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We need to talk about Spidey – a superhero that’s been beaten dead with a steel pole even since Sam Raimi made the first piece of the 21st century trilogy in 2002. Ten years later, the six credited writers on this film must have figured “What the hell? It’s been long enough. The American public will have no idea they’re seeing the same exact film as ‘Spider-Man’ as long as we add two words to the title and change a couple key plot points that might keep fanboys and the general braindead population happy.” Subsequently, what came out was Marc Webb's deficient “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
Compared to Raimi's series, all they did to make "The Amazing Spider-Man" different in terms of its plot was change the villain, the lover of the protagonist and the way Peter Parker/Spider-Man identifies himself. Peter (Andrew Garfield; surely a more confident superhero than Tobey Maguire) has a shy romantic interest in his classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone – why did you ruin mine and all others fantasies and go blonde?), who works in a biological lab as an intern under the well-known Dr. Curt Connors, which Peter sneaks into after realizing Connors and his deceased father worked together years ago. Curious Peter makes his way into an off-limits area of the lab, gets bitten by a spider, and…
Swings his way through a bafflingly unpopulated New York City while trying to save the Big Apple from the mad scientist Dr. Connors, who turns himself into a destructive lizard which shares way too many visual commonalities with “The Human Centipede.” The Lizard plans to infect all of the population with a biochemical weapon and turn them all into dissociative-identity-disordered lizards because, of course, they are physically superior to humans in Connors’ eyes.
That’s it, that’s all you need to know. If that kind of stuff interests you, go for it, but “The Amazing Spider-Man” is pure solid proof that auteur theory is dying a very painful death. Blatantly ripping off Raimi’s series (and I mean blatant; the scenes where Spider-Man swings through the city are nearly identical), looking to shitty Sci-Fi movies for awe-inducing special effect inspiration, and of course going all “Dark Knight” on us and trying to show a darker side of Spidey, this was a cruel 2 hours and 10 minutes to sit through. The rest of the notable cast includes Martin Sheen and (proud graduate of St. Peter Marian in Worcester, MA, my alma mater) Denis Leary. Neither of them added anything worthwhile; in fact, the only good actor or actress in the film was Garfield. He carried the Eduardo Saverin cocky/confident/smart-ass persona on from "The Social Network" for his Peter Parker character, and it works quite well.
Webb, who showed oh-so-much promise and artistic potential with his 2009 indie hit “(500) Days Of Summer,” fails by all means in creating any kind of meaningful or memorable superhero movie with "The Amazing Spider-Man." Instead, he made one that’s going to routinely get mixed up with the others from earlier in this century until they will all eventually be completely forgotten. The biggest telling sign that this was going to be subpar should have been the fact that it was released two weeks before “The Dark Knight Rises” and two months after “The Avengers.”
I guess "being green" is really catching on in Hollywood; they're recycling movies less than ten years after the originals come out.
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