In response to the wildfire in the comment sections on my site and YouTube! I’ll try to set the record straight. And fail, as usual.
EDIT: Dang it! I forgot to address one of the main issues I wanted to talk about in the movie regarding Disapproving Denis Leary. You’ll remember I mentioned being temporarily confused about his appearance in the car chase– wasn’t he dead? I thought he was… yeah, he definitely was! People accused me of not really paying attention to the movie, or pointing out that it should be OBVIOUS what’s going on. But the thing is, it’s not obvious. It’s confusing on a number of levels.
Not only was I struggling for a moment whether or not I remembered the first movie correctly, but it’s unclear for the entire movie why Captain Stacy is appearing to Peter. Is Peter literally seeing visions of Captain Stacy in the middle of these chases? You’re telling me he’s actively hallucinating? Is Peter going insane? This kid has serious problems if that’s the case. Is Captain Stacy’s spirit actively haunting him? I’m being serious; I really don’t know. Peter says that he attributes these “visions” to his guilt over his broken promise, but the first time we see Denis Leary, he just looks like a normal cop scowling at Peter.
And that’s why I was confused. He looked like a normal, living person. He looked alive. I think later, we see the image with burns and lacerations on his face, but the first time, this isn’t the case. He’s just in the car and looking fine. I simply don’t understand this from a dramatic or a filmmaking standpoint. If I’m trying to communicate to an audience that Peter feels responsible for Captain Stacy’s death, wouldn’t that guilt manifest in the form of his fatally-wounded body? A body showing the injuries that he feels responsible for inflicting? It’s symbolic; the blood on the spirit before him reminds him of the blood on his hands. If Peter is feeling guilt, or if Captain Stacy’s spirit is haunting Peter to torment him, that manifestation should show Peter the damage that he’s caused… and the best he can do is SCOWL at him?
If I’m a filmmaker and I’m trying to communicate that Peter is haunted (either figuratively or literally) by guilt over Captain Stacy’s death, I would somehow illustrate the “death” aspect of it in Denis Leary’s appearance in SOME manner. I wouldn’t simply have Denis Leary sitting in a car, wearing a pristine white police uniform and frowning REALLY DISAPPROVINGLY at him. I mean like REALLY disappointed. At least make him semi-transparent or something. He looked like a normal guy. This is just bad filmmaking.