Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

Overall, I can say I was anything but amazed by "The Amazing Spider-Man."  Mostly I was bored.  I kept thinking to myself, wait, didn't I see this movie already?  Because like the superspiders in OsCorp's lab this one seems to combine a lot of DNA with the 2002 version.

That's apparent right from the title card, which was done pretty much the same way as the 2002 movie.  The only difference is they don't run through the whole credits.  Instead, it borrows from Christopher Nolan's Batman movies and runs all the credits through at the end.

The big difference is that we see Peter Parker's parents.  Their house is ransacked by parties unknown and Peter is taken to his aunt and uncle's house.  Then something happens to his parents and they wind up dead.  Or something.  The movie didn't make that point all too clear.

Anyway, about 10 years later Peter is a student in high school and like the Tobey Maguire version he pines after the unattainable girl involved with the high school jock Flash, only this time it's Gwen Stacey instead of Mary-Jane Watson, which falls in line with the original comics I guess.  This Peter is more of a smart-ass (with a skateboard even!) but still a science nerd who also has an interest in photography.  Neither version of the movie ever seems to forge any sort of connection between these hobbies.  For instance, I got into nature photography because I wrote a story about a nature photographer.  Peter does not have a motivation like that.  Maybe the next reboot will explain that?

You pretty much should know how the rest of the story plays out.  Peter goes to a lab and gets bitten by a spider and gains spider-like powers.  His uncle is killed and he decides he's going to go out in spandex and fight crime.

There's also a genius scientist run amok, just like in the 2002 movie and the 2004 sequel.  Why are so many Spidey bad guys mad scientists?  This one is the Lizard because he takes a serum that makes him a giant lizard.  Clever!  The Lizard decides it'd be cool to make everyone else in the city lizards too.  If you pay attention then you'll know how he's going to do this long before it actually happens.  I mean it's pretty obvious.

Anyway, a lot of people gushed how much better this was than the 2002 version.  I don't really agree.  Stylistically they're pretty much the same.  Some points of the movie actually seemed lamer than the 2002 version.  The way Uncle Ben dies was pretty stupid this time around.  And how he gets bitten by the spider was kind of dumb too.  What kind of giant pharmaceutical company employs high school interns?  And how could Gwen be a big wheel there while only being a senior in high school?  I mean sure I had a co-op job in high school, but I don't think they would have put me in charge of a bunch of other people or let me in on all sorts of sensitive stuff.  The way the Lizard deduces Spider's identity is stupid.  He puts a camera in the sewer (why?) and then leaves a label with his name on it?  I thought he was supposed to be smart.

Unfortunately we also get another "I [Heart] New York" moment like the Raimi films.  In this case construction workers band together to help Spider-Man.  Why was that necessary?  This Spider-Man is also as dumb as the other one in terms of protecting his secret identity.  At the end we even get the same gratuitous montage of Spider-Man swinging around.  Though in this case it's positioned to look really cool in 3D, if you were watching it in 3D, which I wasn't.

The biggest improvement is that the girl gets to do something in this movie.  It borrows from "Batman Begins" where Gwen has to help distribute an antidote to the Lizard's formula.  That was at least better than her serving as a hostage for the bad guy as happened in all three Raimi movies.  She was less whiny too, so that was a bonus.

Anyway, I just didn't see this as a huge step forward for the franchise.  It was mostly a step sideways.  I'd say a step sideways off the side of a tall building, but that's mostly just me.  I did probably get my $1.27 out of it from Redbox.

My score:  2 stars (50/100)