If you ask me would I rather watch [Insert TV show] or the Cleveland Indians game, I would chose the Indians game 99% of the time.
If you ask me would I rather watch [Insert TV show] or the Boston Red Sox game, I would probably chose 100 shows before I'd voluntarily watch the Red Sox play baseball (unless they were playing another team I wanted to watch; like Cliff Lee was pitching against them or something).
What is it I dislike about the BoSox? Well, sports fans hold grudges, especially when a team beats your favorite time in the playoffs (especially when your team was up 3 games to 1 in the series before the championship...). But, also, there's something about the way each team plays the game. This is a byproduct of the players on the team. In other words, I don't really like the players the Red Sox have. I respect the team. Pedroia is good. I do like Papi. But fuck Lester. Fuck Beckett. Carl Crawford went from being awesome to a joke. I don't think Adrian Gonzalez is as fun to watch anymore (sorry AG). The product that is "The Boston Red Sox" doesn't appeal to me as a baseball fan.
The Cleveland Indians, however, are right up my alley. I mean, they frustrate the shit out of me a lot of the time. But I like the players. I like how they play ball (even though they suck right now). I I.D. with this team. In the mid to late 90s, I FUCKING LOVED the Seattle Mariners. Why? Ken Griffey Jr. baby. And Randy Johnson. Jay Buhner. Edgar Martinez. Even little sharp-nosed Joey Cora. Now...I don't really want to watch the Mariners play ball either.
So what's this have to do with movies?
Isn't it obvious already?
Director: Marc Webb
Sarcastic: Andrew Garfield
Blonde: Emma Stone
Great at kicking footballs: Rhys Ifans
New look Aunt May: Sally Field
His teeth?: Martin Sheen
Irrfan Khan??: Irrfan Khan
Disappears: Campbell Scott
His mouth?: Denis Leary
What It's Good For:
-non-pathetic Peter Parker
-I like the action scenes
-Andrew Garfield being emo
-using mystery for a plot that goes beyond this initial movie
-set-up for tragedy
-the crane scene is uber cheesy
-some people complaining about how emo Pete gets
-gaseous agent changes people into lizard creatures?
-how does a gun wound to the leg affect web swinging?
-if web swinging was so affected by a gun wound to the leg, how then fight Lizard so well?
After Spider-Man 3, I can't take Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 seriously. Maybe this is a personal problem. But, leading up to Spider-Man 3, I wasn't overly thrilled with SM or SM2. Why?
Not to mention the CHARACTER of the Sam Raimi Peter Parker. Can we agree that the Peter Parker of Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3, is, in a nutshell, pathetic? I mean, yeah, he's determined and always perseveres. But his tone of voice. His self-esteem issues. The ugly faces he makes. The impotence issues. Always getting the short-end of the stick... I mean, some people will say this stuff makes Peter Parker endearing. I think it makes him not fun to watch. On the one hand, it's awesome he's Spider-Man. On the other hand, this is not a dude I want to hang out with. Could you imagine getting lunch with this Peter Parker? And, no, he wouldn't web-swing you around the block; you'd just have to sit and talk to him about non-Spider-Man issues. Would that be fun for you? Aren't there like...4093840284302 other people you'd rather have lunch with? Wouldn't you rather have lunch with the Spider-Man: The Animated Series Peter Parker (dude is a boss)?
So here we have three Spider-Man movies. Two of which are critically praised. All three went bonkers at the box-office. Yet, I don't really want to watch any of them. Especially not that piece of shit third movie.
And I fucking love Spider-Man.
So here's my dilemma (I'm just repeating the last two paragraphs, pretty much, but bear with me). I love Spider-Man. Spider-Man movies exist, and were "well made", praised, cash cows. Despite my love of the source material, I don't want to watch these movies. I would rather watch the Animated Series from 1994-1998.
Enter The Amazing Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man is more of what I want from a Spider-Man movie. Peter Parker is, granted, still nerdy and picked on, but he isn't pathetic. Maybe he's a little more emo than some people like? I'm okay with it. He's 17. Film School Rejects (a site that is really good at making me angry) made a big deal about Peter taking photos of Gwen Stacy without her knowing...guess the Film School Rejects are also Photography Rejects (since taking pics of people who don't know you're taking pictures of them is like...a regular thing photographers do). Wait, what was I talking about?
Do I think The Amazing Spider-Man is perfect? No. The cranes-helping-Spidey-through-the-city scene is sharp-cheddar cheesy (and here I'll admit that SP2 did a better job with New Yorkers defending Spider-Man (the train scene with Doc Ock)). And the film felt, to me, somehow...smaller than what I expected/wanted? Narrow in its scope of emotion and action? But whatever. That's not the point.
The point is this: if we didn't have reboots, The Amazing Spider-Man wouldn't exist. We'd be stuck with the mythology of the 2002, 2004, and 2007 trilogy. Which means we'd be stuck with a little bitch Peter Parker. And the Green Goblin already dead. And THE TOPHER GRACE Venom. Topher Grace wouldn't have to continue playing Venom, but...he'd have set the standard for the Venom character and any re-characterization would be difficult and probably feel contrived the way the whole "SANDMAN REALLY KILLED BEN PARKER!" felt contrived. Why did the Sandman really killed Ben Parker plot feel contrived? Because it came out of nowhere. It wasn't set-up. All the sudden we're being told: "Oh yeah, that whole plot from before, uh...well, turns out this is what really happened!" I know, this happened a lot in the comics. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. I just don't think it's...good. Unless it's the clone saga and we get Scarlet Spider out of it. And the clone saga played off a central ambiguity: did the real Spider-Man really climb out of the smoke stack all those years ago?. The Sandman plot does not play off anything, it revises what was accepted history.
So. Yeah. The Amazing Spider-Man won me over on reboots/remakes. There are reboots I think are stupid: Clash of the Titans, Planet of the Apes, The Wicker Man. Then there are reboots which I think kick the shit out of their predecessors: Casino Royale, X-Men: First Class, The Incredible Hulk, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
I'm open to more reboots. Reboot Batman for all I care. Remake Watchmen again. Give us another Halloween. Someone take another shot at Anaconda: make it a comedy. But don't remake this Spider-Man quite yet. This version of Spider-Man has me, for the time being, interested. And it's given me something I didn't really have before: a Spider-Man movie I like to watch.
Hell, using baseball as a model. I'm at the point where I think no studio should have exclusive rights to a movie. Could you imagine if Universal, MGM, and Lionsgate all did Spider-Man movies? Yeah, that'd be a lot of Spider-Man, but...still. Isn't America based on the free-market system? What's a baseball game without two teams? If the MLB only had three teams, would it be as exciting? There are 30 teams because there are markets for each team.
If The Amazing Spider-Man proves anything, it proves what we've witnessed with the Batman film franchise: tone matters. Each reboot should try for a unique tone, the same way no two baseball teams are alike do to the unique constitution of players/coaches/fans.
Did I Like It:
Yeah. I think I already touched on the parts I liked and didn't like. And the thing this movie did that the other Spider-Man movies did not: not tie-up plot points. Okay, the first Spider-Man left open the MJ/PP romance and the Frenemy battle between Harry and Peter. But these are personal relationships, things which should develop throughout the course of a series. The only plot point that was left open: Harry's psyche being as fragile as his father's. The Amazing Spider-Man leaves open Spidey finding Uncle Ben's killer, it leaves open the mystery of what happened to Peter's parents. It shows us Oscorp but not Norman Osborne. What we're seeing is world-building. We all know Gwen Stacy eventually dies. The series didn't blow its load and kill her in the first movie. It's really building into (hopefully) a tragedy. A Shakespearean tragedy of a character's own making: Peter Parker could have saved Gwen Stacy had he not broken his promise to Denis Leary. Instead, he breaks that promise. And the first movie ends with this being a good thing. It's ostensibly a good thing: two people who care about each other and couldn't be together are going to be together. YAY! Except...this is the first step down a dark path.
So, to me: The Amazing Spider-Man is a smarter version of the comic book movie. Which we can probably thank Marvel's Phase-1 for. Comic book movies are realizing they can tell a story throughout multiple movies. Which I think is cool. I wish a non-franchise/book-based movie would have the balls to do this.
I hated the crane scene. Let me say that again.
But I thought the fight scenes were cool, were what Spider-Man fight scenes should be.
I didn't think Emma Stone did a particularly good job.
And Peter Parker was cool! Well, cooler!
% Character / % Actor's personality
-Where oversized reptile is the main villain: Anaconda; Lake Placid; Primeval; Jurassic Park
-People are infected and it's bad: Contagion; Rise of the Planet of the Apes; 28 Days Later
-Has nothing to really do with anything in Amazing: Last Action Hero
-Marc Webb directing up-and-coming actor: (500) Days of Summer