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Bad Movie Tuesday: The Amazing Spider Man

November 13, 2012

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Likable cast, solid director and decent CGI save The Amazing Spider Man (John’s review)  from being just another retread. However, I found myself bored by the current hijinks of the web slinger. Amazing is not a bad film. It does not belong amongst films like The Darkest Hour, X-Men 3 or Command Performance. However, those movies were memorable in their badness whereas the new Spider Man simply exists. This is a shame because Spidey is beloved by millions and deserves more than what this film gives. Thus, Amazing is bad because it isn’t good.

I was originally going to do a second review of the bad film The Tall Man but John summed it up with this quote:

“Instead of having a beginning, a middle and an end, this movie seemed to have a beginning, a middle, then a beginning to something totally different, followed by maybe two hardly related parallel middles and four to six endings—yuck.”

In a three part structure this film had 10 unrelated parts in what amounted to a nothing more than poor Jessica Beil getting:

“attacked by a dog—twice, dragged on the road from the bumper of a car (which would shave off her kneecaps!), headlocked, survives a car accident, gets mud in all of those wounds on her face, arm and leg, passes out from near hypothermia in the road in the middle of the night, beaten over the head with a pipe, tied up—twice, punched in the face, hit in the face with a rock…”

After the ineptitude and multiple endings I was confused, annoyed and pretty happy with the badness that just happened in front of me. When Amazing ended I felt absolutely nothing. I had just watched a well manicured money machine swing it’s way through two long hours.

The movie follows the 2002 version beat for beat and offers little in the way of difference. The biggest difference is Amazing adds a mystery about the whereabouts of Peter Parker’s family and features a different spunky love interest.

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I found myself twiddling my thumbs while the shiny and colorful things exploded in front of my eyes. I knew the plot and that Sony was close to losing the rights to Spider Man so they were forced to reboot a series that had only ended years ago. The good thing about rebooting is that Spider Man 3 was a massive turd with zero energy or logic so bringing in fresh minds and excited actors was a breath of fresh air. Paramount hired 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb to helm and they cast incredibly likable actors Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone to be the good looking faces of the reboot.

The problem is no matter how many fresh faces you bring in you can’t help it from feeling stale.

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You know the beats, you know the plot and most importantly the wonder is gone because you already have a frame of reference. I kept hoping that Rhys Ifans would become a wiry Lizard and punt Spider Man like he did the pigskin in The Replacements.

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I suppose if you are new to the series you will have a blast watching Peter learn to swing (using a web and not big Bad Voodoo Daddy) or smooching Gwen Stacey for the first time. However, the film’s villain is too likable to root against and once he transforms he isn’t interesting due to the massive amounts of CGI. The same thing happened to the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Venom (Topher Grace) and Sandman (Thomas Haden Church). Wonderful actors disappear and they become faceless CGI blobs whom look like CGI blobs. Spider Man 2 succeeded because you could see Dr. Octopus’s face and visualize him as a human and villain. His motives were murky and unrefined but so was much of the Spider Man series.

I know in a world where thousands of movies exist it is difficult to be original. I just wish this film would have tried something new. For instance, the scene where Parker is learning how to use his abilities it seemed like a mash up of Footloose and Indiana Jones 4 (Never a good comparison). The biggest improvement is the movement of Spider Man which now feels fluid yet unrefined. It also brings the hipster vibe to great heights.

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I understand Sony wanted to keep it’s cash cow (700 million worldwide gross) and not let it revert back to Marvel. Fox recently lost Daredevil to Marvel because the studio was stumped as how to reboot the series. The problem is that rebooting Amazing felt like a money situation and not a creative experience. Marvel bet big with it’s phase one Avengers plan and that is why I loved it. They took a massive chance that paid off when the Avengers made a over a billion dollars worldwide.

Sony had a chance to create a new story like Christopher Nolan did with Batman. However, it played it safe and created a sure-fire hit that hit the right notes but does nothing to excite. I understand this from a financial standpoint but it frustrates me they played it so blandly. Marvel took a massive gamble and they managed to create memorable and visual delights. I’m hoping that with the back story out of the way the will widen the Spider man world and let Jaime Fox tear up the screen as Electro.

The Amazing Spider Man needs room to soar. Hopefully, the $700 million will allow Marc Webb to make a Spidey movie more to his style. A style where Hall & Oates is played liberally and Minka Kelly and Zooey Deschanel play a duo of hipster villains who were bit by radioactive fireflies.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    November 13, 2012 12:54 pm

    I enjoyed this move, but you sure hit the mark on the studio’s financial impetus to gorge on laxatives and then force this out. But if we do get “Hall & Oates is played liberally and Minka Kelly and Zooey Deschanel play[ing] a duo of hipster villains who were bit by radioactive fireflies” then it will have all been worth it.

    Thanks for the Tall Man nod.

  2. November 13, 2012 6:14 pm

    I don’t know if I’d call this a bad movie by any means, but it is one that could have been a hell of a let better and lacked the same type of fun-spiritedness to it that made the original franchise so much damn fun. Good review.

Trackbacks

  1. Bad Movie Tuesday: The Good Bad, the Bad Bad and the Ugly Bad of 2012 « Movies, Films & Flix

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