THE TOTALLY AVERAGE SPIDER-MAN: WEDNESDAY WHIMSY
SPOILERS! SPOILERS!! SPOILERS!!! SPOILERS!!!!
On Sunday afternoon, I saw The Amazing Spider-Man, in IMAX 3D. If you haven’t seen it yet, perhaps you should avoid this blog until you have, for I have much to say on the subject, and much of it will be spoiler filled.
First of all, let me say that there are two great Spider-Man movies, made by Sam Raimi, and it is impossible to talk about The Amazing Spider-Man without referencing these two great films. I loved Raimi’s take on the web slinger and I’m saddened to say, Tim Webb’s attempt doesn’t live up to the first two films, and is more in line with the poor third instalment of the Original Trilogy.
I will admit that I didn’t go into the film with an overly positive attitude, however, in recent weeks I had changed my mind about the look of the film, the action sequences looked awesome, even though the overall tone of the trailers seemed a bit dark and dismal. Well, the trailers perfectly captured the mood of the film, it was dark and dismal, but before we get into that, lets talk about some of the good things about the film.
Every time Spider-Man was on screen, in his full suit, the film becomes a joy to watch. The fight scenes with the Lizard are inventive, action packed and a match for anything a super human fight scene has yet given us, up there with the likes of Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2, and not too far from The Avengers. Equally, when Spider-Man is swinging through New York, the effect is breath taking, especially in IMAX 3D. Gwen Stacy is adorable, Spider-Man quips and flips his way through the film in a very enjoyable way, and that’s really where my praise of the film ends. Because true believers, I found The Amazing Spider-Man to be very average, and even unnecessary.
First things first, the tone of the film is very dull and dower. So much so that I get the impression that Sony wanted to buy into the dark and brooding success of The Dark Knight. Well, what works for Batman, does not work for the Wall Crawler. Spider-man has had his tragedies, but he always maintains an upbeat attitude, one which Raimi captured to a T. TASM is dark and depressing at times, from the colour palette to the tone of the film, it needs cheering up.
I disliked the costume. It is no where near as good as Toby Maguire’s. I hated Aunt May. Sally Fields is a good actress, but she isn’t Aunt May, she just isn’t. Martin Sheen is good as Uncle Ben, but not as good as the previous incarnation. I feel really bad for the original trilogy’s Dr Curt Connors, Dylan Baker, who is a better pick than Rhys Ifans as the Lizard. Ifans had a really dodgy accent at times, going really Welshy for a few words, something that made me laugh, it’s OK though, I’m Welsh. The look of the Lizard himself was great, until we get to his head. His head looks like a Goomba from the Super Mario Movie. Not good.
The plot is hackneyed beyond belief. OK so the Stan Lee Spider-Man isn’t exactly the best written story ever, but that was the 60’s, times were different, and to be honest, I’ve been reading a fair few classic comics, including Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four, from the 1960’s and yes they are of their time, but there is a magnificent charm about them, a charm that hasn’t translated to this film. Spider-Man seems to be without some of his powers. His Spider-sense in particular seems to go in and out. Also at the end, his wall sticking ability seems not to be working. Mechanical web shooters are closer to the comics, but I always preferred organic ones anyway, so that’s more of a personal choice. At one point Spider-Man sets a camera trap for the Lizard, and the Lizard looks at the camera, where Peter Parker has handily stuck ‘Property of Peter Parker’ on to it. Thus the Lizard knows who Spider-Man is. Erghh.
Uncle Ben’s death is also no where near as impactful as in the first movie. Peter Parker decides that he will hunt down the criminal who killed Ben, but this becomes a crusade against one man, and it then becomes accidental that Spider-Man stops crime at all. It takes a meeting with Captain Stacy to make Peter realise that Spider-Man can help people. It makes Pete come across as selfish, not what Spider-Man is all about really.
The major problem I had with the film however is that every 20 mins, Peter is taking his mask off, or telling someone he is Spider-Man. I couldn’t believe he told Gwen. What is the point of wearing a mask to protect your identity, if you don’t wear it. Stupid. Also there is no ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ speech. How did that happen? Oh and the after credits scene is stupid too. I presume it’s Norman Osborne who is talking to Curt Connors, but how did he get into a max security prison cell, and how did he get out? Is he magic? Also, Spider-Man gets bitten by a genetically modified spider, that comes from a room full of genetically modified spiders, meaning there are thousands of chances for more spider men to be made. Also, why change police officers into Lizards, when nothing happens with it? The more I write about this film, the more I realise I really didn’t like it.
However, my favourite bit, and it was rather great, was the Stan Lee cameo. Perhaps the best one yet. No spoilers, I almost cheered when I saw it. I didn’t like The Amazing Spider-Man, but everyone I went with did enjoy it. Maybe you will like it too, it just didn’t work for me. By now everyone should know how Spider-Man came to be. We didn’t need another origin story, I would have much preferred a Spider-Man 4, than a new take on the franchise. Such a shame.