When I first heard that Spiderman was getting rebooted, initially, I thought, “Why? The last one came out within the past 5 years.”. The original Spiderman trilogy, I saw each once, and didn’t really care for, although I considered the first one being decent. The third being one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Ugh. The memories. I’m just generally not a huge Spiderman fan, either. I’m a Batman dude. But whatever. Apples and oranges.
My interest in the reboot went from a 0% to about a 50% when I saw that Marc Webb, who made one of my favorite films, (500) Days Of Summer, was attached to direct. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that this was what Webb had chosen as his follow up, to the inventive and fairly original Summer. It felt like a copout to me. So I stayed optimistic, but not excited about his new take on the Spiderman franchise.
I’m glad I didn’t. While not terrible, The Amazing Spider-Man wasn’t great either. It certainly wasn’t amazing. Just simply okay. It just felt very forgettable to me. No better or no worse than the original Spiderman film. The only thing that this reboot really did was seem to try and ground it a little more in reality, which is common practice now that Christopher Nolan set a new standard for superhero flicks with his Dark Knight Trilogy.
Mind you, I’m not a hardcore Spiderman fan by any means, so I have no previous knowledge of any timelines in any of the Marvel universes, but this time around, the story focuses on a different take of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield)’s origins. Instead of the Harry Osborn/Mary Jane love triangle, neither of those characters are even mentioned, and Parker’s love interest is replaced by a much less annoying Gwen Stacy, played once again by a much less annoying Emma Stone. Parker discover’s a secret about his dad that leads him to Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), a one armed scientist who worked with Peter Parker’s dad, who also happened to create a regeneration serum that’s some sort of hybrid with lizards, that backfires, and whoops, now he’s The Lizard!
One thing that I didn’t know about this film was that the finale was filmed using IMAX cameras. So that was a plus. I mean, just from a technical standpoint, IMAX shot footage will always look amazing, with the amount of clarity and scope that is able to be captured on such a large negative. And the final battle indeed LOOKED really good. But was the fight between Spiderman and The Lizard anything special? Not really. But you had these expanded shots of of Spidey flying around New York that looked really fantastic. Which leads me to the other technical standpoint. The 3D. The Amazing Spider-Man was natively filmed in 3D using the incredible new RED EPIC camera, but to be honest, the 3D wasn’t that effective to me. Nowhere NEAR as stunning and effective as Prometheus’ 3D, which was also filmed natively. Half the time I honestly forgot that the thing was in three dimensions. The RED EPIC filmed flat image looked way more stunning than the 3D, hands down.
I felt like the worst aspect about The Amazing Spider-Man was not the half-assed dialogue, or the overly cheesy action sequences, or not even how when Spiderman was fighting anyone, he’d spit out a one liner for every web he’d shoot. No, it was James Horner’s god-awful soundtrack. What on earth happened here? It was entirely too loud, and felt like there was never a moment where the score wasn’t coming at you full blast. And to top it off, there were two themes frequently used that resembled WAY too closely to two themes from a certain movie that Horner previously scored about a big sinking ship. It was extremely jarring to me. Everything that DIDN’T sound like Titanic just sounded like a huge mess. Four different scores stacked on top of each other or something.
A couple of things that I think Marc Webb DID get right, though, was how he chose to do tons of practical stunts. Rather than creating an entirely digital Spidey, a stunt man was used for nearly every stunt, and you could tell. That was really cool. Also, I thought Webb was able to capture the blooming romance between Parker and Stacy really well, in what was probably the closest to (500) Days Of Summer that we got. But it worked, and certainly felt miles more genuine than Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst’s onscreen chemistry. Yuck.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man was a very disappointing sophomore feature length from Marc Webb. In terms of superhero flicks, it had absolutely nothing on Marvel’s The Avengers and surely won’t come remotely close to The Dark Knight Rises. If you’re looking for a groundbreaking 3D experience, you probably won’t find it here. All you’ll get is yet another fairly forgettable entry into the Spiderman franchise. But as for a mindless action filled afternoon, why not. There are worse things that you could go see.
I give The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 3/4 cartons of eggs out of 5:
By Richard Pepper