20 Jul 2012
Comments Off on The Gootzview: Amazing Spider-Man (Spoilers!)
Okay let me preface it with this: Spider-man was my favorite hero.
I say “was” because sometime between 1997 and today people forgot how to write Spider-man. In fact it’s so glaringly bad that sometimes I question if all the good fun comics that were written from the 60’s to the mid 90’s even existed.
The secret of Spider-man is that he is a fun guy.
His Uncle gets shot, he doesn’t get the girl, his rent is overdue, the bad guy may have escaped but when he wakes up in the morning he greets each new day with a sarcastic quip and swings right back into action.
Spider-man is the everyman at his best.
To me there are 3 iconic heroes: Superman, Batman and Spider-man. Superman represents the gods, good at it’s most pure. Batman represents man at it’s best, Howard Hughes, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Man at his physical and mental peak. Spider-man represents the normal guy…the guy that works from 9-5, the guy that can’t impress women, the guy who has no money. Spider-man is us.
It’s a very simple formula and when a writer gets it, the stories you can tell are endless. It’s just for almost 20 years no seems to remember that. For proof look no further than Amazing Spider-man.
Amazing Spider-man’s existence is proof that Hollywood has simply thrown up their hands and went “Pffft I got nothing.”.
For the uninitiated, (And if you”re on this site I doubt it’s you) the film is a remake of the original 2002 film. And you have to ask: Why? It wasn’t like the original film is bad or treated with scorn. It was incredibly well-received back in it’s day and still looked upon fondly. It wasn’t like the film did a terrible job with the origin. Uncle ben’s murder in the original is handled perfectly. It wasn’t that society has advanced so much in 10 years that we need to see Peter Parker grow up in 2012.
So why was this movie made?
They had no other ideas and wanted to keep the cash flow going.
Here is the deal, if you”re going to retell a story so soon after it was told you better bring something new to the table. Personally if I had to remake Spider-man I would’ve blasted past the Uncle Ben story in a pre-credit recap and got right into him being Spider-man. That’s what people want to see. Show me Spider-man fighting crime, going on crazy adventures. Show me a good time.
But this movie…doesn’t do that.
Amazing Spider-man’s big ace up it’s sleeve is this question: What happened to peter’s parents? The story of peter’s parents has always proved to be more interesting when left vague. Simply because Aunt May and Uncle Ben are his real parents. Uncle Ben is his father and the best one Peter could ever have. The tragedy behind Peter is that he only realizes that when it’s too late, Peter’s parents may have given birth to him but they would never be as good to him as his aunt and uncle. They are the reason he can grow into such a great hero. The minute you suggest that his parents were just as important or even more important than May and Ben, they cease to be the guiding force in peter’s life and are now just marginalized.
That’s exactly what this movie does. As soon as the film starts you get the sense that Peter put up with may and Ben for 15 years and is just sitting around waiting for his Dad to show. I never got the sense that Peter loves living with these people. It felt to me like he tolerates them for room and board. The fact that he just gives up mid-way through trying to find his Uncle’s killer to go chill in Gwen’s room solidified this.
And that is the big problem I’ve had with this film, Uncle Ben’s death is the biggest thing to ever happen in peter’s life. It’s plain and simple. But this movie can’t have that, It has to have THREE life-changing deaths. First the parents, then Uncle Ben, Then Captain Stacey. In fact the good Captain’s funeral is show on-screen while Marijuana Detox, Thc Detox, Marijuana home drug tests Test Among a big variety of drugs available on streets in our modern time, marijuana is quite a popular drug in the whole world. Uncle Ben’s….I’m not even sure they buried him yet.
You can’t have 3 major deaths like this in one film, after a while I lost track over what Peter was depressed about. And of course, the post-credit sequence is again about Peter’s parents while Uncle Ben’s killer is just out there probably robbing more bodegas.
By the way a major plot point of this movie is Peter trying to find said killer. His big distinguishing feature is long blonde hair with a receding hairline. According to this film EVERY criminal in New York City has that EXACT hairstyle because Spidey beats up about 40 guys like that and still can’t find the killer.
So my advice to you, you see a guy with long blonde hair and a large forehead. Tell your Uncles and your Bens to stay the fuck away from them.
“Oh but Mr. Gootz” You start to ask “What about how jokey Spider-man is now? That small knife joke in the trailer cracks me up every time.” Spidey is a sarcastic cock in that EXACT ONE scene. That’s it. It’s a great scene too. And it shows how much fun and weird Spidey would be in real life. If the entire movie was like that, it’d be a joy to behold. Otherwise he doesn’t crack too many jokes. He sure broods a lot and takes off his mask every 15 seconds. I get that they want their money’s worth with the lead actor and want his mug on-screen as much as they can get it. Spider-man only works when he has the mask on.
And even that one scene where he is cracking jokes, he doesn’t come across as a fun guy. He comes across kind of psycho. And that’s it, this movie doesn’t have a fun bone in it’s body. There was never a sense of losing myself in the movie. It’s all so heavy-handed and overwrought. I’ll tell you folks the exact moment this film lost me. Spider-man has a training montage where he learns about al lhis powers and the song they use for the montage?
Coldplay’s Kingdom Come.
That was the moment the film jumped the shark. Kingdom Come is a solid song. It’d be a great end credit song for a indie romantic drama. But for Spider-man learning to use his powers for the first time? C’mon man you could turn on the radio and randomly hit the dial and find a better song, I’ll do it right now……All I do is win by DJ Khalid.
Way better song.
Now let’s focus on the Lizard.
The Lizard has one facial expression. Just one: Slight bemusement. Seriously. Go look at stills of the guy. His default expression makes him look like he is watching a whimsical off-broadway play. Honestly one of the worst CGI creatures I’ve ever seen. Plus guys, here is a big tip. If your main villain constantly reminds the viewer of the live-action Super Mario film…redesign it.
Steve Diko did a way better design for you 50 years ago.
Okay we’ve been pretty negative so far, what did the film do right? Well Amazing Spider-man, to me at least, reached a milestone for superhero films. This was the fist time the girlfriend in a superhero film was the most interesting character in the film. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was fantastic. She’s also the most competent non-powered heroine I’ve seen in a superhero film. She helps when she has to and then gets the fuck out. Twice she was told to leave, both times she does something really helpful and then jets out.
It was great.
Plus if it wasn’t for her the city would’ve been lost. I have to admit I’d much rather watch a film about her and her badass dad then puny Parker. Also while we are in a giving mood I’d like to also add that the scene where Spidey saves the kid was pretty spot-on.
Look nobody wants a great Spider-man film more than me but we haven’t got one. We probably ain’t going to. I read a quote from a producer who said “The story about Spider-man has always been about a boy becoming a man.” Ummm…no. That was the story for the 1st 30 issues. The story of Spider-man was always about a dude trying to make some cash, get some strange, have a good day, and at night being the greatest hero the city has ever seen.
It’s not about who his parents were or secret formulas or conspiracy or clones. It’s just a guy who lives in a one-bedroom and fights bad guys.
Will that story ever be told?
Ehhh…maybe by the 6th reboot.
Images via http://spidermancoloring.blogspot.com/2010/01/blog-post.html, http://www.xarj.net/2009/more-crazy-pictures/, http://tvfilmnews.com/the-amazing-spider-man-pulls-in-7-5m-in-midnights-may-gross-30m-tuesday/, http://www.obviously-marvelous.com/2011/10/10/uncle-bens-rice-review-giveaway-114/, http://larainydays.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html, http://explow.com/kingdom_come, http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/amazing_spiderman_6.shtml