MovieBob - Intermission
Looking Back at This Summer's Movies

Bob Chipman | 19 Sep 2014 12:00
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Amazing Spider-Man promotional image

Summer has come to an end once again, which means it's time to recap the season's most notable cinematic moments.

This is the first year that I can remember where it really felt like Summer blew right past me and didn't say hello, and I won't lie: It kind of bums me out.

Granted, there are a lot of reasons for that. I've really upped my workload this past year: The two shows here at The Escapist, recapping Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and/or old Marvel shows, this column and one about TV; plus chairing a regional film critics' association, working on what will eventually be the final few episodes of The Game OverThinker (in its present form, at least) and planning my next book (no, we'll not be discussing the subject now).

I'm fortunate in that I enjoy enough of my work that it doesn't feel like a burden until I have to try and fit relationships and family matters into the small spaces between that work, suddenly realizing how few evenings I've allotted myself and how many deadlines I stare down on a weekly basis. I'm blessed, employment-wise, but suffice it to say I shouldn't have been as gobsmacked as I was when I hoofed it down to the Laundromat a week ago, saw that the Halloween Spirit seasonal pop-up store had taken up customary vacant retail-space residence and realized "Holy sh**! It's already Fall!"

But yes, Summer is over. And as a Film Critic I am bound by ancient honor and tradition to mark the space between complaining about Summer Blockbusters and complaining about middlebrow Fall Oscar Bait by looking back at the season past and seeing what, if anything, can be learned. So...

Sony Needs to Hang It Up on Spider-Man
There's no need to rehash the fact that I didn't like either of the Amazing Spider-Man movies. My distaste for the franchise is secondary to the more general distaste that greeted the mega-hyped sequel and the "Spider-Universe" plans its producers were hyping alongside it. While Fox and the X-Men were proving that Marvel Studios isn't the only outfit in Hollywood capable of mining comic-book continuity porn for box-office bucks, Sony was becoming the universal punchline to the joke (that also happens to be a truism) about every studio trying to create shared-universe franchises of their own.

It'd be one thing if Amazing Spider-Man 2 had only opened to critical pans and a tepid audience response. But getting curb-stomped in only its second week by a minor R-rated fratboy comedy (after every other studio had cleared space to avoid seeing their blockbusters get overshadowed by Spidey) cast a massive pall over the studio/company's already dismal financial year, and while Sony is still talking about spin-offs it's also delaying the third film and facing the public-relations headache of star Andrew Garfield already distancing himself from the fallout. Most problematically of all, some are beginning to whisper that the real issue might be the one factor that no amount of recasting, savvy marketing or even recasting can fix: The audience may simply have gotten tired of Spider-Man, at least for a while.

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