I know… this is a travel blog, but we just caught the Amazing Spiderman, and as a fan boy I HAVE to say something about it.
I’ll be honest, I was prepared to hate the new Spiderman movie the moment I saw the first trailer. With the Spider Hoody and all the sulking in the corner of the classroom, it looked too “emo” and “Twillight”-esque for my liking.
However, it was a movie I NEEDED to watch. I just didn’t think I would be too happy watching it.
You know there are those moments when you go into something with a pre-conceived notion of how you think something would be done and then got pleasantly surprised and even wowed when you are proven wrong?
This was not one of them.
Don’t get me wrong. The Amazing Spiderman was an awesome action flick. The action sequences were fast and furious. The fight scenes were well-cherographed and ranked among some of the most impressive I’ve seen in a Spiderman movie yet.
It’s just that the story’s pretty lacklustre when compared to the Sam Raimi/Tobey McGuire version that was out just 10 years earlier. I can’t help but compare the two.
Tobey McGuire was an EXCELLENT Peter Parker. He was the geek that got super powers. I get the exhilaration he felt when he got his new abilities. He jumped for joy, he tried to impress the girl, he behaved like a jerk and he tried to find ways to make money with the powers he got. It was (as far as super hero movies go) believeable and more importantly, it was… fun!
Andrew Garfield, on the other hand… moped.
He moped on rooftops, he moped in alleyways, he moped in abandoned junkyards, he moped on his skateboard. (Yeah. Skateboard. Don’t get me started on that. Peter Parker is a science nerd, not a hipster)
I just never felt he was terribly excited at being able to “do whatever a spider can”.
In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that this Peter Parker (and I know legions of Garfield-fans will want to lynch me for this) is… unlikeable.
Fans of Andrew Garfield will be glad to know that you’d be seeing a lot of him. Yes, of Andrew Garfield, not the CGI Spiderman. How do I know? Well, for a masked vigilante who should be concerned with people finding out about his identity, Peter Parker sure spent a lot of time running around without his mask on. It’s almost as if Marc Webb knows better than to cover up his money maker. Maybe that’s the reason why they casted Tobey McGuire in the original trilogy.
The director Marc Webb (SERIOUSLY!! Jo wondered if he was chosen because of his name) probably wanted to keep the story simple. He dumbed it down so that new viewers won’t get distracted by three instalments worth of back-story or any form of story-telling for that matter, and concentrated on swooning at Garfield’s handsome mug.
I call it the Twillight effect.
I know it is important to keep the story uncomplicated, but at times, the story was so simple, the villain so predictable that the whole sordid affair felt pretty much one dimensional (Geddit? Cause we watched the show in 3D).
I know this is a fanboy gripe, but the characterization of the main cast was also slipshod, inconsistent and at times, downright horrible.
First, there’s Dr Curt Conners. The Lizard is one of the more colourful and complicated characters in Spidey’s rogue gallery. He has a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde complex that puts Jekyll and Hyde to shame. In ASM, he just behaved like a two bit thug with less than noble motivations. And don’t give me the crap that it is hard to flesh out a character in two hours. Sam Raimi did a brilliant job of it with Dr Octo Octavius in Spiderman 2 (which I consider one of the most awesome super hero movie of all time).
And then there’s Gwen Stacey. I like that they went with Peter Parker’s first crush as THE Love Interest and I Love Emma Stone, but did they really have to make her out to be such an airhead? She’s SUPPOSED to be some science hotshot, but it’s hard to believe she’s top of her class when all Andrew Garfield did to seduce her was to feed her the following lines, I quote:
“Ugh… yeah.. you know… whatever… whenever….”
I wish I was kidding. This pitiful attempt will mislead young boys into thinking that the Rain-Man-y attitude will work on random smart, hot girls (it doesn’t…. believe me, I’ve spent most of my life trying)… but then again, he did look like Andrew Garfield
In comparison, Tobey McGuire had to break out the big guns:
“I said, um, Spider-man, I said, uh, the great thing about M.J. is when you look in her eyes, and she’s looking back in yours, everything feels not quite normal, because you feel stronger, and weaker at the same time. You feel excited, and at the same time, terrified. The truth is you don’t know what you feel, except you know what kind of man you want to be. It’s as if you’ve reached the unreachable, and you weren’t ready for it.”
Ok… maybe McGuire would have gotten laughed off too. But he’d have gone down swinging.
But all my complaints pale in comparison to my biggest gripe.
*Possible Spoiler Alert*
They had one chance… One BIG two hour chance for Martin Sheen, the Father of Charlie “Out of Control” Sheen AKA Captain Benjamin L. Willard AKA President Josiah ‘Jed’ Barlet to utter the immortal line that is so central to all Spiderman stories:
“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibilities.”
And they BLEW it.
Seriously! The six words were never heard in the entire show.
I understand that certain creative liberties need to be taken to tell some stories. For example: Web shooters. I was perfectly OK with Sam Raimi allowing Tobey McGuire to shoot sticky substance out of his hands when he got excited instead of explaining how a high school kid “invented” web shooters. But there are some things you just don’t mess around with.
THAT line is central to the whole Spiderman mythology and you just don’t screw around with that.
*End of Spoiler Gripe*
Whining aside, there are worse ways to spend your movie money and two hours of your time. This version of Spiderman is (very apparently) gonna be around for a while, so it is definitely worth checking.
But if you are bringing your kids to watch the show, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for the love of all that is nice and rainbowy, do not let this be his/her first exposure to the Spiderman franchise.
Let them see the Tobey McGuire, or even the Electric Company Spiderman first.