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The (Not So) Amazing Spiderman [Tall Drink of Nerd]

So you went and saw The Amazing Spider-Man to witness Andrew and Emma fall in love. Sweet. A lot of critics, comic geek bloggers and my FB friends have been praising The Amazing Spider-Man, mostly for the relationship between Gwen and Peter. I whole heartedly disagree with all of you. There were about a gazillion critical story errors and the script was dull as clipping dry toenails. My one sentence review is: “I’m assuming it’s better than Battleship.” Reading positive reviews has me ranting at my computer screen, wanting to respond with all the reasons the film failed, when it occurs to me: I have a bi-weekly online column.

I hardly ever post anything controversial or offensive, and I am inspired by this genius Promethius review, so I figured it was about time to express a contrary opinion (sorry to butt into your space On The Contrary). So here are the reasons The Ambianzing Spiderman super disappointed me and the people who saw the movie with me. I do address that relationship thing in my final point below. (yes I know it’s Spider-Man, but out of disrespect I’ve been calling him Spiderman in one quick blurt. Take THAT mysterious corporate movie production overlords!)

WARNING: There are spoilers out the wahzoo in this piece.

Plot Problems

  • Once Dennis Leary makes Peter Parker realize Spiderman is just a vigilante (by chasing guys who look like his Uncle’s killer) they just DROP the whole “Who killed Uncle Ben?” thing. Did the writer/director think “Ok, well we’ve used that plot point to get us to here. We don’t really need to tie that storyline up do we? Nah…”
  • How did Peter Parker get the “super tensile spider web” vials from Oscorp? Isn’t that stuff worth a ton of money?
  • Wouldn’t Dr. Connors put the puzzle together “Who is Spiderman? Oh and I have to remember to ship those web vials over to my new buddy Peter. Ya know, the guy who finished this splicing formula for me.”
  • My third point on that web stuff: The video says each vial contains around 200′ of string. Spiderman goes through 200′ in about 2 minutes.
  • How does a major defense corporation not check the photo ID of an intern, especially after the actual intern guy shows up? Do they just let anybody stroll into the place?
  • Dr. Connors got fired and THEN he gave everybody else the week off? Not in corporate America buddy. With your security clearance you’d have been given the perp walk to the front door with a box of family pictures, your leftover muffin and a stolen stapler like the rest of the unemployed jerks.
  • How the hell did Dr. Connors get all that shit into the sewer system to have a fully functioning lab? In one day? With no one noticing?
  • How many healthy, brightly colored lizards are running around loose in streets of NYC?
  • How many cameras does Peter have? And why, if he’s trying to keep his identity secret, would he web one of them up to a wall with the Brother P-touch label proclaiming “Property of Peter Parker” on it?
  • When the 5 police officers had Lizard Connors surrounded, weren’t they all wearing gas masks? How did the cloud he set loose make them remove their gas masks and start mutating?
  • Why did Spiderman’s suit keep going from a single piece with the head totally attached, to a piece where the mask was easily removed by just pulling on it?
  • Speaking of the mask, how did Spiderman get his mask back on when pulling that kid up from the car falling off the bridge? I don’t think the kid let go of Spiderman’s neck just to get the mask off of his head and back onto Spiderman’s.
  • Did Spiderman get unshot? They never included that wound in the final wrap up of the film. Seems like a guy with a bullet in his leg might, at least, have a limp.
  • Why did the rats die when their mutations failed, but Connors just turned back into the regular version of himself?
  • Where did that super-menacing Indian Oscorp VP go? Is he Kaiser Soze?
  • How did the intern Gwen know how to synthesize an antidote to a mutating potion that eluded the most brilliant scientific minds for 20 years? Maybe the antidote was in Peter’s dad’s stuff, but how did she know the ratios that would save the city?
  • Were there speakers built into that dispersion device? Once it was yanked out of the bigger apparatus, it still had a lovely female computer countdown voice. How conveeenient.

Poor Story Choices (aka Opinion Stuff)

  • Why did the set up take so long? There was no action until about 30 minutes in. Remember that old writing axiom of showing not telling. The first 1/3rd of Spiderman was all telling.
  • The previews showed Dr. Connors saying “Do you want to know the truth about your parents?” Yes! I want to know the truth about Peter Parker’s parents! Early posters beckon with “The Untold Story!” I guess they’re saving the “truth” and the “untold” parts for the sequel, because we don’t know much more now than when the movie started.
  • So Connors entire motivation to gas up NYC was because he lost an arm? A long, long time ago? Not motivation enough.
  • Also, the Lizard isn’t much of an enemy. He’s just a giant man-lizard. There is hardly any kinship between the Lizard and Spiderman before the antagonist gets up to his hijinks, no real humanity from the villian until the final moment after his plan is foiled. The Lizard and Dr. Connors lacked any depth or conflict.
  • If you’re clever enough to find his under-sewer lair, the Lizard has his plans diagrammed out to the minute detail and has circled his intended launch point like 80 times. Ya know, so he doesn’t forget.
  • Andrew Garfield is like 28 years old (just guessing here). Not a 16/17 year old kid. Also, he’s kind of a douche to his guardians, his classmates, the girl he likes. I’ve read how that he’s more of a “brooding bad boy” than Tobey McGuire, or more of a douche, I guess would be the shorthand for that. (OK, that’s more opinion than missing factual problems. But if a guy was having a hard time talking to me and yanked me to him with a spider web on my butt, he’d be a douche.)
  • My last note is on this relationship thing that you all seem to like so much. Gwen was never a damsel in distress (not even when she was hiding in that closet in the lab and the piano sound was attacking her). Spiderman’s identity was really never that much of a secret he had to keep from her. He told her on their first date. The real-life chemistry between Emma and Andrew can’t make up for what’s lacking in the writing. There was no build to the tension and excitement and mystery between our hero and his unattainable love. (She was way too easily attained, btw.)

That’s just the stuff off the top of my head, after seeing the movie almost a week ago. Full disclosure, I liked the first two Raimi movies. I like Raimi, a lot. Actually, about an hour after we got home from witnessing The Dreadful Spiderman we popped the Raimi movie into the ole DVD player as palate cleanser. So. Much. Better.

Also, while I thought it was weird to reboot the series so soon, that didn’t bother me at all. I wanted to see a good movie. My main goal in movie-going is to be entertained. If a movie has too many problems, it isn’t entertaining. Although, now that I think of it, discussing the problems with this movie has been entertaining me for days afterward, so I guess I got my matinee priced ticket’s work of entertainment.

If you’re going to disagree with me, do it in the comments below so we can have a lively discussion!

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