Monday, May 5, 2014

Amazing pt. 1

I did it. I broke down and did it. My wife, surprisingly, really wants to see Amazing Spider-Man 2 while it's in theatres (she almost never wants to see things in theatres). Since we're not watching 2 before 1, I did what I've been avoiding for reasons I've made clear in numerous posts.

I have a lot of complicated and nuanced opinions of this first film, so meet me after the break. Spoilers ahead.

In general, "The Amazing Spider-Man" is a genuinely good movie and a decent adaptation of the Spider-Man mythos. On that level, I did generally enjoy it.

However, I found I could not get into it on a visceral level, the way I got about the Raimi films or indeed most superhero movies. I don't know yet how much of it is really the film's fault and how much of it is the fact that, for me, it's still too soon.

Even as I write this, there's not enough grass on the Raimi trilogy's grave to justify a reboot, never mind two years ago when the film actually premiered. And I worry given Marvel/Disney's business strategies that by the time a reboot would be acceptible they'll already be working on a reboot to this incarnation of the franchise.

But, once again, that's my own personal beef and does not in any way affect the quality of the film itself.

One last note: While it did try to be a little "darker", it wasn't nearly as much as I had feared. Thankfully, the filmmakers came to the same conclusion I did that Spider-Man is the wrong character to get gritty with.

Andrew Garfield is a good actor. He does what he needs to well, and even gets in a couple of really good lines in the vein of Classic Spidey.

In the end, though, as I've said before, he just looks too much like an underwear model for my taste.

Now, I know the comics have a history of playing fast and loose with Hollywood Homely (the Romita Sr. era was particularly egrigious for giving Petey the face of an angel). And I know that various adaptations have moved more and more away from Peter being a straight-up nerd into more of a general counterculture-type character, especially in the Ultimate comics and the Spectacular animated series (the latter of which is becoming a favorite of mine).

But here, I don't know, for some reason it doesn't work for me. Not completely. We'll see how he does in the next one.

The Lizard
The Lizard was my first favorite Spider-villain. Even after the Green Goblin bombed him off the top spot over twelve years ago (P.S. don't forget to vote!!), he's maintained a strong foothold in the top five and is currently in the number 2 spot.

Being so used to the classic look of the Lizard, seeing his more humanoid face in this film just doesn't feel right to me.

Aside from that little nitpick though, the Lizard in this film is, without a doubt, perfect.

I mean it. His character arc? Perfect. His portrayal by Rhys Ifans? Perfect. His role in the overall story of the film? PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT.

For me, the Lizard was easily the best part of the movie and what made it feel like a classic Spidey story.

Aunt May and Uncle Ben
Sally Field and Martin Sheen are fabulous actors, and here is no exception. But I don't see Aunt May and Uncle Ben when I watch them, I just see Sally Field and Martin Sheen. Again, that could just be me, but I found it distracting.

The Stacys
I love Emma Stone in general, and she does her job well here. Gwen was just a character that never interested me from the get go in almost any iteration, and in fact I'm always afraid to get invested in her because by now I know she probably won't last long.

As for George Stacy, well, I'm a huge Denis Leary fan as well, so I enjoyed him. However, I almost have the same issue with him as I do with May and Ben, in that I don't necessarily see George Stacy when I watch Leary.

Also, I'm confused. If George Stacy dies in this movie (which really was appropriate given the comics continuity and well-done besides), then what the hell was Leary doing on the Daily Show last month promoting the new flick?

Oscorp seems to be the breeding ground for superpowered characters in this universe, and this is how it needs to be. In fact, in any adaptation from here on out, Oscorp needs to be at the center of these creations because that's how the world works. I'm a little concerned when they say Norman is dying though. How can they keep him from becoming the Goblin at least once?!

Parker Parents
It's understandible to want to explore this aspect of Peter's backstory since we never get to, and it doesn't stray too far from the comics (where they were shot down by Red Skull because spies, but still). However, it was never an angle I was ever personally interested in and so I have a hard time with the emphasis here. Again, that's just me.

The Man in the Shadows
Was it Norman? Otto Octavius or Eddie Brock written in as another former collegue of Richard Parker? I just hope it's not Ezikiel, because that's the last thing an adaptation should be wrapping itself up in.

Next Time
Date night is tomorrow night. How will this series handle Electro, Rhino, and Harry!Goblin (most likely)? We'll find out this week.

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