Friday, 13 July 2012

The Below Average Spider Man Review


      Reboots are a tricky line to walk. You have to change the style and focus of the new film from the original series enough to warrant its existence while simultaneously keeping the basic concept behind the idea the same. This has been done very successfully in the past with a few recent examples being that of Rupert Wyatt's 'Planet of the Apes', (notice how credit isn't being given to Burton's reboot here) and Christopher Nolan's 'Batman'. These are two shining examples of mixing up the format to explore both new aspects of the franchises. In both cases a mostly more pseudo-realistic approach, and yet keeping the core concepts similar, which basically entails there being a planet with apes on it and that Batman is still incapable of grieving properly.

     There are similarly weak reboots, not simply weak for being bad products in themselves, but for the most part having nothing to do with the thing they are trying to leech off of, except in name simply for familiar and easy marketing reasons. 'The Italian Job' is a prime example of this, with a film where we see a scene of what can barely be described as a job, more of an activity, taking place in Italy for about five minutes. All the film shares in common with the original is the main character, an American inexplicably with a Cockney name of Charlie Croker, attempting a job which for the most part takes place in LA in minis; simply because it was the the original I guess. It isn't in Italy, it isn't really a Job and it sure as hell isn't a The.

      So anyway now that I've set out a strangely long definition of what makes a worthy reboot, let me quickly round up why 'The Amazing Spiderman' isn't one of them. Now I'm not going to be too hard on it, since at the moment it seems to be getting mostly average reviews, while certain reviewers like Moviebob are shitting all over it as hard as they can. This film certainly isn't terrible and in fact has quite a few good ideas, but it is ultimately not fulfilling both on the grounds of its relation to the original as well as on its own merits.
The new movie focuses on a new breed of Peter Parker, less of a nerd in this and more of a lone ranger than anything else. He seems to have a harder time, with the violence enacted upon him from his bully Flash delivered a lot stronger than that of anything Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker went through. But then again this film sets itself up for a Dark Knight-esque, colder retelling of the Spiderman origin story. The story even starts off with Peter's abandonment by his parents at his Uncle and Aunts house as they run from some invisible group who is after Parker Sr's biological research. His parents are then killed in a sudden suspicious accident and the film sets itself up for Peter's father's work to be the main mystery of the film. The problem with this set-up is that for the most part it is ignored and left as a cliffhanger for an apparent sequel, which given the film's box office records is extremely likely to happen.

      But within the context of this darker conspiracy, how does Peter's new darker tale hold itself up? Well for the most part okay. Andrew Garfield certainly puts in a good performance as a more troubled Peter and even though he is still working with the bare minimum of script, still manages to pull off a dark, intelligent, likeable, yet seemingly troubled Parker in the few emotional outburst scenes that he is given. His love interest Gwen Stacey, played by Emma Stone, is similarly likeable and acts with the bare bones script she is given as well as she can. But the main problem is that Peter and Gwen's stories are left largely underdeveloped. In fact I can only really talk about Peter's story here at best because Gwen doesn't really have one. She seems to simply be a plot device, who just trusts Peter implicitly and just obeys his every instruction that he gives her in the movie. It makes her feel that her place is more of an attractive sidekick than a love interest.

As for the relationship between the two, it isn't as well executed, if at all executed, anywhere near as effectively as the Parker-MJ relationship in the original series. In fact the original series romance wins purely because it actually had the characters saying words, and although a lot of the dialogue in the original Spiderman is certainly cheesy, it is at least dialogue. Many of the scenes between the pair tries to capture a feeling of awkward romance, but instead just reads like someone's banged their hand on the keyboard. In fact I'd have loved to have seen the screenplay for their scenes because I swear to god the amount of stuttering, idiotic smiling and mumbling that is present here is worse than a lot of Twilight and for the most part doesn't appear to have a writer. One monkey given an infinite amount of time on a typewriter may write the entire works of Shakespeare, but one shit writer on a typewriter for a few weeks will seemingly only be able to produce the drunk slurring of an Amazing Spiderman's romance scene.

The dialogue that proceeded this scene makes me question whether or not these two are even sentient or sober enough to consent to this

      The film is directed by Marc Webb (spiders, web, get it) who also handled his début breakout film '500 Days of Summer', a film which was albeit annoying at times, very light and enjoyable. And I guess that's the main problem here is that the film is appearing dark and foreboding, but with Webb's fluffy direction will then have silly zooms into spiders to highlight for the thousandth time that the hero has spider powers and also a funny, albeit completely out of place cooky cameo fight involving the recurring cancer on every Marvel film, that being Stan Lee. But it's one of the few out of place scenes and the film attempts to have its cake and eat it by being both dark, but also playful like the original series, and it unfortunately comes off as tonally inconsistent a lot of the time.

      Not to shit on the whole parade, there are definitely some good ideas in here. The transition into Spiderman for instance is handled very differently, with Peter now not just waking up as Spiderman, but showing him having a mild breakdown as he becomes used to his new Spidey sense, which makes him incredibly aware and on edge all the time. Similarly his super human strength is dealt with as he attempts to stop smashing up his family home.

      Then we come to the villain, the infamous Lizard man. Now a lot of people have been complaining a lot about the way he looks, namely the bad CGI. I personally, although finding it not photo realistic, felt that the Lizard man and all the CGI in the film was pleasantly colourful and basically just average in its look, not detracting from the film at all. The character of the Lizard man however is a serious problem with the film. The phrase, “A world without weakness” is used a few times during the film by the character of Kurt Connors, the scientist soon to become the lizard man after a failed cross species genetic engineering scheme to regrow his lost arm. This goes however from just a phrase he uses sparingly and more poetically than an actual philosophy, which suddenly for nor real discernible reason becomes his entire motivation during the course of the film. One moment he doesn't want human testing for his new regrowth serum, the next scene he's trying to mutate all of New York. He's inconsistent and completely uninteresting. His change in mood is badly excused as him having a split personality, which I guess is his Lizard side, but it comes out of nowhere and is very lazily done. In fact for half of his screen time it wasn't even made clear at all that he did have a split personality. It's basic and is handled horribly with even at one point the character shows he has two sides to him by simply saying “Yes...No”. It lacks the more drawn out conversations and debates which faced the Green Goblin and Norman Osbourne in the original.

      The film starts out strong, with a dark mystery to uncover and a mildly likeable Kurt Connors as well as a troubled Peter Parker. But as it progresses it becomes confused and ultimately funny. In fact for the last half an hour me and my companion were laughing almost constantly at how stupid the film had become. From Peter Parker following a line of lizards numerous times to find Lizard man, as if they are returning to their Lizard king. There's also another scene which attempts to demonstrate how much the people of New York want to help their friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, which causes what I hope will be remembered as that infamous crane scene. It is one of the most melodramatic, stupidly drawn out and plot hole laden 6 minutes of bullshit I think I've seen in a film, let alone a Spiderman movie. It basically involves a bunch of guys in cranes acting as web springboards for Spiderman and it is in the film for absolutely no reason than to bring in a side character for yet again no reason, other than to increase the running time.

      Spiderman is met with a similar personality split in the film between remaining a masked hero and trying to display the multi-million dollar actor who's portraying him

      The running time already crossing the two hour mark is long enough as it is, and although it didn't feel long, the film doesn't do a whole lot with the amount it set aside for itself. Plots are brought up and dropped instantly, namely a plot about Peter hunting Uncle Ben's killer which takes up at least 20 minutes and is never resolved. Peter's parent's mystery is also never resolved. Any scene with Lizard man is a waste of time even watching. Then there is the very thematic core of Spiderman; “With great power comes great kicks, flips and pieces of ass, and ummmmm oh yeah responsibility or something”. The theme of responsibility is touched on lightly, but it doesn't have the same direction that the original did, and the lack of focus on Spiderman's motives for sacrificing his life to become a hero, as well as the fact that it goes over the same stuff that we saw in the original and completely messes it up is extremely tedious to watch.

      The basic problem with 'The Amazing Spiderman' then is that it is a safe reboot, which ultimately does nothing different to the original and to be unforgiving, does it a lot worse. The film is entertaining, if badly done and an obvious cash in for the first half, but then turns hilarious as the film becomes more directionless and the characters more retarded. This is an entertaining film, but ultimately one that it is no way near as good as the film it attempts to make us forget was made under a decade ago.

      In short then, since I already wrote all the drawn out stuff, it's okay. If you have nothing to do then it'll kill a few hours, but please, I ask of you in the long run to please not fund this series. There is no reason for its existence and should be stopped, even though it appears to currently be too late as it stands. If worse comes to worse though and you really want to see the terribleness of the last act, just torrent the damn thing and try not to get caught.

1 comment:

  1. - Hoàng Vân Phách, ta cho ngươi một cơ hội cuối cùng, ngươi đi hay không đây. Ngươi cùng Luyện dược sư công hội không có liên quan, ta không muốn động thủ, nếu không hang ổ của các ngươi ta cũng toàn bộ san thành bình địa.

    Nhạc Thành nhìn vào Hoàng Vân Phách, hắn vừa mới đánh chết La Dương, hắn cũng hy vọng có thể làm cho Hoàng Vân Phách rung động, nếu là hắn có thể rời đi, áp lực của mình sẽ giảm bớt không ít.

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