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Nifty techniques not enough for new ‘Spider Man’

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Posted: Friday, July 13, 2012 7:49 am | Updated: 9:14 am, Fri Jul 13, 2012.

I fancy myself a halfway intelligent person, but I always seem to make the most head-smackingly stupid mistakes. A “for instance” would be the fact that I didn’t realize the News-Sentinel had an early deadline for the Fourth of July holiday, and found myself prepping for a late screening of “Magic Mike” as I discovered that the Lodi Living section was getting ready to go to press. It seems my stupidity knows no bounds.

But we’re back in the swing of things this week with a look at “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which puts us squarely back in the inexplicable summer funk we’ve been suffering for months with little reprieve. Bright side: There are a few promising titles now playing in wide release (“Ted,” “Savages” and the aforementioned “Magic Mike”), and I’ll play catch-up with at least one of them next week since the impending release of “The Dark Knight” has ensured that no “real” films are opening this weekend.

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1 comment:

  • Chris Wallace posted at 1:00 pm on Sat, Jul 14, 2012.

    Chris Wallace Posts: 32

    Before Nolan achieved success with pulling Batman from it's comic book and comic book movie environments and placing it into a seemingly real world setting, Sam Raimi did the same with Spider Man. So while in the 70's were would believe a man can fly, 2002 we believed a teenager could crawl up a wall.

    Both Spider Man and its sequel were very enjoyable movies. Then came Spider Man 3.

    Spider Man 3 did well at the box office (and I cannot understand why), but it received a lot of criticism. So due to studios being studios and actors geting raises SM4 never happened.

    Fast forward to the curret Spider Man reboot. I myself was skeptical to the point of disinterested, and who could blame me: strange casting of Sally Field and Martin Sheen, the fact that Emma Stone would be in it, and the previews that showcased awkward first person video game like footage. But let me tell ya- I enjoyed it... maybe even more that Raimi's films.

    I have no problem with starting over, just as long as the finished prouct was enjoyable. We have a completely diferent take on the mythology, with different motivations of the hero and a diferent set of rules for the characters to adhere to.
    While this Spidey's origins shared similarities with the origins of other Spideys, we have to face the fact that you cannot stray too far from the whole "bitten-by-a-___ spider" routine. Yet liberties were taken to make this diferent than Raimi's almost to a fault. Sometimes it felt like different for the sake of being different instead of different to serve the story. But the result was a refreshing take of the mythology while maintaing it's familiarity with its core principles.

    Originally peter was simply an orphan being raised by his aunt and uncle. Now we have the deaths of his parents shrouded in mystery, intrique, and nefarious circumstances. While Raimi's Parker was grounded in reality, Webb's walks a tightrope of comic book camp and real world brooding. Webb's take on Parker is very dark, motivated in part by what I would describe as revenge- but the comic book camp is upheld by the bright colors of his super suit, he supreme sarcasm of its wearer, and the high technology of his out of this world web shooters. Sometimes this balancing act works, like when Peter would come home very battered with serious need to heal and sometimes it stumbles like when his powers manifest in a subway, and one of the results is when he accidentally rips off a (hot) girl's shirt.

    After the death of Ben, May becomes an extreme secondary character, making way for the by-the-book police officer who would arrest an old lady for putting a quarter in someone elses meter... and who also happens to be the father of Peter's love interest. I disagree that Gwen was reduced to brainy girl attracted to bad boys- it was established early on that here attraction to Peter was based on him standing up to bullies like Flash Thompson.

    The movie falls from the real world and plunges back into bright world of comics wih the film's atagonist- Dr. Conners a.k.a. the Lizard. With his super hi-techy lab in Osborn Tower or his makeshift lab in the subway Conners comes off as the typical genius in a trenchcoat who may or may not be evil. Altho we are meant to sympathise with him and his plight, we are not able to feel the same with Conners as we did with Doctor Octopus. However is metamorphosis and rampage as the Lizard are well done, as are the fight scenes- which also dip into the suspensefull at times.

    I haven't liked Emma Stone in much except Zombieland, but I actually liked her portrayal as Gwen in this film, altho like the lizard her role was rooted firmly in the comics with her teenage genius abilities to crank out a syrum in a lab with equipment that other people probably have to spend years in school to learn how to use. Unfortunately, if these films follow any Spider Man comic history things don't look good for her future.

    Despite a few flaws- including corny dialogue from time to time- I really enjoyed this film... a little more so than Raimi's. I saw it in 3D and this became a must get 3D Blu Ray purchase. I have grave concerns for the sequel tho- it has already been confirmed that it will be penned by Roberto Oci and Alex Kurtzman, the duo who gives us a lazily written Transformers (saved by Bay), a lackluster Star Trek (saved by Abrams) and Cowboys and Aliens which some say cannot be saved. Thesed two have also given us the fantasic Zorro sequel and Eagel Eye (tongue firmly planted in cheek). Can the directing talents of Webb save the next installment of Spiderman from the mediocrity of Orci and Kurtzman?


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