The Amazing Spider-Man shows up again “rebooted” barely a decade after the last round. “Rebooted” is movie-company BS for “seriously, we’re not just doing the same thing all over again again because you’re too risk-averse to go see anything you haven’t already seen before you thumb-sucking moron.”
I swore I was not going to GHD (Ground Hog Day) myself and I would boycott this retread, but the reviews were really good and I love big 3D IMAX spectacles. Besides, me and the missus had a couple of IMAX passes, so it was free. And I’m trying to perfect my rationalization skills.
Of course, in this movie, they are doing the same thing over again over again. I can’t say I blame them. There’s a lot of money at stake making a movie and you’ve got to provide a lot more in a commercial theater than people can do for themselves in a home theater to overcome the home theater advantages of being able to pause, rewind, pee, snack, adjust volume, temperature, lighting and fall asleep on the couch.
I can’t replicate IMAX at home yet, but ordinary movies look and sound better at home than they do in ordinary theaters. And it completely makes sense that if you’re going to bet $230 million (yep, that’s the Spider-man budget), you want to increase your odds as much as you can, so go for the the built-in audience by repeating what you know audiences already like.
We now really are getting to the absurd with this though. Tim Burton is remaking his own 1984 movie Frankenweenie in 3D.
So, how was the movie, you ask?
I’d have liked it a lot more if I hadn’t seen the first Raimi movie with Toby Maguire. It’s that exact same movie with a few differences, some bad, mostly good. It’s the kind of movie that deserves a bullet-point review:
- I think the acrobatic sequences are mostly better, but I could be wrong since I haven’t watched the previous version again. A lot of it is very Cirque du Soleil, too much of it is roller coaster speed, and a bunch of it is extreme skateboarding (including very literally leveraging his skateboarding skills). A-minus. I remember the Raimi version as capturing the dream-like joy of flying too high and going uh-oh….who hasn’t had those dreams? Even though I think he actually says uh-oh a time or two, the flying sequences are treated much more like an extreme sport than a thing of wonder.
- The script has a lot of WTF? moments. Spider-man gets the living shit kicked out of him and shows up at his new girlfriend’s bedroom window to get his boo-boo’s band-aided. Previous context in the movie, he should have been trying to shield her from how much risk he was taking, but hey, any excuse to do close-ups on Emma Stone getting all moist.
- There are a lot of good moments. The movie never really gels, but it has quite a few good ideas in it. The post-radioactive-spider-bite scenes as Parker figures out his new powers are much more interesting, and funny, than in the Raimi version.
- Sally Field sucks as Aunt May. I’m kinda blaming the director for this. Or maybe she refused to dye her hair. Her physicality is all wrong for the part. Martin Sheen is very, very good as Uncle Ben. (In the manosphere, this movie will get an A. Denis Leary and Martin Sheen both pitch-perfectly play old school gruff masculine role models and protectors.)
- I loves me some Emma Stone, but everybody quit hating on Kirsten Dunst. I really don’t understand why Dunst has become such a punchline the last several years. I guess it’s one of those piling-on things that just gains momentum with the stupid.
- The Lizard as villain completely works.
- The evolution and use of the Spider-Man costume is a lot of fun throughout the movie. The costume starts out pretty much as just a ski mask, and stays that way for a surprisingly long time. The web-shooter and webbing is front and center in the movie, not just a way of getting from here to there. It’s given properties and limitations, and then they are used pretty effectively.
Anyhow, if you liked the last ones, go see this one. You’ll like this too, but it’s not a new movie.