Throwback Thursday: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

The truth about life is that it is complicated. We are often juggling multiple things at the same time, making decisions as to what is important and what can be put aside for the moment.

Spider-Man 2 (2004) is the sequel to the 2002 film, Spider-man. Since we last saw Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) has dealt with a series of personal disasters. While continuously saving the world, his grades are falling fast, he cannot keep a job and he is being attacked in the press as a criminal. On top of all that, Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is no more.

All signals are pointing to the end of his career as a superhero. Then an accident turns Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) into the villainous Doc Ock. Instead of putting his mask away for good, Peter has no choice but to do his thing and stop Doc Ock before he destroys the city.

This one is not bad. The narrative flows nicely from the previous movie, creating more trouble for our leading man. Moving from adolescence to early adulthood, Peter is learning how to keep several figurative plates spinning in the air at the same. The problem with this is that one or more of these plates will eventually fall to the ground and crack into pieces.

My problem with his movie is the usual issue. The women in this film are constrained to the love interest/damsel in distress/spouse and maternal figures, not giving them room to stand on their own two feet.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Advertisement

RIP Stan Lee

Comic books are sometimes dismissed as violent, sexual, immature and not fit for the eyes of its young readers. But comic book can also reach its readers in a way that few genres can. Today the comic book genre lost one of its brightest stars and iconic creators, Stan Lee.

Mr. Lee was born in 1922 to Jewish immigrants who were originally from Romania. In his teens, he started working at Timely Comics, which would decades later become Marvel Comics. After fighting for his country in World War II,  Mr. Lee returned creating comic books. Instead of introducing readers to variations of the same characters they had seen previously, he started creating characters that were not just misfits, but also fully fleshed out as human beings.

Readers fell in love with  immortal characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, the Fantastic Four and X-Men. While they were reading about superheroes who were going on out of this world adventures, they were also hopefully opening their minds to those were being disenfranchised because they were different. In a very subtle manner, the Feminist Movement, the Civil rights movement and other movements whose goal of enfranchisement of those who rights have been taken away or non-existent benefited from the characters whose stories are told within these comic books.

In the words of our mutual ancestors, may the memory of Stan Lee be a blessing not just to his loved ones, but to the millions of fans who have adored his creations over the years.

Throwback Thursday- Superhero Double Feature- Spider-man (2002) & Ghost Rider 2007)

Every ten to fifteen years or so, Hollywood dips into its vault and releases new adaptations of films or television shows that have long since left the big or small screen. The superhero genre is no different.

In this post, I’m going to talk about two 2000’s superhero movies and why they either worked or didn’t work.

The first movie is Spider-man (2002). Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is your average academically overachieving, socially underachieving high school student. He has a crush on Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the girl next door. But she does not see him. When Peter is bitten by a genetically modified spider, he becomes Spiderman and must learn the lesson that every Spiderman fan knows: “with great power, comes great responsibility”. Can Peter, with his new power, find the man who killed his uncle and prevent an eccentric billionaire from terrorizing the city?

I’m not normally a fan of the genre, but I liked this movie. Every character is well cast and fits well into the Spiderman universe. Unlike his superhero brothers in arms (Batman, Superman, etc), Spiderman is the boy next door/average Joe/underdog. He does not have the fortune that Bruce Wayne has, nor does he have the extraterrestrial powers that Superman possesses. Rather, he uses his intelligence to fight and create the persona that is Spiderman.

The second movie is Ghost Rider (2007).

When Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) finds out that his father is dying from cancer, he makes a deal to save his father. Johnny will give up his soul to prevent his father from dying. The deal is soon made with Mephistopheles and broken when his father dies in a motorcycle accident. Heartbroken, Johnny walks away from everything and everyone, including his girlfriend, Roxanne (Eva Mendes).  Years pass and Johnny becomes a famous motorcyclist. He runs into Roxanne, who works as a TV reporter. But Mephistopheles is not done with Johnny. If Johnny is willing to become the “Ghost Rider” and defeat  Mephistopheles’s evil son Blackheart (Wes Bentley), then Johnny will be free of the contract he signed years ago.

What can I say about this movie? It’s not good. Nicolas Cage has not made a decent movie in years. The poster, especially the depiction of Ghost Rider carrying who the audience might perceive to be an unconscious Roxanne is not taken from any specific scene. Riding on the coattails of its fellow superhero movies, this film and its sequel (which is just as bad) just does nothing for me as a filmgoer.

Do I recommend them? Yes and no. I do recommend Spiderman, but not Ghost Rider

Tough

With great power comes great responsibility.-Peter Parker, Spider-man

Fame is something that many aspire to gain. But fame also has its downsides.

It doesn’t matter if someone’s fame comes from the stage, the screen, or the sports arena, they are still famous. They still have millions of people who admire their work and their person.

No one is perfect, well have our faults, but when you are famous, everything is magnified.

The Ray Rice scandal has recently brought up questions about the personal lives of the NFL players off the field. If a player does something we think is morally wrong, is he to be punished a mere slap on the wrist or does he forfeit his career?

Hannah Storm, of Sports Center fame, tells an emotional story. Watching the media coverage with her daughters, Ms. Storm was forced to answer a series of tough questions asked her daughters about the scandal.

As a parent, how does one answer those questions? How does one explain to children of both sexes that Mr. Rice’s actions are wrong?  What does a parent say when a young girl sees an abused wife stay with her husband? How does that parent tell their son that hitting a woman is wrong and on the flip side, how does that parent tell their daughter that if she is in that situation one day, she should leave? How is it be explained to these children that NFL did not fire Mr. Rice right away?

It’s a tough question that I do not know how to answer.

%d bloggers like this: