It’s been said a thousand times before and it’ll be said a thousand times again; Spider-Man’s most enduring quality stems from his alter ego, Peter Parker. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine ourselves as millionaire playboys with suits of hi tech armor or batmobiles and we can’t really see ourselves as Kryptonian gods or super soldiers from World War II
Peter Parker is the everyman. Long before most other comic books, Spider Man gave equal attention to the troubles of the man behind the mask. We’d see spidey fight the Vulture and then deal with the fallout in his personal life as he missed a date or his aunt fell sick (for the hundredth time). In short, we love Spidey because we know that feel.
This is important, because no matter what your opinion, you can’t deny that The Amazing Spider Man 2 is the most spidery Spider Man film yet. What I mean to say is, this film absolutely nails the essence of Spider Man. While it may (ever so slightly) suffer from one villain too many, for better or worse it shows us Peter’s hectic world as he tries to balance his two lives, a job, an on/off girlfriend, college, the mystery of his parents, and a whole three supervillains. It’s still better than Spider Man 3.
While the overstuffed plot can occasionally feel like it’s simply setting up future sequels and spin offs (almost every supporting character we see eventually turns out to be a villain in the comics, such as Alistair Smythe and Felicia Hardy) it absolutely manages to be an entertaining flick in its own right. It’s no Dark Knight, but it doesn’t need to be. Like Spider Man himself, it’s larger than life, colorful, and fun.
Perhaps most importantly, they made Spider Man funny. Finally. From the pitch perfect (and massively entertaining) opening chase sequence right into some of the darker moments our webbed amigo still cracks wise, because that’s what he does and that’s how he deals. While the first Amazing showed us a glimpse of this, number 2 goes even further with it and given some of the events later in the film, his sense of humour goes a long way in telling viewers about Peter Parker’s strength of spirit and adversity in the face of mechanical rhinos and weird Goblin dudes.
In the hands of a lesser actor, this confident, smartarse Spidey may have come across as an annoying dick, but Andrew Garfield, having grown up a fan himself delivers the definitive Spider Man with a pitch perfect sense of drama, humor, and physical comedy that never feels over the top. Together with Emma Stone (still an awesome Gwen Stacy) they make every scene they share so adorable you either want to hug the screen or throw up, depending on how cynical you are.
Sadly, it’s the villains that bring the film down ever so slightly. Dane Dehaan’s Harry Osborn is just the right amount of spoilt playboy and simmering crazy person, but when he does finally snap it somehow becomes a bit too much, a little cartoony. It doesn’t help that compared to Spider Man’s all new, so beautifully faithful to the source material I want to cry suit, The Green Goblin still doesn’t really resemble the Green Goblin. Besides being green I mean.
Conversely, Jamie Foxx’s pre Electro performance is so over the top, Jim Carrey, haha this is what boffins are like, that I found myself glad when he fell into a pool of eels and decided to not talk as much. Visually however, Electro is stunning and his fight scenes with Spider Man are easily some of the films highlights, including an awesome Times Square showdown that almost outdoes the final setpiece (actually I think it probably does.
What’s most annoying about the villains though, is that they both feel crammed in to the point that neither gets a satisfying arc. Again, it’s clear things are being set in motion for the future but as a standalone film in this respect it left me cold.
Those niggles aside, I truly believe that this is the best Spider Man film yet. Funny, heartwarming, and with enough set pieces to satisfy the kids who just wanna see Spidey punch the shiny blue guy. Without the need to retell the origin story, we’ve been offered our first pure glimpse at the start of a new Spidey universe. If this film is anything to go by, it could go absolutely anywhere.
Superheroes are cool. See, it’s a common misconception that comic books and adults in capes and spandex is in some way strange or unusual and should therefore be shunned or avoided at all costs. All you need to do these days is take a trip to the cinema to see how many of the upcoming blockbusters happen to star a super solider or a wall crawler to get conclusive proof that: Superheroes are cool.
So, with that in mind (and considering the fact that I haven’t written a post since before Christmas) here is a list of what I consider to be the tip of the top of superhero video games. It won’t be too hard, because a lot of them are absolute piles of crap *cough* Superman 64 *cough*.
(Oh, just to be clear, you won’t be seeing Arkham City or Asylum on this list because frankly, they’ve been praised enough and it seems an obvious choice)
LEGO Marvel Superheroes (Wii U, Xbox One, PS4)
I’ve always loved LEGO games. Seriously, it appeals to the obsessive compulsive desires in me to collect and 100% every game I play. LEGO games feels so much rewarding because they tend to have a hefty stack of secrets and collectibles.
LEGO Marvel is no exception. The biggest LEGO game yet does not skimp on the fan service, letting you fly or drive or web swing through a fully realized New York as one of around 200 Marvel characters ranging from Spider Man and Iron Man to the more obscure, like Howard the Duck.
Essentially, what any fan wants from a superhero game is to feel connected to that world that they love so much. LEGO Marvel comes remarkably close, from taking down Sentinels in Central Park to just jumping of the top of the Empire State Building for laughs, it’s sense of immersion and fun is unparalleled for any other Marvel game so far.
Batman Vengeance (PS2, Gamecube)
I have a feeling most people who’ve played this will disagree with me. I’ll admit that Vengeance has some glaring flaws; combat is absolutely atrocious, cycling through gadgets can become fiddly and confusing and simple jumps can become needlessly difficult.
However, this game was based on the world of Batman: The Animated Series. You know the one. The best cartoon ever to have existed in this or any other universe. It had a genuinely engaging and exciting story and made an effort to change up game play by having sequences in the Bat mobile and the Batplane.
It also featured the voice work of the inimitable Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and The Joker, long before Arkham reared its head. That’s worth the ticket price alone.
Spider Man 2 (Gamecube, Xbox, PS2)
I doubt there are many people who can say a bad word about this one. Pretty much the first open world superhero game and it nailed it on the first time out.
Spider Man fan or not, swinging through a fully working New York (gobby pedestrians and all) at top speeds and taking out bad guys or jumping into car chases was all kinds of awesome.
Sure, it had some shitty indoor levels, but the combat was cool, dodging bullets with your Spider sense made you feel like a PRINCE among men and most importantly, you could tie thugs to lamp posts upside down and beat on ’em for as long as you wanted. God bless you, Spider Man 2.
Spider Man (PS1, N64)
The first video game I remember absolutely loving. I have nothing but awesome memories of this video game. It was funny, it was challenging, it was packed full of secrets, cameos (Daredevil, bitches) power ups (FLAME WEBBING) collectibles, alternate costumes (Scarlet Spider was awesome) and cool references (On one level, you could find the Baxter Building and prompt a cutscene with the Human Torch) and it was stuffed to the brim with everyone’s favorite villains.
The boss fights were always interesting and always had a twist. The level designs always provided an ample mix of platform, puzzle combat and stealth. Above all though, the game was funny. It just felt like a Spider Man adventure, just absolutely over the top and batshit crazy, but it knew it was stupid and reveled in that stupidity.
It’s also important to remember that the last boss was the Carnage symbiote merged with Doc Ock, and when you’re seven years old that is literally the coolest shit ever (even if it did used to scare the bejeebus out of me).
Also; FLAME WEBBING.