Saturday, September 12, 2009

Attack of the Giant Plot Hole!

As I sit in my apartment, preparing to move...or sitting around thinking about preparing to move, I have been rotating the Spider-Man movies through my DVD player for background noise. I have been very happy to have these movies. To see a comic book character that I grew up with come to life on the silver screen is awesome. But as I listen to these movies in the background, it finally occurred to me that the role of Mary Jane Watson was written as an idiot.

The evidence? Well, let's start with...

Movie 1: MJ first meets Spidey when the Green Goblin attacks the festival. Once she's in a safe place, the two characters have a brief dialogue exchange. Peter Parker, beneath the Spider-Man mask, makes no effort to disguise his voice. He doesn't make it deeper, higher, and it doesn't seem muffled by the mask. In fact, when he says the line, "You know who I am," his tone inflection is exactly as it was in earlier conversations he had with Mary Jane. Oddly, MJ never pauses to say, "You know...you sound EXACTLY like my friend, Peter Parker." But I let it slide. She was just through a terrifying experience, and this guy leaping around the city with her hanging on to his neck may have been a little distracting.

Skip to later in the movie, when MJ exits from an audition for a soap opera. Peter is waiting, and his exact line is, "I was in the neighborhood." They chat a couple of minutes, and then MJ is off to dinner with Harry...but is attacked by living comic book goons who seem to be looking to have some fun that MJ doesn't want to have with them. Suddenly Spider-Man is there, and he saves her...again. In the few words of banter, Spidey says, "I was in the neighborhood," using almost the same exact tone inflection he'd used just minutes before. If the character of Mary Jane Watson had operating brain cells, it would have clicked that he not only sounded like Peter Parker, but was now using the same line. But she was mere moments from being raped, and then there is the infamous upside-down kiss, so I'll let her slide just one more time.

Alas, the first movie ends with Mary Jane confessing her love for Peter, and they kiss. He turns her down, and as he walks away, she touches her lips. MJ is apparently a woman who can remember a good kiss, and this one was revealing. Her look says it all. "Oh my G-d...Could it be? Is my good friend Peter Parker really Spider-Man?!?" No time to find out, though, as the film's last CG effects take over, and we end with Spidey swinging away from an American flag.

Movie 2: Among the various scenes that open the movie is Peter's birthday party. There's Harry, who has made it no secret to anyone that he wants Spider-Man to pay for his father's death. Oddly, it would seem that Harry never made a police report. If he had, encounters in the movie where the police are on hand while the web-slinger is around would have the cops firing on Doc Ock and our hero. No...Harry seems to think he can handle Spidey by his lonesome.

But we're focusing on the love triangle of Peter, Mary Jane, and Spider-Man. In this movie, MJ is starting to get a clue. And as "Act 2" comes to an end, she's getting some ideas. In fact, she corners Peter and asks for a kiss. This will be the test to prove if he's the red and blue wall-crawler...and it's a kiss interrupted by a car.

Along comes the climax, and Peter takes his mask off for a Doc Ock. That always killed me. He'll pull it off for the guy who's trying to kill him, but he can't reveal himself to MJ. Ah, but she's right there, and she finally knows the truth. As if his bouncing around the room isn't proof enough, they have a few lines while he keeps a wall from falling on her, using his back to hold it up.

By movie's end, MJ and Peter get together, and our hero is off to save someone else...with the camera coming back to her standing by a window. This is actually an important moment, that shot of her at the window. The look on her face can be read in many different ways, but for me, it's a look of, "I only think I know what I'm getting into. This is a guy that swings around the skyscrapers of Manhattan, rushing into fires and jumping through scenes with bullets flying, and I'm in love with him. I'm scared out of my mind, but I love him."

As they say in the movie trade, FADE OUT.

Between Movies 2 & 3: Peter and MJ have a blossoming romance. In the third movie, we get a sense that he's told her about his adventures as Spider-Man, including his origin tale. How do I know this? The scene after Peter is told Flint Marko is really Uncle Ben's killer. MJ talks about the guy from the first movie, and knows that that guy fell to his death.

So we, the audience, are left to assume that he's shared many tales, and one of them must have been about how he finally beat the Green Goblin. Spidey never actually did any of the killing in that first movie. The robber tripped and fell backward. The Goblin was impaled by his own glider. And somewhere along the way, MJ just never connects the timing of the Goblin's death and Norman Osborne's death. We can assume that Peter kept Norman's secret, as it was his dying request. Peter's an honorable guy like that.

And that's where we come to...

Movie 3: How much of the plot do we need to reveal to MJ before she gets it? Do we need to pull out various flow charts to show her how it works? Seriously, at the start of Spider-Man 3, I want to leap into the screen and sit her down. "Look, MJ...It's like this...Remember when Harry's father died at the end of the first movie, and how in the second Harry made it clear he carries a venomous hatred of Spider-Man? These, my dear, and what's called plot points. We know you were around for these events. We have it all captured on film. So how is it that at the start of the third film, you ask, 'What's with you guys, anyway?' Were you secretly high when important events were unfolding?"

As I play the last movie, I want to throttle her for being too stupid. Peter is Spidey. Harry hates Spidey. And whether or not she knows that Harry knows Peter's heroic identity is moot. By playing back the events that only MJ's character would know, she should be able to do the math and realize what the problem is between Harry and Peter. It's not rocket science.

I also have a little issue with Harry's attitude toward Peter. I mean, once he discovers the truth about his father, finding the Goblin's Lair inside his home, he should have said, "Wow...my dad was a murderous villain that tried to kill Spider-Man, my best friend...Perhaps I should forgive Peter Parker/Spider-Man, since my father was an obvious psychopath."

But fear not, kids! They're currently trying to get Spider-Man 4 off the ground. With any luck, MJ will get her brain cells working, and the plot holes will be filled.

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Okay...Ranting about a series of movies was my way of unloading my brain of things plaguing me yesterday. But I promised an update on my dreaded ulcer, so here goes...

I saw a mystery doctor on Thursday. It would figure that I'm seeing my PCPs for over a year and a half, and now I meet the doctor with the fantastic bedside manner. We chatted for a while, with him getting the full story of the ulcer, and how it's been there for well over a year. I explained that how, on Tuesday, I was fearful the ulcer would mean hospitalization. It had been draining fluids, had the disturbing scent of cheese when I changed the bandage, and looked thoroughly infected. Wouldn't it be just my luck that on the day of my doctor's visit, the wound is draining nothing, there is no smell, and it's actually looking a lot better. This left the doctor, Dr T, to ask, "So what exactly are you wanting me to do today?"

"Well, that's just it, doc," I replied. "I'm not a doctor. I have a combination of scar tissue, loads of dead skin, and possible infection going on at the site. I was ready to take myself to a hospital last Tuesday, but now it seems what I was experiencing was the scent of decaying dead skin, and that was irritating the site. So, you being the one who went to med school...What do you see, and what do you think I should be doing for it?"

Really, I loved this guy. He said it didn't look nearly as bad as I thought, and added that my wound care was probably the reason it looked as good as it did. Cleaning with 70% isopropyl alcohol helped to kill bacteria almost instantly, and using prescription antibiotic cream, especially one that propagated skin growth, was one of the smartest things I could be doing. But to cover our bets, he wrote for Bactrim, an oral antibiotic.

And then he did the most amazing thing. He listened! I told him that I prefer to have an extra course of Bactrim at home, since wounds like this are fairly common with me. "Since I'm moving, it would be even better to have extra on hand, since getting meds in the future might be an adventure come October." He didn't even question my logic. Once I explained my motives, he doubled the quantity on my prescription. No Muss, no fuss.

So, no hospitalization to hold me up, and on with the packing. Thanks for the push, though. While I wasn't in any medical danger, it was smarter to go get help. Guess my father's stubborn attitude toward seeking medical attention became lodged into my being about some things. Luckily, I have friends to pleasantly bust my chops about getting it done. =)

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