The Big Picture: Too Many Villains

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Too Many Villains

MovieBob weighs in on the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man movie.

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Is it just me or do a lot of the shots of him swinging around the city look like that one PS2 spiderman game?

castlewise:
Is it just me or do a lot of the shots of him swinging around the city look like that one PS2 spiderman game?

Not just you. i ignored ASM, and so when i started seeing shots from ASM2, i had to actually look it up to find out they were from ASM2 and not a game.

And there goes the foghooooooooorn again.

I have no problem with them changing how the Rhino look. Granted, I don't read the comics, but for me This:
image have always looked stupid. Robot Rhino looks better.

Is it just me or does the spidersuit look really ugly and fake in this trailer?

I think Bob both hit and missed with his explanation. Movies with multiple villains work when they have an established hierarchy; Gruber and his henchmen, Bond villains, etc. Even Batman Begins had a secret organization, with each villain having his strings pulled by another.

Audiences can accept that two villains might team up, but not when they don't have a reason to do so. Movie antagonists tend to have one big motivation (take over the world, resurrect a loved one, etc), and when that obviously clashes with the other villain(s), we want to see the problem dealt with, either openly between the villains or through a big reveal.

Wow, I thought he'd wait to see it before showing obvious bias against this film. Otherwise, good episode.

Also, why do people have a problem with Rhino? While I get the greater argument of whether or not he should have been in it at all, a large mech is a lot more interesting (and looks no where near as stupid) as the costume he has in the comics.

@Plinglebob I imagine the bias for the Rhino is there because "Robot Rhino" is not a popular (or well thought out) incarnation of the character in the comics, while the traditional Rhino while silly (it looks like a dude in a Rhino suit) has time and backstory on it's side to lend it weight in the eyes of people who know the character.

To those who don't know the character I imagine both look somewhat ridiculous

What's most funny to me about this situation is that I consider Raimi's Spider-man 2 to be my favorite of the superhero movies: 1 hero, 1 villain (Well, 2 if you count Harry in the ending) but tons of focus on Peter's situation. To me, that intimacy has been sorely missing for a while in a lot of comic book movies.

This is what I wanted them to do from the start. Each of the movies would introduce a main villain (and maybe a side villain (let's face it, Rhino can't handle a movie on his own)). Then have them all team up as the Sinister Six in the franchise finale. However, if they don't spend enough time on each villain, it won't make sense when they team up.

I'm just posting here to admit I'm not even watching this one. MovieBob can argue and rant all he wants to about the Spiderman series, but he's so blatantly biased about the movies that I can't take anything he says at face value.

MovieBob, I love most of your work, but I cannot take your opinions on Spiderman seriously. Even if you're right in this case, you've been wrong enough that I'm gonna just ignore your takes on this specific IP. Sorry.

I totally agree that having too many villians at once is a problem no matter what your doing. Using power rangers like bob mentioned about, I think having four different villian factions at once in Boukenger/operation overdrive made the series WAY too confusing for me to follow nor care for(not that operation overdrive had my attention at all since that was a huge trainwreck of an adaption/entry in the series). While Goseiger/megaforce(mostly Goseiger)had the same thing but in cycles, when one group fell a new group came in to make up the next story arc with one villain manupulating the others behind the scenes to become the big bad for the final story arc.

I'll see it, then decide.
I did the same with the first one.
I hated the new Lizard, maybe the situation won't be the same with Electro/Rhino/Hogoblin, but we'll see in 6 months.

Massive props for the Feyd Rautha reference! :D

There's a certain irony here for me given that the Rhino really was just some thug in someone else's super-suit. I can understand the trepidation towards the Vulture/Doc Ock reveal though.

I'm also entertained by the fact that Bob conspicuously avoided discussing Spiderman 3, despite the fact that it serves as the epitome of the "too many villains" problem. Then again, Bob's deep and abiding bromance with Sam Raimi made that unlikely, since I still can't recall him ever saying that the third Raimi film was genuinely worse than Amazing Spider-Man.

Because it was.

I suppose part of my distaste for the Raimi films came in how they absolutely missed the point in almost all of the villains they featured, but that's just me I suppose. As it is, I'm gonna reserve judgment on ASM2 until I actually see it.

Jandau:
Massive props for the Feyd Rautha reference! :D

Agreed. That shot reminded me of Sting when I saw it in the trailer and that sentiment is confirmed by both you and Bob here. That's why I love this community. You are extensions of my own nerd-dom.

Greg

Quiotu:
I'm just posting here to admit I'm not even watching this one. MovieBob can argue and rant all he wants to about the Spiderman series, but he's so blatantly biased about the movies that I can't take anything he says at face value.

MovieBob, I love most of your work, but I cannot take your opinions on Spiderman seriously. Even if you're right in this case, you've been wrong enough that I'm gonna just ignore your takes on this specific IP. Sorry.

...well, then you missed an entire video of him SUPPORTING something in the trailer. He is still biased against the movie, but he says that the notion of ASM2 being bad because of its many villains is a weak argument at best. If it does suck, he argues that the fact that there are 3 villains won't be the reason.

OT: Interesting theory. Another good movie with multiple bad guys: Scott Pilgrim.

This looked ugly to me from the beginning. It's the tone of the trailer I hate. Sure, the VFX look terrible, but those could be early, unfinished shots and I don't pay much attention to effects in the end anyway, if the story's good. I was on the too many villains bandwagon for a bit, but I guess Bob's right, they could pull it off if they did it properly. But like I said, what really throws me off this is the tone.
I don't like the mopy, brooding, overly serious tone in this. One of the things I liked about Spider-Man was that it wasn't overly serious. This trailer is trying so hard, you can hear it shitting its own pants from the effort. Have some damn fun with it. That's what's great about the Raimi films. Flawed as they were (and they did have their flaws), they were having fun. They also managed to have their serious moments without those moments consuming the entire tone of the films. And they weren't constantly hitting you over the head going "Take this seriously, damn it! We're doing Heavy Stuff!!!"
Dude, this is not Schindler's List, it's a movie about a guy in a flashy, red-white-and-blue costume who fights a guy in a giant robot-rhino suit. Brooding and angsty-serious is not the right tone for the source material.

Hey, good to see Bob be reasonable about an ASM story for once (after some tweets I feared this would go the other way). I mostly agree with his points here, even though I kind of really liked ASM and I do think this trailer also seems nice, perhaps even more than Days of Future Past.

Anyway, tentatively optimistic for this so far. I think it's a bit tricky to introduce Harry Osborn and have him turn heel in the same movie if you're going to play up the "friends turned enemies" angle, but that's no guarantee that it'll go either way. That may be the one relationship properly built up in the Raimi movies and the one with the worst payoff in Spider-Man 3.

Oh, and robot Rhino? This may be another contextual issue. Both Electro:

http://media.aintitcool.com/media/uploads/2013/harry/modern_electro_large.jpg

And Rhino:

http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/5/59049/1124479-rhino__28ultimate_29_001.jpg

are again the Ultimate versions here, rather than the classics. To me, that's a plus. I think the original 100 issue run of USM is probably the best Spider-man ever made in comic book form. I do understand the element of "whu?!" it brings to the table for people who skipped the book, though.

The weird thing? Well, The Avengers are also a lot closer to their Ultimates rendition, and nobody complained there. That's probably because they tended to keep the classic origins and personalities and just use the Ultimate costumes (so Cap isn't a neocon nutcase, for instance), whereas the Spidey update also took a lot of elements from his updated persona... which I think is a good thing. Ultimate Spidey feels like a contemporary teenager, classic Spidey, and by extension Raimi's, feels like my father's idea of what high school is like.

So yeah, if anything, I'm a bit concerned at how much influence from other films (Avengers and Raimi's Spidey films) there is in this, but otherwise, I'm hoping for good things.

Three main villains, all introduced, explained, and built up in one movie? No, I don't think that could work. For it to work, some would have to be supporting villains (Possibly to come up in a later movie as main villains) or henchmen. Having a whole host of main villains all introduced in the same movie is simply too much work to do in the typical amount of screentime that they get.

As for Amazing Spiderman 2 - SPOILER ALERT: Bob isn't going to like it, it's already fairly obvious from how he talks about it.

Quiotu:
I'm just posting here to admit I'm not even watching this one. MovieBob can argue and rant all he wants to about the Spiderman series, but he's so blatantly biased about the movies that I can't take anything he says at face value.

MovieBob, I love most of your work, but I cannot take your opinions on Spiderman seriously. Even if you're right in this case, you've been wrong enough that I'm gonna just ignore your takes on this specific IP. Sorry.

I agree, I think Bob's an intelligent guy, but he has too much bias around this franchise. He initial hatred of ASM was based soley off the first teaser poster and didn't even giving it a chance afterwards, and his actual review repeatedly mistook his own opinions for critical observation, even though they were observations made before he'd seen the film.

What I find perplexing about this video is that he says that too many villains don't in and of themselves ruin a film, but still stated that the film would 'probably' be bad. That's undeniable bias considering that the 'Multiple Villains' angle and lingering plot threads for the first film are literally all he knows about it.

I just liked the run down of the named bad guys from Die Hard, oh and the Dune reference was well played, although I just think Sting or Billy Idol whenever I see that haircut.

I feel that forming a team to defeat Spider-man could work but it's too early to do this. You'd need 2 or 3 movies of Spider-man beating various villains before one of them decides to build a team to take down Spider-man.

Also one of the problems with Batman Begins was that most of the villains didn't really do anything and were defeated easily. In the second movie Scarecrow barely had any screen time before being beaten.

Interesting, never heard that theory before.
Thanks for the enlightenment.

I agree that it can work (in a not shitty movie like Spidey 2).
The problem is more when you cram too much shit in like the Hobbit, i.e. we want this to sell three Blurays and three tickets; make it happen, director!

Yeah, I agree.

A lot of people are citing Spider-Man 3 as an example of Too Many Villains ruining a movie, but like someone else said on a different thread, while Spider-Man 3 definitely had problems, shoehorned in bad guys was only one of those problems and not the sole reason it completely sucked.

Thunderous Cacophony:
I think Bob both hit and missed with his explanation. Movies with multiple villains work when they have an established hierarchy; Gruber and his henchmen, Bond villains, etc. Even Batman Begins had a secret organization, with each villain having his strings pulled by another.

The problem comes in when you're dealing with multiple established characters, each with sizable backstories and fanbases. Admittedly, yes, Batman Begins did it (though I think it's a stretch to count that as four developed characters), but that exists as a singular example.

The point remains that the reason it's common logic that too many villains spoil comic book movies is because we have a pretty solid history with just that. And honestly, given Bob's hatred of ASM that's already seeping into this movie, I think it's weird to start with this movie as a jumping off point for how it can be done. That would be like me using whatever the next Adam Sandler movie is to demonstrate how one could make an intelligent, sophisticated buddy comedy.

I'm not saying ASM2 can't do it. I just don't think it's likely they will, in part because of all the other movies that have dropped the ball. And unlike Bob and a lot of the critics, I enjoyed ASM, so I hope I'm wrong.

In any event, at least it's not a Raimi movie (though the one thing I liked about Raimu's movies is his build towards the Sinister Six was slower. This time they're gonna get it in before the reboot if it kills them). and that's probably enough for me to enjoy it.

C.S.Strowbridge:
However, if they don't spend enough time on each villain, it won't make sense when they team up.

I don't know if that's the case. Like you said, Rhino doesn't have much to carry a movie with. But one defeat onscreen, you establish him as muscle with no brains who has a mad-on for Spidey and he's perfect for the S6 purposes. I can't really think of a better way to use him.

Then again, I probably wouldn't. I'd likely steer clear of Vulture, too. Except Adrian's inventor side would probably be more useful for both a full movie AND the team-up. Maybe a little redundant with two Osborns, Doc Ock, a mystery benefactor and apparenlty Electro is a genius in this version, so...

Raesvelg:
There's a certain irony here for me given that the Rhino really was just some thug in someone else's super-suit. I can understand the trepidation towards the Vulture/Doc Ock reveal though.

Well, yeah. It's more the other guys that's the problem.

Then again, the Spectacular Spider-Man series did similar and didn't suck.

Then again, like the bad example of the Power Rangers, it had far more time to work with the characters in question.

Then again...Wait, what was I saying?

I suppose part of my distaste for the Raimi films came in how they absolutely missed the point in almost all of the villains they featured, but that's just me I suppose.

And the titular hero. Garfield's Spidey may have Twilight hair, but at least he acts sort of like Spidey on occasion.

xaszatm:
He is still biased against the movie, but he says that the notion of ASM2 being bad because of its many villains is a weak argument at best.

Most of the people complaining about it already had complaints against the movie. I don't think anyone, myself included, is outright saying it'll be bad solely because of this. If you're to be considered accurate, Bob's answering specifically a complaint nobody's making.

If you didn't like the first one, this seems to be a bonus reason to hate it. If you did enjoy the first, this is a reason for concern, not an outright declaration of shit.

Quiotu:
I'm just posting here to admit I'm not even watching this one. MovieBob can argue and rant all he wants to about the Spiderman series, but he's so blatantly biased about the movies that I can't take anything he says at face value.

MovieBob, I love most of your work, but I cannot take your opinions on Spiderman seriously. Even if you're right in this case, you've been wrong enough that I'm gonna just ignore your takes on this specific IP. Sorry.

Honestly, I thought the face value here was that this was Bob's soapbox.

I may not agree with him, but I don't get why someone would expect something else coming into The Big Picture.

Why does Bob have to be biased to dislike the trailer? I mean, I didn't see the first one and honestly couldn't care less either way, but to me the trailer looked like it was cut and pasted from at least two separate movies, both pretty bad. I mean, seriously, what sort of writer thinks he can get away with lines like these? "We...literally...can change...the world." "Soon...everyone in the city...will KNOW how it feels...to live in a world...without POWER!...without MERCY!...without SPIDER-MAN!"

Also, I'm not taking this bit particularly seriously, but I couldn't not notice that the one black guy is painted blue.

xaszatm:

Quiotu:
I'm just posting here to admit I'm not even watching this one. MovieBob can argue and rant all he wants to about the Spiderman series, but he's so blatantly biased about the movies that I can't take anything he says at face value.

MovieBob, I love most of your work, but I cannot take your opinions on Spiderman seriously. Even if you're right in this case, you've been wrong enough that I'm gonna just ignore your takes on this specific IP. Sorry.

...well, then you missed an entire video of him SUPPORTING something in the trailer. He is still biased against the movie, but he says that the notion of ASM2 being bad because of its many villains is a weak argument at best. If it does suck, he argues that the fact that there are 3 villains won't be the reason.

OT: Interesting theory. Another good movie with multiple bad guys: Scott Pilgrim.

I suppose that's better, but if he went that far to state that the multiple villains in the film isn't what he's concerned about, then he hopefully also just flat-out admitted that it works because most of Spiderman's villains are utter shit and not worthy of their own movie. Green Goblin, Venom, and MAYBE Doc-Oc (depending on the backstory you choose) are the only ones with enough background to create a whole movie about. Sandman, Rhino, Vulture, Electro etc... they're all thugs who by sheer accident or through OsCorp got their powers. Kraven's just some eccentric bounty hunter JJJ called in one day to kill/capture Spidey.

They're doing what they need to do in a Spiderman movie, pit him against multiple villains because Spidey should be laughably better than any one of these guys, at least if they give him his actual powers like this series has done so far.

RJ Dalton:
This looked ugly to me from the beginning. It's the tone of the trailer I hate. Sure, the VFX look terrible, but those could be early, unfinished shots and I don't pay much attention to effects in the end anyway, if the story's good. I was on the too many villains bandwagon for a bit, but I guess Bob's right, they could pull it off if they did it properly. But like I said, what really throws me off this is the tone.
I don't like the mopy, brooding, overly serious tone in this. One of the things I liked about Spider-Man was that it wasn't overly serious.

Well, you have to remember that broody Batman and broody Superman made big bucks in recent years, so it stands to reason that, in keeping their eye on that bottom line, Sony Pictures probably wants to reel as much of that audience as possible (and it looks like they will).

For me, the visuals, sound, and music are all major turn-offs, just more boiler-plate video game shit being passed off as cinema.

I'll agree with the above post that says that Raimi's second film was the best of the lot. This just looks like a noisy, garish mess in which the studio micromanagement that ruined Spider Man 3 has completely metastasized.

Also, the studio/director seems ridiculously eager to show off as many NYPD cars as possible...reminds me of the ever-present billowing American flags (which did show up in all the Spiderman movies I've seen)

Might they be doing the thing where there is only 1 or 2 actual enemies and just a bunch of supporting bad guys that have either entirely different interests or are just beasts turned loose by one of the major enemies?

Examples for this would be Arkham Asylum where you have a bunch of ambitious enemies (Joker, Harley) and other bad guys that are basically just there (Zsasz or however he is written) or are very strong but don't have any real ambition contributing to the plot: Killercroc is just a stupid beast locked in, Scarecrow has some ambushes waiting but doesn't seem to actually do much beyond that and Poison Ivy is rather peaceful until she just turns into a indiscriminant force of nature tearing up the whole island.

Note that I do not know enough about Spiderman to know every single one of the enemies presented and their back stories. But the lab teasers Bob analyzed show that the enemies seem to have a somewhat common origin.
So it could be 1 or 2 bad guys and the others (especially Rhino) are just turned loose to wreak havoc and provide cover for some other operation that is the actual threat.

Hades:
Is it just me or does the spidersuit look really ugly and fake in this trailer?

That's been a thing for me since the original trilogy of Spiderman Movies. The suit looks like it's nearly impossible to determine the material it's made from.

Also, part of me wants this movie to be good, Rhino and Electro being my favorite non-big name villain of spiderman lore just below the Shocker.

but then part of me doesn't want it to be good so I can justify not watching them,

I can't remember the place but I lol'd when I read that everyone is forgetting one major villain in all of this, Andrew Garfields hair!

I have a serious question to ask here.

Anyone who says that Bob is biased against the ASM series...are any of you people who didn't like the first Amazing Spiderman?

Because every time I see someone claiming Bob's attitude towards ASM is that he's just biased seems to come from fans who did like that movie and/or do think this trailer makes the second one look good and just decide throwing that B word around is the easiest way to explain why Bob didn't like the first movie's trailer, the first movie, or the second movie's trailer.

The reason I bring this up is because I really don't think MovieBob is biased against this. Now maybe he is, maybe he is really is, no matter what happens ready to say ASM2 sucks. But I give Bob more credit than that, considering there have already been several movies that he did expect to be bad that he ended up finding good, or even great. Heck, one of his most recent Escape to the Movies with Frozen. He expected it to not be very good, and now that he's seen it, he loved it. He also wasn't expecting Real Steel to be very good but he ended up finding that an enjoyable movie as well.

On the opposite side of the coin, he was really expecting and hoping for Monsters to be a good film since it was a bunch of stuff he loves, but if you watch his review of that, it's pretty clear there was no bias there. He didn't force himself to write a positive review for it because he personally wanted it to be good.

My point is, despite what a lot of people may be trying to argue about in regard to Bob's stance on these movies, I don't think he's got a personal vendetta here against these movies.

For all we know he could end up really liking the second Amazing Spiderman movie, despite the trailer.

And I know this might be hard to swallow, but if he doesn't like it, it's probably because he just didn't like it, not because of some magical bias that made it so 6 months before the movie came out he saw the first trailer for it and decided "Yeah, I can't wait to write a bad review for that."

Now all that aside, I do think Bob goes out of his way to talk about his dislike of the first film and this trailer too much. Now the EttM blurb from last week I just thought was a funny joke, no problem with it, but like this episode, which I found an interesting look at the Too Many Villains theory I thought didn't really need the "Oh yeah, the first ASM was bad, and this trailer looks bad." segments of it.

But no, I've seen enough evidence to give Bob the benefit of the doubt when it comes to using words like "biased" I may use words like "repetitive" but not biased.

Trooper924:
Yeah, I agree.

A lot of people are citing Spider-Man 3 as an example of Too Many Villains ruining a movie, but like someone else said on a different thread, while Spider-Man 3 definitely had problems, shoehorned in bad guys was only one of those problems and not the sole reason it completely sucked.

Yes. And actually, the big problems with Spider-Man 3, in retrospect, are more structural and a matter of execution. The real problems with the film come down to a lack of time to polish everything up and correct the structural problems that arose in the original scripting process. The studio was demanding changes clear up until the last few months of filming and that didn't give the crew enough time to hammer out the problems that cropped up. With Spider-Man 2, for example, they'd worked the script out months before they'd started shooting, spending their time in the writing process figuring out exactly what they could do with the idea. They knew what they were trying to accomplish before they started shooting, so when the shooting started, they were able to correct minor problems easily during the shooting. With 3, though, because the studio kept demanding things, they didn't know what they were trying to accomplish until the last six months of the production and by then, they were out of time and couldn't work things over.
I have no doubt that Raimi could have pulled up Spider-Man 3 just as good as 2, but Executive Meddling got in the way, as it all too often does. And that's the problem with the film industry overall: studios don't when and how to be involved. The best time for a studio to be involved in the process is early on, during the pre-production stage. After the basics are worked out and the writers/directors get down to actually working out the details, the studios need to back off because that's the point where the film-making process goes into a set of skills that studio executives don't have. The problem is, they often don't know when to stop.

And in Amazing Spider-Man, it actually looks like the studio executives did everything, or at least had someone on hand the whole time.

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