Monday, September 23, 2013

The Amazing Spider-man

You can count me among the many people who didn't see the point in re-booting the entire Spider-man movie franchise so soon after the last series ended.  While I though Spider-man 3 had some serious problems (I'm going to have to properly review the original trilogy one of these days) I don't think it was necessarily so damaged that they couldn't move forward from there.  So I think that's part of the reason why I didn't rush out to see this film in theaters.  I had heard good things from my friends, but I was thoroughly enjoying The Dark Knight Rises at that point and just didn't feel the need to go rush back and see another film.

Finally sitting down to watch it, I found myself dreading having to watch Peter's origin yet again, so I was pleasantly surprised that they decided to go back a little further and show him as a small boy, watching his parents leave.  I think that extra bit did really help to keep the whole thing fresh.  I also appreciated that they stayed a little truer to the comics having Gwen Stacey around.  Eliminating his moment as a wrestler also helped to make the whole story feel more grounded and real.  He felt more like a teenager this time around too.  About the only part of the first half of the movie that didn't feel right was Gwen's interest in Peter, especially when he became a little too full of himself and surly.  I definitely wouldn't be going out of my way to invite the boy over at that point.

The problem is that after treating this all as grounded and natural as a boy given superpowers by a spider could be, they suddenly introduce the Lizard.  The CGI was really poor quality, giving him a ridiculous look, and his control over other lizards and general mannerisms made him seem like he'd fit more naturally in place with a Tim Burton or Joel Schumacher Batman film.  Spider-man films should be naturally a little more light hearted, as that's exactly the kind of superhero he is, and I love the way they always kept him joking through all of it.  I just couldn't get over the fact that the Lizard just wasn't meshing together well with the rest of the film.

One other little thing that bugged me was the death of Captain Stacy.  For one, it seemed far too much of a repeat of Uncle Ben's death, almost suggesting that once again Peter was too distracted to properly help those who needed it.  I know he was trying to stop the banali device, I'm just saying that the moment Captain Stacy said "Go, I got this" I replied "No, you don't" because I could see his death coming a mile away.   There's also the overly long death scene that makes the movie end in a way a little too parallel to the first Spider-man film, with him rejecting Gwen the way he did Mary Jane.  I realize that scene in the classroom was meant to change it up, but it still felt a little too close and is the kind of problem we wouldn't have to deal with if they hadn't insisted on this reboot.

Despite its flaws, I still enjoyed the movie.  I'm also interested in the sequel, even though the villain choice seems a little odd. 

2 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    I'm still kind of apathetic about this one. Like you, I think they could have kept going after Spider-man 3. Yeah, it was really flawed . . . but not irreparably so!

    It's good to hear that there are some things about this reboot that feel fresh despite the memories of the latest trilogy still filling our minds, but that's mostly for the reboot's sake. LOL!

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  2. Like you, I don't see why they didn't just make a re-cast part 4 with a new director. 3 was broken, but wasn't impossible to push beyond, and in fact, elements of this movie - Dr. Connors, Gwen, a new figure in charge at OsCorp - do tie back to this having started development as part 4 before they suddenly decided to go the reboot route.

    That said, the first half of the movie is my favorite part. The origin is a bit more revisionist that it needed to be, with many changes seemingly done just for the sake of changing things, but it's still very well executed and engrossing. The visuals are great, the cast superb.

    It's in the second half that it falls apart. The Lizard not only looks awful, but the entire plot stops making sense. Peter goes to Connors to try to connect with someone from his father's past, but once they meet, we never hear about that angle ever again as Pete just lets the issue drop. I know the Lizard of the comics always wanted to make a lizard people army for himself to control, but it's nonsense here, especially with the massive Doomsday Device Atop A Tower climax. The dude from OsCorp is far too peripheral, and it would have made more sense to have the entire story be an constantly escalating feud between he and Connors over the science, with the city and Spidey caught in the middle of the ensuing chaos, to ground the action and strengthen motivations. And this is partially what it was like before they did extensive reshoots for the second half.

    Also, the cranes scene. I hated the hell out of the cranes scene.

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