Catches Fleas Just Like Flies

The Fancy Sketch Drive ends on Wednesday 7/11/12!

San Diego Comic-Con is this week! I will be hanging out at booth 1332 with Blind Ferret. Check my Twitter for signing times and availability. More info HERE.

Grammar Dalek Shirts will go on presale after I get back from SDCC.

Big thanks to Mark Waid of Daredevil and Thrillbent for the shout out to HE at the end of this Onion AV Club interview about digital comics.

This comic was inspired by and features the second appearance of my cat, Replay. [UPDATE: Fancy Bastard Stephen found another instance of Replay in the comic archive.] My other, stupider cat’s name is Tivo. They both hate commercials. The title is derived from how my daughter actually sang the theme song to the 60’s Spider-Man cartoon show when she was 4 years old. It seemed oddly appropriate.

I wrote up a bunch of thoughts on Twitter about The Amazing Spider-Man after seeing the movie. Rather than paraphrase, I am just going to post it all below. COMMENTERS: Feel free to post your thoughts on ASM in the comments. I would say, “No spoilers,” but how can you spoil a story that’s been told 100 times over the last 50 years? [words in blue are from Twitter followers]

  • Saw Amazing Spider-Man. Sam Raimi’s Spider is to Tim Burton’s Batman as ASM is to Batman Begins.
  • That isn’t to say that it’s vastly superior. Raimi and Burton’s movies we’re 90’s era comics come to life. ASM and BB are more grounded.
  • Raimi and Burton were all about spectacle and showmanship. ASM and Bat-Nolan are all about characters.
  • Spider-Man and Batman had strikingly similar arcs in the first 3 movies. Good, better, FUCKING BAT COUNTRY.
  • @hijinksensue That’s exactly how I feel about Raimi’s films. They’re live-action cartoons. They’re fun, but don’t hold up 10 years later.
  • yeah they are very time capsulesque. Beyond their era they stick out like a sore thumb.
  • .@imariaprime I don’t think there was “filler” in ASM, but it was tough to sit through Spiderman’s origin story for 40 min AGAIN.
  • They tweaked the origin enough to keep it familiar but fresh but sitting there waiting for Uncle Ben to give the speech and die was tough.
  • But they HAVE to cover that ground to allow the new trilogy to stand on its own. Can’t skip straight to the sequel.
  • Ok nevermind. They could have spent 15 minutes recapping or streamlining the origin.
  • As far as actors go, Garfield blew McGuire out of the water.
  • @hijinksensue was never a fan of maguire as peter Parker. Although that could have something to do with how badly he was written
  • @OfDoomReview wife and I had the same conversation tonight. You can only work with what you’re given.
  • Also happy to report that the annoying things about the costume in ASM aren’t nearly as noticeable in the actual film as in the press photos
  • You never even see the magic silver slippers. The basketball texture is still weird but not as detestable as I was expecting.
  • @Noahsturdevant since his name was tossed around, Gyllenhaal would have made a better Spiderman than McGuire.
  • And Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy? Let’s just say I wouldn’t throw HER off a bridge to her death. #what #noidea
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  1. I just saw the movie last night – really enjoyed it. Uncle Ben’s death is all the more poiniant when it’s President Bartlett dying. For one moment I did think they were going to kill Aunt May instead, but they stuck to canon. My only gripe was they did nothing new with the story. They made a very good Spiderman movie but they didn’t add anything. Also I couldn’t help compare the action sequences to the Avengers – Spiderman was a little more blurry , not the evils of shaky cam, just you lost track of who was where if you weren’t careful.

    More intrigued by the set up for the sequel to be honest. If Dark Knight did the Joker, one can only assume that the sequel will be the Green Goblin. Hope he’s better done than the Ramie movies goblin – Norman Osbourne is supposed to be one of the Marvel Universes’ most intimidating psychos. Ramie’s Osbourne was too likeable.

    • I'd say the one thing they did different (and I haven't read all the Spidey canons, so maybe this HAS been covered), but it took Peter a lot longer to get on the right path. Even after Ben's death, Peter is being selfish except this time under the banner of avenging his uncle. It's not until Gwen's dad calls out Spider-Man that Peter realizes that the real way to honor his uncle is to live nobly. I would have liked him to find the murderer towards the end of bring the guy to the authorities instead of whatever he was planning (you know, to bring everything full circle), but maybe they'll do that in the 2nd movie.

  2. This is why NO KITTY KISSES. EVER. Also that sandpaper texture is freaky. You know they're really exfoliating the filth out of that butt with it.

  3. One of the things I noticed was that the character types were much less extreme than in the "original" series (ie Maguire) – the geeks were less geeky, the jocks less jock-y, etc. Made it feel more "real" somehow.

  4. When I was 4 years old, I too thought that Spider-Man was catching fleas just like flies. Maybe he just needed to shower more frequently.

  5. But where does the Lizard keep getting all those lab coats?! Did he steal a box of them before he left OsCorp?!

    Beyond that (and the shots that were CLEARLY made for 3D), I had fun. Andrew Garfield clearly loves the character and loves BEING the character, and I hope we see more of the world they've started building.

  6. I think the analogy is off. Shouldn't it have been Sam Raimi’s Spider is to ASM as Tim Burton’s Batman is to Batman Begins? The key is forming a sentence with the words. If you're trying to show the evolution then the sentence you're looking for is _______ was vastly inferior to ________ which doesn't work when you go Sam Rami Spider man to Tim Burton's Batman and ASM to Batman Begins. What you've got is _______ is equal to ______ which is okay but doesn't carry the message that they improved.

    All of which is my shameless attempt to earn a free Grammar Dalek shirt by being such an internet grammer asshole. I win?

      • Actually he's not even pointing out Grammar. He's just arguing over semantics. The sentence structure Joel uses is perfectly acceptable, as is the one Dave seems to prefer. In the English language sentence structure isn't terribly rigid, so there can be multiple ways of phrasing the same sentence or even paragraph that are all proper.

        I.E. Dave here just felt like trying to point out things he thought were incorrect and sound smart-like. Much the same as I'm doing now.

  7. I went into this movie wanting to hate it. But I came out loving it. It was well done and after the shit we were put through in Spider-man 3, I was happy for the change.

    Spoiler: My 8 year old cried when Uncle Ben died. I forgot to tell him it was going to happen.

    • If it makes you feel better, back in 2008 I forgot to tell a coworker that The Dark Knight isn't particularly little kid friendly when I was recommending it to her. Her 6 year old son had nightmares about the Joker coming to get him for a week.

  8. And here I was thinking Replay was trying to tell you, "If you had Spidey powers you'd be doing *this* right now, not swinging around a city getting beat up."

  9. I never liked Tobey as Parker. The man showed very little emotion, he was like a robot, and that's not who Spider-Man/Peter is. While I haven't seen the new movie yet, I know I'm definitely going to enjoy it a lot more than I did any of the Raimi films.

    This all could have been avoided had Raimi cast Topher Grace as Peter instead of Tobey. That man was born to play the part. It was evident way back when he was doing That 70s Show. Instead, he gets cast as Eddie Brock..

  10. Waiting for uncle Ben to die was like if you traveled back in time to watch JFK drive down the street in dallas, except you arrive an hour early.
    Also, Cranes a spider-mans best friend.

  11. I was just so grateful that Gwen had something to DO. She made the serum that saved everyone, she was smart enough to evacuate the entire Oscorp building, she was only put in danger during that scene and when she goes to help Peter at the school… she was never kidnapped!

    While the plot kind of just moved along (sometimes slower than I would have liked), the characters and acting were far superior. And I loved that it took Peter a long time to really get into the suit because we actually got to see a lot of practical stunt work, some from Andrew Garfield himself!

    • I haven't actually seen it yet (I'll get to it), but I'm glad to hear that Gwen isn't your typical useless girl. I am so sick of female characters who can't do anything to save themselves – they aren't even expected to be logical enough to do things like not go out at night alone. I really would like to see more female superheroes in movies, but all we get is Halle Berry's Catwoman. 😛

      Maybe now that The Avengers is the standard for an amazing action/adventure/hero movie, Joss Whedon will get to make his Wonder Woman after all. That would make me smile.

      • And Garner's Elektra…

        But yeah, as we're yet to have a decent solo Superheroine flick, I'm really hoping Scarlett Johansson gets her wish and is given a Black Widow movie.

        • I could deal with that. I was actually pretty impressed with Scar Jo's performance in Avengers, and that scene where she just destroys those Russian guys was pretty awesome. But I don't really care for Jeremy Renner (how does that guy keep getting so much work?) so I hope they don't make a Hawkeye movie…

      • Ok, finally saw it this weekend, and I was overall impressed. Joel has it absolutely right: ASM is about character, and it's great to watch him learn to be Spiderman. Garfield takes such joy in playing the part, and I think you really believe his guilt and anger. My only real complaint is that he maybe overdoes the cocky Spidey stuff – it's funny when he's egging on the car thief he's already caught, but it becomes a lot less funny when he taunts the police into chasing him for no good reason! Police chases put innocent people in danger and no real hero would do that just for kicks.

        Also, it's the kind of movie that is obviously made to be a video game, but not in a good way. Near the end (***SPOILER***), when he's injured and they line up all the cranes for him to swing to OsCorp, I was just groaning at how CG'd that looked, and how unnecessary it was to the plot. He was saved from falling by the guy in the helicopter, so why didn't that guy just fly him to OsCorp? Silly… but still, I enjoyed watching it, even if I probably won't watch it again.

    • I did have one pondering – why is the emergency evacuation alarm only accessible by a code locked panel? Isn't that kind of like having a fire alarm that's behind locked bullet proof glass, and only some people have the key? Or a sprinkler system that will only work if it's a Tuesday?

  12. I haven’t seen it yet; hope to this weekend. Like most I wasn’t especially thrilled with Maguire as Parker, but what finally made me relent to seeing it in the theatre instead of netflix was the lack of J. Jonah Jameson in ASM. JK Simmons’ over-the-top scene thievery in Raimi’s Spiderman movies made the entire series watchable. 50 years from now when the rest of Raimi’s Spiderman is a quaint period drama no one gives a thought to, character actors will be looking at Simmons as Jameson and wondering why the hell they can’t be that good.

  13. The bug-eyed Indian dude who works for Osborn, he’s like somebody’s brother or cousin in real life that was owed some huge favor that got him that role, right? I’m not much of a critic on acting, but that guy was horrible. He kept looking at the camera when delivering his lines instead of the other actor. He kept looking at me, which would be looking over the shoulder of Doc Connors. I figured there must be some security guards back there that were about to grab Connors and escort him out … nope … was just the two of them. Creepy and distracting.

    Overall, I don’t think this new take on Spider-Man was better than the last one. The pacing seemed off. Sometimes it was way too slow and other times it was moving so fast there were obvious questions simply not being answered. To me it seemed like more of a super-hero movie in the classic sense where they’re trying to please too many different demographics and cram a little bit too much into the movie so there ends up being some plot holes and inconsistencies. It definitely doesn’t stack up to the recent Marvel movies which seem to at least have better editing and probably better directing/writing too. Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable and pretty, but I think people are not giving the proper credit to the Raimi/McGuire effort. Those first two movies were truly amazing. This new one was alright, but it seemed to lack the focus and polish I was hoping for.

    Just as an example, when Spider-Man shows up in the media, every single person in that crowded gymnasium would know his secret identity after watching Pete dunk from the 3-point line and tear off the rim. As soon as that video hit the web his name would be all over Twitter in about 1.63 seconds and the police would be on their way to arrest him. There are several other lesser problems that I can easily look past, but it’s things like this that taint the movie for me.

  14. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I had a few gripes:

    – Dr Connors' motivation to be big and evil and kill everyone seemed a bit weak. Okay, so you're happy about being a giant lizard thing. Great. We're happy for you too, but you don't need to go turning the rest of us into lizard-men.
    – Clearly he's going a bit off the deep end at this point, but what about the implication that he was responsible for Parkers' parents deaths? The movie is pretty vague about why that happened, but in my experience people with scientific differences don't generally murder their partner and their partner's wife, then cover it up to look like an accident, particularly when you haven't actually yet made the breakthrough that would change everything.
    – Dr Connors' boss was an even weaker character. Human trials by going down to the veteran's hospital and injecting random people? Really? How were you going to explain things to the authorities if the treatment worked, exactly?
    – Gwen was more of an actual thinking human being than is often the case for women in superhero movies, but she's still very much the poor damsel who needs saving and protecting. Why do womens' roles in these films always have to be secondary to the main (male) character? I'd love to see a film where the superhero realises that his desire to protect the other person is in fact denying them the right to make an informed choice, and agrees to team up with them to defeat the Big Evil when it's clear they're cognizant of the risks and want to help. Yes, we all want to protect our loved ones, but most of us also realise they're thinking breathing humans who can make their own decisions.
    – Why the hell did Spiderman keep taking his damn mask off when there was no reason to do so?

  15. I just watched ASM and I can’t believe you are all talking about the same movie.

    It was so clearly targetted at teenage girls (not a bad thing in itself).

    – For starters, the new Peter Parker looks so much like Edward in Twilight, I suspected both were played by the same actor (seems I was wrong).

    – Furthermore, this Peter doesn’t transform from nerd to hero as usual for power fantacy for boys, Instead this Peter IS cool, brooding and deep from the start and transforms into someone daddy doesn’t approve. Oh, and he is so rebellious that he’s gonna ignore daddys last wish. But that’s okay, he never made that promise anyway.

    – Finally, Gwen is a teen girl power fantacy. She has a trainee position as lead trainee with access and codes to absolutely everything. Nobody from school bully to lizard monster messes with her, so she doesn’t need to be resqued. In the end, she has one important heroic thing to do, but nothing ichy that would mess her hair.

    • Yes, God forbid Spider-Man isn't a total power fantasy for men.

      Also, sometimes a strong female character isn't a power fantasy … sometimes she's just a strong character. Also, fantasy is spelled fantasy.

    • And sorry, but is Peter Parker really a power fantasy for men/boys? Yes he's a nerdy kid who gets superpowers but almost all of the time he has a pretty difficult if not crappy life. He always has the guilt about Uncle Ben, depending on the universe he also deals with guilt from Gwen Stacy, he has to struggle to pay the bills, stay in school and be a superhero and he's thankless in pretty much all of these endeavors … especially the superhero part since a good portion of the people he's protecting think he's a menace.

      I honestly think Spider-Man is so popular because things aren't easy for him and he endures and fans of both genders relate to that, but that doesn't really make him a power fantasy. Sorry, but it was bothering me.

  16. Something that pissed me off was that it took him like a week to give up on his promise to captain stacy. it made him seem like a huge douchebag. they couldn't have slipped in a line that says "he said keep you out of my spider-man life, not out of peter parkers?" that would have made sense, and made me not hate him for blithely forgetting a dying man's wish.

  17. *SPOILERS*__I wasnt tempted to make a comparison with the Raimi films as those were clearly meant for children/Silver Age fans and this movie is meant for teenagers/90s era and on fans. I felt like I was watching a Michael Cera flick with Spandex

  18. Oh what the hell? I typed in far more than that and it disappeared when I posted!
    Gwen Stacy: Not a power fantasy a screenwriters plotgear grease. After 3 films of MaryJane Watson:Professional Damsel this iteration of Gwen was welcomed.
    Capt Stacy: Cmon we couldnt wait 1 more movie to off him? Films taking themselves this seriously need the laughs and make it hard to overlook the leaps of logic.(Oscorp:great tech shitty security)
    Lizard: Neither design nor animation that I particularly liked. Better wouldve made up for the lack of pink pants. The Spidey CGI was far better than Raimi 1 and the live stunts were welcomed.
    When he caught the kid off the bridge w/a web to teh body I whispered "Start the Gwen Stacy death watch."

    • They did basically troll us with the school walkway thing. Pretty much the same basic action that cause her death but with only a few feet worth of force. Still don't know how it didn't just pull at her jacket, but whatever.

  19. I'm not going to go see this. That's not dissing anyone who wants to go see it. But despite that it suddenly seems cool to diss the Raimi movies, I liked them well enough that I don't really need to see this.

    I must stress, however-this is not a slam on this movie, or whoever likes it. If anyone is at fault for my disinterest in the Spider-Man Franchise, it's Marvel comics themselves. Wiping spider-man's wife out of existence just to feed the average fanboy's 'single and living the good life' fantasy of a super hero kind of gave me 'Spider Man Retcon fatigue'. And I'm not really interested in seeing it redone over and over.

    Also, does it strike anyone as painfully ironic they cast a hot redhead as a blonde, and Raimi cast a blonde as a hot redhead?

    • I actually went in like Raimi's (first two) quite a bit, but ultimately Amazing Spider-Man made me realize the big flaws of the first series.

      Also, Emma Stone is actually a natural blonde (heard this in an interview) but she started getting more work after she dyed her hair red so she went with it.

  20. Everyone keeps saying how pointless this movie is, but it made one unique contribution to the genre.
    Every other superhero movie ever has featured a climax where the hero has stood alone against an apparently insurmountable evil. He's the big man because no one could possibly help him in such a hard fight.
    In ASM, I think the only citizens of New York City that DIDN'T help Spidey were the Fantastic Four and the Ninja Turtles. It was awesome to see that some agility and web solution isn't enough to save the city from destruction, that he needed his very smart and capable girlfriend, her dad and his shotgun, and NYC's 61st Local Crane Operator's Union.
    That's where this one broke new ground in the Superhero Genre.
    [Yes, I know that Avengers just had a half dozen heroes all fighting together, but that movie's different for many many reasons.]

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