Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

SPOILERS! (Beware)

I may be in the minority here as I did not like the movie. I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it, and I'll do my best to explain why. Though this could take a while.

* I liked Peter initially. He’s a bit of loner with a touch of teenage rebellion. They did a great job establishing him as a tinkerer with understanding of cutting edge machines. The problem is that he's also kind of a jerk and far too often the solution to any given problem is handed to him rather than earning it.
Examples; 1.) Ben tells him who Connors is rather than Pete looking it up himself. 2.) The cop tells Pete that the gunner had a tattoo on his wrist rather than Pete noticing it himself. 3.) The web fluid comes from an online store, rather than making it himself like he told the car thief that he did.

* I liked the montage of Peter skateboarding over gradually big objects and swing on chains to train his powers. It’s used to plug a corny song for the album, but its effective. However when he tests his webbing, the first thing he does is jump off of a skyscraper WHAT?! This Pete is supposed rebellious, not stupid!

* Martin Sheen is great as Uncle Ben who tries to play hero and go for the gun, practicing what he preached about responsibility. However, after Ben is shot, Peter hangs him over screaming "Call an Ambulance!" Even though we established two minutes ago that he has working cell phone in his pocket and could have called 911 himself at any time.

* Why did the cop tell Pete that the guy had a star tattoo on his wrist? That should have been something that Peter saw, and the camera would linger on enough for us to see. Otherwise it makes it sound like the cop is supporting his roaring rampage of revenge.

* Peter's new motive is revenge and not responsibility. We see that he's only hunting a specific kind of guy rather than be shown helping people in trouble. He gains some points back for saving the kid on the bridge, which is easily the best scene and is the only part that felt like it was from a Spider-Man movie, but its a little too late in the game for me to start really rooting for him.

*That there isn't any resolution to chasing/catching the criminal after this point feels like another dangling thread that they're saving for the sequel, of which there are too many in this film. Without that resolution its difficult to see how Peter becomes any better than the outlaw he is branded as by the police.

* Evil Indian Guy tells Connors that they're going to test the serem on veterans, and they're also shutting the project down. Hey moron, if fire the guy who made the serum and then shut down the facility making it, and it turns out that it doesn’t work, then you’ll have to start from scratch and things will be even worse! How did you make it to such an authoritative position with no common sense?!

* Captain Stacy grumbles about how thirty of New York's Finest can't catch one guy in a unitard. Yeah, one guy in a unitard who is incredibly fast, agile and can scale a building in under a minute without any sort of climbing equipment. That line just sounds wrong. It feels like its written from an outsider's perspective and ignores the events we have actually seen.

* The Dinner scene is probably the worst part of the movie for me. As Peter just seems to be there to aggravate Capt. Stacy's blood pressure. You'd think someone with 15 years of experience as a cop would be more calm and collected in explaining the details of police procedure to the public, especially around his own family. The fact that Peter can get under his skin so easily should be a red flag for Gwen.

* Speaking of Gwen, while Emma Stone is active and attractive, and easily the best thing in the movie, but this relationship with Pete just isn't going to last. He just dumps on her that he is Spider-Man. They've only know each other marginally beforehand, so this is really going to strain an already new relationship of any kind much less one with so many complicated feelings attached. They had some decent chemistry, but while Peter's inability to come up with the right words felt realistic, it really wasn't all that enduring. Its puppy love at best and wouldn't last more that a few months even if her Dad hadn't died.

* The Story feels fragmented in a lot of places. What happened to the mutant mouse? Did Pete kill it? Cage it? Or it just running wild?

Peter and Gwen swing off together after she mops up his chest. Where did they go and what did they do?

The plot with Peter trying to photograph the Lizard feels crowbared into the story to justify including the Bugle and Pete's shutterbug hobby.

* The Lizard’s Master Plan is a Doomsday Device with an audible countdown that of course can be stopped at the last possible second. That’s already cliche, made worse by Connor's rather limited motive. I'm pretty sure you can't stop a rocket from launching when its in its final minute of launch preparation. Plus you’d think that changing out the projectile would stop the countdown as a failsafe measure.

* Captain Stacy tells Peter he needs to keep at it. Wait what? He just yelled at him about how Spider-Man screwed with their sting operations and now he’s telling him to keep at it? Stacy won’t be around to tell the other cops to let Spidey have a free pass, so he’ll be in even more danger. Oh and then he dies, because after you have a magic countdown, you need to top it with an even bigger cliché.

* Capt. Stacy should have been kept alive to serve as a mentor role to aid Peter in become more effective at crime prevention, maybe even going were the law couldn't. Stacy would have the resources to help Pete find Ben's killer and what happened to his parents. Plus a closer relationship with Dad would have scored big points with Gwen. Adding allies to his cause would have helped Pete go from Outlaw to Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

*The teacher says "There is only one plot, “Who am I?” Don’t get meta on me now movie, its too late for that.

So yeah, a lot of nitpicks. Maybe my opinion can be upgraded with a re-review on DVD. There were some parts I liked, but very few and far between. A few more drafts and rewrites could have truly made this an Amazing Spider-Man movie. The character's motives and relationships just weren't doing for me.

I give it a 2 out of 5.