Jul 6, 2004

A Period of Inaction And A Web Slinger Returns

The mothership is undergoing a period of inaction for the next couple of days. For those just coming from the front page and haven't been here before (or experienced some technical difficulties as I have as of late), welcome.

Now, I want to talk about Spider-Man 2. Yes, I'm the king of the segueways, or at least the court jester of the segueways. Warning, I'm going to spoil a few things. Not a lot, like the last moments of the film, but some to whet your whistle.

If you haven't seen this movie, I hope you've enjoyed your slumber from beneath that huge rock. We have a lot to catch up on. For starters, the producers were wise to recap the events of the first movies in the opening credits, not unlike the second Superman movie (you know, the best one). Unlike Superman II, which had clips from the first movie in the opening credits, the producers of Spider-Man 2 relied on the skills of Alex Ross to visualize key scenes from the first movie in his own inimiatble fashion (this was probably a bulk of the audience's first time seeing his work). The movie picks off right at the spot where the first film ended, or at least a few months afterwards.

Mary Jane is a fashion model plastered all over New York and Broadway actress performing in "The Importance of Being Earnest." Harry Osborn is a chip off the old block, inheriting Osborn Industries from his father. He has also developed a major chip on his shoulder, still believing that Spider-Man killed his father. Speak of the devil (whoops, that's another guy), I mean the webhead, he has created a following amongst Manhattanites as a hero to some and a menace to others. Peter Parker still struggles with trying to make ends meet, as does his Aunt May. As a result, his grades at the university are suffering. His professor, Dr. Curt Connors, realizes Peter's potential and wants to push him even further, which leads him to set up a meeting with Dr. Otto Octavius, a scientist on the threshold of creating a powerful, yet infinite energy source.

Peter sees a lot of what he could become in Dr. Octavius. Here was somebody with a brilliant mind, a beautiful wife, and an overall good life, free of stress and distractions. On the day of the actual experiment, Dr. Octavius reveals his tools for the experiment - - four mechanical arms fused to his spine with nanotechnology and controlled by a tiny chip on the outside. As if on cue, something strange and tragic happens during the experiment. At one moment, Dr. Octavius loses everything . . . including his humanity as he's now a slave to the serpentine machines.

Did I mention that Spider-Man is having bouts of limited powers during the course of the movie? At first, his webbing appears to be limited. As the movie continues, more of his powers are disappearing, adding to the fact that he has to deal with his feelings towards Mary Jane, which are also slowly disappearing, leading Peter to ponder one question . . . does the world really need a Spider-Man?

We discover the answer about the halfway point, when Peter tries to live a normal life. Meanwhile, Dr. Octavius, whom J. Jonah Jameson has dubbed Dr. Octopus, begins to rebuild his project, seeking Harry's help. Harry is willing to help for only one favor - - - he wants Spider-Man so he could kill him.

Yes, I am just skimming through the plot and not talking in depth about the action scenes. The words I would write about the action in Spider-Man 2 are unwritable and wouldn't do them justice. Like X2, Spider-Man 2 has increased the action factor over the original. Origins are out of the way, and the real storytelling can begin. The fight scenes are eyecatching and very fluid. They don't look like blatant computer animation sequences like the first one did, and you feel like you're witnessing a real fight. The only thing missing is the smell of the buildings.

The actors of the film feel more at ease this time around, and Alfred Molina, who plays Dr. Octopus, has done a spectacular job as the lead villian. Like Batman: The Animated Series' Mr. Freeze, he played a very sympathetic villian that had factors he couldn't control. You had to feel sorry for him. J.K. Simmons' portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson is also worth mentioning. Limited with a few lines in the first film, Spider-Man 2 really showed off what a great character JJJ really is, from schmoozing with local celebrities to barking orders at his Daily Bugle employees.

I always liked the character of Doc Ock, so I knew I was going to enjoy Spider-Man 2. THIS is the movie the first one should have been, and by far this is one of the greatest comic book films ever made. Check it out and escape into the world of the Spider-Man.

1 comment:

Cody S. said...

As a self-labeled Computer Animation buff, I can safely say that, THAT, was my only gripe in the entire movie. I even watched the first Spider-man (which I had forgotten how long it had been since I'd seen) and realize, that the CGI was indeed another major problem with that movie as well.

Sony should swallow their pride, reach deep into their wallets and choose a diffrent Computer Animation company, rather then continuing to go in-house Sony Imageworks. Big name movies like Harry Potter and Star Wars each turn to ILM to provide extremely professional and realistic graphics, and yet Sony is turning to Imageworks to match what ILM's done for over a decade.

Not to knock Imageworks...they're good. But I have qualms with how 'summer blockbuster' worthy they are.

But for how harsh I am, I can honestly say the CGI in Spider-man didn't bother me much at all. Just some post-viewing thoughts as to how they could have improved one of the weaker aspects of the movie.

And it says a lot when the weakest part of a movie is Special Effects (and as far as SPX go in this movie they still were quite astounding), considering the downfall of most of today's movies is too many special effects.

Other then that, everything Jeff said I completely agree with. This has got to be one of my favorite Superhero movies, and I greatly await the third.

Now...lets see if I can actually post this without it getting lost like my last one. =P