Joy (cithra) wrote,

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Spiderman redux

Elsewhere I wrote:

> I really wish I wanted to see this more than I do. I hate feeling like I
> have to see a movie because everyone else does/has/thinks I should.

I did end up seeing this last night, and I managed to enjoy myself. As I
said to another friend under different cover: "It was ok. But considering I
must be the only comic geek on the planet who never liked the Spiderman
series, ok isn't the damning with faint praise it might appear." I still
retain all my prior opinions of the characters [Peter=whiny bastard with a
martyr complex, Aunt May=piously insipid, Jonah Jamison=idiot blowhard] but
my opinion of Sam Rami has been bolstered since I didn't actually find those
character defects getting in the way.

MiKeK and I were talking about how some of the 'intrusive' CGI seemed to be
deliberately so - that is, "comic-book-y" on purpose. As a filmmaker you
have to make a decision anytime you're going to be doing something with that
much CGI that people know is patently impossible, and I think opting for a
look that's an homage to the story source was an effective choice.
Personally, I was a little vertiginous by the end of some of the swoopy
swinging scenes, but that's for me and my inner ear to have a discussion

Speaking of homage, there were numerous touches throughout that were nods to
the paper comic, and that I did like - especially that classic upside-down
hanging-from-the-web pose that I think was required to show up in at least
one panel per issue by contract. Bonus points for the 'go webbing go!'
scene, and extra bonus points for the little background bit when he's
designing the costume - he draws most of the changes the costume went
through over the years, including the black 'alien' suit and/or the
black-and-red revamp of a while back with a note saying "More Color!!!"
which was probably for me the most amusing bit in the whole film.

I've also got to say that I can't think of anyone besides Willem Dafoe who
could have pulled off the 'split-personality' cliche without making it seem
merely ludicrous - he managed to walk the fine line between the ridiculous
and the sublime, and inject an undercurrent of menace to the character as
well. This man is blatantly under-appreciated as an actor, IMuHO. Truth be
told, he's the real reason I finally came down on the side of seeing the
film - and in that sense I wasn't disappointed. He took a character whose
concept even in the comic struck me as inane and managed to give it some

I did have to roll my eyes at the ending and the Hero Who Suffers Alone
angst (not to mention the Spidey-on-the-flagpole uberpatriotic closing shot,
oi). I don't care if it's authentic to the comic, if so it's dumb there
too. When is this class of protagonist going to figure out that you can't
protect people you love by trying not to love them? If their emotional
connection to you makes them a target, you ignoring that emotional
connection isn't going to make them less of one - if anything the opposite
is true. Protecting the 'secret identity'? Bah, she already knows who he
is, even if you don't accept that flash of recognition in the grave yard as
her putting two-and-two together. It seems to be a requirement of - modern
heroes? american heroes? I'm still trying to put my finger on the category -
to Go It Alone. Even the traditional side-kick has fallen by the wayside,
for the most part. If you're living some sort of life on the edge that puts
you and your people in danger, the only option that makes any sense to me it
to accept love where you find it and make the most of it, hoping you get
some time together before the universe intervenes. Elseways lies regret -
or a sequel, which was the other thing the ending was screaming so loudly I
could barely think... MJ's a big girl - he doesn't need to protect her by
avoiding being with her (if you posit that would help protect her, which I
don't). Unless he was working on his "Crushing Proffered Hearts" merit
badge or I missed some crucial piece of character development where he fell
out of love with her the moment she acknowledged she had strong feeling for
him, he's a doofus for not standing up and trying to carve a little happily
out of ever after.

Then again, how many people have the courage to stand up and accept love
with clear eyes when it's offered? Not too many, myself included. Hey Ben,
I guess this means I've decided on the 'better to have loved and lost' side
of the question after all. For today, at least.

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