Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Monologue: Doctor Octopus

I can't stop thinking about Iron Man today. It's but 25 days away. Why am I so susceptible to spandex movies (that don't star Nicolas Cage)? On that fanboy note, let's start summer early by jumping into the exposition filled panels of comic-to-film super-baddie origins, well one in particular --Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2

Doctor Octavius: Ladies and gentlemen, my wife Rosie and I would like to welcome you this afternoon. But first before we start, has anyone lost a large roll of 20 dollar bills in a rubber band? Because we found the rubber band.

[polite laughter]

It's a terrible joke but thank you for coming.

Today you will witness the birth of a new fusion-based energy source: safe, renewable energy and cheap electricity for everyone. And now let me introduce my assistants.

I love Sam Raimi's directorial sense of humor. This is a great sick joke. A grimace, to a flesh puncture (with gross sound effect) to a crowd grimace. And it's over in a second but Raimi always gets the details. None of the extras in bad superhero movies ever get this involved in a scene.

His "arms" are intimidating. A little HR Giger/Alien like, yes?

Unfortunately they never break out into song like the other movie beastie they remind me of, Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors, or rather its backup singing buds.

Maybe the upcoming Spider-Man musical (god help us all) will rectify that.

Anywayyyyy, the good doctor continues enthusing about his project. Alfred Molina plays him all kind and accomplished/nerdy, winning you over before he gets villainous.
These four actuators were developed and programmed for the sole purpose of creating successful fusion. They are impervious to heat and magnetism.

These Smart Arms™ are controlled by my brain through a neural link. Nanowires feed directly into my cerebellum allowing me to use these arms to control fusion reaction in an environment no human hand could enter.

Bitchy Cassandra [interrupting the good doctor]: Doctor, if the artificial intelligence in the arms is as advanced as you suggest, couldn't that make you vulnerable to them?

Doctor Octavius: [smugly] How right you are.

Which is why I developed this inhibitor chip to protect my higher brain function. It means I maintain control of these arms instead of them controlling me. And now on to the main event. Give me the blue light, Rosie. Precious tridium is the fuel that makes this project go. There's only 25 lbs of it on the whole planet.
Ooh, talk dirty to me Octavius. But don't call me Rosie.

I seriously love nonsensical origin stories and scientific sounding crap. It's really too bad that the Fantastic Four were not fantastic at all on the big screen because what's better than a straight-faced explanation of how cosmic rays can permeate the hull of a spaceship and cause rubbery, invisible, fiery, or stony mutations depending on the personality of the humans they collide with? That's absurd and, well, fantastic. The only thing that could make that story better is if the cosmic rays had some ultra specific name instead of just being generically "cosmic"

But back to this particular experiment. There's a containment breach (of course there is!) and the good doctor soon becomes a very bad doctor once his inhibitor chip is destroyed and his creation begins to control him. I hate it when that happens.

Spider-Man 2 is the greatest superhero movie yet made. So very rewatchable. Perhaps that's why they thought they could just keep making the same movie? However good Iron Man's trailer suggests it might be, Jon Favreau and team will have a tough job measuring up. Spidey set the bar so high. Thankfully for them, the disappointments of 3 and the later bow of The Dark Knight should make it smooth sailing for Tony Stark and his armored alter ego to be showered with money and probably even lauded by the critical establishment once they kick off the summer movie season on May 2nd.

Can't wait to see it, but I don't expect they'll be able to top Dr. Octopus even if Jeff Bridges is playing the baddie. He's one our very best actors and you can tell he's evil in Iron Man because he's bald.

All baldies are bad in the movies unless they're played by Patrick Stewart or Bruce Willis. It's Hollywood's shorthand for evil, their sick way of justifying Nicolas Cage's horrifying plugs whilst making 40% of the adult male population feel bad about themselves.

This post is brought to you by Nathaniel's thinning hair shaved head and lost comic book collection.


Robert said...

My friends and I were discussing levels of evil last week while watching The Riches (is anyone else watching this fine program?)

Anyways: Beard = possibly evil. Bald = definitely evil. Beard + Bald = supremely evil.


i tried watching The Riches recently and quickly discovered that it's one of those shows that you have to be in for the longhaul with. I barely understood anything... usually that's a sign of a well crafted nuanced show, albeit one that has trouble expanding on its loyal audience.

see also: battlestar galactica

adam k. said...

Really, it irks me that Jeff Bridges was cast as this bald villain. Jeff Bridges, he of the supremely beautiful flowing locks. Best "mature male" hair in the biz, bar none.

It just reeks of trying to spite actual bald men. Like, "HA, your one niche, and Jeff Bridges can do it just as well, and then grow back all his hair and display emotional range". Can they be a little more cruel, please? I'm sure there are literally hundreds of talented, bald male actors who would have loved that role.


Good to hear you loved the BSG premiere so much. I still have a few more season 3 episodes to go before I can experience the grandeur. I'm so pissed that they had to cut it off at 4 seasons. It really deserved at least a good 5 season run. I was hoping for 7, since that seems to be the standard. But I guess we should just thank our luckily stars that a show of such exceptional quality managed to get on the air, stay on the air, and finish its story without getting cancelled OR getting stale. That's quite a feat in this day and age.

Though season 3 is a bit rocky in parts. BSG seemed to go through a bit of the Spider-Man/Spider-Man 2/Spider-Man 3 trajectory in its first three seasons, i.e. after an impossibly amazing second act, it gets too complicated and goes off the rails a bit. But it's a minor complaint... anything would seem lesser after season 2.

I expect season 4 will be tight, perfect and amazing again now that every episode counts... only 20 left. Sigh.

Brian Darr said...

I just came out as an Iron Man anticipater on my own blog, so might as well mention it here too. Iron Man was always my favorite superhero, starting when I read my first issue (#170, which fans will know was a good issue for a ten-year-old kid to get "hooked" by, so to speak- and an important on in the storyline of Obadiah Stane- the Bridges character). The casting of the important roles is impeccable. The update to Afghanistan has (potential) relevance. I tend to avoid trailers, but this one has me foaming like a fanboy. The only problem I foresee with this film is the timing of its opening: right in the middle of the San Francisco International Film Festival. And that's obviously a personal issue. I guess I could be setting myself for disappointment, but I'll enjoy the high while it lasts.

Pfangirl said...

Spider-Man 2 was alright but I honestly think X-Men 2 is my favourite superhero film. It just nailed everything as far as I'm concerned.

It makes me wonder if and when Singer makes The Man of Steel whether he can bring the same "better sequel" touch to tired ol' Superman.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your rant, adam k.
because I'm a young actor (23) and I'm seriously balding lol

I need a good bald role model (not Jason What's-his-name, the action guy)

Anonymous said...


I think it is a nice script of this film.