html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Warning! Spoilers!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Warning! Spoilers!

I saw Spiderman last night. I’m not really qualified to do movie reviews, since I see, like, three movies a year. So it isn’t as if I have a wide body of knowledge about movies and can compare technique or craft or anything. But even I could tell that the Spiderman movie needed a LOT of help.

For one thing, they put the talking in all the wrong places! Seriously! They had all this time with Aunt May talking incredibly slow, and they could have spent that time in Peter Parker’s physics class. I caught a glimpse of a matrix, and I was never good at them, because they’re representations of spaces and I don’t think I ever once in all my years taking math had a good spatial representation of what we learned. But I bet Peter Parker does, both ‘cause that’s what he is good at and because he spends all that time swinging around. The movie could have spent so much more time in physics class, or even just a dynamics class. Force diagrams, people.

And then! They never did any talking when it would have really helped. I swear! Spiderman just arrives, sees someone who doesn’t fit his conventional heteronormative white-privileged idea of what people should look like and starts punching! Dude! Way to leap huge buildings to get to your conclusions! And there were times when a little talking would have averted a lot of getting thrown around. Like, when he first meets the Sandman and the Sandman is all “I don’t want to hurt you.” That was such a great opportunity for dialogue and communication. Why didn’t Spiderman ease his stance a little and say “What I’m hearing from you is that you don’t want to hurt me. Can you tell me a little more about that? What is going on with you, my friend?”

See, and that was especially frustrating because I bet that if the Sandman and Spiderman could have just gotten away from their positional stances (“I need to take money” and “I need to catch crooks” respectively), to their underlying interests (“I need to help my little girl” and “Dude, I’m all about helping the people”), they could have found some common ground. There was opportunity there, and it could have saved a lot of expensive plate glass and I-beams and cars being thrown about.

I do think the Sandman didn’t open his mind to lot of options that became available to him when he got particle-ized. I understand that you do what you know, and he had conceptualized himself as a thief and a fugitive. Maybe those were his most lucrative options when he was a man, but as Sandman, I don’t think he had to be an outlaw to make a ton of money. Considering his strength and versatility, I bet any construction firm would have hired him in a flash. Since his primary motivator was health care for his daughter, maybe a Public Works department would have been a better fit, what with the better benefits and all*. The dude needed to gather some friends to do some brainstorming, prioritize some potential options and look into those.

So much of that conflict and needless misunderstandings and punching people could have been averted by talking, and don’t even get me started on Mary-Jane’s stomping out of Harry’s house when a calm explanation could have prevented all sorts of memories becoming un-suppressed and going back to being evil and more fighting! Seriously, the lot of them need to take an Alternate Dispute Resolution class so we can all get back to physics class.

One more thing I noticed. I nearly never notice camera work, ‘cause I’m just not looking that hard. But there were a couple places where the camera work was so bad that it was distracting. Like, when Peter Parker was in the shower. Why they chose that close-up of his face being all emotional is completely beyond me. The scene clearly called for a much wider taller shot angle and lots of panning and zooming.

I don’t want to give a completely negative review. I really did love the parts where Peter Parker is strutting down the street like the bad boy he is. I need to add more finger guns to my repertoire.

*I bet the idea of working for the public would have appealed to his need to pay back society, although considering that society turned him into sand, perhaps we could call that even.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an awesome review. I bet many movies could benefit from an Alternate Dispute Resolution class!

1:31 PM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

For someone who rarely goes to the movies, you write about them well, and you're dead right about this one .. it just seemed like Raimi was coasting through this one, so if they continue the franchise, I certainly hope they get a new director

1:31 PM  
Blogger alison said...

Best film review ever. Thanks Megan.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Do Public Works departments hire escaped felons?

He'd need a new identity, and he doesn't seem bright enough to arrange for that.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

JMPP - honestly, I think a Public Works Dept would make an exception for such a versatile worker. Seriously, considering the costs in heavy machinery he could save them? Maybe some kind of amnesty and sub-contracting deal? Although that wouldn't meet his need for health insurance.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is something seriously wrong with the single male population of Sacramento. That's some good stuff there.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Homework for you, Megan: watch(re-?) and review Fatal Attraction. I'm particularly thinking of how we can use conflict resolution training to reduce rabbit-related trauma.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Wow- didn't even include the meat in that link. You know what I mean.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hey Tom. I've never seen it. I suppose I'll get to it one day. If I do, I'll post a review for sure.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I do know the rabbit reference.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So much of that conflict and needless misunderstandings and punching people could have been averted by talking"

On the other hand, much of the needless talking in the movie could have been averted by more punching.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm concerned that your rampant criticism isn't appreciated around here. We expect you to kind to movie directors and not use literary techniques that are above their heads to make fun of them. Affirmative kindness applies to everyone including bazillionaire movie producers.

Hee hee... great review.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Yeah, that movie is so horrifying. I really can't un-recommend it enough.

On the other hand, I'm intensely jealous of your porch.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Anderson said...

Much of the camera work *was* remarkably bad, particularly during the fight scenes, making them less enjoyable.

As for the failure to dialogue, true enough, but it's a bit like saying that Emma Bovary should've just gotten counseling.

(Anyway, the predicate was laid for Spidey's cockiness to prevent him from taking seriously Sandman's "I don't want to hurt you" -- Spidey's like "YOU hurt ME??? Ha!"

3:07 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Brilliant, just brilliant. Welcome back to the net.

Also, Tom, while Megan's porch is of course unusually awesome, if you are jealous of it you might consider just moving to Midtown Sacramento. It's full of beautiful porches.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Tone it down, Marcus. There IS a comment policy here, you know.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going in another direction... why wouldn't the city just pay the Sandman off? He obviously can't be beat. Why not give him the money for his kid's illness and call it a day? Wouldn't a one-time payment wind up costing less than all the potential damage from his future criminal exploits?

1:53 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

See? There were options!

Marcus, hon, I was kidding. I should have used an emoticon...

4:13 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

I'll never compliment you again, you bitch.

At least you didn't use an emoticon, that would have made it worse.

(I'm taking snark lessons so I can hang with the Unfogged crew).

5:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Spiderman's first takedown of the Sandman was particularly ridiculous given that, in his attempts to stop a man made of sand from stealing a few thousand dollars, he managed to create untold vehicle pile-ups on the street and probably killed a few dozen people. Asinine!

6:19 AM  

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