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mygif

“but before you do, take just one minute to think about the implications of trying to argue that kids should have no right to watch a Spider-Man movie and be entertained by it. Okay? Okay.”

A five-year-old is on the lowest end of the potential audience for a Spider-Man movie.

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mygif

Good luck selling that to the aging fanboy demographic. I made an offhand in a comic book store about how ridiculous it was that a Spider Man comic was inappropriate for my daughter, which resulted in a condescending, “yes, comic books can be for grown ups too, just like TV and movies,” lecture from the store owner. I was a little saddened that I had to explain the difference between medium and genre to him, but it did lead to my new default argument on the subject:

“If the character has its own Happy Meal toy, it should always be accessible to kids”.

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mygif

I didn’t care at all for this movie, so much so that it kept me from seeing the next one. The ‘Pete’s a loser’ thing also was part of a mean and nasty tone to the whole movie. That awful scene where Octavius slaughters the medical team trying to help him is another example.

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mygif

I must be a five year old girl because that is precisely how I felt when I saw it too.

It wasn’t awful, but I was terribly bored by it.

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GoatToucher said on June 11th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Well, I liked it alot, but no it’s not for kids. Might they have made a Spider Man movie more accessible to kids? Yes. Would it have been as entertaining for me? Likely not.

Should the world revolve around my likes and dislikes? No, and again the argument that the superhero genre focuses to tightly on aging fanboys that it doesn’t engage pre teen and teen readers can be made. Marvel would likely have been better served by a Spider Man movie that slanted younger, but remember that Sony is not in the business of making Marvel money.

Iron Man/Thor/Hulk/Cap’n America do not have the same excuse to fall back on.

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mygif

It took me a while to discover this was a bad film too. A couple of days after leaving the theater, as I recall. Then I realized it most of this film was Peter Parker being a whiny bitch. This is also why I didn’t mind the Peter Darker scenes in SM3, as corny as it was, it was SUCH a welcome change.

And I love Doc Ock as a villain. I didn’t realize how long it took him to show up until I debated this one guy about the merits of Ang Lee’s Hulk and his main gripe was that the Hulk didn’t show until 45 minutes into the film and Doc Ock didn’t show up until 41 minutes into it (some bullshit in Hollywood about the antagonist not showing up until the second act or something). And ultimately, this movie made Doc Ock into a whiny bitch too.

Also that whole “Raindrops keep falling on my head” montage is my least favorite scene in any movie, ever.

Before I heap blame on Raimi. I want to know what the Producer’s notes were on this film, because I know they can hijack a film and make it into a total pile of ass if they think it might fit into demographic research better, or just because they think ‘it might be cooler’ (see Cool World for what happens when the latter takes place).

This is not an age thing. SM2 was just plain bad. The only good scenes were the ones with J.K. Simmons because in an entire cast of characters, he was the only one who acted like he had a backbone – and that’s including the guy with the armor reinforced spine.

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mygif

Since the guy who wrote the screenplay for “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” was motivated in part by a little kid who said it took too long to get to the dinosaurs in the first one, I’m totally on your side here. Heck, let me shamelessly swipe and rewrite that last full sentence:

“Take just one minute to think about the implications of trying to argue that kids should have no right to watch a movie about a dinosaur-based amusement park and be entertained by it.”

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mygif

I don’t know about “best”. They’re all pretty terrible movies, but at least the first one has a well-acted villain.

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mygif

I gotta admit this is a movie you’ll need to show her again when she’s 15. She might appreciate the angst and struggle with identity a bit more.

Not every great movie is gonna hold the attention of 5-year-olds. I had a hard time babysitting my kid cousins, like 20 years ago, during a family gathering in MD: absolutely none of them wanted to watch the movie on VHS. It was Disney’s Cinderella! Not even the girls wanted to pay attention… :(

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RichardAK said on June 11th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I agree with Zenrage and TA. I didn’t think the movie was any good. I didn’t like the first one either, and never saw the third. So I don’t think it’s just your daughter, or just the fact that she’s five.

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mygif

For all intents and purposes, Spider-Man is a cartoon character, not a comic book one. Very few people read comic books compared to watching the cartoon (which is why a lot of people got angry at how they made Green Lantern white for his movie). If you can’t make a movie based on a cartoon that doesn’t entertain a five year old, you have a problem. And kids are great at cutting through bull shit. They are also far more sophisticated viewers than most give them credit for.

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mygif

The movie was PG-13. So, yeah, five year old children weren’t the target audience. I’m really not sure what the big deal is. My little cousin was eight when he saw it the first time with me, and he liked it fine. Five year olds can be antsy.

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mygif

double post but, I’m totally on board that comics and comics movies should try to be entertaining to kids, but do we really need them to be entertaining for the Kindergarten set? I didn’t pick up my first comic until I was 7 or 8.

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mygif

I don’t really get the ending bit. I don’t know how we go from what one guy’s daughter doesn’t like, to what all five year olds don’t like, to what all kids everywhere don’t like.

If I take a minute to think about it, the only implication I get is that it’s okay to make different Spider-Man stuff for different audiences. Kids get to watch Spider-Man cartoons and teens and adults get to watch Spider-Man movies. Those cartoons sure aren’t made for the people the movies were made for.

I’m not really sure that it’d be great to try and cater everything to five year olds. I mean, jeez, going back and watching the cartoons I liked as a kid, all I can think of is how stupid it is that a British big game hunter is a threat to Optimus Prime or that G.I. Joes can’t hit people shooting guns that are at least semi-automatics. Or even the premise of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But my generation ate that up like it was candy.

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I agree with the movie not really capturing the essence of Peter Parker. Peter Parker has no good luck, and scrapes out in the end, but Jesus the guy got slapped in front of his co-workers and friends and didn’t do jack.

That’s horribly emasculating =/

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mygif

I liked SM3 only because it vomited, pissed and shat on all the uneducated fanbois who were begging and whining for Sony to use Venom and Gwen Stacy.

They all got the movie they deserved.

and it was such a waste too. If Sony had done their jobs right instead of worrying about merchandising crap, they could have turned that series of films into the next “James Bond” and made dozens of well produced Spider-Man movies that would have brought in hundreds of millions each and every time.

Tell me you wouldn’t have given up something precious and possibly attached to see Ben Kingsley play The Vulture.

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mygif

ok this is an actual question and not a rhetorical one, do kids like 7-14 even start reading comics anymore or is the whole readership and older audiance?

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mygif

sorry pal ,but with Venom they lost a Golden opportunity. before I read any spidey story, he was the villain I wanted to see on the big screen! srsly look at him: the gooey skin (too leathery in the movie, I always pictured it as seeming fluid like in that Michael Mayhew painting), the sharp teeth & the seductive slasher smile ( & a tongue most ladies would be happy to see their men with…).
After reading the actual stories, my desire to see the guy was enhanced, It’s a shame Raimi didn’t even TRY with good old Eddie (say what you will but he had a far better motivation than “he beat me up when I committed a crime!” Brock sees Spider-Man as the bad guy, whereas everyone else KNOWS they are doing acts of evil and still get pissy when Spider-Man stops them.All of this would have 2 good movies, part 1 the sin-eater & the symbiote, part 2 Venom)

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The film’s meant for angsty teens. I saw it at 14, 6 years ago, and I loved it. I was a socially awkward teen, and here we have a film about a socially awkward… er not exactly teen (I think he’s around 20 in the film) but very much relatable nonetheless. Maybe it lays down the angst a bit too much, maybe it’s a little too melodramatic, but whatever – this film wasn’t meant for 5 year old girls. What are the unfortunate implications of that? Your daughter can’t be entertained by one film? You’ve already mentioned plenty of other superhero flicks she enjoys. I’ll take my overly angsty film and enjoy it as the young adult I am, thank you very much (I don’t think it’s one of the best films ever anymore, and it’s certainly flawed, but better than the mediocre marvel films coming out these days)

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Thank you Saidi for regurgitating every Pro-Venom shlock that every fanboi has been whining about since Sony opted for the Spider-Man films. *clap clap* Bravo.

@anrwtg, I think the problem is that comic books are no longer point of sale purchases anymore. Little kids aren’t being introduced to them while parents are waiting in line to buy groceries and at the collector prices, its no wonder. They need to take a lesson from Archie and make some non-violent, non-dramatic adventures for little kids featuring the full grown superheros (and not the condescending lil’ kid versions).

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Allegretto said on June 12th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

@Zenrage: But if they did, where would i get my Tiny Titans? :(

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@Zenrage:
Why thank you for being so unpleasant, it really shows that we as humans, can’t disagree without spitting on the opinions of each other or staying civil.
THEY LOST A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY.there you got a truth, Venom or not , that movie itself was a heavy miss!
Oh and about merchandising Crap? you can still make cash while giving a good movie! & Sorry for us not being excited to see the vulture onscreen (nothing against Toomes actually, he’s fun, but I don’t see him holding an entire movie all by himself.A trio consisting of him, Gargan & Schultz though….there are possibilities, so many they could have gone with…)

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mygif

Most children prefer episode 1 over episode 4 because it has a child in a lead role. My favourite movie when I was a kid was Episode 6 because I thought ewoks were the most awesome things ever. It wasn’t until I was 20 or so and watched all the Star Wars movies in one week that I realized how weak 6 was compared to 4 and 5.

Kids are terribly fickle, and the amount that they enjoy a movie isn’t based on any artistic merit, but how it can hold their attention. Kids have every right to enjoy a Spider-Man movie, but that doesn’t mean directors are obligated to pander to them.

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mygif

“…But before you do, take just one minute to think about the implications of trying to argue that kids should have no right to watch a Spider-Man movie and be entertained by it. Okay? Okay.”

And before you do a big article telling us how bad a movie is because your daughter doesn’t like it, take just one minute to think about the implications for you as a parent that you happily showed a five year old a PG-13 film. You going to show her The Dark Knight next week, and then complain that she’s scared of clowns and pencils next?

I mean, if your point is that Raimi should have made the film for a broader age range, well, that’s an arguable point. But that a PG-13 film doesn’t entertain a five year old proves nothing.

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mygif

This post made me remember how it felt to be six years old and all excited that Channel 2 was going to show the original Godzilla movie, and then settling down and blah, blah people talking and talking and TALKING. IIRC Godzilla doesn’t actually show up until an hour into the movie, which is nine years to a six-year-old.

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mygif

Nope, sorry, I don’t buy the “b-b-but it’s PG-13” argument: it’s just a straight up bad movie. Not as bad as 3 which is in Batman and Robin territory, but straight up bad. In fact I’d argue that ALL the Spider-Man movies are bad and for one reason: the people making the movies didn’t take anything seriously. Look at the recent Batman movies: yeah, it’s silly that a man in clown makeup is fighting a guy dressed as a bat. But to them, to the characters in the movie, it is life or death. Now look at Spiderman: Haha he can’t make his web go! He swung into that sign like George of the Jungle! Isn’t this sooooo silly?? Everyone making the film was so desperate to let us know that they are still cool despite making a comic book movie they made me feel like I was silly for wanting to watch a comic book movie. It was a basic lack of respect for the audience and source material. Which is how you end up with a movie that’s half wishy washy pathos and half silly “comedy” (again, the same road the 80’s Batman movies went down)

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mygif

BringTheNoise +1.

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Personally, while I think SM1 wasn’t a fantastic movie, I think it was a decent start to what could have been a great series. Unfortunately, 2 and 3 were serious let-downs for different reasons.

Sort of in the same vein that Batman Begins was acceptable, but Dark Knight was just awesome, except Spider man started in the same “Meh, alright” spot and just tanked.

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@BringTheNoise: You are aware that the “PG” in “PG-13” stands for “Parental Guidance”, right? I was the parent, and I guided. That’s why it’s an advisory notice and not a law, because every child is different and the parent knows that child better than anyone.

Besides, the problem wasn’t that it was too intense or scary for her. She’s watched scary stuff before; if Doctor Octopus had frightened her, she would have crawled on my lap and we would have discussed the movie, both while it was going on and afterwards. But it wasn’t scary, it was dull. Was that what the MPAA said in its little guidance text? “PG-13, may contain scenes of intense financial discussion and cartoon relationships too boring for some audiences, viewer discretion advised”?

The fact of the matter is, it’s a slow damn movie that takes easily forty minutes to get going. That’s a flaw that’s more noticeable to a five-year old, who has little patience for slow talky scenes, but it’s still a flaw to grown-ups too.

The movie should really have opened with an actual action sequence instead of the comedy “pizza delivery” scene; while funny, it was a long walk for a short joke, and everything Aasif Mandvi says there is going to be recapitulated in about five minutes by someone else anyway. Have Spider-Man fight a throwaway villain like the Shocker, or even just some thugs, then have him show up late for Dr. Connors’ class. Connors then berates his academic problems, mentions the Otto Octavius thing, and we move on. The Daily Bugle scene is skippable because it’s covering stuff we already saw with Connors (Peter has trouble focusing because he’s being Spider-Man) and stuff we’re about to see with Ditkovich (Peter’s nearly broke); cutting it gets us to the scene where Peter meets Otto quicker. That’s about 10-15 minutes of deadweight gone, replaced by a pacy action opening that grabs the attention.

And note that the end result would still be PG-13. I’m not in any way saying that the movie should be made lighter or sweeter or sappier to appeal to kids. (In fact, I’d cut a lot of Spidey’s “Gee golly gosh, kids, eat your vegetables! I’m the Amazing Spider-Man and that’s One To Grow On!” lines and put in some real jokes.) I’m saying it should be pacier, less repetitive, and more exciting to appeal to kids. That’s just good general advice for an action movie, full stop.

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mygif

Yeah, I’ll echo what some of already said: these movies are terrible. All three of them. Fun action scenes, a good performance here and there (J.K. Simmons obviously, and I’d throw in Alfred Molina too, for making Doc Ock seem halfway sympathetic. Sympathy is something a comic writer has never been able to get me to feel for that character ever.). But also terrible, terrible writing, hammy dialogue, and a lead actor who clearly doesn’t get Spider-man as a character: way too much angst and awkwardness, coupled with no charm at all. So many times during those movies I thought to myself “If I knew Macguire’s Peter Parker in real life I wouldn’t think he’s a super hero. I’d think he’s a serial killer hiding corpses in his aunt’s cellar.”

My daughter was five or six when part 2 came out, and she loved this movie more than anything, for whatever that’s worth. Ratings notwithstanding, this was clearly a movie marketed at kids and I didn’t feel like a bad parent for letting her see it. Like John said, ratings are a guide. They’re not there to do your parenting/thinking for you.

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mygif

Apparently I’m able to channel my inner five-year old, because I thought, aside from Doc Ock’s arms, it was mostly crap. I threw in the towel when the train full of people all agreed to keep Peter’s identity secret. Just freakin’ awful.

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mygif

Man, no love for Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin? Sure, the sentai-esque costume was stupid, but goddamn was he fun to watch; just look at his eyes beneath the mask during some scenes, he could roast the flesh of your face if he looked right at you.

On topic, though, I’ll agree that the movies have lost favor with me in the years since I’ve seen them, mostly due to what John noted about the point being that Peter isn’t a loser, he does in fact make do. Also the unfortunate lack of witty reparte; Spidey’s a talker and compulsive quipper, but that element is almost completely absent.

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mygif

Following up on Rbx5’s comment, the moment I realized that ‘Spider-Man 3’ was unsalvageable was when it occurred to me that Topher “Eric Foreman” Grace would’ve been a MUCH better choice to play Spider-Man, in large part because we know he can pull off being a wise-cracking smartass.

And then they made him Venom.

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@Rbx5: Plenty of love for Dafoe’s Norman Osborn, but as the Green Goblin he sounded like W.C. Fields doing an impersonation of a duck and had a line in hammy puns that would make late-series Freddy Krueger proud. :) Really, I thought that script aside, Topher Grace’s Venom was the best of the lot.

(And he did have one great line in said script: “I’m here humbled and humiliated to ask you for one thing… I want you to kill Peter Parker.”)

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Ed (Jack Norris) said on June 13th, 2011 at 12:17 am

What’s bothering me the most about these comments is the way the good old “there is no middle ground between most-awesome-ever and totally-sucks-ass” internet principle is rearing its head.
It’s possible to recognize that a movie is flawed without making the leap straight to “terrible.” Have a little perspective.

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Devichan said on June 13th, 2011 at 12:48 am

Said 5-year-old’s Mom here, wanting to address the whole “PG-13” thing.

Movie ratings are for general trends and have nothing to do with the kid in question. I also have a 14-year-old. She watched Buffy at age 3, LotR at the ages when they came out, and old Doctor Who at the same age. Now, as she prepares to go into high school, horror movies do not scare her. She writes her own stories on her blog and it’s hard to pry a book from her hand. She has an active social life and is a band geek.

What’s the point of this? It’s to point out that as John said, the words PG mean Parental Guidance.

1. Watch things with your children. Even G-rated stuff. The 5-year-old has seen Fantasia 2000 – rated G, right? There is a volcano destroying the landscape in it. “Finding Nemo” is G. The kid is a lone survivor who gets kidnapped right in front of his Dad and teacher and friends. “Toy Story” is G. The Green Goblin isn’t nearly as scary to her as Sid’s creations. But we watch things with our kids, so we have a good idea of what scares them. It’s not perfect, though. Which brings me to:

2. Be prepared to turn it off at any time/preview everything. No matter the rating, not all things are right for all kids. Sorcerer’s Apprentice? Terrifying. Ood? No problem. (“Mommy, that’s a Cthulhu-man!” Yes, we have Cthulhu stuffed animals.) And finally:

3. Answer their questions in an age-appropriate way. Simply doing this can make a huge difference. “Yes, volcanoes are real, and they can be very scary. That’s why scientists study them, so we can make ourselves safer.” “Vampires aren’t real. This is a story about what if they were real and a girl was the best fighter of them in the whole world.” “That’s Chewbacca. He looks big and scary, but do you think he’s mean?”

Yes, we let our kids watch PG-13 films, because we are right beside them and there for them. It’s what being a parent is about. :)

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mygif

Hey Jack Norris (Ed): perhaps the people without strong opinions aren’t expressing them?
I always wondered why those call in shows have a “no opinion” option. I mean what kind of silly billy would call in to express that they have no opinion? Oooooooh 😛

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Hominidx said on June 13th, 2011 at 2:48 am

I dig how a discrete criticism of a movie brings out all of the people who produce objective reality when they speak to proclaim how it sucks totally, they all suck, you suck, etc.

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Ed (Jack Norris) said on June 13th, 2011 at 3:28 am

Eric: Having an opinion that doesn’t just fall into one of two absolutist, binary camps doesn’t equal “no opinion” or even “not having a strong opinion.”
You make a non-point.

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mygif

Father of four here, ages 3-9.

I wouldn’t consider watching Spider-Man 2 with a five year old — not because it’s too violent, but because, yes, it’s a talky movie with a slow start and a lot of angsty personal drama.

And, yes, the PG-13 thing is a red herring. Let’s not get distracted by it.

The key point here is, John is jumping from one single five year-old to “kids”. I have to sharply disagree. My nine-year old loves superhero movies; he’s able to sit through the slow bits and he can follow the human dramas (even if the romantic stuff makes him want to leave the room). My seven-year-old gets a bit distracted, but he can sit through “Iron Man” if his brother is doing it.

John, I think Pixar has spoiled you. It’s /really really hard/ to make a non-animated movie that five-year-olds, adolescents and adults can all enjoy, and that will also make a pile of money.

Doug M.

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mygif

The slow, talky start is much more forgivable in a sequel. Everybody already knows who Spider-Man is. So now we get half an hour of /what it’s like to be Spider-Man/. And the answer is: actually, it kinda sucks sometimes.

And this gets repeated, and repeated again, because *it’s hard to believe*. Our default reaction is, damn, being Spider-Man would be AWESOME. Super-strength, super-reflexes, spider-sense, climbing, swinging… man, that looks like so much fun!

Spider-Man was a surprise hit, way back in 1961, because Stan Lee caught something that had eluded every comic writer up until then: adolescent power fantasies aren’t just about power. They’re about being powerful /and good/. We don’t dream of being strong and clever in a vacuum; we imagine that we’ll do things, wonderful things, wonderful and noble and wise and good things. Stan Lee’s brilliant insight was to recognize the second impulse, and put it directly at odds with the first. Yes, you can be Spider-Man. Yes, you’ll have the coolness and the fun, and you’ll get to be a hero. You’ll fight up evil freaks, half-human forces of chaos incarnate, and you’ll defeat them. You’ll save the innocent. But there will be a price.

This has been redone so endlessly since 1961 that we forget what a startling concept it was at the time. And while you can argue that Raimi overdid it in the first half hour, I don’t think you can argue that it shouldn’t have been done. It had to be done. It’s absolutely central to the character.

An opening sequence fighting the Shocker might be fun, but it wouldn’t nail down that /being Spider-Man is hard/. And if you give that away, then you have a very different movie. I’d say, a much weaker one; YMMV.

— It’s interesting to see so many SM2 haters popping up here. 93%, guys — plus umpty hundreds of millions of dollars of box, plus near-unanimous praise from comics writers and the comics blogosphere. Almost everybody loved this movie back in 2004. If we’re suddenly having buyer’s remorse, what changed?

Doug M.

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mygif

I’d hate to jump on the hate bandwagon but I never really liked Spiderman 2 either. When people started calling it the best superhero movie ever I was a bit surprised, but looking at all the comic book movies made so far, it’s still is probably one of the best ones made.

My problems with it was that Spidey is my favorite hero, and after the origin story, which I felt was really well handled, I wanted a movie when Peter enjoys being Spidey for a little bit. I don’t know why they had to move onto the “Being Spidey Really Sucks and I’m Giving Up’ storyline within minutes into the second film.

And while I agree that it is still a well made movie and it obviously wasn’t made for a 5 year old, John’s post brings up a good point. It does take a long time for anything to happen in it.

Oh, and I hate that train scene in it. The whole crowd surfing part and “You’re secret’s safe with us!” fluff was a bit trite.

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mygif

That is odd, My 6.5 year old daughter loves her Spider man movies, heck, she wants a Wonder Woman or Supergirl movie now. She has watched SM almost faithful since we had the DVD, she wore out my Spiderman 1 dvd, lol…
Personally what made the movie the best for me was Alfred Molina, he played Doc Ock prefectly, almost if not a true tragic hero.

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Jack Norris (Ed): you miss my point. There ARE people with opinions that fall outside of the “two absolutist, binary camps” but they have no motivation to post an opinion. I posted because I have strong opinions on the subject, other people are refraining because they realize that yelling “Hey guys I am ambivalent!!!” adds nothing and wastes time.
The ONLY reason to post is because you have a strong opinion. It’s why you can’t place a bet that both teams in the World Series will have a good time, or can’t cast your vote for “None of the above” in an election outside Brewster’s Millions.
I’m not sure what’s outside the spectrum of “Strongly disagree, disagree, no opinion, agree, strongly agree.” but more power to you.

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dangermouse said on June 13th, 2011 at 9:55 am

It makes Spider-Man out to be a total loser.

This pretty much traces directly back to the scene in the first movie with the wrestling promoter, where they change from the comics version, where Spider-Man had collected his prize money so he didn’t give a fuck if that guy got robbed, to the movie version where Peter gets outright cheated out of his payday, making him completely justified in not giving a fuck what happened to that guy.

It changes the meaning of Uncle Ben’s death from “it’s your responsibility to do what’s right,” to “you are the universe’s doormat; you may never, ever try to change this”.

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Carlos Futino said on June 13th, 2011 at 10:35 am

@ChrisW,

Can I use the “Happy Meal Toy” argument too? I double promise to give you credit :)

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John 2.0 said on June 13th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Ok, well, I’ll be the voice of ‘meh.’

Spiderman 2 is a decent enough film, and it’s a lot harder to make a decent summer blockbuster than to make non-blockbuster, and it’s even harder to make a decent superhero summer blockbuster than not. So Raimi should get some credit for that.

Spiderman 2 is about managing the identity of Spiderman, not about becoming Spiderman, so there’s a lot of scenes (like the pizza-delivery opening) that are doing double duty. And, yeah, the problems with being a 20-something in New York trying to make rent and have a (double) life is soemthing that might not appeal to 5 year olds. I’m ok with that.

Now, there are problems with the Spiderman series. In my opinion the biggest one is tone: It just looks like Spiderman is never having any fun. It should be AWESOME to be Spiderman, and I think it only seems like he’s having fun once (when he rescues Mary Jane during the street festival in the first one). The quipping seems forced, which is weird since Toby did the voice work for the video game tie-ins (which DID feature the Shocker), and had actually funny and well delivered lines (to the Shocker: “Who are you? The Quilt?”). And, good lord, the horror of a Nickleback theme song.

For what it’s worth, I think 2 is the best of the lot, but it showcases the best and worst of Raimi’s instincts (Evil Dead camerwork, good. Musical interlude, bad). On the whole it ballances out to be a good film, I think, but not great.

Finally, I don’t think John is irresponsible for watching S2 with his daughter. But Sam Raimi’s not a fault for not making a movie that appeals to a 5 year old’s sense of pacing. Sony didn’t hire Sam Raimi to make a film adaptation of a happy meal. They hired him to make a movie that appealed to 18-30 year olds who wanted to watch a summer movie. And he did.

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Kid Kyoto said on June 13th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

I liked it a quite a bit, except for the train scene. Spider Man is very much a New York hero but that elevated train DOES NOT EXIST where they put it.

Had the moved the scene to say, the 7 train in Queens I would have been fine.

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R.A. Bartlett said on June 13th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

I like Willam Dafoe, but The Green Goblin was a terrible movie villain. Basically, he keeps going after Spider-Man because Spider-Man refused to join him…to do what? Worst villain in the series. Not to be a jerk, but any sentiment about the franchise that does not concur that being a glaring hole in the movie, I have to take with a grain of salt.

I also disagree that giving Peter Parker a good reason to let the burglar go was a mistake. It was brilliant. In the comic, it emphasized that he let the crook go because he felt that everyone but those who were good to him (Namely Ben and May) could go hang. Was he justified in letting the wrestling guy get robbed? Sure, but he’d be justified in seeing how Norman Osborn liked being dropped off a bridge. The point of Spider-Man, and many other great comic book characters, is to be better than “as they would do unto us.”

Regarding whether critics, fanboys or five year olds have the most authority on the subject, I think when making movies you should try and make what you like, and hope other like it too. Though I will say, when I was younger I might have enjoyed the Rankin Bass Return of the King more than the Peter Jackson version.

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“Had the moved the scene to say, the 7 train in Queens I would have been fine.”

Speaking of that sort of mistake, are there actually any pizza places on Manhattan island that have a 40+ block delivery radius? Because as a non new yorker who’s been there a couple of times, I seem to recall relatively small delivery areas for local joints.

Being bitten by radioactive spiders and becoming fused to a set of semi-sentient waldos are all well and good, but a pizza joint taking a delivery order for 8 large pies at lunch time from a customer 40 blocks away, THAT strained my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.

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@Doug M.: No, the slow talky start is much less forgivable because it’s a sequel. The first one (which my daughter has requested several times, by the way, and sat all the way through–this isn’t about “superhero movies bore my kid”, this is about “this specific movie is boring when others aren’t”) has to set up who Peter Parker is, who Uncle Ben and Aunt May are, who MJ and Flash and Norman and Harry are, get Peter bitten by the spider, get him into the costume, get Uncle Ben shot, and get Norman into his costume before it can really get going. And yet, it generates more dramatic tension and is faster paced than its sequel, which only has to establish “Peter Parker is frustrated with his double life” and “Otto Octavius gets into an accident and his arms go all apeshit”.

And no, I don’t think it needs to be repeated again and again, because no, it’s not hard to believe. At the end of the first movie, Peter’s uncle is dead, his aunt is in the hospital, his best friend is estranged from him because he’s obsessed with the death of Peter’s surrogate father that Peter is forced to hide a terrible secret about, and oh by the way he didn’t even get the girl out of the deal because he’s afraid that loving her will put her in danger. I don’t think that after all that, people still need a full forty minutes of every single person in Peter Parker’s life telling him, one by one, that being Spider-Man is making his life harder. :)

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Drag Balls said on June 14th, 2011 at 2:05 am

I think the problem we’re having here is that you’re framing the whole thing in terms of, “my kid didn’t like it, therefore it has narrative flaws.”

The DVD collections of my under-10 relatives include both Chipmunk movies, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Marmaduke, both Scooby Doos, the complete Pokemon filmography, and the Clone Wars movie. Face it John, kids frequently enjoy media that are abysmal from an artistic standpoint. Not to mention that teenagers love Twilight, and I know Grown Ass Men who cite Transformers II as among their favorites. Film watching is, at some level a subjective experience, so that must play a role in our critical evaluation. At least refer to your own subjective experiences, though, don’t use the testimony of someone who may or may not like Care Bears more than It’s a Wonderful Life as the Revealed Truth from On High.

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Kids should absolutely have a right to watch a Spider-Man movie and be entertained by it. But they don’t (and shouldn’t) have a right to have *every* Spider-Man movie be made to entertain them.

It’s okay for someone to make a Spider-Man movie that a five-year-old doesn’t like but a thirty-five-year-old does.

Besides, it’s good for five-year-olds to learn that they don’t have to love every movie they see and declare it the best movie ever. Hell, there are some 35-year-olds who need to learn that lesson.

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I was interested to read this piece because earlier this year, I tried to use Spidey 2 to teach film techniques to my Intermediate English class of 16-year-olds. They were bored rigid by it.
Meanwhile, my junior pupils at 13-14 find superhero movies “childish and cheesy”. They roundly dismissed Thor for those reasons.

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Drag Balls said on June 14th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Ah, 13 and 14. That magical age where everything is too childish for you, ’cause you’re all grown up now and shit.

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@Drag Balls: Not “my kid didn’t like it, therefore it has narrative flaws”. More like, “My kid didn’t like it in a way that reveals its narrative flaws.”

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I got bored halfway through watching Spider-Man 2 for the first time, and stopped because it was on cable and I had other things to do. But one thing I really liked was that it didn’t start off with a throwaway villain, and use that as an excuse to launch into 30 minutes of talking. That formula bugs the crap out of me.

take just one minute to think about the implications of trying to argue that kids should have no right to watch a Spider-Man movie and be entertained by it. Okay? Okay.

Speaking of formulae that bug the crap out of me! “If you think about my argument for even one minute, I’m sure you’ll realize I’m right without me actually having to advance a concrete argument.” So first, let’s try to reconstruct the implicit argument. I think it’s:

“Spider-Man is a character so beloved by children that any movie which features Spider-Man must cater to children of all ages; to do otherwise renders it a failure on some level.”

Is that close? So whose interests are you trying to protect, here? Certainly not the interests of creators who wish to use a popular character to tell a story; you’ve just shut down a lot of avenues for them.

Are you trying to protect children? What are you trying to protect them from? The disappointment of not having enough media available to entertain them? That seems unlikely. My best guess here is that you want to protect children from the heartbreak of learning that there’s a Spider-Man movie, being excited to see it, and then being bored halfway through. I’m totally uncertain why someone would want to protect children from ever learning that sometimes, things we want to be awesome turn out to suck, but maybe we can work with this.

Or perhaps you’re trying to protect Marvel? “Hey, Marvel – if you license this character to someone who wants to tell a boring story with it, you risk alienating people.” OK, we’ll give that a try, too.

On the “kids should be protected from being excited by a movie, and then disappointed” front, yeah, it does suck when a kid learns that a movie exists which features one of their favorite characters, and sets out to watch it and finds it doesn’t hold their interest. I’m still pissed off about the whole “Pink Panther” thing. But that’s just a thing that happens. How is that any worse than someone earnestly attempting to make a Spider-Man movie that appeals to children, and failing? We’re not talking about a Spider-Man movie that contains themes and concepts which are inappropriate for young children. (“Spider-Man vs. Caligula”) How, exactly, was the ProtoSeavey hurt by this experience? She started watching a movie, found it not to her tastes, and stopped. That’s how things ought to work!

So maybe you’re giving advice to Marvel, here. “If you produce one single bit of authorized Spider-Man media which doesn’t appeal to my five-year-old, you risk…” what, exactly? Making millions of dollars? Does your daughter now find the first movie to not be the best movie ever because the second one was so jarringly boring?

I guess the one possible risk is that they might make a bad movie, but as you said – it’s not “My kid didn’t like it, therefore it has narrative flaws.”

So tell me – what post would you have written if Marvel had produced a Spider-Man movie with a narrative that you approved of, but that nevertheless failed to appeal to your daughter? Who would actually be hurt by that?

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Loved reading this. When that movie came out, I was quite disappointed in it, but it seemed very few other people were. I just wanted someone to edit about 20 minutes of “woe is me” out of the middle. It had the bones of a great movie, but the editing of a crappy one.

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Halloween Jack said on June 18th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I agree that S-M2 probably isn’t the best superhero movie for a five-year-old, but I think that you’re kind of taking your critique to a bit of an extreme. Peter isn’t a “total loser”; he’s having trouble making ends meet and fitting the rest of his life around web-slinging, true, but he has the disadvantage of (as far as we know) being the only superhero in existence, and not being able to go to Captain America for a little pep talk. (Or a loan or straight-up grant; I always wondered why some of the richer superheroes, like Tony Stark, didn’t simply subsidize some of the independents like Peter, even if they weren’t in the Avengers.) Also, remember that part of the reason that Peter quit superheroing in S-M2 was that he was losing his powers and, again, didn’t have the option of having Richards take a look at him. Also, I saw Otto Octavius as being much more supportive than critical of Peter, pre-accident.

Me, as an adult, I kind of liked the fact that the movie spent some time on the characterization of the three main characters–Peter working out whether he can keep up all of his commitments; Harry trying to come out from under his father’s shadow, and putting all his chips on Octavius; Mary Jane dealing with her newfound fame and thinking that it might be time to ditch the boy next door. We knew that the big Spidey-vs.-Doc-Ock slugfests were coming because we saw them in the trailers, so it wasn’t so much of a thing to set up some character arcs (although I was disappointed a bit that we didn’t get Green Goblin Jr. until the third movie). The movie wasn’t perfect–that emergency-room murder scene was, for my taste, a little too derivative of the autopsy scene in Independence Day, and even the pizza delivery scene seemed like the work of someone who had clearly read Snow Crash–but I still think that it hangs together fairly well.

Besides, if the young adult angst bored your kid, couldn’t you just skip ahead to the fight scenes?

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Moral Man said on April 26th, 2013 at 4:47 am

I am nearing thirty and I found this movie to be even worse than the description above…

If that is not potential watcher then I guess I must be past the “prime audience”.

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