a young man learns a lesson

Has it happened? Is it so? I just came back from seeing Spider-Man 2 and not only am I dissapointed, but kinda sick of the whole thing. This guy was my hero … what the hell happened?

First off, I have to admit: I was sucked in just like so many other people. I didn’t watch any trailers, got a little countdown clock and even bought tickets to the midnight showing of the movie. Honestly, I didn’t think I made it out to be a big deal this time around. Yet still, the moment the credits started to roll at the beginning of the movie I got goose bumps. Apparently, I was excited.

… and I was getting pretty bored by halftime. Some parts of the plot were just rediculous. I know that for a superhero movie, you have to suspend a sense of reality, but a huge science experiment … in an APARTMENT?!?! To stop a huge explosion, the fuel had to be placed in water and yet … this machine was built right on the RIVER?!?!? And a lot of the dialogue in this movie was just downright painful (I hope the scene with Aunt May’s speech will be a chapter unto itself so it can be skipped come DVD time)!

Oh, there was a lot to like. Some smart, funny moments blending the mundane with the superheroic (elevator, pizza delivery), and wall-to-wall Spidey comic references. The fight scenes between Doc Ock and Spidey were absolutely breath-taking, but that goes without saying (the fact that I was only really enjoying myself during these mindless computer animations kinda bugs me, though)! With all this going for it, and the fact that this guy was my favorite hero growing up, I still left unsatisfied.

I started asking myself what do I want in a movie? What makes a movie good? And then I started to think back to “Training Day,” which I had forced Brandon to watch just hours earlier (he made the mistake of telling me he had never seen it before). The movie involved great acting and fun fight scenes too, but what made it different from Spider-Man 2 was that I found myself questioning beliefs and thoughts throughout the movie. I was challenged and I was personally involved. The vast majority of positive Spidey2 reviews say something to the effect that it “will be the most fun you’ll have all summer.” I hope that my summer involves “funner” things than sitting in a theatre and letting my mind rest while watching some flickering lights.

I wrote this review immediately upon getting home, still hot from the dissapointment (that felt personal due to the character involved … sigh I am a nerd). I’ve given it a day and some thought to the fact that perhaps I went in wanting more than was promised. That may be true. However, I left thinking the movie acheived less than it attempted. At times this movie really felt different, but these would be followed by a scene that was lifted straight out of the first Spider-Man. It’s as though Raimi had high hopes and a cool vision for this film, but by decision or corporate pressure, didn’t commit to that vision throughout.

A quick check at Rotten Tomatoes has just shown that after the first viewing people are raving more about this movie. I’ve never seen a 97% rating for a movie on this site before. That said, I’m ready to be wrong. I’m going to get a ticket and see this thing again. I’m going to give Spidey another chance … perhaps even by playing into the movie industry’s hands. But because of all Spidey and I’ve had together in the past (!!!!) he deserves it.

THREE YEARS LATER: It’s true: I scored midnight tickets to see Spider-Man 2 at the Regal Harrisonburg 14 and excitedly counted down the hours until showtime (what else was I going to do … I sure as hell wasn’t working or studying). When I got there with my girlfriend, there was already a line starting from the theater door and went outside the building. Unlike the famous Star Wars lines, there weren’t too many weirdos awaiting entry into this film (besides me, of course). There was one guy dressed up as Spidey (kinda creepy) and I made a point to wear my ratty, 12-year old Spider-Man t-shirt (definitely creepy) but that was about it.

Once we were seated, a DJ from a local radio station stood up front and talked a little about the movie (don’t remember a thing he said) and then asked a few Spidey trivia questions to the crowd for prizes (gift certificates and … I think a boogie board, randomly, was one of the prizes, as well). These questions were strictly for the hardcore fans in the audience such as “What is Spider-Man’s alter ego?” and “Who did Spider-Man marry?” Ugh … I raised my hand like the comic nerd I am but never got called on.

After the movie, we drove back and I recall just laying on my bed and staring at the ceiling for a good 15 minutes, not saying a word. When my girlfriend, Sarah, asked me what was up I admitted I was actually disappointed to the point of being hurt. Listen, I’m a sensitive flower, ok? I forced myself to channel all of these swirling emotions into the greatest, most personal blog yet, but ran out of steam halfway through the damn thing (as it clearly says above, I picked it up where I left off the next day). Brandon IMed me after I posted this blog, saying he thought it was hilarious that my longest and most emotional blog to date was a reaction to a stupid superhero movie, but the love and life I share with Spidey just isn’t meant to be understood by others!

And on a final note, it actually would be quite a while before I had me a second viewing of Spider-Man 2. I believe I didn’t see it again until it came on HBO one night in the Pink Sock. Oh, and I hated it then, too. (05/26/2008)


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