Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review - the Amazing Spider-man

Turning wristwatches into web-shooters so you can know exactly what time you snagged the bad guys

There have been numerous movies that have been remade within a year or two of the original, but they have always been foreign films re-imaged for their domestic audience. With Spiderman, we have something new; the retelling of a story for the same audience a mere ten years after the original (Sam Raimi’s Spiderman was released in 2002). You’re bound to have comparisons.
(Actually, one remake movie beats this timeframe, but you have to go back to 1940 when Waterloo Bridge came out 9 years after its previous incarnation in 1931. So there you go.)

It must be a sign of how fast our times are changing, but the new Peter Parker is edgier and more angsty than Toby Maguire’s Spiderman, driven by a sense of ill-executed vengeance. I also had a harder time swallowing Andrew Garfield as the geeky science nerd that Maguire nailed to near-perfection. Maybe it was all the skateboard shredding in a hoodie, I dunno. I felt like the poor writers were forced to sit down and come up with a different way to tell the same story, and that’s exactly how it felt - forced. How Peter Parker decides on a costume, the crime he sidesteps which results in the death of his uncle, the moment in time when he realizes he must use his abilities to help people - they’re all there, just tweaked a little - and lacking heart.

And apparently everyone but Aunt May has worked for OsCorp somewhere in the past; Peter Parker’s father, a smarter-than-Peter-Parker Gwen Stacy (um, what?), the Lizard and ultimately Peter himself (selflessly without a paycheck, too, I noticed. Nice to know this new Peter doesn’t have the financial worries the old one did). I know you’ve got to pull the cast together somehow, but this was the easy way out. And where was Norman Osborn? At home with the sniffos. Note to the writers: if you’re going to give the future Green Goblin an incurable deadly disease, take a few minutes and explain it, please.

Although, here's a universe I want to live in: a weak, unpopular kid stands up for a fellow victimized schoolmate, gets beat up for it, and for that one act earns the undying love of a stunning beauty. Sign me up.

Oh, and a quick word about webbing (small rant here) - one strand of this new stuff can pull a Boeing 747, but the Lizard can tear through ten of them at one time. Move over Hulk, there’s a new green guy in town. Now that I mention it, the display of super-strength throughout the film seemed wildly inconsistent and a vehicle for worn-out laughs (yes, flimsy bathroom, I’m talking about you).

People complained a little that The Avengers took a while to wind up and get started. Prepare yourself for what feels like about twice as long at the crank. We’re tided over by some sleuthing as Peter tries to track down the disappearance of his father, but about halfway through the story this thread vanishes faster than the webbing around Gwen Stacy’s waist, never to return. I take it back - it does pop up in the little bonus sequence during the credits that we’ve now come to expect in all superhero movies, but this super-short tidbit does nothing to build on the mystery or even cause us to care about it anymore. Oh, well. Thank goodness they didn’t make us sit through the entire credits to see it. I can’t shake the feeling that a Disney executive board was behind all this. Why else are we seeing something so similar so soon? Marvel has a rich universe to draw from - Disney, broaden your gaze and share the wealth.

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