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Peter T Chattaway

Spider-Man 2

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So, anybody else see the new trailer? I WAS excited about getting to see Doctor Octopus, but now I'm not so sure (I'm sure Alfred Molina will be entertaining as ever, it's the effects that bother me). Otherwise, it looks like more of the same, so far -- Mary-Jane Watson still wants to know if Peter Parker loves her, and Peter still refuses to be more than a friend, but will they actually make Mary-Jane a real CHARACTER for once, that's what I wanna know! Plus Spidey's various swoops and swings amidst the skyscrapers still have that fake-looking CGI feel.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I saw it a few weeks ago. The greatest thing i noticed was that it didn't have the one big downer i complained about from the first film -- Spidey trying to speak thru that mask.

Anyone ever remember the mute Spiderman that used to make random appearances on PBS's Zoom? I think they may have been onto something there... Keep him quiet, keep him mysterious, keep him from looking like Tobey the Dork from Pleasantville talking behind a mask... grin.gif

Honestly, in retrospect, how can they expect us to believe that a gorgeous babe like Kirsten Dunst would go for such a dork? He's a free-swinging geek talking thru a mask, and even at that, all his monkey swings are so obviously computer generated you'd die for the huge erected sets of silent cinema. Lang. Murnau. You get the idea.

I did a hideous Chiaroscuro review for the first film years ago. I was WAY too nice.

Hindsight is 20/20.

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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stef wrote:

: Anyone ever remember the mute Spiderman that used to make random

: appearances on PBS's Zoom?

No, but I remember the mute Spider-Man who used to have little sequences all to himself on PBS's The Electric Company. The theme song always kinda puzzled me, cuz it ended with the guy singing "Nobody knows who you are!" and I kept wanting to yell back at the TV screen, "YES WE DO!! HE'S PETER PARKER, YOU IDIOT!!"


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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My kid sister changed that line to "Everyone knows who you are!" when she was really little. The adults thought that was hilarious. Of course, even at the time I figured that the line meant that no one in the world of "Spidey Super Stories" or whatever they were called knew who he was.

Spider-Man's battle patter is one of his trademarks. He's GOT to talk. Find a way to make it work.

As for the CGI swings -- You can build all the big Langian sets you want, and it isn't going to enable a stuntman to swing with the superhuman strength and speed and agility that Spider-Man's got to have. Until someone learns to build a realistic CGI Spider-Man, I'll take a fakey CGI Spider-Man over a realistic stuntman on a rope any day of the week.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I agree with SDG. Even if it does look kinda fakey, I love the fact that Raimi has put Spidey in some of trademark swinging poses with the CGI. So, complain all you like, but it still looks more dynamic and realistic than Christopher Reeve against a blue screen. And don't get me wrong I still love the first two Superman films, but it does look dated. I know that a lot of people trash CGI constantly, and often times it is overdone or poorly done. But there are some things that are IMPOSSIBLE to do without CGI, and Spidey's swinging is one of those things.

The main thing about CGI is that it is a double-edged sword. If it's done poorly, it looks like a videogame. If it's done well, it's not even noticable. I love all the complaints I heard about the CGI in Master and Commander or Pirates of the Caribbean. Oh, wait! I didn't hear any. That's because most people can't tell when CGI is being used. For example, people complained about the starships in The Phantom Menace looking too fake, and accusing CGI, when in actual fact ILM used traditional models for the starships. What was done digitally was the optical compositing, which I think you would be hard pressed to argue is inferior to tradtional optical compositing and its resulting matte lines and object constraints.

Often times when CGI becomes really apparent, it's not because of the poor quality of the CGI, but rather because people are putting things in CGI that no one has ever seen before or are so obviously not real that we assume that it has to be CGI (ie: the fleet of ships in the Troy trailer, Spider-man's swinging; or the clone vs. droid battle in Attack of the Clones). Often times people aren't aware of how effects are actually done and "CGI" is the buzzword that critics with little technical knowledge love to bash. Sometimes it would do some people good to pick up a copy of Cinefex or some other FX magazine and see how some of the images are actually created. You might be surprised and if not, at least informed.

This is not to defend CGI in all cases. There are films that I think have subpar CGI that really stands out in them (ie: The Mummy Returns or the Spy Kids films), but in the end I accept the medium, like Stef and his love of the old Murnau or Lang sets (which while impressive are still a far cry from realistic) and move on. I think the FX nominees at the Oscars this year are three examples of films that have made wonderful uses of CGI and I think that this rediculous bashing of the technology is largely uninformed.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Anders wrote:

: But there are some things that are IMPOSSIBLE to do without CGI, and

: Spidey's swinging is one of those things.

Actually, what really stuck out as bogus, to me, in the trailer was the shot of Spidey running down an alley and jumping BEFORE he swings.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Anders wrote:

: But there are some things that are IMPOSSIBLE to do without CGI, and

: Spidey's swinging is one of those things.

Actually, what really stuck out as bogus, to me, in the trailer was the shot of Spidey running down an alley and jumping BEFORE he swings.

Ah, but that scene was NOT what was I was defending. If the offending scene was indeed "bogus" looking, I'll grant you that (I would have to see the trailer again). I'll agree with you that it is possible, in fact one of the sequences that bothered me the most in the first film was Peter running on the rooftops when he first discovers his powers. I was so obviously fake, it seemed like they didn't try. In most cases this is a case of bad motion capture or animators, nothing inherrant to CGI itself, as I find Gollum's movements in The Lord of the Rings films to be quite naturalistic as well as other CGI creations.

However, honestly tell me you'd rather have a guy swinging against a blue screen for the web-swinging sequences. THAT is what I think would be hard to do convincingly without CGI. And granted again you might feel that Raimi isn't doing it convincingly, then I'll argue that at least if he's forsaking realism he's at least being true to the representation of the characters abilities and movements in the comic books, and in that case CGI works.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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stef wrote:

: Anyone ever remember the mute Spiderman that used to make random

: appearances on PBS's Zoom?

No, but I remember the mute Spider-Man who used to have little sequences all to himself on PBS's The Electric Company.

Oh dang. Yep, that's what i was thinking of. Oh well, Zoom, The Electric Company... The only thing i remember about either one of them was that one of them started with "HEY YOU GUUUUUYS!" (a feat which i tried in a supermarket checkout microphone at the age of three), and Spiderman, who even as a kid i considered rather dorky looking.

I know that a lot of people trash CGI constantly

Guilty, as charged.

But there are some things that are IMPOSSIBLE to do without CGI, and Spidey's swinging is one of those things.

I guess you have a fair point with the swing. But it always seemed that in the age of pre-CGI, the best directors would find ways to make things work. And they always worked better.

I love all the complaints I heard about the CGI in Master and Commander or Pirates of the Caribbean. Oh, wait! I didn't hear any.

Well, no complaints about the CGI. In regard to the actual films... wink.gif I'm sure i must've trashed Pirates around here somewhere. Master and Commander was certainly a step up from Pirates, but the test of time is starting to show it as just another fading flick, CGI or not.

Often times when CGI becomes really apparent, it's not because of the poor quality of the CGI, but rather because people are putting things in CGI that no one has ever seen before or are so obviously not real

Someone on Promontory -- was it Amanda? -- once pointed out the greatest single flaw in CGI, and that is that the characters must obey the laws of physics. [That is, unless they're in the Matrix. wink.gif] I think that best sums up my feelings, as well. Daredevil's fight scenes are a perfect example of this.

-s.

Edited by stef

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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And they always worked better.

Stef, you have a point about the creativity of earlier directors and I will grant you that, but ALWAYS?

Personally, as much as I could NOT STAND the new Matrix films, I found Neo's flying much more convincing than the old 70s bluescreen "Superman" approach.

But it always seemed that in the age of pre-CGI, the best directors would find ways to make things work.

Perhaps what I find most confusing is that you equate CGI with lack of creativity, when perhaps more accurately CGI is in SOME cases the "way to make things work" BEST. In fact, your statement is misleading because sometimes the way to make things work in the days of "pre-CGI" was to eliminate things entirely. So it's not necessarily a matter of making things work, instead CGI opens up new possibilities than what was available before.

However, I AGREE with your implied criticism, that CGI becomes a problem when it is the ONLY tool in a director's repetoire rather than one of many. When CGI becomes the ONLY way to do something then I see it as a weakness and not a benefit, but I think really creative and serious directors will continue to use CGI as one of their tools and push it in new and more realistic directions.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Anders wrote:

: : Actually, what really stuck out as bogus, to me, in the trailer was the

: : shot of Spidey running down an alley and jumping BEFORE he swings.

:

: Ah, but that scene was NOT what was I was defending. If the offending

: scene was indeed "bogus" looking, I'll grant you that (I would have to

: see the trailer again). I'll agree with you that it is possible, in fact one of

: the sequences that bothered me the most in the first film was Peter

: running on the rooftops when he first discovers his powers. I was so

: obviously fake, it seemed like they didn't try.

Exactly. I did have that scene in mind as I wrote that, plus the scene in the first film where Spidey lands on something (during the bridge sequence) and gets his balance, and it is soooo obviously NOT a real person who is having to deal with real physics there.

: However, honestly tell me you'd rather have a guy swinging against a

: blue screen for the web-swinging sequences. THAT is what I think would

: be hard to do convincingly without CGI.

Well, given that it can't be done convincingly WITH CGI, either ... smile.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Well, given that it can't be done convincingly WITH CGI, either ... smile.gif

See my above quote regarding realism versus fidelity to the comic book. However, I think you and I are pretty much on the same page with this one, so I will leave it at that... for now.

smile.gif


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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And they always worked better.

Stef, you have a point about the creativity of earlier directors and I will grant you that, but ALWAYS?

Well, yeah, always, note the preceding "best directors" clause.

I'm not talking about seeing the zipper on a monkey suit in Planet of the Apes here.

-s.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Oh dang.  Yep, that's what i was thinking of.  Oh well, Zoom, The Electric Company... The only thing i remember about either one of them was that one of them started with \"HEY YOU GUUUUUYS!\"

That would be The Electric Company. It was in its prime when I was a kid, and I was a big fan. biggrin.gif (I liked Zoom, too. Figures that would become my nickname all these years later.)

(a feat which i tried in a supermarket checkout microphone at the age of three)

laugh.gif


Edward Curtis

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Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who created his profession. Sirach 38:1 NAB

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And now there's an even newer trailer, in which it seems Peter Parker will do what Clark Kent did in Superman 2 and give up superherodom so that he can enjoy the bliss of romantic attachment ... only to be caught off-guard when a new crisis strikes New York City and he learns once again that The World Needs A Hero. But will have the ability to plant a supernatural kiss on Mary-Jane's lips and make her forget everything? That's what I wanna know!

Should we take it from this that the inevitable Spider-Man 3 will follow the same basic storyline as Superman 3? Who is the 21st century's Richard Pryor, I wonder?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Someone on Promontory -- was it Amanda? -- once pointed out the greatest single flaw in CGI, and that is that the characters must obey the laws of physics.  [That is, unless they're in the Matrix. wink.gif]  I think that best sums up my feelings, as well.  Daredevil's fight scenes are a perfect example of this.

After Gollum, surely no one can maintain that this is a "flaw in CGI" -- just a flaw in some or another execution of CGI.

Give me FOTR's cave troll and ROTK's oliphaunts over absolutely anybody's stop-motion creatures, puppets, men and beasts in prosthetics, what have you, in any film, from any decade.

Give me Ang Lee's fake-looking CGI Hulk over any actor in the world in big green rubber muscles.

Give me Sam Raimi's fake-looking CGI Spider-Man over anything we were likely to get with a gymnast on wires.

Even give me the bad-looking CGI church-hopping effects in Daredevil over the flying effects in Superman IV. Sometimes I would rather look at an obvious cartoon character than an obvious man on a wire in front of a bluescreen. At least the cartoon character doesn't look like he's uncomfortable and straining.

The CGI Yoda had one kind of fakeness. The puppet Yoda had another kind. With the CGI Yoda, you're aware of a certain insubstantiality; with the puppet, you're aware of the character always being cut off at the waist and moving along with a kind of simulated Kermit-the-Frog up-and-down "walking" motion.

CGI is like anything else, an imperfect but valuable tool that can be done well or done badly.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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And now there's an even newer trailer, in which it seems Peter Parker will do what Clark Kent did in Superman 2 and give up superherodom so that he can enjoy the bliss of romantic attachment ...

On the other hand...it also mirrors the Spider-Man comics, as Peter Parker flirted with giving up the mask and tights for a normal life. It's not just romantic attachment, it's clear in the trailer that he's giving it up to have his own life.Of course, he doesn't give up the powers, he just gives up the heroics. Superman 2 didn't originate that storyline. And Peter walking away with the mask dangling out of a garbage can is taken from a Spider-Man cover. The Spider-Man movies borrow freely and play with many stories from the comics. So, your Superman theory isn't quite as substantial as it first sounds.


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Nezpop has it spot on. In fact, here's the cover to the issue:

user posted image

That's why I don't understand a lot of the criticism of the Spider-man film(s). They are what they are, and they are a pretty good approximation of what the Spider-man mythos is all about. And the old school fans who think the movie changes too much (ie: having Mary Jane instead of Gwen Stacey as Peter's first love, etc.) should realize that Raimi and Keopp are taking a lot of cues from Brian Michael Bendis's Ultimate Spider-man series, which is one of the most consistanly well written super-hero comics out there.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Nezpop wrote:

: So, your Superman theory isn't quite as substantial as it first sounds.

I guess that depends on where the third film goes. wink.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I suppose if they sign Dave Chappelle up. blink.gifsmile.gif


"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Roger Ebert calls Spider-man 2 the best super-hero movie he's ever seen.

Click on the link for the audio review by Ebert and Roeper.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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WHOA!!

YEAH!!

I mean, WHOA!!!!

Okay. I don't know if Spider-Man 2 is the absolutely best super-hero movie I've ever seen -- though it's certainly a contender.

But it's definitely the most exhilarating, heartfelt, wildest, flat-out COMIC-BOOKIEST comic-book movie of all time (the last point being a claim I made for the first Spider-Man movie also, but there my enthusiasm was tempered by weaknesses that just ain't here).

This movie left me jazzed like I can't remember feeling about any comic-book movie since I saw Superman II in theaters -- and I was twelve at the time. That it blows away the first Spider-Man is not even an issue for discussion. But it also lovingly builds on and extends the first movie in countless ways.

Spider-Man 2 gets the essential issues and dilemmas of super-herodom better than probably any movie ever, even Superman II. Character, relationships, and emotions get a LOT of attention here -- and while this too is on a comic-book level, it's also sincere and heartfelt.

At the same time, the action sequences are hands down the wildest comic-book action sequences ever filmed. Doc Ock and Spider-Man have a duel on an above-ground subway train that is fan-freaking-tastic; their fight scenes are so much better than the Green Goblin ones -- those arms really make Ock a perfect opponent for Spidey. (I just hope that as the series goes on, when the Goblin plot moves to the next level, they find a way of upping the ante in relation to the first film.)

Creatively, this movie is not afraid to kick back, to think outside the box. There's a delightfully offbeat sequence somewhere in the middle of the film with a brief freeze-frame toward the end that made me laugh out loud and drew applause as well as laughter from the (admittedly highly motivated) audience. And there's a well-conceived appearance by Cliff Robertson as Uncle Ben that is not a flashback or a dream sequence but isn't paranormal either and makes a lot of sense.)

Doc Ock's character, origins, and the nature of his problem have all been substantially rethought, and all to the better. Alfred Molina's performance is just terrific, and the arms look fantastic, including their ability to telescope. (One hole in the effect is that while you can easily buy the arms hoisting Doc Ock, when Molina's on his own two feet he somehow never looks as if he's really lugging that weight around on his back. Oh well.)

Aunt May, Mary Jane, Harry Osbourne, J. Jonah Jameson are ALL better (and more) utilized this time out. Mary Jane is better developed as a character, although her and Peter's denied love is still somehow not quite totally involving, and some of their dialogue works better than others.

There are a few plot glitches, which you could generally easily imagine patching with a single line of dialogue. (There's one scene in which Dock Ock demands something of someone who comes back at him with a rather tall counter-offer, that Ock implausibly agrees to readily. If I'd been writing it I would've had Ock first point out that he could dismember the other person bit by bit till he agreed to give Ock what he wanted -- and then I'd have Ock say "But as it happens I have my own reasons for wanting to do the sort of thing you ask for, so it suits me to agree to your proposal." That would've worked.)

Yet almost none of these minor issues interfered with my enjoyment of the film in any meaningful way. Even the opening credit title sequence rocks hard, with far more artistically conceived CGI web effects juxtaposed with photos and (I'm pretty sure) Alex Ross paintings reestablishing the characters and even recapping the plot points from the original movie. It was so entertaining I stopped reading the names.

For the first time since The Passion of the Christ and The Return of the King (don't worry, you don't need to sweat how this sentence is going to end), I am actually going to get Suzanne to go to the theater with me and catch this one herself, even if I have to stand out in the lobby half the time with our one-year-old.

Definite A range film. Haven't yet decided between 3 1/2 and 4 stars.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I've been looking forward to this one since I saw the first trailer awhile ago. I know there's been some debate on the CGI aspect of the movie, but I thought those arms looked pretty dang cool. Your review is really getting me pumped up.


Subtlety is underrated

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As the resident board member who reads four monthly Spider-man titles, I can't tell you how jazzed I am to see this film. !!!!!

laugh.gif I've already got my ticket!!!!


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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I ran into Moira Macdonald, head film critic for The Seattle Times, at a birthday party this evening down at the beach, and we talked for quite a while. She was positively joyful about Spidey 2, saying that it had renewed her belief in the Big Summer Movie, and that it was so much better than she'd expected.

Can't wait until Monday night!


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

"Forget it, Jake. It's Funkytown."    

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