It’s two days after the advance screening of The Amazing Spider-Man, and I’m still angry.
I went in actually expecting it to be good, or at least decent. What I got was over two hours of flaccid storytelling, cynical casting, and video-game action scenes.
I know, I know, it’s my own fault for thinking it would be anything other than a sticky-fingered ploy to dip into our wallets. The odds were against it from the beginning – Sony Pictures decided to tell the same old boring story about how Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man, so already your brain is halfway out the door before the movie even begins.
But there is just something so stupid about casting Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone as teenagers – why not make the story interesting, and have them play characters closer to their own ages (29 and 24, respectively) who have to deal with all the spider-nonsense?
The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t even really begin as a movie until an hour into it, but director Marc Webb and whatever lawyers made all the decisions fumble the ball in the last half, too.
In the comics, The Lizard is a well-meaning scientist who injects himself with a serum and, well, turns into a lizard-man. He’s human-sized, though, and in a nice if ridiculous touch wears a lab coat.
Now, I can understand how modern movie audiences might snicker at a lizard-man wearing a lab coat, which is fine. But instead of a human-size bad guy, The Amazing Spider-Man‘s lizard is this huge CGI monster, as big as the Hulk but without the personality (and that’s saying something). This gives the action sequences about as much heft as a video game fight. (I would post an image of the movie Lizard but can’t find a good one.)
It all wraps up in an epic battle atop a very tall building; it’s the same phallic denouement as The Avengers, actually, down to the rippling-sky effects. But one thing The Avengers accomplished that The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t; at the end of the screening I saw of that movie, people actually applauded. At the end of The Amazing Spider-Man, we breathed a collective sigh of relief that it was over.
Well, there’s one more epic superhero blockbuster to come this summer (and many, many more in summers to come, if The Avengers‘ box-office take has any influence on Hollywood decision-making): The Dark Knight Rises. I’m one of the few who actually doesn’t think that much of Christopher Nolan‘s Batman movies (as with Tim Burton, the vision is much better than the story), but The Amazing Spider-Man lowers the bar considerably. Dark Knight Rises can’t be worse, even if it ends in an epic fight atop a big building.
(I wrote about the movie some more on The Snipe News, in a post that envisions a perhaps-fictional meeting of studio executives planning The Amazing Spider-Man reboot)