The trailer for Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out, and it looks great. But this blog isn’t a screencap rundown or a trailer review, because we got those all over the place. Nay, I want to address something that segues into something bigger that itself hints at something grander. Something, something, ya know? You know. You don’t? Well let’s start knowing, dammit! Today’s discussion is about the fan reaction to the trailer, fan bias/hypocrisy, and most importantly something I’m going to call “Super Cynicism”. First, the epic trailer in question:
“I don’t like Spider-Man 3.” – Says everyone ever.
Alright we get it. You didn’t like Spider-Man 3. Fine, whatever. What I don’t get is citing Spider-Man 3 as some Commandment that no superhero movie should have anymore than two villains. This is a sentiment I’ve seen countless times on the internets whenever any superhero film dares to have a few villains in it – with no attempt to learn how much weight a villain holds in the film. These days, a main villain and two or three of his henchmen seems to count as ‘a film with three villains’. This is ‘too much’ according to the Spidey 3 Watch Dogs, and simply must be avoided to prevent what they perceive to be Spider-Man 3’s main weakness. So when the above trailer drops, a Spider-Man movie with three villains, people get all antsy about getting another Spidey movie that fails in their eyes.
Except Spidey 3’s issues do not begin and end with it having three villains.
While I liked Spider-Man 3, I can agree it did have its issues. Top of my list would be too many plotlines that each required resolution by movie’s end. This is not exclusive to a movie with too many villains. Spidey 3 had to tie up Peter and Harry’s rivalry brewing for two movies, introduce Sandman and his backstory (and resolution), play out a love triangle between Peter, Mary-Jane, and Gwen, cover the Black Suit arc as swiftly as possible (and have it affect all other plots), and introduce Eddie Brock/Venom. All of this had to be done in a timely Summer blockbuster friendly manner, while coming off the heals of the massively entertaining Spider-Man 2.
Now, I can continue a whole blog on Spidey 3, but I only wanted to point out context in regard to Amazing Spider-Man 2. People see three villains and make a shallow comparison that now Spidey 3’s problems will rise again, but these movies are very different productions. There’s new themes in this rebooted film series that make the appearance of three villains cohesive to the story. These villains are connected, to Oscorp and seemingly to Peter. They’re not thrown in due to fan or studio pressure, there’s a point here that the writers are working toward. It’s very unlikely that if Sony considered Spidey 3’s failures on too many villains that they’d mindlessly walk into that trap so soon into the reboot series. I’m gonna trust them on this.
Let’s All Count to Six
Now a few things bother me about the ‘Too Many Villains’ bollocks. First of all, and well pointed out by fans in reaction to the complaint; nobody seems to bat an eye at too many superheroes. In fact, it seems fairly celebrated to have team ups on screen. I didn’t see too many people harping about too many characters in the Avengers. In fact, they instead about whether their favorite hero got enough screen time. There’s even, and I kid you not, time duration tallies for each Avenger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe wikia pages. This has never been done for any other ensemble film. Ever. But there isn’t a hard dash to count how many hero characters are in the film; eight in all. But the Spidey 3 Watch Dogs count to three real quick, do they. I mean, if your argument is how a film can handle many different characters, should that metric be applied to Avengers and even X-Men?
Now let’s say at least with Avengers most of the characters were introduced in a film prior, so it avoids having to explain all of them. Okay, that’s fair. So what we’re really worrying about are villains having their due ‘introduction-back story-resolution’, right? Well, who says every villain needs all three fleshed out? If the plot demands Rhino be (more than likely) a comedic villain who pesters Peter a few times in the movie, perhaps as a break from the more serious plots of the Osborns and Electro, then so be it. What, you think Rhino would ever appear in a Spidey movie more fleshed out than a mini-boss thug to something much more dangerous? Electro was hyped as the main villain, and he very may be. The Oscorp/Goblin angle is probably more support for the macro-arc of the series. And let’s be real; this all about the Sinister Six.
Brace yourselves; Amazing Spider-Man 3 will more than likely be a vehicle for the Sinister Six. And if three villains get your socks in a bind, how the hell are you going to process six villains? This is the second major issue I have with the fan reaction to the trailer: How the hell are you at once hype about the Sinister Six coming to screen, but then use the recent trailer to soap box about “three villains are too much”? You realize the Sinister Six is a super-villain team of… yeah… six villains, right? They all wanna kill Spider-Man. It’s sort of a major deal in Spidey’s history. So you were harboring this dislike for Spidey 3 over three villains, when you know eventually a movie of six villains was on its way. Where are the protests and Change.org petitions preventing Sony from moving on with this? Oh wait, they don’t exist because you want the Sinister Six – because you’re a Spider-Man fan and that. But there’s a battle in your soul that prevents you from reconciling a major Spidey event with your proposed reasoning against Spidey 3.
The Super Cynic
There’s a Simpsons character who runs a comic-book store, whose catchphrase, “Worst ______ Ever,” plays off a type of fan that populates the internet ironically. Enter the Super Cynics, fans who love superhero movies so much they hate them.
Robert Ebert was a celebrated film critic who reviewed countless movies all the way til his death. When he liked movies he liked them, but he didn’t like movies… it was a fun read. It always seemed more colorful to criticize something, is it? So for a lot of people, there’s this kinda fetish for reading a Bad Review about something. This is where writers get to flex their muscles and, more than a few times, be as cruel as they like using bad entertainment as their escape. I’m just theorizing here, but this effect has bled into the dreaded ‘Article Comment Section’, which as we all know has become a pool of hate. Here’s a random comment on Gal Gadot landing the Wonder Woman role for the Superman/Batman movie:
shes too damn young for wonder woman and can she really act? no thanks i wont waste my money on man of steel.
Completely arbitrary age metric, check. Judgment on her acting skills (showing he never seen her before to judge), check. And then the ever popular Declaration of Boycott – over this single casting announcement. Before you rag on me about pointing out one comment, bear in mind dudes like this are legion. There are entire Twitter and YouTube series dedicated to collecting ridiculous quotes from hateful, ignorant, overly entitled “fans” and by Zod they will never run out of material. Why are the worst things said about the industries we love said by its fans. It’s like since we sorta won the sub-culture war with videogames and comic book characters becoming mainstream juggernauts, consumed by the jock/popular girl bullies who picked on us for liking them; so we began to wage war on each other and even the creators of said content. You hate with no due process, you vilify without context, you judge and make review over press releases. I’m not exempt, honestly, but hell if you catch me asking for a Sinister Six movie and bitching about have of that team being too much.
We are creatures that almost exclusive partake in these ventures, but it’s pretty much us alone who rips it apart. This will be expanded in future blogs, because it has seriously started to make reading online a bleak trip to Mordor. The Super Cynics are legion.
Does Whatever a Spider Can (Unless You Complain First)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer is hype, and I’m excited for the movie. Maybe you don’t like it, or you’re worried about too many villains. But please be consistent, be reasonable, and just… stop looking for opportunities to be an asshole. Hopping on your soapbox and proclaiming your hate for something in every article comment space is just plain boring and desperate. You don’t have to like what I like, but you do have to make sense about your grievances. Don’t let me catch you being hype for Sinister Six after pissing about three villains in a Spidey movie. I’ll… write another blog, I guess. Later.