Thoughts on the new Amazing Spiderman 2 trailer

The Amazing Spiderman 2 is coming on May 2nd, 2014, and the first trailer just hit the web (pun intended). I see a lot of people excited about it, but I have mixed feelings. Here are some thoughts on it:

1. Too much OMG drama

Peter Parker is one brooding motherfucker.

Peter Parker is one brooding motherfucker.

Remember when Spiderman used to be a fun character? Sam Raimi’s Spidey kept getting more emo with each movie, so much so by the third one that the entire franchise had to be rebooted because, well, who wants an emo Spiderman. Sure, part of what makes Spiderman so relatable is how he has to deal with ordinary problems all the time in addition to his extraordinary problems as a superhero, but he is still supposed to be a fun-loving guy. Not exactly comic relief, but that one member of the group (if you are, say, the Avengers) that lifts the spirits of the rest with his charm and wit; but apparently Batman’s huge success post 2005 has made it mandatory that superheroes brood and have big fucking issues all the time. Man of Steel had a Superman on the verge of using Celexa to treat his bleak and confused view of the world, courtesy of Pa Kent messing up his head with conflicting messages (“you are destined for great things, but don’t go around saving lives or anything stupid like that!”). This trailer shows a Spiderman dealing with MONUMENTAL issues from the get go, shown by the typical inner monologue of the hero, a technique used already in the third trailer of the first Amazing:

Every day I wake up knowing that the more people I try to save, the more enemies I will make.

Sure, he smiles a bit at the beginning when he’s telling Gwen Stacy why he’s late for their date or whatever, but then the trailer shifts back to the monumentalness of it all and the big secret of his father Richard Parker and OsCorp, Aunt May being Aunt Mayish (or what passes for that in the movies, since she is now some sort of wise old figure), Electro being melodramatic, and so on.

Where’s the fun, Sony?

2. The new Harry Osborn

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I liked James Franco in the role back in the Raimi trilogy. They fucked it up in the third one, yes, but what didn’t they fuck up in the third one? That was a complete disaster. Anyway, as good as Franco was as Harry Osborn, I have a feeling Dane DeHaan is going to be better. His character in the movie Chronicle went through a transformation from a meek kid to a power-hungry maniac who couldn’t cope with the superpowers he gained from that meteorite. It sounds cheesy but he did a great job with it, and considering Harry Osborn will go through some of the same psychological shit – as Peter’s best friend and Spiderman’s worst enemy – I’m pretty sure he’ll nail it.

3. What’s with the CGI?

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It looks shitty. I mean, I remember how the CGI work in the original Spiderman blew everyone away. Now, of course, it looks a bit dated, but for its time it was amazing (another lame pun! I swear it’s the last one). With this trailer, it just doesn’t look like they made any leaps forward with the technology; Spiderman looks as cartoony now as he did back then, maybe more so. And there seems to be so much of it, though that might be due to the editing choices of the trailer. Either way, a lot of scenes look like they belong in the Playstation game trailer of the movie, not on the movie itself.

4. (Potentially) interesting plot with OsCorp and the Sinister Six

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Yes, this has been a rumor for quite a while now, and the trailer added fuel to the fire with the above shot of Vulture’s wings and Dr. Octopus’ arms (remember, neither one shows up in this movie). I like this sort of foreshadowing and planning, and this is a seed that was planted since the first Amazing Spiderman and the end credits scene in that movie. It helps explain the sudden rise in supervillains, at least.

As a side note, while Spiderman was my favorite superhero back in my comic book collecting days (along with Batman), I never read a story related to the Sinister Six. I knew about them, of course, but never read the actual story. I’m sure, however, that when this movie’s premier date is approaching there will be a special offer in Comixology for the Sinister Six collected issues in digital form. They just can’t pass up this opportunity.

5. Too. Many. Villains.

amazing spider-man-2 poster

We all know how great this worked in the aforementioned Spiderman 3. I’m not implying that it can’t work, just that it’s completely unnecessary. This is giving me that same vibe of Man of Steel 2 and its Too. Many. Superheroes. Just like Warner seems to be in a rush to release their Justice League movie, Sony seems to be in a rush to get to the Sinister Six plot, so we get a sample with the Sinister Three here. Why can’t it just be Harry’s gradual transformation into the Green Goblin, with Electro as the main villain? Rhino here seems to be just as welcome as Sandman was in Spidey 3. Plus, that design is idiotic. I hope that having actors of the caliber of Paul Giamatti and Jamie Foxx means the script is decent enough to merit their inclusions.

Stupid Rhino.

Oh yeah, here’s the trailer:

Is Man of Steel 2 a test run for Justice League?

Ever since Warner Bros. announced at Comic Con that Batman would be in the new Man of Steel sequel, one thing was clear: this was not going to be a Man of Steel sequel.

Sequels to superhero franchises don’t have other superheroes sharing top billing, because then it stops being a superhero sequel and becomes a superteam movie (something only Marvel has done so far with the X-Men and Avengers movies). WB hasn’t been very subtle about it, of course, tentatively naming this Superman “sequel” Batman vs. Superman, except that now – with the official announcement that Gal Gadot has been cast as the new Wonder Woman – it’s clear WB isn’t just not making a Superman sequel, but they are actually rehearsing a Justice League movie without really calling it a Justice League movie.

This was my dream Wonder Woman... too bad WB already used her up.

This was my dream Wonder Woman… too bad WB already used her up.

We all know Marvel has the upper-hand as far as universe building is concerned, with their Avengers heroes all set up in their own movie franchises (at least those that are worth it, except for Hulk for some reason) and even expanding into outer space and the Guardians of the Galaxy. If they haven’t completely knocked out DC at this point is due to Sony holding unto the Spiderman franchise and Fox refusing to let go of the Fantastic Four, plus a certain director named Nolan producing the most lucrative superhero trilogy in history; but the fact remains that DC has fallen behind Marvel where Hollywood is concerned, and with The Avengers they have taken a strong lead. DC/WB can make up the ground if they make a Justice League movie (let’s face it, the Avengers roster is nothing compared to a Justice League roster), but rushing it could prove fatal. So now the plan seems to be that, instead of patiently positioning their pieces like Marvel did, they are going for a quick checkmate with a movie that is officially a sequel but unofficially the introduction to the Justice League characters, other movies be damned.

batman_vs_superman

You might as well put a golden tiara on top of the bat.

I’m not saying I am totally against this, I’m just worried that they are going to mess it up by cluttering Superman’s movie. Man of Steel showed both promise with Henry Cavill’s Superman interpretation and a lack of complete understanding of that character by Zack Snyder and the writing team. Still, there’s room for improvement, but will this Superman ever get that chance? He will be up against a brand new Batman, and now there’s a Wonder Woman whose exact role in this story is yet unknown, and the possibility of Flash also showing up. These last two characters deserve their own movies, so is this WB placing them in the public consciousness before that happens, or being lazy about it so people know who they are before jumping into the JL? I think there’s always a chance that all of this works out, and I’ll be first in line when the new movie comes out in a cluttered 2015, but I’m still worried.

On a last note, I don’t really know Gal Gadot, having only seen one of the Fast and the Furious movies and not remembering her at all, but at least she has the right looks (just a bit of gym work to buff up for the role). Is she leading role material, or was she cast because she is good with supporting characters and that’s enough for what WB intends to do? Can she carry a WW movie? The answer to these questions might reveal WB’s plans for Wonder Woman.