Short Thoughts On… Spider-Man 3

Spider-Man 3 Raining Poster

I remember seeing Spider-Man 3 when it first came out back in 2007. At the time I enjoyed it but I knew that it didn’t quite live up to the first two, though I couldn’t pinpoint why. In the years since then, I, of course, became familiar with all the talk, jokes, and ridicule surrounding it. Dancing, evil Peter Parker was a travesty and embarrassment to the series. They ruined Venom. Topher Grace was a terrible casting decision. It’s too long and too stuffed with too many villains and characters. So going into it now after the excellent Spider-Man 2 I was sort of expecting the worst. I’d seen critics like MovieBob and Devin Faraci defend the movie but the overwhelming negativity on the Internet was enough to make me worry.

But I’m here to report that Spider-Man 3 is not the train wreck we all remember it to be. In fact, it’s a pretty good, fun superhero flick. Don’t get me wrong, it’s almost definitely the worst of Raimi’s trilogy and some of the common Internet complaints aren’t off base, but it’s no where near being a bad film. Spider-Man 3 doesn’t deviate that far from its predecessors in terms of tone, themes, focus, or content. Like the first two films, it puts Peter through the grinder, focusing more on how being Spider-Man affects him than on Spider-Man himself. Peter and his personal relationships are more important here than the villains or the action scenes, just as it was in the first two movies, and they still remain interesting and utterly compelling to watch. Tobey Maguire is on point for every step of Peter Parker’s journey and it’s simply tons of fun to watch. Spider-Man 3‘s flaws mostly stem from the fact that it’s simply too big, not leaving enough time to properly develop and resolve arcs and storylines.

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Short Thoughts On… Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 Doc Ock Arms Poster

Like clockwork, every few months I go on a Spider-Man binge. This most recent bout of Spidey-mania comes courtesy of a new story arc in The Amazing Spider-Man comic, now that the bloated Spider-Verse event is now over, that will hopefully get the new series back on track. So in order to satisfy my cravings for more Spider-Man I’ve dived back into the Spider-Man movies, and since I watched the first of Sam Raimi’s trilogy fairly recently (last spring), I figured I would start with its sequel, Spider-Man 2.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy exists in a stylistic middle ground between retro 60s and modern-day realism. Peter Parker lives in 21st-century New York City but he’s still a Silver Age nerd going to a classic 60s style school, complete with bullying football jocks. Raimi’s camera swings and zooms in ways most modern blockbusters stopped doing years ago and his edits are artificial and obvious in a fun and campy way. And while the first film in the trilogy probably leans a little too heavily into its goofy 60s style, Spider-Man 2 finds the perfect balance between the two.

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Can My Favorite Game of 2014 Be a Game From 2004?

It’s hard to do a year-end post like this without feeling the need to talk about the big topics of the year in some way and I certainly have many opinions about the current state of gaming that I love to spout off about (which you can see by following me on Twitter). But trying to broach just one of the many discussions to be had about games and gaming culture in 2014 in a post that’s supposed to be about the games I played feels like a good way to become sidetracked so I’m just going to put my feelings down on gaming in 2014 real quick and then move on to the fun stuff.

Fuck GamerGate.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s move on to the games. Listed below, along with the dates that I beat them, are the games I played this year. I only listed the games that I definitively beat, though, for 2015, I’m going to start including games that I put significant amounts of time into even if I didn’t complete them.

This year, counting episodic games like The Wolf Among Us as one game, I beat 27 games, 8 of which came out in 2014 (and that’s counting The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: Season Two as 2014 games even though they premiered in 2013). Compared to 2013, that’s 4 more games beaten overall (23 to 27) and 1 more game beaten that was released in the respective year (7 to 8).

So, without further ado, here are the games I beat in 2014:

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Short Thoughts On… Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

metal gear solid

This post does have spoilers for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, so if you haven’t played it but still want to preserve its surprises, this is your warning. Also, go play it, ya dummy.

My ongoing endeavor to play through the Metal Gear Solid series since finding a new appreciation for it continues with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

In a sentence: I absolutely loved it.

I loved the Cold War-era esponiage and jungle setting and its structure as a journey instead of just being located in one singular facility for its entirety. The Cobra Unit and their respective boss battles are the most engaging and unique of the first three games and Ocelot is not only made even cooler here but he’s also given an added layer of depth from his hatred/hero worship of Naked Snake (this is how you make the young, cocky version of a character interesting, George Lucas!). The music is fantastic and the game plays great for both its stealth and action sections. It’s easily my favorite of the series so far and, depending on how I feel after more playthroughs, could easily rank among my favorite games of all time. So, yeah, absolutely adored it.

But what I want to talk about here are two elements that stood out to me as bringing Snake Eater above its peers into a whole other level of greatness: EVA’s confession to Snake in the game’s final cutscene and Snake’s character arc.

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Short Thoughts On… Fantastic Four (2005)

fantastic four

I know, I know. You’ve been clamoring to hear my thoughts on a movie that everybody is sort of okay just forgetting about. But, listen up! Fantastic Four… is not actually that bad. I mean, it’s not great or anything, but it’s not the flaming pile of garbage you might have thought it was. What more could you want from a movie? (Probably something that you’ll remember thirty minutes after watching it, but whatever).

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Short Thoughts On… Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

metal gear solid

I’ve had a rocky history with the Metal Gear games (as you can see here). The first one I played was Metal Gear Solid 3 back around 2008. I enjoyed it at the time though the convoluted story and long cutscenes annoyed me. I went to Metal Gear Solid 4 after that and similarly had a good time, but once again found the cutscenes annoying. I went back and played the original Metal Gear Solid and had a decent enough time. But by the time I got to Metal Gear Solid 2, my tolerance for Kojima’s long cutscenes and endless monologues had hit a breaking point. Faced with the annoying nerd (node?) Raiden, I quit and never finished the game.

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Short Thoughts On… Transistor

Transistor

For the first two hours of Transistor, I was in love. The team at Supergiant Games has built an immensely beautiful game and proven, like they did with Bastion, that a game’s music can be an integral and incredibly important piece of its emotional foundation. Discovering this world for the first time is simply stunning. But after a while, a question started to niggle at me. With increasing boredom, I began to wonder why Transistor needed its combat. There was so much beauty and thought and passion and soul built into this game and absolutely none of that was expressed in the game’s biggest, most prominent mechanics.

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Short Thoughts On… Avengers #35

avengers

I’ve been reading trade paperbacks of comics for the last few years, focusing on the most-praised arcs and my personal favorite characters. In April, I got my very first ongoing issue of a comic when Amazing Spider-Man relaunched. Yesterday, I jumped into four other ongoing titles. Based on what characters I like, how big a role each book plays in the larger Marvel Universe, and how good the books are supposed to be, I chose All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men, Thor: God of Thunder, and Avengers.

I like to pace myself whenever I get a bunch of new books at once, so for today I read Avengers #35.

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Oh Jeez, So Many Articles

So over the last few weeks I’ve done a pretty terrible job about putting up articles here so today is catch-up day. These will be listed from oldest to newest, starting at the top.

Strata Review: Minimalist Trial-and-Error

Strata (Featured Image)

“Instead, each level consists of laying down some ribbons, realizing where you’ve made a mistake, undoing the ribbons to the moment where you made the mistake, fixing it, and relacing the squares again. Every level is the equivalent of lacing your shoes only to get to the top and realize you missed a loop at the bottom.”

Fatherhood in Video Games:
Maintaining the Status Quo or A Small Step Forward?

“The Walking Dead, BioShock Infinite, and The Last of Us set the gaming world on fire because of the strong bond they formed between fathers and daughters. These games didn’t just show the daughters long enough to turn them into revenge motivation but instead made them integral to the story that they were telling. They didn’t use fatherhood as a cheap plot device but as a driving theme for each story.”

Why Nintendo Won E3 in the Eyes of a PC Gamer

“Nintendo isn’t breaking the mold, they’re just inhabiting one that the other companies (and PC developers) aren’t. As Xbox and PlayStation attempt to integrate traditionally PC features (online multiplayer, live streaming, early access, DRM, independent games) into their consoles, Nintendo is going in the opposite direction.”

Super Win the Game Preview: A Genuine 8-Bit Throwback

Super Win the Game Title Screen (Featured Image)

“Super Win the Game looks like its going to be more of the same fun You Have to Win the Game offered. It has the same tight controls and intricate level design as its predecessor while looking to add more items, catchy chiptune music, and a bigger world.”

DROD: The Second Sky Review – Unwelcoming But Fun

DROD - The Second Sky Title (Featured Image)

“It’s too bad DROD: The Second Sky doesn’t have a steadier learning curve for its world or its gameplay because there’s a lot of fun to be had in these mechanics.”

So there’s all the stuff I’ve forgotten to put up over the last few weeks.

You can follow me on Twitter at @cam_wade37 to see me just be disappointed in everything I play, watch, and read.