The Radness of Spiderman 2
Heh heh heh. Heh heh heh heh heh. This movie made me happy. Even when it was silly and maudlin, which it was at times in turn and at once, it satisfied my movie appetite. I do melodrama. I do over-the-top. Whatever Sam Raimi’s selling, I`ll buy it.
Wonder-booooooys — what is the secret of your pow-aaaah?
Plot spoilers are grayed out, but gag spoilers are free in the breeze, so be warned.
- I gotta believe Raimi had fun doing this. Like, I`m so jealous I could faint fun. There were three scene transitions that made me smile — like actually teeth-exposing smile. And I feel like he must have had more creative control with this one, which would make sense with the first Spiderman making a couple of shekels and all, and he was like, if I want to recreate Evil Dead 2 when they’re operating on Doc Ock, by God, I`m gonna do it. There was a chainsaw and everything. And a lot of women screaming — a LOT. Not brief “Aiieee!” screams either, but these huge long squalling Wilhelms from at least four different women. So Raimi. So very Raimi.
- Raimi also pulled off a lot of samey action — a LOT of flinging, swinging, falling and leaping. I didn’t mind. It reminded me that one advantage of living in the Triangle is if you want to fall off something with more than three stories you got to drive to Charlotte.
- Going in, I didn’t really like Tobey Maguire. Seemed like he always played the same dude — wide-eyed naif — just sort of reacting to stuff around him. This movie turned my ship around for him the same way Down With Love did for Renee Zellweger. He got to do all kinds of crazy crap, and he worked it — from stopping a speeding subway to dorking around to “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” However on some level I still pine for Christopher Daniel Barnes (Greg Brady from the new Brady movies, and the boy from “Day By Day”) to have this role — he’s the voice of Spiderman in everything animated, and for me he utterly embodies Peter Parker. He would have been doe-eyed and moppy. He would have schooled. I would have peed. But Tobey’s good, too.
C. D. Barnes — Even as Greg Brady he is teh hottness.
- This movie was weirdly dark. It was like that moment in Finding Nemo when I realized the message is that parents have to let go of their kids and what kind of kids` movie in the world has a message that sophisticated? So here the message is (not Rosemary Harris` warbly “Theah’s a HEE-rooo in ALL of us” but) that sacrificing yourself for others is not necessarily satisfying. So dark. I was especially impressed that you actually get to see Peter Parker turn his back on opportunities to be heroic. So dark. So Raimi.
Somehow this is what I thought of before “Spider House Rules.” Bwahh! Bet no one ever had THAT idea!
- There was some silliness, as I mentioned. The sciencey parts, f`rinstance, but what’s really silly is me because none of the sciencey parts bothered me as much as Rosie Octavius` saying when they met “he was studying science.” Not physics, or chemistry, but “science.” What, were they in the fourth grade? Also silly was how, when Doc Ock is having his first conversation with his robot arms, he turns around toward daylight and has really, really obvious makeup under his eyes to give him spooky tortured scientist eyes. Heh heh heh. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Not that I minded, or that I minded that developing artificial intelligence, let alone mechanical limbs that you can control with your brain, is probably enough to “put Oscorp on the map” with or without controlled fusion `n` stuff. I also didn’t mind that Doc Ock touches the busted chip on the back of his neck and exposits something like “Oh no! The chip on the back of my neck is busted!” although we TOTALLY saw it happen and could probably figure it out without having him say it out loud. Mostly I was stoked by the goodness of Alfred Molina, who worked out a lot of action and monologues that could have turned really sour. Goes to show how effective it is to cast a regular dude as a bad guy — like Arnold Vosloo in The Mummy and not like Arnold Schwarzenegger in whatever the hell Batman he was in.
- Okay, one more round of silly. Poor James Franco got saddled with some terrible dialogue jobs. Not only does he have to say “put Oscorp on the map in a way my father never did,” like, forty times, but there’s a scene where he’s getting drunk (also saddled with the Sharon Stone school of acting like you’re drunk) at a party and has to toss off some 250-word essay on what’s bothering him. I forget what it was. But it was silly.
- Okay, maybe some more silly. Doc Ock ends up with the funds to pull of his sciencey project, but, in the bank-robbing sequence that’s shown, he doesn’t seem to get away with any money. And how and where does he buy all his sciencey equipment with his totally obviously stolen money — eBay? Best Buy? Some kickin` garage sales?
- Besides all these tiny things that didn’t bother me, there was one thing that did: Mary Jane running out on her wedding. The astronaut guy seemed like he deserved better — he was game for the upside-down kissy and all — and it doesn’t reflect well on ol` Emm Jay. I prefer this scenario — she runs out of a dress fitting instead, so Raimi still gets his slow-motion skirt-hiking run through the city but Mary Jane doesn’t come across as so much of a flibberty-jibbit. You could still have Jenna Jameson, er, Jimmy Jameson, aw, you know, J. K. Simmons standing by to deliver some cheapskate comedy about whether the dress can be returned if it’s worn out of the store (sure, he’s the father of the groom, but if he’s paying for catering at the reception he’s probably stuck with the dress, too). While I`m picking wedding nits (not hung up on weddings — I just lived through my sister’s and shall never forget it; what ran through my feeble shallow mind as Mary Jane took Peter Parker’s face in her hands was surely somebody would have made her get her nails done. It is after all part and parcel of turning the bride into some fantasy bouffant confection to emphasize the eventual ravages of time.
- Anyway. I liked this movie. What I liked it for the most — what made me go “Guh GUH!” at the screen, despite having no heckling partner to share the moment with, her having seen the movie already with her HUSBAND can you imagine — is that it had, with no prior indication to soften the shock, Hal Sparks! Hal Sparks! If I try to tell you how Jon Stewart and Hal Sparks were my surrogate lovers in `99-`00, I still don’t think you`ll understand. He was born in Kentucky — I was born in Kentucky. He’s 5`8″ — I`m 5`8″. He hosted “Talk Soup” — I watched “Talk Soup.” And now there is no degree of separation between him and Bruce Campbell! Can you imagine? Sam Raimi, you RULE!