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2007 – The Year in Geekdom (Part 3)



Posted by Steve

After the final stand of the 300, everything fell into debate among geeks.  In typical geek fashion, there was very little middle ground.   Geeks either loved or hated, and in typical geek fashion, the reasons were varied.  For some geeks, flames on a paint job were enough to hate a project, for others, character development of a villain was no good.  The legacy of 2007 geekdom, though, will always be the debates that raged after the Summer blockbusters were released.

The first of those blockbusters was Sam Raimi’s trilogy ending Spider-Man 3.   To do what no writer should do and remove all suspense, I will go ahead and say that I liked Spider-Man 3.  My biggest problem with the movie was that there was no swinging scene at the end.  Having said that, I recognize and understand most of the problems that fans had with the film. 

Ultimately, I think Spider-Man 3 was a testament to the great film maker that is Sam Raimi.  I didn’t realize until after the fact all that Raimi was up against in making this film.   Originally, because of his love for all things Silver Age about Spider-Man he was going to use the Vulture as one of the villains.  However, due to pressure from the studio (in response to pressure from fans) he went the route of Venom instead.   Not only was there that pressure, there was the pressure of the corner that the filmmakers had been backed into by the Harry/Peter plotline.   So, you’ve got Sandman, Venom, Harry v. Peter, and Peter v. the black suit and it has to be done in a reasonable amount of time with all the action, effect, and fun we expect.  

What did we get?  One of the most amazing scenes in film with the “birth” of the Sandman, some really good pathos when it comes to the relationships in Peter’s life, and a great end fight sequence that has been sorely lacking in Super hero movies since Superman 2.  Seriously, as good as Batman Begins was, the real awesomeness as far as an action sequence goes was in the Batmobile chase, Spider-Man’s final fight was good, but still not an action packed battle of epic proportions, it was mostly him holding on to the cable car while getting hit by the Goblin, after the awesome train fight in Spidey 2, Spidey and Doc Ock versus a big ball of fusion energy just didn’t have that oomph, Superman lifted an island, The Fantastic Four tried, but ultimately things happened a little too fast, Daredevil had a good fight, but again, not action packed blow  your mind kind of stuff.   Superman 2 went straight from Metropolis to the Fortress and the end.  Come to think of it, because the Fortress stuff in Superman 2 wasn’t all that action packed, Spider-Man 3 has given us one of the truly great final battles of a super-hero movie.  

Was Venom used properly?  Probably not, but as someone who got super tired of Venom in the comics, that didn’t bother me all that much.   The dance scene?  I never heard anyone complain about the “Raindrops” sequence or the Mary Jane running to the Wedding March in Spider-Man 2, and those moments were cheesier by far.  For me, Spider-Man 3 was fun, and it was a fitting end to the trilogy.  I just wish we’d gotten a swinging scene at the end.

After Spider-Man fought to keep his pride from devouring himself, Reed Richards and his team had to contend with the Devourer of Worlds and his herald the Silver Surfer.   I was excited for this movie because I used to collect the Fantastic Four comic with a passion.   I enjoyed Tim Story’s first outing the Foursome.  I thought the movie caught the spirit of the comic.  No, I wasn’t a big fan of Doom’s origin, but they kinda fixed that in the sequel didn’t they? 

I don’t think anyone walked away from the movie disappointed with the look or characterization of the Silver Surfer.  I know I didn’t.   I enjoyed this movie more than I enjoyed the first, and I appreciated that we got to see that, while Johnny was still fun, he didn’t overshadow the rest of the cast as he did in the first movie.   In fact, this time out the actors seemed to have a better feel as to how to play off of one another.   Everyone seemed a little more comfortable in their roles.   Except Jessica Alba’s makeup person.  (A little heavy on the blue eyeliner folks.)

The big debate that came out of FF2 was Galactus.   He was there folks, and he wasn’t a storm.  Check the shadow on Saturn, and watch when the Surfer goes to face him down.  He’s there in full Kirby get up.  It’s just that due to his size and the the debris kicked up around him when he has a meal (eats a planet) he has become engulfed in this huge cosmic storm. 

For me, FF2 was a good time.  The promise of a Silver Surfer movie is given at the end,  hopefully we can now look forward to a romp in the negative zone, or a battle with Skrulls, and Dr. Doom can come back.  All he did was sink to the bottom of the ocean.  Maybe he’ll bump into Megatron. 

Which brings us to the next great geek debate of Summer ’07.  Transformers. 

I loved Transformers as a kid.  I grew up at just the right time I think.  As a kid the most anime I was exposed to was Voltron.  We had Transformers, GI Joe, He-Man, Star Wars. Just the diversity in those toy lines alone was enough to make those of us geeks who are products of the eighties well rounded enough to line studios pockets when they give Spielberg and Bay the greenlight to get something like this done all the while waiting in line to see the next big super-hero movie, and still understanding big war movie epics.  Yes, the eighties geek is a thing to behold.  I digress, however.

I loved the Transformers as a kid.  I watched the cartoon with great devotion and when the seasons were released on DVD I got as much as I could.  I own two versions of the movie from the eighties, and the hardest thing I ever had to do was sell my Transformers collection to help get my finances on track. 

I sat in the theatre with all of the arguments and negativism leading up to the movie’s release swirling around in my head.  I had one thing that it seemed very few others on message boards and talk backs had though, I had hope.  I had hope that this movie would be awesome.  At the first mention of the name Whitwicky, I felt something rising up inside of me.  Then, as Bumblebee sent out the signal and the other Autobots landed, I began to disappear.   Jazz broke dance (break danced) when he transformed, and Peter Cullen said, “I am Optimus Prime.” 

A 30 year old man bought my ticket and sat down in the seat I was in, but he was gone.  In his place was a chubby 8 year old kid who believed that as far as evil was concerned you didn’t get worse than the Decepticons, and as far as good was concerned, God himself had created Optimus Prime to show us all the way.   I confess openly, I cheered every transformation, I thrilled at every punch, I got a lump in my throat as Optimus explained, “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings,” and then I almost wet my pants when Optimus said, “Megatron, today one shall stand, one shall fall.” 

Flames on a paint job didn’t matter.  The humor in the film didn’t matter.  This was the Transformers.  There are more out there.  There’s no way Megatron is really done for.  I know the rules.  He’ll be back. 

Yeah, I apparently liked or loved everything that apparently most geeks hated.  However, what I’ve found through many is that those who didn’t like these projects just happen to be louder than those of us who did. 

2007 was a little more than halfway over.  Jack Sparrow still needed to be rescued from the Other Side, Bourne had an Ultimatum to deliver, and John McClane had some cyber terrorists to stop.  In the end, Robert Downey Jr.  would be the man in an iron mask, ComiCon would thrill us, Wizard World would shock us, and Robert Neville would make his stand against a virus that wiped out all of humanity.  2007 still had a way to go, Geeks were debating and, as ever, looking ahead.