An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Archive for July, 2012

The Lies of America

America is a tower.  A tower of lies.  A tower of lies that people have actually come to believe.  So many lies, and none of them even remotely true.  What are the lies?  I will tell them to you.

There is the lies of how inadequate you are.  From TV screens and computer screens come ads where people who are too beautiful to be real are telling you about how you don’t have the body that you should.  That unless you take this pill, eat that food, use this exercise machine, follow that weight loss plan, that you are just another ugly part of society, and how nobody will find you attractive.  Sure, there are ads where beautiful people are saying that you should love who you are, but who do those beautiful people associate with?  More beautiful people.  A lie that keeps people in American in bondage to the idea that they are not good enough.  That they have to be better.

There are the lies of consumer culture.  Things are sold to people for unbelievable amounts of money.  This nation’s economy is built on selling things to people for far more than what they are worth.  But people call this thievery the “free market.”  They will defend this ideal, saying that this is the way it is supposed to be.  With the digital age, you’d think that money would have become outdated.  That we could have grown beyond the petty constraints of our business leaders who have a stranglehold on this country.

There are the lies of government.  People on one side of the fence and the other follow the two massive parties, all the while believing that things are going to change.  If they vote for the person with the D by their name, or the R, things will get better for them.  Both sides seeming unaware that these two letters and the people who follow them are both in bondage.  Bondage to a system of greed and corruption which has consumed not only America, but the entire world.  People passionately defend their beliefs, saying that they will be vindicated.  And all the while, banks are being spoon-fed trillions of dollars, the poor are starving, and the rest are becoming the poor.

The are the lies of childhood.  If you grew up in my generation, you grew up with Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street telling you when you were very young to be nice to the other children.  To share and to help them, because we are all one people.  There are no races, there are no differences.  We are all one, and we have to look out for each other.  But the moment you leave childhood behind, that rug of comfort and what should be truth is pulled out from under you.  You are thrust into a world that tells you that back-stabbing is okay.  That manipulation and cruelty is what is to be expected.  That you shouldn’t help others, but steal from others.  The kindness and compassion of those childhood messages swallowed whole by the maw of greed that our corporate wasteland has become.

There are the lies of potential.  Not that you are being lied to that you have potential, which isn’t true.  The lie that you don’t.  The lie that all you are accomplishing with your efforts and your talent is nothing.  The artisan, the poet, the writer, the dreamer, you tell somebody that you mean to pursue these talents and dreams, and they will laugh at you.  Saying that your head is in the clouds, and you need to come back to planet Earth.  Because talent and art and beauty is not motivated in our society.  We have become so cold and so calloused to the idea that when somebody brings it up, we look on them and feel amusement.  Like they are somebody to mock, instead of somebody to raise up.  Meanwhile, the culture at large raises up people like Justin Bieber, Michael Bay, and a dozen other creators who are easily packaged, easily able to slipped on a label or cover and put out to the public.  Gone are the messages of Marilyn Manson, telling young people not to listen to society, and to know that being who you are is okay.  We now teach conformity, and to be ordinary.  Because your potential is wasted in this country.

But above all, there are the lies of living.  Is it any wonder the public has become so apathetic and disillusioned with their political celebrities, who at this very moment are going around the country and putting on lovely shows?  Nothing has gotten better.  Obama preached a few months after he got into office that “America is back.”  It was a lie that nobody believed.  The people were too smart to be manipulated like that.  Even now, nothing is getting better.  Stagnation and just acceptable are the words that are constantly in the zeitgeist of this country.  We are told that this is the best we can do.

America is built on a foundation of lies, and if something doesn’t change soon, this country will be beyond salvation.  The global economy is falling apart.  It could be a worldwide depression, with the banks and the corporations still making money.  The culmination of our war for independence has been to be told by people who don’t care about you that you need to spend thousands of dollars on s*** you don’t need.  That going in debt is the way to be saved.  How many college students like myself have believed that lie.  So many of them have cried themselves to sleep at night, praying to a God who isn’t real that they will get that next chance.

This is what your civil war was for, America.  This is what protecting yourselves from the Empire of Japan and the Nazis accomplished.  Your marches for civil rights, for women, minorities, gays and lesbians.  It allowed you to be a corporate dumping ground for all their money, while people protesting in the streets get laughed at from balconies above by people so wealthy that they could care less.

Aren’t you proud?  Aren’t all of us proud?

You should be crying.

Chick-fil-A, the Muppets, and Gay Marriage?

Yeah, this is a set of things I bet that most people never thought that they would see together.  It all started when the fast food restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A took a hardline stance against gay marriage.  After this happened, Jim Henson pulled the Muppet toys from their kid’s meals.

Of course, so as not to have us all believing that they decided to take a really stupid stance on an issue that has really turned around in the last…30 years, they tried to pass it off as the Muppet toys were unsafe, hence and that is why they got rid of them.

After this sad attempt at damage control failed on Facebook, one of their PR people created a fake Facebook account, pretending to be a teenage girl.  Of course, since the internet is smarter than Chick-fil-A PR people, apparently, the internet realized that that the photo of the teenage girl, named “Abby Farle,” was a stock photo from Shutter Stock.

Now, after having taken a stance against gay marriage, lied about why Jim Henson ditched them, and then tried to cover up their lie with a fake person on Facebook, there is a Category 5 PR meltdown.  And to be honest, the people at Chick-fil-A have nobody to blame but themselves.

This is…dumb.  Really dumb.  This is like PR retardation.  It doesn’t get any stupider than this?  One must ask an honest question – where did the PR people who work for Chick-fil-A get their education?  I am a JPC student at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and even I could have told them that this is the stupidest thing ever.

Let’s take apart how stupid this is, because we are only a couple hundred words into the post, and I feel like it.  First, there is the stance against gay marriage.  Coming out against gay marriage is just bad business.  There has been a HUGE social change on this issue.  People who are against gay marriage are not the norm.  They are becoming more and more the social outliers.  The Westboro Baptist Church and the Mormons are every day making the anti-gay cause look worse and worse, the decent people are not playing ball.  There is still a large chunk that is against it, and against the LGBT community, but you can be that things are changing, for the better.

Second, you said that the reason that the Muppet toys were pulled was because of finger injuries?  Wow, what a pathetic lie.  I mean, really, that is about as bad as saying that the reason you don’t sell bananas at your store is because somebody slipped on a banana peel.  Saying that kids got their fingers’ stuck in the Muppet toys fooled nobody.  But this leads to the final point.

Third, you created a fake Facebook account?  As a teenage girl?!  Man, that is just pathetic!  I mean, that is literally the bottom of the barrel.  You can’t possibly come back from that.  It was so easy to fact-check this, because the account was created 8 hours before the post.  Did nobody at Chick-fil-A realize that that brain thing that their teachers said was so important actually can be used for something more than just space filler in the space inside the cranium?

All in all, this is the dumbest PR move in history.  Chick-fil-A, you aren’t coming back from this.  Whoever’s idea this stunt with the girl, using a stock photo, it was, they should be fired.  And I hope you learned something.  As bad as the Komen For the Cure debacle was, it pales in comparison.

But the biggest stupid mistake that this company has made is that they are going to lose business.  Big time.  Boycotts are already in place, and I am not one of those people who says that those are wrong.  If conservatives want to preach the free market, well guess what – here’s the free market in action.  People are given a choice, and they have made it.

Chick-fil-A, somebody, or a lot of somebody’s need to get fired.  I am with the boycott, not because you are bigots.  That at least makes some sense to me.  But being stupid at your business, that’s just unacceptable.

Lefty’s Special Comment: The Aurora, Colorado Massacre

I haven’t done one of these in a long time.  I haven’t thought about something this seriously in a long time.  After it happened, I did a post about the fact that before people even knew all the facts, they were jumping on the two major bandwagons that exist in this country.

The first bandwagon is the liberal one.  It says that this happened because there it is so easy to get guns.  If we make it harder for people to get guns, then these sorts of crimes won’t happen.  The second bandwagon is that if people had more guns, they could have stopped this.  That people with guns could have made a difference.

I want to be far more thorough in this special comment than I was in the other post.  Here’s the thing about the liberal argument – it’s lazy.  It is a lazy argument to say that if we get rid of guns, violent crimes will go away.  Because it deliberately ignores the investigation into why these things happen.  So many people just say, “he’s crazy.”  “The shooter was mentally ill.”  That is also lazy.  There seems to be a phobia among Americans when it comes to looking at things critically.

Violent crime doesn’t come from guns.  It has never come from guns.  Long before people had guns, people were killing people.  Of course, I am not one of those people who makes the argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  That argument is as tired as it is weak.  But long before guns, murder was still happening.

The reasons why are many.  The first is because there is a part of human nature that is violent.  We are not beholden to it, but it is there all the same.  Before guns, we used swords.  The sword has killed just as many people, if not more, than a gun.  Before swords, primitive humans beat each other to death with clubs or primitive tools.  The violence of the human animal goes back to before we were human.  Violence is a part of nature.  And much as we like to deny it, we are animals.

The next reason is because there are a LOT of social problems in this country.  Before we look at regulating guns, here’s a thought – how about we end the drug war.  It is a safe bet that most violent crime in this country comes from the unbelievably stupid war on drugs, which is hugely tied into the existence of gangs and organized crime.  Where there is organized crime, there is violence.  These two things have gone hand in hand since day one.  If all drugs, not just marijuana, but everything was made legal, it could be controlled, taxed, and taken off the street.  You can bet that if all of the drug market was legal, the illegal market would be crushed in a matter of weeks.  In a matter of weeks, crime would drop because gangs would be put out of business.

If the liberals are going to argue for the making of having firearms illegal, then they have to be smarter about that.  Now, some liberals take a position that owning a gun should be a lot like getting a car.  I am not totally against that.  It is a fact that the regulations already in place are often ignored.  That is taking things from a measured perspective, but to say that we should outright ban them is foolish.

Another thing that must be taken into account is that how would getting rid of all guns be enforced?  It would be enforced by cops.  The police.  Honestly, the cops are far more dangerous than the average criminal.  The police have demonstrated, time and time again, how they will abuse authority and are accountable to nobody.  So, we want an armed and more and more violent force who has shown that cracking down on the public is not outside the purview of what is acceptable to have jurisdiction over what we keep in our homes?

Not only would the cops, who have been proven not to be trustworthy, have authority over average people, but if you take away people’s right to have something, guess what you create – a black market.  Another black market would be made, in addition to the one we have now.  Ironically, the one we have now would feed into this new one.  Neat little spiral of death, isn’t it?

Alright, so we’ve railed off on the liberals for a bit.  Don’t want to see one-sided.  The conservative position – that if all people had had guns, this wouldn’t have happened, is also flawed.

For one thing, it isn’t like people can’t get guns now.  Guns have less requirements to purchase than pretty much any other dangerous item in this country.  I am not for taking them away, but I have a great deal of respect for how dangerous these weapons are.  People in this country only have to go through a background check, and then they can have a weapon.

Here’s another thing – most theaters don’t have laws that prohibit people from having a weapon.  And plenty of people don’t listen to those laws anyway, just going where they go armed.  So, with that being said, would more weapons have made a difference here?  Well, if people could have guns, why didn’t they?  Why didn’t they shoot back at him?

The reason is because guns are dangerous.  They make loud noises.  They are known to kill people.  Most people don’t want to kill people.  Conservatives who talk about getting more guns have, and I think you can bet, almost never fired a gun at a real person before.  They have never had human life in their hands.  Being so cavalier about killing people is part of the problem of our culture.  We can talk about it easy as you like, but doing it?  That’s harder.

Here’s the reality – there is a lot of social change that needs to happen before we can even talk about gun laws.  And getting more guns to more people isn’t going to change things anyway.  But the real tragedy is that not one person is trying to get into the underlying issue that got us here.  Or rather, not one person who is in the mainstream media.  That’s how America is now.

It’s sad, really, when thinking about something is just too hard.

Lefty’s Outlook on the 2012 Election

Well, this post has been a long time coming.  Even given our opinion on politics at the moment, it is worth checking into where things stand right now.  This election year is an interesting one.  There are a lot of reasons why.

The first is that there are several truths that need to be analyzed when looking at the election.  The first is that the state of the American public right now is in shambles.  The middle class is rapidly disappearing, for a number of reasons.  The first is that the wages of this country have remained stagnant, while the cost of living in America has skyrocketed.  The next is that more and more students are walking away from college now with debt so high that they can’t realistically hope to get rid of it for the rest of their lives.  These debts are anchors around the people’s neck.  It is a bubble that is going to burst, because students can’t afford it, and eventually, they will just default out of these, the same way that the housing bubble burst because of default on sub-prime mortgages.

Then there is the job market.  It isn’t going anywhere.  The latest report that came out showed that the economy is going nowhere.  It is stagnated, and because the 99% of Americans are too afraid to invest and are holding tight to their money, businesses that aren’t massive corporations aren’t investing or are falling under, and the banks refuse to pay up, the government is passing legislation to cram massive amounts of money into the gaping hole that is our economy, never realizing that they are just putting off the inevitable.  And across the Atlantic, the EU is falling apart, barely being held together.  Because all the governments of the 1st world are owned by banks, the governments are being instructed to do nothing, and to not pass legislation that could get us out of the ditch.

Put simply, things are really, really bad for Americans right now.

So, with that in mind, what is the outlook for the 2012 election?  Who is going to win?  Well, to answer that, let’s look at the strategy of the presidential candidates thus far.

Mitt Romney has pretty much been doing what Republican candidates have been doing for the last 20 years.  Ever since Ronald Reagan, they are appealing to past glory.  Saying that we used to be so mighty, and we are going to be mighty again.  Basically, the argument is “Manifest Destiny.”  A cheap, overused argument that is so tired and worthless that people just don’t care about hearing it anymore.

Another problem is that Romney is basically using the same talking points as George W. Bush Jr.  And most of the American public blames the absolutely insane amounts of spending and the absolutely insane foreign policy that enabled that spending for this mess.  The economy nose-dived under Bush, and since Romney isn’t offering anything new, the people care about his message about the same.

Barack Obama, meanwhile, is doing just about the same thing, but with different language.  He has been appealing to the way things used to be, saying that with a little work, he can get things back on track for the way we were as a nation.

Here’s the problem with that strategy – people aren’t buying it.  People didn’t buy it when he said that “America is back,” and they aren’t buying that the good times are just around the corner.  There are Gallup polls showing that people think that the country is heading in the wrong direction.  The thing about it is – financially, they’re right.  He is now saying that hope and change is still the way out, but people aren’t buying that line either.

The public has lost faith.  Hopelessness and despair are setting in.  Obama blames the Republicans.  Republicans blame Obama.  The rest of us blame all of them and their pathetic adherence to Wall Street’s every whim.

As for a strategy for the election, the fact is that Obama is coasting on the weak change he’s gotten done, along with the Health Care Reform Act, one of the greatest cons in American history that the liberals are championing (read Matt Taibbi’s book, Griftopia, it is shows how obscene this new act is, along with how it is a complete sellout to the private insurance companies who have a stranglehold in medical care in this country).

Romney, in the meantime, has nothing.  He can’t run on immigration.  He can’t use Health Care Reform against Obama because he passed even more liberal (for how unbelievably conservative Obama’s Act is) legislation that actually included a public option (which is the only way this birthday present to the private insurance companies could have been worth something).  He can’t go against Obama on the economy because it will just be another back-and-forth blaming game between the two of them.

So, what will the election be about?  The same thing that all elections are about now – who America likes more.  That’s what elections are about now.  To Hell with what matters.  To Hell with political ideas.  It has simply become a popularity contest.

And that is why the American people can rest easy tonight.  Because the real truth is – it doesn’t matter.  No matter who you elect, this government will still be Wall Street’s slaves.  The military-industrial complex will still be fed with an endless supply of taxpayer dollars.  Nothing will change.  Not one damn thing.  So rest easy.  You are going to be screwed.

We all are.

Guns, Gun Control, and The Dark Knight Rises

One of the worst parts of society is how people will exploit just about anything if they think that it will get them ahead in a position that they have.  For real, anytime that there is an incident with guns, the left immediately runs to the “get rid of the guns!” argument.  And the right, meanwhile, runs to the “get more guns to people!” argument.  Both sides talk with such fervor and both sides are completely ignorant.

But it is absolutely, positively, every single time.  Every time that something with a gun happens, those are the only two arguments.  Virginia Tech shooting, those were the arguments.  Gabbie Giffords shooting, those were the arguments.  Columbine, those were the arguments.

Are people just afraid to examine the issues in a critical nature?  For real, instead of saying, “why did this happen?  What got these people to this point?  Were they mentally deranged?  Were they confused?  What happened?”  Instead of asking any of those questions, they decide to simply look at guns.

Case and point – at the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” in Aurora, Colorado, there was a man who came to the theater.  He was armed to the teeth and he opened fire on the people waiting to see the film.  He killed 12 people, injured 50 more.  The identity of the shooter hasn’t been released, by the making of this post.  But before we even know who did it, or why, the talking heads of the left and the right are assembling, ready to debate this.  And you know what the debates are?

The Left –

We need to get rid of guns!  If people didn’t have guns, this wouldn’t have happened!

The Right –

We need to get more guns!  If those people had had guns too, this wouldn’t have happened, because they could have shot back!

To both sides –

You’re idiots.

Let’s attack the liberal position on this first.  Do you really think that violence is going to stop if people don’t have guns?  Let’s take a look back through history.  Throughout history, people have been violent.  Before they had guns to kill people with, they were using swords.  Before swords, they used clubs.  That is because there is a part of the human animal that has propensity to kill other people.  We have a violent side to us.

Now, it isn’t like we are beholden to this side, but we have to acknowledge its existence.  But do the people who look at these tragedies do that?  No.  Of course not.  To do that means to shine a rather unflattering light on America and humanity itself, and we are such a self-pitying species that we can’t do that.  It’s just too hard.

But back to the issues – getting rid of guns isn’t going to stop violence.  In fact, getting rid of guns would create even more.  This is because if we ban guns, it would make another black market.  We already have one ridiculous and pointless black market with drugs.  We shouldn’t have any drugs illegal, because it is pointless and doesn’t help anything.  If it were legal, it could be controlled.  So, with one black market which leads to incredible amounts of senseless violence in the form of gang violence, you want to add another?  It would absolutely cause more harm than good.

And in the case of what happened at this theater, that man could have just as easily come into the place with a machete as he could with a gun and killed people.

To the Right – don’t you realize that these people already had the ability to have guns?  Most theaters don’t have a policy that says that you can’t bring in guns.  People have the ability to get a gun if they want to.  There really is nothing standing in the way of them getting a gun, other than a registration process that checks to see if you have a criminal history involving guns.

So, they could have had a gun and fired back at this guy.  Why didn’t they?  Because most people aren’t horribly violent and want to have guns on them to potentially kill an attacker.  Your obsession with people having guns really does confuse/annoy me, because it’s like you all don’t have a firm grasp on reality.  Well, you are conservative, so that isn’t too surprising.

It all comes down to this – America refuses to look at these issues like they are a bigger problem.  They want to simplify it down to “it’s guns.”  That’s lazy, ignorant, and stupid.

Wow, all terms to describe America.  Convenient.

Is Hate Human Nature?

Yeah, this isn’t going to be one of those uplifting posts, unlike my review of the film that I saw yesterday, The Amazing Spider-Man.  Good movie, by the way.  But as I was leaving the theater, there was something that caught my attention.  There was a guy, wearing shorts, out at the theater with his girlfriend.  They were a cute couple.  Here’s the interesting part – the guy had two fake legs!  Below the knee, both legs were prosthetic.  That is…awesome.  This guy walked perfectly.  You’d never know that he didn’t have real legs if he wasn’t wearing shorts.  He was rocking a movie with his girlfriend with his prosthetic legs, and having a good time.  Good for him.  It looked really cool.

At the same time that I was reflecting on how cool that was, a story by Source Fed caught my eye.  It told about a man with a cybernetic eye who was assaulted at McDonald’s in Paris.  This man needs this eye to see, and when the staff asked about it, he showed them documentation that it was a necessary prosthetic, and they seemed to be totally cool with it.  Problem was, they weren’t.  After sitting down with his family to eat, a bunch of employees came over to the table and accosted him about the cybernetic eye.  He showed them the documentation, but they ripped it up, and tried to rip the glasses off of his head.  Problem – they are fused to his skull.  So, they broke the glasses.

Unlucky for them, they were stupid enough to break the glasses, which means that the images that were seen by them were stored in the memory, instead of getting erased, as was what normally happened.  So, this guy uploaded all of the images onto his blog.  The reason he did this is because the French government is staying away from this, and McDonald’s won’t answer his calls.  At the very least, he should sue McDonald’s.  This hardware can’t be cheap, and they should have to pay for replacing it.

A lot of people have been speculating that this was the first cybernetic hate-crime.  I agree with Source Fed when I say that no, it isn’t.  It is merely a bunch of jerk employees who didn’t like their pictures being taken assaulting a man.  They should go to jail, and McDonald’s should be sued for damages, along with pain and suffering.  I am not one of those people who jumps on the “sue them” bandwagon, but in this case, it is 100% understandable.  These people did something wrong, now they need to pay for it.

But what does come to mind is interesting – will there be cybernetic hate-crimes someday?  The answer is obviously – yes.  The reason for this is simple.  People suck.  A lot.  It is part of human nature to jump to hate.  When people see something that they see and don’t understand, one of the first reactions is to hate it, fear it, or resent it for existing.  It’s not because of religion or because of social environment that people hate.  Granted, parents do teach hate to kids, and religion does teach a lot of hate.  That can’t be ignored.  But at the same time, the source for hatred comes from something much more primal than we give it credit for.

It is interesting to see people who want to believe that humanity has risen above its human nature the way that we do.  We are a species so convinced of our own superiority that we believe that we are better than the forces of nature that we both live with, and make us up.  But the fact is that we aren’t.  We are still controlled by our nature.  It is the reason that people are so retrograde.  We are a species controlled by emotion, unable to set aside personal agendas for a large cause.  You think that’s because of social climate?  No, it’s deeper, and the fact is that we are never going to get past it.  Not unless we can engineer people who don’t have these problems.  Lots of ethical and moral arguments associated with that.

This is a cautionary thought process for the liberals in America who are just sure that we are eventually going to overcome homophobia and racism in this country.  As we have seen, there is an ebb and flow to racism and hatred.  There was a time, once upon a time, where being openly gay wasn’t something to be ashamed of, and was celebrated as love.  Race was also a totally different issue.  Social evolution doesn’t mean social progress.  What is bigotry today could be totally bad tomorrow, and what is totally socially awful today could be in vogue tomorrow.

Hate is just one of the many reasons why humanity is its own worst enemy.  The simple fact is that it is much easier for people to simply hate and fear people than it is for people to love other people.  To accept and understand, that takes more effort than we like to admit.  To dismiss something as wrong and worthy of hate is easy.  And that’s the ultimate enemy of humanity – we are too lazy to try and learn and understand.  We are just too lazy.  For those who think that there is a bright star at the end of humanity’s tale, there isn’t.  You cannot save the world, and you cannot stop hatred.  If you want to try, good for you, but you are fighting windmills.  Sorry, but it’s true.

I wish I could hope for a better tomorrow for humanity.  I wish that I could say that we have some wonderful ending to our species.  I wish that I could believe that we will rise above what controls us.  But the fact is that it isn’t going to happen.  We are screwed, as a species.  The best that you can do is to make the most of your life, and stop fighting to change the world.

It is a doomed effort.  I’m sorry, but it’s true.  It’s just how it is.

Lefty’s Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

First things first – don’t see this movie in 3D.  I hate so much that almost every film nowadays is in 3D.  This film doesn’t need it, and you shouldn’t have to pay for it.  3D is a cheap marketing gimmick that Hollywood has whored out to.  This film is awesome all on its own.

Going in to the first film of the original series, I had very high expectations.  It was a Spider-Man movie, after all, and I had had a little bit of love for the character.  Sadly, I was incredibly disappointed.  The dialogue was awful, the effects were crappy, and the villain looked so bad that I laughed every time that he was on screen.  It was a corny and silly and outright ridiculous movie.

You won’t find any of those problems here.  This film is, quite simply, better than the first film of the original series in every conceivable way.  This is what a Spider-Man film should be.  But let’s take a closer look.

The story is of Spider-Man’s beginning.  He is starting out as a superhero, and is learning who he is.  The film opens with his parents leaving him with his aunt and uncle, and leaving, obviously afraid.  They are killed, and Peter grows up with his aunt and uncle.  Through a series of events, he finds himself at Oscorp, and winds up being bitten by a genetically mutated spider.  This begins his transformation into Spider-Man.  Meanwhile, an algorithm that Peter finds that his father made helps Dr. Curt Connors find his own inner monster.

So, the good stuff first.  The first thing to talk about is the dialogue.  This movie’s dialogue and character drama flowed so much better than the first film of the original series.  It helped that Tobey MacGuire wasn’t playing the lead role.  Andrew Garfield did his role incredibly well.  He played Parker as an awkward young man, who isn’t some born hero, but just a guy.  And when he finds himself with powers, he doesn’t just immediately become a hero.

Now, there are a lot of plot points that follow the original film.  Uncle Ben getting murdered, Parker hunting for the murderer, but unlike in the original film, he never finds the man.  And the plot is a lot better handled in this film.  The original film was well-paced, and the story wasn’t bad, but the awful dialogue and the one-dimensional characters like Mary Jane Watson were just tedious and boring.  This film suffered from none of that.

Another improvement was the romance.  In keeping with the original comic, Peter isn’t with Mary Jane, but instead begins a relationship with Gwen Stacey.  Their relationship is believable, and very hard.  There is genuinely compelling drama when Stacey doesn’t want to keep in that relationship because she is afraid (after finding out his secret) of Parker dying, like her father, who is a police captain.  Stacey isn’t just a tease romance like Mary Jane was in the original films.  She has a lot of personality, and is pretty tough.

But by far the best improvements of this film, as opposed to the other film were the fight sequences, and the villain.  This film had The Lizard as the villain.  His look was amazing.  This villain was genuinely intimidating.  Unlike Green Goblin from the other film, who was a joke.  Everything from his look, to his voice-work, you were afraid of this guy. And the fight scenes in this movie were so epic.

Not just with Lizard, either.  Spider-Man fighting it out with random thugs, his first car-thief, and the battles with Lizard were just great.  For one thing, they were a LOT faster than the fights in the other film.  The pace of these fights was so fast that there were times that you didn’t want to blink.  For some movies, that’s a bad thing, but in a film about Spider-Man, that’s just perfect.  This is a guy who can move at split-second reaction.  He can shoot web and jump around.  You want a fight with him to be unbelievably fast and acrobatic.  You expect the enemies of this character to be annoyed fighting him, because catching him is like trying to catch a frog with your bare hands.

So, with all this great stuff, are there problems?  Well, yes, there are a few.  This is really nit-picking, but they are worth mentioning.  The first problem is that the Lizard is cool, and the fights with him are awesome, but it is a little bit glossed over in a way.  You do get into Connors’ head, but it could have been given a little more time.  Of course, the focus is kept on Parker and his adventures, as it should be.  So that really is a nit-pick.

Another problem is that the man working for Norman Osbourne, who is obviously a villain, is a very stereotypical Middle Eastern man.  Oh, and another one – they had ANOTHER scene with an American flag shoe-horned in there!  That got annoying by the third of the original Spider-Man movies.  Here, it was absolutely unnecessary, and kind of uncomfortable.

But to be honest, that is all just nit-picking.  There is nothing staggeringly wrong with this film.  It’s definitely a more serious Spider-Man movie.  We all need to thank The Dark Knight for showing that audiences want a more serious superhero movie.  And we got it in this film.  It is more serious than the original film, it is better acted and better scripted.  It flows organically, unlike the completely surreal and cartoon-y nature of the other movie.  The villain and hero are much better.  It is an overall improvement in every way.

Fans of this hero, or superhero films in general won’t be disappointed.

Final Verdict: 8 out of 10
Awesome!

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