Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Lunch break movie review

Better late than never: my impressions of Spider-Man 2 [minor spoilers].

Over the weekend I caught a showing of Spider-Man 2. The fellow on my left [note: this was not Will Baude] was a compulsive commenter on the obvious ("Wow, could anything else go wrong for [Peter]? His life really sucks!") and the previews were terrible. Aside from those minor problems, the moviegoing experience was pretty decent. Like X-Men 2, Spider-Man 2 is an improvement partially because it got all the backstory and exposition over with and could concentrate on the characters. Mary Jane was far more fleshed out in this one, although the basic feminist insight that she should be permitted to decide for herself whether to accept the risks involved in being Peter's girlfriend seemed to dawn on her rather slowly (and on Peter not at all). Some scenes taken directly from comic panels worked, like the shot of Peter discarding his costume, whereas the extended and unnecessary Uncle Ben sequence was just tedious. In a movie this long, the fat should have been cut.

Good sequences: Spider-Man being crucified on the front of a train car, Peter at the society ball, and the parts with his landlord.

Bad or boring bits: Aunt May on why we need heroes, the aforementioned Uncle Ben in heaven (very Defending Your Life, with all the glowing white background), and the cheesy fusion pseudo-science.

Random aside: that Harry kid has some serious guts. If I were being dangled over a ledge by a totally insane scientist with robot arms who wanted things from me, the first words out of my mouth would not be "let's make a deal." They would include screaming and promising anything he wanted if only he wouldn't kill me.

The main topic of post-movie conversation was whether it is more humiliating for a man to be left at the altar or for the marriage to be immediately annulled. I contend that the former is more pathetic and tars one forever with a relatively rare brand of public and expensive rejection in front of all your loved ones. Divorce or annulment, while traditionally stigmatized, is so commonplace as to have little weight in this day and age.

What would you rather be, fellows: abandoned at the altar or abruptly divorced after the ceremony? Which option is more humiliating?
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