Is the web-head's new reboot Amazing, Spectacular, or just plain garbage?

Welp, three posts into my blog and already I am a liar. Way to go me. I am very disappointed in me.

Ah well, all soul-crushing self-lathing aside, I recently sat down and watched the reboot of Sam Rami's Spider-Man franchise that no one was really calling to be rebooted. The Amazing Spider-Man stars  Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield's hair as Spider-Man, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and some guy as Curt Conners/The Lizard.

OK, time for full disclosure, I haven't read a Spider-Man funny book in something just over a decade and a half; right about the time we got Spider-clone I was out. This probably didn't mean a dern thing given that the movie was an origin story, so I guess this paragraph was not necessary.


When I sat down to watch this movie I really made an effort to take it as it was, and not to fill my head with comparisons to the original trilogy. In an effort to make that a little easier, I went ahead and watched it at 1am, after drinking. Seemed to work.

For those of you who don't follow movie news, the original Spider-Man trilogy was directed by Sam Rami (The Evil Dead, Darkman,) and starred Tobey Maguire as the webslinger. In a nutshell the first was ok, the second was amazingly good, and the third was all 50 shades of terrible. So the studio decided to ditch Rami and reboot the 10 year old series with a new director, Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, and apparently an episode of the Office). There was much confusion as to this choice, as Rami had managed to bring Sony pictures something just shy of a quadrillion dollars with his films, and still had some ideas left to film.  Did Sony make the right call?

Sadly, no, no they really did not. This new Spider-Man was a colossal disappointment from moment one, which kills me, as I really wanted to like this new look at the property.

I really do try to keep my inner cynic in line when I watch movies, but with this one it is next to imposable. We know this movie was made for the money, we know it was made darker in an attempt to bring in Batman fans, we know they brought in Marc Webb because getting a talented director would cost money, and we know that Sony threw this movie out just to catch some momentum of the Avengers and Batman coming out this year. Evey part of this movie is a cash grab, and it shows. Every scene, every frame.

The whole film feels like it was written via an outline by someone who never read or had heard of Spider-Man before. What do I mean? Well to the first, the movie felt like:

I: Origin
    1-Peter Parker - nerd
       a-Picked on
    2- Gwen Stacy - Pretty
   3 - Uncle Ben - Aunt May
   4 - Science!
   5 - Super Powers!
   6-Uncle Ben Dies
   7 -Crime!

As soon as one part of the story is over, it is NEVER mentioned again, nor does it play into a larger part of the film's narrative. Peter Parker is a photographer, I know this from the comics, if I didn't know that, I WOULDN'T know it from the movie, as there is only a handful of mentions, most throwaway lines, and one shot of a camera that just serves as a plot device when it was clear the writer couldn't think of anything better to do to move the story along. Uncle Ben dies, AND NOTHING HAPPENS! This was the most influential moment in the Spider-Man story, when he realizes that "with great power, comes great responsibility", and it gets one scene of people crying and that's it, movie on to the next step. Hell, the most famous quote in comics, the aforementioned "Responsibility" line is out of the movie, replaced with a labored, haughty, pointless line of dialog  that uses most of the words, but arranges them in a way that is foreign and odd, even to native English speakers. No part of this movie feels like a Spider-Man story, which is unforgivable when you are, in fact, making a Spider-Man story.

As for Andrew Garfield, I really have no problem with him, save for one thing. Every time he is Peter Parker he is either (1)wearing a hoodie (2) Not making eye contact with people or (3) Talking in ways that normal people don't, sometimes incredibly smart things come out of his mouth, other times innane babble ("I like kissing you..." what? "Hey Lizard guy, how do you stop giant lizards? Like the one I am pretty sure you are turning into?" WHAT?). I don't know if this is Mr. Garfield, or the writers that I can pin this one one, but I think they may have crafted the world's first autistic super hero.

OK, maybe the second...

I suppose this might not be fair, but to properly describe what this movie did wrong, I must use the Rami films as the "right". Now that is not to say that they were perfect films, they weren't, and for the love of god Spider-Man three was REALLY not, but at least they worked. Sam Rami loved the Spider-Man franchise, and it showed. The films were colorful, fun and campy, just like the comics themselves. They weren't meant to be ultra dark, brooding or serious, they were fun little pieces of popcorn film that you could watch when bored. They were, in fact, comic book movies.

The problem with Webb's Spider-Man is that it is trying to be more than what Spider-Man CAN be. There is nothing brooding about a teenager in a bright red costume. You can't make a CGI Lizard Man look dramatic. And, most importantly, you can't make a Spider-Man movie if you don't understand why people read Spider-Man. He is a fun, light heated character, a foil to the Batmen of the world, when you lose that part of the character, you lose Spider-Man completely

In the end The Amazing Spider-Man was not the movie we needed, but might have been the movie we deserved, or something. It is a slow moving, jumbled mess of a movie that does a disservice to the characters contained within, lacks the fun nature Spider-Man is known for, and was a chore to watch. However the special effects were somewhat purdy, so there is that...

Grade: C-

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