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Thread: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Bleeding Cool Review

  1. #1
    Robot for Front Page Blog Posts
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    Default The Amazing Spider-Man: The Bleeding Cool Review



    Here?s a little-known fact. As a reviewer, you?re always secretly hoping for the film you?re seeing to stink. Really bad films are a gift for a writer who wants to just riff on silly dialogue and shonky effects and questionable continuity. A real hatchet job can leave a movie reviewer feeling like they?re the funniest guy (or lady) alive.

    Second prize is a film that?s flat-out awesome. Sure it?s a drag thumbing through the thesaurus hunting down new synonyms for ?spiffy? but still?you?ve just seen a great movie. What?s not to love about that?

    The ones us movie review guys really hate are films that are just ?fine?. If a movie doesn?t conspicuously reek, but doesn?t absolutely rock either, a writer has to work hard to make his review interesting.

    I?m going to have to work pretty hard on this one.



    A lot of the early gossip I heard on The Amazing Spider-man, from colleagues who had attended the first screenings, suggested it was a very poor show indeed. I don?t see it that way. The Amazing Spider-Man comes across to me as one of those flicks that would have picked up some great reviews before Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon came along and raised the superhero movie bar, ruining everybody else?s fun.

    A couple of embargo-busting UK newspapers ran absolutely ecstatic reviews of this film. I don?t quite get what those writers saw in this movie either. There?s a long list of things that Marc Webb got right, but I can think of a few major elements that were very poorly handled indeed.

    For example: There?s a kind of X-Files conspiracy plot that launches Peter Parker?s life, and indeed this rebooted Spidey franchise, into a new direction. After a little while though it?s more or less forgotten, presumably to be wrapped up at the end of the expected Spider-man trilogy.

    The creature design for The Lizard is?well?.meh. They?ve given him a weird ?Jack Nicholson as The Joker? mouth that doesn?t in any way seem natural with Rhys Ifans?s voice coming out of it. And this is one talky lizard.

    ..and at a pivotal point in the film Peter Parker Googles his (missing) Dad to find out a whole lot of crucial plot points. He?s seventeen years old. He didn?t think of that before? Ever?



    Well, when I say Peter and Gwen Stacy are seventeen years old. They?re seventeen like Stockard Channing was seventeen in Grease. That is to say ?not seventeen at all?.

    The high school romance element, which has led many commentators to describe this film as a superhero movie for girls, and what I've decided to call 'Twilight in tights', is cute, well-handled and believable. Even when you find out the implausible coincidence of what Gwen?s Saturday job is. And who her Dad is.

    I liked Sam Raimi?s organic webshooters in the previous Spidey franchise. It seemed to minimise the number of impossible things that the viewer was asked to swallow before breakfast. Here Peter?s technical genius is very much to the fore. We see Peter as an inventor and as photographer quite some time before we see him as a web-slinging superhero.

    The sequence showing Peter learning about his powers is funny and clever. There?s a fair bit of what I?m going to insist on calling ?Peter Parkour?. Of course it devolves into that standard superhero flick geek wish-fulfilment fantasy of suddenly being good at sports. We?ve all seen Teen Wolf, right?



    At least the origin story isn?t dwelled upon for too long. Although the sequence of Peter lashing together that amazing costume could have done with a few more mistakes and false starts before we see that final, incredibly professional, job.

    Something that does work well is how Peter?s personality changes when he puts on the costume. The shy, retiring nerd of the photography club suddenly becomes the wise-cracking web-head we know from the funnybooks as soon as he pulls on that mask.

    What with that, and the resurgence of the mechanical web-shooters this is closer to the Spider-man of the 616 universe than the hero Raimi gave us. Having said that, I kept expecting the shooters to be a plot point, to run out of fluid or get broken. I?m still waiting.

    I?m not expecting two hours of solid fan service in this movie but would it be too much to ask that when Peter is mistaken for a Latino classmate, that classmate couldn?t be called Miles Morales?



    For a primary villain, The Lizard doesn?t get a whole lot of screen time. Most of the time we?re looking at Rhys Ifans as the one-armed scientific genius Curt Connors, who now works for Oscorp rather than at Columbia University. Ifans is overall pretty good, even if his character?s motives seem a shade confused at times.

    Connors?s boss, Norman Osborn is mentioned a few times but remains (almost) unseen. There?s a suggestion that like that other millionaire industrialist Peter Weyland in Prometheus, he?s in search of a genetic elixir of youth.

    One thing here made me cross: Doctor Connors?s Phantom Of The Opera underground lab is just silly. What?s his power source? Where did he get all the science gear so quickly? Who is he? Alfred Molina? And what?s with all the baby lizards running around? Seems like someone got bored of their pets and flushed an MC Escher painting down into New York?s subways. Turtle Power!



    In action movies where you have a proper actor as the villain, it?s a rule that there has to be a brainy quote from great literature. For fact fans this movie?s token brainy quote is not, for a change, from Shakespeare but from Florentine polymath Michelangelo Buonarotti?s The Silkworm.

    When you?re a super-hero, one of the things you do is keep your secret identity secret. That?s sort of the point of calling it a secret identity. By the end of this movie everyone in New York except Aunt May knows that Peter is Spidey. And I think even she knows really, she?s just keeping quiet about it because Sally Field is too polite to bring it up.



    Amazing Spider-man is by no means a bad movie. It?s well-made, there are comparatively few holes in the plot (although Peter?s free access to classified areas of Oscorp?s labs needed a bit more explaining) and all of the actors do a fine job. Andrew Garfield is maybe a shade too cool to be entirelyconvincingas Peter Parker, ?bernerd but it's a solid performance. The 3-D cinematography is glossy, lush and immersive and there are some beautiful action sequences.

    It even has, for me, the single best Stan Lee cameo ever. Given how many there have been now, that counts as a major achievement.

    It just isn?t the best movie oftheSummer. It's not even the best super-hero flick of the Summer. But given the competition, there?s no great shame in that.

    And yes, there is a little sting at the end. And no,Samuel L Jackson isn?t in it.

  2. #2
    Wrote the Book on Cool Birmy's Avatar
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    I kept expecting the shooters to be a plot point, to run out of fluid or get broken. I’m still waiting.

    SPOILERS

    Actually, if you'll remember, they do get broken in the final battle, making it (and his ability to save himself and others around him) much more difficult.

  3. #3
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    What a surprise! More shirtless scenes! These exploitative superhero films that objectify the male body keep popping up. They are completely unwatchable. They are more like Twilight or romance novel covers than actual superhero movies. It'd be one thing if guys were allowed to enjoy superheroines in the same way as women enjoy all these nearly naked superheroes and vampires all the time, but we aren't. It isn't equal. There is a never ending stream of daytime TV, vampire movies, CW and ABC family shows, and superhero films that spend way too much time focusing on how their leading males look without their clothes on.
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  4. #4
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    I think I'll pass on this movie
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    Wrote the Book on Cool Kplan's Avatar
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    Went to a screening earlier tonight.

    I'm too lazy to write a proper review, so here's just a list of things which occur to me as I write...

    NO SPOILERS

    Good: Peter and Gwen's scenes were strong, b/c the actors have a chemistry.
    Bad: Their interest in one another becomes a relationship all of a sudden w/no real exploration of them which leads into this. (That is, there IS character exploration, but nothing which explains their sudden closeness.)

    Good: The movie looks pretty.
    Bad: 3D was a waste, directing was mostly very plain and uninteresting (e.g., the first time Spidey is in costume, there was ZERO excitement); in several action scenes, you can't hear dialogue clearly over music and SFX.

    Good: This Peter Parker is an outcast, but NOT a nerd. He's a troublemaker too. And this works.
    Bad: Sometimes, he's kind of a dick. I didn't mind this. Some people seemed to. I feel the people that didn't like it, came in w/the preconceived notion that Peter's a jovial nerd. But that's not the character we meet here.

    Good: All supporting perfs were great.
    Bad: Relationships, and important plot points, are terribly forced and contrived (e.g., There are also several leaps of logic which make no sense. [For instance, the reasoning for Conners to use the serum on himself is unclear...there are two possibilities offered via the plot, but neither fit the context...although either could have w/tighter writing]).

    Good: The Spidey origin actually captures the feel of the comics better than Raimi's film.
    Bad: The story and directing are so, well, drab, that it becomes quite a let-down. The story never takes off.

    Also, it's clear that no one involved in the making of this movie has ever lived in NYC. This version of NYC feels even LESS like NYC than Raimi's ridiculous fantasy version of it. There's one sequence in particular that feels like a TV-movie version of the 1979 film The Warriors. It's so obviously a set, and the extras/gang members should've been fighting KISS & the Phantom of the Park or something.

    And there isn't a minority to be seen anywhere in this film. Which is quite odd. It's the whitest NYC since a Woody Allen movie.

    Also, as said above, the 3D was pointless. I had the glasses up on my forehead as often as possible (some scenes were NOT blurry w/out them). Just see it in 2D if you're going to see it.

    I didn't stay for the post-credits sequence. I wanted to get out of there.
    Last edited by Kplan; 06-28-2012 at 08:48 PM.
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  6. #6
    Zen Master of Cool darkspark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kplan View Post
    Went to a screening earlier tonight.

    I'm too lazy to write a proper review, so here's just a list of things which occur to me as I write...

    NO SPOILERS


    Good: Peter and Gwen's scenes were strong, b/c the actors have a chemistry.
    Bad: Their interest in one another becomes a relationship all of a sudden w/no real exploration of them which leads into this. (That is, there IS character exploration, but nothing which explains their sudden closeness.)

    Good: The movie looks pretty.
    Bad: 3D was a waste, directing was mostly very plain and uninteresting (e.g., the first time Spidey is in costume, there was ZERO excitement); in several action scenes, you can't hear dialogue clearly over music and SFX.

    Good: This Peter Parker is an outcast, but NOT a nerd. He's a troublemaker too. And this works.
    Bad: Sometimes, he's kind of a dick. I didn't mind this. Some people seemed to. I feel the people that didn't like it, came in w/the preconceived notion that Peter's a jovial nerd. But that's not the character we meet here.

    Good: All supporting perfs were great.
    Bad: Relationships, and important plot points, are terribly forced and contrived (e.g., There are also several leaps of logic which make no sense. [For instance, the reasoning for Conners to use the serum on himself is unclear...there are two possibilities offered via the plot, but neither fit the context...although either could have w/tighter writing]).

    Good: The Spidey origin actually captures the feel of the comics better than Raimi's film.
    Bad: The story and directing are so, well, drab, that it becomes quite a let-down. The story never takes off.

    Also, it's clear that no one involved in the making of this movie has ever lived in NYC. This version of NYC feels even LESS like NYC than Raimi's ridiculous fantasy version of it. There's one sequence in particular that feels like a TV-movie version of the 1979 film The Warriors. It's so obviously a set, and the extras/gang members should've been fighting KISS & the Phantom of the Park or something.

    And there isn't a minority to be seen anywhere in this film. Which is quite odd. It's the whitest NYC since a Woody Allen movie.

    Also, as said above, the 3D was pointless. I had the glasses up on my forehead as often as possible (some scenes were NOT blurry w/out them). Just see it in 2D if you're going to see it.

    I didn't stay for the post-credits sequence. I wanted to get out of there.
    Irrfan Khan doesn't count as a minority?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kplan View Post
    Also, it's clear that no one involved in the making of this movie has ever lived in NYC. This version of NYC feels even LESS like NYC than Raimi's ridiculous fantasy version of it. There's one sequence in particular that feels like a TV-movie version of the 1979 film The Warriors. It's so obviously a set, and the extras/gang members should've been fighting KISS & the Phantom of the Park or something.

    And there isn't a minority to be seen anywhere in this film. Which is quite odd. It's the whitest NYC since a Woody Allen movie.
    I was just thinking about this today. Movie and TV NYC is like 5% black or latino at best. Real NYC is like 50% black and latino.

    As for the old style bad guys. That's a result of PC-ism. Unfortunately, in the US minorities are over-represented in the criminal ranks but you can't have Spidey constantly fighting minorities or people start complaining. That's why he's stopping a white man with blond surfer hair in the carjacking scene. Hell in America the ads for home security systems ALWAYS show a white guy with nicely combed hair sneaking into your house.
    Blade X and Blackfist like this.

  8. #8
    Consultant of Cool Henrik J's Avatar
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    Can anyone say whether Lizard comes to resemble the one we see in the comics, or he stays with the look we have seen on merchandice and artwork?

  9. #9
    Time Out Joe Kalicki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adcenam View Post
    What a surprise! More shirtless scenes! These exploitative superhero films that objectify the male body keep popping up. They are completely unwatchable. They are more like Twilight or romance novel covers than actual superhero movies. It'd be one thing if guys were allowed to enjoy superheroines in the same way as women enjoy all these nearly naked superheroes and vampires all the time, but we aren't. It isn't equal. There is a never ending stream of daytime TV, vampire movies, CW and ABC family shows, and superhero films that spend way too much time focusing on how their leading males look without their clothes on.
    Okay shut up now.
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  10. #10
    Bleeding Cool toodoor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meyeraustin View Post
    I was just thinking about this today. Movie and TV NYC is like 5% black or latino at best. Real NYC is like 50% black and latino.
    heh when I went to New York I did look around and think "hey, where were all these people in Friends???"
    Although it was Puerto Rican parade day.

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