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The Amazing Spider-Man July 8, 2012

Posted by oldboy in : Cinema, Comic Book , trackback

It’s a good film but I couldn’t help thinking how Sam Raimi did things better. I just wasn’t connected to it as much as I was with the original Spider-Man. The Spider-Man of 2002 nailed the story, the character, the origin. The wrestling Spider-Man, Uncle Ben’s death, the set up with the villains, the young, fragile teenage boy thrown into a life of a superhero and trying to hold all aspects of his life together. It’s tough being Peter Parker.

Thing is, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is already a cool looking guy, already stands up to bullies, already has the girl interested in him. What really changes for the character? He becomes a superhero, goes through some sh*t but he’s still the same guy when he comes out of it at the end. Who is Toby Maguire’s Parker at the end of his movie? In the beginning, he is weak, a geek and definitely does not have the eye of the girls. At the end he is not totally willing to be Spider-Man, guilt over his Uncle’s death has thrust him into that life and it reminds him of his greatest failure. There is a lot of inner conflict there, he is still a geek, still the boy next door but he knows who he is. Spider-Man.

Uncle Ben and Aunt May: For these minor characters the star power of Sheen and Field is not required and I see it as something of a publicity boost giving weight to the films cast. With all due respect to the fine acting talents of Martin Sheen and Sally Field I just like Raimi’s version of Uncle Ben and Aunt May more and thought them to be closer to their comic book counterparts. The most glaringly absent line from the movie is by Uncle Ben which should have been “with great power comes great responsibility”. I think it is a quintessential piece to the character of Spider-Man and while Raimi didn’t quite have a home run with his Spider-man films that basic line still rang true even by film 3 .

A groan worthy nitpick. Why did Spider-Man’s identity need to be revealed so much in such unoriginal ways? He shows Gwen Stacy who he is, he is unmasked by her father and the most pathetic was the lizard discovering who he was because he had put his name on his Camera. Please…. Even there is a point where Aunt May might seem to know that Peter is Spider-Man. Hate to drone one about this but compare it to the reveals of Spider-Man’s identity in the 2002 film, the familiar kiss with Mary Jane, Peter’s cut arm noticed by Osborn. So much more impactful.

The Lizard. The origin story of Spider-Man takes time away from the Lizard of course and I can’t help thinking again what Raimi might have done with that character. Lizard seems to have little necessity except for someone for Spider-Man to fight and have action scenes with. The fights themselves aren’t on par with what’s come before.

There seems to be a rehash of scenes from Spider-Man 2002 early on. A reboot so close to that film is unnecessary to me. While the story here is changed the basic points of Peter dealing with his powers are similar, as is Uncle Ben’s death and there is also that “America is great” undertone with the citizens of New York once again lending a hand to Spider-Man as we glimpse the flag of the united states on a wall in the background. I don’t find it as relevant as it was back in 2002 for obvious reasons. Marc Webb just hasn’t done enough to reinvent this character and only shows how it pales in comparison.

Kids will probably love this and like it more than the originals for no other fact than they were in nappies when the original Spider-Man films were released.
The after credits scene. No idea what that was about but it didn’t interest me at all in the slightest or get me excited for the next film except to think we need to wait another 2-3 years to find out what the hell that was about.

So 10 years after watching Spider-Man (2002) in Dublin and walking out with a smile on my face I leave the cinema here in Hong Kong and frown. These franchise reboots, re-imaginings will not sustain themselves unless there is a strong creative force behind it that cares about the material and wants to deliver. I think Directors like Nolan, Raimi, Whedon get it. But here I believe Director Mark Webb was chosen because he could create a teenage romance to attract a wider audience or women and the credence is on the money that can be pulled in.

Favorite Quote: “Secrets have a cost. They’re not free. Not now, not ever” - Aunt May

Comments»

1. gproject - July 10, 2012

Never has the title of this blog been more relevant. Having said that, the debate about whether this reboot is “too soon” is kinda moot. To argue it implies some kind of creative decision was taken, whereas I think we all realise that it’s about money and not whether it was “the right time” to start over. The choice has been made regardless, so how did it turn out?

Good, I thought. It was enjoyable and briskly paced (it didn’t feel its 135 minutes) and I liked the way they wove a shortened version of the origin story into the main plot so it didn’t feel like deja vu for the first forty-five.

But you nailed it in your criticism of Parker’s character arc, or lack thereof. The movie takes the time to do *all* the stuff that leads up to “with great power” - Uncle Ben, the revenge-driven nightstalking, the police antagonising etc. But then promptly drops all that at the first sign of reptilian trouble. Parker never finds Ben’s murderer - that plot goes dead - and even more crucially, he never properly acknowledges his guilt or decides to take up the mantle of Spider-man and be… responsible. Raimi’s movie nailed all of this, Webb’s skirts the issue by having major events happen then never discussing them.

2. ghost of 82 - July 11, 2012

I was a HUGE Spidey fan back when I was a kid reading Spiderman Comics Weekly back in the early ’seventies. I have no interest really in seeing this at the cinema. Why? Well, I was kind of burned by how the Sam Raimi films turned out and think a reboot is indeed a decade too early. That said, whats the odds of Nolans latest Batman being followed by a reboot very quickly?

I’m glad that Gwen Stacey (every comic geeks favourite blonde) has been brought into this new film- I won’t put a spoiler here, but I will just say that if they follow the comics then film 2 or 3 will be a major emotional storyline. So really its the next film that might realy interest me. I think this one though will be a Xmas Bluray present to be honest.


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