Sunday, July 15, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man Movie Review: Unamazed and Underwhelming

I know this is later than Bristol Palin's last period. I know the Amazing Spider-Man movie came out a week ago and since then pretty much everybody, their brother, and their third cousin has reviewed or offered their input. I would have been among those, but this annoying shit called life got in the way. I won't say what it involved, but let's just say I wasn't in a position to make it to a movie theater last week and I may still have a bounty on my head in certain towns in Mexico. But I finally did manage to see it and since I have no other reviews this week, I figured I would at least let this horse finish the race.

Amazing Spider-Man was billed a fresh, juicy reboot. The first three Spider-Man movies with Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst made more money than the gross national product of Cambodia and earned more than its share of praise. I personally enjoyed all three of them. Some were better than others, but they were all movies you could sit through completely sober and still come out feeling good. Rather than risk making a Superman IV, Sony and Columbia pictures decided to just start from scratch again. This upset some people, but I thought it was a good decision. There's no use drawing out a series until it starts rotting like a cheese sandwich left in a parked car in Phoenix, Arizona. I think Batman and Robin as well as the X-men movies have shown how horribly that shit can go bad. Instead, Amazing Spider-Man was going to be different by keeping Peter Parker young and in high school while swapping Mary Jane for Gwen Stacy. It's basically a redhead for a blonde. Hugh Hefner would call that a fair trade.

Who needs redheads anyways?
Unfortunately, rebooting the series also meant retelling Spider-Man's origin story, which is only slightly more well-known than the story of Jesus Christ. It also meant watching the same growing pains we saw in the first Spider-Man movie, albeit without Toby McGuire posing shirtless in front of the mirror. I guess Sony and Columbia decided they weren't going to win over the 50 Shades of Gray crowd with Andrew Garfield, but even if they did retell the origins story that doesn't mean the movie can't be good, right?

Well I'm sad to say that if all reboots were graded on a curve, Amazing Spider-Man would be that drooling, paste-eating kid in the classroom that set it. This movie wasn't awful. I didn't vomit uncontrollably like I did when I saw the third X-men movie. But this movie had so many facepalm moments that even I couldn't get drunk enough to enjoy it. They had the right actors. Andrew Garfield has a good presence on screen and Emma Stone is among one of the best rising stars that hasn't been busted for cocaine yet. Dennis Leary even took a break from fantasizing about every member of the New York Yankees suffering from explosive diarrhea to play Captain George Stacy. They just had a horrible script and a horribly disorganized plot.

Still not enough facepalms
The biggest problem had to do with Peter Parker's portrayal. In the comics, the first three movies, and pretty much every other major incarnation of Spider-Man, Peter Parker has been a scrawny geek who would be the last man alive to soak the panties of any of his female peers. Toby McGuire captured that persona well in the first Spider-Man movie. You really did believe that he was a nerd. Andrew Garfield never at any point sold that vital part of Peter Parker's character.

Instead, they opted to make Peter cooler. He didn't wear glasses. He wore contacts most of the time. He didn't walk around and run to catch up with buses that left him behind. He used a skateboard. And I can't remember the last time I met a science nerd who was into skateboarding. I met one girl in college who had the periodic table tattooed on her lower back as a tramp stamp. That's about it. Also, Peter was often bullied and made fun of in the comics. That happens here, but only because he tries to fight back against bullies. At one point he tries to stop Flash Thompson, Spider-Man's everyday douche-bag, when he's picking on someone else. So he was basically trying to play hero before he got his powers. That may be admirable, but that's a trait of Captain America and not Peter Parker.

Moreover, when Peter finally does get his powers, he comes off as the least likeable hero since the fucking Whizzer. A single spider bite not only gives him spider powers, but it teaches him how to fight. With no training whatsoever, he starts beating up assholes on a subway. At least in the previous movie, Peter got some experience as a wrestler. He doesn't get any of that shit here. Suddenly, he's so incredibly competent in his abilities to fight, you almost can't root for him because it's an insult to every hero and villain that ever put themselves through hell so they could learn to kick ass.

Real heroics takes years of training and a multi-billion dollar trust fund.
In addition to Peter's skills being completely contrived, his interactions with Gwen Stacy were pitiful. I'm not saying the dialog between him and Mary Jane in the first three Spider-Man movies was fucking Shakespeare, but at least it was coherent. Here's how their dialog went.

Peter: So um you want to...

Gwen: Want to?

Peter: You know how...

Gwen: Yeah...I mean, sure.

Peter: So we can...

Gwen: Why not?

Gwen and Peter's conversations were so jumbled and retarded that I know kindergarteners that are more intelligible. Fuck, the Hulk was more intelligible in both his movies. Every time they were on screen together, I had to take a shot of bourbon that I sneaked into the theater (I can't be the only one that does that) so that my ears wouldn't start bleeding. Even at his most awkward in the comics, Peter is at least articulate when he's not making wise-cracks. He's supposed to be smart. He sounds fucking brain damaged in every moment with Gwen.

Yet for reasons that make less sense than quantum mechanics, Gwen falls for him. There's really no reason or chemistry between them. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the fuck she would be into him. Even after he revealed that was Spider-Man (at this point, fuck spoiler warnings), her reaction and demeanor was pretty much the same. In the comics Gwen and Peter had chemistry because Gwen was a sweet girl who saw through his nerdy exterior. If you didn't now anything about their history, you would be confused as to why she would be into him. He didn't save her life like he did with Mary Jane in the first movie (at first). He didn't try to impress her all that much. She just fell into his lap. Unless you've got a $100 bucks hanging out of your zipper at a strip club, that shit doesn't happen.

There's nothing you can say or do that won't make me want to jump your bone.
Aside from bad characterization and equally bad jokes about PMS, the overall flow of this movie looks like it was organized by a fucking drunk with carpel tunnel syndrome. The whole movie was ridiculously choppy. It would go from scene to scene in such a chaotic way that you can actually tell that there was more that was chopped out to keep the movie from being longer than the last Lord of the Rings movies. I normally don't notice that shit in a movie because most movies are coherent enough to at least make it looks like they're not cut together with scotch-tape. But this one was so painfully apparent that no amount of alcohol could mask it.

Now I know I'm ranting a bit here, but that's not to say that this movie didn't have it's moments. It had a lot of solid premises that had a great deal of potential. This movie actually utilized the complicated history of Peter Parker's parents, which definitely added some family elements that weren't shown in previous movies. It also had a great villain in the Lizard. If there was one highlight, it was definitely the journey of Curt Conners as he became the big menace that Peter had to deal with. But good ideas are only as good as the way in which they're portrayed and they were portrayed horribly here. I can't overlook that nor drink enough to make me forget.

Amazing Spider-Man may have not been awful, but given the benchmark the other three movies set it was painfully underwhelming. Sony and Columbia had a clean slate here and they essentially cobbled together a bunch of Spider-Man associated imagery and packaged it as a movie without giving much thought to the actual story. I doubt they give three licks of a Lion's scrotum because this movie is going to make them a fuckton of money no matter what critics say. However, the tag-line of this movie (which was never even said out loud mind you) is that with great power comes great responsibility. The folks that made this movie had the power to do this story we all know and love justice and they were just flat out irresponsible. They may be able to sleep in a pile of money while supermodels suck their dicks, but they're no better than the Lizard in this movie. That's why I give this movie a 2 out of 5. It's not Batman and Robin, but it's by far the weakest comic book movie I've seen since Green Lantern.

There's still hope for this series. This movie wasn't so bad that I would not give the sequel a chance. But it needs to go through some major fucking improvements to make up for this shit. There's a lot of story to tell with Spider-Man. They got the reboot out of the way and now they need take it 10 steps further. There are any number of ways they could make this awesome. Given how badly this turned out, they have the responsibility to use as many of those ways as possible for the sequels.

When in doubt, add another hot chick.


  1. Wow I have to say your probably the first person I know who said they didn't like the movie. then again i have a hard time finding critic of it.

  2. Sorry i meant to say critics.

  3. I know I'm probably in the minority given the box office numbers of this movie, but there's only so much I can go along with the shit Rotten Tomatoes say. It may be certified fresh, but fresh shit is still shit.


  4. I'm honestly surprised you didn't mention the most glaring and awful part of the movie...the crane scene. GAWD!!! I wanted to throw stuff at the screen.

  5. I didn't think the crane scene stood out as glaringly as the horrendous dialog. I'm willing to overlook shit like that. Just not shit that makes characters sound stupid.


  6. I thoroughly enjoy your rant. I completely agree with some parts of the rant. I didn't like that peter was never really picked on. The fact that peter saved someone before he was ever bitten hurts the story. The scene in the subway was also bad, however it is more believable that peter beats up guys defending the honor of the films fan service than wins at wrestling against people who know how to wrestle. You needed to mention the crane scene to truly make the rant legitimate. Peter was shown to be a geek, and from experience i have to agree with Webb about how being a geek is no longer a bad thing. He did fail to show how being an emo was pathetic on all accounts. seeing conversations far worse from friends, who are as intelligent as gwen and peter are meant to be, allows me to be fine with the dialog. I am fine with the dialog as long as it was intentionally meant to be awkward. the film did show the great responsibility part. i thought it was painfully obvious myself. while leagues behind spider-man 2, i personally thought the movie was far better to the third and equal to the first

  7. Thanks for the comment. I know that crane scene was shitty, but it wasn't the worst part of the movie. The characterization of Peter Parker and the dialog killed this movie the most. The third movie had it's faults, but at least it was coherent. And I'm incoherent enough as it is so I don't need that shit in my movies. lol