If you've seen Amazing Spider-Man 2, you might know that the movie has a few issues. We've just discovered a new one, and it's very possibly the most infuriating nonsense yet. Remember the clichéd German mad scientist named Kafka who tortures Elektro? Well, that's actually supposed to be a heroic female scientist, a character based on a real person.
According to an excellent interview with her by Vanity Fair, Krayda Kafka is a certified therapeutic hypnotist who counseled Spider-Man writer J.M. DeMatteis, and whom he paid homage to by naming a scientist character after her in The Spectacular Spider-Man in 1991. She's helped Spidey on more than a few occasions and recently died in the comics. She was definitely one of the good guys.
Now meet Dr. Kafka of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Yes, the movie turned a heroic female scientist into a clichéd German mad scientist whose only purpose was to torture Elektro for... no reason, actually. Because he was lifted wholesale from a bad Nazi movie, and that what Nazi mad scientists do, they torture people for no discernible purpose.
I'm not going to pretend that the original Kafka character was an essential part of the Spidey universe, but she was important enough that Spider-Man avenged her death (read The Superior Spider-Man for that story). And I don't think director Marc Webb said "A female scientist? Why, that's craziness! Turn this character into a man, immediately!" or anything like that.
What bugs me mostly is that the Dr. Kafka of the movie was unbelievably arbitrary and completely horrible. It was a one-dimensional character, a tired, overused cliché that anyone who took a college creative writing class should know to avoid. And then someone decided to assign this pitiful abscess of imagination the name of a character who was the opposite of it in every way because they didn't give a shit — about the original fictional Kafka character, about the real woman who inspired her, about Spider-Man fans, or about their audience, all of whom deserved better. Bleh.