An interesting take on the films, seamlessly blended together. Unfortunately, the whole does not equal the sum of the parts – Hero Within is a weaker film than both 1 and 2 (although better than 3!).
It’s an action heavy film, with some great set pieces. Pacing is generally quite good. Editing is technically very well done, as is the sound. Visually and aurally it was excellent.
The structure of the film, the narrative, was quite clear, but the characters didn’t have room to breathe and grow. It was a bit action-movie-ish where the characters are secondary to the plot/set-pieces.
The ultimate problem is too much being packed into one film. Peter’s emotional journey is up and down and up and down. The love story gets abruptly forgotten along the way, and when we finally see MJ again after about 30minutes (in the café) there’s two seconds of dialogue before the action starts again. The love story ended up, therefore, having very little resonance.
The lack of love story also breaks Peter’s arc by removing the primary motivation for him losing his powers. There was very little time for us to see his pain in being apart from MJ.
Further, by losing the voiceover at the end of 1 we don’t ever really understand why Peter can’t be with MJ, which makes the separation aspect artificial.
There was also none of the pain of “Spiderman as menace” which is an additional motivation – and has a payoff in the train rescue.
Hero Within also lacked humour entirely, which I think was a mistake. It made the film overly serious, which doesn’t really fit the tone of Spidey.
On the whole, this was a nice idea, fairly well executed, but ultimately ended up being a decent film, rather than a great one. Spidey 2 is still the go-to film for Spidey fans, but this one is worth a spin just to see the films from a different angle.
I’ve always liked Sam Raimi’s Spiderman Trilogy. Refreshingly light hearted, well directed and generally very entertaining, they serve as a reminder to film makers making superhero movies today, that not everything needs to be as dark as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Spidey 2 is undoubtedly the most impressive in my eyes, but the other two (yes, even the messy third chapter) have their moments too. So, the idea of an edit combining the beginnings of the Spiderman legend from the first movie, with the excellent Spiderman 2 was an exciting one.
Generally, it’s an edit which works very successfully. It breezes along, never outstaying its welcome and at just over 2 hours is a perfect length for this kind of combo edit. The key here for me is how natural the “hand-over” part of the edit feels; by that I simply mean the section when Spiderman 1 ends and Spiderman 2 takes over. I’m pleased to say, that g1orkatos executes it about as well as one could hope for. By having the Spidey 2 footage start after a montage of Parker using his new-found skills for the first time, it appears natural that some time has passed and that some of the characters look slightly different – it’s particularly noticeable for example that MJ has had a change in shade of red hair colour.
Also, the use of the thrilling crane-disaster scene from Spidey 3 works wonderfully well. It took me a moment to realise it didn’t actually come from Spidey 2, so seamlessly was it included into the edit. Excellent work there. Indeed, from a narrative point of view, Hero Within comes off as a huge success. Particularly impressive is the heartfelt material with Peter’s Uncle Ben, which because of the nature of Doc Octopus being a more intimidating and interesting villain that the Green Goblin, has more impact with acting as inspiration and courage for Peter to continue his plight as the webbed crusader. Okay, the romance between him and MJ still comes off a little too “school playground” for my liking, but overall the choices made in the edit to show the blossoming feelings between the two are nicely judged.
Technically g1orkatos also pulls out all the stops. The dual layered DVD version I saw looked great, with some nice subtle colour correction to match Spiderman 1 with the palette from the second film. However, the small amount of footage from Spiderman 3 did stand out a little bit, but I think that’s more to do with Spidey’s suit seeming a little darker. Nothing too distracting however. Audio too is very solid throughout.
So, a perfect edit then? Well, unfortunately not quite. A couple of audio transitions are not as smooth as they could be, which go hand in hand with some visual crossfades which bring a little bit too much attention to themselves. Of particular note is the abrupt fade/cut just as Peter is discovering his powers for the first time on the rooftop. Also worthy of note, is the final shot which hints at the forthcoming sequel. As others have said, it’s too short a scene to serve as the last shot of the actual movie… it would have worked much better as a “Marvel teaser ” at the end of the credits.
Overall however, this is an excellent edit and in truth is a perfect way to see Spiderman 2 as if it had been the first in the series. Bring on the sequel!
I definitely saw the overall narrative and enjoyed the way parallel moments from Spider-man 1 and 2 (like Peter's wall crawl) being in one film brought a certain fusion to the series. A keen sense of storyline was apparent while I was watching. I clearly saw focus on a few key storylines.
As others have said, certain fades were weird. I felt some scenes were cut short for sake of excising so-called "goofy moments" that I rather missed.
Though the intention of the edit is known to the viewer going in, I still feel a shortened version of Peter's other nemesis' could've served as "warm up" villains before focusing on Ock and could've beefed things up a bit.
In all, this feels like Spider-man 2 with one scene from 3 and 15 minutes from 1, and doesn't feel as daring as a 3-in-1 edit sounds. But for intentions sake, I enjoyed it.
This was a brilliant, brilliant fanedit. I loved it! The choices made by the editor and the way the whole thing flowed was superb, IMHO.
If I am to offer some constructive criticism, the colour timing from SM & SM2 are very different to SM3. Personally, I would have tried to re-time the SM & SM2 footage to match the more muted, blueish colour palette of SM3. I also would have moved more of the 'montage' stuff to a bit earlier when Peter first decides to be Spider-Man. Having only the SM3 footage after Spidey makes his choice feels a little short, and yet you do include a montage a bit later that I feel would have worked it a bit better moving it further up. Just personal taste there. I'm sure it's fine as is.
One of the other things I think could be improved (and I'm clutching at straws here) are some of the transistions. If you're going to use a 'fade' then it needs to be rendered a little better or put in a different place or take longer as I noticed it didn't match the fades that Sam Raimi's editors used. The music was sometimes a little off in those transitions too. Perhaps a change of score would help or a audio substitution of some kind.
I really, really liked this edit. And the DVD menu was superb. Excellent edit!
STUFF I LIKED:
- The way the first two movies were spliced together was quite extraordinary; very seamless indeed.
- The romance between Peter and MJ had a lot of focus and it was done very well.
- Pacing was very good; you definitely succeeded with the goal to make a properly structured movie with a normal runtime out of the trilogy.
- I loved that cliffhanger ending with the venom substance!
- Crystal clear video quality.
STUFF I DISLIKED:
- This is just a personal thing, but I do miss the goofiness of the trilogy. The jokey light-hearted tone was, for me, just part of why I like the series so much. Still, I understand removing the jokes for pacing reasons.
- I didn't like the Spider-Man 3 scene with Gwen that was added in. It felt like a weird way to introduce the properly-suited Spider-Man. The edit would have been fine without that scene.
- (Nitpick) Some of the cross-dissolve transitions were a bit distracting and didn't look very cinematic.
This was a very ambitious edit; despite the fact that I like the series for its goofiness I could at least see what you were trying to do with it, and so for the most part Spider-Man: Hero Within was a very enjoyable watch.