“The Amazing Spider-Man” is a reboot of a blockbusting franchise that got off to a good start with “Spider-Man” in 2002, web-slung to towering new heights with “Spider-Man 2” in 2004, and lost its footing with “Spider-Man 3” in 2007. While each of those films were helmed by horror maestro Sam Raimi, this redo is directed by indie newbie Marc Webb, who may or may not have been hired for his eerily appropriate surname. Webb was a good choice: he displays a deft hand at directing drama, romance and action in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and balances them with profound ease and impressive skill. Once again, a “Spider-Man” franchise gets off to a good start. I look forward to its inevitable sequel and look warily upon its probable threequel.
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The Twitterverse is alive and buzzing with the swine-like squeal of outrage over The Walt Disney Company’s upcoming purchase of MARVEL Entertainment Incorporated for upwards of $4 Billion in cash and stock. According to the Associated Press, this monumental purchase will include the film rights to about 5,000 Marvel Comics characters ranging from Iron Man to Ant Man. Comic book fans are outraged, but is this anger placed in a reasonable manner? Not likely.
To briefly set the stage, both parties have only just announced that this deal is being discussed. Nothing has been cemented as of this moment. The boards of both companies have approved the transaction, but it still requires shareholder and anti-trust reviews.
Let’s imagine–and it’s almost certainly going to be reality very soon–that this deal were already passed. The Walt Disney Company is the largest entertainment media conglomerate the world has ever seen; but it is primarily associated with media for children. This narrow minded approach to viewing Disney’s resume can only be met with derision. Disney is not singularly Hannah Montana or The Jonas Brothers. They are not singularly PIXAR or Animation Studios. And they are not singularly MIRAMAX or TOUCHSTONE, either.
MARVEL’s resume of films is meager, and–speaking critically–as shitty as it is impressive. Should we examine the 1986 disasterpiece Howard the Duck? Or shall we move straight up to the present and delve into the Incredible Hulk–the movie so shitty, they made it twice.
To be fair, both MARVEL and DISNEY have their cinematic shit-fests; however, I believe that trusting MARVEL’s future with an organization that tends to only hire the best and brightest in their fields could hardly be a mistake.
That’s not to say that Disney isn’t a greedy behemoth with dollar-signs for pupils, but who isn’t nowadays?
Let’s think about this critically. Many individuals look at this as if Disney is going to have The Jonas Brothers playing X-Men, while–in reality–we’ll get better quality 3D animation for the cartoonier Marvel Comics and ridonkulous budgets for the action flicks; so let’s give credit where credit is due.
The argument I’ve heard against this is that traditional-style animation has a special place in comic book films and Pirates of the Caribbean sucked. This is a fair assessment; however, I am optimistic that if most of the comic book audience feels this way, they will not be disappointed.
I’m not saying that Disney deserves to be defended to the death. They’ve squashed and stolen many times, but to say that Disney is somehow not worthy or incapable of doing a Superhero movie is just mindlessly fucking insulting. How many corners did they tell Quentin Tarantino to cut when he did Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill? For the anime scenes in Kill Bill, did Miramax say, “No, we need to make it 3D Computer animation?” Of course not.
The long and short of it is that there is almost no way that Disney can ruin Marvel Comics any more than Marvel Comics already has. Feel free to disagree, but feel free to be wrong as well.
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How often do we raise our expectations at the expense of our enjoyment? The problem with high expectations is that they can never truly be met. Your idea of perfection is inevitably going to vary from Gene Shalit’s, and vice versa.
For the most part, films and games share the same stigma. On one hand, you’ve got the film/game preview to go by–usually supported by the obligatory review.
“Nothing if not Film of the Year!“
“Five Stars!!!–The Best Gaming Site Ever“
On the other hand, the movie-goer or gamer knows what they like and what they don’t (or at least they think they do). If you’re not mentally fucked-backwards in some way, you can determine from a preview if you’re going to enjoy the movie or not.
The film may be a multi-award winning masterpiece, but if you only like movies where Adam Sandler and Kevin James play a pseudo-homosexual Rent-a-Cops who are thrown into some High-Concept “Comedy” involving magical storybooks and time travel, you aren’t going to be able to sit through P.T. Anderson’s latest three-hour braingasm.
And vice versa, no doubt.
Then, there’s the curious case of masochism that is: sitting through a movie you know you won’t like, just because your friends, associates, and the reviews are jerking it off to death. (A link there certainly would have been interesting…)
**cough cough Lord of the Rings cough cough**
LittleBIGplanet–Greatest game in 2008 or Greatest game EVER?! Truth is, you’re not going to like it if you don’t have a soft spot for cuteness and want something innovative that allows you to explore your creativity. If you only like war games, you’re not going to like LittleBIGplanet at ALL.
The Wrestler–Although I want to save this discussion for Friday’s PODCAST, I will say that my expectations were not met. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; however, when folks like Penn Jillette rave about it being the best movie ever, I tend to listen. If you’re not a middle-aged man, you may not enjoy it quite as much.
The dangerous words I’m talking about here are what some might call “jinxing.” Words such as those used to describe the new cross-platform game Afro Samurai…”The show is awesome, so the game has to be awesome.” Have we learned nothing from our past?
When these “reviews” reach the point of being psychologically damaging, it’s time to take a GINORMOUS step backward. Losing control of one’s senses in favor of blind allegiance is often supervened by crazy cults, monumental elections, and becoming a fan of Penny Arcade.
I kid, of course. But don’t listen to reviews. Think for yourself. Follow your heart, and occasionally your scrotum. If you love Spider-man, then Web of Shadows should be a fun game for you, even though you cried with self-loathing after sitting through Spider-man 3.
If you love going to the gym, but suffer from cripplingly severe social anxiety, like when computers tell you that you’re a fucking fat ass, and enjoy watching faceless Trainers rub cameltoe in your face, you’ll adore Wii Fit!!!
Shit, I should do commercials!
However, once in awhile, the friendly neighborhood web-slinger gets lucky (and not just with Mary Jane, either). Sometimes he gets to be a part of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Sometimes he gets to feature 3rd Party Candidate Stephen Colbert in the Marvel Universe. And sometimes, but not often, he gets a decent video game that carries his name.
Spider-man is probably my favorite Super Hero. He’s funny, he’s a wise-ass, and he’s a pretty big pussy. Not that every other Super Hero is one dimensional; however, Spider-Man’s story just seems so much cooler and nonsensical than many others. I like that.
Also, if you think about it, his powers are much more of a burden. It’s like “Rain-Man” with his Super-Autistic Powers!
Peter Parker has hair growing in unexpected places (and it’s fucking sticky! ew!), he gets a headache anytime someone is doing something wrong around him, he’s got spider-like reflexes but tends to only use it to do creepy things like hanging upside down, and he shoots stringy-web-goo out of his body!
His powers are almost the equivalent of the warnings of the dangers of masturbation.
The last Spider-Man game I played before WoS was Spider-Man 3 (wii). It was a fun game, and the web-swinging was fucking awesome with the Wiimote…
…but at some point you say: “fuck this, I want to sit down and relax while I play a game for 2 hours,” and the novelty dies a horrible death.
Also, with most games based on movies (with the exception of “Aladdin” for Sega Genesis), the interest in the game dies when you know how it ends and every thing that’s going to happen in between. Granted, Spider-Man 3 (wii) did have some surprises, but it was too repetative and slow.
Spider-man: Web of Shadows takes place in the future or something, and the “Venom” symbiote has taken over NYC. After a series of generic rescue missions and some pretty cool bad-guy fights, the symbiote takes over human hosts and turns people into zombies.
Spider-man + Zombies = GOTY?
Sadly, no…but it’s definitely worth playing and never boring. It’s not all that challenging, but in a Super-Hero game, it shouldn’t be Super-Difficult. It’s not Peter Parker vs The Zombies, it’s fucking SPIDER-MAN vs The Zombies.
Of course, they’re not “zombies,” they’re symbiotes, but same fucking thing.
The graphics are pretty decent. The sound and action sequences I could have done without. The voices hardly ever matched up with the lips and sometimes they didn’t catch up until later (or not at all). The action seemed to pack more of a punch than my PS3 was prepared for. A lot of the cinematic scenes seemed to skip or appear in slow motion.
What was most interesting (and when I say “interesting,” I mean “disturbingly subpar”) about WoS was that there are multiple paths you could go down, effecting the end in a GOOD or BAD way.
The choices came in the form of selecting your dialogue with characters:
“Do you want to go save the members of S.H.I.E.L.D.?”
Or, selecting whether to be Good Spider-man or Bad Spider-man in a boss fight.
Good Spider-man: Let the bad guy live and then ask for his help.
Bad Spider-man: Embarass the bad guy in public and then TELL him he’s going to help you.
You also get to upgrade Red and Black Spider-man’s abilities and combos, but there’s no need to be too selective because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to reach the end of the game without maxing out ALL of your upgrades.
As you can see, the choices the gamer makes are a joke and (I assume) hardly effect the outcome of the actual game all that much. But I won’t spoil it for you.
If you want a decent game and don’t care about being duped by a false sense of customization, then this is your ticket to FUNsville!
If you like fully customizable, super-challenging games that you could play for months and still not discover everything the game has to offer, you’re in for a soul-crushing disappointment.
Unless, like me, you were excited for the third Spider-man movie…then your soul has already been substantially crushed!