The following account is 100% true. I am not sharing it with you to prove to you how much of a badass I am. Instead, it’s to share with you an experience I have learned to regret. One in which I am ashamed of still to this day. With that said, it’s a decision I would never go back and change, no matter how stupid I think it is now.
Alas, there is another Spider-man film just over the horizon. The first one was a runaway coin maker and the second ranks above the best-reviewed films of 2004. Both of these results have been a complete mystery to me. I guess the love of the man of spider is just too much for me to handle. Sure, I’ve read some Spider-man comics in my youth (too many in fact), but I guess I missed that part when it looked terrible. I’ve had this conversation way too many times with friends and fellow Film Threat writers who love the films so much, that some of them even keep quiet when I am around.
It’s not a film that people can ever defend outside of the excuse of, “It’s based on a comic…” So is the first Batman and that movie didn’t look like crap. So is X Men 2 and that movie doesn’t have such horrid acting (for the most part).
In 2002, about a week before the first Spider-man film was to be released to the public, one of my old friends who works at a theater calls me up and says, “Hey Mike, we got Spider-man early and some of us are going to watch it at 2:00am tonight, do you want to come?” Of course I do, it’s a Sam Raimi film and it’s Spider-man. I’d have to be stupid to turn her down.
The film started and all seemed to be well. Until Peter began to notice his powers. Think back to that scene of him on the rooftop running and jumping, etc. There is a bird’s eye shot that turned my smile upside down. One shot in particular makes Peter Parker look like Woody from Toy Story, bumbling around with his arms flailing. This movie costs millions and millions of dollars, and this was all they could come up with?
Then came Green Goblin’s stolen-from-a-thrift-shop looking mask. I think I could have made a better mask out of Legos. Even those that defend the integrity of this picture make fun of the mask. The comic version may have looked like that but what Hollywood has to understand is that staring at something on paper is a lot different (and easier to accept) than something on a giant screen.
It was at this point where I began to ponder where Sam Raimi actually was.
The thing that pushed me over the edge however, was not the not-so-special effects (or should I just say awful?) or the lame dialogue, it was Kirsten Dunst. There is a scene near the end of that film where Peter and Mary Jane have this conversation about love and such. It was the worst scene in the entire film, even more so than that Toy Story shot I described above. I actually became really uncomfortable with what I was watching, as if my parents just walked in on me watching porn with my unit all hanging out. That’s how I felt.
Why was the dialogue so awful? Here is the response I usually get: “That’s the same stuff they said in the comic dude.” So, because it’s in the comic, therefore it’s okay. Ah, I see. I’ll remember that the next time The Punisher is on the television.
When the movie finally ended, I just tossed my medium pop towards the screen. I can’t really explain why now (as it was over 4 years ago now) but I think it might have been out of anger. What did I just see?
It didn’t matter. The film made more coin than I ever thought possible and it’s rare to find people just as equally unimpressed as I was. Roger Ebert wasn’t a fan of the first but he loved every second of the sequel. Why? They were the same movie essentially. Better effects and writing sure, but the story (scientist becomes evil and wants to destroy Spider-man all while Peter Parker contemplates sexual relations with Mary Jane, yawn) was exactly the same.
There were about 10 people in that secret Spider-man screening. When I tossed the soda in an act of fury, the other 9 stared at me like I just smoked a fat crack bowl. “Did you not see what I just saw? Was I looking at a different screen?”
No, I sure wasn’t.
In retrospect, I have seen plenty of other films that deserved a soda tossed at it much more than Spider-man did. I saw Just My Luck not too long ago, and that needed one. American Dreamz should have had a building thrown at it while in production.
Will I ever toss a soda at a movie screen again? I am not quite sure.
Happy July 4th. Keep those fingers safe. Pictures will return tomorrow.