It’s Spider-man Friday!

You heard the title, it’s Spider-man Friday! Yes, I am deadly serious… it is.

You will probably not know one thing about me: I’m a huge Spidey fan – he’s my favourite comic-book character, closely followed by Gambit, Magneto and Vulture. You’ll probably not know a whole lot of other stuff about me, but that’s beside the point. I thought I would hit you all with some Spider-man goodness this Friday and share some good stuff:

  • My really quick review of The Amazing Spider-man
  • My thoughts and progress in The Amazing Spider-man video game (Xbox 360)
  • A brand new Incredibly Awesome Superheroes episode featuring… Batman! Well, I’d be stupid not to cash in on the Dark Knight Rises mania, wouldn’t I?

WARNING: There may be some spoilers, but nothing major in this post. Just please be aware.

The Amazing Spider-man Really Quick Movie Review

 

Amazing Spider-man

These scores are out of 5. I know what you’re thinking: why didn’t I get snatched up to be a professional movie critic already? It’s something I ask myself every day…

Story – 4

Uncle Ben’s death was done perfectly, Peter’s cool-geek existence is believable and his father’s mysterious past is intriguing.

Characters – 5

You really sympathise for Doctor Connors and feel fear and tension whenever the Lizard is around. Spider-man himself is brilliant and blurts out the trash-talk just how he always should have been doing.

Web-slinging – 5

This movie really shines in the web-slinging department. You get a lot of 1st person camera shots which make you feel like you’re Spider-man. Plus a sequence near the end with some cranes really stands out.

Oscorp Sinister-ness Rating – 4

Everyone talks about Norman Osborne and his illness, but you never see him. Oh sure, there’s a shadowy silhouette of him on a big screen and the Oscorp building just screams “there’s evil stuff brewing here”. Really hope they keep the tension building and only reveal Norman in the third movie.

Overall – 4.5

One of my favourite movies of this year. The best Spider-man movie I’ve seen, hands down.

The Amazing Spider-man Video Game

You’d expect a video game based off of a movie to be terrible, right? Not this time, web-heads. This is one of the first movie-based games I’ve played that didn’t suck.

amazing-spider-man-screenshot-video-game-cityscape

The graphics are great on Spider-man’s suit (and unlockable suits), on the Manhattan vista and perhaps only suffer when talking about ordinary human characters like Gwen, Doctor Connors etc. The city’s buildings close-up are nothing to write home about, but everything fits together so nicely and the city itself has a lot of life and bustle about it. The sounds as you swing around and touch ground are fantastic – there’s epic, movie-style music, you hear sirens and honking of horns if you’re running around the streets and the rushing of wind in your ears as you fling yourself about and whip through the air.

One of the things I particularly love is when you let Spidey fall from a great height and he starts skydiving towards the ground, gathering more and more speed as he falls. You can’t get hurt from fall damage (he always shoots a web to stop himself being crushed) but the thrill and danger is still always present. Shooting webs at enemies, yanking them towards you and weaving them into fights is effortless. Spidey shoots his webs like a cowboy toting a pair of pistols and always has something to say when he takes down an enemy. In addition, his web-shooters flash red whenever they shoot a web and Spidey will regularly reload them with fresh cartridges every so often.

Amazing Spider-man

The indoor sections are perhaps the best part of the game for me. Forget Arkham Asylum/City, this game is where true superhero stealth is at. Ok, you can’t set up traps or detonate devices when you please, but Spidey can crawl on any surface (and the camera is perfect) and stalk his enemies like a true predator. Silent takedowns can be executed from the ground or a ceiling/wall and the enemy will always be taken out of sight and webbed to the ceiling so his buddies aren’t alerted. I’ve cleared many areas with about 10 enemies in it with finesse and satisfaction and without being detected the whole time, simply because its so fluid to control Spider-man.

The web rush feature is really good too. Every Spider-man game from now on NEEDS this feature! It’s so simple, yet so effective. Basically, you can tap the shoulder button when you’re aiming at a distant surface/platform/wall/ceiling/anything and Spidey will zip there in the blink of an eye, showing off his moves as he does so. You can also rush at enemies using this mechanic and it’s used for distant silent takedowns. Other cool features include: ability to web-shot enemies to walls, a fantastic swinging mechanic that’s easy to use and rewarding to master, Spidey’s costume ripping when he takes damage, the presence of classic Spidey villains and hints at others, ability to collect and read entire Spider-man comics (both new and old) and a changing, organic city environment (that’s never as frustrating to navigate as Web of Shadows/Prototype when it’s infected).

Amazing Spider-man

In summary, this game seriously rocks and any Spider-man fan should buy it. Swinging and exploring never gets old and you can replay completed sequences to play around with the combat system, collect pickups and unlock new costumes.

Incredibly Awesome Superheroes #2: “Batman”

Batman

It took me a while to draw those villains – click on the image for a close-up on their costumes!

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What is a (Modern) Hero?

People nowadays tend to steer clear of using the word “hero” when talking about stories, whether that’s a novel or a movie. The correct word to use is “protagonist” or “central character”. It’s funny, because back here in the real world we’re quite happy to call soldiers, doctors and teachers “heroes” (which is funny, because most people don’t actually like being labeled like that). I know that sometimes protagonists are not necessarily heroes. Sometimes the antagonist is. But the point is, where have the heroes gone?

Heading back to fiction, take a look at comic books and the movies spawned from them. They feature superheroes and supervillains and they often enjoy being referred to as such. The problem, I think, is that fiction has tilted towards realism and “grittiness” rather than the lighthearted, carefree (campy, even?) fun that seemed to be popular before. This means that heroes now have to have a great deal of depth and, usually, a tortured, dysfunctional past. If you disagree, look at Nolan’s rebooted Batman franchise, the new Amazing Spider-man or any modern war movie or spy thriller. These are modern heroes.

James Bond

We no longer have James Bond ordering martinis and hanging around in exotic locales in cream trousers. He’s now grim, determined, no-nonsense and very violent (not that I don’t love Daniel Craig’s interpretation). I guess it’s good, in a way. People are focusing more on story and substance now than flashiness and style. But, I still think it’s good to remember things that have fallen out of favour–one day they most likely will make a glorious return. Everything goes in circles, including the world of fiction.

Any character who goes out of their way to help or protect others is a hero. How many ordinary people do you know who would endanger their own life for a complete stranger? Any character who resists the pull of greed, selfishness and hate is a hero. Any character who’s made mistakes and has done terrible things, who can make a change and redeem themselves is a hero.

What is a modern hero? The person who decides not to be a sheep and makes a choice to make a difference. The person who stands up for what they and society really believe in. The person who is still standing after the weight of the world is piled on their shoulders.

Marvel Heroes

Next time you hear someone refer to a protagonist or central character, tell them its okay to use the word “hero”. We can always use more heroes.

I’d just like to remind you that these are just my opinions. If you disagree, agree or have something else to add, please feel welcome to drop in a comment.