When trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man came out a few years ago, I was generally impressed with the product. While I felt there was absolutely no need to reboot the franchise after the supreme letdown that was ‘Spider-Man 3’ (aside from Sony’s desire to keep the rights from falling into Marvel’s hands), the trailer did pique my interest. Notably, in two-and-a-half minutes there were very little special effects — aside from the first-person point of view shots that begin at 1:43. With ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ there are plenty of special effects teasers, and they’re pretty cringe-worthy. Will I go for the story, which does look interesting, but stay to laugh at the special effects? We shall see.

Before delving into the special effects, one first needs to discuss the “villain” concern. There are three of them — and everyone knows that packing a movie with too many villains is a dangerous endeavor. Director Marc Webb seems like a nice guy — but can he juggle? That’s the big question. When it comes to creativity, that’s up for debate.

Take, for instance, his reasoning behind the “Rhino” armor:

Marc Webb: One of the tricky things to translating characters from the comics that work in illustrations into the three-dimensional reality on a New York street — and often things that work quite well as a drawing — [is that they] don’t make sense in the physical world. And so, we wanted to make Rhino into something as powerful he is in the comics, and as sort of simple minded and direct as he is in the comics but with a suit that felt of this world. There’s certain hints about its creation. It’s only teased in the movie. It’s not really a big part of the film. I wanted something to create something that felt majestic and quite powerful but something Aleksei could have put together himself.

On some level, he makes sense. On another, it’s a complete cop-out. The trailer highlights quite clearly that they went with all sorts ideas that “don’t make sense in the physical world.” The challenge for the director is to figure out a way to make it work. Correction: In this case it’s up to the director and Sony Imageworks to figure it out. If they didn’t have the budget or the time to do Rhino properly, maybe they shouldn’t have done him at all.

Rhino Amazing Spider Man 2

As it stands, the walking tank outfit looks bad. Oscorp is genetically engineering everyone in the film accept the guy who calls himself “Rhino”? One would think that Oscorp would be keen on developing technology that would allow soldiers to coat themselves in Rhino-like skin. Get in bed with the government and the Department of Defense and it’s even harder to bring you down, right? I guess not.

Amazing Spider Man 2 Rhino fight

The images released for the trailer look like something straight from a Playstation or XBox game, and in some cases they look worse.

Amazing Spider Man 2 web swing

Do the special effects make Spidey look like The Amazing Rubber-Man, or am I just getting old, picky and spoiled? It’s hard to complain about Spider-Man movies when you’re old enough to remember a time when they didn’t exist… Maybe I should just count my blessings and focus on the positive — namely, the story.

As it pertains to creating intrigue, Mr. Webb gets high marks:

Marc Webb: I don’t want to reveal to much of the plot but Peter learns things about his past, and at one point his future, provocative ways.

“Secrets have a cost, but the truth does to.’ I think there’s a line that Aunt May said in the first move, which was: “Secrets have a cost, Peter.” We recap that line and re-imagine it a little bit. She said ‘I once told you that secrets have a cost, but the truth does too,’which means that any way you cut it there’s going to be challenges ahead.

The big prominent villain in the film is Electro, but there are many adversaries Spider-Man is going to have to face. But the evil empire — the consistent thing between them all — is the evil empire known as Oscorp, or what’s becoming this evil empire. And I think that’s something that may inform people’s viewing of the trailer. Questions will be answered. … I wouldn’t say it’s a dark movie, but there is very powerful forces at work that are emanating from Oscorp. Oscorp is the place from which all nasty things emerge in this movie, and Spider-Man is going to have to confront that.

The Amazing Spider-Man trailer is awkward, because every time there are real actors on the screen a sense of mystery is there. Dane DeHaan has the “it” factor. He really seems like an intelligent kid with a dark, dark side to him. Dare I say it? They should have dumped Electro and just went straight to the Green Goblin.

Dane DeHaan Harry Osborn

Aunt May’s “secrets have a cost” line works well as shots of Peter’s ‘A Beautiful Mind’/John Nash-ish room and Richard Parker’s subterranean lair flash across the screen.

Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider Man 2

Who is that guy in the shadows with the hat walking by The Vulture’s and Doctor Octopus’ gear? The kid in me is begging my adult side to run to the ATM.

Amazing Spider Man 2 Vulture Doctor Octopus

Sadly, for every moment worth getting excited about there are two or three cheesy special effects that induce a wince. Electro (or was that Superman Blue?) looks silly, and the Goblin costume looks like it was put together by someone with a do-it-yourself goblin kit. If ‘Captain America’ could pull off Red Skull, there’s really no excuse why Sony couldn’t make the Green Goblin respectable. It would be a shame if because of self-imposed tight shooting schedules and release dates that fans get half-baked villains for one of America’s coolest superheroes.

At the end of the day, the trailer for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is a mixed bag. Will Jamie Foxx turn out a performance of ‘Django Unchained’ caliber, or … ‘Booty Call’? Will the special effects sink the film, or is Spider-Man popular enough around the world at this point in time that it’s almost impossible for his movies not to at least break even? Perhaps the second trailer will make its box office potential clearer.

Watch the trailer below if you haven’t seen it and let me know what you think.

Related: Will ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ be the must-see blame America movie of the summer?

Advertisements

About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

28 comments

  1. Exactly what I thought concerning the special effects! The last part where he’s swinging away from Electro is especially bad, it looks like a cutscene taking straight out of a video game. The thumbnail of the video made me think I was seeing a trailer for a licensed video game. Some people on YouTube think the CGI was because it was a trailer and that the final product will be much more polished. We can only hope.

    The case of Rhino is peculiar because in the Amazing Spider-Man video game, he was portrayed as cross-species behemoth similar to the Lizard but with rhino DNA. This version is obviously non-canon, but it’s interesting to see how he would compare with this tank-like Rhino.

    Harry Osborn seems to be an appropriate foil to Peter. I’ve read that Harry will actually become Green Goblin in the movie, rather than his father Norman. I wonder how this will turn out, but it most likely will make Harry noticeably significant.

    With Superior Spider-Man going on I wonder how Dock Ock will be portrayed in any other future movies…

    1. The thumbnail of the video made me think I was seeing a trailer for a licensed video game. Some people on YouTube think the CGI was because it was a trailer and that the final product will be much more polished. We can only hope.

      I’m not sure what the final deadline is for getting the special effects done so they could ship out the reels to the theaters, etc. I’m rooting for them to get the shots to passable, but right now they just throw me off. It just seems like at this point in time the CGI on a Spidey film should be better than this. I’m sure that the team they have on it is working as hard as they can … but perhaps they weren’t given the timeline they need to make it right. I would rather have a single villain and jaw-dropping special effects than three villains with effects that make me shake my head in pity.

      In turns of Superior Spider-Mans effect on the movies…let’s just hope that Peter is back in his body by the time Sony decides to flirt with Doc Ock.

    2. @Zach

      Actually, this version of the Rhino, like MCU Nick Fury, seems to take more after the version of the Rhino from the Ultimate Universe.

      On that note: yes. The effects are BAD man.

      Hell, Spider-Man one had better effects when I saw that in the theater as a kid!

    3. Hell, Spider-Man one had better effects when I saw that in the theater as a kid!

      It’s funny you should say that. I was thinking the same thing. The first one did have a few bad moments CGI wise, but overall I think they did a great job considering it was released in 2002. In regards to the Goblin, like I said, there really is no excuse after having seen a decent Red Skull in ‘Captain America.’

    4. I agree with your sentiments, Doug. It does look like a video game. I think they might be trying to cram way too much into the movie. Too many villains, for instance, like in Spider-man 3 in 2007. And we know how that worked out. I’ll probably still see the film when it’s released next summer, though.

      And Electro looks like Doctor Manhattan (I am knowledgeable of Watchmen even though I’m not a fan of it) mixed with Superman Blue. I don’t like how Rhino is just a guy in powered armor. Like Emmannuel said, apparently he’s based on the Ultimate versions of the villains, and like the Ultimate Universe, it seems like OsCorp is responsible for all the villains in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.

      Plus Hube noted that Harry Osborn’s hairstyle is similar to that of Hitler, and even weirder is that he seems to be the Goblin (you’d think they’d have improved the costume after the Power Rangers Goblin of the original movie) instead of his dad Norman.

    5. Interestingly enough, the Vulture was intended to be the main antagonist of the never-made fourth film with Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst. Black Cat aka Felicia Hardy was also supposed to be in it as well, played by Anne Hathaway… which is ironic considering she played Catwoman (a very similar character) in TDKR last year.

    6. “While I felt there was absolutely no need to reboot the franchise after the supreme letdown that was ‘Spider-Man 3′ (aside from Sony’s desire to keep the rights from falling into Marvel’s hands)..”

      That’s exactly why the movie was made in the first place. Sony wanted to keep the rights, although there were attempts to put the OsCorp Tower in the Avengers, and Andrew Garfield and various Avengers/MCU cast members have expressed interest in a crossover. Both Hugh Jackman and X-Men movies producer Lauren Donner have stated that a crossover would be of interest to them. X-Men and the Fantastic Four are owned by Fox at present.

    7. It’s so weird how these studio heads can’t come to an agreement because of greed when there is plenty of money to be made if they just each give a little. The same happened with Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Early in their careers it would have been great to see them team up, but they never did. They waited until they were 65 years old…well past their prime. Yeesh. They said it was always because they never got the right script. Yeah, right. Stallone could have written one himself — just like he did with The Expendables.

    8. I agree. You have a partial Marvel Universe that’s on both the large and small screens, but if they could just budge a little, we could have the whole thing. Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson of “Kick-Ass” fame) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen, the Olsen twins’ little sister) are going to be the second Avengers movie but they can’t be referred to as mutants nor can their relationship to Magneto be referenced, either, since he is their father. Quicksilver is also going to be in X-Men: Days of future Past, too, although obviously played by a different actor (Evan Peters).

      I’d love to see the whole Marvel Universe on screen, with Spidey and the X-Men and the Fantastic Four interacting with the Avengers… right now, it seems like a pipe dream.

    9. Plus there was one character with fire abilities on Agents of SHIELD that was obviously a mutant (since his powers were genetic and not from the Super-Soldier Serum) but due to the copyright hassles they can’t refer to him as such.

    10. Personally I liked the previous Amazing Spiderman film a lot. It was a better portrayal of Peter (Andrew Garfield was amazing) and we finally got to see to see a wise cracking Spiderman on the big screen.

      It boggles the mind why the special effects look odd. I remember reading about the great lengths they went through in the first Amazing film to depict non-CGI web-swinging on film (because the physics of the CGI swinging of the previous film was wrong). Perhaps Andrew Garfield complained about not wanting to suffer any more nose bleeds from swinging too fast lol.

      I also agree that the choice of villains/actors in this film was odd. Electro played by Jamie Fox was a very odd choice as was Rhino being played by Paul Giamatti. The choice to use the Ultimate marvel appearance of Electro was a very odd choice. At least they’re not doing the Green Goblin from the Ultimate universe (where Norman/Harry mutate into a man-goblin).

      I would have preferred if a Norman Osborne Green Goblin was the main villain in this film with maybe the Crime Master/Hammerhead (played by Paul Giamatti) or the Vulture as supporting villains (with Norman surviving at the end to do the “death of Gwen Stacey” in the following film).

    11. There was a lot about the first one that I liked; you hit on two reasons that I agree with.

      Garfield was getting nosebleeds from swinging? That’s weird. I feel sorry for him, although … unless there’s a serious medical concern I think he should just suck it up. For the amount of money he’s getting paid, I don’t think a couple nose bleeds is that big of a deal.

      One of the things that bothers me about these films is that it doesn’t seem like Sony is shooting to make ASM2 “THE” movie of the summer. Take a look at the Winter Soldier trailer and then re-watch ASM2. One says “You WILL see this movie” and the other says, “Want to see a cool Spider-Man movie?” I get the sense that ASM2 was a rush job, which is why the CGI looks so regrettable. I get the feeling that instead of saying, “How can we make a movie that will blow people away?” the studio guys said, “How can we just keep the cash-train moving?” The motivation doesn’t seem right from the top, and as a result I think it’s being translated onto the screen.

      Again, I did like the first one. I thought it was kinda cool, but I wanted to leave the theater feeling as though I’d see it again and again and again. That didn’t happen.

  2. Or a decent Thanos at the end of The Avengers.

    Or a decent Sandman in Spider-Man three.

    Or a decent Kurse in Thor 2 (which I’ve finally seen on my mom’s dime, finally).

    Or a decent Hulk in the Avengers.

  3. Maybe “superior”, and the first movie soured me… I was sort of relieved how bad the trailer looked, because I’m usually torn between my “love” of the character and wasting $$ on something I know is probably trash.. I’ll save my money for when PP is back…

    1. I really want to like it…because I think there are some really promising signs, but I still can’t get over some of the special effects. Urg. And I can’t really don’t like the way Harry looks as the Goblin. I’m not sure why it’s so hard for these studios to nail it.

    2. There are some promising signs, but the multiple villains bit still reminds me a lot of Spider-Man 3. And we know how that turned out. I don’t the special effects much, either; it looks like too much like an Xbox game at times, and that’s disconcerting.

      I don’t like Harry’s Goblin design, either. It doesn’t much better than Willem Dafoe’s Goblin costume from the 2002 film. I suppose they thought the original Goblin costume was too “cartoony” or some such nonsense. I don’t like how Rhino is just some ordinary guy in powered armor, either.

      I still plan on seeing this movie, though. And Cap 2. And Days of Future Past. And Guardians of the Galaxy.

    1. While I liked the first ASM movie, I do sometimes wonder how much better the new Spider-Man series would’ve been had Sony let the rights revert back to Marvel Studios.

    2. I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago (shown early outside the US) and thought it was pretty good. Better than the first one and probably on par with Thor 2. You get to see more of a jokey, wise-cracking Spiderman in this film (which is good). I don’t want to spoil it but they cover a very major Amazing Spiderman comic book storyline near the end of the movie.

      The main downside is the visual designs of the villains and how Harry Osborne is portrayed. Personally I blame their use of Ultimate Spiderman visuals. Ultimate Spiderman is notorious for being somewhat try-hard. The Green Goblin in this film looks weird because he is a weird mish-mash of the ultimate Goblin and classic Goblin.

      Also the Rhino isn’t a main villain and he only appears in the few minutes of the opening and closing (Paul Giamatti is actually pretty funny).

    3. I also saw this a couple weeks ago and was massively disappointed. I’d say its slightly better than Spider-Man 3.

      The only good part is the classic storyline Riablo alluded to.

      Electro was poorly characterised, Harry’s previous relationship with Parker was not believable, Rhino was a waste.

      The film is overlong and could have been improved with less villains and a shorter run time.

    4. Ouch! I’ll be in the process of moving for most of the weekend, so I don’t know if I’ll see it. However, I will give it a try. It might happen on Monday. We’ll see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s