PhotonWaveZero Reviews The Amazing Spider-Man
Greetings Geeks and Geekettes! PhotonWaveZero with a belated review of Sony's (Not Marvel, which is very apparent) reboot/re-envisioning of everyone's favorite friendly neighborhood wall crawler, The Amazing Spider-Man, which was about as amazing as watching paint dry. In fact, if it weren't for the superb music by popular composer James Horner and the enjoyable cast chemistry, this movie would've been almost as god awful as Halle Berry's Catwoman (*cringes*). It is the first comic book movie I've ever seen that had me contemplate leaving the theater early on just because of how bastardized the origin story was, despite most of us wishing they would've skipped the heroic menace's roots to begin with.
Read on to find out why I might have been one of the few individuals who felt this was insult to wall crawler fans everywhere! Tread lightly, however, as my rant might contain might contain minor *spoilers*.
Directed by (500) Days of Summer filmmaker, Marc Webb, The Not So Amazing Spider-Man re-tells the story of high school science geek, Peter Parker, and his precocious transformation into the heroic super hero we read about in comic books today -- at least that's what the film should have done. Straying away from comic book continuity yet again, the "Sony" remake unsuccessfully and unnecessarily attempts to reinvent the character of Peter Parker/Spider-Man into something "fresh and original".
By doing so, however, the film sacrifices many of the key factors that make Spidey... Well, Spidey! Take Spider-Man's alter ego for example. In 2002, we were treated to a fairly comic book-accurate Peter Parker. Tobey Maguire wouldn't have been my first choice in the role of Spider-Man, but he certainly did a credible job as Parker. In this adaption, we are introduced to Parker 2.0, a pointy-haired skate punk with a hoody. Gone is the dweeb Parker we know and love, and here to stay is the Parker with the cheap hair cut. I don't know whether this was an attempt to make the character more relatable in today's society or just typical Hollywood ignorance, but it really infuriated me. As if the billions of dollars raked in over the past 70 years since the character's conception didn't demonstrate his "relatability". If it weren't for Andrew Garfield's shear likability in the role, this interpretation of the character would have web swung directly into a flag pole. Despite the horrible re-envisioning, I found Garfield's performance rather charming at times. His take on the web head is a little ambiguous at first, but once you remind yourself that this movie is no "Avengers" in terms of casting, you get used to it. He certainly didn't channel the high school nerd persona that Maguire nailed in Raimi's adaption, but he did well enough to keep me from chucking popcorn at the screen. Where the script failed him as Parker, he made up for as Spider-Man, who is surprisingly a jokester this time around, and more indicative of his comic book self.
Another completely unnecessary change was the exclusion of Spidey's motto. Uncle Ben's famous words, "with great power comes great responsibility", are conspicuously missing from the film. While there is an argument between Uncle Ben and Peter during the first 40 minutes of the film that mentions the "R" word, the haunting phrase is never spoken cohesively, thus erasing a pivotal key in Spider-Man's evolution.It's unfortunate, because I really enjoyed Martin Sheen in the role of Uncle Ben and felt he had great chemistry with Andrew in all of the screen time they had together. It's a shame the script wasn't nearly as polished as he was.
Now, while I'm not a comic book purest, as I enjoy what filmmakers occasionally do with super hero story arcs (Avengers anyone?), I was sorely disappointed with the horrible incarnation of the "The Lizard", or, "The Goomba" in this case. My beef certainly wasn't with Rhys Ifans' portrayal of the character. As Conners, I thought he did an excellent job... He's just given little help once he "hulks out" into that "creature from the shroom lagoon". AKA, that horrible Super Mario Bros. movie from the 90s. Shame on you, Hollywood. SHAME!
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man does little to improve upon the original films, and actually just opens the door for hopefully yet another reboot that gets it right. The film tries so hard to distance itself from the original films that it forgot to pay attention to what makes Spider-Man heroic and awesome to begin with. As a veteran web head fan, I can't give this in good conscience more than 1.5 Geegamons, as it just didn't live up to the Sam Raimi adaptions (with the exception of Spidey 3) or the comics. Let's hope someone like Joss Whedon gets approached to "de-SONY-fy" this franchise in the next 3 years.