Lex's Corner / Movies

Why The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Lackluster Performance is a Win for The “Gritty” Movement

It has been over two months since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out in theaters. Two months, and the movie still gets sh*t upon.

Daily.

And you know, I have one question to ask:

Why?

Why do people hate this movie so much? Why do people have so much beef with this movie? Hell, why do people act like this movie was as bad as Spider-Man 3?

Seriously, people.

Enough with the Spider-Man 3 comparisons. I mean, did we even see the same movie?  Spider-Man 3 made me laugh—as in laugh at how bad it was—and made me cry—at how bad it was.

Let’s not even mention Emo Peter Parker.

Seriously, Sony? Why? WHY?

Getting back to the issue at hand, I am still curious as to why this movie has received so much hate. Granted, I am not ignorant of the problems that this movie had. Believe me when I say that there was a fair amount. And just so people don’t think that I’m exceedingly biased, let’s go over a few of them:

1. The opening sequence of the film.

I admit that I reluctantly went to watch this film—the trailers didn’t quite grab my attention as much as I thought they would—with a friend. At the end of watching the film, I was pretty satisfied. HOWEVER, I cannot even begin to explain my utter confusion and annoyance at the opening sequence of this film. If you have not seen it yet, [SPOILER], the film opens with a flashback. The flashback takes us back to that pivotal moment in the first movie where a young Peter discovered that his father’s office was ransacked. Because of this, Richard and Mary Parker take Peter, drop him off at Aunt May and Uncle Ben’s house, and then flee into the night.

Fast forward and the two—Richard and the mystery guy—end up on some plane going to wherever (They were exceedingly secretive about it. So secretive that I could’ve sworn that S.H.I.E.L.D. was involved. If only). While they are traveling, we can see Richard trying frantically to upload a super-secret file to some undisclosed location. Seconds before his upload can even hit the halfway mark, some mysterious plane attendant (it was that mysterious) appears and begins chatting with Richard. It soon becomes apparent that the guy is after the file on Richard’s computer.

A fight then ensues, causing Mary Parker to get shot and leaving a gaping hole in the airplane. Never mind that that’s not how plane’s work.

Fine. Let’s just ignore science. I don’t care.

Anyways, I was thoroughly confused through this entire sequence, and I felt that it was very unnecessary. In fact, as I was watching it, I was instantly taken back to the opening sequence of The Dark Knight Rises.

It was that weird (and again, unnecessary).

2. There was a lot going on in the film and sometimes the film handled everything in a rather haphazard manner.

Some people are maintaining that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 suffered from the same problem that Spider-Man 3 did: too many villains.

I’m here to say that I disagree that with that point. However, I know exactly where that criticism is coming from. Films like X-Men (when done well) and The Avengers have managed to win big with huge ensemble casts and sometimes multiple villains. However, the key to those films is the balance that they find between all of their characters.

Basically, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does have a lot of plot lines going in the film and doesn’t always know what to do with them, where to end them, and how to balance them. Take Aleksei Mikhailovich Sytsevich’s inclusion and later reemergence in the film. I like that they introduced him and showed him doing his nefarious, bad-guy thing in the beginning of the film. However, it was a little jarring to see him come back so suddenly in the end, especially because he had already transformed into the Rhino (via a very odd, albeit bad-ass exoskeleton) and because the audience did not get to see said transformation on screen. To be honest, they should have just stopped with his introduction and brought him back in a later film. This would’ve keep the focus of the film on Electro  and Harry Osborn like it needed to be.

Although I do agree that both Electro and Harry Osborn’s respectively story-lines could have been handled a bit better.

3. The issue of Peter’s/Spider-Man’s blood.

Speaking of Harry’s story-line, one of the things that really bothered me is the fact that Peter never gave Harry his blood. To explain [SPOILER], Harry learns early in the film that he is dying due to some hereditary disease. The disease is so physically, mentally, psychologically debilitating that it claims his father, prompting him to find a cure. Eventually, his search for a cure leads him straight to Spider-Man (I am still not sure how he put that together. Admittedly, though, there were a lot of assumptions being thrown around in this movie, so I guess I’ll let it go).

Knowing that Peter has recently been photographing Spider-Man for the Daily Bugle, he implores him to find Spider-Man, so that he may speak to him about donating his blood for a cure. Peter obliges and shows up as the famous web-slinger. Eventually, the two talk and even though Harry begs Spider-Man to donate his blood, Spider-Man refuses, concluding that it might have terrible effects on Harry’s health and body.

Quite frankly, I didn’t understand this decision.

But actually though. What the f*ck.

Peter doesn’t f*cking know what is going to happen, so I am confused about his downright refusal. And furthermore, that is his best friend. If one of my best friends told me that he/she was dying, you can be damned sure that I would do everything in my power to attempt to save them.

That includes donating my blood to the cause.

Granted, a plot point does arise later in the film to explain that Peter made the right choice, even if that caused him to make an enemy out of Harry. Regardless, however, I am convinced that Harry’s plot line would have been way better and much more cohesive if Peter had in fact donated his blood, seeing as Harry would have probably had an adverse reaction to it and turned into the Green Goblin anyway (although Screen Rant and Badass Digest recently revealed that this almost happened).

Simply put, it would’ve made more sense.

4. The completely random plot point involving the impending collision of two planes.

This bothered the sh*t out of me.

I don’t even know anymore.

In the climax of the film [SPOILER], Electro manages to take away the city’s power, leaving everyone in the dark. This includes a bunch of random air traffic controllers that have literally nothing to do with anyone’s plot line in the film.

But I’m not sure anyone working on this film cared, because the film then proceeds to spend waste the next 10 minutes (at least) addressing the fact that two planes are about to collide because the air traffic controllers cannot get in contact with either of them.

You can call me an asshole if you want to, but let’s be real here: this plot line is exceedingly extraneous to the movie. No one we care about is working with the air traffic controllers and no one we care about is on either of the soon-to-be-colliding planes.

So again: why do we give a f*ck about this plot line?

What also confused me about this part in the film is that right before the film cuts to this scene, the film cuts to Aunt May—who happens to be working in a hospital. THAT makes sense. THAT is a character we care about. The fact that the film didn’t focus on showing more moments like that and instead focused on a subject so random in nature still perplexes me to this very day.

Anyways, now that I’ve covered my biggest problems with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I should probably explain why I am talking about “The Gritty Movement” in the first place and what I mean by that. To begin, I brought this issue up because many of people I have spoken to about this film in the last two months have all nearly told me the same thing:

“You know, Lex, I didn’t really like the film because it wasn’t ‘gritty’ enough. Spider-Man didn’t mourn nearly as long as he should have, and overall, he [Spider-Man] was just too funny and witty”.

Yes, my good people.

This was their main gripe with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, not the problems I listed above.

What. Seriously? Have you picked up a Spider-Man comic? Dude is like 100% snark.

But before I even delve into everything that is wrong with the above quote, let us revisit this “The Gritty Movement” business. If you are a fan of comics, comic book movies, or movies in general (especially action movies), you have probably already noticed that movies have begun to be grittier (dark and more serious; grey, possibly even humorless, although that is what happens when it reaches an extreme point) and grittier as time goes on.

Don’t believe me? Do you think I may crazy and just talking out of my ass? If that’s the case, please direct your attention to the following movies:

Sin City, 300, Dredd, Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, Skyfall, Man of Steel, Drive, Chronicle

Frankly, I could go on.

I’m just going to leave this here.

Moving on, a lot of people may be wondering when this whole wave of gritty films started. To be honest, I am a believer that gritty films (especially as it concerns the thriller and horror genres) have always been around. However, as it concerns newer films, it can be a little tough to pin-down.

However, based on a conversation I had with some like-minded Moviepilot contributors and, I am going to place the blame on one person:

Christopher Nolan…and his The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Yes, you, Nolan.

To his credit, Nolan should not receive ALL of the blame. He definitely received help from the likes of Frank Miller (That name says it all. I mean, read Batman: Year One or a Sin City graphic novel if you don’t believe me) and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City (2005). That film was dark in every sense (including its visuals/color palette). He should also thank Zack Snyder (director of  über-dark and über-gritty films 300, Sucker Punch [which I despise], and Man of Steel), who has managed to build upon the gritty example that Nolan laid out.

What I mean to say is that, sure, there were plenty of gritty films before Nolan decided to helm the recent Batman movies. However, because of his approach to those films and the subsequent critical acclaim and commercial success that the aforementioned films received, (it also did not hurt that he used a pop culture icon to do it—Batman), it is safe to say that he planted a seed in the erratic and fickle mind of Hollywood.

As we know, Hollywood sometimes likes to move in waves, trends, or even “ages”. A notable example is that of the western. Even though there are a few, recent examples to prove that the genre is not totally dead, (A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Salvation, Django Unchained, True Grit, etc), one cannot deny that the genre is definitely not as big it used to be, nor does it produce nearly as many movies. Some may even argue that the recent—albeit revitalized—wave of superhero movies is also one of these trends…though I admit that that is an argument for another day.

Bringing it back to the subject of grittiness, many of you may be asking what point I am trying to make and before I explain, let me just say this:

Grittiness is not inherently bad. In fact, sometimes—a lot of the time—it makes a movie work and ends up enhancing it. I don’t think I would have liked 300 or Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy nearly as much if they didn’t take themselves way too seriously. That being said, those films had something that a lot of “gritty” films don’t have. Their subject matter lends itself to that level of absolute serious.

Case in point: Batman.

Even though there have been some sillier incarnations of the Dark Knight over the years (Adam West’s Batman, I am looking at you), time and various authors (including Frank Miller) have turned the Bat into one brooding son of a b*tch.

But, it works for him.

His sad-ass backstory. His quest for vengeance as well as justice.

It all works for him.

And you want to know who Spider-Man (and also Superman for Christ’s sake DC) isn’t?

You guessed right: Batman.

Don’t play dumb, people.

And therein lies my problem with people saying that the The Amazing Spider-Man 2—and Spider-Man by extension—was not “gritty” enough.

Spider-Man is not Batman and will never be Batman. Spider-Man has never been as “broody” as Batman and will never be as “broody” as Batman. I mean, just look at their f*cking costumes. Spider-Man sports BRIGHT red AND blue spandex, while Batman to sticks his everlasting, black tights/suit.

Or you know, very dark grey (thanks, The Lego Movie).

In addition to all of that, what has always made me admire the both of them (but especially Spider-Man) is the very different ways that they handled their personal tragedies. Bruce lost his parents and because of his guilt over that, he resolved to turn into the scary, fear-invoking symbol that is Batman. Peter lost his Uncle Ben and somehow…he ended up turning into the very positive, albeit wise-cracking hero that is Spider-Man, despite his guilt. And unlike Batman, his presence doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of those who lay their eyes upon him (unless you’re a villain and even though, you may just feel some slight annoyance). In fact, it does the opposite. It reassures people. It inspires them. It gives them hope.

And in case you were wondering, that was me totally shading Man of Steel and the way it handled (or didn’t handle) Superman and the idea of hope. You can’t just throw in Christ imagery and expect that to automatically turn this exceedingly destructive guy into a symbol of “hope”. *End Rant* *drops mic*

But you know, it looks like that doesn’t even matter anymore. With the emergence of the darker, grittier Superman from Man of Steel, the obvious “gritty” direction that companies like Warner Bros. and DC are going with their superhero movies, and the backlash The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is still getting for being “not gritty enough”, it looks as if “The Gritty Movement” will be hanging around for a while.

Whether we like it or not.

Because, as you know, (and as Hollywood has so unscrupulously assumed), making a film “gritty” obviously results in a better and more profitable movie, never mind good writing and all that bullsh*t.

*Sigh*

 

Images From: Comicvine.com, Gifsoup.com, Pinterest.com, Theflyingpages.com, Chronicallyawkward.blogspot.com, Memecrunch.com, Collegetimes.com, Overthinkingmommy.wordpress.com, Giphy.com, Getcartoonwallpaper.com

________________________

Special thanks to Derpetta V. Greene for engaging me on this topic!

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Why The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s Lackluster Performance is a Win for The “Gritty” Movement

  1. *slow clap*
    Spot on! I agree with everything! I legitimately have no idea why “gritty” stuff caught on like the wild fire that effed everybody’s stuff up. We know it’s Nolan’s fault but I cant be mad, because it’s Batman. It makes me angry that the general public believes that “gritty factor” is what makes or breaks a movie nowadays. What is this world coming too?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. It’s highly annoying because sometimes I want to be able to enjoy a movie without being blasted with excessive bleakness and deconstruction. I agree, I’m not mad at Nolan. I am mad at Hollywood for continuing to lack creativity.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Meet The Interns: Christina Tenisha | Sublime Zoo

Sound off!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s