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Archive for July, 2012

I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago, and my take was well within the depressing consensus: not great. It wasn’t terrible, either, which is also kind of a slap (something biblical about spewing thee forth from my mouth comes to mind).  It looked good, but we are at a stage of FX technology where there’s no excuse for not looking good.  (The last movie I saw that left me muttering “looked fake” was I Am Legend, and that was from 2007). The leads are attractive and charismatic and good actors. The supporting cast had an impeccable pedigree. But look, we’ve seen it before.  It felt like attending your third child’s first grade Christmas pageant. I wouldn’t try to make a qualitative comparison between Cliff Robertson and Martin Sheen, but c’mon.  One of these guys has anchored himself in our minds as Uncle Ben and one comes off as the understudy.

Could TASM have been great?  I say yes. See the above factors and add a script that isn’t a retread.  It’s not like there aren’t options. Readers have seen Peter Parker as a high school student, a college student, a struggling freelance photographer, and a high school teacher.  He’s had a blonde girlfriend, a red-haired girlfriend, a brunette girlfriend (played by Elizabeth Banks in the Raimi films — a wasted chance), a villain girlfriend and a superhero girlfriend. He’s been in space and other dimensions, fought wizards and mythological monsters and criminals and other superheroes. What am I getting at?  A Spider-man movie can be completely faithful to the comics and still be about SOMETHING ELSE besides the origin story.

Just set us, the viewers, down in Marvel’s New York.  Show us a headline that says that Spidey has been in business for several years.  Then: a child is in danger!  Spidey swoops in and saves him in spectatular fashion that shows off the expensive effects and also demonstrate that his webs come from mechanical devices and not whatever they were in the Raimi films.  Then, the kid and Spidey have a conversation about why he’s a superhero. Spider-man explains — intercut with some video — that one time he didn’t help, and someone suffered. BOOM, origin story out of the way.

Spidey/Peter says, “oh no, I’m late for class” and web-swings off in a big hurry.  He does, in fact arrive embarrassingly late and rumpled for a high-school class — where he is the TEACHER.  BOOM, expectations upended, but the viewers are placed exactly where we need to be.  Then — whatever!  Literally whatever. He fights aliens, wizards, etc. But Peter is in a different phase of his life.  He’s married, he has students and fellow teachers to bounce off of/rescue, WHATEVER.

JUST NOT THE SAME MOVIE.

[I really like Emma Stone!]

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