The Big Picture: Too Many Villains

annoyinglizardvoice

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Anyone notice that these movies seem to be following the Ultimate designs of the villains rather the the traditional versions, what with Rhino's suit being power-armour rather than a costume that happened to up his strength and the general design of Electro? (not that I'm complaining, this approach is working for Avengers)

I prefer when they have more than one villain. While I admit that Spiderman 3 screwed up with regards to how to use them, I find having an extra bad-guy for the hero t fight early on stops the first half of the film being dragged out too much. It also allows less well-known villains to get a chance to be cool.
I haven't seen the first of the new Spiderman films, but I'm willing to give this one a try.

(sorry if this appears twice, my connection is acting up)
 

KazeAizen

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shadowstriker86 said:
Couple things...

1) Did anyone besides me end up with that godawful hour long beiber ad before this vid started? seriously escapist, thats just...wrong.

2) the first AMS sucked, this one will too most likely for reasons we can already guess, and everyone besides marvel is playing the catch-up game instead of....you know...actually producing things worth seeing but regarding the too many villains issue? as Bob said, hit or miss. In the case of AMS2, sony couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
Everyone is playing catch up it seems. Hell I wouldn't be surprised if X-men: DOFP is kind of like a soft reboot for the franchise so they can incorporate the planned Fantastic Four reboot into the mix (yes fox wants to do that). The guys working for the CW are actually doing something interesting for DC. I'm not sure if you've seen Arrow but its not a half bad series and now in season 2 its getting in a comfortable groove between Nolan style realism and its own comic book origins. Its like Nolan's Batman series except its not quite ashamed of its crazy origins anymore. In the most recent episode Barry Allen showed up and pretty blared with trumpets that Thrawn the Reverse Flash is going to show up in his own spin off series set to debut in a few years. Yeah a live action Reverse Flash. How cool is that? While the big guys at WB studios are trying to hammer out a DC cinematic universe kind of haphazardly their TV guys seem to have a plan for a DC TV universe starting with Arrow and branching off into The Flash and Amazon. So if nothing else hopefully this TV universe survives and we can have that until someone at the movie making level gets their act together and actually wants to make DC superhero movies.

Seriously they just need to establish a DC studio with WB and hire people for that studio that all they want to do is make comic book films. A studio devoted to doing that is one of the big reasons the Marvel Cinematic universe is kicking so much ass these past 5 years.
 

Something Amyss

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RJ Dalton said:
Been so long since I saw X2 that I don't even remember what it was about, though, so no comment there.
Literally all I remember of it right now was a clusterfuck of Magneto/brotherhood/weaponxprogram/military/teaseforfuturevents

Yeah.

Then again, I was never as in love with these movies as the normal folks, so that could just be me.

KazeAizen said:
If this ultimately does become the slow motion train wreck people are thinking it is then maybe one day Marvel can get the rights to Spider-man back and do something with him after Avengers 2.
Yeah, except people were saying that about the first and it made big bank. Sorry folks, it's almost certainly going to be a financial success. What you would need is a Batman & Robin level of failure, and no matter how much people want it to be true, need it to be true, or claim it is true....It's VERY unlikely.

Zenron said:
About the Mary Jane thing. I think it's really weird that they were able to just cut out an entire character out of the movie. How do you cut Mary Jane out of a spiderman story and still have it work? It just doesn't make any sense to me. Are scripts generally that versatile?
Well, Mary Jane wasn't exactly a vital component of the Spider-Man comics for a good chunk of time. And since Gwen is still around in these movies, she'd most likely just be a secondary love interest.

So no, it doesn't have to be versatile and yes, it could work pretty easily.
 

sXeth

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Spiderman is a movie that probably could work with multiple villains, I think its more their choice of villains.

Rhino is more or less a goon, and some other Spidey regulars like The Scorpion or Shocker also work well enough as random mooks or henchmen to a bigger bad. Vulture and especially Doc Ock don't really fit that mold though. You can go back to X-men and there were a bunch of "Welp, here's an evil mutant, look at them go" blink-and-you'd-miss-their-names, but they didn't try and shove Magneto into the same movie as Apocalypse or Sinister.
 

Cybylt

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Kmadden2004 said:
Actually, I did watch the video before making my original post, thanks.
And yet you went on a tirade about his complaints about the previous movie with not hint of the content of this video as if you hadn't? Weird.
 

Something Amyss

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Kmadden2004 said:
I think Bob's problem is that he's really only knowledgeable (and a fan) of a certain type of 'Spider-Man' and seems either ignorant, indifferent or indignant toward the various other (and perfectly valid) takes on the character that have been circulating over the decades.
Which would explain his love for Raimi since Raimi basically hated anything but "his" Spider-Man as well.

annoyinglizardvoice said:
Anyone notice that these movies seem to be following the Ultimate designs of the villains rather the the traditional versions
Yup. Between the trailer thread and this one, we've got literally dozens of people saying it. Myself and the guy quoted up there included.

The problem I have here is that Electro and Rhino both look lamer than their ultimate counterparts. And with Lizard being so hated, it's not surprising even Ultimate fans are unhappy with the look. "Patterned after" doesn't necessarily mean anything positive.
 

RJ Dalton

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Zachary Amaranth said:
KazeAizen said:
If this ultimately does become the slow motion train wreck people are thinking it is then maybe one day Marvel can get the rights to Spider-man back and do something with him after Avengers 2.
Yeah, except people were saying that about the first and it made big bank. Sorry folks, it's almost certainly going to be a financial success. What you would need is a Batman & Robin level of failure, and no matter how much people want it to be true, need it to be true, or claim it is true....It's VERY unlikely.
While it's a very sad truth that absolute turds can still be financial successes in this world where critical thinking is not only not a survival skill, but not considered overly valuable in general . . .

I'm sorry, I'm now too sad to remember how I was going to finish that sentence. :(
 

Kmadden2004

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Cybylt said:
Kmadden2004 said:
Actually, I did watch the video before making my original post, thanks.
And yet you went on a tirade about his complaints about the previous movie with not hint of the content of this video as if you hadn't? Weird.
Because, despite what you call a "defence" of the next movie, it's still just Bob trolling. Again.

He still goes on about how the film looks terrible and nitpicks that the next film is using variations of the characters and stories from sources that aren't from the silver-age. It's the same sh!t all over again.

Weird, right?
 

KazeAizen

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Zachary Amaranth said:
Yeah I know and I think at this point studios have at least figured out how to avoid that level of a mess up. I mean Origins and X3 weren't good at all but they weren't a complete divergence from the series original style like Forever and Robin were and if Fox can survive that I'm sure they and Sony can survive anything so long as it isn't over the top stupid. I feel like an awful person for saying this but I do hope both studios run into that problem so Marvel can get their toys back. If nothing else can be said about the X-men movies at least they have a pretty legit cast. Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McAllen (spell) are the only people who can play Wolverine, Prof. X, and Magneto in their "old" forms anyway.
 

maninahat

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I came to a similar conclusion: my initial reaction was "ugh, three villains? Didn't they learn from Spiderman 3?" But then I thought about how a team of supervillains could work perfectly well - if introduced as a team, rather than individuals each with their own arc. Compare Spiderman 3, which combines three villain origin stories, with one of the X-men movies, which have a gang of villains (and other non-mutant villains on top of those). By going into the origin of each, too much of the movie's screen time is used up on hammy melodrama, instead of what we really want; hammy action. In the latter, each villain is quickly given a flavour, a personality, and an opportunity to shine in the action scenes. That's really all you need to make it work.

Come to think of it, the villain thing was even a problem in Batman Begins and the Dark Knight. The latter felt overly-long because of the whole two-face story arc, which dragged out the third act for what felt like another 20 minutes. In Batman Begins, it felt like they couldn't really decide how much to use Scarecrow, so he just randomly disappears and reappears throughout the latter half of the movie (once the real villain is introduced).
 

Strain42

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Kmadden2004 said:
Cybylt said:
Kmadden2004 said:
Actually, I did watch the video before making my original post, thanks.
And yet you went on a tirade about his complaints about the previous movie with not hint of the content of this video as if you hadn't? Weird.
Because, despite what you call a "defence" of the next movie, it's still just Bob trolling. Again.

He still goes on about how the film looks terrible and nitpicks that the next film is using variations of the characters and stories from sources that aren't from the silver-age. It's the same sh!t all over again.

Weird, right?
Fun fact: Someone have a different opinion than you, even if it's a negative one does not equal trolling. Trolling would be if when Bob was writing this episode he was rubbing his hands together gleefully going "This oughta piss them off." and if you believe that's the case here well...then I personally think that's kinda petty, no offense.

And having just re-watched the video, I think it's also a bit of a stretch for you to say he "goes on" aside from the one quick note at the beginning and a single line towards the end just saying he doesn't think it looks very good based on the trailer, he really doesn't spend much of this episode talking about how good or bad Amazing Spiderman or it's sequel are.

And aside from like two lines in the entire video, the one about the Rhino being in a robot suit is kinda boring (and frankly, I agree there. I admit the robot looks a lot cooler, and I know that's more his Ultimate story, but to me a science experiment involving a polymer being bonded to a dude resulting in super powers and quite the mutation is far more interesting than a guy in a mech suit)

and the other one being slightly disappointed that the villain setup so far seems more like "All the villains just get their gear and backstory from Osborne hiring them rather than having their own unique individual setups" which doesn't really seem like that unreasonable of a thing to be kinda disappointed by, no matter what Spiderman stories you like.

So the stuff that you seem to think was the big rant of this episode was maybe 30 seconds or so out of a 5 minute video, and not even consecutive seconds.

I'm just saying, it's not like a huge chunk of this episode was Bob going "But c'mon, would it have been so hard for them to give Electro his giant lightning Starfish face?"
 

twosage

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Cybylt said:
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?
There was no mention of the previous series until you brought it up.
By calling it the "Spider-Man Reboot", I thought you were implying a contrast to the "original". If you didn't mean to compare it to the Raimi films, fair enough, sorry for the confusion, but I think you'll find a LOT of people do. This thread, for instance. I wasn't intending to put words in your mouth. As I said: "I've heard this complaint so many times" by people who liked the Raimi films.

But my point remains: What is it about ASM that makes it soulless? Every person I've ever heard make that argument always talks about the production process or the studio or the behind-the-scenes drama. But what is it about the *film* that's soulless? The final product, not the process.

As far as I'm concerned, it does everything right on the character side. Great performances by Stone, Fields, and Sheen. And overall solid performance by Garfield. The relationships are grounded and real, the dialogue is pretty much fine. Like I said earlier, when it comes to the Lizard plot, it is a mess, and there are a few scenes here and there that just don't work, but I genuinely don't see "soulless".
 

Kilt'd

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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.
Yeah, judging something before you've seen it sucks, doesn't it?

Seriously, your opinion of Bob's previous commentary on the Spiderman franchise has led you to form an opinion on this episode before you've even seen it, which is exactly what your calling out Bob for doing with ASM2.
 

Psychobabble

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Well I think the real problem, which Bob pretty much pointed out is not very good script writing. I feel that every Spiderman film adaptation hasn't worked because studios keep missing the point of the character. First they all have to waste much of the first installments run rime retelling us Peter Parker's not very interesting origin story. Yeah very bright young man (though they always leave that bit out and ignore he created his web-shooting gadget himself) is bit by a radioactive spider, gains superhuman powers, decides to be a selfish shit and let a thug get away, said thug later kills Peter's Uncle Ben, scaring young man for life. That took what a few seconds to sum up?

Second problem is the studios much like their treatment of Batman, only seem to want to portray Spiderman's character and personality by who his villains are. Terrible mistake as first off Spiderman's winning quality is his personality. He's a fun yet good hearted hero, a comedic acrobat who usually humiliates his foes with the skill of a master bullfighter. Of course at the same time can be easily identified with as outside the costume he's as much of a normal joe klutz as the rest of us. That first part always seems to get thrown out so the story can focus on the edgy grudge match against whatever villian de jour the writers decided to pull out of their ass this time. Which always fails, not due to number of villains, but quality. Let's be honest here, most of Ol Webhead's enemies are some of the most two dimensional one note morons to ever grace the pages of comics. Just like Spidey many of them were normal guys who had some kind of accident and suddenly became super powered beings. In the case of a character like the Rhino this is more of a curse than a blessing as he is permanently stuck inside his costume. So anyway we the audience get stuck watching either ranging psychopaths hellbent on some misguided revenge or bumbling no necked thugs with superhuman abilities, well, bumble about the screen. Neither of these seem capable of carrying the story, but unfortunately they have to as the most interesting aspect of Spiderman's character, IE FUN, is continually ignored.

I figured that someone like Sam Raimi who brought us the very tongue and cheek Evil Dead films would understand this rather simple premise. Looks like I was wrong.

As to the updates of both the Rhino and Electro, I agree with ya Bob, the changes just make both characters that much more boring.
 

Canadamus Prime

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The problem I think when it comes to throwing in so many villains or even so many heroes is that it tends to not allow a lot of room to develop the characters of each one. The reason the Avengers worked is because each hero got their own separate movie to establish their character before the Avengers happened so once the Avengers rolled around their characters were already established and the movie could skip right to the plot.
 

Cybylt

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twosage said:
Cybylt said:
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?
There was no mention of the previous series until you brought it up.
By calling it the "Spider-Man Reboot", I thought you were implying a contrast to the "original". If you didn't mean to compare it to the Raimi films, fair enough, sorry for the confusion, but I think you'll find a LOT of people do. This thread, for instance. I wasn't intending to put words in your mouth. As I said: "I've heard this complaint so many times" by people who liked the Raimi films.

But my point remains: What is it about ASM that makes it soulless? Every person I've ever heard make that argument always talks about the production process or the studio or the behind-the-scenes drama. But what is it about the *film* that's soulless? The final product, not the process.

As far as I'm concerned, it does everything right on the character side. Great performances by Stone, Fields, and Sheen. And overall solid performance by Garfield. The relationships are grounded and real, the dialogue is pretty much fine. Like I said earlier, when it comes to the Lizard plot, it is a mess, and there are a few scenes here and there that just don't work, but I genuinely don't see "soulless".
I can see where labeling it "reboot" would bring in the comparison.

And I would say the production reasons are why people will call it soulless, it is a pretty shameless cash grab from that end so it is refreshing that at least the cast are putting heart and showing interest in the piece they bring.

Even then though, it is hard to shake off the production reasons for many. Overall, this is something that's going to draw more negative criticism from professional reviews and those who put more interest in the film industry than it is the public.

One complaint that sticks with me, and it could be something coming from the Ultimate version of the character and I wouldn't know, is the lack of Parker being a genuine outcast and anti-social intellect out of the suit. In this rendition he's a very smart, fairly charismatic smart ass both in and out of the suit where for more than a few fans of the series Spider Man was Peter's outlet for the snark and (occasional) charisma that he completely lacks in his day to day life. And that's probably the thing Raimi did best, at least in the first movie. My favorite remark about it was more of a joke about the whole issue though, "Peter's not a nerd in this movie! What kind of self-respecting nerd uses Bing? Fucking product placement bullshit ruining character."

The plot being too insular, Peter's dad worked on absolutely every piece of tech in the movie in one way or another, was another complaint I feel is justified especially with how it ties to the Lizard Man plot. Would be nice if they moved away from that because I don't want to find out the guy somehow made all of the robot suits and the cause of Electro's powers just so they can speed up the villain back stories.

On a more personal level, the hairstyle bugs me and not because of the "Oh they made him look like Twilight" nonsense. But because he looks like Jean Ralphio from Parks and Rec.

 

twosage

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Psychobabble said:
Let's be honest here, most of Ol Webhead's enemies are some of the most two dimensional one note morons to ever grace the pages of comics.
Well... outside of Batman, I don't think any hero has all that great a rogues gallery. Sure, most of them have a good villain or two, but beyond that, it's a low bar. Wonder Woman's most likely foe is probably a dimestore Tigra (if we're lucky, Catwoman if we aren't). Spider-Man's villains mostly just need a coat of paint and an overarching theme.

It's not revolutionary to talk about Batman's villains as various reflections of madness. In that same vein, Spidey's villains usually represent some form of "science-gone-awry". That has traditionally meant: Random Science Project X produces Accident Y. But if that central idea was really focused on, with a broader frame to build on (Oscorp wanting "tear down the old world to build a new one" for instance), then it *could* be a solid foundation. Neo-neodarwinism, the survival of those who can most change the world (which dovetails with the largely animal-based rogues he often fights). A lot of this sounds like it *might* be what the Amazing franchise is trying to do, especially in the sequel, but I have no real confidence in their ability to do it. Even so, it's not a bad direction.

Spectacular Spider-Man seemed to approach this more from the crime angle. Spider-Man fought crime because crime hurt people (like his uncle). He quickly realized that petty crime was largely orchestrated by organized crime, which used corrupt corporate science to create distractions for Spidey. They never really got around to wrapping that up, but one can imagine Spider-Man battling various forms of corruption (media, corporate, legal, etc.) as they are all reflections of a corrupt society... or something like that. It's off the top of my head, so grain of salt on that.

Personally, I've always believed all of Spider-Man's super antics are secondary to his personal travails. It doesn't matter to Peter why Dr. Octopus is going to blow up the city, what matters is that he's going to miss prom to do it (or Aunt May is sick or MJ's given him a one-night-only free pass with Black Cat or... etc.)
 

twosage

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Cybylt said:
twosage said:
Cybylt said:
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?
There was no mention of the previous series until you brought it up.
By calling it the "Spider-Man Reboot", I thought you were implying a contrast to the "original". If you didn't mean to compare it to the Raimi films, fair enough, sorry for the confusion, but I think you'll find a LOT of people do. This thread, for instance. I wasn't intending to put words in your mouth. As I said: "I've heard this complaint so many times" by people who liked the Raimi films.

But my point remains: What is it about ASM that makes it soulless? Every person I've ever heard make that argument always talks about the production process or the studio or the behind-the-scenes drama. But what is it about the *film* that's soulless? The final product, not the process.

As far as I'm concerned, it does everything right on the character side. Great performances by Stone, Fields, and Sheen. And overall solid performance by Garfield. The relationships are grounded and real, the dialogue is pretty much fine. Like I said earlier, when it comes to the Lizard plot, it is a mess, and there are a few scenes here and there that just don't work, but I genuinely don't see "soulless".
One complaint that sticks with me, and it could be something coming from the Ultimate version of the character and I wouldn't know, is the lack of Parker being a genuine outcast and anti-social intellect out of the suit. In this rendition he's a very smart, fairly charismatic smart ass both in and out of the suit where for more than a few fans of the series Spider Man was Peter's outlet for the snark and (occasional) charisma that he completely lacks in his day to day life. And that's probably the thing Raimi did best, at least in the first movie. My favorite remark about it was more of a joke about the whole issue though, "Peter's not a nerd in this movie! What kind of self-respecting nerd uses Bing? Fucking product placement bullshit ruining character."

The plot being too insular, Peter's dad worked on absolutely every piece of tech in the movie in one way or another, was another complaint I feel is justified especially with how it ties to the Lizard Man plot. Would be nice if they moved away from that because I don't want to find out the guy somehow made all of the robot suits and the cause of Electro's powers just so they can speed up the villain back stories.
Let me start by saying I'm no official apologist for the movie. Product placement is bullshit in almost every case (it can sometimes work if it's a character intentionally selling out, like Booster Gold or the Human Torch) but it unfortunately seems nearly unavoidable for big-budget movies of this type. As for Peter's father being an inventor with his hands in everything. That is somewhat from the Ultimate series (I believe he invented the web fluid, but not web shooters, and he definitely had a hand in creating the Venom symbiote). In the mainstream comics, there was a period where he was possibly an American spy or something, so they've sort of combined those. I consider this stuff to be world-building for the franchise, so I'm not sure if I hate it or not yet. (I definitely don't like the idea of a TMNT-style subway car lab that seemed to have been Pete's dad's from the trailer)...

As for Peter's persona, I like it. He's certainly less of a traditional nerd, but nerds have come a long way since Peter was last in high school in the comics (sometime in the 1970's) and especially in the last decade. They aren't the social pariah's they once were, and the "Saved by the Bell" nerd stereotype has always been something of a modern minstrel show. I think it's less interesting of a transformation to go from "Puny Parker" to Spider-Man in a modern context, where those stereotypes don't resonate as much. (I would also refer you to the episode of the Big Picture where Bob talks about nerd-culture's obsession with the plight of middle-class-white-nerd-males, as I think it's relevant here)

In Amazing Spider-Man, Peter is shown to be a "punk kid from Queens", and as Spider-Man, he's even more of a punk. That suits me fine, especially the scene with car jacker. If they can keep that tone throughout a big climactic fight with a superpowered villain, then they will have nailed "obnoxious Spider-Quipping" for me. Just like how Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark as an obsessive compulsive metal-head rather than the more suave rich boy of the older comics. It's a slightly different take, but I think it works.

Cybylt said:
On a more personal level, the hairstyle bugs me and not because of the "Oh they made him look like Twilight" nonsense. But because he looks like Jean Ralphio from Parks and Rec.

Never watched it, but genuinely lol'd.
 

Tumedus

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Strain42 said:
I have a serious question to ask here.

Anyone who says that Bob is biased against the ASM series...are any of you people who didn't like the first Amazing Spiderman?
I thought the first movie was pretty terrible. I also think Bob is biased. It was evident in his review of it where its clear that the studio process and motivation as well as his affinity for the comic books sets this movie up for failure from the outset. To his credit, though, he acknowledges this bias himself so its possible if the movie had been better, (a la First Class) he may have been able to forgive some of that.

Still, the bias is there. I think the mere fact that he displays so much hatred for a movie as soulless (by his own words) as ASM, shows this. If you don't have a personal investment, its hard to be upset at a soulless movie for being bad. Its like being upset that water is wet.

All that said, saying ASM 2 looks like dogshit could be due to bias or not because... it does. There is all kinds of terrible stuff in that trailer but seriously, whoever designed and/or greenlighted the enemy design, especially Electro, really shouldn't work again in the field.

Slightly off topic but still related in the sense of bias, I think, from the trailers, DoFP looks pretty awful as well. And I wish people would treat that with the same critical eye that they seem to be attacking ASM2.
 

Strain42

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Cybylt said:
On a more personal level, the hairstyle bugs me and not because of the "Oh they made him look like Twilight" nonsense. But because he looks like Jean Ralphio from Parks and Rec.

I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO UNSEE THAT!!!

That did make laugh though. I might even say it was Hi-laaa-rrriiii-ouuusssss.

My biggest problem with Peter Parker in ASM (and admittedly even the Raimi films had a fair amount of this problem) it's just...it's REALLY hard to write Spiderman as the witty funny character that he is...without also making him come across as a cocky dickwaffle, and I feel like the Garfield Spiderman definitely leans more towards dickwaffle territory.

Many characters suffer from this problem as well, like a lot of people who try to write Sherlock Holmes.

But now, that...couple with Jean Ralphio...yeah, I can't unsee that.