You Had Me At Tobey Maguire’s Not In It:
A Review Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’
In 2002, I was at the height of my Spider-Man obsession thanks in no small part to Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man. So I couldn’t have been more hyped to finally see a Spider-Man movie. In fact, the day it came out, I was still at college and made a two and a half hour drive home that morning to catch it with my dad, who got me into comic books, even though I had to be back that night for a final the next morning. From there, I witnessed a glorious clusterfuck of dumb-face and a fat, chunky Spider-Man that looked like a goddamn Power Ranger. It was terrible. Just fucking terrible. Granted, the sequel was slightly better – which wasn’t hard to do considering how bad the first one was – it really wasn’t that good, and I’ll punch anyone in the taint who says it’s one of the best comic book movies of all time. As for the cinematic rape known as Spider-Man 3, it’s rumored that Sam Raimi purposefully tanked it because the studio forced him to include Venom. A rumor that was even further bolstered when Spider-Man 4 was just about lined up, and suddenly Sam Raimi walked taking everyone with him after the studio demanded he include John Malkovich as the Vulture. (I may be paraphrasing all of that completely wrong.) Which brings us to The Amazing Spider-Man, a complete reboot of the franchise made solely for the fact that if Sony doesn’t keep churning these out, the rights go back to Marvel/Disney. And as shitty as the Raimi trilogy was, it made assloads of money, and Sony’s not about to let go of its golden goose. So don’t buy into the whole, “We wanted to tell the untold story about Peter Parker” because this puppy doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to Spider-Man’s origin. It was cynically farted out to make huge Spider-bucks again which surprisingly resulted in a pretty entertaining movie thanks to a great casting choice in Andrew Garfield whose Spider-Man mops the floor with Tobey Maguire‘s stupid, dumb face godiwanttopunchit.
The Shit That Worked:
– Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Just pitch-perfect, and I really hate to type this next part, with a modern edge. Finally, we have a thin, lithe Spider-Man who’s in way-over-his-head, but out there handling shit with snarky quips even while getting his ass handed to him. Plus he builds his own web-shooters! NERD-SQUEEEE! If you read the comics, this is the Spider-Man you know. Thanks to the script, which inevitably falls into boilerplate superhero movie cliches, you’re actually invested in this Peter Parker. Although some people want to say he’s the Twilight version of Spider-Man – Also, apparently his hair is the same as Robert Pattinson‘s, which it’s not and nowhere near that ridiculous. – Because a nerdy high-school kid whose parents died when he was eight followed by watching his uncle/surrogate father get murdered shouldn’t be a little moody in a few scenes. It’s not like he spends the entire movie brooding when he’s not whipping out his SparkleBoobs. Not to mention, Spider-Man predates Twilight by decades, and could you feel me adjust my taped up glasses on that one?
– Emma Stone. Emma Stone. Emma Stone Em… ma… Stone. Emma <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 ---<---<@ Yes, I'll put my spider-babies in you...
- The love story. Again, really don't get the Twilight comparisons, but apparently you can’t have two high school kids fall in love anymore without being compared to a shit-ass movie even though Gwen Stacy is nowhere near the empty, nothing without a man, shallow SparkleCock holster that Bella Swan is. And before anyone goes, “But both their dads are cops!” HER CHARACTER WAS CREATED OVER 50 YEARS AGO. *attempts to crush 12-sided-die in fist, has asthma attack instead*
– Apparently a lot of people thought this movie was going to follow the Ang Lee’s Hulk route of Peter’s dad performing experiments on him and that’s why he reacted to the spider bite. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Although, there’s a still slight chance for it in the sequel, I don’t see it happening and here’s a Vulture report saying it won’t either. His dad’s character was no Nick Nolte, although he was Roger Dodger, so read into that however you will.
– The scene when Spider-Man saves the little kid from the burning car. Just a really cool little scene that sets the movie apart from the campiness of the Raimi films. (The result of this scene later on in the film, however, was a cheese sandwich served up by Soul Man.) That said, this movie tried to go the gritty, realistic Christopher Nolan route only to realize that completely falls apart with super-powered Spider-Men and dudes transforming into Lizards.
– During the car-jacker scene that the set photos made look like gay porn, I’m almost 99% positive, Spider-Man landed on the guy’s face while yelling, “CROTCH!” I could be wrong, but if I’m not, greatest movie scene ever.
– No Tobey Maguire.
The Shit That Kinda Worked:
– The movie in general. After setting up some solid relationships between Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy and Dr. Connors (The Lizard), the movie devolves into your standard boilerplate summer blockbuster that rises slightly above the rest thanks to how well-written Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man is. When Denis Leary’s character asks Peter to make a promise, he completely sells the torment of “AHHH! But I was going to bang her!” Powerful shit.
– The origin story. As much as this movie claims to be the untold story, it still sticks to the same beats though handles them completely different i.e. Peter getting his powers. You see Uncle Ben’s death coming a mile away, it’s so horribly telegraphed if you’ve seen the other films, that the scene loses all resonance, but the aftermath is handled so well, you’re pulled right back into the movie. At least for me, Photo Boy was bored through the whole thing because he felt it was the same story which I’ll get into down in The Shit That Shit.
The Shit That Shat:
– No Kirsten Dunst’s breasts bouncing. You’ll notice this almost right out of the gate.
– That the Sam Raimi movies even happened. Unfortunately for The Amazing Spider-Man, there was a Spider-Man origin movie that came out not too long ago, so it’s almost impossible not to compare it and feel like you’ve seen this all before. Granted, the movies aren’t that similar, they hit a few of the same notes that I can easily see how others might find it repetitive. Which is a shame because this was a much better version of Spider-Man than those other abortions.
– “Oh, hey, I’m a brilliant scientist injecting myself with needles I really want to keep sterile. I’ll build a lab in the sewer next to piss and shit.”
– The wacky sports hijinks. Apparently, everyone at Peter Parker’s high school sees kids fly across a basketball court and throw footballs so hard at a goal post that it bends all the time. NBD.
– The hipster indie soundtrack. We get it, Marc Webb, you directed (500) Days of Summer.
– “So, he’s on top of the building, but how’s a wounded Spider-Man going to beat The Lizard who we just showed can spontaneously regenerate from a barrage of bullets?”
“…. Will just have him find some liquid nitrogen on the roof.”
“Wow, that’s fucking lazy. Make it happen.” – Screenwriter’s Meeting
– Photo Boy didn’t have time to grab a post-movie burrito. One day he will have children, I will eat them.
– The obligatory, looks like a video game cut-scene of Spider-Man swinging through New York that’s in every one of these things. I get it, he shoots his web at the camera, so the mouth-breathers who plunked down for 3D don’t feel ripped off. But here’s how the ending could’ve solidified this as a Peter Parker movie as opposed to Spider-Man: Andrew Garfield says his last line. Emma Stone reacts. BOOM. Throw up the logo, roll credits and no one’s got a fistful of ham.
After the 800-page Prometheus review, I promised myself I’d keep this one short, so bottom line: I enjoyed the hell out of The Amazing Spider-Man even though it’s impossible not to compare it to the Raimi version, and Great Escape 14 shoved the non-3D version into the smallest theater they had, so a Latino dude and his girlfriend sat directly next to me and talked the entire time. (Fun Fact: He really wants the Spider-Man video game AND Assassin Creeds 3. Also, he’s apparently never seen an explosion before because without fail, every time one happened, even in the trailers, he’d say some word in Spanish I didn’t recognize. Sounded like “Back Cone.” Although, he did say “Bat-mano” during the Dark Knight Rises trailer which was almost worth the talking. Almost.)
3.5 out of 5 inhalers, and “How has this guy ever gotten laid?” is a completely natural and appropriate response to everything you just read.
Photo: Sony/Columbia Pictures