The Amazingly Mediocre Spider-Man

[vc_row inner_container=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]It’s really difficult to discuss my issues with the film without getting into spoilers. So, first a synopsis for those who’d like to see it, followed by the juicy reasons that may explain why – the morning after I saw the movie almost 22 hours ago – this movie is still irritating me.[/text_output][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”1677″ lightbox_caption=”Not to get off subject, but is this chick supposed to carry this film?” style=”width:300px;”][text_output]Acting: good to very good. Emma Stone alone is worth watching the movie. Likewise, the casting is well done good too.  Stone’s a fucking brilliant choice for Gwen Stacy, and she practically carries the film. I can’t think of a better Uncle Ben than Martin Sheen. Taking the younger road and going with Sally Field for Aunt May makes a whole lot more sense than going for a 200 year old little old lady. I’m not as thrilled by the casting choice for Peter Parker as my writing partner, but he is certainly a better choice than the whiny guy who was in the last three films.

Direction is fine. Short of a couple of very minor issues that no one but another director would have done differently, I can’t complain.

Special effects were good, but not great. Believe it or not, if you’ve seen the trailers (which I’ll get to) you’re seeing most of what the special effects should be: seeing the world through Spidey’s eyes. The film does it enough to make you realize we wanted something and didn’t know it and enough to make you realize you want to see more than what’s in the trailer.[/text_output][vc_row_inner padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none” bg_color=”#f9f9f9″][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][text_output]

Also, the film was apparently shot with 3D in mind, and then pretty much fails to take advantage of anything for 3D. I’m not talking about actors shoving things in your face, either. I like 3D if it’s filmed for it, but a review advised us that the movie came up short, so we opted for 2D. The review was right. Most of the scenes are just regular movies scenes, and even a lot of the action is filmed in a very flat 2D perspective. It was one of many blown opportunities.[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h6″]Imagine These Awesome Scenes In 3D![/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”1683″ lightbox_caption=”Imagine this in stunning 3D!”][image type=”none” float=”left” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”1694″ lightbox_caption=”Imagine this in stunning 3D!”][image type=”none” float=”none” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”1695″ lightbox_caption=”Imagine this in stunning 3D!”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][text_output]Likewise, the action and combat come up short. There’s a lot that’s implied. There’s a cut away, or a camera trick, and suddenly what was in one hand is in the other. There is a time and a place for that in film making, but a superhero movie ain’t it. We’re here to see people fly through buildings. Shit should get blown up. I want to watch something I can’t believe I just saw. I must see it to enjoy it.

The script overall is… okay. Not great. Not awful. I should preface all of this by saying that Spider-Man was my favorite comic book growing up. However, I stopped reading comics during high school. So, while I have an affinity for Spidey, I’m not a die hard fan with one expectation of what this movie must be. I know the basic plot points, and I just want to enjoy whatever they do with it, as long as they do it well.

The script seems aimed a little low. Either it was dumbed down in both language and plot points for an audience of what was expected in a theater 20 years ago, or this was simply aimed at a teen Twilight audience who just wants the broad strokes.

Even that said, there are a lot of blown opportunities or inconsistencies that were either the script’s fault, or somehow, ended up on the cutting room floor.

Generally, I had a hard time caring, and I couldn’t figure out why. I like Spider-Man. I want to like Spider-Man. I want to relish in a story I’ve already read and seen dozens of times. So why is everything so bland, so lacking?[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row inner_container=”true” padding_top=”20px” padding_bottom=”20px” border=”all” bg_color=”#c67b01″ bg_image=”1697″ parallax=”true” no_margin=”true”][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_row_inner padding_top=”0″ padding_bottom=”20px” border=”none” bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” inner_container=”true” no_margin=”true”][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]Digression: The D-Box Chair Fucking Awesometastic Movie Experience[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”1697″ lightbox_caption=”Behold The D-Box Chairs!” link=”true” style=”width:400px;”][text_output]After the film, my writing partner and I were debating the film. He liked it, a lot more than I did. So, we’re walking into the lobby, and we decide to check out the tester display for D-BOX. A completely new fucking way to fucking watch fucking movies! It’s an electronic rocking chair that meets a magic fingers bed. You can pay extra-extra money to watch your 3D movie by getting a ticket to this baby. Don’cha get it? The seat moves with the movie! Like two inches! To the left and the right! And to the back. Randomly. With little regard for whatever you’re watching. And when it does what it’s supposed to do, um… it’s pretty stupid.

What’s amazing about this experience is that someone dumped enough money into this sucker’s bet that they have the marketing to put two of these chairs in the lobby while you watch a trailer. And the first thought was, “when I ‘m drinking a gallon of soda, I don’t need something constantly and randomly vibrating my kidneys.”[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row inner_container=”true” no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none” bg_color=”#f9f9f9″][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Here’s Where I Get Into Some Spoilers[/custom_headline][vc_row_inner padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none” bg_color=”#f9f9f9″ no_margin=”true”][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][text_output]Coincidentally, when we were testing this joke out, they had the chairs tuned to the trailer for the movie we just watched. Then, everything that was wrong with the film suddenly dawned on me. It’s all literally in the trailer.[/text_output][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”2/3″][x_video_embed type=”16:9″ no_container=”true”][/x_video_embed][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]The Untold Story Begins[/custom_headline][text_output]And apparently ends in that trailer. At least half of the non-action scenes in the trailer aren’t in actual movie. All that stuff about who he really is, does he want to play God, discovering the truth about his parents? Apparently it’s still on a hard drive in the marketing department, because it ain’t in the movie I watched.

Let me back track a bit. If you don’t know (and this isn’t a spoiler), Peter Parker lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Shortly after he first acquires his spider powers, there’s a good deal about power comes with responsibility, discovering the true self, and all of that tasty Hero of a Thousand Faces stuff. A lot of this is disseminated through Uncle Ben.

In the film:

  • It’s a dark and stormy night, and Peter’s parents are in trouble. They drop the very young Peter off with Uncle Ben and Aunt May for safe keeping. They never return.
  • Modern day Peter finds his father’s satchel with secrets in it, and his interest is piqued.
  • Peter gets powers and starts having all kinds of responsibility issues. Uncle Ben tries to straighten the young man out.
  • While Peter’s acting like a jerk, and with a lot of bad luck, Uncle Ben gets shot by some thug, and it’s kind of Peter’s fault. Now, two fathers in the hole, Peter seeks to avenge Ben’s death.

The movie does all of this set up really quite well. Spider-Man is born, and he finds thug after thug, always looking for the one who killed Ben.

In the traditional story, Peter finds the bastard. In a movie or any retelling, Spidey can:

  • drop the fucker off the top of a building;
  • punch the fucker to within an inch of his life;
  • leave him at the local police station, etc.

The point is, it’s a true crossroads where knowing who he is and accepting the responsibilities of his powers come to light. The hero is born. It’s the payoff.

In this version: Spidey’s on the hunt for this rat fucker and… Hey there’s a Lizard and the cute chick he likes invites him over for dinner and her dad is some police captain and he tells the cute chick who he is and Peter is really smart he figures out equations about shit he doesn’t know anything about let’s find that lizard dude.

The guy who killed Ben? It’s completely dropped. All that good set up, the whole crossroads, the payoff: Never. Fucking. Mentioned. Again. The hero never chooses his path.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Other Things That Irritated The Shit Out Of Me[/custom_headline][text_output]

Super Humor

Peter Parker is a dweebish nerdy photographer guy who gets picked on at school. However, when he puts on the mask, he has a great sense of humor. Apparently, masks make you really funny. Or spider bites do. I’m not sure. My problem isn’t that Spider-Man is funny; that’s actually a major character trait. The problem is that Peter Parker doesn’t have a sense of humor until he turns into a super hero. Um, screenwriter, the characteristic belongs to the average joe, not the super hero. It’s what helps us (and Gwen Stacy) like him as a person. Y’know, that whole human element.

She’s Cute AND Makes a Mean Super Serum

Gwen Stacy, a high school senior and intern, can drum up a serum using technology she has probably never touched before with knowledge she presumably got while mixing baking soda and vinegar in a lab at a New York public school. Why? Because Peter Parker (the Stephen Hawking meets Rain Man of science who could much better do this himself) tells her to do it, presumably so she can be put in danger for a plot point down the road that doesn’t really have any bearing on what happens.

How Convenient

Things are sometimes a little too neat. Spider-Man has to cross a few miles to get to the big fight, but he’s shot in the leg, so he can’t… run, I guess. Despite the massive forced evacuation of Manhattan, some construction guys stick around to help out. There just happen to be giant construction cranes spaced just right along every other fifth building, and if the construction workers move the cranes perpendicularly across the street, Spidey can swing from one to the other– Wait, why is this necessary?

It isn’t. It’s supposed to get the people (who are scared and going fucking batshit trying to run away) to help him. Because he’s an average guy. With super powers. Who’s supposed to be kind of hated by a lot of people, because he’s misunderstood. But not at this moment.

Why Terrorists Don’t Hire Screenwriters

Lizard dude has a serum bomb that will go off… in two minutes. No stopping it. Can’t make it go now, and we don’t know why. However, in the last 3 seconds, the bad stuff in it can be swapped out for good stuff. Who makes this machine?[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]The Worst Character for a Cliffhanger Award Goes To…[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”1693″ lightbox_caption=”If only Spidey could stick to walls… oh, wait, he can.”][text_output]Theres’ a little cliffhanger moment towards the end, where the Lizard Man is reverting back into Dr. Connors. Spidey is tumbling over the edge of the world’s tallest glass building, but Lizard-Connors grabs his wrist.

There’s a long moment. Will he pull him up? Will he let him go? Will he be able to save our hero?

Will the screenwriter or director or a goddamn gaffer remember that Spider-Man just has to stick his free hand to the giant glass building, because, he’s a man who is like a spider and can fucking stick to buildings?!

All This For A Happy Ending?

Capt. Stacy dies (completely unnecessarily) near Peter’s arms. His last words are making Peter promise to stop dating his daughter. So he stops talking to her. Dumps her. She’s heartbroken. All is forgotten. They sit next together in class. They don’t even talk. He’s gonna break the promise. Roll credits.

Um…, why? Why treat her like shit, and then decide not to? Why even make the fucking promise? Date the girl, don’t date the girl. If you’re going to change your mind, can you please explain what transpired to make that choice? I say I’m going out for pizza, I come back with Chinese food, and what, no one wants to know what happened? You’re about to roll credits. Why bother with any of this shit?[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h2″]The Credit Tease[/custom_headline][image type=”none” float=”right” link=”true” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”1679″][text_output]Between the main credits and the really long credits, there’s a little tease. What could it be? My Spidey sense is tinkling!

Dr. Connors is in jail. In the dark shadows of his cell, a raspy voice – presumably Dean Stockwell – is cloaked in a trench coat. He asks Connors if Peter knows about his father. Beyond the fact that it’s obviously not Samuel L. Jackson, we have no clue who this is. Roll really long credits.

Yep, that’s it. Totally cryptic. Totally pointless.

Ironically, you see most of it in the trailer. Yes, there’s a character in the trailer who is not in the movie. That’s the big tease. Huh?

Image Sources

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