is EXACTLY the model the studios should be using when it comes to superhero movies. Unless there is an obvious need to retell the origin, the movies need to just get on with telling a new story. I think a strong case can be made with Batman Begins was necessary; it had been more than twenty years since the first Batman movie – and I think it’s fair to say there was no true ‘origin’ in that movie. But in the case of Spider-man, this new origin was utterly unnecessary. They can just pick up (like in the Bond movies) and START WITH NEW ADVENTURES!

  • Drew Douglas

    Whatever you say, pubes.

  • RogerBW

    Bond never had an origin story: he’s not a transforming character. He appears on stage fully formed, and basically doesn’t change after that. Like Doc Savage or pre-Miller Batman, anything that needs to be said to establish the character is quickly got out of the way so that one can get on with the current story.
    I think that some of the reason for the change is that scriptwriters feel the need to put in “character growth” (is it in Save the Cat by any chance?), and one easy way to achieve that is to have a non-hero character at the start and a hero at the end, or a bunch of individual heroes at the start and a team at the end.
    If we do get the perpetual franchises that the studios are talking about, I hope we may see a trend away from origin stories because the characters will be enough in people’s minds that they don’t need to be reminded of where they come from.

  • I am not your dear anything. If you don’t behave yourself here, you will be invited to leave. Again.

  • This is not an appropriate response to anyone’s comment. “Pubes”? What the fuck?

    Behave yourself if you want to keep hanging around here.

  • asimovlives

    Real classy, dude! Coments just like that only serve to prove the other guy’s point.

  • skuzinsk

    If it makes you feel validated (or perhaps less solitary in your opinion), I also felt the same way about The Avengers. In addition to your criticisms, in the comics I always felt their gang never quite meshed as successfully as Justice League, and this problem carried over into the movies (and likely will in future installments). You had a demi-god and aliens facing off against a team that included three very earth-bound humans and another human in a special suit. The villains have to be strong enough to be a believable threat to Thor and the Hulk (and maybe Iron Man), but weak enough for Hawkeye, Black Widow (and maybe Captain America) to walk away from combat without mortal injury. Add to that a real lack of chemistry between some of the actors, and you end up with a movie that inevitably focused on a lot of action and set pieces for individual characters. But I never felt like the team really “assembled,” or that the Avengers cared about each other as fellow soldiers. And I don’t recall a single plot point that made me get emotionally invested in one of the characters, even though I had cared about Iron Man and Captain America in their origin movies. By contrast The Winter Soldier demonstrated how to make a cohesive superhero team in the Marvel universe, and the script gave us moments that let us care about each character and believe they cared about each other and not just because they faced a common threat. And the balance of power between the villains (both the Winter Soldier/Hydra) and the heroes made the dynamics within the battle scenes believable.

  • Jim Mann

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS (at least hinted at)
    The problem is that the event you are referring to is one of the defining moments of comics in the Silver Age. In fact, it’s literaly a defining moment, since many comics historians define the Silver Age as the period from the first appearance of the Silver Age Flash through this event.

    I think some fans feel that changing the outcome of that event would have been akin to the Harry Potter films deciding that Snape should live. (Though given how different this Spider-man universe is front he one portrayed in the 1960s and 1970s comics, I wouldn’t be as bothered. I’m more bothered by Oscorp being responsible for all the villains, and the Rhino wearing power armor.)

    (I haven’t seen the film yet, but I will when it arrives in the US, despite my misgivings.)

  • Rivvy

    How do you put out this many reviews on schedule? Do you start writing them on your phone during the screening?

  • Luke

    Get off your high horse, Mary. Don’t condemn people for the way they talk. Who the hell do you think you are, bitch?

  • Danielm80

    If you’re ever looking for work, MaryAnn, you might consider a job teaching unruly students. It seems to require the same skills as running this website.

  • What on earth makes you think I *enjoy* this part of the job? (Hint: I don’t. I’d be a terrible teacher.)

  • lars

    Oh shut your pie hole! if you don’t like it then you don’t like it but you can’t say it was a bad story because it wasn’t, everything was connected and I like the fact that peters parents had a backstory and later backstories for other characters in the sequel are without a doubt on the way. Read a damn comic.

  • Danielm80

    I don’t think anyone enjoys that part of the job–especially not teachers. My point–to the degree that I was serious–was that I’m constantly amazed how gracefully and efficiently you handle this kind of comment. Teachers would be very impressed.

  • Most of the time, it’s all I can do to hold back from going postal. It’s very stressful.

  • killgrave

    It’s always funny how fanboys feel personally insulted when they believe their hero is maligned by an honest opinion LOL

  • Hanguard

    Pretty dull movie. Some parts are nice, but ultimately no.

  • Mormonfraud

    That’s why not every doesn’t need to become a movie. By the time we get to Avengers 3, only the fanboys will care.

  • Mormonfraud

    Someone has good taste.

  • Mormonfraud

    Brand worship is never a good thing. DC or Marvel it doesn’t matter.

  • Mormonfraud

    Another thing. Everyone acts like Whedon is some beacon of progressive thought and a feminist. Avengers is a White Male cast with a overly sexual female lead that is subjected to constant ass shots. He’s a terrible writer and about as feminist as Devin Faraci.

  • Mormonfraud

    Saying this is a cheesy and Avengers isn’t is intellectually dishonest. They both are saturday morning mornings. Total rubbish for fanboys and fangirls.

  • Mormonfraud

    Dude, your obsession with Kurtzman and Orci is beyond silly. I bet you work at a gas station.

  • Mormonfraud

    There’s a reason why you are a nobody and they write movies. And yes, they are far from brilliant story-tellers, but they still have more talent than you ever will.

  • Mormonfraud

    At least ASM2 had some emotion. Even Coulson’s death is Avengers is now a joke.

  • Mormonfraud

    You should be reviewing movies. You actually have a way with words.

  • Mormonfraud

    Only a Marvel fangirl would act as if Avengers wasn’t anything other than a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon come to life. That is all I am saying. If you enjoy that sort of thing, fine. But don’t pretend like it was a real movie.

  • Mormonfraud

    Calling a spade a spade isn’t a abuse. I just want you to admit to double standards. That doesn’t make me a troll, it just means I hold you to a higher standard. As I do all film critics. I think that is totally fair.

  • Mormonfraud

    Webb is just a studio puppet. Same for Joss “Ass shot on Black Widow” Whedon.

  • This is uncalled for. I will remind you that we remain civil here. If you are unable to do that, you are invited to leave.

  • Bluejay

    Your Disqus comments history shows you have an obsession with trashing Whedon and the Avengers. You’re entitled to that opinion, but you’ve said “Avengers equals Saturday morning cartoon” about a hundred times now. We get it, message received. If you don’t have anything new to say, it’s time to move on.

  • Mormonfraud

    Someone doesn’t read the comic or know what the hell he is talking about….and I’m not even a fan of ASM.

  • Mormonfraud

    Your reviews of Marvel *STUDIO* movies are all the proof I need. They speak for themselves. Put Whedon behind the camera, throw in some one-liners and televisual direction, and you are sold no matter how cheesy and forgettable.

  • Mormonfraud

    Let’s put this in prospective

    MaryAnn thinks

    ASM2 is a cheesy Saturday morning Cartoon
    Avengers is not

    How anyone can take her seriously after that is beyond me. EVERYTHING is an opinion…it is just that some opinions are irrational and disingenuous.

  • Tonio Kruger

    If Spiderman’s fans weren’t disappointed by that character’s fate in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman 3, why would they be disappointed if her fate was less than tragic in the current movie? Especially since actress Emma Stone’s portrayal of that character was one of the few elements of the new series that was an improvement on the old Spiderman trilogy.

    Anyway, movie makers who adapt comic book characters change story elements all the time with little fuss — the same way they do when they adapt non-comic book material. They routinely change the race and gender of certain characters, add or delete characters as needed and change the endings of otherwise classic plot lines.

    Then again my main issue with the Harry Potter movies wasn’t about whether or not Snape died. (By the time the movies got to that point, I had stopped caring about the series.) It was the way they routinely took the most interesting stories from the books and made them.. boring. A point I especially found irritating since for a while there, the movies showed such promise.

    Oh, well. Your mileage obviously varies. Good luck with that.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Nah, just better luck. And a better agent.

    No, I take that “nah” back. They’re definitely more talented than I in pitching very brightly polished turds.

  • Bluejay

    Before you edit your comment again, let me quote it:

    There’s a reason why you are a nobody and they write movies. And yes, they are far from brilliant story-tellers, but they still have more talent than you ever will.

    So you’re saying: there’s a reason why asimovlives is an unknown and Kurtzman and Orci write movies. You’re saying they’re far from brilliant, but they’re more talented than asimovlives. Therefore he should stop complaining about them.

    Is there a reason why YOU’RE an unknown, and Joss Whedon is writing movies? Is it possible that Whedon’s far from brilliant, but he has more talent than YOU ever will? And therefore you should stop complaining about him? ‘Cause you gotta be consistent with your logic, dude.

    Also, you’re still bashing other commenters. Not cool.

  • Bluejay

    Dude, your obsession with Kurtzman and Orci is beyond silly. I bet you work at a gas station.

    Yeah, because it’s not like YOU’RE obsessed with trashing any filmmakers in particular.

    Fill it up, regular unleaded, please.

  • skuzinsk

    Thanks. I once had a stint doing that for my college paper and it was probably the most fun I ever had “working.” This was when papers were just starting to migrate to the internet, and I’m glad I got out before failure to adore a popular franchise would earn the scorn of internet fanboys and fangirls.

    The other benefit is that I’m not obligated to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on opening weekend, if ever. I’ve reached something of a saturation point with the characters and it would take an exceptional film to pull me back in. I’m also getting there with the X-Men (especially Wolverine). Maybe TASM2 and DOFP will surprise me.

  • STFU about Marvel Rights

    Aside from Thor/Loki heritage and Black Widow it’s all White American males. X-Men had blue, yellow, black, German, English, Jewish and Canadian characters.

  • You have beaten this horse, and it is well and truly dead. Give it a rest.

  • I’ll it again. Quit it. Or leave.

  • TommyB

    Well, Whedon has his fanbase that can’t stop praising his work. In addition, he gets a lot of praise from many critics, far more, than he deservers, in my eyes.

    And all in all it’s annoying, even to me. I just don’t start raging in movie blogs about it.

    I like “Firefly” and “Serenity”, really.
    Sure, I wonder how anyone would watch “Buffy” week after week but that’s a matter of taste, of course.
    But in general, I think that Whedon’s work is overrated.

    And having a character in a superhero movie whose “super power” is martial arts, just to have an attractive woman in a tight outfit on display IS sexist, just as it’s laughable to see a guy shooting arrows in this movie.

    Adding all this to the lack of excitement and suspense I felt watching “The Avengers”, I do wonder what people find entertaining about it.

  • Bluejay

    This thread is supposed to be about ASM 2. If you want to criticize The Avengers in-depth, I suggest you find MaryAnn’s Avengers review and make your comments there.

    Also, there’s a difference between expressing your disagreement with a movie review and repeating your disagreement ad infinitum while accusing the reviewer of being a mindless fan and a shill, which is what Mormonfraud is doing. There’s a difference between being a dissenting voice and being an obnoxious jerk.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Would it be evil of me to point out that the same Black Widow character that certain posters keep criticizing was not invented by Joss Whedon but rather by Stan Lee — the same Stan Lee who invented Peter Parker?

  • Bluejay

    Not evil, but not on point either, since the Widow/Whedon/Avengers critics aren’t necessarily arguing in favor of this Spider-Man movie.

  • Mormonfraud

    Instead of addressing my criticism…you just try to attack me. That shows you have no real defense of your Geek God.

    I will ask again…how is Whedon a feminist?

    Feminist don’t oversexualize their female characters.

    It is that simple.

  • Mormonfraud

    I merely pointed out holes in her logic.

    You clearly think she is beyond any criticism. Same for your hero, Joss Whedon. Why bother with a comment section if you can’t disagree with someone?

  • Mormonfraud

    And you are obsessed with attacking me and defending crappy movies. So hooray!

  • Danielm80

    Why would he address your criticism? Your personal opinion is your personal opinion, and you’ve explained the reasoning behind it. It’s just that you’ve explained it more than a dozen times, and whether we agree with you or not, you’re not likely to convince anyone else by repeating it again. The insults are also unnecessary, and extremely tiresome.

  • Mormonfraud

    Whedon didn’t create Black Widow. This is correct. But no one forced him to over-sexualize here with a skin-tight costume and
    constant close-ups of her ass. I wouldn’t care so much if Whedon didn’t present himself as a hardcore feminist to his deluded fan base. It is a total joke. You are just being a Whedon apologist.

  • Mormonfraud

    It isn’t just a personal opinion that Whedon has completely sexualized Black Widow. That is a fact. Do you think close-ups of a woman’s ass are empowering to her? Then again, most geeks go to see these movies for exactly that reason…so you probably don’t care. Ha.

  • Bluejay

    What Danielm80 said. I’m not engaging with your criticism because I’m not interested. I’m merely pointing out that you’ve already expressed your exact same opinion about Whedon multiple times, and it’s very clear to everyone here how you feel. You can stop now. By repeating the same argument over and over, you just look like you’re trying to pick a fight.

  • Bluejay

    I merely pointed out holes in her logic. You clearly think she is beyond any criticism. Same for your hero, Joss Whedon. Why bother with a comment section if you can’t disagree with someone?

    You are not “merely” pointing out holes in her logic. You are also attacking and insulting her. She is not beyond criticism, and neither is Whedon. But you are not just “disagreeing” — you’re accusing her of being a paid Marvel plant, and you’re also intent on picking the same fight at different points on this thread. If you can’t see the line between disagreeing and being an asshole, you’re being the latter.

  • Tonio Kruger

    True, dat.

    My bad.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Whatever. The Avengers is hardly my favorite movie but I have seen superhero movies that were much worse. And you must lead a charmed life if that film is the worst thing you can think to complain about.

    As the French say, adieu.

  • Mormonfraud

    What silly Whedon Apologist.

  • Mormonfraud

    In other words, I have no defense because everything you’ve said about Whedon and The Avengers is true. Good to know. Bye bye.

  • Mormonfraud

    And how do you know she isn’t? Have you ever met her? Do you know her personally? Either she is a Marvel plant or a over-zealous fangirl. I’m not the only one who notices the flaws in her criticism. You simply ignore criticism you don’t like. It is the standard tactic of the Whedon apologist. All done, bye bye.

  • Bluejay

    And how do you know she isn’t? Have you ever met her? Do you know her personally? Either she is a Marvel plant or a over-zealous fangirl.

    That’s exactly what I mean: personal attacks. You’re not talking about her argument anymore; you’re making assumptions about her as a person. Have YOU ever met her? Do YOU know her personally?

    You simply ignore criticism you don’t like. It is the standard tactic of the Whedon apologist.

    I’m letting you express your opinion, because it’s your right to do so. I have the right NOT to express what I think about your opinion, if I’m not interested. You’re the one who’s desperate to get into a fight over Whedon. You won’t get one from me.

    If you read my comments again, you’ll find zero evidence of what I think about Whedon. I’m not criticizing your opinion of Whedon. I’m criticizing your BEHAVIOR.

    All done, bye bye.


  • Matt Clayton

    Finally saw it. Last 15-20 minutes rival Raimi’s films in terms of emotional impact and sincerity, but the rest is a wash. Villains aren’t that threatening, and quite frankly, Paul Giamatti’s Rhino is embarrassing to watch.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    *sigh* Told you you should have just let this troll piss in the wind.

  • You were warned multiple times. And now you’re banned.

  • David

    I’m a huge Spider-man fan but I was disappointed with this. I want to have a spider-man villain who isn’t supposedly tragic or the victim of a mind altering accident. Why can’t we just get a straightforward villain. As for the ending, at the time it was shocking to see in a comic book but today it’s a cliche. And then the movie still tries to have a triumphant ending which doesn’t really mesh well.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That something was a “defining moment” doesn’t automatically make it a good idea. And just because we didn’t start really paying attention to just how many heroes’ refrigerators were getting stuffed doesn’t excuse any of the previous examples.

  • RogerBW

    I don’t know how the comics fans feel about this, but maybe it might be time to start telling some new stories rather than going over and over and over the old ones?



  • Tonio Kruger

    After seeing this movie on cable recently, a part of me was tempted to crack wise and pretend that the only good thing about it was the way it inspired author Catherynne M. Valente to write The Refrigerator Monologues.


    However, that would do a great discredit to Ms. Field and Ms. Stone, both of whom made great efforts to do much with their roles than the screenwriters deserved. (And yet neither one went on to do the next movie, Gee, thanks, Hollywood.)

    As for the rest of the movie, well, I hate to say this but I’ll always like the Sam Raimi movies better.

  • Bluejay

    Hadn’t heard of that book. Thanks.

  • Tonio Kruger

    You’re welcome.

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