• Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

Non-Review Review: The Amazing Spider-Man II

What is remarkable about Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man II is how much it resembles a comic book. Not a particular comic book – although there are numerous shout-outs to iconic Spider-Man moments, right down to the choice of costuming – but in general terms. It isn’t that Marc Webb tries to construct his film to evoke the look and feel of a comic book – this isn’t Ang Lee’s Hulk; in fact, Webb seems much more comfortable here than he was with The Amazing Spider-Man, making a movie that feels more playful and relaxed within its medium.

Instead, The Amazing Spider-Man II borrows the structure of a comic book. It offers its own story, but that story isn’t constructed particularly tightly. Instead, the story seems to have been fashioned as part of a greater – as if part of a larger serialised narrative that has yet to take form. It’s quite distinct from the approach taken with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, where the films feel more like blocks that fit together. Instead, this feels more like the second chapter in a larger story, without being dissolved completely into the larger narrative.

The Amazing Spider-Man II has its own themes and motifs, and it documents a pretty epic selection of events, but the emphasis isn’t so much on this one encounter as what this encounter says about its hero. It’s much more interested in what these events tell us about our hero than it is in documenting a single self-contained story. It’s a novel (and somewhat bold) attempt at a serialised superhero narrative, and the results are absolutely fascinating.

Electro-fying!

Electro-fying!

Note: This is a spoiler-filled review of The Amazing Spider-Man II. You can find a spoiler-lite version here. Continue reading for more in-depth thoughts on the film, with the knowledge that absolutely everything is up for discussion. Continue at your own peril!

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: The Amazing Spider-Man II

What is remarkable about Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man II is how much it resembles a comic book. Not a particular comic book – although there are numerous shout-outs to iconic Spider-Man moments, right down to the choice of costuming – but in general terms. It isn’t that Marc Webb tries to construct his film to evoke the look and feel of a comic book – this isn’t Ang Lee’s Hulk; in fact, Webb seems much more comfortable here than he was with The Amazing Spider-Man, making a movie that feels more playful and relaxed within its medium.

Instead, The Amazing Spider-Man II borrows the structure of a comic book. It offers its own story, but that story isn’t constructed particularly tightly. Instead, the story seems to have been fashioned as part of a greater – as if part of a larger serialised narrative that has yet to take form. It’s quite distinct from the approach taken with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, where the films feel more like blocks that fit together. Instead, this feels more like the second chapter in a larger story, without being dissolved completely into the larger narrative.

The Amazing Spider-Man II has its own themes and motifs, and it documents a pretty epic selection of events, but the emphasis isn’t so much on this one encounter as what this encounter says about its hero. It’s much more interested in what these events tell us about our hero than it is in documenting a single self-contained story. It’s a novel (and somewhat bold) attempt at a serialised superhero narrative, and the results are absolutely fascinating.

Electro-fying!

Electro-fying!

Note: The Amazing Spider-Man II is probably best seen absolutely blind, with no real information about its themes or the story beats that it might hit. I do try to keep the reviews as spoiler-light as possible (and we do have a spoiler-laden review available for your perusal), but if you are interested in seeing the film – I would recommend avoiding any discussion or review. It is good, if flawed; endearingly ambitious and engagingly bold; it does a lot of great things that excuse some cliché plotting, sacrificing novelty in some areas for storytelling efficiency.

Continue reading

Look! Tim Flattery’s Batman Returns Concept Art! With Penguins!

The wonderful Tim Flattery has posted up some of his concept art from a whole host of his past projects, including Real Steel and Spider-Man 2. However, his concept work for Batman Returns caught my eye. Partially because I am a Batman fan, partially because I love Batman Returns more than most and partially because… well, penguins with buzz-saws! I’m waiting for the PETA complaints to begin. There’s also some concept art for the Batmobile from Batman Forever included below. Which is not the worst thing about that movie.

penguins1 Continue reading

Non-Review Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man is a jumble of clever ingredients thrown into a pot, stirred for two hours and yet never managing to produce that ideal flavour. There are moments in Marc Webb’s adaptation that are fantastic, as good as anything Raimi brought to the best of his films in the series, Spider-Man II. However, there’s also simply too much going on here for its own good. Running for two-hours-and-a-quarter, the film feels like one-part origin to two-part stand-alone adventure, unsure whether it should it is trying to rush through the motions of one of the most iconic origin stories ever told or if it’s trying to bring something a bit deeper to the table. When it gets going, it’s a solidly entertaining piece of film that does try to do something just a little new with the superhero formula, but it suffers from the same identity crisis as its lead and struggles to really find its own voice.

Peter’s not quite on top on the world…

Continue reading

Some Superhero Legacy: How Spider-Man Changed the Movies…

This is one of my entries on the latest cross-blogging event, tracking down some of the most overrated movies of all time. It’s being run by Mike over at You Talking to Me. I can’t spoil the list by giving you any of the other titles, but I can tell you another entry will be appearing on this very blog before the week is out.

Let me pitch you a scene. It’s early 2002. There’s a whole rank of huge blockbusters looming. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; Star Wars: Episode II; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Austin Powers in Goldmember; Men in Black II; Ice Age. And then there’s a strange one. Spider-Man, from that guy who made The Evil Dead. Really? Sure, Richard Donner’s Superman was great, but that was decades ago. Joel Schumacher had killed the Batman franchise only a few years back. That Bryan Singer fella had proved he wasn’t a one-hit wonder with X-Men, but it wasn’t exactly box office gold (only the eighth biggest film of 2000). Comic book movies were a strange proposition – transitioning the characters to the big screen just didn’t work naturally. Somethings aren’t meant to be adapted.

Has Spider-Man Blackened the Name of all Superhero Films?

Continue reading

My Top 50 Movies of the Decade…

Alright here it is, my top fifty films of the decade. I’ve decided to stop complaining about Donal Clarke’s list in the Irish Times and just let rip myself. There’s more than a few crazy choices down there, but – after a week in the works – I’m happy with it. I doubt that a lot of other people will be.

Like the Oscars, but... you know, better...

Continue reading

Ultimate Spider-Man – Vol. 4-6 (Hardcover)

It’s probably hard writing the same comic with the same artist for the bones of a decade. Setting things up years in advance only to have them pay off down the line, trying to put a new slant on an existing mythology while updating it for a new audience. This middle section of the Bendis/Bagley run on Ultimate Spider-Man isn’t necessarily bad per se, but it lacks the energy and reckless fun which defined the start of the run and the sense of resolution that approached at the end of the run. It just is.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Your spidey-sense should be tingling...

Your spidey-sense should be tingling...

Continue reading