Tag Archives: The Amazing Spider-Man

Shame Day: Sequels For Sequels’ Sake

It should be no mystery to us that a lot of movies aren’t made to be good. As a broad generalization, many of the films put out are intended to simply make money. To really hammer this point home I like to point towards Cars 2.

Cars 2 was a Pixar milestone, and the first of their films to beat its predecessor, Cars, in a particular category. It was the movie that garnered a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes, an abysmal score significantly lower than the first movie’s 74%.

As someone who’s seen every film the studio has ever done, I was disgusted by the fact that they would create a sequel to what was ultimately my least favourite of the bunch, but then I understood-

This really says it all. I’m not really going to explain this any further.

Money money money. $10 billion dollars of Cars toys, bed sheets, clothing, toothbrushes, the list goes on. So clearly sometimes ratings can be down, if profits are up. But what about when this isn’t the case? Continue reading

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American Heroes and the British Men Who Play Them

Everyone’s talking about this “Asian Invasion” of basketball, but general interest due to someone of my ethnicity garnering fame aside that’s not what I want to write about today. I’m writing about a British Invasion. And no, I don’t mean the influx of musician from the UK that occurred during the mid-sixties. I mean the fact that this summer the British are coming. To the big screen. As superheroes.

There’s no solid argument when it comes down to naming the three most well-known superheroes out there. From a purely global standpoint, SupermanBatman, and Spider-Man top the list. Two have feature films that will be hitting theatres this summer, with the third being released next year. As coincidence would have it, all three films have their headlining roles cast with British actors.

Coming out this July 3rd, The Amazing Spider-Man stars Andrew Garfield in the Marc Webb-directed reboot of the franchise. Garfield made an international name for himself starring opposite Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network. In it he portrays Brazilian Harvard student Eduardo Saverin, though with a clean-cut American accent. The other side of the mask he will be putting on is Peter Parker, teenage outcast and all-around grittier-looking-than-Tobey-Maguire.

The next month brings us The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final piece in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. Christian Bale is not new to the big screen or American roles, playing one in American Psycho, The Machinist, 3:10 to Yuma, and many others. His command of his accent is such that when he freaked out while filming Terminator Salvation, he actually switched back and forth between American and British. When not growling underneath the cowl he portrays seemingly mild-mannered billionaire Bruce Wayne.


In 2013 we finally get that Superman movie we’ve been waiting for, which takes the form of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Suiting up in the red and blue tights is relative newcomer Henry Cavill, who exercised both his muscles and his British accent in Immortals, which came out last year. For the most part he hasn’t done much in the way of portraying Americans, which may be a challenge when asked to take on the mantle of a hero as American as apple pie. When not rocking the spit curl Cavill will be Kansan journalist Clark Kent, a character who may be a little more mild-mannered than Bruce.

With those summaries out of the way, what exactly does this mean? I’m no expert on the trends in Hollywood, but I can’t imagine that casting British actors in American roles is anything new or something to be strongly desired. If casting directors are doing their jobs correctly, then they’re accepting whoever is most qualified for the role, regardless of nationality. As a Canadian and someone who believes that the most talented actors deserve the spotlight this is something I cannot disagree with.

In regards to culturally American icons being portrayed by actors of other nationalities, well, why not? If they bring the energy and commitment to a role and portray it as best they can, then they will do a better job than, say, George Clooney, who portrayed the Caped Crusader as a homosexual. If any actor respects the character they’re given than they will do as much as they can to ensure that he or she is depicted well.

It is an interesting coincidence, but hopefully one that can, in its own way, push forward the idea that superheroes don’t always have to be White Americans. That if Spider-Man can be black in the comics then maybe it can happen on the big screen as well.

The Lizard’s New Look

Film franchise reboots are certainly nothing new, and next summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man is sure to bring with it a certain amount of new flair to a familiar super-hero. More than just showing us a different kid in red and blue tights, this film is also an opportunity for us to see yet another (less well-known) Spidey villain: The Lizard.

Way back in July of this year io9 reported on a surprise viewing of the first Lizard clip, describing the character they saw:

…a giant beast, green with oversized arms, and a proportionally smaller head and enormous yellow eyes. He doesn’t have a crocodile head — more of a cross between a lizard and a human’s, with a flat nose, but a grotesque curled mouth.

This instantly drew criticism, and created the unanimous viewpoint that this sounded much more like a Goomba from the 1993 film Super Mario Bros. Yet another observation was that the design was much more reminiscent of the Batman villain Killer Croc.

As you can see in the image above, The Lizard has always had a more pointed snout, and looked generally more like, well, a lizard. The torn lab coat is also a trademark for the character, as well as purple pants [apparently he and The Hulk buy their clothes at the same place].

Yesterday the website spiderman.ru released concept art of the film’s Lizard, creating an uproar in internet comic circles. This is not at all what fans were expecting (even after the aforementioned description of the clip), and debates were sparked between Lizard apologists and Lizard die-hards.

I began sifting through the comments sections of blogs, as I am wont to do, and found an interesting disputation between two commenters on this article, with one commenter, Kitradu, stressing that actors wearing masks “should be able to act THROUGH their limitations, physical or mental.” He referenced Willem Defoe’s performance as the Green Goblin in the first Spider-Man movie as being captivating in spite of the helmet he wore which fully obscured his face.

His opponent, storymark, began the debate with the comment:

One of the big complaints about the Raimi movies, the first in particular, was that all the masks prevented any emoting. And very few actors would be interested in a role where their actual performance is obscured.

Personally, I think an expressionless face is boring as hell.

As far as evidence goes, I tend to side with Kitradu. He references V from V for Vendetta as well as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films as characters that held our attention without us ever seeing their faces (save for that one scene in Return of the Jedi). Emotion is more easily portrayed through a humanoid face, but what does the design change mean as far as the abilities of the actor and our viewing abilities as an audience?

To be fair to storymark, The Lizard is a very different character from either of the examples he provided. He’s far more bestial, and, from what I remember, not particularly articulate. The motion capture that Rhys Ifans is doing may not allow him the freedom Hugo Weaving had behind the Guy Fawkes mask. Though, to refute my own point, this is something Andy Serkis had no problem doing in King Kong, or Rise of the Planet of the Apes. To counter that point, both Kong and Caesar have faces more similar to humans than reptiles.

All debate aside, it should be noted, as a potential last point for this post, that the character design for The Lizard is extremely similar to his original design by Steve Ditko. But maybe there’s a reason his look has changed in the comics we read today.