The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
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- 136 min.
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A very promising and enjoyable first 30 minutes doesn't hold up. The script becomes thinner and thinner with minimal dialogue and zero logic, directionless emotion, and a vanishing sense of morality. The editing evolves into a barely unwatchable mess lacking any sense of grace or subtlety. I found it difficult to find an establishing shot in the later stages of the film.
On top of that, Peter Parker seems to come off as a little pushy and creepy (and strangely patriarchal), and the usually-more self-assured Emma Stone is wasted in a powerless role. Women are not exactly valued here.
That said, the film is not without merit. There are great performances from most of the cast (and the cast is filled with mostly stars). Andrew Garfield is more watchable than Tobey McGuire, but a poorer actor, and the film's resolution seems to spit in the face of the very message it was trying to push.
An unnecessary mess of a reboot for pure profit and a desire to do it in 3D.
2 stars out of 5
The Mediocre Spider-Man movie full of Bad Science, Plot Holes and Angsty Teenagers.
Really a very bad film. Which is a shame.
Its biggest problem is that it can't decide how it wants to diverge from what we've already seen, and sometimes whether or not it wants to diverge at all. On one hand there are a ton of little references in the film to indicate that being a bit repetitive is okay. were clear nods to the original films. Obviously, the film is trying to convince us that it's okay that it's sort of similar to what we've seen. But in all the scenes it redoes the film is too uncomfortable itself to straight up copy. So instead of a longer form training montage, it's a shorter blurb. Instead of . What Webb must not have realized is that making the scenes different in worse ways doesn't keep them from also being repetitive, so it's even worse. Give us time to savor . Those alterations and other bigger changes scream "look how different I am!" because of how obvious they are. When you come incredibly close to saying a line like The film is simultaneously shouting at the audience "it's okay that I'm the same!" The end result is awkward, stilted and boring.
The narrative problems don't even come close to ending there. Where to start...how about Connors. At the beginning he's shown to be careful and pragmatic, yet hopeful. He wants to help and think that help will be possible soon, but is wary of going too fast. Then he becomes Lizard. After that he's nearly a demon. He's rash, violent, and blind. Connors' entire plot is the opposite of compelling.
Despite having a boring villain, the fights could have been tense. Instead we get a handful of fights in quick succession, all with just about the same stakes. Thus, instead of a roller coaster of events, you get what's essentially one long drawn-out fight. Tedious.
Even with bad main villain fights, some of the Spidey's other hero activities could have been fun. Nope. I've already discussed how boring that was. The rest of his activities were just as bad. And the result of those activities:
Some wit could have improved that. Peter firing off a few one-liners as he busts muggers? I'm game for that. Again, nope. He has several funny lines in that excellent carjacker scene and some unfunny attempts at wit ADR'd over other scenes. As Spidey he's just absolutely dull.
As Peter he's less dull, but he's still not exactly charming. For me it's not just that he's whiny, it's that he's nothing close to a nerd or any kind of kid that'd be unpopular in high school. He's into photography, he's really smart, he's good-looking, he wears American Apparel, he skates, and he's often awkward but nice. That kid in a high school today has a good group of friends, is decently respected. He's given no reason for being a loner other than "he's whiny." It's practically repellant.
That sucks because Garfield really brings up the material, and with better writing he'd be a truly fantastic Spidey. Emma Stone is much the same with Gwen: she elevates the material a lot, but it's still not enough. Mostly because her character isn't given enough to do. If these two were plopped down into a well-written Spider-Man story, it'd be great. They have amazing chemistry.
How about that first-person swinging? I had someone assuring me that wasn't in the actual film. Wrong! It's there and does not look good. The effects are pretty wonderful everywhere except for there and during the Almost as bad as the ridiculous product placement. It was as bad as Fringe's, but instead of having maybe one close-up of a phone every episode, it was an insane amount of in-focus and visible Vaio and Sony logos and screens over 2 hours. In that dosage it becomes grating even to those experienced with ignoring product placement.
Even with such great effects, the Lizard looks awful. It's simply not a cool creature design. He's a joke. And his mouth while he talks is awful.
That's a lot. Writing about the film made me realize just how much I disliked about it. I didn't feel as badly walking out. But I still didn't feel good. And that's because despite the super strong chemistry and acting, the film doesn't work on a thematic level at all. There are two main threads: 1) what is the risk behind having secrets or behind secrets being uncovered? 2) in so many words, with great power comes great responsibility. The second one is sort of tacked on further into the film, and is developed only okay. The first of those is left completely open, has only some movement from the beginning.
Dissatisfaction defines TASM. I was never a comics person, but I was a huge Spider-Man (1994) and Spider-Man Unlimited fan. And from that I grew to love a snarky Peter who steps up to serious challenges while remaining fun. The Amazing Spider-Man can't do that. It doesn't know how much of a reboot it wants to be, it doesn't know how or when to be humorous, it doesn't understand narrative flow or how to provide satisfying consequences, and it's a general bore. With a different director and writer, the sequel could be stupendous thanks to the brilliant leads. For now, all we get is an empty, uncomfortable and sour film.
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This movie ranks #122 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Worldwide Box Office
This movie ranks #270 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Adjusted Box Office