Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK’S 237 BURNING QUESTIONS FOR THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

Is this the movie that breaks Hulk?

Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK’S 237 BURNING QUESTIONS FOR THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

A MILLION QUESTIONS ARE SWIRLING IN HULK'S HEAD.

THAT IS BECAUSE HULK HAS SEEN THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 AND FOR AS MUCH AS IT DOES WELL (AND IT DOES A BUNCH OF STUFF WELL), IT IS FILLED WITH SO MANY PROBLEMATIC SCRIPT ISSUES, SO MUCH CARELESS TACT AND SO MANY MEANINGLESS DECISIONS THAT HULK IS LEFT WITH NOTHING BUT THE NEED TO DECLARE, HERE BEFORE THE ESTEEMED HALLS OF THE INTERNET GODS, THAT THIS FILM CLEARLY DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE SIMPLEST OF ITS OWN NEEDS, NOR WHY IT IS EVEN TELLING THIS PARTICULAR STORY IN THE FIRST PLACE... AND HULK'S 237 BURNING QUESTIONS CAN HELP EXPLAIN WHY (CAUTION: SPOILERS AND SHIT).

STARTING HERE: WHAT IS THE STORY THAT HAS BEEN TOLD OVER THE LAST TWO AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FILMS?

THAT'S A FAIR QUESTION, ISN'T IT? WE CAN HAVE DIFFERING OPINIONS OF QUALITY AND ALL, BUT IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT EVERY GOOD POPCORN MOVIE AT LEAST HAS A KIND OF AWARENESS OF THE SIMPLE STORY IT IS TELLING, RIGHT?

BUT IN ORDER TO EXPRESS EXACTLY WHAT HULK MEANS HERE, LET'S PUT THE QUESTION LIKE THIS: WHY WOULD YOU SPEND AN ENTIRE MOVIE (The Amazing Spider-Man 1) BUILDING TO A POINT OF ONE CHARACTER ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR PUTTING LOVED ONES IN DANGER, ONLY TO HAVE THAT CHARACTER GO BACK ON IT IN THE LAST MOMENT BY SAYING "THE BEST PROMISES ARE THE ONES YOU CAN'T KEEP" (WHICH IS ONLY ONE OF THE MOST INSUFFERABLE LINES OF ALL TIME AND PROPAGATES A "HERO" THAT HAS LITERALLY LEARNED NOTHING OVER A COURSE OF A MOVIE), ONLY TO REALIZE THE HORRIFIC MISTAKE OF THIS AND QUICKLY GO BACK ON THAT ENDING AND "RESOLVE" IT AT THE START OF THE NEXT MOVIE (ALL AS PART OF A VAGUE MEA CULPA) BY HAVING ONE CHARACTER BREAK UP WITH THE OTHER FOR THAT REASON (COMPLETE WITH SEEING GHOST DAD AS A WARNING!), ONLY TO THEN HAVE THE OTHER CHARACTER SAY NO THE BREAK-UP IS THEIRS FOR NO TANGIBLE REASON (HULK GETS THE IDEA THEY ARE GOING FOR BUT IT COMES FROM NOWHERE, LIKE MOST OF THE DIALOGUE IN THESE FILMS), ONLY TO THEN GO BACK ON THAT POINT AGAIN AND SPEND SIX, REPEAT, SIX ENTIRE SCENES WITH THE UP AND DOWN BEATS COMING BACK, SEPARATING, COMING BACK, SPINNING THE SAME WHEELS OF RIDICULOUSNESS (WHICH WOULD BE FINE IF WE GOT A SENSE OF THAT PURPOSE OR A LITTLE MOMENTUM, INSTEAD OF ALL THESE MOMENTS BEING PLAYED AS DRAMATIC "TURNS" WHICH PUT THE AUDIENCE ON A JERKING MERRY-GO-ROUND), BUT IT'S ALL DONE IN PREPARATION FOR THE MOST HAM-HANDED, REPETITIVE OBVIOUSNESS OF WHAT'S COMING, ALL BEFORE FINALLY KILLING GWEN STACY AS A RESULT OF HER GETTING INVOLVED (BUT ONLY AFTER HER DIRECT INSISTENCE SO IT'S NOT PETER'S CHOICE), BUT THEN, ONCE IT'S ALL DONE, NEVER ACTUALLY DEALING WITH "THE LESSON" OF ALL THAT WITH ANY KIND OF SUBTEXT OR DRAMATIC MOMENT OR CLUE AND INSTEAD OPTING FOR (AN ADMITTEDLY NEAT) LITTLE SEASON PASSING SEQUENCE THAT ONLY SERVES TO SHOW DEVOTION AND SADNESS, THEN USING NEWS COVERAGE TO IMPLY SPIDER-MAN HAS LEFT CUZ SAD, THEN QUICKLY RUSHING INTO THE POINT THAT HE'S GOING TO NEED TO GET BACK OUT THERE CUZ HOPE OR SOMETHING?

UM, WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF DRAMATIC PLOTTING IS THAT?

SERIOUSLY, WHY WOULD ANYONE TAKE TWO WHOLE MOVIES (AT A NEAR FIVE HOURS OF TOTAL RUN-TIME) TO BUILD TO A DRAMATIC POINT WHERE YOUR HERO NEEDS TO LEARN SOMETHING, THEN NOT ACTUALLY SHOW THEM LEARN IT, THEN SKIP OVER THE HEAVY LIFTING OF ACTUAL CHARACTER CHANGES IN LITERALLY TWO MINUTES, WHILE NOT LETTING US KNOW IF HE'S EVEN CHANGED OR DEALING WITH FUCKING ANY OF IT, THEN RUSHING THROUGH ANY SEMBLANCE OF WHAT THAT ALL COULD HAVE MEANT BY FOCUSING ON ANOTHER POINT ENTIRELY, AND ENDING YOUR MOVIE ON THAT RUSHED OTHER POINT?

AGAIN, WHAT KIND OF STRUCTURE IS THAT?

MORE TO THE POINT, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS MOVIE ABOUT, ANYWAY?

OH, HULK'S NOT SEEING THE OBVIOUS? YOU SAY IT'S ABOUT HOW YOUNG PEOPLE CAN'T MAKE UP THEIR MIND AND WAFFLE BACK AND FORTH? YOU MEAN IT'S, LIKE, HAMLET OR SOMETHING? SO YOU'RE TELLING HULK IT'S LIKE THAT AND NOT EVIDENCE OF THE FILMMAKERS NOT KNOWING HOW TO MAKE THAT VERY POINT? SO IT'S THE KIND OF FILM THAT WILL GIVE US VERBATIM SPEECHES FROM CHARACTERS EXPLICITLY TELLING US WHAT WRITERS THINK THE MOVIE IS ABOUT, BUT THE WHOLE TIME IT'S REALLY ABOUT THIS OTHER WAFFLING THING? THAT'S THE ONE THING THEY DON'T ARTICULATE? AND THEY WILL JUST TEXTURALLY DEPICT THIS SAID POINT FOR THE ENTIRE RUNNING TIME OF TWO GIANT MOVIES WITHOUT EVER GIVING A SINGLE-MOTHER-FUCKING-CONTEXT-CLUE THAT THEY GET THAT'S WHAT THE MOVIE'S ABOUT? IT'S NOT JUST, YOU KNOW, ACTUALLY WAFFLING BECAUSE IT HAS NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THESE CHARACTERS BEFORE GETTING TO AN OBLIGATORY SCENE AND MAKING ITS EVENTUAL NON-POINT, AND ALL THE WHILE MISTAKES CHARACTERS NOT-KNOWING-WHAT-THEY-WANT FOR DRAMA AND CONFLICT? YOU'RE TELLING HULK THAT'S NOT WHAT'S HAPPENING? AND THAT THESE WRITERS HAVE NEVER, EVER MADE THIS EXACT MISTAKE BEFORE EVER?

WHY ISN'T ANYONE TALKING ABOUT HOW THIS NONSENSICAL CONSTRUCTION EXACTLY PARALLELS HOW SONY IS MAKING THESE MOVIES? WHICH IS: JUST GET OUT THERE! CUZ... REASONS! CUZ... LOOK, IT'S JUST WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING CUZ DESTINY OR WHATEVER!

BACK TO AN EARLIER POINT, WHY HAVE HIM STANDING BY THE GRAVE AS SEASONS CHANGE? IT'S A GREAT LITTLE BEAUTIFUL SEQUENCE FOR SURE, BUT JUST BECAUSE IT'S A GOOD CHOICE DOES THAT MAKE IT THE RIGHT CHOICE? BECAUSE A SEASONED STORYTELLER WOULD REALIZE THAT YEAH, SURE, IT'S GREAT ON ITS OWN, BUT STILL ACCOMPLISHES NOTHING OF WHAT IT NEEDS TO IN THAT MOMENT IN TERMS OF ADDRESSING ALL THE DRAMATIC STAKES AND IMPORT OF WHAT THE MOVIE HAS BEEN BUILDING TO THE ENTIRE TIME, THUS THE TOTALLY WRONG CHOICE.

AND LIKE THE CHIEF PROBLEM OF TASM1, WHY ARE THEY HELL-BENT ON MAKING PETER THE KEWL BADASS WHO WILL SWOOP FOR GRADUATION AND KISS A GIRL ON STAGE LIKE HE'S THE FUCKING FONZ?

WHY DOESN'T ANYONE REALIZE THAT WHEN YOU MAKE PETER A KEWL BADASS WHO IS GOOD AT EVERYTHING IT ACTUALLY UNDERMINES THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE CHARACTER? WHICH IS THE IDEA THAT HAVING SUPERPOWERS WHEN YOU'RE A REGULAR KID DOESN'T ACTUALLY MAKE LIFE EASIER AND IN FACT MAKES IT WAY, WAY, WAY HARDER? ESPECIALLY TO DO THE RIGHT THING? NOR DOES IT MAGICALLY FIX ASPECTS OF YOUR SOCIAL PERSONALITY?

SO WHY ISN'T ANY OF THAT ACTUALLY INGRAINED INTO PETER'S CONFLICTS?

SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS PETER'S ACTUAL DILEMMA AND CONFLICT IN THESE MOVIES? THAT HE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO GIVE UP HIS KICK-ASS MAGIC GIRLFRIEND? THAT PEOPLE NEED TO GET OUT OF HIS WAY AND LET HIM BE AWESOME? THAT PEOPLE SHOULD ALWAYS TELL HIM THE TRUTH AND TRUST HIM WHEN HE'S GIVEN NO EVIDENCE OF BEING ABLE TO DO ANYTHING RESPONSIBLE, BUT THEN PEOPLE OBLIGE WHEN HE MAKES THEM FEEL LIKE BAD PEOPLE? YEEESH. THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE THE RAIMI MOVIES COMPLAIN ABOUT THE CAMPY TONE AND STUFF, BUT THOSE MOVIES AT LEAST UNDERSTOOD HOW TO THROW CONFLICT AT PETER LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. AND THE CONFLICT FOR PETER CAME IN THE FORM OF HOW INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT IT WAS TO LIVE LIFE WHEN YOU'RE DOING THE RIGHT THING.

SO ARE THESE PEOPLE REALLY JUST LIKING THE NEW SPIDER-MAN BECAUSE SPIDER-MAN IS NOT HIT WITH THESE CONFLICTS? IS IT JUST THE FANTASY OF SPIDER-MAN BEING THE JAMES DEAN BADASS? WHY IS PETER'S ONLY SEEMING DILEMMA THAT THE WORLD WON'T ALLOW HIM TO BE TOTALLY AWESOME AT EVERYTHING?

WHY HAVE A CHARACTER WHO SEEMS TO REVEL IN DOING THE WRONG THING ALL THE TIME AND WHEN IT COMES TIME TO CONTEXTUALIZE WHY CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THOSE WRONG THINGS ARE BAD, YOU DON'T, AND INSTEAD JUST GIVE HIM A VICTORY LAP AGAINST THE RHINO?

IS THIS MOVIE LIKE IF THOR CAME TO EARTH AND WILLINGLY GOT PEOPLE KILLED AND LEARNED NOTHING AND WAS THEN GIVEN HIS HAMMER BECAUSE THE WORLD NEEDED HIS HELP?

WHY ISN'T ANYONE REALIZING THAT THIS PETER PARKER IS ACTUALLY A SOCIOPATH? CUE THIS GREAT QUOTE FROM "@joshraby The weird thing about ASM2 is how Peter discards the verbalized needs of every single person he comes into contact with." YUP. LIKE IT OR NOT, PETER IS THE MOST SELFISH ASSHOLE "HERO" EVER PUT ON SCREEN AND THE MOVIE DOESN'T KNOW IT. AND THAT'S THE WHOLE KEY. DID THEY NOT REALIZE A CHARACTER LIKE TONY STARK WORKS IF THE MOVIE (AND EVERY OTHER CHARACTER) ACTUALLY KNOWS IT?

BUT SINCE PETER STILL HAS TO APPEAR TO BE A "HERO" THE STORYTELLERS OVERCOME THIS WHOLE "PETER DISCARDS ALL THE VERBALIZED NEEDS OF PEOPLE" THING IS BY SECRETLY POSITIONING EVERY DRAMATIC SO THAT IT'S NOT DIRECTLY HIS FAULT. SO EVEN THOUGH VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING BAD THAT HAPPENS CAN BE TRACED TO HIS HUBRIS AND WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, IT STILL EVENTUALLY POSITIONS THE MORALITY OF THE MOMENTS SO THAT NOTHING IS HIS FAULT, ESPECIALLY WITH GWEN STACY'S INSISTENCE TO HELP DESPITE ALL HIS PLEAS. OR THE WAY AUNT MAY IS GIVING HIM GOOD RESTRICTIONS AND THEN HE HAS TO HAVE A HEART TO HEART SO THAT SHE APOLOGIZES TO HIM BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO SELFISHLY BE HIS ONLY MOTHER OR SOME OTHER THING THAT MAKES NO SENSE? EVEN THOUGH WE'VE NEVER HAD ANY KIND OF INDICATION OF THIS BEFORE? YUP, JUST ANOTHER WAY PETER ALWAYS HAS TO BE THE AWESOME ONE WHO IS SECRETLY RIGHT.

BUT HULK, WHY DO YOU SAY THAT WHEN HE SEEMS LIKE SUCH A GOOD, LIKABLE GUY ON THE SURFACE? HULK'S SORRY, BUT THAT'S JUST TEXTURE AND IT HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH STORYTELLING OR HOW THE CHARACTERS WORK. THAT PROBABLY SOUNDS HARSH, OR LIKE HULK IS TRYING TO COME UP HERE AND EXPLAIN AS IF HULK KNOWS EVERYTHING, BUT HULK SWEARS TO YOU, THIS TACT FLIES DIRECTLY IN THE FACE OF THE MOST BASIC WAY WE GIVE MEANING IN A STORY. BECAUSE WHAT A STORY IS "ABOUT" IS CREATED THROUGH WHAT WE CALL THE DRAMATIC CONSTRUCT.

PUT LIKE THIS: PRETEND EVERY MOVIE WORLD HAS A GOD. WELL, THAT'S ACTUALLY TRUE BECAUSE MOVIES HAVE ACTUAL AUTHORS BEHIND THEM. THE STORYTELLER IS GOD OF THIS UNIVERSE. AND THE STORYTELLER CAN MOSTLY BE ONE PERSON OR MORE LIKELY A WHOLE GROUP OF PEOPLE, BUT THEY ARE MAKING A SERIES OF CHOICES IN THE STORY AND THEY SAY SOMETHING WITH EVERY SINGLE CHOICE THAT THEY MAKE. AND THE THING THAT SAYS THE MOST ABOUT HOW THE WORLD WORKS? IN MOVIES IT IS ACTION AND CONSEQUENCE. DO THIS? THEN THIS HAPPENS. DO THAT? THEN THAT HAPPENS. AND WHAT THE UNIVERSE CONFIRMS THROUGH THESE "ACTIONS" IS THE FIRST PART OF THE STATEMENT COMING FROM THE WRITER; IT'S THE WAY THE UNIVERSE "WORKS." BUT THEN THAT STATEMENT IS CONTEXTUALIZED BY HOW THE CHARACTERS REACT TO HOW THE UNIVERSE WORKS AROUND THEM, WHICH IS THEN CONTEXTUALIZED THROUGH A THIRD LAYER OF THE TONE AND VIEW OF THE FILM ITSELF. IT SOUNDS COMPLICATED, BUT REALLY THIS IS JUST BASIC CREATION OF THEME. IT'S INTEGRAL TO EVERY MOVIE EVER... SO HOW DOES THIS FILM NOT UNDERSTAND IT AT ALL?

TO TIE THAT QUESTION BACK INTO STRUCTURE, HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT PETER NEVER LEARNS A SINGLE LESSON THROUGHOUT TWO MOVIES? THINK ABOUT THAT. PETER MAY REACT AND GET UPSET AND BE SAD OR WHATEVER, BUT ASIDE FROM THE WHOLE DISCARDING OF "the verbalized needs of every single person he comes into contact with," HAS ANY OF THOSE EVENTS ACTUALLY CHANGED PETER'S BEHAVIOR AT ALL?

DO YOU REALIZE THAT THIS MOVIE IS SAYING THAT GWEN DIES BECAUSE SHE DID NOT LISTEN TO HER BOYFRIEND? AND HAD TO BASICALLY INSIST ON MARCHING OFF TO HER OWN DEATH SO IT'S NOT PETER'S FAULT?

ALSO, WHY IS GWEN'S DEATH ABOUT QUITTING BEING SPIDER-MAN AND NOT HOW HE'S A SELFISH JERK? WHY DOES BEING A SELFISH JERK BEGET MORE BEING A SELFISH JERK THROUGH NOT HELPING PEOPLE?

AND DON'T DARE SAY THAT "THEY'LL DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF GWEN IN THE NEXT ONE," BECAUSE EVERYONE SAID THEY THAT THE LAST TIME AND THEY DIDN'T. PLUS, IT'S A HORRIBLE WAY TO APPROACH STORYTELLING. IF THE WHOLE POINT OF CREATING MEANING IS THROUGH ACTION AND CONSEQUENCE, WHY ARE ARE WE NOT EXPLORING CONSEQUENCES?

BECAUSE TRULY, THIS IS A FILM SERIES THAT DOESN'T UNDERSTAND CONSEQUENCES. MORE SO, IT DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE IDEA THAT IF A FILM IS ABOUT SOMETHING, THEN IT NEEDS TO ACTUALLY BE ABOUT IT. IT NEEDS TO TAKE THAT ISSUE AND PUT IT TO THE FOREFRONT. IF A MOVIE IS GOING TO INTRODUCE A DILEMMA (ESPECIALLY AS THE MOTHERFUCKING CENTRAL THEME) THEN IT NEEDS TO DEAL WITH THE FALL-OUT OF THAT. IT NEEDS TO BE ABOUT THAT. IT NEEDS TO DRAMATIZE THROUGH ACTION AND CONSEQUENCE AND RE-ARTICULATION. SO WHY DOES THIS CREATIVE TEAM KEEP FLIRTING WITH CONCEPTS AND THEN NOT ACTUALLY DEALING WITH THEM OR EXPLORING THEM?

WHAT THE HECK IS THEIR MENTAL BLOCK WITH THIS CRAP?

PSYCHOLOGICALLY SPEAKING, WHY DOES THIS MOVIE HAVE NO INTEREST IN, FOR ANY REASON, ACTUALLY PUNISHING PETER PARKER? WHY DOES IT SETTLE FOR THE TEXTURE OF PUNISHMENT, THE SELF-FLAGELLATION AND MOPING, BUT THEN CONSTRUCT SITUATIONS WHERE IT'S NOT ACTUALLY REALLY HIS FAULT?

WHAT KINDS OF MINDS CREATE A STORY LIKE THIS? HOW DOES THIS PETER-PARKER-IS-ACTUALLY-A-SELFISH-ASSHOLE THING ACTUALLY HAPPEN?

WELL, IT STARTS WITH HAVING SOMEONE IN THE PRODUCER FOLD WHO ALWAYS APPROACHES THE CHARACTERS IN THEIR FILMS WITH EMPHASIS ON WHETHER OR NOT HE "WANTS THAT GUY'S RESPECT!" WHICH MEANS NO WEAK-WILLED NINNIES. JUST TOUGH ALPHA MENTALITY OF PURE AWESOMENESS. IT IS ALSO FACILITATED BY A STUDIO'S ORIGINAL PREROGATIVE WITH FILMS TO GROUND PETER IN A TWILIGHT-EQUE RELATIONSHIP (AND MAKE CHEAPER MOVIES, WHICH WENT OUT THE WINDOW). COUPLE THOSE ATTITUDES TOGETHER WITH THE PETER PARKER ICONOGRAPHY AND WHO HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE AND YOU START TO GET THE INCONGRUENT DISPLAY OF SOCIOPATHY SEEN HERE... BUT REALLY IT TAKES MORE THAN THAT, RIGHT?

YES. SO WE GO TO A NEXT QUESTION - HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN IN THE MIND OF A WRITER? ON ONE SIDE, ALL THE DRAMATIC STRUCTURE PROBLEMS START WHEN YOU GO "OKAY, GWEN STACY FALLS." BUT YOU OBLIGINGLY THINK YOU HAVE TO HAVE TO FIT IN THE NONSENSE IDEA OF HOW STRUCTURE IS SUPPOSED TO GO, SO YOU PUT IT IN THE CLIMAX OF THE "DARKER" SECOND FILM (CUZ THAT'S WHEN OTHER MOVIES DID IT OR SOMETHING), BUT THEN YOU HAVE TO NONSENSICALLY WORK BACKWARDS TO BUILD THEIR RELATIONSHIP, BUT YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO BUILD AN ARC OR HAVE CHARACTERS ACTUALLY CHANGE, SO YOU SET UP THE ENTIRE DYNAMIC FROM THE VERY DAMN BEGINNING AND THEN JUST ALLUDE TO THE FINAL CONSEQUENCE TIME AND TIME AGAIN (TO MAKE IT SEEM LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND WHERE THIS IS GOING BUT THAT'S NOT THE SAME THING), BUT MEANWHILE NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS EVER IN THAT RELATIONSHIP EXCEPT FOR WHEEL-SPINNING BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO ANYTHING ELSE, SO THEN YOU FINALLY HIT THAT POINT IN THE TIMING THAT MAKES "SENSE" I.E. THE AFOREMENTIONED CLIMAX OF A SECOND MOVIE, BUT THAT LEAVES YOU IN A POSITION WHERE ALL THE DRAMATIC AIR IS LET OUT AND YOU HAVE TO QUICKLY END THE FILM, SO YOU ARE FORCED INTO A RUSHED SEQUENCE THAT SKIPS OVER THE CONSEQUENCES AND GETS YOU TO A NICE NEAT BOW OF RESOLUTION THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE STORY YOU WERE TELLING. BUT REALLY, ALL YOU'VE DONE IS WASTED FIVE HOURS AND SPENT TWO MINUTES ON WHAT YOUR STORY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABOUT BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN IDIOTS LIKE SCRIPTSHADOW TELL YOU IT'S SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN, ALL THE WHILE FAILING TO REALIZE THAT KILLING GWEN STACY AT THE MIDDLE TURN OF THIS FILM WOULD HAVE ALLOWED YOU TO EXPLORE EVERYTHING YOU NEEDED TO EXPLORE AND GIVE YOUR CHARACTER TIME TO GROW AS A RESULT OF IT CAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE MOVIE IS ACTUALLY ABOUT...THAT'S HOW IT FUCKING HAPPENS. AND DID ANYONE EVER QUESTION IT? DID ANYONE EVER THINK: HEY, ISN'T PLOT SUPPOSED TO BE DICTATED FROM CHARACTER, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND? AND DON'T ANY OF THEM REALIZE THAT THE WHOLE PLOT-FROM-CHARACTER APPROACH IS THE WAY MARVEL STUDIOS KEEPS KICKING THEIR ASS?

BUT BEYOND STRUCTURE, HOW DO THIS CREATIVE TEAM AND THESE WRITERS CREATE A SOCIOPATH PETER PARKER LIKE THAT? WELL, IT ALL COMES FROM A PLACE OF EGO, QUITE HONESTLY. IT ONLY HAPPENS WHEN YOU THINK CREATING "GOOD" HEROIC CHARACTERS IS ACTUALLY ABOUT HAVING THE WORLD SECRETLY BENDING OVER BACKWARDS FOR YOUR AWESOMENESS AND NEVER ACTUALLY EXPLORING DOING THE RIGHT THING BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT PSYCHOSOCIALLY CAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE RIGHT THING EVEN IS... PROBABLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE KIND OF BRAIN THAT ALLOWS YOU TO BE A GOVERNMENT IS ILLUSION 9/11 TRUTHER OR SERIOUSLY HE'S A DYED-IN-THE-WOOL SECRET GOVERNMENT GUY. AND THUS YOUR IDEA OF CHARACTERIZATION IS HAVING AN ASSHOLE-WHO-DOESN'T-KNOW-THEY-ARE-AN-ASSHOLE WALK AROUND THINKING THEY ARE AWESOME, THEN ALIGNING ALL THE ASPECTS OF THEIR LIFE INTO DESTINY, I.E. HAVING THE WORLD FIT INTO PERFECT ORDER OF MAKING SENSE ON THE UNIVERSAL CLOCK. IT ALL COMES TO FRUITION BECAUSE YOU'RE A TRUTHER AND THAT'S HOW YOU THINK THE WORLD WORKS. WHICH IS PROBABLY WHY THERE IS A LITERAL CLOCK COUNTING DOWN TO THE POINT WHEN GWEN DIES IN THIS MOVIE (LIKE FOR FUCKING SERIOUS?), WHICH IS NOT ONLY AN INDICATOR OF HOW THEY HAD TO WAIT FOR A CERTAIN TIME TO DO IT STRUCTURALLY (IT'S FINALLY TIME TO KILL HER!), BUT JUST MORE PSYCHOLOGICALLY IS EVIDENCE OF A WRITER WHO THINKS THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO KNOWS THINGS AND THE ENTIRE WORLD IS WRONG AND THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS, WHICH IS PRICELESS THE WAY OF SEEING YOURSELF AS GOD IN ALL THE WRONG WAYS AND THE WORLD REVOLVING AROUND YOUR BULLSHIT, WHICH LEADS NOT ONLY TO THE CHARACTER'S HORRIFIC BEHAVIOR, BUT SINCE IT'S ALL IN A SUPERHERO MOVIE IT THEMATICALLY SAYS THE MOST CREEPY RANDIAN UBERMENSCH BULLSHIT AND IF YOU THINK HULK IS BEING EXTREME, THEN LET HULK ASK THIS QUESTION...

WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH ORCI AND KURTZMAN AND MAGIC BLOOD? ... YUP! GROSS.

SO WHY DOES NOBODY SEE THAT THE ETHICS OF THIS ENTIRE THING ARE GARBAGE?

WHY DOES NO ONE REALIZE THAT THE SECRET MESSAGE OF THESE MOVIES IS THAT THE CHARACTER'S HORRIBLE HUMAN INSTINCTS ARE SECRETLY RIGHT?

HOW IS THIS NOT A COMPLETE METAPHOR FOR TRUTHERDOM?

HOW DO WE KEEP LETTING SOMEONE LIKE THAT WRITE MOVIES? WHY IS IT NOT LUMPED IN WITH OTHER HORRIBLE DEAL-BREAKER AFFECTATIONS?

SHOULD HULK FEEL BAD FOR SINGLING OUT ORCI HERE? NOPE. NOT ANY MORE. KURTZMAN MAY BE THE NICEST GUY IN THE UNIVERSE BUT THE TEAM HAS PROVEN THROUGHOUT EVERY MOVIE THEY HAVE DONE THAT THEY ARE COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY INCAPABLE OF GETTING AT A HUMAN ETHOS THAT ISN'T SOMETHING HULK FINDS MORALLY DISGUSTING, OR EVEN COMPETENTLY COHERENT (HULK IS VERY CURIOUS TO SEE HOW THEY DO NOW THAT THEY'VE SPLIT UP). BUT AGAIN, THIS ISN'T A PERSONAL THING. THEY MAY BE GREAT PEOPLE, HULK IS SAYING THAT THE WHOLE "WHAT THEY KEEP SAYING IN THEIR MOVIES" THING IS HORRIBLE. AND THAT'S WORTH CRITICIZING RIGHT DOWN TO THE CORE.

OH AND SHIFTING GEARS, WHY WAS ELECTRO IN THIS MOVIE? SERIOUSLY, WHAT DOES HE ADD? ASIDE FROM SHIFTING THE PLOT AROUND, WHAT DOES HE DO IN TERMS OF IMPACT THAT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN DONE WITH THE HARRY OSBORN CHARACTER? WHY DOES THE INCLUSION OF THE OTHER UNDERMINE BOTH?

WHY DOES EVERYONE READ THAT PROBLEM AS "TOO MANY VILLAINS" WHEN THAT'S ACTUALLY NOT WHAT THE PROBLEM IS?

WHY DO WRITERS CONTINUALLY NOT UNDERSTAND THAT SCREENTIME ISN'T ABOUT POSITIONING THE LOGISTICS OF WHY PEOPLE DO WHATEVER, BUT ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIPS AND THE MEANING OF THOSE RELATIONSHIPS? THE REASON THE DARK KNIGHT IS GREAT EVEN THOUGH IT HAS TWO VILLAINS IS BECAUSE BATMAN AND THE JOKER'S BATTLE (WHICH IS NOT JUST PHYSICAL, BUT A SUPER CLEAR REPRESENTATION OF ORDER VS. ANARCHY EXPRESSED IN EVERY DRAMATIC WAY POSSIBLE COMPLETE WITH CHOICES) IS LITERALLY A BATTLE OVER THE FATE OF HARVEY DENT. ALL THEIR STORIES HAVE EVERYTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER. THERE IS NO ACTION THAT IS OUTSIDE THE POINT AND THE THEME. WHICH IS ACTUALLY WHAT MAKES IT A LASTING MASTERPIECE... SO WHY HAS NOBODY TAKEN CUES FROM THAT TACT? WHY DO WE KEEP SETTLING FOR AWKWARD PLOT-BASED TEAM UPS?

GOING BACK TO BEFORE, WHEN WILL WRITERS UNDERSTAND THAT PLOT NEEDS TO BE DICTATED FROM CHARACTER AND THEME, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND? WHY DOESN'T EVERYONE REALIZE THAT IT IS PRECISELY THIS PLOT-DICTATING-CHARACTER THING THAT CAUSES TASM2 TO CHANGE ITS THEME AND EMPHASIS EVERY SCENE WITHOUT REALIZING IT?

SERIOUSLY, WHEN WILL THESE PEOPLE WATCH KUNG FU PANDA TO GET "IT"?  BECAUSE FOR ANY FAULTS, IT'S A MOVIE WHERE ALL THE CHARACTERS' MOTIVATIONS DIRECTLY REVOLVE AROUND ONE OBJECT AND EACH CHARACTER REFLECTS UPON THE OTHER AND REFLECTS UPON THEMSELVES AND OH HEY THE OBJECT IS A MIRROR AND IT MAKES COMPLETE AND TOTAL SENSE AND THE MOVIE'S DECENT BUT IT TOTALLY ACES STORY 101.

DO YOU THINK THEY REALIZED THAT WHEN THEY WERE WRITING ELECTRO WITH ALL THESE REDEEMABLE QUALITIES AND DECENT ETHOS, SURELY SOME OF THOSE COULD BE EXPLORED IN THE LAST ACT WITH SOME SORT A MOMENT OF ETHOS / PATHOS? REGARDLESS IF IT TURNED OUT FOR GOOD OR BAD? DO YOU THINK IT EVER OCCURRED TO THEM TO FOLLOW UP WITH THAT INSTEAD OF HIM JUST BECOMING A PURELY DESTRUCTIVE NON-CHARACTER?

WHY DOES EVERYONE HAVE A SUPER-SUIT LAYING AROUND WHEN THEY GET THEIR POWERS? ARE WE GOING TO BE THAT NAKEDLY OBVIOUS WITH THIS STUFF? NOBODY EVEN MAKING AN ACTIVE DECISION TO CHASE THIS STUFF?

WHY DOES HARRY GET AN EQUALLY UGLY DESTINY-FILLED STORYLINE WITH EVERYTHING SET IN STONE FOR HIM? WHY IS HIS ONLY "CHOICE" TO GO DOWN THE OBVIOUS PATH OR ABSTAIN? SINCE WHEN THE HELL DID WE ACCEPT THIS KIND OF THING AS A CHOICE? WHY IS THIS THE WAY WE APPROACH STORYTELLING NOWADAYS ACROSS THE BOARD?

AFTER ALL, WHY IS THE ORIGIN OF THE SINISTER SIX ALREADY READY-MADE AND JUST SITTING IN AN OSCORP BASEMENT LAB? ALL WAITING FOR PEOPLE TO JUST GET IN THEM?

IS THAT NOT SYMBOLIC OF THE ENTIRE WAY THEY ARE APPROACH THESE FUCKING MOVIES?

AND WHY DO THE STORYTELLERS NOT GET HOW BAD THAT IS? WHY ARE THEY NOT UNDERSTANDING THAT ANY OF THAT STUFF HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHARACTER CHOICE OR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, BUT INSTEAD THE NAKED DESIRE FOR "SIMPLIFICATION OF INFORMATION" ( COMPLETE WITH NOTHING EVER DRAMATIZED). WHAT MAKES PEOPLE THINK THIS IS A GOOD IDEA AND NOT HORRIBLE / GROSS / LAZY?

WHY DOES NO ONE REALIZE THAT THIS ACTUALLY RUNS COUNTER TO THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE MARVEL SPIDER-MAN ETHOS IN THAT IT'S ABOUT REGULAR FOLK, THE NATURE OF INCIDENT, AND THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DUTY AND CHOICE? AND NOT MERELY CHOOSING BETWEEN FULFILLING A DESTINY OR NOT FULFILLING IT?

EVEN NARRATIVELY SPEAKING, WHY THE FUCK DO WE CARE ABOUT THE SINISTER SIX OUTSIDE OF ANY PRE-EXISTING KNOWLEDGE OF WHO THEY ARE?

DOES PAUL GIAMATTI, ONE OF THE GREATEST ACTORS OF OUR GENERATION, EVEN GET A CLOSE-UP IN THIS MOVIE?

WHY ARE ALL THE VILLAINS STILL BEHAVING LIKE THEY ARE IN THE BROAD RAIMI MOVIES BUT THE REST OF THE MOVIE IS SET IN A DIFFERENT ROMANTIC-COMEDY WORLD? DON'T GET HULK WRONG, HULK LOVES THE FIRST TWO RAIMIS BUT THE REASON THOSE FILMS WORK IS THAT THE ENTIRE TONE OF THE FILMS BORDERS ON CAMP (WITH STRONG STORY AND CHARACTER EMPHASIS), BUT WHY DID THEY THINK THEY CAN DO IT ONLY HALF THE TIME HERE AND IT WOULDN'T BE JARRING?

OH, AND NOT LIKE HULK GETS HUNG UP ON LOGIC, BUT WHY IS THIS CITY APPARENTLY FULL OF PEOPLE, FAMILIES EVEN, WILLING TO STAND BEHIND CLOSE-BY FLIMSY CROWD BARRICADES CHEERING ON AS MANIACS SHOOT MACHINE GUNS? NO, THAT'S NOT A "CUZ IT'S A MOVIE!" BECAUSE IN MOVIES, PEOPLE, YOU HAVE THE LOOKY-LOOS ACTUALLY RUN WHEN GUNFIRE OR FIGHTING STARTS, THAT'S THE TROPE. THIS IS ACTUALLY ONE-UPPING THE STUPID.

OKAY, WHILE WE'RE HERE IN LOGIC-LAND, WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THE WORK / COLLEGE STUFF IN THIS FILM? HIGH SCHOOLERS WORKING FOR MAJOR CORPORATIONS? NOT PICKING A COLLEGE BY GRADUATION TIME AND JUST FLOATING AROUND? AND SUDDENLY BEING A GENIUS WHO WILL ONLY GO TO OXFORD FOR A MAGIC SCHOLARSHIP? WHY IS IT SO VAGUE AND OUT OF SYNC WITH ANY KIND OF REALITY OR TIMETABLE KIDS ACTUALLY LIVE IN? AREN'T THESE FILMS HELL-BENT ON BEING MORE REALISTIC ABOUT TEENAGERS OR SOMETHING? AND DOES PETER ACTUALLY THINK THERE'S A LOT OF CRIME AROUND OXFORD?

WAIT, WHAT THE FUCK DOES PETER DO FOR MONEY? DOES HE HAVE A JOB IN THESE MOVIES? DID THEY JUST WANT TO STAY AWAY FROM THE "EXTRANEOUS" SIDE-PLOTS WHEN THAT'S SO STUPID BECAUSE THEY SPEND THE ENTIRE MOVIE FUTZING AROUND AND THAT WOULD BE ONE WORTH ACTUALLY EXPLORING? OR IS HE SECRETLY A TRUST FUND KID CAUSE HIS DAD CAN AFFORD SECRET LABS IN A SUBWAY?

HULK'S JOKING, BUT YEAH, HOW THE HELL DOES A SUPPOSEDLY MIDDLE CLASS SCIENTIST HAVE A HIDDEN HYDRAULIC LAB IN AN ABANDONED SUBWAY?

WAIT, WHO GOES TO NURSING SCHOOL (WHICH COSTS MONEY) AS A WAY TO EARN MORE MONEY IN A PINCH? DON'T GET HULK WRONG, HULK'S A STAUNCH ADVOCATE OF EDUCATION EVENTUALLY LEADING TO MORE MONEY, BUT THE WAY IT'S EXPRESSED HERE BRINGS THE PROBLEMATIC LOGIC TO THE FOREFRONT.

WAIT, HAS PETER GRADUATED AND HAS NO IDEA WHAT HE'S DOING WITH COLLEGE? HAS THIS NEVER BEEN ADDRESSED? AND ONCE SEASONS CHANGE, HAS HE BEEN SITTING AT AUNT MAY'S JUST SUCKING HER MONEY AND MOPING AROUND? WHO THE FUCK IS THIS KID?

WHY SPEND ENTIRE NONSENSICAL AMOUNT OF SCENES WHERE MAY AND PETER KEEP SECRETS FROM EACH OTHER, WHICH ISN'T DONE FOR ANY REAL NARRATIVE OR DRAMATIC REASON? ESPECIALLY IF IT'S PLAYED LIKE SHE IMPLICITLY GETS THAT HE'S SPIDER-MAN AND BASICALLY GIVES HIS BIG SPEECH FOR HIM TO GET OUT THERE AT THE END?

WHY DOES PETER HAVE TO BE SO COOL AND INFALLIBLE THAT HE'S THE ONE WHO TEACHES HER A LESSON ABOUT HOW HE SHE HAS TO SHARE INFO ABOUT HIS BIRTH PARENTS?

AND WHY SPEND THE OPENING 15 MINUTES ON THE PARKER'S FINAL MOMENTS? YEAH IT MAKES US FEEL BAD FOR THEM, BUT DO WE REALLY NEED THAT BEAT? WHAT ELSE DOES IT REALLY ACCOMPLISH? WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH THIS STORY? DOES ANYONE EVENTUALLY DO ANYTHING WITH THAT INFORMATION BESIDES MAKING PETER FEEL BETTER? DID THE WHOLE FAMILY-SECRET BUSINESS REALLY JUST BUILD UP TO A POINT WHERE IT MATTERS-BUT-DOESN'T-MATTER?

REALLY, WHY IS ALL THE BACK STORY SET UP JUST TO NARRATIVELY GIVE SECRET MESSAGES TO PETER NOT JUST SO HE NEEDS TO HEAR WHAT HE NEEDS TO HEAR FOR NO REASON, BUT TO FEEL BETTER  AND LESS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS CHOICES? WHY HAS THIS FILM SERIES USED THIS EXACT TACT THREE TIMES?

IS THE DIRECTOR ACTUALLY IGNORANT OF THE IMPLICATIONS OF CHARACTER BEHAVIOR OR DID HE NOT CARE?

AFTER ALL, WHY DOES HARRY OSBORN TALK TO PETER LIKE HE OBVIOUSLY KNOWS HE'S SPIDER-MAN AND THEN ACT SURPRISED WHEN HE SEES HIM? WERE THEY REALLY THAT UNAWARE OF HOW DANE'S PERFORMANCE WAS COMING OFF? WERE THEY CLEARLY SO DAMN CONCERNED WITH MAKING THE HARRY REQUEST RESONATE TO PETER'S DILEMMA THAT THEY HAD HARRY OVERSELL THE REQUEST AND NOT REALIZE THAT THEY WERE IMPLYING HE WAS AWARE OF WHO HE WAS? HOW CAN SOMEONE MAKE CHOICES THAT ARE THAT LACKING IN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW PERFORMANCE TELLS US THINGS?

IS THAT THE SAME REASON HULK CAN'T TRACK THE EMOTIONAL ARC OF A SINGLE CONVERSATION BETWEEN PETER AND GWEN IN THESE FILMS? AND THE ENTIRE REASON WE DON'T NOTICE IS BECAUSE THE ACTORS CAN CHARM THE PANTS OFF US?

CAN WE IMAGINE HOW GOOD THOSE TWO WOULD HAVE BEEN WITH ACTUAL, MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE PUT UNDER THEIR PERFORMANCES?

CAN WE IMAGINE HOW GOOD THIS MOVIE WOULD BE IF THERE WAS A STORY THAT BACKED UP HOW GOOD THE MOVIE LOOKS?

AND IF EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT HOW GORGEOUS IT IS AND HOW GOOD IT LOOKS (AND IT LOOKS FUCKING GREAT), IS ANYONE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT WAS SHOT ON 35MM? AND IF EVERYONE THINKS IT LOOKS GREAT WHY ISN'T EVERYONE ELSE JUMPING BACK ON BOARD THE 35MM TRAIN W/R/T OUR SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS? I.E. THE ONE GROUP OF MOVIES THAT CAN AFFORD IT AND GAIN THE MOST BY LOOKING GOOD?

AND EVEN WITH THE BEAUTIFUL CINEMATOGRAPHY / GREAT USE OF COLOR / STRONG ACTION, WHY WOULD THEY NOT SHOOT THE CAMPY SCENES IN A WAY THAT EMPHASIZE THE JOKES INSTEAD OF KEEPING UP THE REALISTIC AESTHETICS? (THERE'S A REASON FOR RAIMI-CAM). DO THEY NOT REALIZE THAT SHOOTING CAMP REALISTICALLY JUST HIGHLIGHTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BROADNESS OF THE ACTIONS ON DISPLAY AND THE REALITY OF THE MOVIE ITSELF? AND THUS THAT IT JUST MAKES THE MOVIE SEEM CRAZY?

HOW CAN THEY GET SO MUCH ACTION RIGHT, AND THEN NONSENSICALLY THROW IN A BIT OF STAKES WITH TWO FLIGHTS GOING AT EACH OTHER DUE TO A POWER OUTAGE? THAT ARE FULL OF PEOPLE WE'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE? AND THEN NOT EVEN HAVE THE STORY UNDERSTANDING TO DIRECTLY CONNECT TO THE ACTION AS ANOTHER THING SPIDER-MAN HAS TO WORRY ABOUT? LIKE OF ALL THE THINGS TO INSERT INTO AN ACTION SCENE TO ADD DRAMA AND ANXIETY, WHY DO THIS? WHY NOT SELECT ANOTHER THING THAT HE'S ACTUALLY AWARE OF SO THAT IT'S ONE OF THE PLATES OUR HERO HAS TO KEEP SPINNING DURING THE ACTION SCENE? WHY DOES NOBODY EVER SEEM TO STEAL THAT GREAT TACTIC FROM SPIELBERG? WHY DOES NO ONE EVER REALIZE THAT UNLESS YOU ARE PLAYING UP THE CHARACTER'S LACK OF AWARENESS OF THEIR ACTIONS INADVERTENTLY CAUSING THE SOMETHING BAD TO HAPPEN, THEN YOUR AUDIENCE WON'T CARE? WHY DO SOMETHING SO TACTLESS?

HOW THE HELL CAN PEOPLE HEAR EACH OTHER TALKING LIGHTLY DURING ACTION SEQUENCES WHEN THEY ARE FOOTBALL FIELDS APART?

OH, AND A QUESTION GETTING AT AN ACTUAL GOOD THING: WHY DID WE NEVER THINK OF  WIND BEFORE? HULK TALKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF SOUND ALL THE DAMN TIME, LIKE HOW IT'S HALF THE EXPERIENCE, AND HOW IT'S THE PART THAT GIVES YOU A VISCERAL REACTION IN CINEMA, SO HOW DID NONE OF US EVER REALIZE THAT IT WAS SHOWING AND HEARING WIND THAT WAS THE DAMN MISSING INGREDIENT IN SPIDEY-SWINGING! SERIOUSLY, THE RIPPLES AND SOUND-SCAPE AS SPIDEY LEAPS AND FALLS REALLY HELP MAKE IT ENTHRALLING BECAUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME WE AREN'T WATCHING, WE ARE FEELING! HURRAY FOR GOOD OLD-FASHIONED, SMART, CINEMATIC STORYTELLING!

HOW DID THEY CREATE SOME ACTION BEATS SO GOOD (LIKE THE OPENING AND SPIDEY SAVING EVERYONE FROM BEING ELECTROCUTED ON THE STAIRS) AND OTHERS SO BORING?

WHY PULL OFF AN AMAZING GWEN-HEAD-THUNK MOMENT ONLY TO NOT CARRY THE OBVIOUSNESS OF THAT MOMENT THROUGH AND INSTEAD HAVE PETER DEAL WITH TOO MANY BEATS OF CONFUSION?

WHY DO THESE MOVIES NOT UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE TO GET THE HERO OUT OF THE MASK SOMETIMES BECAUSE THE HUMAN FACE IS SO DAMN EMOTIVE? YOU KNOW, LIKE THE WAY RAIMI ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD?

AND WHY DOES A SUPPOSED SCIENCE GENIUS NEED TO WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEO ABOUT HOW BATTERIES WORK?

OH, AND ARE WE SERIOUSLY GOING TO START PUTTING NEEDLESS NEWS-BRIEF EXPLANATIONS OF HOW THE "SCIENCE" OF ACTION SCENES JUST WORKED? AND LITERALLY PUT IT IN THE FORM OF AN ON THE STREET INTERVIEWER MAKING AN ASSUMPTION? AND THIS IS SOMEHOW GOING TO MAKE THE FINAL CUT OF AN ACTUAL MOVIE? IS THAT REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN?

WHY DO WE WASTE THE INCREDIBLE TALENTS OF EMMA STONE AND ANDREW GARFIELD AND NOT WRITE ACTUAL SCENES FOR THEM?

DOES THIS FILM HAVE THE MOST BEHAVIOR INCONSISTENCY EVER?

WHY DOES GWEN STACY GIVE A WEIRDLY INAPPROPRIATE GRADUATION SPEECH ABOUT DARKNESS AND HOPE THAT ONLY MAKES SENSE IF SHE DIES?

WAIT, IS GWEN STACY MAGIC? SHE SURE SEEMS LIKE IT. AFTER ALL, WE ACTUALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHO SHE IS ASIDE FROM BEING "CAPTIVATING" IN ALL RESPECTS AND GREAT AT EVERYTHING... BUT WHAT'S HER PSYCHOLOGY? WHAT DOES SHE WANT? WHAT ARE HER OWN CONFLICTS? HOW DOES SHE EXIST IN THESE FILMS OUTSIDE OF HOW MUCH PETER WANTS HER?

WHY DON'T WE CREATE CHARACTER PSYCHOLOGIES ANYMORE? WHY DO WE JUST SETTLE FOR  "PLEASANT TEXTURE" LIKE THE FIRST FILM USED?

DID SPIDER-MAN REALLY STOP DURING AN ACTION SCENE COMPLETE WITH PEOPLE IN DANGER TO PUT ON A FIREHAT?

HOW MANY MORE QUESTIONS COULD HULK ASK ABOUT IN REGARDS TO THIS FILM?

* * *

IMMEDIATELY AFTER SEEING THE TASM2, HULK TOOK TO TWITTER AND SAID THAT HULK WOULD PAY 50 BUCKS TO ANYONE WHO KNEW WHAT THE THEMATIC THROUGH-LINE OF THIS MOVIE WAS ABOUT. THE BEST REPLY CAME FROM @AKeshodia"immortality & hope, but that ends up being a plot device instead of theme" - IT'S A GREAT STATEMENT AND UTTERLY SHOWS THE WAY ALL MEANING IS PUT INTO A ROTE, LITERALIZED CONTRAPTION OF CONVENIENCE AND ORDER. BUT IT GOT HULK THINKING...

WHAT IF THE RENDERING OF THEME INTO PLOT DEVICE IS THE THEME?

WHAT IF THIS IS SYMBOLIC OF EVERYTHING WE ARE DOING TO MOVIES? WHAT IF THIS IS A FILM ABOUT THE WAY WE SHOVE NEW ITERATIONS INTO THE ICONOGRAPHIES OF EXISTING CHARACTERS? WHAT IF THIS IS ABOUT THE WAY HEROISM HAS BECOME A MAKE-SHIFT PLACEHOLDER FOR PEOPLE TO PUT THEIR EXISTING PROBLEMS INTO IT, PURELY AS A WAY OF JUSTIFYING THEIR WORST ASPECTS? WHAT IF IT IS PERFECTLY DESIGNED TO INDULGE YOU AND MAKE YOU THINK YOU'RE NOT BEING INDULGED? WHAT IF IT'S A DIRECT ATTEMPT TO EVISCERATE THE NOTION OF THEME AND MEANINGS THROUGH GOOD-TIMES PLACATION? WHAT IF THAT'S PERFECTLY REPRESENTATIVE OF HOW A 9/11 TRUTHER WOULD APPROACH SUPERHEROISM? AS IT IS THE PERFECT WAY TO CREATE A "PLOT" WHERE THERE IS ONLY SECRETLY THE REALITY OF INDIVIDUALISM BEING ENDORSED? WHICH IS NOT TO KEEP HARPING ON THAT ONE ISSUE WITH ONE PERSON INVOLVED IN THE MOVIE, BECAUSE REALLY THIS IS SO MUCH BIGGER. BECAUSE ARE WE GOING TO JUST KEEP APPROACHING IT ALL THIS WAY W/R/T ALL OUR I.P. RELATED STORYTELING?

AND WOULD THIS ALL WORK IF IT WAS A CRITICISM OF THIS TACT INSTEAD OF AN ENDORSEMENT OF IT?

WHY DON'T FILM STUDIOS REALIZE THIS MATTERS?

WHY DO THEY NOT REALIZE THAT THE ETHOS AND "WHAT YOU ARE SAYING" THROUGH YOUR DRAMATIC CONSTRUCTION MATTERS?  AND THE REASON HALF YOUR AUDIENCE PRACTICALLY SCREAMS IN REVOLT? IS THIS NOT CENTRAL TO EVERYTHING? WE KNOW WHAT TONY'S ABOUT. WHAT CAP'S ABOUT. WHAT THOR'S ABOUT... WHY DO WE SO READILY MESS UP WHAT SPIDEY'S ABOUT? OR WHAT SUPERMAN'S ABOUT?

DO THESE OTHER MOVIE STUDIOS EVEN KNOW WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? IF THEY DID UNDERSTAND THE WAY THEME IMPACTS AN AUDIENCE, WHY DO THEY KEEP HIRING AND ELEVATING A PAIR OF WRITERS THAT SO FALTER IN THIS ARENA? WHY AFTER EVERY TIME HULK SEES A MOVIE WRITTEN BY ORCI AND KURTZMAN DOES HULK HAVE A GIANT LAUNDRY LIST OF THESE QUESTIONS? THIS MAY SOUND JERKY, BUT WHY ARE WE LETTING A TRUTHER NEAR THE MORAL BASTIONS OF OUR CULTURE? (READ: OUR BEST SUPERHEROES) ALSO, WITH PRODUCERS, WHY ARE WE LETTING THEM (SECRETLY) FIGHT BETWEEN WHETHER OR NOT THE FILM IS TOUGH GUY POSTURING OR AN ACTION FILM WITH SENSITIVE ROMANTIC UNDERPINNINGS? WITH DIRECTING, YEAH HE'S A NICE AFFABLE GUY WHO HULK IS POSITIVE HAS A GREAT MOVIE IN HIM SOON, BUT WHY DID PEOPLE THINK HIRING HIM AGAIN WOULDN'T YIELD THE SAME STORY-TO-PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS? IS HE GOING TO OVERCOME THIS SOON OR IS HE EXACERBATING THIS? AND IS ANYONE GOING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS IS THE THIRD TIME IN A ROW THAT THE DIRECTOR HAS SLUNG A PLEASANT SHEEN OVER A SECRETLY MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE FILM?

AND IS IT ALL HAPPENING BECAUSE NO ONE UNDERSTANDS STORY?

AGAIN, HULK UNDERSTANDS THAT GOING AROUND TALKING ABOUT HOW HULK "UNDERSTANDS STORY" IS THE QUICKEST WAY TO MAKE HULK-SELF SOUND LIKE A JERK ASS. BECAUSE TO MANY, STORY IS SOME NEBULOUS THING THAT CAN BE APPROACHED ANY WAY. WHICH IS TRUE. OF COURSE THERE'S A GRAY AREA. BUT THERE'S A LANGUAGE THERE. AND YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT IT. YOU HAVE TO HAVE ENOUGH OF AN UNDERSTANDING TO CUT THROUGH THE BULLSHIT AND ZERO IN ON THE MOST FUNCTIONAL WAY TO APPROACH THE STORY THAT YOU WANT TO TELL, ALL WHILE CONTEXUALIZING ALL YOUR THEMES AND INSTINCTS. IT'S WHAT SEPARATES GOOD ART FILMS FROM BAD ART FILMS AND GOOD BLOCKBUSTERS FROM BAD BLOCKBUSTERS. AND MOST PROFESSIONALS ABSOLUTELY DO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING ABOUT STORY. SPIELBERG. KAUFMAN. DAVID CHASE. DAVID SIMON. VINCE GILLIGAN. SHAWN RYAN. HULK'S SORRY, BUT THESE PEOPLE KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT STORY FUNCTION.  AND IF YOU ACTUALLY LISTEN AND LEARN IN TERMS OF WHAT IS REALLY TRULY IMPORTANT YOU GET TO A PLACE WHERE YOU REALLY CAN DO THE BASICS (COMPLETE WITH DEBATING THE VARIATIONS TO YOUR HEART'S CONTENT). BUT IF YOU DON'T DO THAT, IF YOU ACCEPT THE NONSENSICAL "RULES" OF THE STUDIO INDUSTRY, THEN YOU GET A BUNCH OF MOVIES THAT UNDER-PERFORM AND LEAVE EVERYONE AT THE STUDIO SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS AS TO WHAT WENT WRONG, AND THEN BLAMING IT ON THE MARKETING OR FICKLE AUDIENCES OR SOME SHIT.

DOESN'T ANY ONE OF THEM REALIZE THAT THE REASON PLACES LIKE MARVEL, PIXAR, ETC ARE KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES IS THAT THEY ACTUALLY DON'T HAVE THEIR HEADS UP THEIR ASSES IN THIS ONE PARTICULAR ARENA? ISN'T IT BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT STORYTELLING ISN'T ABOUT HITTING CERTAIN BEATS BY PAGE X, OR SETTING UP AN ENTIRE CLOCKWORK SYSTEM OF WHEN THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPENING, BUT INSTEAD BY ESTABLISHING A CHARACTER ETHOS AND TELLING A STORY THAT BEST FITS THEIR PERSONALITY? COMPLETE WITH CONFLICTS THAT EMANATE FROM WITHIN THEM INSTEAD OF HAPPENING TO THEM? DOES ANYONE REALIZE THAT THESE MARVEL MOVIES START WITH THE CHARACTER AND THEN ASK, "OKAY WHAT KIND OF MOVIE WORKS AROUND WHO THEY ARE?" SHOULDN'T THE FACT THAT THESE MOVIES ARE ONLY "PRETTY GOOD" AND YET DO AMAZING BE A TESTAMENT TO HOW POWERFUL THIS APPROACH REALLY IS?

THERE'S A GREAT LESSON IN THAT NONE OF THESE MARVEL MOVIES ARE PERFECT. BELIEVE HULK, FILMS REALLY DON'T HAVE TO ARTICULATE IT PERFECTLY. IF TASM2 MERELY STUMBLED IN PARTS IT WOULD BE FINE. IT'S ABOUT THE CORE OF THE THING. AND IF THE CORE IS ROTTEN THEN IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT OTHER GOOD STUFF YOU CAN SLING IN THERE. AND PEOPLE KEEP BLAMING IT ON CIRCUMSTANCES OF PRODUCTION, LIKE KEEPING THE RIGHTS WITHIN THE TIME FRAME, BUT THAT'S NOT THE ACTUAL PROBLEM. HECK, HULK'S SEES GENIUS COME OUT OF HIGH-PRESSURE ALL THE TIME. THAT'S NOT WHAT'S ACTUALLY GOING WRONG. IT'S THAT A MOVIE NEEDS TO KNOWS WHAT IT WANTS TO BE ABOUT. IT CAN'T BE AT WAR WITH ITSELF. AND IT REALLY HAS TO HAVE SOME CLUE OF HOW TO GO ABOUT BEING ABOUT SOMETHING MORE THAN THE SUBCONSCIOUS PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES OF THE STORYTELLER (THAT'S WHEN IT EITHER GETS DANGEROUS OR BECOMES A REALLY FASCINATING EXPLOITATION FILM). HULK SWEARS, YOU MAY FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS AND CREATIVELY COME UP WITH THINGS OUT OF ETHER, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT STAYS IN, WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT'S "RIGHT" FOR THE STORY, THEN THE THE WHOLE "WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY" THING BECOMES YOUR GUIDING LIGHT IN STORY DECISIONS. THEN YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IS AND IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR A CHARACTER OR A TWIST.

AND IN THE END, THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS.

EBERT POPULARIZED THE OLD SAYING IN CRITICISM THAT "IT'S NOT WHAT IT'S ABOUT, IT'S HOW IT'S ABOUT." WHICH HAS ACTUALLY BEEN MISINTERPRETED A LOT. MANY THINK THAT MEANS YOU CAN'T HATE A FILM IF YOU FIND IT MORALLY REPUGNANT, YOU CAN ONLY DEBATE IT ON THE MERITS OF ITS ABILITY TO EXECUTE WHAT IT'S TRYING TO DO. BUT THAT'S ACTUALLY WRONG. EBERT'S QUOTE WAS MEANT TO GET AT THE AGE OLD ARGUMENT OF DEPICTION VS. ENDORSEMENT. TO GO ALL GODWIN'S LAW ON YOU, IF YOU MAKE A FILM ABOUT HITLER AND YOU HAVE A SCENE SHOWING HIS RISE TO POWER AND SHOW HOW THE POMP OF THE NAZIS HELPED RECRUIT PEOPLE, THAT DOESN'T OBVIOUSLY MEAN THE FILM IS ENDORSING HITLER. BECAUSE IT COULD BE CONTEXTUALIZING AS TO WHY PEOPLE JOINED UP, OR SETTING ALL THAT AGAINST ALL THE HORRIFIC THINGS THEY ALSO DID TO CREATE NEW MEANING HAPPEN THROUGH JUXTAPOSITION (YAY EISENSTEIN), OR YEAH, WITHOUT ANY OTHER CONTEXT CLUES IT COULD TOTALLY BE RIEFENSTAHL-ISH PROPAGANDA. AGAIN, IT'S NOT THE WHAT, IT'S THE HOW. BUT AFTER YOU SETTLE ON THE HOW, YOU BET YOUR BUTTONS YOU CAN CRITICIZE A FILM IF YOU FIND WHAT IT'S SAYING TO BE MORALLY REPUGNANT. CRITICS BEEN ARGUING THE MORALITY OF ART FOREVER. EVEN KAEL FAMOUSLY TORE INTO THE DIRTY HARRY MOVIES FOR BEING FASCISTIC (YOU CAN SAY IT'S JUST PULP, BUT THAT'S STILL WHAT THEY ARE). AND IT'S NOT JUST AN ALLOWED PART OF THE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE, BUT IMPERATIVE TO THE VERY PURPOSE OF ART IN THE FIRST PLACE. FOR WHAT ARE FILMS BUT A METHOD OF COMMUNICATION? FOR GIVING PEOPLE INFORMATION ABOUT THE WORLD THROUGH EXPERIENCE? OR TO QUOTE A SMART GUY, ISN'T ART THE THING THAT CAN "PLOUGH AND HARROW THE SOUL AND RENDER IT CAPABLE OF TURNING TO GOOD"?

SO WHY SHOULDN'T IT MATTER THAT HULK FINDS THESE TASM MOVIES TO BE MORALLY DISGUSTING? IS IT BECAUSE WE DON'T SPEND A LOT OF TIME LOOKING INTO THEMES? IS IT THAT EASY TO PULL THE WOOL OVER AN AUDIENCE? OR IS IT BECAUSE THE ARTISTS THEMSELVES DON'T UNDERSTAND JUST HOW HORRIFIC THEIR MESSAGE IS EITHER? IS IT BECAUSE IT'S HARD TO PARSE ALL THIS OUT?

BLURGH. THIS IS TOUGH.

BECAUSE THE ENTIRE GENESIS OF ALL THIS HULK STUFF WAS TO REACH INTO THE LARGER CONVERSATION IN CINEMA TO SHINE A LIGHT ON ALL THE GOOD THAT GETS EATEN UP IN OUR FREQUENTLY-PROBLEMATIC DIALOGUE. THE "NEVER HATE A MOVIE" ETHOS IS NOT REALLY ABOUT GENIAL ACCEPTANCE OF BAD PRODUCT, BUT THE REMOVING A GENERAL SENSE OF CYNICISM AND GETTING AWAY FROM AN EVERYTHING-OR-NOTHING CULTURE THAT MAKES THE CONVERSATION SO DIVISIVE AND UGLY. IT'S ACTUALLY JUST ABOUT HUMANIZING AND NORMALIZING THE DIALOGUE. IT'S ABOUT BRINGING US TO A KIND OF STASIS AND ACCEPTANCE OF ONE ANOTHER AND ANALYZING FILM AS PART OF A QUESTION FOR SELF-UNDERSTANDING. AND PERSONALLY SPEAKING, HULK CAN'T TAKE A TACT WHICH HELPS PERPETUATE THE IDEA THE HULK THING IS ABOUT STANDING BEHIND A WALL OF SECRECY AND LOBBING GRENADES AT PUBLIC STORYTELLERS IN A WAY FULL OF ACCUSATORY MALICE. IF HULK DOES THAT THEN THE MORALITY OF THE WHOLE THING FALLS APART. BUT REALLY, THAT'S NOT WHAT THIS ABOUT. THIS IS ABOUT THE INSTINCT TO HELP. TO GET TO THE HEART OF UNDERSTANDING. TO MAKE A PASSIONATE ARGUMENT IN THE REALM OF PUBLIC DISCOURSE IN THE NAME OF SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE.

BUT HOW TO DO ALL OF THAT IN THE FACE OF PURE "NARRATIVE-CORRUPTION"?

HULK KNOWS THAT SOUNDS SUPER EXTREME AND LIKE HULK'S TAKING IT SO FAR, BUT WHAT ELSE DO YOU CALL WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? DESPITE ANY GOOD INTENTIONS, SOMETHING IS GOING HORRIFICALLY WRONG HERE. AND AS A RESULT, WE'RE DEALING WITH A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING. A BRAND OF VILLAINY MASQUERADING AS HEROISM. WHICH MEANS THIS IS TRUE-BLUE INSIDIOUS STUFF THAT HULK SWEARS IS NO LESS INSIDIOUS, PSYCHOLOGICALLY SPEAKING, THAN WHAT RIEFENSTAHL DOES AND OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD IS HULK REALLY MAKING THIS COMPARISON? WELL, THE OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE IS ONE PERPETUATED THE GREATEST HORROR EVER TO BEGET MODERN MAN AND THE OTHER IS A MISUNDERSTANDING LEADING TO A BAD MESSAGE IN A SUPERHERO FILM, BUT WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE PERVERSION OF CINEMATIC INTENT, THEN THE COMPARISON WORKS. FOR TASM2 IS A FILM INADVERTENTLY USING SUPER-HEROISM TO JUSTIFY / BEAUTIFY / ENDORSE  A HORRIFIC PATHOLOGY. THE STAKES ARE INCREDIBLY DIFFERENT, BUT THE WAY IT AFFECTS US IS NOT.

SO WHAT ARE WE DOING? ARE WE JUST GOING TO CONSTRUCT MOVIES THAT SAY SECRETLY HORRIBLE THINGS THROUGH PATHOLOGY? IF WE ARE GOING TO MISTAKE ONE IDEA FOR THE OTHER, TO LITERALLY EMBODY THE PROBLEMS OF HEROISM-GONE-AWRY, AND TO EXERCISE IT ALL IN A STEALTHY WAY THAT SAYS "HEY KIDS BE LIKE THIS!" THROUGH THE MOST ATTRACTIVE SCENARIOS ON EARTH, AND TO HAVE A STUDIO PROPAGATE THAT... WELL... IS THAT (NARRATIVELY SPEAKING) THE MOST IMMORAL THING A STUDIO CAN DO?

IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER IF THEY DIDN'T MEAN TO.  "BAD THINGS" ARE ALWAYS ABOUT THE PUTTING OF ONE PERCEIVED NEED OVER ANOTHER (AS A CERTAIN TITULAR CHARACTER COULD LEARN). HECK, "NOT MEANING TO" IS THE REASON MOST PEOPLE ALLOW THEMSELVES TO COMMIT BAD ACTS IN THE FIRST PLACE, FOR IT IS THE SUBCONSCIOUS PERMISSION TO AN INSTINCT.

SO  HOW DO YOU DO THAT? WHEN FACED WITH THE MOST INSIDIOUS, HORRIBLE STORYTELLING EVER, HOW DO YOU BRING ABOUT RE-EXAMINATION? HULK'S PLACE IS SUPPOSED TO ALWAYS OFFER THE BEST, MOST HUMANE PARTS OF WHAT HULK CAN OFFER, BUT IS IT TIME FOR A GOOD HULK TO GO TO WAR? (AND LET THE DEMONS RUN?) HOW DO YOU TAKE EVERY GOOD INSTINCT INSIDE YOUR BODY AND HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH RATIONAL PEOPLE AND TELL THEM HEY, THAT SIMPLE INNOCUOUS SUPERHERO MOVIE THAT LOOKS GREAT AND STUFF SHOULD ACTUALLY HAVE  SKULL AND LITTLE X'S ON IT?  HOW DO YOU DO THAT? IS THIS JUST THE FILM THAT BREAKS HULK? BECAUSE HULK IS 100% AWARE THAT HULK COULD SEEM LIKE A RAVING LUNATIC AT THE MOMENT. IS THAT THE GREAT IRONY OF LETTING TRUTHERS WRITE MOVIES? THAT WHEN YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW THAT PSYCHOLOGY INADVERTENTLY CREATES HORRIFIC MOVIES IT TURNS YOU INTO THE TRUTHER LOON ABOUT THE TRUTHER LOON? SHOULDN'T IT ALL BE OBVIOUS? BUT HOW DOES THIS CONVERSATION HELP US MORE THAN IT HURTS US? HOW CAN HULK RECTIFY ALL THIS? DOES THIS ONE JUST GET TO THE EXISTENTIAL QUESTION AT THE HEART OF MORALITY MOVIES?

ARE WE ACTUALLY GOING TO TRY AND UNDERSTAND?

OR ARE WE GOING TO BURN THIS MOTHER TO THE GROUND?

<3 HULK

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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