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AICN BOOKS! Adam Balm’s Back With Our First Review Of SPIDER-MAN 3... Sort Of!!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here. Adam Balm is working to find solid genre material to review for us, and so far, I think he’s delivered some great columns for us, and this month, he’s got another good one that includes his review of the novelization of SPIDER-MAN 3. Check it out, and then drop by The Zone to let him know what you think and to continue the conversation:

So summer is coming quickly upon us, and one cool thing about the SF book industry is, unlike the film industry, the blockbuster season and awards season are one in the same. Summer's when we got WorldCon and the Hugos, we got Nebulas the happening, the Arthur C. Clarkes, and we got the years best science fiction and fantasy collections. And this year we'll also see the last Harry Potter book and the last Dune book. I'm going to do my best to cover all of them, except for the Arthur C. Clarkes, and I'll tell you why. As many probably know, Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day have been ruled ineligible because the UK publishers wouldn't provide the judges with free review copies. So in my eyes, the ACC's have lost their credibility this year, and I would encourage those interested to boycott the awards. Anyway, moving on... Spider-Man 3 [SPOILERS] by Peter David (based on the screenplay by Alvin Sargent) Pocket Star Even allowing for the fact that this is a novelization - and so granted there's always going to be some expanding to get a 100 page screenplay into a 350 page book - but even allowing for that, Spider-Man 3 feels like a lot thrown in at once. Much like X3: The Last Stand, it feels like they took the two or three directions they liked the most and decided to go with all of them at the same time. Or maybe it's just that there's too many plot threads to wrap up, too many new characters introduced that don't get the development they deserve. Peter David seems to be Marvel's go-to guy for novelizations these days. With the Hulk, he made a dark and bewildering movie a little lighter and easier to understand, and with Fantastic Four he made a light and funny movie a little...lighter and funny. I don't know how much is David's work here and how much is the original screenplay, likewise I don't know how what's changed since the earlier draft that David most likely would have worked off of, so a bit of a warning before I get into the nitty. And this whole thing is going to be spoiler territory so let them avoid, that must. The first thing we notice starting out is that this isn't the hated and misunderstood spidey of the first two films. His face is plastered everywhere, and not in wanted posters either, but up on billboards and the jumbotron in Times Square along with the words 'NYC <3 Spider-Man!' He's now the unofficial 'face' of New York. The board of tourism decided to use him as a way of making everyone feel safe again, in these crazy times. It's the only city that has a Spider-Man looking out for you. Peter has reached the top and has all he could hope for. All the conflict and indecision in him, the love unrequited, has all evaporated. People love him. And more importantly...Mary Jane loves him. Not too much has changed since we last saw him. He still works freelance at the Bugle, Harry still hates him but isn't making any moves. He has a new lab partner in Dr. Conners' class, named Gwen Stacy. And though he just met her, Gwen's actually known about him for a long time. Her father (Captain Stacey) was the first on the scene after Uncle Ben's murder, and he often retold the story of the grief stricken youth who watched his uncle die. The first third of the story takes place all in the span of one night, the night that Peter's (almost) perfect little world is shattered. It's the opening night of Mary Jane's big Broadway debut, and also coincidentally the night of a meteor shower. After the show, Peter and MJ go off to some secluded spot to watch the cosmic fireworks. It's here (as we already know from the footage online) that Peter realizes that he's going to ask Mary Jane to marry him. Peter can be forgiven for not noticing that after one of the meteors crash nearby, an alien goo seems to emerge and attaches itself to Peter's shoe. Afterwards is the scene that's been placed online where he heads to Aunt May's place to give her the news, and its on his way back that Harry attacks him in full on Goblin mode. This doesn't go to well for Harry, and he ends up in the emergency room flat-lining. Spidey 3 is actually a lot like Superman Returns, to be honest. This is a story of fathers and their children: Harry's quest for vengeance mirrors Peter's, Flint Marko's turn to crime was to provide for his sick daughter. It's ironic that Flint Marko's reasons for becoming a criminal (and ultimately killing Uncle Ben) are more noble than Peter's initial reason for becoming Spider-Man. (Naked self-interest, to win the wrestling prize money to impress Mary Jane.) I'm not sure where Eddie Brock fits in to that analysis, partly because I'm not sure how Eddie Brock fits in the story in general. He feels a bit tacked on, like he belongs more in a Spidey 4 than this movie. Which is sad because at least the way David portrays him, Brock is the most three dimensional of all the characters. Brock's dating Gwen, at least he thinks he is. And he's now Spidey's new personal photographer, at least he thinks he is. He's as pathetic and pitiful an antagonist as Peter can be as a protagonist. They cross paths when suddenly (after Peter working freelance for years) a staff job opens up, and JJ decides it'd be sporting to watch them go head to head for it. So he tells them that the first one who gets a shot of Spidey being the fake, the criminal, the menace that he knows he is...gets the job. One thing you can always count on from Peter David is the little in-jokes and nods to the comics, or to fandom in general. There's a part where Peter, upon seeing a kid spraying a toy Spider-Man webshooter, remarks to himself that he couldn't even begin to imagine how he would've built webshooters for himself if he didn't have the organic ones. A little forced? Maybe.. One annoying thing is how much Flint Marko's motivation and arc feel a little too much like Doc Oc from the last go-round. Which isn't too complex: He needs money, so he robs banks. Far more interesting is Brock's turn to venom, which sadly we only just get in the final act. One thing to ponder is how much of Venom is Brock, and how much of it was Peter. It's fascinating that it's actually harder to watch Brock's descent than it is Peter's. We're used to seeing Peter suffer. The final battle goes pretty much as has been rumored. I don't feel the need to spoil something twice. Everyone already knows how Harry figures in. By its nature, the fight scenes in a comic book film are going to lack a certain suspense: you know that the hero is going to be okay, and that the bad guy obviously won't. So I was surprised by just how violent the big four-man brawl really was, by just how bad Spidey gets his ass handed to him. You end up actually thinking to yourself "Could... this... be... the end of Spider-Man? *gasp*". In the end, I guess you could say it's a satisfying conclusion to the series, if they do decide to end it here. The last scene ties up nicely with that of the first film, and you walk away knowing that while there's always more stories to tell, it doesn't feel like they absolutely need to tell them. One door is closed, another opens. As it should be. Keeping It Real: Quantum Gravity Book One by Justina Robson Pyr Justina Robson is part of the much talked about 'new weird' coming out of the UK. Whether she considers herself that would be interesting to find out. Nearly everyone who has been placed in that category (Except China Mieville, probably has something to do with the fact that he created the category..) has disputed it. In that way it's a lot like the New Wave out of the UK 40 years earlier. Like most of the new weird, she's been a virtual critical darling. From the John W. Campbell award to the Philip K. Dick award, to the BSFA, and being short-listed for the Arthur C. Clarke, she's had no shortage of buzz or acclaim. The reason I bring this up is that I wonder how many of those critics who gave that acclaim will respond to Keeping it Real. This isn't a novel by someone looking to win awards. This is a novel hard to define, and not in an artsy-fartsy way. This is a novel that, like the realities that shatter into one, tears apart all genre conventions and mixes them together into something new. And if that were enough to stack against it: In a male-dominated industry, this is a novel written by someone channeling their inner teenage girl, writing for teenage girls. Last month I spoke about SF needing to change or die. In an essay by Kristine Kathryne Rusch that appeared in Asimov's last year "In [2003], SF counted for 7 percent of all adult fiction books sold. In 2001, SF counted for 8 percent. The literary trend spirals downward while the media trend goes up. Half the new television dramas introduced in 2005 were science fiction, fantasy, or had a fantastic element. Most of the movies in the top twenty for the past five years have been SF. Nearly all of the games published have been SF." The print SF world has been falling behind for decades. It can expand to reach out to this new audience, or it can continue to be incestuous and cannibalistic. Right now the only entry point for new readers is media tie-ins. But Keeping it Real may turn out to be one example of the change that SF may want to embark on. Because this isn't SF for SF readers. This is SF for a generation raised on anime, manga, and MMORPGs. This is SF for the Wii gamer. Keeping it Real begins as a kind of Robocop-meets-The Body Guard. After death threats on the life of Zal Ahriman, lead singer of the No-shows, cyborg special agent Lila Black, is assigned to protect him. Normally this wouldn't be too interesting, but this appears to be a special case. Zal's an elf, and besides elves not being the most hard core lot ("OMGZ, Elves don't rock!") we learn that elves have cut off all contact with our world (Known as Ootopia, or what was once called 'earth' before the Quantum Bomb.) years ago. And not just any elf. We learn that he has carefully hidden his past, he has ties to Demonia, the realm of the demons, eternal opposites and enemies of the elves. He seems to have a part to play. We learn that he is a focal point, that his assassination could shatter all the six realms, separating them all for good. And if that's not enough problems for Lila, she appears to be caught in a 'Game' with the elf. Whoever loses will not be able to love again for the rest of their lives. Normally this could read like the worst Worlds of Warcraft slash fiction you could find on the net. "A sexy and mysterious cybernetic cyborg has to protect an equally mysterious and equally sexy elfin rock star, who she seems to be caught in magical version of 'playing hard to get'..." Which again, is probably another reason why KiR may not find itself as welcome among critics as her previous work. If that's the case, I think it's our loss as a genre. Space Boy by Orson Scott Card Subterranean Press Historically, Orson Scott Card has always been at his best when he's writing for kids. Besides Ender, you can look at his comic work on Ultimate Iron Man. But with Space Boy, to my knowledge, this marks the first illustrated children's book that he's done. How does he do? It's short, but sweet. It feels kind of like something he wrote on a Sunday afternoon, or something he might've told his kids as a bedtime story, or maybe something he did for the check...who knows. It does what it needs to do in a children's story. Your average everyday kid has an otherworldly encounter, and is swept off to adventure and yada yada. You get the idea. Todd is thirteen years old. By the age of four he had memorized the planets of the solar system. By seven he had memorized their orbits and distances, and by ten he had memorized all the constellations. That's about the height of his achievement. Despite his dreams of being an astronaut, he's no good at math or science, and he's no better at sports either. He's quite certain, even at this young age, that he'll grow up to be nothing spectacular. In other words, he'll probably be like his father, who he holds in contempt. The major reason for his dislike for his father, as we discover, goes back to his mother's disappearance four years ago. Four years ago his mother seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. His brother says the 'monster in the closet' took her. Todd had never believed his brother until the day Eggo, the elf from the parallel universe, was crapped out the anus of an interdimensional worm onto his front lawn. His mother, he finds out, has been trapped on their planet for the last few years, a tiny ultra-dense world where she can exist only as a kind of transparent mist. So of course Todd has to go journey to Eggo's tiny ultra-dense world, and though he has no idea how, he has to save his mother. This ends up involving sticking a garden hose up the interdimensional worm's butt. If this was anyone except OSC I'd ask "Were you high while you wrote this?" but I don't think his religion, nor his wives, would approve of it.... Anyway, strangely enough, it all seems to work. It reads like the kind of story you'd come up with as a kid, as the best children's stories should. Gradisil by Adam Roberts Pyr It's morning on October 4, 2004 in the Mojave desert. The sun hasn't risen yet on the west coast. It's the anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, the dawn of the space age. And here a man named Burt Rutan and a couple dozen of his employees are about to launch the first manned non-governmental space vehicle for the second time----and with it, launch a new space age. That was the goal of the Anzari X-Prize, a 10 million dollar bounty for whoever could launch a _ into space, and do it again within _ months. And I realized something: This was the first manned American spacecraft to launch since the break-up of space shuttle columbia over Palestine, Texas two years before. NASA still had its shuttle fleet grounded, its entire future in question. And here was a group of guys in the middle of the desert, literally working out of a garage, using airplane parts and off-the-shelf rocket engines. This wasn't the top-down space travel we were promised in 2001. This is bottom up. This is tweakers and hackers seeing how far they can push technology by themselves. This is the future that Gradisil explores. Modeled after Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy of greek tragedies, it's a multi-generational saga of man's colonization of the high frontier of low-earth-orbit. It's epic SF in the vein of Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy or Allen Steele's Coyote trilogy, although it feels like it could have been written in the days of Heinlein. And perhaps most profoundly, it's a story about two Americas: The America that WAS (reflected in the rustic frontiersmen of the uplands) and the America that IS (reflected in the ambitious and expansionist US that launches a war to gain dominance of the new frontier.) In the story, a new technology has emerged that allows space-planes to coast along the currents of the earth's magnetic field. (No, it's not possible, but nevermind that for now.) Suddenly space is cheap, and space is there for anyone who can get there. Now the sky is filled with the 'up-lands', a new nation being born in space, born of tweakers and rich eccentrics and pioneers...all eager to slip the surly bonds of earth and escape to a new life, into the lawless and wild world that is the black sky above. It's a place free of the laws of the modern world, free for you to make whatever life you choose, a libertarian's dream. But the dream becomes a nightmare when Klara's father is seemingly murdered, and with no law in space, the authorities can do nothing to help but shrug with a sigh of 'sucks to be you.' We follow the life of Klara, her daughter Gradisil (from which the book draws its name) and her son Hope through war, tragedy, revenge, destruction and finally a kind of rebirth. Gradisil is written as if there hasn't been a dozen books and hundreds of shorts out each year since the 50s about this subject. It reads like this isn't the most overdone trope in the history of the genre. We've heard the criticism for decades, mostly from the British SF writers, that science fiction is mostly 'space westerns' (to use Stephen Hawking's term), that the old American tropes of frontiers and immigrants seeking a new life is a genre organ transplant that isn't applicable to space colonization. Gradisil reads like this subject hasn't been covered, re-covered, become cliche, been resurrected, brought out and tried discarded again and again every 20 years or so. Nearly every SF author or SF fan has been bored to tears by the 'space as the high frontier' trope. It was hauled out again and dusted off in the 90s, as ALH84001 and Sojourner made everyone excited about hard 'near-space' fiction again, but since then it's fallen once again into disrepair and sits in the used car lot of worn out ideas, waiting to be recycled. Adam Roberts writes like he's either ignorant or unconcerned with this fact, but there in lies the genius. With Gradisil...ignorance is bliss. The sins of Gradisil turn out to be its virtues. It's not trying to writing about something new, it's trying to write new about something. It takes someone who isn't decades-long-immersed in the subject to make it feel new again. It doesn't read like the trope is stale and tired. It reads like watching a wide-eyed child looking up at the sky, after you've sneered at the stars in contempt for so long. Inside every jaded SF fan you'll find the 12 year old Heinlein reader. We're all afraid to even get excited about space travel like we used to. It's not 'relevant'. Michael Moorcock told us all to explore innerspace, remember? It's interesting that Gradisil probably would have been rejected by Astounding. The magnetohydrodynamic space plane is physically impossible. Do a search for magnetic levitation propulsion on the net, and you'll find a million crank ideas on it going back decades, none of which have passed laboratory testing. But nevermind that. The technology is a mcguffin, it's no more important how they work than how James Blish's 'spindizzies' enabled entire cities to be lifted off the ground and cruise the cosmos faster than light. And despite the implausibility of central technology, there's an unbelievable amount of detail and research that Roberts has put into this. From little things like needing to wear CO2 scrubbing masks while you sleep (In zero g, your own breath hangs around right in front of your face, and your own respired carbon dioxide can asphyxiate you.) to the unfeasibility of huge '2001' ring stations because of the effects of Coriolis forces on the vestibular system, making your head swim every time you take a step. Both of these have been seen elsewhere in SF, but it's nice to see Roberts doing his homework. There's an old saying about good science fiction: Pick one. You can have good science or you can have good fiction. You have your Hal Clements, your Poul Andersons and Gregory Benfords whose science are unassailable but whose dialog and characterization are barely above Star Wars fan fiction; and then you have your Ursula Le Guinns, your Samuel R. Delanys, your J.G. Ballards and Brian Aldisses who are as interested in science as The Prisoner was interested in the criminal justice system. In choosing between good science or fiction, Adam Roberts works incredibly hard to reach the former, but he achieves the latter effortlessly. So stop by the Zone to discuss these and other books with me in the AICN BOOKS Forum, or drop me an e-mail if you've got something I should read. Thanks. Adam Balm.
Readers Talkback
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  • March 29, 2007, 8:01 a.m. CST

    uh...

    by jimmy rabbitte

    ok then...

  • March 29, 2007, 8:11 a.m. CST

    all i want to know is does MJ survive?

    by filmcoyote

    cause if Kirsten doesn't buy the farm in this one i ain't watching it. i so want the introduction of Gwen to mean the end of Dunst.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:14 a.m. CST

    biggest question is will they be able to fit everything

    by just pillow talk

    in the movie? Lets hope Sam doesn't shortchange characters due to all the plotlines going on at once. Still can't wait for this movie!

  • March 29, 2007, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Well, I've felt from the get-go that Venom...

    by Childe Roland

    ...seemed to have been shoe-horned into the picture. So this review doesn't give me a lot of hope that isn't the case.<p>But, hearing how familiar Sandman's arc is (criminal doing bad with noble intent), I guess I'll be glad for some diversion later in the film.<p>I'd really like this to be good.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:20 a.m. CST

    So Sandman really DID kill Ben Parker??

    by dropofahat

    So Sandman really DID kill Ben Parker?? AAAARRRGHH!!! That's so... "Lost"

  • March 29, 2007, 8:23 a.m. CST

    very true

    by just pillow talk

    I was hoping that it was just a mistake that Sandman killed Uncle Ben.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Re: So Sandman really DID kill Ben Parker??

    by The_Maxx

    Apparently yes, so there goes the last of resemblance from the original story away

  • March 29, 2007, 8:28 a.m. CST

    Reviewer: Needing Money is the Only Reason I Like

    by stlfilmwire

    It is the most believable motivation for a criminal. What other reason should there be for Flint? Rule the world? That is stupid.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:34 a.m. CST

    pillow talk & The_Maxx

    by dropofahat

    I guess there's a chance that the movie isn't exactly like the novelization, maybe it turns out someone made Peter think that Sandman killed Ben... But I guess not, seems like it's all tied in with Gwen & her dad. Argh. It's so... "Scream 3".

  • March 29, 2007, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Really good work, Adam.

    by Nordling

    Also, there's some films that have had more stuff than what the novelizations told about, so although the book may be the majority of the story, I'm sure there will probably be a surprise or two.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Review The Pandora's Box Trilogy Book One:Into the Void

    by dead youngling

    Somebody wake up and review this new YA fantasy book! Anyone interested in this genre should not miss out! Middle schoolers are devouring this at my school. Yeah, it's self-published, but I know the author, and he wanted to take the Paolini (though his book is nothing like Paolini) route and have the publishers come to him through sales. This site could help launch this series into the stratosphere and take credit for it. See the teaser on the myspace page.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Does MJ take a load of Venom to the face !!!

    by greekopa

    Pig

  • March 29, 2007, 9:08 a.m. CST

    I hope they don't kill Venom

    by kafka07

    They should give Venom his own spin-off (pun intended). Hek since they're giving Wolverine his own movie. The final battle in Spidey 3 will be awesome though. I wonder what "door opens" at the conclusion of this film.

  • March 29, 2007, 9:13 a.m. CST

    ZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

    by seppukudkurosawa

    [/end injoke]<p> </p>Nice review, Balmy!

  • March 29, 2007, 9:15 a.m. CST

    dropofahat - I just don't like that decision

    by just pillow talk

    I hope Sam has something up his sleeve then. The thief who killed Ben is dead, dead I tell ya!

  • March 29, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST

    I know this is a book review and all

    by Franklin T Marmoset

    But it just doesn't seem right to review Spider-Man 3 without going on about how shit the CGI effects were. I mean, this Adam guy seems alright, but he should have gone the extra mile to imagine an animated Spidey made of effects that were not quite perfect and therefore worthy of tongue lashing the likes of which Mo Slater might give you.<p>Good work Adam, but you will be kicking yourself when you realise how much that extra paragraph about weight and physics and whatnot would have added to your article.

  • March 29, 2007, 9:50 a.m. CST

    "Her father was first on the scene..."

    by JackPumpkinhead

    So I guess it's like Star Wars, where everyone knows one another and is from the same town on the same planet? I wonder if she's actually his sister...

  • March 29, 2007, 9:51 a.m. CST

    "...actually a lot like Superman Returns"

    by JackPumpkinhead

    Oh, good heavens. Do you realize that such words are a kiss of death?

  • March 29, 2007, 10:05 a.m. CST

    I'm betting this is nothing like Superman Returns

    by skycrapper

    The fact that this movie will have like 5 superhero brawls and Venom puts it above Superman Returns. Movie novelization almost always do no justice to the actual movie. They shouldn't even bother.

  • March 29, 2007, 10:35 a.m. CST

    You're betting?

    by Lost Prophet

    I'm fucking praying. Never has one phrase killed my interest as much as that one. <p>The whole killing uncle ben thing bores me now. they should move on.

  • March 29, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Book better than movie...

    by Gatack

    Oh yeah the Episode III novel was better. Makes me regret reading that first before the movie. http://tinyurl.com/29jx5y

  • March 29, 2007, 10:48 a.m. CST

    Damn you Michael Bay

    by MCMLXXVII

    Damn you Michael Bay

  • March 29, 2007, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Yeah... I HATE the fact that everyone seems to know...

    by stlfilmwire

    ...each other. Can't someone be an absolute stranger that comes in and kicks ass? Why are all the freaks co-workers, best friends, and crap like that. That is what I HOPED they would change.

  • March 29, 2007, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Everyone knowing each other IS Spider-man-ish.

    by Style_92

    They bent over backwards in the comics to make those connections. In Fact, Steve Ditko didn't want Norman Osbourne to be the Green Goblin. He wanted GG to turn out to be just a random guy. Sort of his message that "shit happens." Stan Lee thought it would be cooler if it was Osbourne, so that's what happened.<br> <br> So don't be that surprised that Sam is gutting Spidey's origin just to make the villain connect better. (If anything, it's more Burton Batman than Lost.)

  • March 29, 2007, 11:48 a.m. CST

    RE Gatack: Ep III novel/movie

    by Style_92

    When I first read and saw ep III in 2005, I agreed with you. But I ultimately let the novel go, when I realized that the novel cheated anikin more than the movie. The novel made it clear that everything he did was just for the sake of Padme. The movie admitted that there was hubris, wounded pride, and a lust for power involved too.

  • March 29, 2007, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Singer did fumble the ball on SR

    by Style_92

    But he fumbled it in the best possible way: a love of the source material and love of the character and the attempt to do something new deep with him. Singer, in the end, just made a technically great but boring Superman movie. And pieces of it, such as Routh's performance, are excellent. It just doesn't come together well.<br> <br> At least Spidey 3 has enough villains and action to mix it up. I just worry that they commited the sin of B&R and the movie is going to have TOO much happening at once. Also, I'm worried that the symbiote won't seem credible in Raimi's Spidey, which so far has had it's feet grounded in reality.

  • March 29, 2007, 1 p.m. CST

    I could absolutely positively swear...

    by Fecal Debris

    ...that someone at the Bugle, probably Robertson, mentioned Eddie Brock in 1 or 2. It was just a little throwaway phrase, like a nod to Venom fans at the time, but I swear it's there, which means, it doesn't make sense that Brock is 'hired' now. He was already working there.

  • March 29, 2007, 1:02 p.m. CST

    damn, since I was gonna rewatch the first two

    by just pillow talk

    in preparation for the third one, I gotta check for that reference then Abom. I somehow missed that.

  • March 29, 2007, 1:04 p.m. CST

    I ordered the novel but haven't gotten it yet

    by Fecal Debris

    from Amazon. I did, however, receive the 'storybook' for my kids, and it plays out like the above review. However, the story book for Spidey 2 was NOT the same as the movie. The part where Doc Oc goes for Peter Parker isn't by throwing a car through a coffeeshop window, but by grabbing Peter while he's riding his moped, and there's no wedding scene at the end. Rather, Peter and MJ simply decide that although they love each other, they'll just be friends, and that way Peter is allowed to keep being Spidey.

  • March 29, 2007, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Style

    by Lost Prophet

    I violently disagree with that. Singer didn't love, let alone understand the character- the list is too long to go into, but the basic premise of Superman deciding to fuck off for 5 years is totally against character. Not to mention the pathetic stalking and other crimes. <p>Routh was good, and unlike everyone else involved with that atrocity deserves another chance, but not great.

  • March 29, 2007, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Pillowtalk and SPOILERS, and Spidey's ass

    by Fecal Debris

    I'm trying to remember where it is, but I can't. I'm guessing it's in Spidey 1, right before Peter is hired, and Jonah has a hard-on for some Spidey photos, and Robertson or the other guy (the funny white asst. ed. guy with the glasses) says they have Brock working on it. Or maybe I'm crazy, and Brock isn't mentioned at all, and my brain retconned this whole thing. Probably both.<p> SPOILER ALERT!! I MEAN it!! Don't read if you don't want to know! Turn back NOW!! I will say this though HUGE SPOILERS the kid's storybook version of 3 has Harry FORGET he's the New Goblin and that he wants to kill Pete after Pete knocks him down in the alley and he hits his head. So, for a time, they are friends again. But SPOILER later his dad's ghost 'talks' to him again, he remembers he's goblin, and he attacks Pete, at which time Pete launches a pumpkin bomb at him and Harry gets disfigured. Oh, and SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Venom enlists Sandy for help in nailing Spiderman, and yeah, Harry does come to help Pete. The story book is very vague and does not say how Spidey / Pete defeats Sandy, or whether Harry dies. It does indicate that SPOILER Peter uses the fact that he knows Venom will be vulnerable to sound. I won't say how he uses it. Other spoilers? OK. Gwen Stacy is a fashion model that Spidey rescues from a photo shoot gone wrong when a wayward crane shreds its way into the upper floors of an office building. Turns out Peter knows Gwen from school, and Gwen knows Peter (but not Spidey) because her dad was the first cop on the scene of Ben's shooting, and he, Capt. Stacey, saw Peter's grief. More spoilers? OK. MJ gets bad reviews on broadway and becomes a night club singer. She falls on Peter for emotional support because the reviews hurt her, but Petey, under the influence of the symbiote, doesn't care so much. Also, Peter's landlord returns--REEEENT!! Flint Marko returns home to visit his sick daughter after he escapes jail(lets call this the 'orange jumpsuit Marko'), but he grabs some clothes and goes running again after his wife throws him out of the apartment. Only then does he become Sandman, and according to the storybook, all this is after New Goblin attacks Pete and Harry gets hospitalized. And SPOILER the end of Spidey 3 will see JJJ and everyone out on the street, watching the battle royale at the construction site. How about a HUGE SPOILER, you say? Alright. This is a BIG spoiler--turn back! All this is in the books but if you want to be "pure" for the movie, read NO FURTHER!!<p> Remember Harry's butler in 2? The one who says, "Your father only obsessed over his work?" Yeah, him. According to the storybook, he is the one who ultimately reveals to Harry that his father was GG and died by his own efforts to kill Spidey. Oh, and Spider / Peter is so overwhelmed by the tag-team villains that he moves his bowels into his costume and there's a dark stain on his otherwise well-formed blue ass. Hey, I saw it in person when they shot 2nd unit in Cleveland, and that stunt guy is, well, even as a straight guy I must say, he wears that friggin suit in a way I cannot. But it doesn't look so good with a toilet chili stain. Whose ass does? Later kids.

  • March 29, 2007, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Fecal Debris: Hired?

    by Saluki

    I still read that as him being freelance too.

  • March 29, 2007, 1:35 p.m. CST

    hmmm...not sure I like being in the same sentence

    by just pillow talk

    as Spidey's ass. But since it is a "well-formed blue ass"...<p>Sooo, he had fecal debris in his costume?

  • March 29, 2007, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Sorry, freelance, or whatever

    by Fecal Debris

    What I meant was, yeah, one of the previous movies mentioned Eddie as a freelancer or WHATEVER you want to call him, and that it would therefore seem odd that JJJ is pitting this new photographer against Parker, since Brock was already affiliated with the paper. Maybe it'll help clarify by saying SPOILER the storybook depicts Brock competing with Pete for taking Spider-Man pix, and that JJJ is planning on hiring only one of them, or of keeping only one of them on the job, and let's just say SPOILER Eddie Brock does not play fair.<p> Pillow, sorrow about putting your name in my "Spider-Ass" sentence. The placement was incidental, not malevolent or what have you. And with that, Shamoan!!

  • March 29, 2007, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Nah, I was joking about the Spiderdiarrhea

    by Fecal Debris

    My kids and I met stunt-Spidey in Cleveland (twice, actually) during the week they shot the bank truck chase. I was joking about the poopy pants. He did not blow rectal chunks. His glutes were immaculate at all times, and could probably have shot silken webs. In fact, here's one of many (about 100) photos I took last April in Cleveland. The guy must be a gymnast or some shit. I pity the loaves he pinches<p> http://tinyurl.com/yowzyo

  • March 29, 2007, 1:49 p.m. CST

    don't worry dude, just joking

    by just pillow talk

    And when I have taco bell, I can shit with the proportionate strength of a spider! Spidey ass indeed...

  • March 29, 2007, 1:51 p.m. CST

    I think you made his spidey sense tingle...

    by just pillow talk

    if you know what I mean...

  • March 29, 2007, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Damn you Michael Bay

    by Damnyou

    Damn you Michael Bay

  • March 29, 2007, 3:40 p.m. CST

    It was obvious Spider Man 3 was gonna screw the pooch

    by IndustryKiller!

    You simply cannot throw everything butt he proverbial kitchen sink into a film and have it work. it didn't work for Episode 3, it didn't work for Matrix Revolutions, it won't work for Spider Man 3 or Pirates 3. If Sandman really did kill Uncle Ben that's just an undeniable flaw in storytelling right then and there. WHy must every villain be tied to Peters past somehow to have significance? That's just cheap storytelling. It proves the writer couldnt just bring in a villain and write him well enough to be interesting without a gimmick. And of course they completely fucked Venom. Anyone who ever had faith in that racket is an absolute sucker. The moment they hired Topher grace it was obvious Sam Raimi had no interest in the character as we know him whatsoever. And while Spider Man is now a bona fide hero of the people, I'm willing to bet Macguire still plays him as the loveable one dimensional sad sack we saw in the first two films, even know Peter shortly after high school actually becomes a cool, handsome, fairly well adjusted given the circumstances guy. Let's hope they get teh much mroe capable jake Gyllenhaal next time around. And what the hell was Raimi thinking when he made Harry this X-Games reject looking thing?? By whose estimation is that better than him actually taking up the mantle of the Green Goblin? Hell they had a chance to rectify that god awful Goblin costume of the first film but instead they make something that looks even more lame. And by the looks of it James Franco predictably couldn't drop his steely James Dean wannabe visage for two seconds in order to seem unhinged enough to play a super villain. From the looks of that trailer the only difference between Harry now and then is that he rides around on a hoverboard. Man they just need to stop making comic book films for a while and get some fucking perspective.

  • March 29, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Superman can hear anything on Earth right?

    by Smashing

    So how is he a stalker for going to see the woman he loves after being away from her for so long. If he could have heard her from anywhere what him being there to actually see her tells us is that he is pining for her in a very human way. It is a deep film and full of moments that rely on you doing the equating, I thought S.R was an amazing movie, well executed and I also think Bosworth's Lois was perfect, she is not a super being so why should she be so bloody tough?, the new vulnerable Lois is more real in my book, and I like how after all these years she saved him for a change.

  • March 29, 2007, 4:46 p.m. CST

    If I read Gradisil...

    by Serious Black

    ...will I be protected from cervical cancer?

  • March 29, 2007, 6:55 p.m. CST

    This really doesn't sound so good.

    by superninja

    Which is kind of the feeling the trailers left me with. So many things that just seem forced. I would've liked just one movie for the character to breathe a little.

  • March 29, 2007, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Hmmmm....Do I read Tolstoy or Spider-Man 3?

    by Rupee88

    Actually, I'd read a Spider-Man comic book if it was good, but somehow reading the a Spider-Man "novel" seems retarded.

  • March 29, 2007, 7:05 p.m. CST

    Wake up y'all....this is a kiddie movie!

    by Rupee88

    You guys are evaluating like it is supposed to be intelligent or well done. The kids will eat it up as will the adults with a child sized IQ. Spider-Man 2 sucked and so will this one. But it will still make a billion bucks with DVD merchandising, etc thrown in.

  • March 29, 2007, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Peter David...

    by HumanEnhancement

    royally screwed up those "Star Trek" novels he wrote, much like his wife Diane Duane. Basically, the problem is that they turn the characters into the versions of the characters they wish they were, rather than the way the characters are actually presented. I would strongly resist relying on Peter David's presentation of the characters as any sort of accurate portrayal of the characterizations. His description of the plot is probably not too bad; he does a good job with plot, and as the reviewer indicated, there is something of a disconnect between the novelization and the finished film, 90 percent of the time.

  • March 29, 2007, 7:49 p.m. CST

    We're all impressed with your sophistication, Rupee...

    by Frijole

    Really, we are. I'd say more but I'm on my way to a wine tasting.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Spider-Man/Venom/Green Goblin/Sandman Battle Royale???

    by Cannabis Holocaust 69

    That's worth the price of admission alone. I highly doubt this movie will be a trainwreck like X3 or a borefest like Superman Returns. You know it'll be cool so just chill out, kick back, and be happy movies like this are getting made.

  • March 29, 2007, 8:57 p.m. CST

    the subject of superman

    by sylabdul

    the reference to superman returns shouldnt be taken negatively....that movie was deep! things were being said by not being said....it was about a *gasp* plot, not just some fighting and smashin every second....it had a story...its sad, most superhero fans have attention deficencies obviously right on smashing for your superman comments by the way

  • March 29, 2007, 9:01 p.m. CST

    Damn you

    by RetroActive

    Dude... nothing's more humiliating than being late to the party. MCMLXXVII owns the phrase. Nice try though, copycat! BTW...I LOVE how certain talkbackers go on and on about the "crappy CGI" as if they could do better...yeah, yeah...don't need to crack an egg to judge an omelette, blah, blah, blah...but gimme a break! The CGI will never be perfect, but far better than most. GET OVER IT! That is all. We're talking about a guy who was bitten by a spider, after all...you know?!!

  • March 29, 2007, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Frijole...

    by RetroActive

    Loved the response. Ironically, I sell wine for a living which made it even funnier. After all, it's just grape juice...right?!! Rupee88...go back to sleep.

  • March 29, 2007, 9:55 p.m. CST

    Superman Returns

    by sledgehammer5050

    I'm tired of idiots trashing on Superman Returns. "oh my gosh....it actually had plot and deep story!" Freakin' losers with an attention span of a 3rd grader just gotta complain. Visually stunning, emotionally draining in a good way, and plenty of action sequences that no other 'superhero' could be a part of. Superman Returns was amazing...end of story.

  • March 29, 2007, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Where the hell is 1976?

    by thebearovingian

    All I see is a bunch of copycats such as 1977 and Damn you. Quit wasting MCMLXXVI's flava!

  • March 29, 2007, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Sledgehammer5050, Sylabdul and Smashing...

    by avs28785

    Completely agree with you on Superman Returns. GREAT movie, GREAT acting (much better than a lot of superhero movies especially the Spider-man movies). Loved the plot. Wanted a little more action but i was completely fine with the amount that it had. Hell the first Superman had the same amount of action. After every viewing of the movie i always want more of Brandon Routh's Superman. He did an amazing job. I really can't wait for the sequel.

  • March 29, 2007, 11 p.m. CST

    Superman Returns "Deep Story"

    by Defrost

    That is the impression I got from Lex Luthor being an evil real estate agent, Superman being more Emo than Batman has ever been portrayed, some super brat showing up, and multiple out of character moments. No one in the movie is likeable except for the dude who played Cyclops.

  • March 30, 2007, 2:46 a.m. CST

    sledgehammer5050

    by FuzzyWhisper

    I agree with you; Superman Returns is superb. The plot, pacing and performances work on multiple levels, so long as the viewer can suspend his prejudices and expectations long enough to appreciate them. The majority of criticism I've seen leveled at this film is nonsense verging on parody: grotesquely distorted fallacies caressly lobbed with no evident concern for fact. It's irritating to see so many people act as though it's the movie's fault that they have little skill in distinguishing between things that are objectively bad and things they merely don't care for, or understand. See critics of Peter Jackson's King Kong, the Matrix sequels, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Sin City and 300 for further reference. Bracing for flames in 5,4,3,2....

  • March 30, 2007, 6:14 a.m. CST

    Regarding the new international trailer...

    by BannedOnTheRun

    Can someone in the biz tell me...is there really only one "blade being unsheathed" sound effect in existence?

  • March 30, 2007, 7:21 a.m. CST

    I am not going to flame you

    by Lost Prophet

    but outisde of 300 which I haven't seen yet, and Sin City which I liked that is a list of some of the crappiest movies I have seen. <p>I understand all of them, they are just not good. <p>The pacing in SR was dire, the plot had more holes than albert steptoe's long-johns and Ms Bosworths performace was so bad she was very justly nominated for a razzie. It was terrible, boring shite.

  • March 30, 2007, 7:41 a.m. CST

    I for one liked the CGI in Spidey 2

    by Fecal Debris

    I mean, it's a Spider-Man fighting a guy with robot arms on the side of a building and on a speeding subway train. They could not have made it look any more real than they did. The bank robbery and "butterfingers" fight sequence was the hard-on I'd been waiting for but never quite got with the first Spidey. When Doc Oc and Spidey are wrestling on the side of the building, man that's the shit. You KNOW it was. That's exactly how you bring an action comic to life onscreen. If it looked fake, it's only because you know in your mind it can't happen, so you start looking for problems with it, you force your eye to scrutize for technical reasons to discredit what you're seeing, and that's the part of your disbelief you've got to leave at the door when you see these movies. You shouldn't be afraid to enjoy being a geek. It's Spider-Man, right? You all KNOW it's about a guy who swings from webs and can lift cars, and who fights Sandmen and Lizards, right? I'm telling you, the movies can't look any more authentic than they already are. Just enjoy them, for fuck's sake. If you're gonna critique, then go after parts in the story you don't like, or the acting. Cuz the effects are spot-on. But I've said before, so far even the cameo characters in these flicks have been great--Peter's landlord, Bruce Campbell's usher and announcer, Mr. Aziz at the pizza shop, JJJ and Robbie and Betty Brandt, Rosie Octavius. Everyone has been terrific except Macy Gray, over whose appearance I still scratch my head. If Sam Raimi were before me, I'll lick his shoes.

  • March 30, 2007, 7:42 a.m. CST

    Banned on the Run

    by Fecal Debris

    I'm not in the business, but I think no, there's no other sound effect for the unscabbording of a sword than, "SHHHHHHIIIANKK!" It's just an unspoken accepted thing.

  • March 30, 2007, 7:59 a.m. CST

    the universe would collapse unto itself

    by just pillow talk

    if the unsheathing of a blade made a different sound. That's really what was happening in Spidey 2 and why Doc Ock failed.

  • March 30, 2007, 4:57 p.m. CST

    SR peaked at the plane rescue

    by Staldo

    Superman rescuing the plane from being launched into space with the experimental shuttle was one of the coolest fucking things ever committed to celluloid. Nothing in the movie after that topped it. It should have been a short film, maybe a throwback to the pre-feature serials of olden times.

  • March 30, 2007, 7:48 p.m. CST

    poeticwarriorII

    by FuzzyWhisper

    I think that's more of a rhetorical question, actually. Predictable use of the word pretentious = fail/10.

  • March 31, 2007, 11:13 p.m. CST

    DO THEY KILL VENOM?!??!???

    by Drath

    That's like the only thing I'm really wondering about. If they do then this could be just as bad a waste as X-Men 3 was. If they don't, then the next time they use Venom, it could be great. I know it's goofy, but Brock with Fangs saying "hi, Parker," creeps me out prefectly. They need to not fuck that up by killing him off. Other than that, I say Elijah Wood or Josephy Gordon Levitt should replace Maguire in the next one. Sigh. ******************************************** While I'm glad to see some defenders of Superman Returns--it wasn't "superb." It was very slowly paced (with the exception of the plane/shuttle rescue, and then that wasn't built up to very well I didn't think), it depended a lot on a very bland portrayal of Lois Lane by Kate Bosworth, and it created a very furstrating plot twist with Lois's son and his powers. Apart from Alex Lane, however, it set up Superman for a new franchise very nicely, so I'm kind of pissed that people keep whining about not wanting a sequel (the bitches over at CHUD in particular). Just as Wrath of Khan was better than the movie that came before it, just as X-Men 2 was better than X-Men, I think Superman Returns 2 can be a worth-the-wait improvement. Do I think Singer should NEVER be allowed to make a first movie in a franchise ever again? Yup. Heck, SR wasn't even a "first" first movie, so he can't restart franchises either. But I do think he should make the sequel. Even if he doesn't, a sequel should be made! SR didn't fuck the whole character up, or sabotage future movies as the Hulk did (or as some claim it did). As I said, it created the problem of Lois's son which somehow has to be handled because it's a major thing for Superman (and the alternative is to just not mention Lois, which is just wrong). But it was certainly more worthy of a sequel than Fantastic Four! Unless we're equating quality with box office again, as I know some geeks are prone to do.

  • April 1, 2007, 5:56 a.m. CST

    A slight misconception....

    by dduane

    Attn "HumanEnhancement": "Peter David ... royally screwed up those "Star Trek" novels he wrote, much like his wife Diane Duane." BZZT! Wrong answer. Diane Duane is married to novelist / screenwriter Peter _Morwood._ For twenty years now. As for "screwing up" characterization: Doubtless that's why Marvel asked me to do those first three original Spidey hardcover novels. Yeah, that's the ticket. :) ...But thanks for playing. (looks around for gofer) Somebody want to give this lucky contestant a No-Prize on the way out? Thanks.

  • July 5, 2007, 7:11 a.m. CST

    that was quick - spam guy GONE!

    by just pillow talk

    bye-bye