Review: The Amazing Spider-ManJames Whatley
Or how 21 Jump Street ruined everything…
I first blogged about The Amazing Spider-Man (TASM) back in May and while I wasn’t overly stoked about it, it still looked set to be a fairly good stab at rebooting the franchise. Yes, we all know it’s only been five years since we last saw Spidey grace the big screen (the poorly-received Spider-Man 3 not giving Toby McGuire the best of send-offs) Sony decided to waive Spider-Man 4 and move straight into a retelling of the radioactive arachnid him goodbye in the poorly-received Spider-Man 3) and while we may not be ready… Nope, start over… And whilst I still maintain Spidey 2 was the best of that trilogy (and arguably one of the best superhero movies ever made), Spider-Man 4 never appeared and instead, well… instead we get this
YAWN YAWN YAWN YAWN YAWN YAWN
Let’s cut to the chase:
The Amazing Spider-Man (TASM) doesn’t tell us anything new and, while it does present us with a fresh (and quite capable) Peter Parker, the film is poorly directed, the villain poorly executed, and overall – the cast struggle with a mis-firing plot that doesn’t really ever deliver; especially when *previously seen* parts of the film [ie: in trailers, teasers etc] have actually been removed from the final cut.
And here’s the kicker: the more I think about it the more I realise the one over-riding thing that killed TASM for me.
With me? No? OK, I’ll try it a different way.
21 Jump Street RUINED The Amazing Spider-Man
…and I’ll tell you how
24hrs before I went to see TASM, I sat down with the girl and decided to give the Channing Tatum/Jonah Hill cops-as-students, TV-to-film re-make, comedy vehicle a go.
AND IT WAS GREAT.
Brilliant in fact. So surprisingly funny/hilarious that the GF and I were both actually quite stunned at how bloody good it was.
Bear with me, this is actually going somewhere…
Here’s the rub [minor spoilers ahead], the plot of 21 Jump Street centres around a couple of cops being sent back to school to uncover a suspected drugs ring. However, one of the key parts of said tale is that our heroes actually used to be at school together. one of them (Tatum) was the atypical high school jock and popular kid and the other (Hill) was johnny-no-mates geek who hung around with nerds and basically failed in all things female related.
So far, so what… well, that first part – of the two being at High School together – is set in 2007. Five years later, they’ve become cops, made friends [with each other] and are assigned this undercover gig. Except, something has happened.
GLEE has happened.
Thanks to the super-popular American musical/comedy/drama (dramusedy?) American TV series, roles have been reversed:
Geek is cool.
It’s a great plot point in 21 Jump Street and yet it creates a HUGE plot hole in The Amazing Spider-Man. Geeks are cool. Ergo, Peter Parker is cool. Especially if your Peter Parker looks just like the hugely not unattractive Andrew Garfield. It just doesn’t add up. Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) fancies him, and rightly so – but you kinda think that she would whether he got bit by a radioactive spider or not.
That aside, the two do have a sparky relationship and there’s obviously a decent chemistry. However, that’s about all I can find that’s good about TASM I’m afraid.
The film’s villain, the woefully mis-cast Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Connors – aka The Lizard – is clumsily realised and comes across as a bad amalgamation of previous Spider-Man bad guys, Green Goblin and Dr Octopus (whilst never actually managing to get near either when it comes to actual menace).
Also, while we’re on the subject: WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PICTURES?
Yes. One is of a mutated lizard man and one is a of man in a lizard suit.
Guess which one they use in the film?
Moving on, here are some other things that didn’t amaze me (whited out as they contain Spidey-spoilers)
- Parker steals the webbing and then creates the shooters – SURELY someone at Oscorp would notice that this is missing (or at least, NOTICE IT in the streets) and basic police skills would track him down?
- The whole thing with the cranes at the end? SERIOUSLY? I laughed out loud at this point
- The Lizard releases some gas that turns the police into Lizards too, BUT WE NEVER SEE THEM
- Mask on, mask off, mask on, mask off, mask on, mask off…
- That bit, when the Lizard is chasing Spidey in school, and he *just happens* to discover the exact two chemicals required to create a make-shift bomb? Y’know, because stuff like that is just left laying around… WHAT THE EFF?
- I’m glad Dennis Leary’s character died, he wasn’t great – where’s JJJ?!
Whilst The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t that amazing, it isn’t actually that bad either. Yes, it’s too soon to reboot the franchise (obviously), but it does manage to lay enough ground for [hopefully] decent sequels. Sam Raimi’s original trilogy never really took itself too seriously and, while Garfield’s Spider-Man brings the wit, the rest of the film could do well to learn from his comedy timing.
In a year that sees quite possibly the two largest chapters in comic book film history come to a head (see Avengers and Dark Knight Rises), The Amazing Spider-Man really does struggle to stand tall amongst the crowd.
Here’s hoping future installments deliver on the early promise [that at least some of] the cast have shown.