Cinema’s 8 Most Nefarious Organizations: From #8. Death Eaters to #5. S.P.E.C.T.R.E.


Evil organizations are all the craze these days on the silver screen, taking center stage in at least four 2015 Major Blockbusters: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, SPECTRE (ha), and the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Nothing like a whole industry of villains and evil doers, often, but not always, operating in the shadows. And though several of the “organizations” chosen are literally companies, they also fit the mold of “Nefarious Organizations.” Not just any company will do, but these certainly more than your simple morally corrupt businesses.

I’ve gone ahead and ranked them, most effective to least.

Let’s start with #8 through #5!

 

8. Death Eaters from the Harry Potter Franchise

Voldemort takes a cue or two from S.P.E.C.T.R.E., but instead of rings they all got matching tattoos!
Voldemort takes a cue or two from S.P.E.C.T.R.E., but instead of rings they all got matching tattoos!

I’m not even a Harry Potter fan (I’ve read 6 and 1/2 of the books, but never made it far enough in the film franchise to see said organization), but my roommate tells me I should look past my own interests, and the Death Eaters were the 1st Evil Organization I could think of outside my traditional Geek World (which would be mostly Marvel Comic Book Evil Organizations…).

Death Eaters definitely qualify as a Nefarious Organization, one that, like the best of them (that follow), have members at every level of government, Hogwarts, and even that weird Magical Bank with the trolls. Not a lot is  scarier than a group of zealots awaiting and/or aiding the return of their evil leader: He who must not be named!

 

7. OSCORP Industries from The Amazing Spider-Man FilmsOscorp Tower from The Amazing Spider-Man

In Sam Raimi’s original films, Oscorp was simply the company that Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe) would experiment on himself… and kill… to remain in control and keep profitable. In Marc Webb’s Amazing Spider-Man films, the corporation is responsible for a man-lizard, an electricity man, a mutated head of the company, and a series of enhanced soldier suits based on animals including a rhinoceros, a vulture, and an octopus. Oscorp Super Soldier Suits Vulture and Doc Ock

A little hokey, sure, but it actually makes more sense than the original 2002 Spider-Man. Think about the major superhero villains these days. Tony Stark’s genius leads to Iron Monger, Whiplash, Extemis, and Ultron. The Super Soldier serum administered by the same scientist creates both Red Skull and Captain America. Batman’s appearance brings the Joker into the world as a direct response to his theatrical vigilantism. But in Spider-Man, it’s simply a hard to believe coincidence (even if you’ve bought into a man who can stick to walls and swing from webs) that Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) was bitten by a radioactive spider the very same night that Norman Osborn accidentally turns himself into a crazy super soldier to save his company. Ridiculous!

Mending this storytelling shortfall, Oscorp is behind all the foes Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker faces, whether that be an overreaction or not. Certainly qualifying the company that Norman Osborn built a spot on this list!

 

6. InGen from the The Lost World: Jurassic Park & Jurassic WorldJurassic World InGen Helicopter and Hoskins Vincent D'Nofrio

InGen didn’t seem like such a bad company when John Hammond was around. But since he hit his death bed, other forces within the corporation have put profits above human safety… and worse.

It starts with Hammond’s nephew in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, who will stop at nothing to grab dinosaurs out of their new “natural” habitat on Isla Sorna, a.k.a. “Site B” and present them to the masses. Even when the star exhibit, a full grown T-Rex, wrecks havoc in San Diego.

Even worse, Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) and Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofiro) clearly have a real shady deal going on behind the scenes of the theme park, Jurassic World. Hoskin’s obsession with military applications for carnivores and Dr. Wu’s gene-splicing skills offer even more trouble than in the 1st Jurassic World film, paving the way for a trilogy of InGen’s evil doings!

 

5. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. from the 007 FranchiseSpectre Trailer Ring Logo

No matching tattoos here, but of course Agents of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. have matching jewelry!

S.P.E.C.T.R.E. has been on the big screen longer than any other Nefarious Organization on this list, originating in Sean Connery’s days only to be revived this year in Daniel Craig’s world. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. stands for Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion (like with do-gooder organization S.H.I.E.L.D., someone just really wanted to spell SPECTRE, albeit incorrectly).

Now, if you read my review for SPECTRE, you know the film was lacking… a lot. In fact, S.P.E.C.T.R.E., the supposed ultimate Nefarious Organization of all time, doesn’t get its due in the 2015 007 film. While Daniel Craig’s 007 movies have improved on every aspect of the character from Casino Royale through Skyfall, S.P.E.C.T.R.E. does not live up to the organization Connery built (well, fought) back in the 60’s.

Perhaps if the film SPECTRE was better, this ultimate Evil Organization would have landed on the better half of the list. After all, it is the original shadow group with tentacles in every countries government on all ends of the globe, controlling resources, governments, and intelligence rather than always seeking to start WWIII like later Bond villains.Star Wars The Force Awakens Final Trailer #3 The New Order Stormtroopers and General Hux

And that’s a wrap! For now… Check back later when I reveal The Top 4 Nefarious Organizations in Cinema, including H.Y.D.R.A. and The First Order, formally the Galactic Empire!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Best and Worst of 2014


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Costume
Spider-Man’s truest look to the comics yet.

Major ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ SPOILERS Follow.

We can all agree that ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ was (nearly) a ‘Spider-Man 3’ disappointment, making money, sure (though the film did under-preform), but leaving Spider-Man fans with a bad taste in their mouth.

So what went wrong? And how is it possible that the film is considered a failure yet has 4 of the greatest scenes from any ‘Spider-Man’ or ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ film, if not the single best scene of all?

Best: The suit.

'Amazing Spider-Man' Costume
The most inaccurate Spidey suit from the first ‘Amazing Spider-Man’

Though Sam Raimi’s suit from his ‘Spider-Man’ trilogy was fairly accurate and incredibly consistent, the first ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ had a radically different look (in terms of Spidey, not heroes like Wolverine who ditched their colors and mask all together) with strange yellow eyes and a red and blue pattern just different enough to look out of place. Plus, he wore sneakers, his webshooters were unnecessarily bright, and his head looked like a basketball.

Even Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Had the Wrong Eyes... but it was cool at the time.But ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ finally got the look 100% right with those big white eyes that even Sam Raimi avoided.

Worst: Oscorp

Why is the Oscorp of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ world so Umbrella Company-ish? It seems like their only job is having accidents that create super-villains or suits and serums… that lead to super-villains.

NY's Landmark Oscorp Tower
NY’s Landmark Oscorp Tower

Now, it wasn’t a terrible idea to tie in Oscorp in the first film as it defeats the old movie troupe, ‘Double Mumbo Jumbo’ that Blake Snyder shares in his excellent screenwriting book ‘Save the Cat!’ In his book, Snyder cites Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man as an exact example of ‘Double Mumbor Jumbo.’

2002's 'Spider-Man's Green GoblinThe gist of it? Audiences will suspend-belief to buy an isolated incident where a man is bitten by a spider and gains superpowers. But it’s a stretch that to further suspend-belief that at the same time, in a completely different location, an acquaintance of Peter Parker gains super-villain powers and personality in a different experiment unrelated what-so-ever to Parker’s spider bite. That’s ‘Double Mumbo Jumbo.’

Max Dillon's Unfortunate, Non-Nonsensical accident.
Max Dillon’s Unfortunate, Non-Nonsensical accident.

‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ tied our newer Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) directly into the Lizard’s transformation, finishing Dr. Curt Conners equation causing the experiment gone wrong.

Max Dillon’s accident in ‘Amazing 2’ is also Oscorp related, but more of a comic-book freak accident that makes little sense, even in the Spider-Man world; much like Sandman stumbling upon an atom-splicing experiment in the middle of a field while running from police.

Why is Oscorp developing suits based on different animals?
Why is Oscorp developing suits based on different animals?

Why is Oscorp so evil? And so intent on destroying New York, as it would seem? The franchise should keep Dane DeHaan’s Harry Osborn/Green Goblin and drop Oscorp and all their weird ‘Sinister Six’ related exoskeletons and experiments.

I mean, didn’t Doc Ock develop his own arms? Or is now he like Rhino, a stupid criminal given metal arms, not a genius who invented them himself?

Either way: epic fail.

Best: Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx)

Max Dillon's BirthdayMax Dillon is a great character… until after the NY Times Square scene where his motives make no sense and he becomes a tool for Harry Osborn, not a fully-fleshed out villain like ‘Spider-Man 2’s Doc Ock or even Curt Conners from the first ‘Amazing Spider-Man.’

Dillon’s obsession with Spider-Man, best executed in the scene in which he speaks to himself as Spider-Man on his birthday, is a thing of beauty in a very ‘King of Comedy’ Robert De Nero way. This obsession bleeds into his fantasized confrontation with Mr. Smythe (B.J. Novak) and his barely noticable (blink and you’ll miss it… or hear it, rather) radio-call montage in which he says he and Spider-Man are best friends.

Worst: Electro (blue Jamie Foxx)Electro

Sure, Max Dillon is an interesting character, but his actions become nonsensical after his Spidey confrontation/misunderstanding in Times Square, as formally mentioned. Worse, he is simply a plot device meant to keep us interested until the film can build to it’s true villain, the Green Goblin.

Best: 4 Scenes that nail the tone of ‘Spider-Man;’ among the best in all 5 films.

1st, the aforementioned Max Dillon scene is among the best. I really enjoy his crazy, also expressed through Hans Zimmer’s score which included paranoid mutterings, making Dillon the more interesting character to undergo a terrible transformation.

Max Dillon in the Morgue2nd, Dillon’s awakening in the morgue recalls the terrors of Sam Raimi’s Doc Ock surgery scene, and was apparently cut to be less graphic and terrifying. Still works though.

3rd, Spider-Man’s chase with Alex O’Hirn (Paul Giamatti) who later gets a robot Rhino suit from Oscorp…. because… you know… they’re evil. It nails the light-hearted tone of a typical Spider-Man encounter with fantastic humor and action magic that can’t be duplicated in any other scene in the film.

Green Goblin Vs. Spider-Man4th… and you had to see this coming… MEGA SPOILERS… the Death of Gwen Stacy. Possibly the best scene in any Spider-Man movie (though I am also a real fan of the finale to the 2002’s ‘Spider-Man’ where the Green Goblin kicks Peter Parker’s ass). Gwen Dangles

Though the first ‘Spider-Man’ film used up the bridge-Goblin-drop, ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ killed Gwen Stacy in the 2nd best way possible… and damn was it a powerful scene. The hand shape of the web just reaching her… only to allow her neck to snap and thud against the ground. Beautifully done scene that paid homage to perhaps the most major event in the Spider-Man comics.Gwen Falls

My parents thought it was another ‘Superhero movie death’ i.e. very temporary; she’ll snap out of it. Unfortunately, the only thing snapping was her neck and my parents realized they had seen something new when the blood dripped from Gwen’s nose; a very finite and permanent death for a comic book movie (hopefully).

Goblin Arrives... with a VengeanceReally, I spent the Electro finale checking my watch, but when I heard that cackle and saw the glider fly in, I knew we were in for one of the most epic Superhero finales ever… it’s a shame most people just wanted the film to freakin’ end before we even got to Goblin.

Worst: 3 Scenes

Richard Parker, Peter's father.
Richard Parker, Peter’s father.

1st, Anything With Peter’s Parents.

THEY DON’T MATTER! Spider-Man was never about Pete’s relationship to his parents, which are also too closely tied to Oscorp.. Sure, Richard Parker fighting the Oscorp agent in a spinning Airplane was cool in a nearly ‘Inception’ way, but we shouldn’t even care about these characters. Spider-Man has always been about Peter’s relationship with Aunt May in the aftermath of Uncle Ben’s death. His angst is tied to letting Uncle Ben die, not feeling abandoned by his parents.

I know this franchise was trying something new, but it doesn’t work.

Richard Parker fights for his life against an agent of Oscorp.
Richard Parker fights for his life against an agent of Oscorp.

2nd, Peter and Gwen angst. The appearance of Captain Stacy.

Captain Stacy Haunts Peter at Graduation.
Captain Stacy Haunts Peter at Graduation.

I get it. Peter wants to be with Gwen. Peter doesn’t want to endanger Gwen. I hate this will-they/won’t-they nonsense. We’ve seen this before with Mary Jane.

And way to telegraph Gwen Stacy’s death. Peter worries all movie and is then attacked by her killer from the comics: the Green Goblin? What did any comic fan think was going to happen?

3rd, Max Dillon’s accident. And any scene with Electro post Times Square.

Jamie Foxx’s talents showcased in recent films ‘Django Unchained’ and ‘Horrible Bosses 1 &2,’ and his talents were completely wasted as Electro. As previously stated, the Max Dillon scenes were great… but the rest of Jamie Foxx’s scenes were terrible.

And his accident was so comic-booky in a franchise that shoots for some realism.

Electro in 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'Sure, Electro was only used as a place-holder while the film covers Harry Osborn’s decent into the Goblin, but he didn’t have to feel like that! In a way, I would argue the Joker is a placeholder in ‘The Dark Knight’ for the decent of Harvey Dent into madness (the final confrontation is the one with Dent, Gordon, and Batman, not the earlier Joker wrap-up), but he was obviously a fully fleshed out villain – one of the best – that allowed for the 2nd villain to develop.

Electro Experimented
This scene wasn’t terrible.

Electro could have been so much more, even while serving the transformation of Harry into Goblin.

I did enjoy the scene where he was experimented on, but that’s just another exception to the rule of terrible Electro scenes.

So, there you have it, without droning on and on and on. (I only droned on and on… twice… not thrice!)

Sure, there is more terribleness to discuss as well as a few more highlights. But I think it’s time to put ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ to rest… forever.