Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Slightly Amusing And Eventually Tedious Spider-Man
** out of ****

The Amazing Spider-Man feels like watching a Spider-Man movie from an alternate reality where Sam Rami's movie got scrapped and another team was assembled to produce a different movie that does pretty much the same thing... Except it's even more scatter-brained. Why did they feel like giving Spider-Man a reboot so soon if they didn't do anything to make the character on the big screen more interesting? The world hasn't changed that much, special effects essentially still look the same, the standard screenplay process at most studios is still idiotic, and the darker approach still can't escape the campy nature of this super-hero's universe. Did they really expect this endeavor to refresh much of anything?

Rami's first Spider-Man movie was not, by my standards, a solid superhero movie (but his second one was). If someone was aiming to tell a better version of the same story this time around, I think they could have aimed to make it more stylized. Even cartoon-like! Why aren't we seeing Marvel or DC working on animated superhero movies for theatrical release? It's not the craziest idea. This movie aims far in the other direction. The cast is quite good and the acting approach is much more naturalistic than it was in Sam Rami's trilogy but that all collides with a story about a boy who can climb walls and a mad scientist who can change into a lizard. A compliment I can definitely give this film when comparing the two franchises, is that James Horner's score is better than Danny Elfman's. The 3D is okay I guess but it didn't have much of an impact on me. Marc Webb was a weird choice to direct a script that was supposed to take this hero into a more sinister world. His movie (500) Days of Summer seemed like it took place in a slightly stylized reality and it even had a fantasy dance number in the middle. This guy is just as prone to silliness as Rami.

The story is cluttered with multiple elements that don't ever fit together very well: Peter Parker's curiosity about his parents abandoning him when he was a child (unsatisfying), his transformation into Spider-Man (amusing but not as fun as it should be), Gwen Stacy as a love interest (decent), her father as the police captain who wants to capture Spider-Man (boring), Dr. Connors and his transformation into The Lizard (weak), and the Uncle Ben and Aunt May home life (pretty good).

By the last shot in the movie, as I watched Spider-Man swing around the city to show off all the familiar CG eye-candy, I thought to myself, 'I've seen all this before. How many more weeks until The Dark Knight Rises?'.

I like the AV Club's review.

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