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for Thursday, July 15, 2004

Spider-Man 2

I haven't written about SPIDER-MAN 2 - the movie and not any of the comics or the comics adaptation of the movie - for a number of reasons. Among those reasons is that nearly every other online comics columnist or blogger has written about it.

That's not a very good reason. There are lots of topics that nearly everyone writes about. I thought about devoting a column to listing these - Carmine Infantino's lawsuit, Crossgen's financial situation, DC's IDENTITY CRISIS, Free Comic Book Day, and so on - but that's an easy road to go.

A better reason is that I don't always feel I have something new to add to the online conversation. That may or may not be the case with SPIDER-MAN 2. However, since today's TOT has the final results of the TONY POLLS questions you answered at the beginning of the month, I figure I'd include some quick and somewhat obvious thoughts on the movie.

Starting now.

Here there be spoilers!

SPIDER-MAN 2 is better than the original, mostly because it's got a better villain.

It's not my favorite super-hero movie, mostly because there's not a thing in it that was unexpected.

It's still a darn fine movie that I enjoyed greatly.

(The second X-MEN movie is my favorite super-hero movie. It felt more like the comic book and, given the legion of characters which appeared in it, did an amazing job of developing a great many of those characters.)

Other good things about SPIDER-MAN 2:

Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus.

Rosemary Harris *steals* the picture from the younger actors in three scenes: learning the shocking truth about her Ben's death, teaming up with Spidey to battle Doc Ock, and teaching Peter about heroes and the need for them.

(She *so* knows that he's Spider-Man!)

J.K. Simmons manic turn as J. Jonah Jameson.

The subway train fight. Was the courage and decency of those passengers too maudlin? Who cares? It brought a warm feeling to my heart and soul.

"I will not die a monster!"

"Go get 'em, tiger!"

On the maybe down side, the familiar path Harry Osborn seems to be walking. I know it's in the comics canon. I know it makes sense for the over-all trilogy, but, darn the comics and full speed ahead, I would love to see director Sam Raimi do something totally unexpected with the character in the final film.

That's my SPIDER-MAN 2 review.



We asked questions about SPIDER-MAN 2.

You answered them.

Have you seen SPIDER-MAN 2?


If you've seen SPIDER-MAN 2, how would you rate it on a scale of zero (lowest) to five (highest)?


As you might have guessed by my review, I gave SPIDER-MAN 2 the highest rating...and I'm not at all surprised the majority of the voters also gave it high marks.

Do you plan to see SPIDER-MAN 2 more than once?


I'm a "yes" vote, though I probably won't see it again in a theater. There are four other currently running movies I want or "kind of want" to see and I'd likely see them before I went back to SPIDER-MAN 2. But I will buy the DVD when it's released and watch it again then.

If you saw SPIDER-MAN 2 and aren't a regular reader of Spider-Man comic books, did the movie inspire you to check out any of the recent issues?


This is a much better response than I could have hoped for. Since my readership is mostly composed of comics fans, I can't and won't draw any conclusions for the over-all movie-going populace. But - indulge me - just imagine a world where a quarter of all the people who saw SPIDER-MAN 2 bought a few comic books after viewing the movie. Wouldn't that be something!

Spider-Man also figured in the "bonus" question we asked you that week.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY ran a list of their top ten choices for Hollywood's most beloved and bankable characters. Which of their choices is your own most beloved?

James Bond.....18.33%
Harry Potter.....6.67%
Darth Vader.....5.83%
Bart Simpson.....5%
Santa Claus.....2.50%
SpongeBob SquarePants.....2.50%

Poor Shrek! I guess it really isn't easy being green. My own vote in this category came down to a choice between Spider-Man and Batman. I went with Spider-Man because, most of the time, he retains the spirit of his character as originally created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. I don't always recognize the real Batman in today's comic books...though recent animated shows have done a good job in that respect.

The current TONY POLLS questions will remain active until next Monday, July 19. You can vote on them at:



Because you're going to ask...

I don't have anything particularly cogent to say about Carmine Infantino's lawsuit except that:

a) from my personal experience, I know that comics publishers don't always live up to their agreements with creators; and,

b) we don't know the terms of any agreements DC Comics might have had with Infantino.

My general rule on such matters is that:

a) I always root for creators to get as much as they can from the publishers; and,

b) any lawsuit against DC has the possibility, however slim, of helping me somewhere down the line.

Crossgen's financial woes? I hate to see comics creators get stiffed and I don't like to see any comics publisher in jeopardy. Though I'm not optimistic at this point, I certainly hoped for this to have a better conclusion.

IDENTITY CRISIS? I briefly reviewed it for an upcoming issue of COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE and will be doing a longer review online in the near future. Off-hand, though, and no matter how good you or I may think the first issue was otherwise, was it really necessary for DC to go the "Woman In Refrigerator" route once again? Wasn't beaten, burned, and "oh, by the way, pregnant" taking things a tad too far in the name of shock value?

Free Comic Book Day? I have all the free comics and I plan to read and review them for you. However, don't look for those TOTs until after I finish the summer-long MY FIRST MARVELS series. That series will resume tomorrow.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back here tomorrow and I hope you will be, too.

Tony Isabella

<< 07/14/2004 | 07/15/2004 | 07/16/2004 >>

Discuss this column with me at my Message Board. Also, read Heroes and Villains: Real and Imagined and view my Amazon Wish List.

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

Please send material you would like me to review to:

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Medina, OH 44256

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