|One in five men, so I've heard.|
|Arach-tile dysfunction? There, I think I got it out of my system.|
Hey! You! Yes, I see you there. The one who really likes Spider-Man 2.
I won't be condemning this whole movie based on the logic of a single scene. So don't automatically assume by my next few statements that I hate this movie and am being unfair to it. I'm just saying that Doc Ock's setup here is... well, maybe "stupid" is too strong a word. "Ill-advised." Let's go with that for now.
First of all, location location location.
|This is not where science should be done.|
To be fair, there are probably cameras and guards... but still, why not do this experiment in a place that's easier to monitor and/or guard? Like a secure lab?
Second of all, location location location.
How many of you all have been to New York City? I went there once as a kid to visit my aunt. I went on a ferry, saw the Statue of Liberty, went to some museum I can't quite remember... it was a lovely time.
You know what I didn't see when I was in New York City? Nuclear reactors. Because generally speaking, they don't like to put potential meltdowns that close to 8.4 million people.
Yes, nuclear power is generally safe, save for the one-in-a-million critical problem, but you still don't want to endanger that many people should that one-in-a-million chance happen. At the very least, you put some kind of a buffer zone between the nuclear plant and the residential areas. You don't put a nuclear reactor between a bank and a Famous Original Ray's Pizza. I mean, for Bob's sake, the Manhattan Project didn't actually mess around with plutonium in Manhattan.
Third of all, there are no safety precautions here. None. Nobody's in a radiation suit, the experiment isn't being done in some kind of sealed chamber, nothing. People are just going to be sitting there watching the light of nuclear fusion. You know, the same light that was weaponized and infamously reduced human beings to ash and preserved their shadows.
To be fair, the implication is that Doc Ock has discovered cold fusion (meaning that the reaction can occur in a room temperature environment), but I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't want to stand anywhere near that either. And if Doc Ock has discovered cold fusion, you'd think that there would be a buttload more secrecy and security.
Long story short, this whole setup is dangerous and stupid... and exactly the sort of thing Stan Lee would write in the 60s. People messed around with radiation like this all the time in the 60 Spider-Man stories. Not only was it part of Doc Ock's origin, but Spider-Man's origin, too. A scientist was just playing around with some radiation as a demonstration when a spider got caught up in the energy and ended up biting Peter Parker.
So while this setup is wrong in pretty much every way... it's entirely faithful to the source material, and in that way, I kind of love it. The idea of a guy inventing cold fusion and showing it off in a big room in the middle of the city... why, I wouldn't be surprised if the Joker and the Penguin teamed up to steal the reactor.
But maybe I should actually talk about the scene now.
Dr. Octavius walks out in front of the assembled members of the press and the board of directors, wearing his finest lab PJs, and makes an announcement before they begin.
Dr. Octavius: "...Has anybody lost a large roll of twenty-dollar bills in a large rubber band? Because we found the rubber band."
He apologizes for his corny joke, and proceeds to give a speech about how his invention will change history. Renewable cheap energy, et cetera. But he won't be able to do any of it without his lovely assistants.
|Oh, yeah. Looking good there.|
|Right. Silly me.|
With you so far.
Dr. Octavius: "They are impervious to heat and magnetism."
And you lost me.
How are these tentacles impervious to heat and magnetism?
I can understand them being made out of non-ferrous materials, but how on Earth did he make anything that can withstand the temperature of the miniature sun he's about to create?
I mean, let's look at it from a construction standpoint. The tentacles are basically spines with claws at the end. The "vertebrae" are made of what is definitely metal. How was this metal molded into shape if heat doesn't make it malleable? Screw fusion, Doc; whatever you just used to make those tentacles should be on the space shuttle instead of those ceramic tiles. Just how many scientific breakthroughs do you feel like making today?
Anyway, Octavius gets into place and clamps the unit around his waist as the device flattens against his spine and inserts needles into his nerves.
|And for some reason, the audience visibly flinches over something going on behind a man who's facing them.|
But he struggles and focuses, and manages to activate his four new arms, raising all six of them into the air. And then as soon as he does, he becomes an instant expert with his four new limbs. Makes you wonder if and how he trained to use them.
Octavius starts a little technobabble about how the arms have been directly fused with his cerebellum... making me wonder if he ever planned on removing this getup. And how is he standing up so straight with what must be over three-hundred pounds of weight on his back?
Reporter: "Doctor, if the artificial intelligence in the arms is as advanced as you suggest, uh, couldn't that make you vulnerable to them?"
What? You pulled that right out of your rear, lady. Octavius only said they were "programmed for the sole purpose of creating a successful fusion reaction." That doesn't automatically mean that he gave them any sort of A.I.
|"When he and I built those tentacles, I put a very early build of JARVIS in there."|
|"Yeah, I called it 'Ultron 1.0.'"|
Octavius shows them the chip he built into his arms that makes sure he controls the arms instead of the other way around before finally getting on with the main event. He unveils the open-air fusion reactor (I don't need to go into any more detail as to why that's not the best idea) and gets the sample he needs to begin.
Dr. Octavius: "Precious tritium is the fuel that makes this project go. There's only twenty-five pounds of it on the whole planet."
Uh, no. In an online discussion from 2004 I dug up (talking about this very movie), one of the people involved cited a now-unavailable article on tritium (aka hydrogen-3) stating that there were (as of the time of its writing) about 18.5 kg "on hand," whatever that means. But that "on hand" amount alone would equal about 40 pounds. Then they started talking about the fact that tritium is actually a gas, and not only should it be measured in mols....
|But it sure as heck ain't gold.|
...Oh, geez, I'm worldbuilding based on a single adjective. Fine, let's just move on.
He uses an arm to place the tritium into the center of the reactor as Rosie comes over to hand him his goggles. After all, he's about to come face-to-face with the sun. He activates the device, which fires lasers at the tritium. In no time, science happens at the tritium fwooshes into a miniature sun. With the announcement that they have a successful fusion reaction, everybody gives polite golf claps as we discover why Octavius needs those metal arms. He's physically pushing solar flares back into the mini-sun. I'm not even kidding.
|It's as stupid as it is awesome.|
And I'm sure this isn't indicative of any larger megalomania.
But Peter takes his unshielded eyes away from the burning solar glare for a moment and notices a paperclip wiggling on the ground. Shortly after, all the metal light fixtures start leaning toward the reactor. Then jewelry starts flying into the miniature sun. And I hate to keep harping on this, but if this thing is sending out magnetism that powerful, then who knows what other electromagnetic voodoo it's throwing out? Looks like Peter won't be the only guy in the room with radioactive blood.
Even though Dr. Octavius claims that the magnetism spike will soon stabilize, they begin evacuating the room as Peter disappears. And things get even worse when the mini-sun starts ripping the metal sheets off the wall and sucking in equipment. And yet, none of these people are having their pants zippers pull them toward the reaction?
Things get about as bad as possible when a solar flare rips past the containment field and starts frying the building itself as Rosie dodges debris and Harry yells at Octavius to shut the thing off. As he keeps yelling, Spider-Man rescues him from the computer bank that's about to crash into him on its way to the mini-sun.
Harry: "This doesn't change anything."
Spider-Man swings over to pull the plug, but Octavius swats him away with his arms. With the mini-sun growing, the steel window frames get caught in the magnetic field as Rosie watches them bend.
|So... why weren't her metal earrings ripped out of her head?|
And with Octavius distracted by his wife's death, the mini-sun sends a flare straight into his back, frying his apparatus and overloading the inhibitor chip. So much for "impervious to heat and magnetism."
Spider-Man manages to get up an pull the plug on the experiment, and the mini-sun fizzles out into nothingness. So... this implies that the mini-sun needed energy to sustain itself. Meaning that if the good doctor was getting out more energy than he put in, then he'd invented free energy.
But enough about physics, Spider-Man has saved the city from disaster, turning a possible Chernobyl into a mere Three-Mile Island. As the cops, paramedics, and firefighters rush onto the scene, Harry laments his fortune to no one in particular.
Harry: "I'm ruined. I have nothing left... except Spider-Man."
Assistant: "He saved your life, sir."
Harry: "He humiliated me by touching me."
Harry's guy leads him away from the inevitable news crews as Rosie's body gets the sheet pulled over her face. Octavius, however, ends up in the hospital where a crack team of surgeons prepares to separate Octavius from the metal device that seems to have fused with his spine. Step one is to saw off the tentacles, but they don't seem to like that, since they react by slaughtering the entire ER staff, despite their attempts to fight back.
|Not even the Ash Williams Special works.|
|Hilariously, his tentacles actually join him.|
The next day, J. Jonah Jameson can't believe his luck over the great story.
Jameson: "Crazy scientist turns himself into some kind of a monster. Four mechanical arms welded right onto his body. Heh. Guy named Otto Octavius winds up with eight limbs. What are the odds?"
You think that's bad? What about that Spidey villain with the power to make wormholes? You know, Johnny Ohnn, the Spot.
But Otto Octavius doesn't have a catchy name yet, so JJJ calls in Hoffman to help think of one.
Hoffman: "Doctor Octopus!"
Jameson: "That's crap."
Hoffman: "Science Squid?"
Jameson: "Doctor Strange."
Jameson: "That's pretty good. But it's taken."
|Darn right it is.|
Jameson: "Doctor Octopus!"
Hoffman: "Buh-uh-uh... I like it."
Jameson: "Of course you do. Dr. Octopus. New villain in town! 'Doc Ock!'"
As Hoffman leaves to get things done, Peter arrives to get yelled at for not getting any pictures.
Robbie: "I heard Spider-Man was there."
|"Nothing. That's it. I won't be pursuing this line of inquiry further."|
Jameson: "My son, the astronaut!"
Oh. Not G.I. Joe?
Peter asks for an advance, which gives JJJ a good belly laugh before he refuses to pay Peter for standing there. He gives Peter the time and location before going all wibbly in the transition to Doc Ock. He's getting very depressed about his situation, even considering drowning himself in the Hudson. Then he starts hearing voices and... well, this is an odd bit of choreography. Doc Ock realizes that something's wrong with the chip, turns around to show us that it's fried, and then turns back to talk to the voices in his head. It's actually very distracting when you realize that there's no reason for him to turn around.
The arms seem to be defaulting to their primary function.
Ock declines, since he realizes that he must have miscalculated. The tentacles suggest otherwise. So they're going to rebuild. Bigger. Stronger.
Dr. Octavius: "But we need money."
|"If I were a rich man..."|
|"Daidle deedle daidle, daidle daidle deedle daidle dum!"|
Aunt May: "Oh, but... I'm giving piano lessons again."
Peter: "You are?"
Which leads to the standard "kick-the-wrong-person-to-get-them-to-stop-talking" gag.
The teller gets blunt and lets May know that while it's great that she opened up a new account, they can't give her a loan. Still, Aunt May's not entirely disappointed, since the account she opened up had a gimmick attached.
Aunt May: "Well.... At least we get the toaster."
Teller: "Actually, that's only with a deposit of 300 or more."
Fine print strikes again. But you know what else is striking again? The many-armed Master of Mayhem known as Dr. Octopus! Like May, he needs money. Unlike May, he's not bothering with taking out a loan, since his tentacles are powerful enough to just rip the vault door off.
|Okay, how is Doc Ock hiding four thirteen-foot tentacles in a coat?|
Teller: "Oh, that boy of yours is a real hero."
...the bank's security forces attempt to stop the eight-limbed robber. After he effortlessly swats them all away, he begins grabbing as many gold coin-filled sacks as he can from the vault. What the heck kind of bank fills up cartoonish money sacks with gold coins? What is this, Keystone Kops? Or does thins bank have a nigh-inlimited supply of Sacajawea dollars?
When Spider-Man arrives on the scene, the coin sacks double as convenient ammo to hurl at the web-slinger. So Spider-Man jumps around to dodge them, and even manages to make a rare quip as he uses his webs to fire one back at Doc Ock.
Spider-Man: "Here's your change!"
So Dr. Octopus takes a sack of gold to the chest, which knocks him into a wall, which breaks the wall... but he's still fine. So I've come to the conclusion that Otto Octavius already had super strength before the accident, which would explain how he was able to stand up straight while carrying the full weight of his tentacles.
Anyway, the fight continues as Spidey's web-shooters fail him once again, allowing Ock to finally nail him with a sack of coins. With Spidey down, Dr. Octopus grabs him before the two indulge in more banter.
Dr. Octopus: "You're getting on my nerves."
Spider-Man: "I have a knack for that."
Dr. Octopus: "Not anymore."
He attempts to crush the wall-crawler's head, but Spidey gets away by webbing up some furniture to ram into the villain. With the fight spilling out into the streets, some random lady screaming her head off, and the cops arriving, Doc Ock decides to grab a hostage. And, of course, he chooses Aunt May.
|Because Mary Jane wasn't in this scene.|
Fun fact: When they were filming Alfred Molina "climbing" the building, he was humming "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof, since he had been cast in the lead role. So apparently, they decided to have his tentacles move in time to the song, even though his humming didn't make it into the movie.
Anyway, when Spider-Man shows up, Dr. Octopus decides to make a getaway by dropping May to distract him.
|"Hey, that's my signature move!"|
|"This world's creator has decided that you shall live, True Believer!"|
Aunt May: "Thank you."
|"Don't thank her, thank me."|
Aunt May falls again, but Spider-Man swings down to rescue her again as Dr. Octopus escapes. Once on the ground, Aunt May thanks her new hero, having changed her opinion on the wall-crawler. Spidey swings off as legions of young ladies yell after him, begging him to take them web-slinging. But Spider-Man slings away solo, apparently not bothering to chase after Doc Ock. Or maybe he lost track of the man climbing on building tops, I don't know.
But that night, Peter finds himself at the planetarium as he fails to get any hors d'oeuvres. He also fails to get any pictures. But he does manage to find Harry Osborn preparing to down a bottle of champagne to drown his sorrows.
Peter: "Wouldn't you be drinking if you lost a bundle on some crackpot who you thought was going to take you with him to fame and fortune?"
A line that is now pretty funny, considering that James Franco has since been cast as crackpot actor/director Tommy Wiseau in a story about... well, basically just that.
Harry: "Not to mention your friend the bug."
Peter: "Not tonight, Harry."
Harry: "Every night! Until I find him, it's 24/7."
|"I will not rest until I find that menace."|
|"And I have a sneaking suspicion he's at the bottom of this champagne bottle."|
Jameson: "What are you, deaf? I called you twice!"
Jameson takes Peter around to get pictures of his wife with various people. The minister, the DA....
Jameson: "Oh, here, get a shot of the mayor and his girlfriend. ...Wife."
|"Sorry, I was just thinking about a story we're running tomorrow."|
Announcer: "He's the first man to play football on the moon...."
Announcer: "The handsome, the heroic, the delicious Captain John Jameson!"
But the tasty captain isn't alone. As it turns out, Mary Jane's been dating JJJ's son this whole time. And to make matters worse, once the ceremony's over, Peter still can't get a bite to eat.
|"I swear, if I don't get some nibbles, somebody is going to die."|
Peter: "Listen, I'm sorry... but there was a disturbance."
|"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."|
Actually, if you think about it, she doesn't. They never really interacted in high school, and during most of the time they spent together afterward, she was Harry's girlfriend.
Mary Jane: "And I can't keep thinking about you. It's too painful."
Peter: "I've been reading poetry lately."
Mary Jane: "Whatever that means."
Absolutely the correct response.
Peter: "'Day by day he gazed upon her. Day by day he sighed with passion. Day by day...."
Mary Jane: "Don't start."
And with his poetry failing to get MJ all hot and bothered, he tries the more conventional tactic.
Peter: "Can I get you a drink?"
Poems will slow him, 'cause liquor is quicker.
Mary Jane: "I'm with John. He'll get me a drink."
Mary Jane: 'By the way, John has seen my show five times. Harry has seen it twice. Aunt May has seen it. My sick mother got out of bed to see it. Even my father. ...He came backstage to borrow cash. But my best friend, who cares so much about me... can't make an 8:00 curtain."
Mary Jane: "After all these years... he's nothing to me but an empty seat."
What do you mean "all these years"? Has the first movie been retconned in some way that I'm not aware of? Uncle Ben died two years ago, and MJ only actually started talking to him a few days before that.
|Even then, she didn't actually strike up a friendship with him until she dumped Big Dick Ritchie and started dating Harry.|
Harry: "It pisses me off, your loyalty to Spider-Man and not to your best friend. I find him with my father's body, and you defend him 'cause he's your good buddy."
And yes, he's at the stage of belligerent drunkenness where he doesn't want to be touched, but is still perfectly willing to push other people around.
Harry: "You stole MJ from me."
Harry: "You stole my father's love."
Now that actually happened.
Harry: "Then you let him die because you didn't turn in the freak. Isn't that right?"
And once Harry slaps Peter in the face, it becomes clear that Harry's blood alcohol level might have nearly reached Tony Stark's on an average Tuesday.
|"Good God, that's been known to kill people."|
That night, Spider-Man has yet another failure to web as he lands in an alleyway. And when he tries to crawl up the wall, he simply slides off. And his vision blurs...
Elsewhere, Doc Ock is rebuilding the reactor.
|While enjoying a fine Cuban cee-gar with the leftover money after buying all that sciencey equipment.|
Doctor: "You say you can't sleep. Heartbreak? Bad dreams?"
Peter: "There is one dream where... in my dream... I'm Spider-Man. But I'm losing my powers. I'm climbing a wall, but I keep falling."
Doctor: "Oh. So you're Spider-Man..."
Peter: "In my dream."
Could you be any more transparent about your secret identity here?
Peter: "Actually, it's not even my dream. It's a friend of mine's dream."
Which is why you came for a checkup.
Doctor: "What about this friend? Why does he climb these walls?"
|"Because I'm Spider-Man."|
|"In his dream."|
Doctor: "...maybe you're not supposed to be Spider-Man climbing those walls."
|"Then again, I'm not actually supposed to be seeing patients without a
But that's not stopping me from either my medical profession or my psychiatric one."
|"No wonder you were the cheapest doctor I could find."|
|"Yeah, about that. I'm billing you twice, since I'm your therapist, now."|
Peter: "I'm just Peter Parker. I'm Spider-Man... no more."
And so, Peter heads out into the alleyway to throw out his costume in a recreation of the famous scene from The Amazing Spider-Man #50.
|Yeah, that one.|
|Hey, he got most of it in the trash this time.|
And biggest of all, he actually shows up to MJ's play, causing her to momentarily forget to give her next line to the other actor, who is actually played by the guy who portrayed Young David Banner on the old Hulk TV show. Oh, and don't think for one moment that I didn't catch the Spider-Man parallel in MJ's dialogue, Raimi.
Mary Jane: "I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and really being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy."
After the show, Peter and MJ take a walk, where Peter gushes over her play and talks about how things have been different for him lately.
Peter: "I do my homework now."
|"I'm almost done with my paper on Dr. Octavius, too!"|
Mary Jane: "Peter, I'm getting married."
Peter: "I always imagined you getting married on a hilltop."
Mary Jane: "And who's the groom?"
Peter: "You hadn't decided yet."
Kind of a big step to skip.
Mary Jane: "You think just because you saw my play you can talk me out of getting married?"
|"Would more poetry help?"|
Mary Jane: "Think about what?"
Peter: "Picking up where we left off."
Mary Jane: "Where was that? We never got on!"
Exactly. Peter was never your best friend, MJ.
Mary Jane: "You can't get off if you don't get on, Peter!"
And that's how babies are made. But Peter gives a little speech about how different a person he's become.
Peter: "I'm different! Punch me, I bleed!"
...What did you do before this instead of bleeding?
Mary Jane decides to leave the conversation in a taxi, as Peter puts his glasses back on. Not sure why he was hiding his need to use them?
The next day, at the Bugle, Robertson designs the front page of the paper while JJJ argues with his wife over the phone about how much they're spending on this wedding.
Jameson: "Caviar? What, are we inviting the czar?"
But the two of them are interrupted by a garbage man who claims to have found something interesting.
Jameson: "Don't tell me you have the head of an extraterrestrial in there, 'cause if you do, you're the third guy this week."
But the man claims that he found Spider-Man's suit in the trash. And the fact that he has the suit makes his claim pretty valid. JJJ is ecstatic that the web-head finally gave up and offers the man 50 bucks.
Garbage Man: "I could get more than that on eBay."
Jameson: "Alright, a hundred. Miss Brant, give this man his money and throw it a bar of soap."
The Daily Bugle runs the "Spider-Man No More" story as Peter finds a mugging in an alleyway and ignores it, having no powers to use to save the day. Some time later, he and Aunt May visit Ben's grave.
Aunt May: "He was a peaceful man... and it was all my doing"
What, did you put out a hit on him?
Later, at the house, Peter finally decides to tell the truth about what happened that night to get Aunt May to stop blaming herself for not stopping him from going out that night.
Peter: "He drove me to the library, but I never went in."
Aunt May: "What do you mean?"
Peter: "I went someplace else. Someplace where I thought I could win some money. To buy a car, because I wanted to... impress Mary Jane. It happened so fast. I won the money, and the guy wouldn't pay me. Then he got robbed. The thief... was running towards me. I could've stopped him, but I wanted... revenge. I let him go. I let him get away. He wanted a car. He tried to take Uncle Ben's. Uncle Ben said no. And then he shot him. Uncle Ben was killed that night for being the only one who did the right thing."
In the face of this revelation, Aunt May silently walks upstairs while Doc Ock completes his reactor. Bit of a tonal whiplash.
Dr. Octopus: "Just one more little chore...."
That night, Harry Osborn pores over newspaper clippings in search of any sort of clue as his faithful butler decides to leave for the night.
Bernard: "Your father only obsessed over his work."
Harry takes a break on the balcony as he slowly realizes that the loud, rhythmic crashing noise isn't thunder. He has a visitor climbing up the side of his building. Ock has returned. And he wants the rest of the precious tritium. Harry calls the mad doctor a hack, but changes his tune when Doc Ock dangles him over the side of the building. Harry makes an offer. If Octavius can bring Spider-Man to Harry alive, then he'll hand over the rest of the tritium.
Dr. Octopus: "How do I find him?"
Harry: "Peter Parker."
Dr. Octopus: "Parker?"
Harry: "He takes pictures of Spider-Man for the Bugle. Make him tell you where he is."
As Ock leaves, Harry yells out an afterthought.
Harry: "Don't hurt Peter!"
Oh, the irony.
Coming up in Part 3! Trial by fire, trial by water.