The Amazing Spider-Man Is As Fun As It Is Unnecessary
Normally, The Amazing Spider-Man would be a Videogum Movie Club selection, but it comes out on Wednesday, and also there’s a weird cloud of disinterest that seems to be surrounding it. Or is that just me? Maybe everyone’s pumped for this movie, but if they are, they sure are keeping it pretty cool. Very cool cats, everybody. It’s weird! This is Spider-Man we’re talking about! Is it because we already used up all of our Spider-Man Energy on the Broadway Musical Disaster Gossip? (Remember that? It was the best.) Or is the reason that people don’t seem that excited about it because we are all pretty sure that we just saw this movie not that long ago. DING DING DING! That is what it is, and that feeling is correct. Because as someone who saw a sneak preview of this thing (sign up for a free account at JEALOUS.COM) I can tell you: this movie is pretty fun, and pretty unnecessary. Remember Spider-Man 1 from 2002? Paint Tobey Maguire’s face in green paint and key out his head and cover it with Andrew Garfield’s head and then also Emma Stone and now it’s a lizard and you start to get the point. We were just here! And it was great! But now we are sleepy!
So, here’s the thing: Andrew Garfield is pretty good in it. Before going to the movie I was talking with my friend Max and we both agreed that one of the reasons we weren’t as excited as we could have been was because we both thought Andrew Garfield was a snooze. But he does a good job of acting like a teenager, kind of bitchy and annoying and full of nervous energy. (That is a compliment, somehow, I think.) And then there’s Emma Stone, who, like, it’s weird because she’s supposed to be a teenager in this movie, too, but it’s like WELL ALSO MARRY ME. I’m not being a creep, the movie is being a creep. She is supposed to be a junior or senior in high school, but she also is a scientist and makes mature, middle-aged adult decisions when it comes to her dating life, and in all ways is turned into a legitimate “object of desire” for full-grown adults. It’s a little weird! And gross! And hot! Everyone else is pretty good in it, the real actual adults I mean, although Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben gets a little silly sometimes. Nerds will be glad to know that Spider-Man has the original mechanical web-shooters from the comic books and not the weird organic orgasm-wrists from the Tobey Maguire editions. Also, the 3D is pretty well done and I say that as someone who dislikes 3D. I SAY THAT AS SOMEONE WHO DISLIKES 3D! Wow. Bold moves.
So, there’s that.
But for as many tiny variations that this telling of the origin story makes on the previous telling of the origin story, it’s still pretty much the exact same origin story. We see Peter struggle with bullies at school. We see him go on a science trip and get his bug bite and discover his powers. This time Uncle Ben gets killed by a guy who robs a bodega rather than a guy who robs a wrestling promoter. Cool? And you’d really think (this is Max’s point) that with this reboot coming so hot on the heels of the previous iteration that they would spare us scenes of Peter Parker SEWING HIS OWN COSTUME. We get it! Who cares?! Also: yes, this time the bad guy is the lizard guy instead of the goblin guy, but on that note what is UP with Peter Parker’s need to constantly build surrogate father relationships with dudes who want to kill him? Work it out. This guy knows what I’m talking about:
So, the movie is fun. No one is saying that the movie isn’t fun. But the tagline on the poster as I was leaving the theater reminded me that this movie boasted telling “The Untold Story.” Hardly. (Actually: the trailers suggest that there is some connection between Peter Parker’s dead/missing father and his transformation into a human-spider hybrid, and even more than that, that perhaps there were larger forces at work to make sure he BECAME the spider-boy, which IS a kind of interesting spin on things but guess what: that’s really not in the movie. Like, actual lines of dialogue from the trailer never appear in the finished film. This is what Don Draper would call a “bait and switch.”)
And the movie is also unnecessary. Because we just saw it, like, five minutes ago. Maybe the rebooted sequel will finally get us somewhere? I sure hope they bring back the Evil Jazz Hands! Love those. So good.