Monday, July 9, 2012
Let’s start by how this film was marketed, shall we? In many of the teasers shown, whether as a trailer before a feature film or a TV spot, it’s said to be the untold story of Spider-Man. Well, after viewing the film, in a nutshell, it’s the story of Peter Parker being bitten by a spider and gaining the abilities of said spider, and having to go up against a villain who is transformed into a monster. What’s untold about that? Sam Raimi did that in 2002, a short ten years ago! It’s been told!
Okay, I’ll save the rest of my gripes for the review, so let’s get into the film.
I guess the untold tale would be how this film starts, showing Peter’s parents (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) and how they had to suddenly leave their son behind with his aunt and uncle (Sally Field and Martin Sheen). It seems that Peter’s father, Richard Parker, was some intelligent scientist who had some research that other people were very interested in—so much so that they ransacked the Parkers’ home to find it. From then on, the story continues just as it did in Raimi’s 2002 classic, with Peter (Andrew Garfield) dealing with his life as a nerd in school until he finds his father’s old briefcase in the basement. He discovers a tie to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) and the work they had been researching, so Peter goes to the doctor to search for answers. Meanwhile, Peter’s love interest, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), seems to be stuck in the story for no apparent reason than to make it easy for Peter to meet Dr. Connors and to have a tie with Captain Stacy (Denis Leary).
Now, I don’t want to get into spoiler territory (there isn’t much to spoil anyway), but there is so much in this film that made me angry that it’s hard to put into words.
Let’s start with the suit. Why did it have to be modified? The suit in Raimi’s movies was not exactly like the suit in the comic books, but it was close enough to the classic look. Why change it? If the filmmakers did their homework, they’d know that many times Marvel worked in a new look every once and a while, only to change it back after fans complained. What’s with the built-in sneakers? And the suit, at times, didn’t fit Garfield’s frame right. The suit in Raimi’s films fit perfectly all the time.
Going from organic web-shooters to mechanical…why? I guess I know the answer to this. The comics have Spider-Man using mechanical web-shooters that Peter created and a lot of fans the first time around complained when they went with the webs shooting naturally out of Peter’s wrists. But that made sense (in a fantasy world kind of way). If a person is going to have the abilities of a spider, why wouldn’t he gain the capability to shoot webs as well?
Now, as for Peter’s abilities, there doesn’t seem to be a seamless continuity. At times, he’s not able to control his spider abilities, but sometimes it’s no problem.
During the first part of the film, after he gains his spider powers, Peter makes it his mission to find a wanted man who has a tattoo of a star on his left wrist. This leads to a ridiculous part of the movie that left me shaking my head. He finds a guy fitting the description of the wanted man. Turns out it wasn’t the guy, but he roughs him up a bit until, all of a sudden, a bunch of thugs start showing up. I don’t know where all these guys were before, but they start coming around dark corners, from another side of a fence that Peter tries to go over to get away, and out through doors of a building a few stories up! That scene left me saying “what the fuck?”
With all that aside, let’s talk about the powers Peter gained and his web-shooters. First off, I guess I don’t have too big of a problem with how he had gotten his powers. In the comic book, he was bitten by a radioactive spider; in this flick, he was bitten by a mutated one. Whether it was on his neck or hand—it doesn’t matter. What I have a little problem with is how he developed his web-shooters and the webbing. He basically steals (!) the webbing from Oscorp, but develops the shooter.
What’s with Spider-Man divulging his identity so easily to everybody? He’s trying to save a kid and takes off his mask, he just meets Gwen Stacy and shoots his web to move her close to him, Captain Stacy has his gun trained on him and he turns around (already unmasked) instead of jumping away. It’s even apparent that Aunt May knows what’s going on! None of this would ever happen in the comics!
Also, “bullet time” has been used to death in nearly every action movie released since The Matrix trilogy, and it’s disappeared in the last five years or so. But, hey, let’s use it tiredly one last time here in The Amazing Spider-Man.
One last thing: it was a cute thing for filmmakers to add a scene after the movie ended and a few credits rolled, but it usually made sense or gave us a wink. Bullseye gave us a last shot, showing us he was still alive at the end of Dare Devil. The same thing happened inWolverine when we saw Deadpool at the end. And all the movies (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America) leading up to The Avengers had a purpose. But this scene after a few credits at the end of The Amazing Spider-Man was stupid. There was no clue as to who it could be or what was going on…it was simply a meaningless tag-on to the movie just to copy what all these other comic book movies are doing.
What’s my final “bit” on The Amazing Spider-Man? The movie is a thorough retread of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, totally not needed and a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good action scenes and some interesting things along the way…but again, it’s all been-there-done-that material. Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans all turn in good performances, albeit with the material they have to work with, but that’s not saying much. I saw it in 3D and, looking back, I don’t know why it was shot in 3D because nothing stood out. Unless you’re a diehard Spider-Man fan, skip this flick until it’s available for rental, because there’s definitely nothing new here. In fact, wait until it shows up on cable TV because I wouldn’t even pay three bucks to rent it. I can’t believe a sequel has been green-lit already, but that’s the way things go. To me, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 is the best comic book movie ever made and this flick didn’t even come close. Skip it.
You can reach me on Twitter: @Just CallMeManny.
at 7:22:00 PM