Review it!: Spider-Man Reboot

The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Poster

Once again Hollywood has decided it’s time to shove another unoriginal film down our throats. Is there a reason we need a new “Spider-Man” movie? It seems like only yesterday I was enjoying Sam Rami and Tobey Maguire’s version of the film. A version that I thought was done right the first time. So why is Sony launching a Spider-Man Reboot? It’s simple. Currently Sony Pictures owns the rights to the franchise and is under contract with Marvel Comics to pump out films. If they don’t make any more Spider-Man films, the rights will revert back to Marvel. In other words, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is simply a contract extension, which is exactly how it plays on the screen. It’s a dumbed down, and shockingly uninspired version of its predecessor. It’s almost the worst superhero movie since Billy Zane’s – The Phantom “Slam Evil.”

I tried to keep an open mind during the screening of this film, but there are just too many problems with this version to narrate. The film itself does not have any emotional pull or the engagement as Rami’s Spider-man. The characterisations are not handled properly. Peter obtains his abilities by sneaking into a secret lab (run by his father’s former partner, Dr. Connors) in which modified spiders manufacture super-webs (because the world needs super-webs) He’s bitten, and boom, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is born.

Peter’s father (Campbell Scott) is shown to have been working for Oscorp. He mysteriously disappears with his wife (Embeth Davidtz) leaving Peter to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Peter’s girlfriend is Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) which stays true to the comic as his first love (not Mary Jane). Gwen’s father (Denis Leary) is a cop and plays the “J.Jonah Jameson” role, of wanting to bring down Spider-Man. The antagonist is Dr. Curtis Connors (Rhys Ifans) the scientist who tries to regrow his arm, but turns himself into The Lizard. Unfortunately, The Lizard is not especially inspired and seems limited to the dramatic range of a Godzilla- unlike Doctor Octopus (which is probably the best villain that franchise had) in Rami’s Spider-Man 2.

The film gets worse by the minute. The actors are all experienced and know how to deliver lines, but The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t give them a chance. The hesitant love angle between Peter and Gwen is horrible. There’s no chemistry, and feels as if someone put a gun to Gwen’s head and said “date Peter or else”. You won’t find any dramatic make-out scenes with the hero hanging upside down in the rain. Peter is quick to tell Gwen he’s Spider-Man, and eventually Gwen ends up becoming just a piece of ass without a mind or aspiration of her own.

Maybe you’re thinking? “Felix, I don’t care about chemistry, I just want to see some action.” Fair enough, but there isn’t much of it, and what they do have, is honestly not very good. The “3D” is over the top and if anything feels like a cheap advertisement for a new Universal Studio ride. The movie overall has a “teen” feel. I’m surprised they don’t have Spider-Man sparkling in the sun, while swinging over groups of screaming tweens wearing “Team Parker” T-shirts. It’s the kind of movie where the hero can find his father’s glasses, wear them for the rest of the film, and never once wonder why the prescription matches.

In the end, this movie is just a cash grab. Someone at Sony Pictures obviously thought, “If we make it, they will come.”  It makes sense, the last movie was ten years ago- most of the people I saw in theatre were still sucking on their mommy’s breasts when Rami’s version hit the big screen, so why not make another film targeted towards a younger audience? However, this version is missing the umph, the spark,  and the magic it had the first go-around. There is no J.Jonah Jameson. How can you have a Spider-Man movie without J.J? The Daily Bugle is still being published, but with this economy, no doubt he’s been downsized.

If you are looking for a good Superhero movie, this isn’t one of them. I give “The Amazing Spider-Man” a 4/10

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“The Amazing Spider-Man” is Rated: PG-13  for sequences of action and violence. Running time: 136 minutes.  Now playing.

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Felix Kay Entertainment Columnist for Vancity Buzz

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