June 22, 2024

Boy Wonders The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Dir. Marc Webb

This week’s review is The Amazing Spiderman, released on the 3rd of July.


This film is garbage – real garbage. Not only is it garbage, but it’s long. It’s the film equivalent of a dead sausage dog in your dustbin left to rot; it’s long and it stinks and it’s garbage! You can really split this film into two parts; the first is the scenes that have been already seen in the original Spiderman films but much worse, and the other half are the scenes that are unnecessary and boring. It’s like the filmmakers just had a checklist sent to them by the studio which read *must include these scenes*. There’s the bully picking on Peter scene – tick. There’s the Uncle Ben giving Peter advice scene- tick. There’s the Peter falling out with Uncle Ben scene- tick. Peter not stopping crime that gets Uncle Ben killed scene- tick. Get bitten- tick. Metamorphosis scene- tick. Learning how to use powers scene- tick. Bullying the bully- tick. Kissing the girl- tick. Blah blah blah.

“But wait” says the director, “this doesn’t really leave much room for anything new.”
“Yes” says the piece of paper, “it’s almost as if a reboot isn’t really the way to go.”
“You’re pretty smart, why don’t you make this film?” replies the director.
“Because I’m a piece of paper… and get your thumbs off my face you arse hole,” says the director, doing an impression of a piece of paper, to himself.

Not only does this film not add anything to the cinematic Spiderman universe, it fails to add anything to the superhero genre that hasn’t been done before and that hasn’t been done a lot better. This film is nothing but a warm fart in a Jacuzzi . I remember watching an interview with the director saying there was such a rich amount of story to Spiderman that hasn’t been explored yet. So he has committed the worst kind of failing; a self aware fail. If you think there is such a wealth of unexplored Spiderman story, go explore it! There are some minor details changed, like Peter making his web slingers rather than producing them, but I don’t really care, why do you think anyone cares about such a minor part of this story Mr. Director, hmm? The plot has changed a little too; watching this film is like looking at a child’s picture game, tying to spot the difference.

So we join Peter aged six. His father is a scientist who has been working on some sort of genetic project that has now caused him to leave New York with Peter’s mother for some unknown reason, leaving Peter in the loving care of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Soon after, they crash and die, he discovers a cave full of bats… oh wait. Ten or so years later Peter is at high school and not very popular. He has a crush on a girl who doesn’t seem to notice him, but luckily they both have a passion for science and happen to both be teen geniuses. Finding out that Doctor Conner might know something about his parents death he sneaks in to his lab and gets bitten by a spider. His uncle gets killed and there’s a villain who wants to do evil things for some reason.

The first half hour plays out like a twilight film, with lots of brooding stares and ‘teenage’ angst, though Garfield’s six a clock shadow is a bit of a distraction (he was twenty seven years old at the time of filming). He’s supposed to be playing a seventeen year old, and the character seems to change scene to scene. One minute he’s a bumbling teenager, the next he’s a cocky little butt head, then a skater, an amateur photographer, a brilliant scientist, and everything else in between. Giving Peter more hobbies doesn’t make the character complex. In an early scene Peter gets told off by a teacher for skating in school, he brushes it off, being too cool for school and all, and then skates off regardless. This is not Peter Parker. Peter Parker is not supposed to be cool. Spiderman yes, Peter no. Peter is an everyday nerd; he’s shy and polite and doesn’t really misbehave. He has dandruff and worries about being late for school; basically he’s the opposite of the Peter we see in this film. Why oh why has Andrew Garfield been cast as Peter Parker. He’s good at being mouthy, when he’s Spiderman this is fine, but this is not a two hour film where we only see Spiderman. We see Spiderman for about thirty minutes of the film, so really the focus is on Peter. We’ve seen what happens before when Peter tries to be cool, you get that montage in the middle of Spiderman 3 withToby Maguire dancing down the street. It shouldn’t happen!

Also, there is absolutely no further exploration of the relationship between Peter and his Uncle. Again as in the original Spiderman, Peter lets a minor crime go unchecked for petty reasons, his Uncle then does the noble thing, steps in, and gets killed. Fine, same old, same old. The only difference this time around is Peter doesn’t seem to give a damn. I mean there’s not even a funeral scene, and he only talks to his Aunt in two other scenes after this. At no point does he seem to really care about his Uncle’s death, or about his Aunt. When they’re being told the devastating news, an officer shows them a sketch of the murderer. Peter asks him if he can keep it. Why does the policemen let him? Other than trying to find and kill him the man, what does he think he’s going to do with it? “Hey Aunt May, I’ve put this sketch of your husband’s killer in the toilet, so if you ever get constipated just look up into his cold dead eyes.”

Then there’s Gwen Stacey, who seems to be just as flippant as Peter Parker. Again, being Seventeen doesn’t seem to stop you being a major mover and shaker in the Marvel universe. She’s in high school yet seems to be one of the top research assistants in one of the biggest research companies in the world (Oscorp). Why? Why are there kids running this lab, no wonder Conner has taken so long getting his arm back. I mean see hasn’t even left school yet. Hire someone with a degree! The first time we see Gwen she saves Peter from a beating from Flash the school bully (where the hell are al the teachers in this school, and why does no one get in trouble for this kind of thing?). Next we see her chit chatting to Peter in class, she seems pretty confident as she is also when she bumps into Peter at the lab. Suddenly, half way through the film she seems to have forgotten this and turns into a complete wreck. Did Emma Stone just forget who she was playing?

Then we have Dr. Conner. He comes across as a watered down Jekyll and Hyde from the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film (that my friend is the most vile insult I could think of to describe this character). This incarnation of Conner has no tangible reason for doing anything in this film. He’s got no real plan and no real reason for trying to do it. I don’t think “because I’m evil” really flies after Sam Reimi’s take on Spiderman. Here’s a dude, a scientific dude, who wants to better the world with some crazy scheme that hasn’t really been properly tested, but because of time constraints and his own hubris, he goes ahead with it. And what do you know, it back fires. Wait, isn’t this the back story to both the Green Goblin in Spiderman One, and Doc. Oc in Spiderman Two? Good to know that the director isn’t going over old ground…

A lot of people have said that the new Spiderman suit is lame. If you were one of them, just wait until you see the Lizard. The makers have used horrendously poor CGI, he looks like the chewed rubber end of a pencil. The action scenes are just as bad. We’re just watching two CGI characters fly about with no sense of jeopardy. It’s hard to watch after seeing how The Dark Knight Rises approached the action oriented scenes. These scenes are nothing but lousy set pieces stuck in the middle of a mundane narrative, and really do nothing to move it along, which I wish they would because this film is agonisingly slow.

I feel bad for the cast and crew of The Amazing Spiderman. In interviews they seem to really care about the project, especially Garfield, but there’s only so much slack you can cut these people. What happened? There is nothing interesting about this film, it is nothing. It adds nothing to the Spiderman world or our understanding of it. This film truly defines the concept of time wasting. The films narrative never really starts to build any momentum and just ticks a long, then there’s mindless action sequences just stuffed in. This film is like a suitcase being packed half an hour before you go on holiday; just get anything you can in there and hope that it works out.

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