Sunday, May 4, 2014

F This Movie! - The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Hollywood Heath Holland makes his debut on the podcast to talk with Patrick about the second Marc Webb Spider-Man movie, the fifth Spider-Man overall and the first big summer movie of the year.



Download this episode here.

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Also discussed this episode: High Noon (1952), Gangster Squad (2013), Godzilla (1954), The Other Woman (2014), Odd Thomas (2013), Murder Party (2007), Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

28 comments:

  1. I almost went to see this over the weekend but I was afraid of all the mixed reviews it was getting. After listening to the podcast and hearing Patrick confirm all my fears, I'm glad I saved my money. I love spider man but this movie just looked bloated and uninteresting. We've seen the green goblin stuff before, electro just looks like a rehash of all the other minor spidey villains and just like the first amazing Spider-Man it looked like there wasn't any hint of a through line story they wanted to tell. That and the film makers didn't do a very good job of concealing the "twist" in the movie since everyone that's even a remote spider man fan could clue into what they were going to do. Super hero movies are for the most part treading water these days and to keep people interested they really need to do something different to add a spark to the sameness of these movies. Get creative screenwriters who are fans of the source material but have enough imagination to not just copy from the comic pages and just put villains in with the only purpose being to have action scenes. Give your characters arcs, give them meaning and let them grow in interesting ways. I will wait for red box on this one. Thanks for the podcast guys.

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  2. Heath, great job and great conversation. The conversation was more enjoyable than anything else I've consumed about this movie including watching the movie. I agree more with Patrick, as I really like the Raimi movies, and the Webb ones pale in comparison BUT Heath made me appreciate certain aspects more in their attempt. I think in the execution of those aspects the movie still fails.

    Anywho, great discussion again. As just a fan, this was one of my favorite F's to-date.

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  3. First and foremost, it's great to hear a new voice and perspective on the podcast in the form of Heath. Welcome aboard and job well done!

    I also think I tend to side with Patrick on this a lot more the more I think about it, but that's not to say there weren't a few things I found to like about the movie. I thought there were some good bits of Spider Man-esque humor, and I thought the actors did a good job playing their respective characters. HOWEVER, the story and dialogue were indeed garbage much of the time, the movie suffered from villain bloat, and I was really annoyed by the constant (and I would argue unnecessary) use of slow motion. It would have worked for the last (spoilery) scene in which it was used if that was the only time it was used. I feel like the way it was done multiple pointless times dulled the impact of that last use. I know you're not supposed to compare, but until they get some better writing talent for The Amazing Spider-Man, the Raimi movies will always be superior to me. I do like the fun tone of those movies more than what these have to offer.

    Still, I also appreciate hearing from someone who enjoyed the movie more than I did. I'm glad listening to the opposing sides made for interesting discussion.

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  4. I'm only a few minutes into the podcast, listening while getting ready for work, but wanted to say a couple quick things before I forget.

    1. It's great to hear on a podcast, Heath.

    2. I believe The Searchers was made as a reaction to High Noon because John Ford hated that film so much. It offended him that a lawman who run around town trying to get help.

    3. But Patrick, I'm so disappointed. Mobsters came out in the summer of 1991 not 1990. Don't age the film anymore than it has to be. :)

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    1. I wish comments could be edited after I sleeplessly create typos on the first go around.

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    2. Apologies on the Mobsters misspeak. Never again.

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    3. Actually it was Rio Bravo that was made by Howard Hawks in response to High Noon.

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    4. Thank you, Steve.

      LOL Patrick.

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  5. I just saw "Odd Thomas" last night, and as a fan of the books, I was disappointed. Maybe it's the Sommers apologist in me, but this movie reeks of producer's cut. It does have the Sommer staple of bad CGI and wisecracks, but it also looks cut to hell. The overuse of voiceover, weird editing choices, excised character moments(I'm pretty sure Patton Oswalt's character had a lot more to do then appear in one scene), and its troubled post-production history makes me think this wasn't the original version. It's like it wants to be "The Frighteners" and "John Dies at the End" so much. The books have eccentric qualities(Elvis is actually a ghost who follows Odd around!) that the movie fails to really make work. Or maybe "Odd Thomas" would make a better t.v. show than a movie, I don't know. I'm just sad that the movie shit the bed.

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  6. Great hearing Heath on one of the podcast. I really enjoyed listening the dueling viewpoints.

    Hearth, if you have not already seen it, you should check out Outland (1981). It is a good remake of High Noon told as a sci-fi. Sean Connery plays the chief of security at a mining colony on one of Jupiter's moons.

    My experience with High Noon is similar to Patrick's, I don't think I have ever watched that film for pleasure though it was used in two college film courses. One using it to showcase certain cinematography points and another to talk about its editing techniques.


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    1. Outland is a Sean Connery movie that I've been aware of for most of my life but have never actually gotten around to seeing. I relate that movie and another Connery movie, Zardoz, together as movies that I SHOULD see. I'll get on that, especially since there's a High Noon connection.

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  7. A Monday morning podcast? What a pleasant surprise. I guess I'll have to table it for a few days until I get a chance to see TASM 2 (I would've seen it this weekend, but those young ones, they frighten me). But it should be an interesting listen, as I am one of the few who do not care for the Raimi movies at all. Even the second one, far and away the best, I have described to others as "yeah, s'okay."

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  8. Patrick--I get that you didn't like the movie, but Electro is not just upset because Spiderman didn't remember his name. He thinks that Spiderman tried to stall him long enough for the snipers to kill him. He even says "You set me up!", "You lied to me!" and then proceeds to go apesh*t...so the motivation was pretty clear to me when I saw the film.

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    1. Right. I heard those lines. I would maintain that it does not explain his motivation, even if that's what it is pasted in there to do. Motivation is defined by more than just a tossed off line of dialogue, and when every other thing the character says is tied in to "I don't want to be invisible/remember me," I think it's fair to suggest that's what motivates him.

      Not trying to be contentious at all. I'm still trying to think through my reactions to the movie, which is what I'm doing here. Thanks for listening!

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    2. I just feel like Electro/Max Dillon was angry because he was 1) crazy and c) betrayed by two people he'd trusted in a short amount of time. Also, 5) it's a comic book movie and is, by nature, broad and heightened. If I can buy into a world where a guy can climb up walls and sense danger, I can buy that a dude gets electrocuted and then goes bananas: B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

      And as many problems as I do have with the movie, this is better than these characters have gotten in a long time. Have you seen the comic book Electro? I mean...his mask has five electric bolts shooting out of it. That's not practical. And the comic book Electro was a power company worker who got electrocuted while working on a pole. Apparently that's all it takes to make you evil. So I do at least applaud an attempt to give these characters more motivation and depth than their comic source material. That's the point I was trying to make about Gwen Stacy, but I'm not sure I did: there's not a lot to her in her source material, but these movies really made me care about her as a person. She's smart, and she's the one making the choices in these movies. England is HER idea. She's the one making life choices. I appreciated that she's not just a damsel in distress.

      Again, this does not make for high art or great drama, but we're talking about pulp material that is intended to appeal to the broadest audience possible, from 8 to 80. I'm not defending or excusing the shortcuts and lack of development in the film, just saying that they put more in there than some of the people who have written these characters for years.

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  9. It troubles me that a movie with all these problems grossed $369 million and became the 216th ranked film of all time in three days.

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    1. I am Jack's raging bile duct.

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  10. For a writing assignment (don't ask), I sat and watched all the Hellraiser movies over the course of a few days a year or so ago. I had seen 1-4 before, but had not ventured into the remaining five sequels.

    Once Dimension destroyed the cut of Part 4 Bloodlines, to the point director Kevin Yagher removed his name from the director's credit, the studio decided to just take pre-existing screenplays that had been written for Dimension during the "Scream" boom and add Pinhead to about 5-6 minutes of them with varying "success".

    After part 4, with the exception of a character returning for part 6, there is zero continuity in the series. The remaining five films are all stand alone. Most of them are bad, but I did enjoy part 7 out of this group. It had a bit more going on than the others, grisly, yet character driven--in a good way.

    Part 9, Revelations, mentioned on Patrick and Heather's podcast, is the worst out of them all because you can tell the film was whipped together, including being written, within ten days--all in an attempt to keep the rights for Dimension's PG-13 remake/reboot of "Hellraiser" 1 that thankfully has yet to happen.

    May Pinhead tear their souls apart.

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  11. So great to hear Heath on the show and so far so good - I've listened to the first half but the fact that you're not unanimously thumbs down is pushing me to see it sooner rather than later, so I'm going to avoid any more spoilers and come back for the rest later. After rewatching the first one today (for only the second time) I'm guessing I'll be feeling more like Patrick, but you never know - maybe Heath'll bring me around.

    I'll be back.

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  12. Great job Heath. In the "Patrick vs The Fanboy" series, youve held your own the strongest. Well done.

    A couple points.
    Hellraiser. After the fourth movie they arent Hellraiser movies any more. So if you venture into them id either stop at 4, or treat them like two different series. The Hellraiser Series, and the Hell-FreddysNightmares-raiser Series.

    The "theme", or attempt at connective tissue, in Spiderman 2 was Emotional Connection. Every main player was wanting an emotional connection with someone who was not reciprocating in the same way all the time (Gwen and Peter, Harry and Norman, Max and Anyone). Not saying it was used very well or consistently, but it was there. It was something.

    I think I fall in between you two in my overall opinion. I liked the Peter-Gwen story, I felt that really worked, The Harry stuff was ok but got a bit muddled, and the Electro stuff was terrible. While I wasnt in tears, the emotional core of the movie felt pretty decent and my inital opinion of the movie was that if it wasnt for the villains the movie would have been pretty good. Instead it was just, Ok.

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    1. I swear it's not my goal to "take on" fanboys. I want to like these movies. I love Spider-Man and I love comic books. I just want them to be better as MOVIES.

      Heath and I weren't even debating. We just saw two different movies, which is ok.

      And I appreciate your effort to find a theme that connects everything, but I'm still not even sure I agree. Peter and Gwen were reciprocating everything emotionally -- they just couldn't agree on a title/status. It's what makes their story so muddled.

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  13. Heath, you're a diamond, great to hear you on the show. Also great to hear about High Noon on the show, it's my all-time favorite Western,

    I thought that Amazing Spider-Man 2 was almost as bad as Spider-Man 3, buoyed up only thanks to the last two minutes and a couple of earlier action sequences. Nobody else seems to think so as far as I can tell, but it seemed to me like the villains were awful because 1) Electro was just wasted and ridiculous and 2) Dane DeHaan, to me, gave an absolutely awful performance. Your conversation did help me realize he doesn't have much of a story either, but even the buddy buddy stuff with Peter made me groan. At any rate, I enjoyed the discussion not being 90 minutes of complaining, it was a great dynamic for the show.

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  14. Nice podcast. I can honestly understand both Patrick's and Heath's feelings because they mirror my own abut the movie (see below). Just one observation about what the purpose of the revelations Parker Sr. makes to Peter in the train video has for this particular movie's plot. (SPOILERS) Once Peter finds out that his father's (and thus his own) DNA is embedded into that of the radioactive spiders he realizes his blood is no good for Harry, since the self-healing abilities of the spider-human DNA will obviously only work with the Parker's DNA. That's when Peter/Spidey goes to visit Harry and tells him he can't give him his blood. Thus, at least for this particular movie's story, Richard's revelations to Peter give him the certainty to deny Harry the use of his blood (which we was conflicted about before) which then triggers Harry's manic quest to inject himself with the venom once he finds out about it (both from Felicity telling Harry they exist and Harry finding out about human experiments on Max). I know, big whoop, but it's not like Patrick said in the podcast that Richard Parker's revelations had zero impact on this movie's storyline, it did... kind of? :-P

    My take on the flick. Why are Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci allowed to fuck-up movies and TV shows left and right (besides being protected by the clout of being J.J. Abrams' boys)? Answer: Marvel/Disney lets them because, like "Iron Man 2" did for Marvel, "TAS2" is all about checking lists that need to be taken care of to set-up future sequels (Peter's parents backstory: check; cameos by Doc Ock and Vulture costumes: check; taking care of Gwen Stacy's backstory from the comics: check; plug every Sony brand/gadget ever made: check; etc.) rather than tell a cohesive story. Kurtzman and Orci excel at the former, which leads to their usual shortcut-to-exposition-dump moments that culminate here with a third act so mixed-up and convoluted (heartbreaking and moving one scene, "Batman and Robin"-caliber ridiculous the next) it would need to be seen to be believed if the TV commercials and trailers weren't already giving it away for free.

    There are moments though, precious few moments, when "TAS2" is the greatest Spider-man movie ever because (as Heath stated so eloquently) it embraces aspects of the character (primarily Spidey's so-bad-it's-hilarious jokey attitude from the comics and his athletic moves/poses) that are just fun to watch and weren't fully exploited in the Sam Raimi-helmed trilogy. When Spidey appears wearing a firefighter helmet and doing high-fives with NY's finest I was howling with delight... that's classic comic book Spider-Man, and there are dozens of moments like that that were just too cool for school (and worthy of the slo-mo effect for show).

    God bless Andrew Garfield for acting his heart out and selling us on Peter Parker's self-doubt and young man anxiety (his chemistry with Emma Stone makes their scenes together the highlight of the movie when Spidey isn't swinging), but the man's already way too old for the role. Dane DeHaan is enjoyably hammy as Osborn Jr. (Chris Cooper owns his cameo; he'll be back I'm sure) but holy crap, Jamie Foxx embarrasses himself badly by trying and not coming anywhere near reprising the same schtick Jim Carrey pulled off in "Batman Forever."

    I'd say see this if you're a diehard Spider-Man fan for the highlights, just don't expect 1/4th the perfection that was Raimi's 2nd "Spider-Man" flick (still the benchmark for superhero movies today). Sorry Heath. :-)

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    1. Not for nothing, but Orci and Kurtzman have never gone near a script for a Marvel/Disney movie. Spider-Man is a Sony production, and Marvel has no say in the matter of who writes or directs the movie. I'd say Marvel/Disney have generally done a stellar job in finding excellent people to work on their movies, and not just empty shells who will write anything, like you may find at other studios (like these two hacks).

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  15. This had to be one of my favorite podcasts thanks to the Heath. You can literally hear Bromley’s jaw drop three times within two minutes. When Bromley asked Heath if he liked it, & when Heath said “Yes”, his jaw got detached from his body and there was a big thud! As Bromley was trying to reattach it, when Heath said he already saw it twice, it immediately hit the floor again. Finally, when Bromley asked Heath if this was his favorite Spiderman movie & Heath said “It is” there was no hope for the jaw. Bromley had permanently lost it. From now on, all FTM podcasts should have “Hollywood” Heath or Heather “The Horror Chick” to drive Bromley crazy for over an hour.

    I still have no interest in seeing TAS 2 because of all the negative reviews. I don’t need every movie to get the “fresh rating” on Rotten Tomatoes, but all the negative stuff I’m hearing about is stuff I don’t want to spend my money on seeing (sloppy & awful writing from the Transformers’ crew, Jamie Foxx overacting, & too many villains). This is a Redbox rental for me with a coupon to get it for free.

    If Bromley really wants some good live action comic book entertainment, I would also recommend Arrow. What they are doing on a TV budget is incredible. I can't wait for the season finale next week.

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    1. I appreciate that, JK! I wish you'd go see the movie in theaters and find out for yourself, because the movie needs your support...okay, no, it doesn't. But still, what if you like it? Also, you know I wasn't intentionally trying to drive Patrick crazy. He and I actually agree far more than we disagree on things.

      Green Arrow has been on my radar since it started but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Literally everyone I know who has watched it seems to really be on board with it. I've heard nothing but positive things.

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    2. I don't think it's sacrilege to say ASM 2 is the best of them, only because Spider-Man 2 was really the only "great" movie in the franchise. So if you're not enamored with that movie as some are then this could be the best, as the rest are not very hard to top.

      The first one was an excellent moviegoing experience at the time, but I don't think it's particularly aged well. Then we're all aware of the problems of the third movie.

      I'd say apart from Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 they're all fairly average and could be ranked in any order depending on what you're looking for in a Spider-Man movie.

      I just think the story for the second movie is so damn tight, which is probably due to Michael Chabon's involvement. It's a crime he hasn't written more screenplays (maybe he doesn't want to?), but just the 20 minutes alone that movie spends where Peter hangs up his suit puts it above the rest imo. But I could see how someone may have issues with it, especially if they prefer Garfield/Stone's relationship to Maguire/Dunst.

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  16. Finally coming back to this - watched it a couple nights ago after deciding against a too crowded Godzilla, and finished the podcast this morning. It was a great listen and I enjoyed the discussion a lot. I think Patrick did a great job, in spite of some moments of incredulity, of challenging Heath's opinions without attacking them, and Heath met the challenge admirably. But...

    I definitely fell on Patrick's side for this one. I thought it was a fantastic visual representation of Spider-Man and his webslinging - the opening scene alone just captured so well the fun of swinging around New York that anyone who ever read the comics always imagined it to be, but it was pretty much all downhill for me after those first 5-10 minutes.

    Rather than repeat a bunch of stuff that's already been said, I think I can boil down the biggest problem (of many) of this movie into one line: "You know what I love about being Spider-Man? Everything!" That one line displays such a fundamental misunderstanding of what Peter Parker almost IMMEDIATELY comes to understand in the comic books - and what we thought he came to understand in the first TASM (until he says "The best promises are the ones you can't keep." Ugh), that you just know the character is not in good hands. There are a lot of things not to love about being Spider-Man - that's the whole @#$%ing point! Why is he still saying dumb shit like that by the second movie?

    There were moments I liked - the scene Heath mentions where he saves all of those people at once is very cool and Spider-Man-y and I get how that moment of pure heroism chocked you up, Heath, but at that point I was already so distracted by the poor story-telling that it lost much of its impact. By the time the ending with the little kid dressed up as SM came around - another scene I could see working for me - I was so fed up it just made me roll my eyes.

    I'm really glad it worked so well for you, Heath - I've got a friend who I jokingly refer to as a movie snob because she's so into artsy/foreign/classic films and she LOVED it too (our discussion was similar to this podcast) so you're certainly not alone, but boy did I not like it.

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