Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

This year, I decided to set aside my "I don't watch superhero movies" rule in order to accomodate the hoards of remakes swinging into theaters. I always seem to forget why it is that I don't like superhero movies until the credits have rolled and I walk out. Alas, by that's much too late!

The Amazing Spider-Man
Directed By - Marc Webb
Written By - James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, & Steve Cloves; based on the comic books by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Top Billed Cast - Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Rhys Ifans

So, Spider-Man. I really hope this is the last set of movies on this subject for at least twenty years. I'm not sure if I can handle any more than that. We all know the story, right? Kid gets bit by a mutant spider and becomes a mutant himself. He gets caught up in all sorts of trouble and the police hate him so he's pretty much a self-made outcast. BUT, he's in love and he's gotta do his best to figure out how to balance his job and his personal life with the fewest number of casualties. You win some, you lose some.

Pros -

* Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have great chemistry...then again, I think Emma Stone could probably have great chemistry with a rock or even Keanu Reeves.

* The shots that were real were great. I especially loved the cinematography leading up to the funeral; raindrops floating down taut umbrellas made for a fantastic visual.

* I often don't care for scores that incorporate lyrical songs but the scarce use and good choices for this film worked well with the sequences.

* For as little as he said, Garfield did a good job maintaining his accent. We all knew he could, but it still should be noted as possible (I'm lookin' at you Ewan McGregor...)

* Seeing as how this was a remake of sorts, I was worried about the pace and I'm happy to report that I shouldn't have been. There were a couple of laggy-bits but, for the most part, everything moved along nicely.

* I much prefer this movie's Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben over the previous film's. Hats off to casting.

* I was somewhat disappointed that the CGI for Dr. Connors' arm was so good. I really wanted to see that wave effect that can accompany green sleeves.

* I was quite impressed with the likeness of the young Peter to the older Peter.

* I know he can't really help it but I loved the fact that the director's last name was Webb...

Cons -

* While I applauded the green-screen effects on the arm of Dr. Connors, I cannot applaud Rhys Ifans' amputee portrayal. I think the reason why we saw no wave was because he kept that arm glued to his side the whole movie. There should be SOME wasn't paralyzed.

* Speaking of that arm, I'm going to have to mention costuming here for a second. When you're fitting a real arm that's supposed to not exist in a coat with a full sleeve, do your best to use a lighter material or something and try hard to make the sleeve not look like it belonged in Abe Lincoln's closet.

* I know that since I don't read comic books or know the "real" story, I probably shouldn't complain but...could they not have this movie set in college rather than high-school? I'm just not buying Emma Stone in high school anymore...or that a 17 year old girl would know how to make an antivirus serum...or be that well trusted at a major scientific corporation.

* Oh sound department...what has happened to you? If anybody wants to see an example of poor sound looping, this is the movie to see. Un-synched lips to sound are NOT the worst part of this situation; there was an entire word changed in post. I'm not sure what the actor really said but it definitely was not the line. Did they run out of time to get another take? Was that the best he could do? Unacceptable on TV and definitely not okay in a blockbuster film such as this.

* There were a few times in this movie where I felt like I was back at Universal Studios, ridin' along in the Spider-Man ride. That's not a compliment.

* Did Peter wear his suit under his clothes ALL the time? I ask this question because, if not, dude needs to enter into some quick-change contests.

* Speaking of the the heck does the mask come off so easy yet look seamless when on? Is there some sort of magic glue not yet mass-produced that gives these results??

* Also, I get that spiders have sticky fingers (so to speak)...but if spiders were wearing tennis shoes...would that stickiness permeate the rubber soles? I don't think so.

* I liked the fact that in this movie, there was an actual contraption that shot the webbing out, however...I didn't like that he apparently always had them on (but they went invisible during certain scenes).

* If you're going to make a movie set in New York City, and you're also making a movie about a giant lizard that is apparently a pied piper...please do your research and spend more money on the CGI creation of the lizards called in.

* Speaking of Mr. Lizard...I don't even know. On the one hand, I was impressed by the make up crew on the real stuff but not so impressed with the CGI crew on the rest of it.

* How does Spider-Man see out of those lenses at night?

Now Mother..
This movie is rated PG-13 for a lot of violence and general scary stuff. Be prepared to discuss genetic engineering, biological warfare, and vigilantes versus police. There are a handful of lower-level curse words but no sex scenes.

Overall, this was definitely a better movie than any of the other Spider-Mans (Men?) I've seen in the past. There were several really cool scenes and I enjoyed the experience, in general. Did it "wow" me? No. But rarely do I "wow" that's not really saying a lot. I think it's a good movie for what it is. If you don't mind loads of CGI and love a good plot hole, this movie is perfect for you! 3/5 stars.