First off, I’m a fan of Spider-Man. The whole nerdy kid gets super powers and becomes confident and self-reliant as a tale of coming into adulthood etc etc., speaks to everyone at some point of your life or another. He is, if not my favorite, one of my top 3 super heroes. And before I begin I’m going to say that this is my opinion, I don’t know what you’re experience is going to be like and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.
Here’s the thing, everyone knows who Spider-Man is, he’s in comic books, TV, hell even had 3 movies made about him a couple of years back (unfortunately it had to be 3). There really is no need to do an origin story about him, wimpy kid in highschool gets bitten by radioactive/mutated spider, almost dies, gets super powers, bumbles awkwardly at first, then decides he can use his smarts and newly acquired abilities to fight crime. Oh, and “with great power comes great responsibility”. Boom, easy right? You don’t need to spend 45 minutes to an hour to show that. You got a budget to develop a great new engaging story and you waste it on giving us the same crap we already know about; it’s really something you can do in a montage or flashbacks. Flashbacks and montages are a very comic-booky thing to do, specially when you want to tell a new story about a well-established character.
The good thing is, if you’re expecting a funny and chatty Spidey, you’re in for a bit of a treat, not too much though, unfortunately. Unlike in the comic books, where he does not quit and blathers on into annoying heights to such a degree that it breaks his enemies and throws them off their game and into a rage; the movie does not portray this aspect of him as much as it should have. However he’s still fun and funny.
That aside the movie starts off slow, oh god it’s slow, the first third maybe half of the gruelingly long movie shows us a young Peter still with his parents, but it doesn’t establish a relationship with them or even much dialogue, there’s maybe three lines and that’s not until maybe 10 minutes in. Then they quickly establish the classic Uncle Ben and Aunt May, solid, I guess, but come to think about it, they don’t really interact with Peter much, they’re just sort of forgotten, even after (BIG SPOILER DURR) Uncle Ben’s death, he’s just sort of tossed into the discard pile like many other characters, maybe to explore in the future? I’ll come back to this later.
Curtis Connors, a very well known Spider-man, pseudo-ally/antagonist. The lizard isn’t well established, is it a dual personality or does Connors really lose his marbles after drugging up? He becomes this insane monster obsessed with the perfection of the human race, but this clearly contradicts his motive at the beginning where he tries his hardest to stop the Indian Man from going to the VA and stabbing a bunch of people with the serum. I mean, he literally wants to do the exact same thing later on in the movie, but on an even bigger scale. The script needed another once-over just because of that. And if he was so smart and had so many resources, I’m sure he could have upgraded the Obvious doomsday device to cover the whole city, raising the stakes a little bit.
Obvious doomsday device, about a half hour into the movie we spot this thing, Connors explains that it’s obviously dangerous and could murder a bunch of people if say someone were to break the delicate glass box it’s placed in, load it up with, fuck I don’t know, anthrax or some shit and fire it. Yet, it’s there, sitting in the lab, in your face.
The Indian Man, seriously, I can’t remember his name, if he had one, he was in the movie through about the first maybe three acts, became this obvious tool of the corporate machine and then was just removed via possible death, I’d odd how Spider-man saved the kid but not the Indian Man from the cars hanging off the bridge. And what was he going to do, sneak into the VA and start stabbing people with the serum? Fucking weird.
Since I’m on the subject of the bridge and the kid Spidey saves, his father becomes almost this amazing deus ex crane-operator at the end of the movie. I’ll explain. The guy goes away at the end of maybe the second or third act, after he thanks Spidey for saving his kid and asking him who he is… really? I mean… ugh whatever.
Then towards the climax of the movie Spider-man has been shot, oh god, more like grazed, and can’t climb and swing properly, the lady in the news helicopter points this out in case the audience is retarded; and it’s apparent that he won’t make it in time to stop the Lizard from… Climbing the Oscorp building? Honestly? Why was it obvious to everyone that Spidey HAD to make it across town, I’ll never know.
Either way, the guy, Crane-Dad, I’m going to call him, is at his office, at maybe 11pm at night… Uh, I’ve been to NY, they don’t usually do construction at night, but let’s ignore that for the sake of the upcoming pants-shitting/what-the-fuck-inducing/deus-ex-machina moment in the works.
Crane-Dad calls up his buddies, apparently all the crane operators are awake and working at this hour and there just so happens to be a lot of construction going on all the way up 6th to line up a dozen or more cranes so Spidey may swing his way to the Lizard. WHAT. THE. FUCK.
I was laughing, out loud, the epic music, the cranes turning in near unison, the spotlight lining up on Spidey, the people in the theater giving me looks like I was on medication. SERIOUSLY? The audience was as stupid as they were expected to be, they just sat there and ate it up in silence, fuck.
Now for something a bit more serious, I’m not an expert on police protocol, but I know a couple of things. You know, like if you don’t have a weapon or are threatening the officer in any way they will not usually DRAW A GUN on you, maybe pepper spray at most (all officers carry it), hell maybe a tazer. Here’s the thing, in the first half of the movie, at some point a traffic cop and, according to the Officer in charge, 37 more of NY’s Finest, show up to stop Spidey. The traffic cop, pulls a gun on Spider-man, who is obviously unarmed, and the car thief is Obviously incapacitated. And as soon as he feels like it, he empties the clip on Spidey, who makes no overt threats or movements, and was, up to that moment, complying with the officer. Jebuz, WHAT?
They have an outright firefight after the poor webslinger. Fuck me, what’s wrong with these people? I get we’re supposed to feel connected and that he’s being wrongly persecuted, but that’s just excessive… that’s the word actually, excessive use of deadly force! Then soon the magically have electro-bullets or tazer rounds, and go Spidey hunting, it’s kind of nuts. Think about it, where does this crap come from, and why is it being used so excessively?
Hell SWAT opens up full automatic fire with M16s (or M14s, I can’t tell because it was about 16 officers doing it at once) on the Lizard, a monster that up until recently was thought to be a myth or just hogwash, in the street, which had been magically cleared of people as if someone knew he was going to emerge nearby.
In all seriousness, go watch the movie, it’s by no means bad. But if you were expecting something of high caliber or that has respect for it’s audience, you’re in for a bad time. If you’re looking for a fun summer flick, and to see Spidey be a little more like the comics than the previous incarnation, you’ll enjoy it.
Now, the goodies.
-Did I like it?
Yes, it was not terrible, and worth my money, but it was a bit insulting though not to the point of shouting Betrayal! at the screen. It needed some work.
-Was it entertaining?
Yes, it was very entertaining, and holds a very high value.
-Was the writing good?
Heh, no, the script needed some work, Spidey needed more funny lines. Same with some of the other actors, maybe Peter narrating as he usually does would have been good, as long as it wasn’t sappy.
-Was it visually appealing?
Oh yeah, it’s well shot and the views are impressive, the CGI isn’t over the top. However there’s a big problem with the CGI, it’s inconsistent, specially as far as the Lizard is concerned.
-Was it well made overall?
No, sadly, it could have been a better product, specifically that bit with the cranes at the end, ugh, really? Test audiences must have been laughing at it and the ones running the test must have mistakenly jotted it down as a good thing; in the best of cases, otherwise they just think the audience is stupid, which is insulting.
-Were the actors good and well selected?
Yes, absolutely, the new Spidey pulls off a good American accent (he’s got a British one naturally), but he tries too much to do the NY thing. Emma Stone as a natural blond playing Gwen was brilliant. Flash Thompson was fantastically selected and played, it was well cast in majority.
-Is it worth watching?
Yes, if you’re not going to take it too seriously or expect it to be all it was advertised to be, it’s not terrible, but it’s not great; It’s got entertainment value at the very least.