Here in New York, the mid-winter season is a wonderful time of year, of which many post-Christmas carols deserve to be written. It is that magical season where we have no decent holidays to hold our interest, or at least distract us from the crushing boredom that we feel due to the marathon trek of January through March. February, the time of year when we look forward to an end to this winter rain, when it will finally be replaced by springtime rain.
Of course, everyone already knows there is only one way to break out of this lull and bring some excitement back into our lives… discussing the previous year’s summer blockbusters!
Hm, that sounded a lot better in theory.
Okay fine, it didn’t. I was mostly hoping my lie would have some plausibility, then quickly realized it had no such thing. The truth is I needed some way to try to stretch talking about Spider Man soda into a full article. I’d say it’s going very well so far.
While discussing popular movies from over seven months ago might seem like a shockingly useless topic, even for this site, it does have some semblance of importance. Not much, admittedly… just some. Since I didn’t feel like doing the usual ‘search Google Images for pictures’ routine, I have provided hand made artwork for each movie. I would recommend printing them out on the highest quality paper you can find, and framing them.
The first wave in the trilogy-ruining movie assault was X-Men 3. While that didn’t come out last summer, it is definitely worth mentioning due to the fact that is was terrible, and was a bad sign of things to come.
Of the summer 2007 movies, Shrek the Third was the one I was looking forward to least. I liked the first two Shrek movies well enough, but never loved them. The overuse of pop culture reference became grating, and the undertones of bitterness and mean spiritedness dropped them down a few more notches.
I never wound up seeing the third one in theaters, and only finally got around to seeing it a few weeks ago. It was okay; I’m not angry I watched it, but I’m sure as hell glad I didn’t pay ten dollars to see it. My biggest problem with it, and this was a problem with all three of the big summer movies, was that it was boring. I’m not even sure how you manage to be as boring as Shrek the Third was when it had that short a running time, but they pulled it off.
On the flipside to Shrek, I was looking forward to Pirates 3 a lot. The first one was great and the second one, while slower, was very entertaining (and catches a lot of undeserved flak). The ride is one of my favorites in Disney World (the Disneyland version is even better, but unfortunately it’s been too long since I’ve been on it), and I didn’t even mind the merchandising onslaught that much. Sure, I got a bit tired of seeing it everywhere in Disney World, but pirates are awesome, and if it takes a femme, alcoholic lead character to keep that image alive, then so be it.
As far as At World’s End went, it would have been a lot better if they trimmed a few minutes off the running time. Somewhere in the vicinity of seventy minutes would be ideal. The scene where Jack wanders around by himself for twenty minutes really sums up the movie. Take what people already like, have a lot more of it, but make everything longer. I didn’t dislike the movie, but it was a huge letdown. I’m sure once Starz starts showing it four times a day like they do with Dead Man’s Chest, I’ll watch it again.
Almost everything about Spider Man 3 was annoying. It had way too many villains, worst of all being the Capri Sun-commercial-looking new Green Goblin. It had numerous scenes involving singing and dancing. Finally, like all the other part three’s, it was boring.
Spider Man 3 was shaping up pretty well from the start. The main villain was Venom… okay, sounds good so far. Any comic book reading loser who grew up during the 90’s is a fan of Venom. I liked him when he was a great villain, who hated Spider Man both as a superhero and as a person. Venom knew Spider Man’s secret identity, so it opened up a lot of great story lines they couldn’t do with other villains. Then once Venom got hugely popular, 90’s Marvel did what 90’s Marvel did best: screwed things up.
They created dozens of Venom spawns, most notably the inexplicably popular Carnage, who was used to substitute violence and insanity for good writing. There were other Venom spawns, one of which was used on the Spider Man ride in Islands of Adventure, which to this day strikes me as truly puzzling. There were approximately 1,200 better villains to use, yet they went ahead with “Scream”, a female Venom.
After all the Venom spawns were created, they turned Venom into something of a hero, and it was all downhill from there. Actually, it was downhill from before there, but when Venom became the bodyguard for a city of people living below street level in a turn of the century society, well that was a wrap for Venom.
Even with that tragic turn from great villain to terrible licensing cash cow, I was still excited to have Venom in part three. And given that Venom is a huge, bulky monster, it made sense that they cast… Topher Grace? Uh… I was able to rationalize it pretty quickly; I assumed they were making Venom more of an evil, bizarro version of Spider Man, and I didn’t mind the casting so much. Venom wasn’t even that bad in the movie, he was actually pretty cool. Even still, it wasn’t enough to save this movie.
Spider Man 3 did have some redeeming qualities. “Evil” Peter Parker was the funniest character of the summer, whether he was supposed to be or not. And the “How’s the pie?” scene… incredible.
We can now skip forward to the beginning of winter, to a place where many wonderful memories are made: Wal-Mart. I try to visit Wal-Mart as infrequently as possible, since being inside them brings about a palpable feeling of depression. At the same time, who can pass up Crunch Berries for two bucks?
While wandering through the soda aisle (which, surprisingly, isn’t very cheap at Wal-Mart, what’s up with that?), I came upon a sad and dimly lit section. I saw Spider Man on the package, and assumed they were juice boxes. Upon closer inspection, they were cans of soda. I’m not sure why I was so amazed by this, but I was. I couldn’t see how much they were, because the price sticker on the shelf said, literally, $3BG. I spent a good two minutes trying to figure out what “BG” stood for, and if three BG’s held any significance. Coming up empty for an answer, I brought a box to the cashier to find out how much it cost.
Actually, that should be clarified. I waited on line for over five minutes to find out how much it cost. Yes, that is how I feel my time is most valuably spent: waiting on line to find the price of something I don’t actually have much interest in buying. As rewarding as that may seem, finding out the price was the true reward: fifty cents. Fifty cents for twelve cans of Spider Man soda. Sold. I assumed this steal of a deal had to do with the movie being out of theaters for months, and even during the movie’s peak this peculiarly licensed product probably didn’t have that much momentum.
The soda came in three flavors: orange, blue raspberry, and green apple. Unfortunately, they had no more orange, as that is the most normal flavor, and people probably bought it because it was cheaper than a Shasta. There was no way I was getting green apple, even to do a review of it. Here’s a review: It’s disgusting. There, you got your green apple review and I saved fifty cents. Actually, it wouldn’t be fifty cents. The bottle deposit on twelve cans wound up costing more than the soda itself.
Upon opening the box, I was surprised to find that the cans are tiny. Granted, I should have figured that out given the box’s small size. I guess I was too blinded by pride for my wise fiscal investment. The cans are the same size as those laughable “100 Calorie” cans of Coke. I don’t understand the purpose of those cans… are parents putting them in lunch boxes? That’s awful. Who wants a little can of soda? Even airplanes give you full sized cans (for now, anyway). The only conceivable use for these cans is if someone has one of those little bottles of alcohol, and doesn’t want to buy a full sized soda and waste the rest. Although with that ratio it seem like that would be a pretty weak drink.
Side note regarding airplane sodas: On airplanes, I used to always get tomato juice with lemon. I mostly started getting it because my dad always used to get it, and it seemed interesting enough. It wasn’t something I drink any other time, so it became something of an airplane tradition. I don’t order it as much on airplanes anymore because now many of them serve a horrid “Bloody Mary Mix” instead. And while that may taste good with vodka and a few other condiments, it’s gross by itself. It would be like drinking pina colada mix straight from the bottle, except that actually doesn’t sound too bad.
The last time I was on a plane, I ordered a Diet Coke, and asked for a packet of lemon juice. Instead of juice, they gave me this strange packet of dehydrated lemon flavored chemicals. I thought nothing of it, and proceeded to stir it into the can of soda. What followed was a replica of the Diet Coke and Mentos phenomenon, except instead of taking place outside, it took place in a crowded coach class seat. I tried doing that moron thing where you try to drink everything that is shooting out, which only results in you getting it all over your face and up your nose. After that attempt failed, I thought that the foaming had to stop soon. Nope. The lemon chemicals caused the entire can of soda to foam up and shoot out all over my tray table, my lap, my shirt, and my face. Luckily this happened near the beginning of the flight, so I got to sit there, uncomfortable and warmly moist, for hours.
All things considered, the smaller sized can for the Spider Man soda is probably a blessing. I don’t think I would want to drink more than a few sips of something that is blue raspberry flavored. Surprisingly, it really doesn’t taste too bad; in some circles it may be considered good. While I don’t see myself cracking these cans open very frequently, I would consider the flavor a victory for a licensed product. It tasted like carbonated, melted blue Pop-Ices. That description probably does a disservice to the soda, since blue Pop-Ices tend to be kind of lame, but the similarities are definitely there.
What was strange, and a bit suspicious, is that I couldn’t locate a brand on the can. All I saw was “Columbia Pictures”. Granted, they released the movie, but shouldn’t there be some sort of indication of where this soda came from? Now that I think about it, the squat shape of the can, the cheapness, and the blue flavor is now reminding not of Pop-Ices, but of blue barrel drinks. Since there is no information on who makes the Spider Man soda, I will choose to believe they are made by the same company that makes barrel drinks (or “quarter water”, depending on what you grew up calling it). And since I don’t know the specific company that makes those, our final conclusion is that Spider Man 3 soda is made by Barrel Drinks.
Would I drink this again? Well I do have eleven cans, so I’m not sure if I have much of a choice. My only other alternative, which is what I will most likely end up doing, is to hide them in the back of the closet. Then I will find them later on and say “Hey, there’s that Spider Man soda.” That’s all you can do with it. Because the lesson we have all learned today… Spider Man soda? Not that interesting.