Spider-Man

Female superheroes

Briefly: Hot on the heels of plenty of female-friendly news, from the revelation that Ghostbusters might be getting an all-girl makeover to our first look at Wonder Woman, Deadline reveals that Sony is looking to get going on a female superhero movie. That’s right, you read that correctly, we’ve finally got a fresh female superhero movie in actual development.  The outlet reports that Sony is launching “a top-to-bottom revamp of its most important property,” as the beleaguered Spider-Man franchise recently endured a poor critical and financial showing of its latest entry — this summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – and a pushed release date for its next installment (from 2016 into 2018). The details on this are super-slim, but we do know that the new superheroine will be tied into the Spider-Man franchise in some way. The film will reportedly arrive sometime in 2017. 

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1970s Spider-Man TV Show

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a very busy film. Whether you thought it was for better or worse, there is no denying that the film closes as many doors as it opens. After everything that happens, it leaves our hero in a strange position with countless possibilities of where the story can go. With the Sinister Six and Venom films on the way, clearly Sony has the path all laid out. Still, specific details are scarce. Where does Spidey go from here? Like I said previously, there are numerous threads that are laid in this film, that give us hints of what may be in store for the future of the franchise. We’ll take a look at some of those now, to see where me might see Spidey go, moving forward. Fair warning now, there are spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, starting right… now.

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Electro - Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t a good movie. It’s sloppy, has a half-baked villain, and, for a huge blockbuster picture, it lacks scope and style. In fact, a lot of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies feel more modern and photo-realistic than what director Marc Webb has done so far. With every sequel you hope lessons will be learned from whatever past mistakes. Sometimes a series needs to go through a learning curve before getting to the goods. Sadly, that’s not the case with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Webb has managed to make an even worse film. While this sequel is more polished, its script is disastrous in parts. It’s easily the most frustrating movie Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (and co-writer Jeff Pinkner) have ever written. The wildly varying tone, the cheap character motivations and poor plotting all scream Joel Schumacher. It has some things going for it, most of which are overshadowed by all the glaring issues. Spoilers included, here are 10 things I didn’t like about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 5 things I did.

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The Fly Movie 1986

There’s a lot being made of superhero science, both by me and also the rest of the world. Now that superheroes have become a regular thing in the multiplex and not just something that nerds on the fringe of society reads, it’s not uncommon for someone to ask what a real-life superhero would be like. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 marks the fifth time the Marvel web-slinger has made his way onto the modern movie screen. While some of the changes made by Sam Raimi for his series have been switched back to the traditional model (like the organic web shooters being replaced with mechanical ones), the superhero is basically the same. Bitten by a genetically-altered spider, Peter Parker is imbued with special powers unique to spiders. Watching the new movies and contemplating the powers Peter Park has and doesn’t have got me thinking… Ignoring the actual process of infection for Peter Parker, how likely are his powers really ones that realistically come from spiders? What would a real-life “Spider Man” be like?

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Spider-Man 1967

America has watched lot of Spider-Man over the years. After all, the newly released The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the sequel of a reboot of a trilogy of movies that are barely a decade old. The new wave of ubiquity is self-evident. Yet the superhero also spent years and years on television and in video games. The original Spider-Man cartoon series began airing in 1967 and there have been eight more iterations over the years. This is a totally different situation than, for example, that of Captain America whose cartoon life begins and ends with The Marvel Super Heroes in 1966 (which I featured here last month). There’s also been something of a glut recently. Spider-Man Unlimited aired from 1999-2001 followed by Spider-Man: The New Animated Series in 2001, The Spectacular Spider-Man in 2008-2009 and Ultimate Spider-Man in 2012. None of them were particularly successful, either critically or commercially. So it makes sense to take a look back at (and watch) that original TV series, a strange little classic created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko back in 1967.

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Aunt May Amazing Spider-Man

From the moment that radioactive spider decided to chomp down on Peter Parker, the most average boy in Manhattan’s life was never the same again. But despite becoming the flying, web-slinging defender of New York City, at his core Peter was still a teenager struggling to figure out his place in the world. Each and every one of Peter’s moves upon becoming Spider-Man depended on three crucial factors: Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy and Aunt May. The three main women in his life. Though their timelines and characters have changed over the years from their depictions from comic books to film, their relevance to Peter Parker’s story remains the same. Without MJ, Gwen or May, he wouldn’t have had much to care about or many personal reasons to keep fighting.

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1970s Spider-Man TV Show

Marc Webb is a lucky man. Not just because of the lucrative The Amazing Spider-Man 2 paycheck that’s headed his way. Or the fact that he has finally put an end to the hotly debated “nuh uh, Spider-Man could totally beat Rhino, Electro and the Green Goblin if he wanted to” standoffs of his childhood. Webb’s lucky that he’s even been able to make a Spider-Man movie at all. Because slingin’ ain’t easy. Not for Spider-Man, and not for the trail of corpses that dot his long and troublesome road to the big screen. Not human corpses, obviously (if there actually was a trail of bodies left in the wake of a Spider-Man movie, you’d probably hear about it on a site slightly more serious than this one), but the desiccated remains of countless Spider-screenplays and Spider-pitches, which for one reason or another just couldn’t cut it in the big leagues. Our story begins in 1976.

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Sinister-Six-Amazing-Spider-Man-2

We’re one step closer to the inevitable fiery collapse of the comic book movie. Maybe. Sony, one of the four studios (count ‘em: Marvel, Sony, Fox, Warner Bros.) currently building an expanded comic book movie universe, has just put another piece into its gargantuan, multi-movie puzzle. That piece? Drew Goddard. Who, technically, had already been ensnared in Sony’s many-Spiderman’d web — he was announced as the writer of Sinister Six back when Sony first rolled out their cinematic Spidey-verse. But now there’s more, as Variety reports Goddard will be directing Sinister Six as well. Goddard’s first and only directorial effort was The Cabin in the Woods, a film that took typical slasher movie conventions, whisked them together with LSD and then laid them all out in a jumble (or something to that effect). Sinister Six is the first big superhero movie in the Big Superhero Movie era that doesn’t have any superheroes (at least, as far as anyone knows). So a director with a knack for outside-the-box thinking is a director well-suited to the project.

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Watchmen (2009)

Some superheroes have their origins in ways unavailable to your average person. Batman and Iron Man rely on their own personal well-funded technology. Captain American is a result of a highly complex super soldier program. Thor is a space alien god, which could also be said for Superman. And someone like Ghost Rider or Jonah Hex has his origins in the supernatural. Still, there are plenty of superhero origins that rely on pure chance, often a result of a horrible accident. That got me thinking… could an industrial accident really turn you into a movie superhero?

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IMG_2572

What’s most striking about the cavalcade of new toys recently rolled out at New York City’s own Toy Fair is how familiar they are. Look, over there! Transformers that switch from vehicle to robot and back, right next to the new G.I. Joe sets! Behind them, an ever-evolving set of Star Wars figures and play packs, just a short stroll from tiny Mr. Potato Heads dressed as Marvel superheroes. There is, of course, also a heavily armed raccoon screaming pithy remarks to anyone who will listen, but a lot of what rounds out Hasbro’s latest set of toy lines are old characters made new – or, at least, newish. The team at Hasbro is kind enough to preview its major lines – from Marvel to My Little Pony and back – every year before Toy Fair really gets going, allowing journalists to pack a small convention center and ooh and ahh (sometimes, quite loudly) over new collections, especially those pegged to new feature films (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the latest Transformers all debuted fresh toy accompaniments) and existing properties that still stand tall (yes, there were plenty of Star Wars items, though nothing that seems directly related to the new films in the series). What toys are destined to crowd your shelves soon? And which toys just might give us a read on heavily anticipated films? Take a look, and brace for those tiny Mr. Potato Heads.

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DF-08470.CR2

Willem Dafoe is a chameleon, and everyone knows it. He’s ruled as Emperor to the Green Martian Tharks, done a painfully human portrait of Jesus, terrorized Spider-Man, eaten a bird as Max Schreck, and, of course, convincingly played a Huey Lewis and the News fan. Yet, that handful of roles doesn’t even begin to cover half of the shapeshifting Dafoe has done over his career. He can carry a picture, light some sparks with only a few minutes of screen time, or, in the case of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, have his voice do all the work. In Out of the Furnace he plays John Petty, a low-rent gangster Rodney Baze Jr. (Casey Affleck) does underground fights for. All of Dafoe’s scenes either involve Affleck, Christian Bale, or Woody Harrelson. Working opposite of those three isn’t exactly a bad day’s work. Dafoe has acted with some of the best (including himself in Spider-Man) and the topic of what makes a compatible scene partner came up when I spoke with him recently.

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IntroMadGenius

Crazy science is so embedded in movie-making that it’s been with us since the very conception of film with such classics as Frankenstein and Dr. Caligari. While the best stuff was almost exclusively from the time of black and white – the 1980s and beyond have seen their formidable share of folks with PhDs in crazy. See for yourself…a lot of mad doctorates have been handed out recently.

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Harry Osborn and Peter Parker

What have we here? Dane DeHaan – Harry Osborn in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – tweeted a picture of himself and Andrew Garfield from the film, accompanied with the caption “Breakin’ it down #Osborn style… Yo” Sure, kid. DeHaan, who plays the character originated by James Franco in the previous Spider-Man series, will of course go on to become Spider-Man’s adversary, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from this photo of Peter and Harry. The pals look pretty chummy as they hang out in the Oscorp offices, although judging from that wistful expression on Garfield’s face as he looks off into the distance, there’s probably trouble afoot that only a teenager with spider-like abilities could possibly tackle.

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heiman beach

With tons of movie and TV appearances under his belt, chances are you’ve seen Jesse Heiman before. You may not know it, though, because he’s just an extra (in The Social Network, Spider-Man, Old School and more). However, you probably do remember him by face from the Go Daddy commercial that ran during the Super Bowl this year. Heiman was the chubby nerd who got to make out with supermodel Bar Refaeli (shocking millions of viewers, although it’s rather tame compared to his threesome as “lucky party goer” in The Rules of Attraction, if you ask me). Ever since that ad, he’s been more recognized and more confident. The latter result recently got him in trouble when he went a little too far trying to kiss married Twilight actress Nikki Reed, but otherwise this is a guy who could now be on the rise as a bit player. And the documentary Jesse Heiman: World’s Greatest Extra will be tracking him whether his fame truly grows or not. This feature film is currently in production, following a year in the life of the guy, and the filmmakers are looking for financial help via Kickstarter. It could be an interesting look at Hollywood and a little-seen side of the industry. Sure, there’s been Ricky Gervais’s Extras series and the documentary Strictly Background, which follows a number of professional film extras, but Heiman is a different breed. He’s one of the most distinct-looking individuals doing work that’s usually supposed to be for nondescript (not […]

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the-amazing-spider-man-2-ew-cover-jamie-foxx-electro

We’ve already gotten a few glimpses at Jamie Foxx as the supercharged villain Electro in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but they were just that – glimpses. A shot of Foxx as mild-mannered (and cartoonishly ugly, with buck teeth and a bad comb-over) Max Dillon. A shot of Foxx in blue makeup with some LED lights shining on his face. Now we’ve got the real deal. The cover of an upcoming “Entertainment Weekly” provides the first real look at Electro in full effect, and he’s looking pretty fearsome. The glowing white eyes and charred left ear seem like especially nice touches. Plus, this cover also confirms which of the many Electro incarnations the upcoming Spider-sequel will be taking inspiration from. That insulated costume he’s sporting is the same one Electro wore in the 2008-2009 cartoon adaptation The Spectacular Spider-Man (that costume, in turn, was based off of his Ultimate Spiderman design).

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IntroEffects

Sometimes the best solution is also the easiest. When it comes to making movies, however, nothing tends to be easy. Then again, there have been a few instances where the solution – while still not anywhere close to easy – was at least simple. Cheap, even. Check out the following big budget effects that you could theoretically recreate in your own basement.

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IntroSuperheroBeatdowns

The boring problem with almost every superhero is that if they existed in real life they would just win all the time. This is why we have super villains, of course, and this is why those super villains tend to get the upper hand at some point in the film. After all, what’s a good third act without some kind of obstacle to overcome? If your character can shoot fire from his or her nipples then the baddies better have some kind of ray gun that shoots ice pasties. Point is, we need a point where the hero gets their ass handed to them – something that some movies handle better than others. Here are eight of the darker moments where the hero hits rock bottom (usually in a pool of their own blood).

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Sam Raimi Directing

Bridging two worlds, Sam Raimi has done something incredibly difficult as a filmmaker. He’s proven himself as the capable creator of massive budget spectacle with heart while remaining the cult hero that early fans continue to worship. He sold out without selling out. That in itself is a bold lesson in staying true to your own sensibilities no matter what the bottom line is, but there’s a lot more to learn from the man who grew to prominence by cutting off Bruce Campbell’s hand. The key? You can’t just take a hand; you have to replace it with a chainsaw. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a very snappy dresser who doesn’t mind getting covered in blood.

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Jamie Foxx

Now that Jamie Foxx is official to play the villainous Electro in Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man sequel, it only makes sense that he should start talking about the role in interviews. People are pretty crazy about superheroes, after all. Who could avoid trying to pry some information out of him? From the sound of things though, getting info about his new role isn’t much of a challenge. Foxx seems to have pretty loose lips when it comes to all things superhero. And, more specifically, he seems to be doing everything he can to make sure that everyone knows he won’t be wearing Electro’s traditional (and awesome) green and yellow outfit in the upcoming film. First off, in an interview with Black Film, Foxx made a point to address the outfit in the movie by saying, “It won’t be green and yellow. It will be a different color. They (the producers) want something for the future. They want to have it more grounded and not as comic book-y, so it won’t be green and yellow. They want to try new things, like a liquid rubber and things like that, and there are all these bolts and stuff in my arms when they are hanging me upside down and trying to figure out what happen. How did he become this way? So, it will be some new stuff.” It doesn’t end there though. In an interview with MTV, the actor had similar comments regarding the suit. At the notion that he might […]

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The Ingredients is a column devoted to breaking down the components of a new film release with some focus on influential movies that came before. As always, these posts look at the entire plots of films and so include SPOILERS.  The James Bond series is something of a hub in the course of film and pop culture history. As iconic as it is on its own, it tends to be informed by other material as often as it does the informing. In the beginning, for example, the movies were highly influenced by the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Author Ian Fleming even wished for Hitch to direct the first movie adapted from his 007 novels. And Cary Grant was famously sought for the part of Bond, which would have been interesting had he continued with the second film, From Russia With Love, given how much it calls to mind North by Northwest. Instead, little-known Sean Connery embodied the character, and after the first two installments made the actor famous, Hitch cast him in Marnie. As usual, the director capitalized on a movie star’s pre-existing notoriety, his screen value, which makes it quite difficult for us to see Connery’s Marnie character, Mark Rutland, as anything but James Bond as a wife-raping publisher. Hitch went another step with his next film, Torn Curtain, which was an admitted direct response to the 007 films. He wrote to Francois Truffaut in 1965: “In realizing that James Bond and the imitators of James Bond were more or less making […]

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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