Saturday 30 June 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man. NOT.

          If you ever see my face at the beginning of a movie in a cinema hall, I have a huge smile because I am genuinely excited for what I am about to see. I was like that when The Amazing Spider-Man started, but by the time it was over, I literally sprinted out of the hall. What changed you may ask? Well the movie kind of sucked pretty bad...


            The Amazing Spider-Man tries to look into the origins of how Peter Parker came to be. Abandoned by his parents as a little boy, Peter grows up under the watchful and caring eyes of his Uncle Ben and Aunt May. But when he accidentally finds some clues to why his parents disappeared, they lead him to the amputee scientist Dr. Curt Connors. While trying to figure all of this out, he gets bitten by a radioactive spider from Connors lab and gets special abilities. In between finding out who he is and what he can do with his new powers, Peter also has his long-time crush Gwen Stacy, and her police captain father, to worry about. And when something drastic happens to Connors that endangers the lives of everyone, he has to save the day.

              So first of all, let me make it very clear- this whole different origin story is, in the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, poppycock. It sure starts off that way, but all that gets brushed aside once Peter gets his spidey powers and then we are basically watching a second-hand copy of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. One thing that The Amazing Spider-Man succeeded in doing for me was to truly appreciate the Sam Raimi trilogy, because this whole reboot was the most unnecessary thing to come out since the Conan the Barbarian remake (I haven't actually seen it or the original, but I cannot imagine people thinking otherwise). 

             The story does begin in a more secretive, mysterious way. Until the part Peter gets his powers, it is quite an entertaining and different film. One of the more ingenious sequences in the movie is Peter coming to terms with his powers. It is funny and also sort of surreal and cool. From there on though, it just goes downhill. Plot-lines get introduced and abandoned just as quickly, like what really happened to Peter's parents or the elusive Norman Osborn with his illness. There is no build-up of any kind and things just seem to happen. Of course the whole story is exactly like what we saw in Spider-Man. The dialogue is okay-ish. There are a few humorous lines and comebacks, but none which reach the sort of iconic level that big budget superhero action movies are expected to have. No "spidey senses" tingled and even this film's version of "with great power comes great responsibility" was too long to remember.

               Obviously the story suffers because nearly all of us have seen the Sam Raimi version from only ten years ago. It is a bit of a double whammy because I hated feeling like I was watching a copy, but then it wasn't even copied properly, which infuriated me even more. Like when Peter takes Gwen swinging around the city, they don't focus on them, or what comes after. Or when Connors is shown having his evil sub-conscious talk loudly to him, which was exactly what happened with Osborn in Spider-Man, but it isn't as eerie.

                 Another huge misstep for me was the way the film was made. Marc Webb, the director, has only made one feature film before this, and that was the romcom (500) Days of Summer. Apart from maybe his surname, I don't know what qualified him to make this film. There are like textbook action stuff that this film completely overlooks. For instance, when Connors has transformed into Lizard for the first time, there isn't that big revelatory moment that is so obvious when it comes to a character like this. The film jumps around and never focuses where it needs to focus. It completely fails to find the balance between action, romance and humour. Thinking back right now, I don't understand how it was two hours and fifteen minutes long since nothing was given enough time, but then again, sitting in the audience at the time, the film seemed to go on and on for me.  Most of the effects were really gimicky, especially the POV shots. Even the lizards looked fake, which was weird. The big crisis that happens at the end of such movies never really felt like one because hardly anyone seems to be affected. Even the "cool" sequences were "lame" because the film did not know how to set them up properly and what to do with them after. Cars were left dangling on bridges and schools were attacked out of nowhere and cranes were aligned and whatnot. I honestly feel that Michael Bay could have done a better job, because say what you want about him, the man knows how to construct an action scene.

           The biggest drawback is what this film did with its cast. First of all, Andrew Garfield is too good-looking to be Peter Parker. I do really love his love for the character and he does a more than decent job of playing him, but I just could not believe for a second that this wasn't a guy everyone was in love with. When he's Peter Parker, he's absolutely cool and adorable at the same time and when he's Spider-man, well, the costume um, compliments him perfectly :P I would actually count this as a plus in the sense that if not for anything, girls can watch this film to gush over his perfect looks. But then you take things into perspective, and a guy like that can never be an unpopular geek. Tobey Maguire is normal-looking, so this was very believable when he payed the part. Garfield on the other hand, is gorgeous and fine. Hell even the bully Flash looked like he was in love with him!

             And then we come to Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy- oh cruel wasted potential! My biggest problem with the Sam Raimi films was the over-emphasis on the v.v.v. annoying Mary Jane Watson. This film barely notices Gwen Stacy. Which is a shame because every second she is in the shot, the screen lights up. Her character, unfortunately, isn't allowed to flesh out at all. There is a scene with Gwen and her dad talking in their hallway about cocoa, and it is the quintessential Emma Stone humour that can make any film that much more entertaining, and that is all there is of it! I mean it is even worse that they give us this little taste of what could have been and then take it away, rather than just nothing all the way. This whole film is actually full of little tasters such as these, and nothing more! Gahhh.

             The chemistry between Garfield and Stone was superb. They are so cute together that you almost want to forgive the entire movie because it led these two perfect specimens to each other. But again, I hated the way their love story is handled because I could not digest that their two characters would end up caring about each other so much over so little time. Also their first kiss is so Bollywood, I audibly groaned with disgust when it happened.

              The villain, Dr. Connors aka Lizard, is played by Welsh actor Rhys Ifans. I did not like this villain at all. First of all, he did not feel as dangerous as the others. Secondly, I hate lizards and the whole concept gives me the creeps. Thirdly, he looks terrible. I love Ifans, but his transformation from honest scientist and pioneer to a gutter-loving ego-maniacal reptile-thing-person was not that impressive and kind of random. The action scenes between him and Spider-man are not remotely enthralling or something that takes your breath away. Then again, nothing in this film does that, but Ifans with his timing was bound to be more interesting. He just didn't invoke the kind of fear and awe that a supervillain should; just a weird need to want to bathe yourself because all of it is so icky.

              My absolutely favourite thing about The Amazing Spider-Man was Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy. He was snappy and funny and sincere. He stole the scene every time he was there because he was just such a fantastic character, and Leary played him with so much wit and honesty. He was a no-nonsense man in a stupid nonsense movie. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, Sally Field as Aunt May and Irrfan Khan as Rajit Ratha/ that-shady-Indian-businessman-dude were all okay.

               Other things were also disappointing. There were things from the trailers that were missing. I had expected at least the soundtrack to be good, seeing how (500) Days has an excellent tracklist, but apart from a very Footloose-esque sequence of Peter skateboarding and and discovering his powers, there was zilch. As my friend pointed out, even Twilight has an adequate soundtrack. One huge plus to the movie however, was the anticipated Stan Lee cameo that may just be his best one ever.

             After mouthing-off about this film the entire day, I feel that I might have been too harsh about it. But honestly, just thinking about it right now is making me angry. No, I did not expect The Amazing Spider-Man to be "amazing" or well, The Avengers, but I thought it will be okay enough to let it pass by. Instead I got a headache watching this totally unnecessary reboot of what I now know to be a very good set of movies. It is evident that there will be a sequel because helloo?, Hollywood is cuckoo, and also since there was some extra scene at the end of the credits that I missed because I had to get out of the hall to let all the steam escape from my ears. I just hope that the studios learn from their mistakes and get a proper director who can exploit the immeasurable talents of Garfield and Stone and get an actual supervillain.

            Watch it if you must. You may like it and then tell me all about it. Or you may hate it and I'll get to tell you "I told you so". Eitherways, The Amazing Spider-Man was a terrible movie that even my fake-husband Andrew Garfield and my fake-bff Emma Stone could not save for me. Now that is depressing.


  1. Absolutely!
    The whole movie was lost in itself. They could have done without Irfann Khan. For me, all it was done was to attract some Indians to watch the movie, who otherwise would have skipped it.
    And then I had expected so much from this movie, but this was exactly like the previous ones. I mean they could have done anything.
    And yes, how is someone going to believe that no one in the high school liked Andrew Garfield?
    How do they both fall in love so easily?
    there is nothing properly garnished [??] in this movie. The only place where Amazing was in the movie was in the title.

    But I can watch this movie again for Emma Stone's smile at the very end during the class when Adrew arrives late. She's so adorable and your bff is my wife! :D


      Irrfan Khan was random.
      The only place where Amazing was in the movie was in the title <-- agreed.

      Hahaha true. She's so lovely. They completely wasted her, which is one of the biggest reasons I disliked it so much.

  2. Damn it's a real shame to hear this. Glad Denis Leary's good. On th plus side, maybe if people stay away from this a bit in the cinema, it will make them think twice about re-booting Batman too soon!

    1. Yesss. Oh please let them not reboot Batman soon. Apparently Fincher wanted to direct the first Spidey. That would have been something though.

  3. I actually don't view Conan the Barbarian 2011 (which I liked a lot!) as a a remake of the 1981 Conan, but moreso an adaptation of the stories by Robert E Howard. As for unnecessary, I don't think so, it actually tried to be a fun, trashy barbarian flick and not a lame, boring cash-grab, and it wasn't at all identical to Conan '81, so that's a huge plus!

    As for The Amazing Spider Man, I still have hope for it, and I hope that I enjoy it! (I haven't heard good things about The Lizard anywhere though! haha!)

    1. Oh really? Okay I was being my usual ignorant self again. Glad to hear it was good :)

      Yeah a lot of people still like it, except for Lizard :P

      Thank you for commenting.

  4. Interesting to see the movie wasn't good, but you're right in saying that the romance between Garfiel and Stone will help it (I am actually starting to wonder if it was never know). So, I guess this is another one that I won't be spending money to see it in cinemas...

    1. It was planned by the gods, Diana! It does help, but there's too less of it. GIVE ME MOREEE!!

      It will be a good timepass to catch on the telly, unfortunately (damn Garfield and his looks).

  5. I had little interest in seeing this but after reading that I have 0 interest. I love Ifans and I think Stone is ridiculously cute so it's a shame the movie didn't give them opportunity yo shine. I'm indifferent towards Garfield so I have no problem with him actually being Spiderman, but for me this whole reboot comes way too soon and is very unnecessary.

    Great review!

    1. It is very unnecessary. I think at the end of the day my biggest annoyance regarding this was that Emma Stone was wasted. She's so awesome.


  6. I read your review here last week and at the time thought this was just a case of people having different views. But I just arrived home right now after watching the movie, and... YOU WERE TOTALLY RIGHT!! I really wanted this to be good but it went wrong on so many elements. Really disappointed.

    1. People do have very different views on this film. It was very disappointing :(

  7. I gave this review a shout-out (1 of many) - I'm sorry that this movie was a disappointment, even if I ragged on it before. If you've been following me, you know my review ethic. And I really like Peter Parker's character, so I hoped that this would turn out better.

    Their first kiss is like a Bollywood movie? Well, I've barely seen one, but I guess that she and 10 other females engaged in a complicated dance while he did a few steps and sang right into the camera.

    Is that what happened?

    1. Thanks for the shout-out. Yeah I read your rant on his hair. I love his hair :P

      Haha noo. Basically he shoots the web at her and then swings her around and catches her and they kiss. If you substitute the web with like a saree or the long scarves that are there in Indian outfits- it's the same thing!! So weird. Especially after that historic upside-down kiss.