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Thursday, May 29, 2014

MORE AUTOGRAPHED PICS

I finally got around to scanning several autographed photos that I'd been meaning to post for ages, so here they are:

While not an autographed item, this roster of programming from a drive-in in 1975 shows a healthy mix of Hollywood hits, low-budget schlock, and exploitation sleazery. CAGED VIRGINS was a dubbed French import that played under numerous titles and with various edits but it is infamous for its most uncut version, which features nubile naked women being whipped and molested in a moodily-lit dungeon, complete with a bat hanging from the Euro-bush of one of said lovelies.


Next is a publicity shot of the original Slymenstra Hymen from the intentionally-ludicrous metal band Gwar. They came to visit Marvel during my days in the Bullpen and they were all nice enough to sign stuff for the staff's many metalheads. Sweet folks.


During my days at the barbecue joint, I used to arrive at work on Saturdays a little early so I could get a head start on the cooking and have things ready to roll by the time GHOUL A GO-GO came on. GHOUL A GO-GO is a public access throwback kid's show that harks back to the bygone and totally fun days of regional horror hosts and the wacky shenanigans they got up to while showcasing vintage horror movies. GHOUL A-GO-GO is only a half hour per show so there's no time for features, but each installment is crammed with short films, live music by wacko bands, a weekly dance party for kids in the studio (with some of the kids occasionally being hauled away to fates too terrible to fathom), and the antics of the show's hosts, stylish revenant Vlad Tepes and hulking, groovy hunchback Creighton. I watched the show regularly for years and came to love it, so imagine my shock when I attended my friend Heather's birthday party a few years back and saw Creighton (out of makeup and costume) stroll in and join us at the party's dinner table. In real ife his name is Kevin and he's a total sweetheart who shares numerous interests in common with Yer Bunche, so it was an instant connection. We've been friends ever since and I go to see the GHOUL A GO-GO live shows whenever possible, which is where I obtained this promo item.


Th Creature from the Black Lagoon is one of my all-time favorite movie monsters and is perhaps the iconic cinematic monster of 1950's American cinema, so how could I not want an autographed shot of Ricou Browning, the man inside the suit? I have two of them, thanks to one of them being obtained as a surprise gift.



This next one is of Akira Takarada, the star of the original GODZILLA (1954) and a good number of other vintage Toho giant monster and sci-fi classics.


Here's an "only in New York" story for you: About a year and a half ago a new neighbor moved in across the hall from me and while we chatted and got to know each other, he mentioned that his dad was an actor. When I asked if I'd heard of his dad, my new neighbor, Preston by name, told me that his dad was none other than Ed Neal, the creepy hitchhiker in the  horror masterpiece THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE (1974), which happens to be my favorite horror film. This past Christmas, Preston came back from spending the holidays with his family and he brought this great cast photo signed by his dad. Preston moved out around a month ago and I was sad to see him go. A great neighbor and a solid dude all around.


If I'd had this next one during the 1970's, it would have been worth a solid gold brick at my elementary school. Yes, I met Henry Winkler, one of the indelible gods of '70's TV thanks to his portrayal of the Fonz on HAPPY DAYS. In person he's a really down-to-earth guy and if you ever meet him, please show him some love.


And how could I not want a shot of the Fonz jumping the shark, the infamous act from which the now-ubiquitpus term was cribbed?


And while my collection of autographed photos contains a number of serious scores, few are as sacred to me as this last one:

 Yes, that's Bin Furuya, aka Ultraman, my favorite superhero from childhood and the character who served as my gateway into my lifelong obsession with Japanese giant monster and sci-fi culture. In short, this is right up there with my shots of Patrick Macnee and Sonny Ciba as my collection's holiest of holy grails.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

IN REMEMBRANCE OF WENDY O. WILLIAMS

If not for her incredibly sad suicide, today would have been the 65th birthday of Wendy O Williams, the most badassed rocker woman who ever lived, and in honor of her memory I'm dusting off this heartfelt piece written during my days at the barbecue joint. (In 2006, to be specific.) If you knew her, please observe a moment of silence. If you have no idea who she was, please read this and hopefully you'll be inspired to check out what she left as her legacy.

Sanctify This Place
Protect Us From Evil
Behold The Power Of The Night
Shine That We May See The Light
Curse The Filthy Hypocrites
Crawl Into Their Beds At Night
Ooze From Slimy Depths Below
Scream Into Their Frozen Brains
Work Thy Wretched Wrath
Remove All Obstacles From Our Path
I Command That These Things
Of Which I Speak
Will Come To Be
Behold The Power Of The Night
Shine That We May See The Light
Curse The Filthy Hypocrites
Crawl Into Their Beds At Night
Ooze From Slimy Depths Below
Scream Into Their Frozen Brains
Behold The Prince Of Darkness Here
You Sealed Your Doom
Your Time Has Come
Yhvh
So It Is Done

-"Doom Song" by the Plasmatics

I went in to work at the barbecue joint very early last Sunday, arriving just before 9AM to prepare fresh racks of ribs for a wedding party that had rented the place out for the tail end of the afternoon and the early portion of the evening, four hours in total. Not fun for me since by virtue of the job I have become more or less nocturnal (but was a night person by nature anyway), but somebody has to do it, so I hauled my beige ass through the door in a semi-somnambulent state (I went to bed as early as possible, but I couldn’t sleep, and stopped trying to at around 7:30AM). I don’t drink coffee, so caffeine wasn’t going to help, but I could always rely on my tried and true drowsiness cure: very loud music. And since the place is very well soundproofed I could rock out with my cock out (metaphorically of course, because otherwise there would be health code violations to deal with).

But what to choose? I have a small library at the ready in the kitchen, initially dragged in to wage a self-defense war against the mostly torturous tastes of one of our bartenders (you know who you are, Joy!), and as I perused my choices, I caught sight of the Plasmatics’ “New Hope For the Wretched,” a classic punk/metal hybrid that I’ve adored for some twenty-six years. Featuring staggeringly idiotic lyrics, balls-out guitar masturbation, and a beat that combines a beehive-like buzz with a poppy bounce, I find it irresistible as an enjoyable alarm clock. But what sends the album into rock ‘n’ roll bedlam Nirvana is the unique vocal stylings of the ultimate hardassed frontwoman, Wendy Orlean Williams, or Wendy O to those of us who loved her. Immediately getting a warm feeling at the mere thought of the record, I put the disc in the stereo and hit “play.”

In no time I felt my vitality surging back to life and I bopped about the kitchen, merrily seasoning ribs, cutting up pork and loading the two smokers while singing along with “Tight Black Pants,” “Monkey Suit” and many others before settling on one of the greatest songs of all time, namely “Doom Song,” an Invocation of protection from and curse upon hypocrites and oppressors, accented with a “Toccotta and Fugue in D Minor”-style pipe organ. Upon the CD reaching that track I reset the stereo to repeat play mode, listening to “Doom Song” over and over until my boss showed up, at which point I opted for conversation. Once the chit-chat was over, I began to think back on the Plasmatics and how they would have most likely been swiftly forgotten had it not been for the presence of Wendy O Williams, a performer who would do just about anything onstage to entertain her audience.

I first heard of the Plasmatics in 1980 when they appeared on New York City's tepid afternoon talk show "Live at Five" and the visual of a scowling Wendy O, foot-high Mohawk proudly defying the staid sensibilities of the usually boring chat show, being interviewed by NYC news mainstay Sue Simmons shocked my young mind. Williams was by no means attractive or pretty in the way that most female rockers had been before her, but she displayed a cold, clinical intelligence that Simmons did not expect her to possess, especially since Wendy O's infamous stage antics included her blowing up Cadillacs with dynamite, chainsawing brand new guitars in half, demolishing television sets with a sledgehammer, regularly going topless save for black electrical tape on her ninnies, and getting totally nekkid and covering herself with shaving cream, a fashion statement that inevitably melted and landed her in the hoosegow on more than one occasion.

Needless to say, such a crazed spirit greatly appealed to my adolescent misfit nature, so I went out the very next day and bought "New Hope For the Wretched" on vinyl, thereby ensuring my lifelong loyalty to hard rock chaos and occasional cacophony.

Over the years I saw many a Plasmatics video and even attended a Wendy O show when she went solo (as one of the headliners of a legendary all night show at the old Ritz in 1986 that featured Stormtroopers of Death, the Cro-Mags, Wendy O Williams, and Motorhead; when the show let out at 7AM I was drunk as hell, and even though I was smack dab in the middle of Manhattan's Lower East Side I could not hear a goddamned thing) and while I did not care for her post-Plasmatics output, I still enjoyed her persona.

Wendy O simultaneously flew in the face of and gloried in the hypersexuality of the woman rock star, her severe features and balls-out (or ovaries-out, if you prefer) ferocious attitude serving as a bizarre counterpoint to her sexy, athletic body that was on display as often as she could get away with it. Prowling about the stage like a werewolf in heat, howling with a growl or moan rather than anything resembling an actual singing voice, Williams' aspect was reminiscent of an utterly fearless, post-apocalyptic super-hero from a hellish, irradiated wasteland like that roamed by the painted and befeathered post-apocalyptic savage biker tribes seen in THE ROAD WARRIOR.

A tougher, scarier antithesis to the cock-rockers of the day, Williams was a fiercely defiant she-demon who not only knew she had a pussy, but knew how to use it (don't get me started on her documented-on-film skills involving her naughty bits and a bunch of ping pong balls), and if she wanted to mate, you’d damned well better be ready for it. Preaching physical carnage and destruction as catharsis, supplemented by a firm belief in going through one's existence with absolutely zero bullshit from oneself or those who sought to fuck over the individual spirit, Wendy O was a rock ‘n’ roll shaman. This metal priestess was a woman warrior bellowing her power at an audience of men too weak to even comprehend just what is assailing them, or exactly what it was they liked about being on the receiving end of such forceful estrogenic aggression.

Then in 1998, Williams died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the woods near her home in Storrs, Connecticut at age 48. The reasons for her suicide remain obscure, though there are those who posit that she took her own life rather than compromise her art, while some of her intimates claim that she was "despondent" as she neared the end. Perhaps all that need be said can be found in this excerpt from her suicide note:

"I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection over a considerable period of time. I do believe strongly, however, that the right to do so is one of the most fundamental rights that anyone in a free society should have. For me much of the world makes no sense, but my feelings about what I am doing ring loud and clear to an inner ear and a place where there is no self, only calm."

I like to think that Wendy O's unquenchable spirit is dominating some inhospitable corner of the underworld, scaring the unholy shit out of whatever demonic forces there may be and showing them a thing or two about how to kick ass. But I also ponder who will step forth to take her place as the Number One, take-no-prisoners female voice in rock. After first hearing the Lunachicks' "Jerk of All Trades" album I thought that distinction might go to their frontwoman, Theo Kogan (now heading Theo and the Skyscrapers), but she has mellowed considerably and her aural approach is far more cerebral (and even poetic) than Wendy O's (bear witness to "Mr. Lady" to see what I mean), so for the moment we faithful must be patient.

Friday, May 23, 2014

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014)


After I made the grievous error of missing the superb X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011) during its theatrical run — an intentional move spurred by my disinterest in the three previous X-Men movies and the ridiculous X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (which was so bad that it became amusing) — I was psyched for a followup but when I saw the trailers and other preview footage for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST over the past few months, my enthusiasm dwindled to virtually nil. To be blunt, it looked like shit, what with the trailers' focus on the characters from the first films (the majority of whom I felt were miscast in a big way from the get-go, especially Halle Berry's bland Storm) and the special effects making everything look like a demo reel for a video game tie-in. In fact, I was so turned off that over the past two weeks I'd pretty much decided to give it a miss. Well, hoo-boy, am I glad I suddenly got the urge to check out the 11:20pm show at the Court Street Stadium 12! X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a terrific sequel to FIRST CLASS and the ho-hum X-characters are barely in it.

Taking the classic titular comics story arc as its template (and altering some of the details in ways that actually work), the basic plot deals with Wolverine's future consciousness being sent back in time to inhabit his body in 1973, in order to convince young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Eric "Magneto" Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) that they need to stop a justifiably vengeful Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from committing a murder that will spell the doom of all mutantkind in a hellish future timeline. The target of her assassination scheme is Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), a genius at weapons design, robotics, and genetics, who has developed the Sentinels, towering automatons that detect and exterminate mutants with extreme prejudice. As Wolverine, Xavier, Magneto, and Hank "the Beast" McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) face a number of very daunting snags in their mission, the X-Men of a half-century in the future hope for the success of Wolverine's quest as highly-advanced, super-adaptable iterations of the Sentinels close in with the most terminal of intent.

That's it in a nutshell and the film's 131-minute running time is never dull, giving us a solid script and performances, spiced with appearances by a good number of X-Men familiar from the previous entries and the comics. Among the elements of note:
  • After ages of superheroes being portrayed as squeaky-clean in just about every way, it's a breath of fresh air to hear some of this film's protagonists use character-appropriate profanity, and it's also nice to see Wolverine smoking cigars like he's supposed to. (Hey, the guy was never meant to be a role model. Well, at least not during the years in the comics that indelibly defined him as a character and fan-favorite.)
  • The X-Men from the first three movies, plus some lesser mutants, are only seen in sequences taking place in the future, which comprises about ten or twelve minutes of scattered screen time. A wise move on the part of the filmmakers because  the stuff taking place with the other characters in  1973 is infinitely more interesting.
  • Though he looked quite awful in all of the pre-release material, I'm shocked to admit that I loved the modernizing/re-imagining of Quicksilver (Evan Peters). Marvel's best-known super-speedster, Quicksilver can easily be described as the Flash if the Flash were a dick, and that aspect is still evident here, though his dickishness is kind of endearing because in this iteration he's a juvenile delinquent. I'm curious to see how he's handled in THE AVENGERS 2.
  • Peter Dinklage's casting as Bolivar Trask has less to do with him being an ideal choice to embody Trask than it probably has to do with the filmmakers seeking to draw in some of his GAME OF THRONES fan base. And while there could have been a lot done with the idea of a little person crafting an army of murderous giant robots and the psychological/emotional ramifications of that, nothing is done with it. Nonetheless, it's Dinklage and he's always a welcome screen presence.
Simply put, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is absolutely worth your time and money. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and make sure to stay through the end credits for an Easter egg that you'll need your comics geek friends to explain to you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

"EVERYTHING'S BETTER, DOWN WHERE IT'S WETTER"

(massive facepalm)


A TRUE AND MAJOR SOLID

A friend and former colleague from my Marvel Bullpen days was at a convention in California and was  kind enough to snag me an autographed photo of Bin Furuya, the uncredited actor who played Ultraman, my first favorite superhero and my gateway character into the world of Japanese giant monster culture.

My friend snapped the above pic of Furuya with my signed photo to prove that this miracle actually happened. I now owe said friend a major, MAJOR solid in return and it's a debt I will happily repay someday!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

GODZILLA (2014)

























I'll just cut right to the chase: I wanted to wanted to love the just-unleashed American Godzilla movie. I really did. But while it is not a bad movie, per se, I found it to be profoundly underwhelming. I'm not even going to bother with describing the plot in detail because it simply just wasn't all that, so here's what you need to know: 
  • While certainly a giant monster movie, this film is not so much a Godzilla movie as it is a giant monster movie in which Godzilla's role/purpose has been reduced to a cameo. The central threat is a pair of male and female behemoths who feed on radiation and are about to reproduce, so Big G — who the U.S. military attempted to destroy in 1954 but obviously failed in the attempt and subsequently covered it up —
  • With the exception of Bryan Cranston as an engineer whose wife perishes in a kaiju-caused nuclear reactor meltdown, I did not give a squirt of rat's piss about any of the human characters. Cranston is marketed as being the human character draw but the film in actuality focuses on his completely uninteresting soldier son (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, whose performance is perfunctory at best), and that was a massive narrative error.
  • And speaking of narrative errors, one does not evoke the memory of the 1954 GODZILLA's dour-with-very-good-reason Dr. Serizawa if the character named for him in the new iteration is as much of bland manikin as the majority of the cast. All Ken Watanabe has to do in the role is stand around looking serious and miserable, with a tinge of Spielbergian expectant wonder on his face. The role could just as easily have been filled by a cutout of his face mounted on the end of a broomstick.
  • Though not tedious, the film's just over two-hour running time works against it as it goes for the slow build, or maybe an attempt at crafting an epic feel to the proceedings, but what the filmmakers seem to have forgotten is that Godzilla himself is always the epic element in his films. All the rest, including any other monsters whose asses he inserts him mighty foot into, is simply window dressing.
  • In this iteration, Godzilla returns to his periodic role as humanity's protector, and as such he is in no way cutesy. In fact, he's pretty fucking awesome. That said, I freely admit that I'm an old school Godzilla kid and I will go to my grave preferring the "suitmation" style of realizing Godzilla-style critters. Though CGI can bring special effects miracles to life, to me there is a certain organic charm found in suitmation (and stop-motion in some very good cases) that is largely absent in today's effects spectacles.
  • The MUTOs ("Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms") that serve as our titanic hero's opponents are of interest solely because they're something for Godzilla to destroy. Though they are impressive when in action against Big G, they made me think of other monsters that I found way more interesting, such as the pair of uber-destructive carnivorous birds from RODAN (1956, and one of the best giant monster movies ever made) and Gaos from GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE (1995, also an outstanding giant monster flick). If the film gets a sequel, I hope the filmmakers give Godzilla worthier antagonists.
  • Ifukube-style music was definitely missed but that was to be expected.
  • Though the film's tableaus of destruction were certainly impressive in IMAX, it's not necessary to shell out the exorbitant ticket price for that perk. Likewise for the 3D.
  • Though your kids' individual mileage may vary, the film is probably too talky and bereft of action to prevent them from becoming restless.
But the thing that most irked me about the film is that Godzilla himself is almost beside the point. He has relatively little screen time and while what we get is spectacular, it's mostly a case of too little too late and a lack of badassed giant monster action that really rouses the audience. (Which is not to say there weren't cheers when Godzilla was finally revealed in full and when he roared in triumph after exterminating the MUTOs with extreme prejudice.) And when we do get Godzilla in action, his first set-to against a MUTO begins as one would expect but immediately shifts to being covered silently and briefly as seen in a TV news broadcast. Following that, the big two-against-one battle in Honolulu kicks off but is swiftly brought to an abrupt halt when we get a POV shot from the perspective of people fleeing into a fortified shelter as the doors close and cut off the action. The scene then shifts to the efforts of the uninteresting soldier's efforts and sporadically returns to Godzilla's too-brief battle with the MUTOs, which actually has the nerve to crib one of Godzilla's finishing moves from the grand-daddy of all giant monster movies, the original KING KONG (1933). When all was said and done and Godzilla made his way back into the sea, I was left with the feeling of having been on the receiving end of half of an unfinished handjob. The film's too-few monster moments are impressive while they last and almost get the audience to where it wants to go, but at the most crucial moment the action is derailed and the recipient is denied the giant monster movie's equivalent of a truly satisfying, spunk-a-flyin' orgasm. 

GODZILLA is worth seeing if you're a giant monster hardcore and there are certainly other fans of Big G who will give the film a more enthusiastic pass than I did, but I say caveat emptor. My love of Godzilla has been borderline-religious since I was five years old but I am not one of those fans who willingly turns a blind eye to even the most redolent cinematic turd because it happens to feature their favorite monster. I have absolutely seen worse Godzilla movies but, thanks to it mostly being the kaiju movie analog to a high school cock-tease, I assure you that I won't be returning to this film for repeat viewings. All it did was make me want to sit through a few of the old school Godzilla films yet again — or, for that matter, the vastly superior PACIFIC RIM — and I'm saddened to say that that desire ignited while watching the new movie. When you're sitting through a brand-new big-budgeted installment in a six-decade franchise and all you can think about is how much more fun it would be to see some of the previous entries containing the likes of Mothra, Akira Takarade, Kumi Mizuno, and King Ghidorah, that does not say much for what's currently unspooling onscreen.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

GRADY'S BACK!

During this morning's commute I encountered a vile situation that I had not experienced in many years. I saw the R train pull up to the platform around 6:30am and noted that the car I usually ride in was basically empty. I thought nothing of it because of the earliness of the hour — it was just before rush hour really gets started — but as anyone who's ever lived in New York City for a good while will tell you, one NEVER enters an empty car for any reason. If no one else is on that car, you shouldn't be either.

Anyway, it wasn't until I was on board and the doors had closed behind me that I immediately noticed an horrible, ultra-foul odor, like some great unwashed animal had rolled in its own filth at high noon on a hot summer's day. I looked to my left and caught sight of a bearded homeless man who looked not unlike Whitman Mayo — aka Grady from SANFORD & SON — grinning from ear-to-ear as he fumbled to zip up and button his pants. On the floor was an impressive lake of his just-left and reeking piss that, thanks to the movement of the train, was spreading in runnels of seven or eight feet in length in opposite directions.

Just as I absorbed that heartwarming tableux, I beheld the added charming sight of an equally-fresh and splattery pile of excrement that he had so thoughtfully contributed to one of the long, empty bench seats. (The train was one of the newer R trains that are generally exceedingly clean.)
Also trapped in the car with me were a high school-aged Asian couple that stoically held their composure while noting the human waste, and some random white guy who appeared to just be awakening from a very deep sleep. (cue "Good Morning" from SINGIN' IN THE RAIN) The look of horror on his face as he awakened to the stench and the sight of nasty ol' Grady reminded me of how H.P. Lovecraft more than once described the reactions of men who had witnessed unholy and otherworldly nightmarish life forms that drove men into jibbering states of drooling madness.
The train soon pulled into the next stop and Grady made his exit, walking like a zombie and giggling in a manner that left me unsure if he were crazy, very pleased with himself, or both. 
Before I switched cars I seriously contemplated photographing his work of transit system performance art, but I opted against it. I did not want to be discussed by random witnesses as "some creepy schvuggie taking pictures of a homeless guy's piss and Mr. Softee dump." Sometimes I do care about what people think of me, apparently.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (2014)

There's a lot to be said about the second in the rebooted Spider-Man series but going into some of the plots specifics would give a lot away, so I'll break it down as simply as possible without spoilers:

As Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) graduate from high school and prepare for college, their relationship is strained to the breaking point by Peter's extracurricular activities as Spider-Man and his guilt over remembering his promise to stay away from Gwen, a promise he made to her dead father (Dennis Leary). While Peter also wrestles with unraveling the mystery of what really happened to his parents, his uber-wealthy childhood friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns after over a decade at fancy finishing schools in Europe to find he is now the heir to both Oscorp — his father's bio-engineering and weapons-development corporation — and  an hereditary condition that sees its sufferers slowly turn scaly and green before death ultimately claims them, so Harry is ruthlessly desperate to find a cure at any cost. Meanwhile, Max Dillon (Jamie Fox), a highly-unstable genius Oscorp employee and victim of too many abuses in life, becomes delusionally obsessed with Spider-Man and gains godlike electrical powers as the result of a lab accident. In short, there's a lot going on in ol' Web-Head's world, and life-changing tragedy looms large for all involved...

All of those threads interweave in ways that made the superpowered soap opera of Peter Parker compelling for over five decades and the film is a very good sequel to the previous installment. That said, the film is not without its relatively-minor issues, though those are offset by a fair number of quality points, so here's how it all breaks down:
  • At two hours and twenty-two minutes in length, the movie is overlong by at least a half hour and a tighter edit probably would have been the way to go. However, if the film were shorter it would have lost a lot of its emotional gravitas and from what I hear the finished result is the end sum of some serious trimming already, so any way one cuts it it would have been a tough creative call. What you, the viewer, need to know is that the running time is palpable — though the film is never boring — and the little ones may get restless. And in the name of all that is holy, don't forget to have a pee-break before the film starts. You'll be glad you did!
  • Andrew Garfield is superb as Peter Parker and Spider-Man and, much like Christopher Reeve achieved with his portrayals of Superman and Clark Kent, he pulls off making apparent that Peter truly comes alive when masked and in costume. Peter and Spider-Man have very distinct and separate personalities and Garfield flawlessly nails both.
  • Though he often looks like a CGI videogame character, Spider-Man's physical capabilities have never looked better. There's a real joy to his plummeting from the tops of skyscrapers like a HALO jumper, only to check his fall by shooting a web line onto another building and flying back up with the aid of is elastic tension. Any time we get to see Spider-Man in action is sheer fun and worth the price of admission.
  • The film's 3D is only truly spectacular during the first action sequence involving Spider-Man. After that, it's revealed to be wholly unnecessary, so save yourself from being ripped off and opt for the 2D version.
  • From Gwen's valedictorian speech onward, the film possesses an ominous tone and has a slow build to a number of tragedies that come off like what might happen if Shakespeare had a hand in writing a comic book superhero narrative.
  • The film features a modernized version of the infamous events of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #s 121-122 (June-July, 1973). Fans of classic comics know exactly what that means, so hit them if they try to fill you in on it.
  • I didn't buy Peter's hangdog angst over Harry's situation for the simple reason that while they were tight during childhood, they hadn't had any contact in around a decade.
  • Is it just me or was there a concerted effort to make Harry Osborn look not unlike David Bowie circa THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH?
  • Electro is very impressive to watch in action  and at times he steals from Dr. Manhattan's playbook.
  • The soundtrack is awful. 
  • Spider-Man whistles his own 1960's cartoon theme song and also has it as his cell phone's ring tone. It was a painful groaner, to say the least, and it wasn't amusing at all.
  • Sally Field is once again amazing.
So, the bottom line here is that THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 is well worth your time, but bear in mind that it's a long haul that ends on a note of "To Be Continued."