I watched The Amazing Spiderman last night with my buddy Cary. It has some enjoyable moments, it has some terrible moments, it has some more terrible moments, and it has some so-awful-they-were hilarious moments. All in all, it wasn’t all that enjoyable. In fact, I saw more people leave the theater early than I’ve ever seen before. It was like they were seeing their favorite sports team get blown out at home by 50 points in the 3rd quarter and they just couldn’t bear to watch any longer. I felt their pain – after the 478th illogically contrived dead-end plot device and forced character moment, I almost decided I had better things to do, too. But, I stuck it out for you, the reader, and was rewarded by hearing some pretty soundtrack music over the closing credits, so that was nice.
All in all, my advice is to skip the theatrical release of this film. Just stay home. Catch it at Redbox or On Demand or something – don’t waste $15 to see it on the big screen. But, I know some of you have to find everything out for yourselves. I could type until I’m blue in the fingers and you would still want to go check the movie out and form your own opinion. That’s fine, and if you’re in that camp and you feel like you HAVE to see this movie in the theater, let me give you some advice on how to approach this movie. By following these simple steps, you will have a much more enjoyable time than I did.
1. Check show times 24 hours in advance. Select a showing.
2. In the next 24 hours, acquire a copy of Spider-Man starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst (if you already have a copy of this movie, then skip to the next step).
3. Acquire a portable DVD or Blu Ray player – make sure it is a player/TV combo so you can watch movies anywhere, and make sure it has the ability to run off of batteries.
4. Acquire headphones. BOSE earbuds are my recommendation.
5. Wait until showtime.
Now, The Amazing Spider-Man has a 136-minute runtime. The copy of Spider-Man you recently acquired has only a 121-minute runtime. This means you’ll have to do some math for step 6.
6. Take math classes from grade 1 through college. Using the knowledge you obtain, figure out the difference in runtime between The Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man. Feel free to use a calculator. Remember – there are 60 minutes in an hour. NOTE: if you’ve already suffered through school, skip to step 7.
7. In this case, there is a 15-minute difference between the two movies. That means you need to make a decision. You can:
(a) Walk into the theater 25 minutes late to account for the previews and opening 15 minutes or
(b) Arrive on time, watch the Dark Knight Rises preview (although the movie itself is coming out in two days), then exit the theater for 15 minutes while the movie rolls, then return.
8. Choose a seat at the very back of the theater. You must choose a seat at the very back of the theater or risk getting thrown out.
9. You are now 15 minutes into The Amazing Spider-Man. Turn on your portable DVD/Blu ray player/TV combo and insert your Spider-Man disc. Plug in your headphones.
10. Watch Spider-Man for the next 116 minutes, or until the credits begin rolling on both films.
11. At the credits, turn off your portable device, take off your headphones, and turn your attention to the screen. You will soon see a man – he is Peter Parker’s dad’s ex-partner.
12. Watch the last scene featuring him.
13. Exit the theater.
If you carefully follow these steps, you will have a much more enjoyable experience than anyone else in the theater. What’s that? You’re worried about missing important plot moments and gaining valuable insight into Peter Parker’s past? Worry not – the plots of the two movies are nearly identical. They both reveal how Peter came to be Spider-Man, they both show Peter learning to harness his newfound skills, and they even have some identical action shots. Literally identical. Like, it is uncanny how similar some of the shots are. Its almost like the powers-that-be read the script, realized what a mess it is and said “Screw it, this thing is terrible, let’s just remake the first movie. We have no other choice.” They nearly did just that with the crucial difference being that Sam Raimi is extremely talented and apparently Marc Webb is not quite there yet. Which is surprising considering he’s the same guy who brought us classics like “3DoorsDown: Away From the Sun Video Documentary”, “The Office (tv series): Manager and Salesman”, and “Jesse McCartney: Up Close”. I’m sure if he directs a couple more music videos he’ll soon have what it takes. I know, I know, that was mean – I’m sure Marc Webb a nice guy, but why would the producers of Spider-Man give the reins to a guy who is more known for directing music videos and tv episodes than feature films? Other than his last name being Webb, I mean.
On a positive note, while this movie is laden with problems, there are a couple good moments. The way Andrew Garfield (who narrowly beat out Grover D. Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Clinton for the role) plays Peter Parker is fun at times. He does a lot of head twitches and makes all kinds of cutesy and ingratiating looks that really work until you realize no one told him to stop, and let me tell you, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There are also some genuinely INTENTIONALLY funny moments, but most of those happen at the beginning (toward the end, the only funny moments were unintentional and I could NOT stifle my laughter. I felt like a jerk, especially since the girl three seats down from me was so locked in that she said “OH MY GOSH” at the end when a super stupid and pointless plot device was brought to a close.) And then, there are also some good music moments, like the part over the closing credits.
Sadly, all the contrived plot devices and dumb character moments suck whatever life this movie might’ve had right out. What I (and a huge amount of the population) don’t get is why they decided to make another Spidey movie so soon. Oh wait, money. But really, this franchise is not like the Hulk franchise. I mean, the first two Maguire Spideys were really, really good. Here’s my one theory – Spider-Man is becoming a movie “standard” similar to a music standard. This franchise is headed to a place where any director/writer/studio can just whip up another “story we have never seen before” and release it to decent box office numbers just on the strength of the title character. Throw in a few tricks from the J.J. Abrams School of How to Make Movies Seem Better Than They Are By Including Hip and Glamorous Moments and Music and you have a movie that many people will pay to see and then recommend to their friends albeit with a paucity of gusto. If that’s the direction things are going, then count me excited to see what the next retelling of the same story looks like.
Before I go, I MUST mention on the most amazing part of the movie: the heroic construction worker. Whooooo-eeeee is that man incredible! He should get his own show. At around 8 or 9 pm, we find this man sitting in his construction office watching the news when he sees Spider-Man reeling in the final fight. Inspired by some previously contrived movie moments, he then co-ordinates the organization of FIVE construction cranes that just so happened to be spaced exactly a block apart in about fifteen minutes. Nevermind that most of the crane operators were probably down at Joe’s Bar having a tall cold one. Ever the hero, Mr. Construction Worker wasn’t satisfied with just organizing the cranes – he had to drive one of those mothers, which he somehow manages to do despite previously being in a construction office and not at the top of a crane. I’m telling you, that guy is the real star of the show seeing that he is able to accomplish impossible feats without super powers!!! It was breathtaking, and of course, all his plans work out and Spidey doesn’t let everyone down. Speaking of accomplishing impossible feats without super powers, if this film still has a 7.6 imdb score a month from now, that would also qualify.
Okay, I have to write a closing. This movie starts good but ends up horrendous. Save your money and rent it. Or, if you have to go, make sure to bring your portable DVD player and copy of Spider-Man along lest you be in for a looooong night.
Grant Stevens is like, totally a dude who writes these little reviews as a service to all mankind. He also writes and records some well radical music and has a new album coming soon. You can catch more about his righteous doings at www.grantstevensgroup.com.