I have a theory.
Out in the hills of Hollywood—or wherever they do casting for movies—there stands a shed. Inside this shed, there are several head shots of actors (established and rising) plastered on the walls like the wallpaper of some adolescent school girl. In the center of this shed, there is a turntable-like rise in the floor. Upon this rise, sits a chair. A random person, most likely an intern, is blindfolded and ushered to the chair where she is sat. She’s given a single dart. The others leave the room; the last one flips the switch, activating the turntable-like rise in the floor. The chair begins to spin, announcing its highest speed with a bing. Once the bing goes off, the intern must throw the dart and the head shot it lands on is the person chosen for the role being cast.
Maybe this idea doesn’t work for all movies—surely comedy and drama already have established, go-to actors—but with superhero flicks? This theory works so well when the big heads at Warner Bros. and Zack Synder thought Ben Afflect would make a spectacular Batman. Or that pencil-thin Gal Gadot is a stellar choice of an Amazonian princess. It explains Andrew Garfield, Jaime Foxx, the entire cast of the future Fantastic Four reboot, and Jessica Alba of the first two Fantastic Four films. And Snyder can defend all he wants, but history has proven that Ben behind a mask is a rape of comic book lore. And we already sacrificed Daredevil to that, why the dark knight after all Christopher Nolan worked to accomplish?
This all occurred to me as I sat beside Monica as we watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yesterday. I must warn you, this post will contain spoilers.
If you didn’t watch the first The Amazing Spider-Man, don’t worry. Like the Raimi films, this will bring up the important things. It begins with reminding us that Peter is dumped with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, going into a bit more detail. Sit still viewers because this will likely be an ongoing subplot for both the Spider-Man films and its spin-off.
We’re then thrown into the midst of a high speed chase where Russian mobster Paul Giamatti has stolen plutonium from OsCorp. Spider-Man swings in and saves a Max Dillion and the day. Wait. Was that Denis Leary in the squad car during the chase? Hu. Why is he there? No worries, we’re reminded of Peter’s promise to Captain George Stacy in the last film. You know, about leaving Gwen out of it. You know, the one he didn’t keep at the end of the film?
He makes it back in time to grab his high school diploma and see Denis Leary again. He breaks up with Gwen. No. Wait. Gwen breaks up with him. Time passes—presumably two years, even though Max Dillion and Spider-Man act as if the rescue only happened ten minutes ago. Harry Osborne, the prodigal son, returns home to see Chris Cooper’s Norman Osborne die. Wait. What? The twenty-year-old inherits his father’s corporation. Wait. What? He learns that the same illness that killed his father, flows through his veins. Wait. What? And once news breaks out that Norman’s dead, Peter goes to visit his best friend. Wait. What? Some bad shit happens to Max. OsCorp lawyer guy hides it from Harry in order to kick the post adolescent out of his CEO chair—who would have seen that happen? Except that it’s been done before in the first Spider-Man movie. Wait. When Harry said Felicia, did he mean Hardy? I’m confused here. Gwen and Peter reconcile and she tells him she’s probably going to leave. Electro looks pissed though. Oh shit. He is pissed. And he’s out of the game already.
Harry puts it together that Spider-Man is part of his father’s and Richard Parker’s experiment with spider DNA. He’s convinced that a little bit of Spidey blood will cure him. Peter refuses to help. Spider-Man refuses to help. Felicia may-or-may-not-be Hardy tells Harry about the spider venom extracted from the spiders before they were gassed. He learns about Electro. Lawyer guy gets the upper hand and ousts the twenty-year old. Harry gets Electro out. They make a deal. Some more bad stuff happens to people. Lawyer guy is taken to special projects and is forced to inject Harry with the venom. Allergic reaction. He climbs into some suit. Spider-Man learns the truth about his father’s work. Gwen is leaving. Spider-Man uses his web to write I love you on some bridge. Gwen sees. As they plan their future, the entire city goes dark. Electro has impeccable timing. Gwen helps Spider-Man defeat the bad guy. Wait. What’s that? Oh yeah. Harry in his goblin gear. He puts it together. He takes Gwen and drops her down. Spider-Man catches her. She falls again. Spider-Man catches her. The web breaks. Harry is defeated. Spider-Man is too late. C’mon Garfield, she’s your girlfriend in real life. At least muster up some real acting skills here.
Peter Parker stands at her grave site for five months. Spider-Man is gone. Oh yeah. You remember that Russian Mob guy from the beginning of the movie? Well, he’s part of this plan that Harry Osborne and Shadow Guy have conspired. And he’s out in town destroying everything in a rhino suit. Spider-Man returns. Credits. What. The. Actual. Fuck?!
The film is difficult—and at times, hard,— to follow. The acting is terrible. And if there was any doubt about Andrew Garfield being able to pull off Spider-Man, it’s gone. He can’t. His acting is atrocious. Emma Stone, someone I’m in complete love with, is terrible. Jaime Foxx is terrible. The kid who plays Harry is terrible. Sally Field is awesome. Love me some Sally Field. The film glosses over so many important details. Maybe Harry shouldn’t have been sent away and made some appearance in the first film. Maybe Norman should’ve have played the Green Goblin because that way it stays true to the comic. Maybe people should have fucking read the Night Gwen Stacy Died. Maybe production companies should stop killing franchises so they can keep the rights. Maybe we forget these two Spider-Man movies and just bring Sam Raimi back.
There’s so much wrong with this movie, but the one that hits me the most is that, if you don’t already know it, you wouldn’t have caught on that there is a spinoff in the works. All that sinister six gear in the background? Yup. That’s in the works for something bigger. Luckily, that abortion of an actress wasn’t in the film playing Mary Jane Watson. Small favors, right?