July 13, 2004

Spider-man's car chasing

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at July 13, 2004 7:20 AM

I saw Spider-Man 2 yesterday, and one thing I noticed (apart from the interest of Wolfram & Hart in the research of Dr. Octavius) was that Spider-man spends a lot of time chasing police cars (and possibly other emergency vehicles). This struck me as a bit strange, because it seems like the last place Spider-man is needed is someplace that is already being covered by the police (unless a supervillain is involved). Sure, it's a more efficient way of finding crimes in progress than swinging randomly through the city, but there's no way he can arrive at the scene before the police--he doesn't, after all, know where the police cars are going--and so he ends up just being glorified NYPD backup. This could allow the department to spread their force more evenly, since officers can travel in smaller groups, but it could also allow the city to cut back on police instead. Cuts in police funding would of course cancel out Spider-man's contribution to crime-fighting, and he might as well just stay at home.


These were my two issues/questions with the film. (I will first admit that I have never read the original comics, so my first question might actually be answered there.)

1. Why are Doc Oc's arms evil? I mean...just because they have AI doesn't make them...evil, does it? Maybe I'm not understanding...when I ask my other friends this question they just get really exasperated and say something like "Well Tracy, without the evil arms there would be no villain, so just accept it and move on." Uh, well, okay.

2. The scene where Peter sees the man being mugged and beaten in the alley: Um, you don't have to be a superhero to help someone in need, genius. I love how he just shakes his head and walks away. Nice. I understand that the scene was there for impact, but I mean, please.

Posted by: Tracy | July 13, 2004 7:53 AM

First of all I loved the movie, but anyway...

I got the impression that the arms weren't evil, just that they were programmed with the single-minded purpose of working on the fusion reaction. Despite being a hardcore computer geek, this didn't actually bother me at all, and I loved Doc Ock & arms above and beyond everything else in the movie. I'm trying to think of a time that the arms did something that wasn't clearly motivated by either 1) self-preservation or 2) working on Octavius' science project.

As far as Peter not helping the dude out? Peter's a wuss! Okay, you make a good point.

As far as the original post is concerned, it's not just that he's following the cops to the crime but also that he's fighting non-supervillian crime. Even that's enough to have the same, eventual economic impact. In a perfect world, though, we would assume that the police spending was "ideal" to begin with, and then with the introduction of a superhero, reducing police spending would actually be the "right" thing to do for the public good. Heh. In addition, in a "perfect" world, the cuts in police spending would translate into either A) lower taxes or B) more spending on other public goods, meaning that the introduction of Spider Man (or equiv.) over a long-term on a city would be a small, barely-noticable increase in many different public goods.

Speaking of traditional crime fighting being at odds with super heros, though, you ever read _The Watchmen_? Topnotch stuff right there.

As far as the Wolfram & Hart connection, that's *awesome*. I only watch Angel and Buffy on and off, but I usually enjoy it when I do.

Posted by: Lemming | July 13, 2004 11:09 AM

Peter sans spider power wasn't capable of stopping the guys in the alley; he just would have been the next victim. I suppose he could have tried to recruit other passersby to help, but that's a dicey proposition...

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | July 13, 2004 9:32 PM

Oh, that's a load of crap. He could have shouted at them to stop, he could have run for the police, instead he just gives this resigned sigh and walk off. Crap!

Posted by: Tracy | July 14, 2004 7:11 AM

walkS off

Posted by: Tracy | July 14, 2004 7:12 AM

I had an issue with the not stopping to fight off the two guys too. As for the arms,

I had a hard time figuring out what it was, because it doesn't make sense that they'd be sentient creatures or anything, but I think the explanation that I came up with makes more sense. The inhibitor chip isn't designed to keep these AI programs from controlling Doc Ock, they control the baser survival instincts of the brain. When Ock hard-wires the arms into his spinal cord, essentially they're an extention of his body and the brain adapts to react to basic instincts as well as programming.

Essentially, the basic survival instinct requires somebody not to take actions that will cause one's self-destruction or self-mutilation and to follow the paths that one's instinctual programming determines. Therefore, Ock cutting out the four arms, without the inhibiter, is like asking him to cut off an arm and a leg, and his brain won't let him do it, the arms act instinctually without his control to prevent it. The arms being programmed to build the fusion reactor as well, that becomes Ock's instinctual need alongside procreating and feeding.

So the voices he hears inside his head aren't the arms, they're himself. Telling him to steal the money in order to fulfill the programming priority of the arms which, in essence, become part of him.

Also, Spidey in the comic doesn't follow police cars so much as save random people on the way to beating the crap out of villains/getting the crap beaten out of him.

Posted by: Joshua Hime | July 14, 2004 1:16 PM

re: The Watchmen; Terry Gilliam is behind a project to get that one made. He wants to direct it.

Posted by: Joshua Hime | July 14, 2004 1:17 PM

Some of the other blogs I read have been discussing the themes of Spider-Man 2, with a fair amount of attention to just how the scene in the alley fits in: see here, here, here, here, and here.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | July 14, 2004 1:46 PM

Terry Gilliam you say? That makes my heart all a-flutter! Mmmm...

Posted by: Lemming | July 15, 2004 1:18 PM
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