The Big Picture: Too Many Villains

twosage

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Bob is mostly right about the "Too Many Villains" Thesis and he's one of the people with an inexplicable hatred of the Amazing franchise, no matter what they do. (Sure, I share a lot of the concerns about studio meddling and hack corporate focus-grouping, but it doesn't stop Amazing Spider-Man from being a downright decent film, sure significant problems, but miles ahead of the Raimi offerings). All that said: Spider-Man villains aren't Batman villains.

In the better Batman stories, the villain reflects back some aspect of Batman's twisted persona. They are Bruce Wayne through a mirror darkly. That's why it's important that they receive development (and usually screen time). Actually, they usually need more screen time that Batman himself. Batman is at his most interesting when he's reacting to the villain.

Spider-Man is pretty much the exact opposite. His villains are just another reason why his day is going to suck. They are chores, deadly no doubt, but mere obstacles that get in the way of him having a normal and/or happy life. Peter doesn't need to hear the Rhino try to explain that "we're the same, you and I". Because they aren't. At all. We don't need a sob story about your sick daughter or dead wife to understand that Spider-Man needs to kick you in the face. Use that screen time for Peter's personal life (where he gets kicked in the face).

For evidence of how well the villain overload can be done, check Spectacular Spider-Man. Norman Osborn's company was creating super-soldiers purely to distract Spider-Man from (the much more profitable) organized crime. This fast-tracked a Sinister Six team-up by episode 10, all to lead into the introduction of the Black Suit. Since it seems ASM2 is replicating the Oscorp angle, I would hope they are going to crib the whole thing, because it was ultimately very well done. It satisfied the desire to see a Sinister Six in operation, explained why they would work together in the first place, and served to demonstrate how much of an upgrade to Peter's powers the symbiote was. Both efficient story-telling, exciting television, and enjoyable nerdservice.
 

bartholen_v1legacy

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I have to admit, I was expecting another of Bob's crazy rants against the new Spider-Man, but I'm impressed he managed to keep it under control here. I'd never really thought about Batman Begins in that light.

As for the movie, I haven't even seen the first one, and not really caring for the second one either.
 

Lightknight

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Interesting. Well, I'll say that Spiderman 3 utterly failed at just three villains. So here's hoping a new director means something other than repeated doom.
 

Vausch

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Trooper924 said:
Yeah, I agree.

A lot of people are citing Spider-Man 3 as an example of Too Many Villains ruining a movie, but like someone else said on a different thread, while Spider-Man 3 definitely had problems, shoehorned in bad guys was only one of those problems and not the sole reason it completely sucked.
Thing of it is Spiderman 3 really only had 1 villain too many with Venom. Harry had 3 movies of development to build up and Sandman had a very good opening and was fairly well exposed. Venom would have honestly been fine if he hadn't shown up after his initial reveal, leave it as a cliffhanger for the next movie that was due out.

Then again, I like Spiderman 3 so my opinions defending it are almost as biased as Bob's hate to the ASM frachise (which I don't like either but not to the same degree).
 

Quiotu

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rhodo said:
I'll put it simply.

Too many villains, too few villains, it makes no difference.

The Spider-Man reboot has no soul and it sucks REALLY bad.
So bad it made $750 million.

Wish I could make something that sucked that bad...
 

twosage

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rhodo said:
I'll put it simply.

Too many villains, too few villains, it makes no difference.

The Spider-Man reboot has no soul and it sucks REALLY bad.
I've heard this complaint so many times, but no one ever explains what they really mean. How did Amazing Spider-Man have no soul, but the completely formulaic hundred-million dollar Hollywood monster movie cheese factory titled "Spider-Man 2" is somehow John Coltrane?

Does "soul" mean "full of awkward silence that only the stoned cast thought was funny"?
Does "soul" mean "completely nonsensical storyline about losing his powers for no reason then getting them again"?
Does "soul" mean "having random conversations with single-scene stunt cast comedians"?

There are a lot of problems with ASM, primarily centering on the incredibly poorly-handled Lizard plot, but this charge that it has no soul is insulting. There is more emotion in the final scene when Andrew Garfield's Peter brings Aunt May the eggs than there is in every scene between Tobey McGuire's Peter and Aunt May / MJ / Harry from that entire trilogy combined.
 

Sovereignty

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Holy crap.

A solid video, where your points are clear, your natural accent isn't bob-bing in and out, and you hold my interest all the way through?

Great video Bob. Keep it up, and I may return to regularly watch your stuff again!
 

C_Topher

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Just a quick word on the "6 doors" scene. If you watch closely, they are actually mark 1-7. I know the Sinister team has been know to go that way from time to time, so it's not a big deal. It was just bugging me that know one else seemed to notice.
 

Puzzlenaut

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I think my main problem is: WHY THESE VILLAINS?!!

Electro? Rhino? Seriously?! The Lizard was bad enough (being a poor man's Doc Ock), but jesus, these guys are the bottom of the barrel. And now they're setting up Vulture, apparently.

The good Spiderman villains are as follows:
The Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Kingpin, Venom and the Black Cat.

Ok, fair enough, Doc Ock and Venom: probably too recently used by Raimi, but the Kingpin and Black Cat could be pretty damn cool.

Electro. Lol.
 

Caostotale

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RJ Dalton said:
This movie is pandering to the people who want things to be serious so it can feel adult. But I'm of the mind that part of being an adult is learning that you don't have to always be serious. Honestly, Spider-Man 2 felt more adult than Amazing Spider-Man to me, because it explored the issues of being a super-hero better. Those scenes where Peter's just trying to get through his daily life, but the spider-man stuff keeps getting in the way add a lot to the film, because it makes it about more than just Spider-Man beats up bad guys. Those films were about something and had complex running themes as well as individual themes unique to each movie.
The whole aim of 'feeling adult' is the problem with most recent entertainment franchises. From the perspective of an adult, the lot of it rather just feels like a mixture of kiddie and teenager crap, both masquerading as 'adult'. The former is taken care of by the Saturday- Morning-cartoon choreographed action scenes and the bright colors. The latter is taken care of by the weapons-grade angst that gets pumped into the story and characters at every turn.

While I wouldn't cite Spider Man 2 as a shining example of how to 'do things right' with this kind of stuff, I recall there being quite a bit of decent character development and subplots. One of the better ones was the one that had Peter figuring out how to come clean with Aunt May about his role in the uncle's murder. Others, like the Mary-Jane arc, were a bit more irritating to endure (especially that wedding scene at the end). Overall, however, that movie at least did a good job of spacing out the action set-pieces with slower character development sections.

Of all the superhero movies I've seen, the one that comes closest to adult subject matter is probably the second X-Men movie, a movie that at least portrayed humanity and its characters in largely-believable ways. This was well-illustrated in that film's many juxtapositions of young mutants and older mutants. The Nolan Batman movies posture themselves as heavily 'adult' works, but don't work for me at all because they feel too much like an Ayn Randian adolescent fantasy about the kid with the most expensive toys saving the city, etc... As well, the bottom of that 'adultness' seems to fall out when you see scenes like the final battle between Bane and Batman where, for some reason, not a single gunshot gets fired by anyone in their respective cop/criminal armies, etc... Where was all the adultness at that point?
 

Pyrian

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Central conflict. You can have as many villains as you like, so long as they all contribute, plot-wise, to the central conflict. This usually means a big bad who drives that conflict and his supporting henchmen, but it's not strictly speaking necessary. Two-Face in The Dark Knight managed the interesting feat of directly supporting the central conflict without answering to the big bad.
 

SilverUchiha

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I've argued on the side of too many villains but not simply on a numbers factor. For me, it's how many villains can a film do and do well. It's one thing to cram several characters into a movie, but it's another to actually do it right. I say that Amazing Spiderman 2 has too many villains because Spiderman 3 had too many villains. And by that, I mean that Sony doesn't know how to make a movie with this many characters properly, as demonstrated once before. Then again, I never will have faith in Spiderman movies until Sony actually lets a team of good writers and a skilled director make the films instead of handling it with some strange level of corporate mentality.
 

Swarmcrow

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excuse me bob but the number of villains in batman returns has never been a problem in the film ...heck is perfectly been use.. in way not even nolan did ... that the film embraces the idea that batman and his villain are all basically the same person like in the comics .. and no one seem to gets it ..doesn't necessarily mean the film use the wrong
 

twosage

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Puzzlenaut said:
I think my main problem is: WHY THESE VILLAINS?!!

Electro? Rhino? Seriously?! The Lizard was bad enough (being a poor man's Doc Ock), but jesus, these guys are the bottom of the barrel. And now they're setting up Vulture, apparently.

The good Spiderman villains are as follows:
The Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Kingpin, Venom and the Black Cat.

Ok, fair enough, Doc Ock and Venom: probably too recently used by Raimi, but the Kingpin and Black Cat could be pretty damn cool.

Electro. Lol.
One: Kingpin is almost certainly owned by Marvel now (as he is more often associated with Daredevil whose rights reverted back from Fox recently) and Black Cat isn't even a villain. Lizard, Rhino, and Electro are unquestionably top tier Spidey villains. Vulture is certainly up there (my only hesitation is in the guy's age). These are the Ditko/Romita villains that were the mainstay of the character for decades.

Two: This obsession that people have with "big name" villains is absurd. Yahtzee complained about the new Batman having Firefly in it, but dammit, Firefly was pretty well designed. I was a lot more impressed with that than seeing another slightly different take on a purple-and-green-suited Joker.

Properly adapted, just about any of his rogues can be a legitimate threat to a cinematic Spider-Man. Scorpion, Mysterio, Tinkerer, Kraven, Chameleon, Morbius... hell, even the Spot if they give him a new name and appearance. What matters is the movie itself. If the story works for the characters, then those are the right characters.
 

tzimize

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So. Who is to blame if this movie is shit? (which it will be). Sony? Marvel (Disney?)? Who? I need someone to hate. My instinct says Disney, because the stars in this movie just reminds me of high school musical. And that makes me want to kill myself. Or Sony. Or Disney. WHOSE FAULT IS THIS MESS?
 

Cybylt

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twosage said:
rhodo said:
I'll put it simply.

Too many villains, too few villains, it makes no difference.

The Spider-Man reboot has no soul and it sucks REALLY bad.
I've heard this complaint so many times, but no one ever explains what they really mean. How did Amazing Spider-Man have no soul, but the completely formulaic hundred-million dollar Hollywood monster movie cheese factory titled "Spider-Man 2" is somehow John Coltrane?

Does "soul" mean "full of awkward silence that only the stoned cast thought was funny"?
Does "soul" mean "completely nonsensical storyline about losing his powers for no reason then getting them again"?
Does "soul" mean "having random conversations with single-scene stunt cast comedians"?

There are a lot of problems with ASM, primarily centering on the incredibly poorly-handled Lizard plot, but this charge that it has no soul is insulting. There is more emotion in the final scene when Andrew Garfield's Peter brings Aunt May the eggs than there is in every scene between Tobey McGuire's Peter and Aunt May / MJ / Harry from that entire trilogy combined.
It has nothing in relation to the previous Spider Man movies though, not from what I understand at least.

"This movie kinda sucks."
"Yeah well the old one sucked too."
There was no mention of the previous series until you brought it up. That's a non-argument. It is pointless. It's like the console war bullshit of "You don't like X therefore you must like Y."

Sony is rather explicitly makes these movies strictly to keep a hold on their Spider Man license so Disney can't have it and profit off of it(and make movies that don't suck but that's not the point for them). And the only reason they're doing that is because super hero movies are the top cash grab right now.
Quiotu said:
So bad it made $750 million.

Wish I could make something that sucked that bad...
Popularity and profitability rarely comes hand in hand with quality.
 

Kmadden2004

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Quiotu said:
I'm just posting here to admit I'm not even watching this one. MovieBob can argue and rant all he wants to about the Spiderman series, but he's so blatantly biased about the movies that I can't take anything he says at face value.

MovieBob, I love most of your work, but I cannot take your opinions on Spiderman seriously. Even if you're right in this case, you've been wrong enough that I'm gonna just ignore your takes on this specific IP. Sorry.
Pretty much this.

Last year we were subjected to a good six to eight months of Bob trolling the first Amazing Spider-Man film, and then when the film was released we got a whole week of videos and articles dedicated to raging over how much he hated the movie (quelle surprise!) that pretty much amounted to nothing more than fanboy raging with the typical Twilight comparisons that are fashionable for caustic critics to wheel out these days. You could tell there was a bit of a backlash to this, though, because the week after his little War on Sony/Spider-Man/Marc Webb, Bob wrote another article trying to justify his conduct.

And now, despite his claims otherwise, it looks like we're about to be subjected to all that again. Oh joy.