Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Marc Webb: The Amazing Spider Man

Andrew Garfield, The Amazing Spider Man, Columbia Pictures, 2012.

Apparently in need of some quick big bucks, Sony Pictures decides to reboot American comic book icon, Spider Man. After all is said and done, the overall feeling I was left with was: why???

Master filmmaker Sam Raimi's Spider Man trilogy was admittedly his most minor effort from his canon; the films were fast, fun, almost cartoony, which was very much in line with the director's penchant for surrealism. Spider Man 2 was also undeniably the best in the series (and arguably one of Raimi's strongest pieces of exposition). So why, a few years later, redo the same epic tale?

Sony, I believe, wanted an edgier, more serious Spidey, ala Nolan's ingenious re-envisioning of Batman. The script is well written, but almost constructed like a generic workshop screenplay. A lot goes into character development via dialogue. Legendary scripter Alvin (Ordinary People) Sargent brings his trademark style in this vein to the table; James (Zodiac) Vanderbilt and Steve (Harry Potter) Kloves also contribute to a dense script which ends up too choked by structural influx; there are simply put too many writers.

Indie darling Marc Webb follows up his cute, promising debut, 500 Days of Summer, by capably bringing said tome to the screen. He has an affinity for spatial structure that is apparent. Through all this, the overall feeling is bland. Nothing is done especially wrong here, its just that nothing's done especially good, either. Andrew Garfield is a good actor who gives an interesting slant to Peter Parker. Emma Stone, as Gwen Stacy, shines with what little she's given; much of her banter with Peter was aggravating. Rhys Ifans has fun with the villain role, and Denis Leary, Sally Field, and Martin Sheen round out the cast.

I just couldn't help but think to myself: why?! Also, how much more I enjoyed Raimi's first Spider Man a decade ago. Overlong, overdone, blah, and packed with slam-bang dazzling f/x, the best thing about this wasted effort is James Horner's gorgeous music score!

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