An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

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

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