I wish I knew what happens in the minds of film makers when they make choices like these. Sure, the mandate for many super hero films has been "make this as real as possible" over the last 10 years or more, even where The X-Men and a world of Mutants was concerned (see boring black motorcycle outfits), but since then, we've had The Avengers. Game changer. A norse god from outer space fighting alongside a technologically astounding armored man, a super soldier from the World War 2 era, 2 super spies and a giant green monster who is nearly indestructible. If we could suspend our disbelief for two hours of that, why be so concerned with what else we'll swallow? We are talking about Marvel Comics properties, with no end of amazing stories to mine and characters who will tear your heart out, mentally...and sometimes physically. How could you go wrong?
The first Amazing Spider-Man movie saw a younger seeming, more fragile Peter Parker go toe to toe with The Lizard. While the overly intricate, basketball inspired costume took a lot of getting used to (and a lot of braincells suppressed to buy into a kid with no money putting it together), the result was very enjoyable. Make no mistake...the Lizard was a MONSTER. He may not have been exactly the monster from the classic Spider-Man comics we had come to love, but his massive scale and unlikely origin had to mean we could get propper incarnations of the rest of Spidey's rouge's gallery...right? .....Right?
Flash forward to ...this.
A Rhino inspired by The Transformers..a Green Goblin that still appears to be heavy on the techy side and Electro..well...I can get used to him. Hell, the old yellow and green costume was never going to get a thumbs up. THE MAN HAD LIGHTNING BOLTS COMING OFF HIS FACE MASK!! He looked like a little kid in a school play about weather. That's real talk.
Now here's the important question...will it work? I've got some faith. I very much enjoyed the first film. I feel it struck all the right notes, never got too bogged down in the love story (something MANY tellings of Spider-Man have drowned in), employed some great, modern music to tug at your heart strings and action that spoke to the core character of our favorite web head. Sure, they crammed those New York Strong moments down our throats...but it was forgivable. With all that in mind, I have no doubt the core essence of the character will be in place for this sequel. Dig the trailer...
So we've got three villains, massive destruction in the city and a tease of the rest of the Sinister Six via Vulture's wings and Doc Oc's tentacles at OsCorp. How about some allies for Spider-Man? They've got the entire Spider universe to mine. There has to be SOME super heroes not tied to other franchises they can introduce. Black Cat is the most obvious. Could Cloak and Dagger join in? How about a slightly mentally unhinged Moon Knight? Even better...Heroes for Hire? Spider-Man knows he needs help against the Sinister Six so he calls in these new, street level heroes. What could be more fun??
While I came to accept the new Amazing Spider-Man outfit, the film makers heard your legions of hate mail loud and clear and went back to a more iconic look for Spider-Man. Victory. We saw a very timid looking, perhaps all too young version of Mary Jane walking the streets of New York and the public had steam coming from their ears. It seems the film makers listened to that as well and the character has been swept under the rug..for now. With all this feedback taken into account, it baffles me how Sony can step forward with a robot Rhino and be proud...and expect us to love it. Are they making the film SPECIFICALLY for us? No..but they've absolutely shown they care about what we think. 100% of the fun of the Rhino character is in his facial expressions and dim-witted intellect locked inside that massive body. If you can make a giant Lizard man, you can absolutely make a huge dude in a second skin with a horn on his head and make it believable. Hell, if there is an air of ridiculous about it..even better. Spider-Man tends to get the best of Rhino by crap-talking him into making major mistakes, and what could be better than that outfit as fuel for comedy?
Rant over...fingers crossed. I'll be there opening day with my familiar chant of "please be good..please be good...please be good..." Let's hope.