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Tuesday, July 31, 2012
FRESH FROM THE THEATRE: The Amazing Spider-Man
After you watch this movie you are going to think two things:
1. This is part of a pissing contest among writers and directors, one said "I can make a better Spider-Man then the first series!" and one replied "I dare you!"
2. And you are going to feel sorry for the movie, because it has something to which it can be compared to - if it hadn’t, it would be far better.
The review is going to contain spoilers!
Peter Parker has to grow up with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, because his parents had to disappear. During his teenager years Peter looks for answers, something that will link him to his parents and he finds his dad’s suitcase. He gets curious and finds a file in it with a formula on it along with a photo of another scientist friend of his dad’s, Dr. Curt Connors.
The doctor had been searching for Dr. Parker’s formula for years, seeing that he has lost one his arms and hopes to be cured with the reptile gene. Peter gives up the formula and Curt turns into the lizard man. His joy in being this creature blinds him and he believes that this will be a cure against every disease, not realizing that it only makes things worse and has unexplanaible side effects on the healthy. Spider-Man stops him just in time and those who were infected with the Doctor’s serum were saved. Spider-Man, even though still a vigilante, starts to be recognized by the people as a hero.
Biggest problem I had with this movie was the random causeless number of spiders that show up without any explanation totally unexpectedly and for no apparent reason at all – other than to remind you that he is supposed to move like a spider…
Here is an example, my brother has arachnophobia (well… almost everyone in our family), but growing up Spider-Man was still his favorite, because after that one bite we NEVER have to see these spiders again! I was all for the transformation, I didn’t even mind the google search on spider-bite side effect (because I can close my eyes for those 10 seconds if I don’t like spiders), but when we have that kind of training montage, where Peter tries out what he can do, that random spider shot – of a spider with colors that you wouldn’t generally encounter in a city – was that necessary? I mean really, as far the story goes, couldn’t we live without that? It was just off. Peter isn’t obsessed with spiders or anything and since all his movements and fighting technique resembled that of a spider far more than the old version – I liked that – you really didn't need to keep reminding us which animal bit him!
Another foolish scene reminded me of Mathew Buck aka Filmbrain (click on the picture to see Mathew's reviews!), another critic on thatguywiththeglasses.com: at Oscorp Gwen brings up a hologram of the tree of life, out of which we see about 20% and even that is a big tarantula… hmm, symbolism much? The movie is already called SPIDER-Man, why couldn’t we see the rest of the hologram? Never mind…
Another thing, just like my siblings, I have my own phobias as well, as I discussed in my Elektra review (click here to read it!), one of them being reptiles. You might ask why would I be so stupid to go see this movie in the theatre when the antagonist is called "The Lizard"... you are not far off, except that in the comics Dr. Connors looks more like a crocodile then an actual lizard and even though he was different it didn't bother me much in the movie. Altogether it brought me joy that I didn't have a panic attack but it was a bit foolish that even I missed the real deal when I saw the little CGI lizards and thought "... That is not how a lizard moves". I also missed his tongue, one trademark that never misses from his appearances in the comics. Besides that I just loved it when he came up from the sewers wearing his lab coat! It was so cute!
"The Untold Story"
I have been thinking very hard on what that means. I too was hesitant and objected that this is pretty much the same origin story as the first one, so what did it refer too? Seeing that I did like this movie very much I decided that this refers to Gwen, even though it probably referred to Peter’s father being someone important (as the extra scene after the credits showed). However I was looking forward to their love story because Gwen liked Peter from the beginning and that dragging and drooling over Mary Jane who already has a boyfriend, so we have to wait for her like a gentleman and so on was just BORING! Not the first time around of course, in the movies it was nice, but for the writers to bring it up again… nah! The only way I can see it happen is if they bring in MJ during the sequel and then they get together at the end of the trilogy – otherwise please don’t! To mash her into the last movie would be a really really really really bad idea! Think of Spider-Man 3, or X-Men: The LastStand or The Dark Knight Rises even! (click here to read my review!) You want to smash in too many things to create something great and you just end up with disaster!
Mostly I loved Gwen. I love Emma Stone really, and she delivered very well.
On that note another thing I dug was Flash Thompson: he was great! At the end of the day Flash is a person with feelings too, yeah he is a bully but I never liked how the previous movie just put him out to be a jerk and ended that subplot very quickly. I always liked that Flash turns out to be a fan of Spider-Man and just another one of the guys. There is another comic where he is a pretty significant character and I always loved that because he has so much potential and the other movie completely ignored it. Then again, it had a right to because mainly the biggest difference between the two movies is that in the first series Peter grows up really fast. By the time of the second act he is already in college. But this movie stays in high school and Flash was a part of their life in high school mostly, so there is a good explanation. And although I dug the adult Peter, in his essence what makes Spider-Man such a hero to all the reading youngsters is that he too is just a boy – the lesson of great responsability kinda gets dumped on him – but he still makes the best of it. Therefore I also translated the untold story into his actually fruitful relationship with Flash and what happened to him between that time before he moved out from Queens and after getting his powers.
There is also a scene where Dr. Connors talks about Norman Osborn and I loved that! Everybody knows who he is and the sole mentioning of his name is so powerful on its own that it brings a presence with itself! You don't need a dumb cameo to know that Norman will indeed still come up in our story and even the people who haven't read the comics know the Green Goblin by now and we are looking forward to it. But to be honest, when I read that Denis Leary would star in it I thought he was going to be the Green Goblin! :P Speaking of, another fantastic performance!
Two more things I loved: I have no idea where they got the actor who played Dr. Connors but I was driven to see him succeed, he steals every scene in which he appears. And I was especially fond of the fact that Peter had to steal Oscorp's technology to create his webs: it reminded me of the comics where Peter creates his own webs with a solution of various glues. I see why it was easier in the first series to give him this ability along with the spider-bite, and in that story it fit perfectly. But this one required it, seeing that it actually shows Peter for the geek that he is, so why wouldn't he create a way to use the spider silk compound developed by Oscorp?
I have seen various critics and reviews and I understand what problem other people had. I am not trying to declare war on anybody or call them names, every critic is entitled to their own opinion. Also, I wouldn’t declare myself to be a critic, so I’m just saying, if you didn’t like it, it’s OK. I also noticed that I have mad pink-cloud like theatre-movie goggles: I always love something that I’ve just seen. Thankfully 90% of the time I also love it when I re-watch it. I hope this movie will be one of those too, also I liked the direction it was headed. You got me curious Spidey, where is this story going?
Fun facts! The sentence "with great power comes great responsibility" is actually never said in this movie, however Uncle Ben has a very nice monologue in which he of course implies this and I personally was so happy, because if I have to hear that sentence one more time I'm going to kick somebody! And I was also told that they wanted to show Oscorp towers in the background in the Avengers movie, but the production didn't finish in time - however, does this mean that Spidey might get to the next Avengers? Please Sony, please please be smarter then the idiots over at DC! Get onto the Avengers train! (click here to read my review!)
Spider-Man: "I'm gonna throw you out the window now. "
Gwen Stacy: "What?"
Also, thankfully there was a 2D version with original language so I finally got to watch it without those dumb glasses (I wear glasses anyway, so it’s quite a bother), and it was great this way as well, so don’t go mad trying to find a 3D version! If not based on my review, go see the movie for one thing: Stan Lee's cameo. Oh dear God it was hilarious! It makes the 140 minutes of the movie totally worth your while!
Try to look at it as another writer's vision of how Spider-Man could be, not should be. You might not like the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, but then you can always read the old version or one of the many stories in which Peter appeared. This movie doesn't erase the old one from history! As you might have seen from by previous reviews, I pretty much like every comic based movie, even the shitty ones, because I always find and angle that makes it enjoyable, so go look for your angle!
_ _ _ _ _ _
Spider-Man / Peter Parker - Andrew Garfield
Gwen Stacy - Emma Stone
The Lizard / Dr. Curt Connors - Rhys Ifans
Captain Stacy - Denis Leary
Uncle Ben - Martin Sheen
Aunt May - Sally Field
Flash Thompson - Chris Zylka