Sam Strange Remembers: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

A super complicated commercial for a film that probably doesn't even have a script yet.

All my life, I have wanted to make The Amazing Spider-Man 3. I can't believe I'm almost there! See, everyone knows that with comic book movies the first is a boring origin story, while the second gets to pull out all the stops and kick ass. I figure, why not make the THIRD one really good instead? Because by then only real fans will still be interested. It's a revolutionary new evolution in nonsensical franchise marketing.

The problem is you still have to make the first two movies. Bleh. The first one was pretty easy. I just had to color within the lines people expected. It didn't really have a story or a feel. For some reason people watched it anyway.

But with part two I had real work to do. Suddenly I had to set up my awesome part three characters and establish some kind of franchise identity. That sort of thing is hard to choose, so I went really hard in every direction possible. The film's over two hours long, so it must have worked out!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens not with Spider-Man Action, but Spider-Dad Action. On a private jet running from Oscorp overlords, we witness Spider-Dad take out a badass assassin with extreme violence. You may wonder how a nerdy scientist got to be such a good fighter, but we find out later that Spider-Dad has super DNA which he got from his dad and so on all the way back to the point when primordial Parkers first evolved away from their spider ancestors.

Spider-Dad wins his fight but at the cost of his posh private jet. We cut to a title card before actually seeing the plane land, so we can all be sure Spider-Dad will be back, costumed and ready to join his son in combat, in The Amazing Spider-Man 3. God, that's going to be such a great film, you guys!

Back in present New York, we re-meet Spider-Man himself. In the first film, I think we maybe pushed the asshole Spider-Man thing a bit hard. But now that he's fully formed and famous, Parker's status as sort of the Zack Morris of superheroes looks a lot better. I dare you to not like him as he high-fives police officers and chases bullies away from abused orphans. This is one awesome guy.

But take off his mask and suddenly he has issues. See, the single defining moment of The Amazing Spider-Man 1 came when Spider-Man's girlfriend's dad spends his dying breath begging Spider-Man to stop dating his daughter, a request Spider-Man considers just long enough for a boner to pop up. Now, whenever his girlfriend gives him boners, he's plagued by the grimacing, taut-skinned face of his girlfriend's dad's spirit. It's like Ghost Dad except you might actually laugh in the theater.

So he breaks up with is girlfriend as a one-movie-too-late act of maturity. And in his absence, his girlfriend goes to college, works as a scientist, wins an amazing scholarship to Oxford University, investigates a nefarious Oscorp conspiracy, enjoys frequent lunch dates with Michelle Obama, and eats lots of amazing Asian food without ever gaining any weight. Spider-Man knows this because, like all good superheroes, he stalks her on a daily basis. Not just for a couple weekends, either - this movie takes place over a four-year period.

It's not so bad, though, because he still gets to be Spider-Man. And Spider-Man loves being Spider-Man, especially now that he has such fun bad guys to fight. For instance, he has the time of his life taking down a bunch of Russian guys who steal a van full of Oscorp Goo. The main baddie, a hyperactive mentally handicapped badger transplanted into a human body named Aleksei Syleksei, is particularly fun to fight with because he's just so darn angry. Spider-Man strings him up and pulls his pants down. All of New York laughs. Spider-Man uses his goo-powers to give him a wedge. New York laughs harder. Spider-Man then gives him a Red Bull, so his incomprehensible grunts and almost-swears get even faster and he passes out from not breathing between tirades. New York also can't breathe because it's laughing so hard.

During this fight, Spider-Man saves the life of a nerdy electrician named Max Ectro. Poor Max has no friends, so when Spider-Man does his condescending "everyone is my pal" schtick, he takes it personally and begins worshipping the hero. One day he falls into a pit of electric eels and turns into electricity. "Now I have superpowers, too!" he thinks. Since he got his powers from eels, he changes his name to Eel Ectro and tries to find Spider-Man to have a cool-guy hangout.

But when Spider-Man shows up, he accidentally mispronounces the guy's name as Electro instead of Eel Ectro. This happens on national television and is also a much better name, so the label sticks. It really pisses Eel Ectro off, and his unhealthy love for Spider-Man turns into an unhealthy hatred. But that's okay. Once he becomes a threat, Spider-Man just gives him more energy than he can handle and blows up his head.

Before we move on, it should be said that Eel Ectro was a pretty badass guy. At first he just had electricity going through his veins and could shoot lightening bolts and stuff, but by the time he's done growing evil, he's basically the most powerful villain ever. He can turn into electric air air, he can fuck with your Internet from 100 miles away, and he can puke liquid electricity all over your face. So clearly his head had to go.

This gets the attention of Spider-Man's best friend from ten years ago when they were only seven, Harry Osborn. Spider-Man's dad and Harry's dad used to be best buds because they both liked science and both had super-powered DNA. Unfortunately, the super DNA in the Osborn clan, while good for aggression and evil, also kills them at a very young age. For instance, Harry's dad dies at about 60. Harry looks like he's about to go any day now. The diseases symptoms are quite severe. First you get shaky hands. Then scabs. Then you turn into a sad vampire.

Harry will not have this and decides that by drinking Spider-Man's blood, he might be able to avoid such a fate. But Spider-Man won't give him his blood because he just assumes Harry is a vampire using a made up disease angle to get a snack. So Harry gets some of the spider venom that made Spider-Man and drinks that instead. This turns his vampireism into gremlinism, which is even worse. But it also gives him the genetic keys to a sweet jetpack!

Meanwhile, Spider-Man and his girlfriend are just about to patch things up because Spider-Man decides once and for all to not give a shit about her dad's dying wish. In fact, he's going to move WITH her to England rather than let her get on with her highly successful life away from him. They forgive each other, kiss, and make plans to have a baby. And then a car smashes Spider-Man's girlfriend's head. She walks around a bit spraying blood from her headless shoulders before falling over dead.

A shocked Spider-Man looks up to see Harry Osborn hovering above him, smiling at the pain he just caused. Spider-Man has him arrested and spends the next five months moping.

But it's not so bad! Now that his girlfriend is dead, Spider-Man no longer has to worry about her dad's ghost haunting him. He's totally free and clear to be the best Spider-Man he can be. A monumental weight has been lifted. So after his sabbatical, Spider-Man hits the streets once again, fully recharged and stronger than ever! Plus he has a bunch of new bad guys to fight! I swear to God you guys are going to love The Amazing Spider-Man 3!

(three stars)