Special Edition Podcast

Special Edition – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Show Notes

Conor Kilpatrick, Paul Montgomery, and former iFanboy writer Timmy Wood collectively do whatever a spider can! Assuming that what a spider can do is gather together to discuss The Amazing Spider-Man 2!

Running Time: 00:43:59

The Amazing Spider-Man_2_Poster

“Spider-Man Theme [Junkie XL Remix]”
Michael Bublé


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  1. So I’m with Timmy on this one, this movie is horrendously bad. This is like a cadbury egg, the sweet stuff is in the middle (Gwen and Peter) and that works, but it’s surrounded by, instead of chocolate, poop.

    So stray thoughts and spoilers:

    – What is this movie about? What’s anyone’s motivation? I don’t mean plot, but why’s anyone doing what they’re doing? What’s Peter’s story in this film? Win back Gwen/ She’s only in it for probably 20 minutes in total. Find out the truth about his father? That plot comes and goes. What is Spider-man’s story here? Why’s he doing what he’s doing in the larger scope of this film?

    – Peter Parker is a terrible boyfriend, I mean truly he’s a human monster. In the Raimi films and comics Peter misses events because he is Spider-Man, show’s up late, can’t commit to nothing. In these films Peter doesn’t go to Gwen’s father’s funeral, so no support there, breaks up with her on graduation day, does a twitchy weird pour out his heart on the day of presentation and then is actually the cause of her death. If he wasn’t Spider-man, we’d all just think he was needy and nuts.

    – Captain Stacy is the new Uncle Ben in this series, there’s no great power no responsibility.

    – Peter Parker has to watch a video on how a battery works, super smart dude.

    – Max Dillion is basically the Bjork stalker Ricard Lopez, he would have done something terrible anyway, judging by the Marlyn Manson music he has playing in his…mind? head? Whatever. He was probably going to send Spider-Man an acid bomb at some point.

    – Webb said they gave Harry the disease to add a ticking clock element to the film. A ticking clock that will take 40 years to finally kill him, what a great clock.

    – How did Goblin know how to use pumpkin bombs or what they were for? We know because we’re the audience, but how does he know?

    – What a shock, a film written by Kurtzman and Orci involves Peter being the chosen one, where no one else can be Spider-Man, and all evil things come from one single empire. We get it guys, you loved Star Wars, we all get it.

    In the end this was just terrible. It’s to bad because there is some good. Peter and Gwen scenes are great, the opening 15 minutes with Spidey are a ton of fun, the movie looks awesome, it’s well shot. But at the end of the day, what’s it matter if the technology to have Spider-man swing around has gotten better then it did ten years ago if this film has no heart beating through it. There’s no through line to follow, there’s no one to care about, it just feels like a lot of stuff thrown on the screen, which can work in some cases, but this isn’t a Jodorowsky movie, it’s Spider-Man. This shouldn’t be so difficult.

    • The ticking time bomb is one thing, and they had to come up with some urgent reason for Oscorp developing all this stuff, because they want to use the Ultimate storylines without having the Ultimate motivation – trying to recreate the super-soldier serum. But the whole thing seems really rushed – we have to have a Green Goblin to kill Gwen Stacy because, well, that’s how this works, so let’s just push this through.

  2. I agree mostly with Paul’s take on this, I recognize there are some flaws but the good just outweighs the bad for me. I do wish they had done a better job on some of the dialogue from the villains and I wish they had cut out some of the parents stuff and a few other things, but the rest of the movie was so good these things didn’t bother me all that much. I think Garfield and Stone are fantastic in this and it’s the best interpretation of Spider-man in any of the movies.

  3. My opinion is somewhere between Paul and Conor’s. I loved almost all of this movie, except for the last 20 minutes.

    Garfield’s portrayal of Spider-Man is absolutely perfect. As a Spidey fan I’m practically giddy about his performance.

    Garfield and Stone’s chemistry is great and they absolutely carry the movie.

    The action is great, the superheroism is inspiring, and I even like the “Schumacherian” villains (they work in Spider-Man’s world a lot more than they do in Batman’s, I think it’s really fun in the Spidey universe).

    But I really dislike the RIchard Parker storyline. As Jurassicalien said, it’s ridiculous that Peter plays the chosen one role with everything from Oscorp and his father linking. Just silly.

    And worst of all (and how is no one really talking about this?) we get our first real “Women in Fridges” moment of the comic book movie age. I was so frustrated they that went that terrible route with the character. Gwen was a really good character, with a tremendous performance from Stone that elevated the character even further. And what do they do with her? It’s ugly, offensive, lazy, and insulting.

    Gwen absolutely did not have to die. They had a chance to tell to give this great female character a goodbye that didn’t involve her unnecessary death. She was nothing more than a damsel in distress in the end. An almost death, followed by her giving up on Peter and going to England solo would have been less insulting and even a powerful direction for her to go, finally giving up on the guy who treats her like a yoyo.

    The Gwen death is as insulting, frustrating, and soulcrushing to me (as a big Spidey fan) as the second half of Man of Steel was to guys like Mark Waid.

    • I don’t think anyone is talking about this because Gwen Stacy dying is like, the thing she is most famous for. It’s one of the biggest moments in comic book history and is looked at as a turning point for both Spider-man and comics as a whole. I mean, did you not know she dies in the comics? If not then I guess I can understand you being upset but I don’t get where you come up with her being a damsel in distress, in the comics that’s what she was, but here the only reason she is even there to be killed is because she just fixed the power grid and saved hundreds, if not thousands of people. She was just as big of a hero in this as Spider-man was really. And with regards to you last comment, people felt Man of Steel was soul crushing because they felt it betrayed the character from the comics, her death here was almost exactly like it was in the comics and this movie actually improved her character and made her heroic.

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      While I don’t think the filmmakers were obligated to go this route, I do agree with cubman987 that what they did present is more palatable than the source material. Gwen, like Uncle Ben and her father before her, died heroically. She is not a hapless victim. She made a choice. And she ends up fulfilling the call she set forth in her graduation speech. Yes, the death is used to propel Peter further along his journey, but in this film Gwen also has a hero’s journey of her own. She dies, but she dies to protect others. That’s not a callous and worthless death. It’s not a fridge scenario. There’s something more going on, and in that sense, I think it’s an improvement on the original moment.

      Could they have gone the Oxford route? I think there’s possibility there. But if we take the speech into account, I think what the filmmakers did here is pretty interesting. They add dimension to the iconic moment and the impact on Peter (and us).

      It remains a complicated moment, and the trope should become a thing of the past. But if there’s a case to be made for examining loss this way (not just Gwen, but Uncle Ben and Captain Stacy too), I think the Spider-Man mythos seems like that venue. It’s an examination of grief and responsibility as it relates to coming of age. And the way it’s presented here felt far more tasteful than so many other iterations.

    • Gwen did get a big hero moment in this movie, which was what made the damsel in distress moment that immediately followed it even more disappointing. They built up Gwen into a wonderful character over these two movies, which is why it was so disappointing when they downgraded her to a plot device at the very end.

      The original story, while masterfully written and drawn, was done just because Conway and company ran out of ideas of what to do with the character. I was not remotely surprised that they went through with it in this movie, but I was hoping that in a more progressive time, the writers of the film would be smart enough not to kill off a great character, just for the short term effect. It’s shortsighted and pulls a well-developed character down into nothing more than a plot device.

      What makes me compare this to Man of Steel is that, in the Amazing Spider-Man movie universe, Gwen was almost as important and vital a character as Peter. Movie Gwen does not equal comic book Gwen. Killing Gwen in this movie is more similar to Marvel killing off Mary Jane today, or Aunt May in 1965. She’s such an important character that it feels like a betrayal to that vital character to make her nothing more than a symbol of guilt, as opposed to the real, 3-dimensional character she had been. The women in Peter’s life in the comics are as important as Peter himself, killing her makes her less than.

      Why make the mistake of saying that Gwen is worth less than Peter when you can keep her around and say they are equals? Which movie would you rather see in Amazing Spider-Man 3 – Peter mourning Gwen and using her as “motivation” or a real, full-fledged partnership between two characters? Spider-Man comics at their best feature the women in his life as at least the Robin to his Batman. Look at how well Bendis used those relationships in Ultimate Spider-Man, whether Mary, Kitty or Gwen.

    • Good thing about Gwen being dead now, Peter no longer has to walk around with the weight and guilt of Captain Stacy following him around. Phew! What a relief!

  4. But I do agree that the death was fairly well done in this movie, which lessens the blow, I just think it was a mistake to kill her at all when this series deserves to be a co-feature between these two actors. In that respect, I view this as a shortsighted move for shock’s sake and because the fanboys were expecting it.

  5. I fall somewhere between Timmy & Conor – parts were fun but I walked out feeling really unsatisfied. When I saw how many people were given story & script credit it made perfect sense – too many cooks, indeed. And did anyone else feel like they lifted the ending straight out of The Incredibles?

  6. I’m on team Conor, it’s both good and bad.

    Some of the “bad” is even in the part that everyone kind of really agrees on as pretty good– the Peter and Gwen relationship. I felt that there was no coherent through-line of this plot, and it just meandered and limped along until the demands of a formulaic three-act structure allowed it to do something.

    And even Garfield himself is both good and bad. I really like him as Peter Parker, but I really don’t buy into his Spider-Man. There’s too much of a disconnect from his voice and the character on the screen (whether that’s in a suit or animated) so that it feels like an unimpassioned voice over of an international dub. Some of that could be scripting issues, like jokes that don’t land, but Garfield doesn’t really play up the dual identity of Peter vs Spider. I’m not asking for Orphan Black levels of dual identity, but some kind of differentiated performance would be needed.

    • Oh, and I saw the movie outside the US and definitely all the people with me did not know the “real” story of Gwen Stacy. It was a very effective scene in that respect as it visibly moved my friends.

  7. I missed the first ASM, so this is the first Spidey film I’ve seen since SM3. Let me say I thought this way better than any of the Raimi ones. i thought the scenes with Peter alone were great, as well as his scenes with Harry. I’m a huge fan of Jamie Fox, but I thought he was completely wasted in this movie. Jamie Fox is one of the coolest dudes in Hollywood, and him playing a dork who everyone treats like trash was a waste of a great opportunity to make a really cool Electro. I actually thought Gwen weighed the movie down. Its not Emma Stone, just the material. I completely agree with Timmy on the romance scenes and that they were way over the top, I think thats why I wasn’t into Gwen’s part. All in all, I think there are a lot of things that need fixing before they can make a great Spiderman film, but this was a great step forward.

  8. Just stunned by Paul’s reaction. How someone who values story telling and tellers enough to run a podcast about it could like something so corporate, flimsy and artificial as this.
    54% on RT
    57% on metacritic

    • Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

      I didn’t say it was a great film. I just said I enjoyed my afternoon. I stand by everything I said on the podcast.

    • So, because a little more than half of the people on Rotten Tomatos, and Metacritic liked this movie, Paul having some mixed feelings about it is completely unfathomable? Either way good job. Hopefully being a lemming works out for you. I think, in general, this movie left most people scratching their heads. Tonally this thing is all over the place. There were things I loved about it, and things I loathed. The parents on the plane, and dying was weird way to start things off.

      “Crashing this plane.”

      “With no survivors!”

  9. I think I was Paul while watching it, I enjoyed it for the most part. Then as soon as the credits rolled I shifted to Timmy. The Spidey action stuff is fantastic and I love the leading duo, but everything else is just a mess.

    Gwen’s death was a huge gut-punch when it came, even though I was half expecting it. BUT it was undermined by short-changing the scene by ending too early and by the fact that her heroic act prior to that, that supposedly needed her expertise, was flipping a giant switch labeled RESET. Gee, thanks Gwen, nobody else could have figured that out at all. Next time I’ll just get Wolverine to slash it with his claws.

  10. So, Paul, you thought this had a better message than MoS. Even though Peter blew up Electro. And that was his plan the whole time. That was my same problem with the Cap 2 comparison – they killed Alexander Pierce. Sure Cap didn’t do it, but it does happen. So why is everyone ok with these deaths, but Superman killing Zod, knowing that was the only thing that would stop him, doesn’t work?

    • Superman is Superman. He is not other superheroes.

      Also, Spider-Man did not casually destroy half of New York and act like it was no big deal.

      This isn’t just about “people getting killed”–people get killed in every comic book movie–we’ve gone on at length about what the problems with MAN OF STEEL were.

  11. I think LeviHunt15 makes some interesting points about Gwen’s death. I hadn’t looked at it through that lens, but what you’re saying makes sense to me. It might have been just as powerful if she had moved overseas, following her own path, and Peter decided to stay (for multiple reasons: Aunt May, to continue protecting the city, to honor Capt, Stacey’s request and protect Gwen). Maybe having her almost-almost die would help him change his mind about following her to Oxford and let her go lead her own life. It might have even made for an interesting dynamic if she eventually returned from school in the next film when Peter and MJ are together. I don’t know, I’m not a writer. But I agree that killing her wasn’t necessary just because that’s what happened in the comics 40 years ago.

    BC1 also makes an interesting observation, that if Peter’s plan was just to destroy Electro, that’s less than heroic. It’s somewhat of a trope, but it’s often the case that the villain’s demise comes via their own treachery like the Green Goblin’s death in the Raimi film. I don’t recall all the dialogue to know if Peter and Gwen’s plan was to straight-up murder Electro, but I didn’t get that sense while watching the scene. It also psychologically lessens the blow somewhat knowing that Electro isn’t really dead. I mean, I assume he’s not anyway.

    I think in comparing it to the Film-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, the staging of the death had a lot to do with it. The writers put Superman in a dramatic no-win situation and then had him murder his foe in a realistic and horrific manner. But it would have been more rad if they wrote a scene where he was in a no-win situation and still somehow pulled it off through super-heroics. Any writer can concoct some impossible predicament and have the protagonist fail. But especially in the case of Superman, I’d rather see him achieve the impossible.

  12. Hmm, while it was real fun having Timmy on this podcast, I’m somewhere between Paul and Conor when it comes to my opinion of this film. More Paul, I guess? I admit that ASM2 took some serious story missteps and had lots of clunky dialogue, but I still enjoyed watching it, and I even loved many things about it. Especially Garfield and Stone. I’d give it a solid 7 out of 10. And while everyone on the podcast seems to think ASM1 was a boring film… I did not! Lol In fact, I liked it way more watching it the second time at home, just a week ago. (I’d give ASM1 an 8 out of 10, for the record.) (And yes, my severe disappointment with “Man of Steel” has lowered my expectations for everything in life, so perhaps that is a factor here.)

    However, beyond my broad dislike for how Electro was presented in this film (I mean, Electric Eel Man? Is the Spider-verse not already overloaded with animal avatars??), I was genuinely bothered by the fact that the central “out-of-control bad guy” was an African-American; specifically, the only African-American in this cast. Not only that, but Jamie Fox played Dillon as a “crazy man” who then *avalanches* into the out-of-control guy… I don’t know, maybe I’m alone here, but it’s just not cool with me. If movies and TV shows are going to adapt these largely caucasian comic book worlds into live action, they have to be way more sensitive, in my opinion, when it comes to casting. It makes me feel weird watching groups of white people hunting down a minority. The first half season of “Agents of SHIELD” made the same mistake, and it also pissed me off.

    In an effort to conclude on a lighter note, I thought Electro looked so much like Dr. Manhattan that I was waiting for a character to make a joke about his junk.

    • Conor, I totally get not wanting to re-tread your opinions about the Man of Steel, but the “problems” with it were really your problems. Just saying.

      BionicDave: I kind of take issue with what you said about being uncomfortable with the fact that a central antagonist was black. Why does it matter? Could you not see him as merely a person doing wrong? I’m not saying I don’t see color, because that’s silly. I do, however, view these characters as people who make choices, and make my judgements according to how said choices line up with my worldview. Max Dillon was not portrayed as the villain, because o his race. He was portrayed as such, because of his seemingly poor choices, and his personal short comings. Knowing full well about how people reacted towards Rick Remender’s supposed similar perspective, I’ll most likely be branded racially insensitive as well.

    • @Jude.s: Of course they are my problems.

      (And they’re not just *my* problems alone but others’ as well, but why quibble?)

  13. PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    @BionicDave Hey if you got a minute check out this review of ASM2 from Film Freak Central http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/ffc/2014/04/the-amazing-spider-man-2.html. It makes the case that Webb made the story more relevant by drawing Max Dillon as an African American. For me, the reviewer’s concept makes Dillon’s ultimate obliteration a gripping conclusion. I think you are a keen viewer @BionicDave for questioning what this movie said about race.

  14. @Conor: Totally! Meant that statement as sort of a blanket towards the podcasters views as reflected on the site. It was not my intention to single you out. Not trying to be snarky.

  15. Thanks for the reminder about JK Simmons, guys. Him as Jonah really is a bit of fantastic casting that I don’t know if they’ll ever be able to equal.

  16. I haven’t seen this and probably won’t until it comes out on tv, but this was another great review. Every time you guys mentioned Aunt May I kept replaying in my mind Ron’s imitation of Raimi’s Aunt May “PEE-TAR!” I hope you get Timmy back for some more reviews, I’ve liked what he brings to the reviews in his other appearances. Cheers!

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