Amph The Amazing Spider-Man (and Spin-offs)

Discussion in 'Community' started by Spiderfan, May 20, 2008.

  1. Spider-Fan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 4
    Weren't you the one just complaining that the new film felt too serious and not lighthearted enough?

    The sense of humour is a character trademark. Leaving that behind betrays the very nature of the character and what sets him apart from so many other heroes. Its part of what makes him appealing in the first place. This isn't about being slavishly faithful to the source material, but when you can't bring the key aspects of the character to life, you have faith in your adaptation.

    Its absurd to suggest that a wisecracking hero doesn't work on film, when its been done time and time again.

    EDIT: I also don't see what is unrealistic about someone using humour to deal with stressful situations.
  2. Eeth-my-Koth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2001
    star 9
    People do travel to other boroughs for high school, brah.
  3. DarthLowBudget Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 5
    Yeah, the film does seem too serious, even with the attempts at humor they've been demonstrating. Parker's coming off as anti-social and mean so far. There's a difference between having a light tone, and having a wisecracking lead. One is an overall tonal concern, the other is a character choice. For my money, what's essential to convey about Parker is his humor and his indefatigability in the face of dire circumstances, and I never felt like Raimi skimped on that. Sure, he didn't have Spider-Man issuing a non-stop stream of puns and one liners, but he definitely got the humor across. It seems like what people are hung up on are the surface details of the character instead of the deeper character motivations and tone. Sure, the surface details of Raimi's Parker may differ from some of the details of the comics', but I'd argue its a worthwhile interpretation of the heart of the character. What I've seen so far here looks like its going for slavish detail while missing the heart of Peter Parker. Apparently there was more from the carjacking scene in the footage presentations, and the scene plays out with Spider-man taunting then mocking the car thief, and then repeatedley hitting him with webbing. Word is it just plays kinda mean. One person on another forum said he felt it played more like Deadpool than Spider-Man.

    As for wisecracking heroes, yes, they've been in film before, but they are often one of the most mocked things about the movies they appear in. And no, there's nothing unrealistic about using humour to deal with stressful situations, but the question isn't really whether its realistic, its whether it will play on film.

    Eeth: Thanks for the clarification. In California public schools we can't easily choose what high school we go to, and are pretty much stuck in our hometowns, so I just assumed the same went everywhere.

    I'm probably going to refrain from posting in this thread anymore until the movie comes out, provided the JCC still exists then.
  4. Spider-Fan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 4
    I am not arguing the value or merit of Maguire's performance. I simply don't see what doesn't work about a wise-cracking hero character, nor why you feel it would be such a detriment to the film. Nor while you feel they are the most mocked aspects of the films. I don't recall the last time anyone mocked John McClain or Martin Riggs. Why can Tony Stark get away with it but nor Peter Parker?
  5. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I think one aspect it is how the characters engage with their enemies. Two of the people you mentioned only fight intermittently, primarily using guns. The other is essentially a pilot.

    Spiderman, by contrast, tends to engage his opponents in hand-to-hand combat. There, he leans heavily on acrobatics. He's judged as highly kinetic even relative to other superheroes that fight in this fashion. This is enormously more physically taxing than alternatives, and makes it particularly hard to catch one's breath.

    As such, a constant stream of dialogue simply seems impractical. There's a reason why most fighters only taunt their opponents non-verbally, or during significant pauses in the action. Anything else is difficult to manage, and distracting even if it wasn't. The Phantom Menace initially had plans for dialogue during the Maul duel, but they were removed because it seemed awkward, and didn't really work. Likewise, even films that liked to stress the thematic import of combat (the Matrix films, any of the imported Wuxia films, etc) tend to let the dialogue book-end these battles, rather than occur simultaneously. It's just incredibly difficult to pull off, and there's not much believable rationale for anyone to try in the first place.
  6. Spider-Fan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 4
    Again I wonder if you are even remotely familiar with the character Wocky, or if your understanding of him comes from the Maguire performance.
    1) He is superhuman. He has much higher levels of stamina, speed and agility than any ordinary human, even at their athletic peak. So he isn't as easily winded, particularly against opponents who are not superhuman (ie petty criminals).
    2) His banter doesn't occur as "a constant stream of dialogue" but often when facing less complex opponents (thugs, lower level superhumans), and frequently during rather simple movements, while in a resting position between movements or as internal dialogue (not that I expect that to be utilized). I am not asking for wall-to-wall banter, but some would be fitting.

    Not to mention part of the fun of the banter is that it often gets him in trouble, either by infuriating his opponent or causing him to lose focus. He is not a master combatant. He is a kid in tights, teaching himself how to fight. He doesn't fit into conventional styles of combat, and what he does borrow (acrobatics) are often far more natural than you seem to believe, often the result of pure reflexes and reaction.

    EDIT: And your examples demonstrate what I mean about character. Parker is not a Jedi, he is not Neo, he is not a stoic character. Making him one betrays the nature of who he is. If you want a stoic Ninja-like character with a troubled past, you want Daredevil or Batman not Spider-Man.
  7. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Yeah, I'm backing up Spider-Fan here. This new film is looking better than the Rami movies, which never really captured the character for me. Magurie's slow-voiced sincerity made him sound like a refugee from Walton's Mountain, not the brilliantly sharp personality Peter/Spider-Man is. Peter is repressed, hiding his light under a bushel, Spider-Man is Peter unleashed.

    Some people seem to be taking the new movie as a personal affront to Rami's films; just because there is a new Spider-Man in town, doesn't mean you have to take that Toby Maguire poster off your ceiling, guys.
  8. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    1) The movies, to date, almost never showed him facing petty criminals. The majority of his battles were with similarly superhuman opponents, nullifying whatever advantage this was supposed to bring.

    2) It's not so much an issue of whether it happens "between" or "during" movements in the most literal sense. If one has been hugely exerting him or herself in the seconds prior, he's more likely to breathe loudly than to say anything intelligible. A fairly significant pause is needed, otherwise. By contrast, the style I'm more accustomed to seeing from Spiderman is to dodge or attack, alight for a moment and fire off a one-liner, and move seamlessly into his next dodge/attack. That's not really the same thing at all.

    3) The conventionality of his combat is beside the point. However he developed it, he fights in a way that is physically demanding. This does not lend itself to speaking. Performers have to train themselves to do so--it's not a natural thing. Even if someone had the inclination to try, it's weird, wearying, and doesn't work well. Unless he invested significant time (in the same way that pop singers have to train themselves to sing and dance simultaneously) it's not likely to happen.

  9. Spider-Fan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 4
    Again Wocky he is superhuman. The levels of his endurance and the ease at which he moves and react can't be measured by conventional human standards. I also want to reiterate that I haven't been discussing what occurred in the previous films, I was quite clear that I was leaving that out of it. I was discussing what can or can not work on screen, what is a reasonable and faithful adaptation of the character. You are so focused on the thematic elements and defending the previous series that you are willing to sacrifice key aspects of the character because you find them difficult to buy. But you seem to be ignoring that when you remove those aspects of the character they no longer ARE that character. They lose the appeal that makes Spider-Man different from other tragic heroes at which point you may as well be watching Daredevil or Batman.
  10. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Here are things I had originally included in edits in my previous post, but which I'm not sure you had a chance to see. I think they help clarify my point significantly, and answer some of your concerns.


    EDIT: To be clear about my earlier examples, I wasn't trying to suggest Spiderman as a character was similar to any of those, anymore than I think you were saying Spiderman is John McClaine. Instead, I was simply trying to find examples of films where it would have made sense for the characters to be talkative during combat. In doing so, I was hoping to highlight the significance of the fact that almost no other film/franchise that I am aware of has really had characters who fight hand-to-hand say much of anything while they fight.

    EDIT 2: To demonstrate what I mean in point #2.

    [image=http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/6/60055/1300040-x_men_vs_spiderman_super.jpg]

    That's the sort of thing I think of as typical of Spiderman. While, yes, he's technically not moving for much of the time he speaks, the panels also seem to give the sense that there was one fluid, continuous, motion, and his "rest" couldn't have lasted more than a few seconds at best. Probably not even enough time to have finished any whole statement before beginning his next movement, in fact. Because we're not certain, though, the comic book medium makes this work a little better. You can play around with the timing so that it's at least sort of plausible. Having an actual actor onscreen, where every millisecond of action is portrayed, this is much harder to choreograph, arguably to the point of unworkability.
  11. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Try watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the tv series); try watching the Stewart Granger The Prisoner of Zenda (iirc). Lots of banter while fighting. The idea you can't have dialogue while fighting is silly.
  12. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Spiderfan, I honestly don't understand your "he's superhuman" point if we're talking about him fighting other super humans. It's a relative thing. Even a cheetah, as fast as it is, can only go at top speed for so long. And even Spiderman, as powerful as he is, can only work at 100% for a limited time, too. If he's really exerting himself to fight people, it doesn't matter that his best effort is better than a normal person's best effort. What matters is that at the end of anyone's attempt to give something there all, they'll probably be badly winded.

    soitscometothis, I've never seen either of those shows, so I can't really say. I did, though, find this on Youtube. How representative of is it? Because I don't see where it makes a very strong case for in-fight dialogue. The only time the ever said anything to each other was while grappling. There, both would visibly let up for a moment, took a few deep breaths, spoke, took another big inhale, and then continued fighting with vigor. And even doing it this way, the actors looked and sounded quite tired. The ends of lines were almost mumbled, and they often didn't even get through a sentence without having to stop for air.

    I've not seen Spiderman do a lot of wrestling with people like that anyway, so the number of relative rests periods (and thus, relative speaking opportunities) are going to be a lot less. I guess I'd withdraw any suggestion that it's completely impossible. It does, though, seem difficult in the extreme, and probably (to my eyes, anyway) still too unwieldy for the way Spiderman actually fights.
  13. Spider-Fan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 4
    The mistake I feel you are making Wocky is assuming that he exerts himself to 100%. Unlike a sprinter (cheetah) or a duelist/hand-to-hand combatant he doesn't utilize a a constant series of movements. He uses a lot of small, quick, ranged attacks, utilizing his environment and his opponent's own movements to his advantage. Much of his movement is reactionary, not direct conflict but simply getting out of the way to find a vantage point. When he engages an opponent in close-quarter combat its because they pose less of an immediately risk up-close, or have left themselves open. Its not like the duel of the fates where its a long, unbroken series of strikes. Its a lot of hit and run combat. All of this is made possible by his various super-human skills (speed, agility, strength, stamina, spider-sense). While it doesn't always work and he can be caught off guard, it has proven effective.

    If this doesn't satisfy you, I think we will just have to agree to disagree. I don't really think there is much I can do to help you understand my points, and quite frankly I don't have the interest anymore to keep trying.
  14. Koohii Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    You've never watched Buffy?????
    :eek:

    OK, well, that would be a good place to start. Heck, my tastes seem to be a decade or more out of date, but...

    That would be like casting someone who had never seen the original trilogy as a major character in the prequels. ...oh wait.

    So, slightly less obnoxious note, I would recommend that show (you've seen all my negative bitching, right? Here I'm saying something was good.)

    Also, the wise-cracking serves to annoy and distract the opponent into making mistakes, acting rashly, and carrying on cranky.



    And I will say one positive thing about all of the Spider-Man movies (even that cheezy 1970s Chinese Web thing): They are all infinitely better than the broadway musical. You could say Spidey wears a pink tutu and has canine genes spliced into Her, and it would be better than the broadway musical.
  15. Im_just_guessing Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2002
    star 7
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6P5qwkc-V0&feature=related
  16. Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2000
    star 8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oMN_BTc3vk&t=3m35s
  17. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    I'm with these guys, Spider-Fan and Soitscometothis. The tone of the latest trailer feels note-perfect to me. The balance betwixt darkness and humor is just right. Best of all, the filmmakers seem to be nailing the character and his milieu in a way that the Raimi films -- for all their whizz-bang spectacle and weepy push-ins -- could never quiiiiiite pull off. They came really, really, really close; and SM2 remains one THE great superhero films. But there's something missing there, something off.

    For what it's worth, I've been reading Spidey comics since about 1975 or '76. That doesn't make me a genius or even an expert, but based on my lifelong familiarity over decades, I will opine that the tone, the feel and even the look of Spidey comics seems to be captured in this new film version... at least, judging by the two trailers and the brief clip with the doorman.

    The argument about Spidey's quipping seems silly to me. The quips are essential to his character regardless of the bio-physics related to respiration and muscular exhaustion. He's a modern myth, a sci-fi superhero. His first appearance was in a magazine with FANTASY right there in the title. Whatever the figures required to balance the equation that leads to Spider-Man being able to quip sardonically and mock his opponents while engaged in fisticuffs and acrobatic leaps, plug 'em in to the imaginary bio-physics monitor installed in your hypercritical brain and sit back and enjoy the show.
  18. EHT New Films Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 13, 2007
    star 6
    ^ Yes... the fact that the character is a superhero kind of renders those concerns or issues moot.
  19. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I guess these will have to be my closing(ish) remarks.

    1. Again, people what is this superhero thing? I appreciate that Spiderfan actually made a decent argument about the quips thing, and I guess we'll see how it plays in the film. But the rest of you, come on. Just because it's fiction doesn't mean the laws of the physical world get thrown out of the window. Most especially in a franchise that's famous for killing the love of the main character's life by refusing to deviate from the laws of physics.

    2. While I have a definite fondness for the Spiderman animated series of the mid-90s, I don't really understand why you all linked to various parts of the X-Men crossover. Those episodes in particular actually struck me as some of the weaker ones in the series.

    3. My argument was never about why Spiderman would use sarcasm or quips against opponents. It was whether it made sense for him to actually do so.

    4. Do you all seriously feel that Spiderman sans quips is no different than Batman or Daredevil? Really? I hope you just got carried away in our discussion, because I could hardly disagree more. In the first place, I've never seen Parker as brooding. His relatively positive outlook is part of what I find unique about the character, along with his decidedly quotidian struggles, and his humor (which I feel comes across in many more ways than simple puns and insults while fighting). None of the others really have that--not really even in isolation, and certainly not all combined together the way Parker does.

    5. What is Mount Walton?

    6. Not part of my real criticisms, again, but just a closing explanatory note on why I favor the interpretation of Spiderman that I do. If the treatment of teen heroes in other comics was silly, and part of Lee's goal was really to make something more grounded and relatable, I don't see how the sort of bifurcated personality you guy's are arguing for fits with that spirit. It seems just as escapist and implausible as everything else. It's not much more than a younger Clark Kent. I think the more honest, interesting view to take is that Peter Parker as Spiderman is. . .exactly the same Peter Parker, wearing some funny looking clothes.
  20. Spider-Fan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 4
    This is probably where people take an issue with your argument, or at least I do. Because I see none of that in the Raimi films. Not in Peter Parker, not in the least. What I see is Raimi infusing the series with goofy incidental humour to compensate for rather wooden acting, but the performance IMO is still utterly lacking.

    I don't see his sense of humour or light-hearted personality and his quips as mutually exclusive things, they are part of the same character trait, and as its something I felt was sorely missing in the previous series its something I would like to see returned. Its not the quips themselves that are important but an aspect of the character they represent.

    My point about the other superheroes was that you seemed to favour the tragic aspects of the character but dismiss the personality. In which case yes I feel that Daredevil or Batman would better represent what I thought you were looking for.

    I understand now we just see the past performance completely differently.


    As I point out above the quips are not the sole issue people have, the personality is. The quips are simply a trademark that represents that personality. And that personality is part of what set him apart. It gave him an odd complexity.

    You seem fixated on this idea that his quips must be goofy or ridiculous and especially one dimensional. On the contrary, I see them as a coping mechanism of a troubled kid who doesn't have the skill-set to properly emotionally deal with what is happening to him. He uses his sense of humour to amuse himself, annoy his enemy and most often put on a false sense of bravado in the face of seeming superior enemies. Its not as simple as cracking jokes, its an emotional response. I don't know about you but I find that fascinating, relatable and more than a little entertaining, far more than a stoic figure who battles foes without flinching an eye.
  21. Jack1138 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 8, 2005
    star 5
    I am not going to go "too deep" into the entire 'Spiderman' universe here. I thought the prior 3 films did quite well while the 3rd installment felt a bit rushed where too much stuff was shoved into one film.

    I saw one of the most recent trailers on 'traileraddict.com' and I have to say I am excited about this movie. It looks really cool with a good cast. Plenty of action. I look forward to it! :)
  22. PirateofRohan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 3
    It's Walton's Mountain. Basically it is the setting of the 70's family show The Waltons. Don't diss it. Ever seen Little House on the Prairie? It's like that, except during the 1930's. Look them up.:D To clear up my confusion, what exactly is your opinion of the reboot from what we've seen so far?
  23. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I'd ask you to look again at the use of humor in the Raimi Spiderman films. For instance, most all reviewers agreed that one of the best (and genuinely amusing) moments in the franchise is the elevator scene. While you can write it off as winking at the audience, I think it's actually a great example of humor as a defense mechanism in the way you just described as characteristic of Peter. Consider: his life is basically coming apart. After another in a cascade of personal disappointments caused by his commitment to being Spiderman, his powers are now on the blink. Just a few seconds prior to this scene, he almost died finding that out. By all rights, he should feel terrible. Instead, he makes a few choice, self-deprecating remarks to a stranger about how ridiculous it is to walk around in a costume like that.

    Rohan: It's still early, but I think a few things stand out. The lead actor is inexplicably poorly dressed and unkempt in appearance. The tone of the film seems too dark, and all hints are that they are going to make this much more an issue of "destiny" and foreshadowing than is either interesting or very given the other films that the franchise historically employs.
  24. Spider-Fan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2008
    star 4
    Really?? Because that elevator scene reads to me as awkward and clumsy, and not in an amusing way. I know how its intended but it certainly doesn't come off that way to me.

    Oh, you mean like a teenager?
  25. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Well sure, people will have different reactions. But it seemed to be pretty well-received. It sits prominently in lists of most quotable moments from a movie that is still very well liked, and has made a few lists for "best elevator scenes." So more people seem okay with it than not.

    Regardless of how well it came off, though, it's still Parker employing humor as a critical coping mechanism. He starts by playing with the passenger about his identity ("I made it myself") then circles around to laughing at his own image ("It rides up in the crotch"). I don't really see why this doesn't count to you as an expression of his inclination towards humor.

    I'd also note that even as a teenager in the first film, it seemed like Maguire could manage to find his way into a decent, button-down shirt or polo.