Ruth Newell 12:26 p.m., Nov. 30
Amazing Spider-Man - the Reader's Comic Book Guy weighs in
Warning: Review includes some mild spoilers and speculation that will probably prove so dead-on accurate as to spoil a main aspect of the proposed sequel
WARNING - this review assumes the reader has already seen the flick, in case you want to avoid a few mild spoilers...
Didn't like the Amazing Spider-Man as much as the three Tobey Maguire flicks, but it wasn't a complete waste of my time.
Bits and pieces were annoying. The webbing supposedly first developed at Oscorp from actual spider webs is said to have the strength of steel and thousands of feet can be rolled up into a little ball. Which leaves me wondering whether steely webstrings are left hanging all over the city every time Spidey ejaculates 'em outta his wrist rockets.
That said, I dug the velocity of the new webbing, and was glad it wasn't "organic," ie spurting out of his pores from under his skin -- WTF, Sam Raimi! Inventing the webbing and webshooters is the only thing that elevates Peter Parker from being little more than random spider food to a dude with some actual factual superhuman savvy.
Tho it appears in the new movie that Parker stole the web formula from Oscorp and only used his mighty brain to weaponize it and to (presumably, off camera) make the stuff dissolvable.
Spidey in the sewer shooting out webs and setting up a giant web bed to sit in and await the Lizard's movement was kinda cool, but ultimately useless, as the only web vibrations that resulted were the tiny lizards, coming from all directions. Doc Conners still got the jump on him. But neat idea.
I'm not fond of the Lizard wanting to turn everyone into lizards, but they had to come up with something for him to do, I suppose. Tying Spidey's main squeeze Gwen Stacey to the Doc was clumsy, but ultimately served to tidy up the storyline with an interactive ensemble who manage to tell a complete stand-alone story, despite their disparate and unrelated "origins" in the original comic books.
The moment Captain Stacey saw Peter's face, he was clearly doomed to die. And pretty much all the casting was terrible, especially Denis Leary as the Captain. Sally Field as Aunt May?! Martin Sheen as Ben?? And Ben never even gets to utter the iconic advice that essentially defines everything that Spidey stands for, instead only offering an offhand and loose paraphrase of that historic tagline; "With great power comes great responsibility."
Peter telling galpal Gwen Stacey so quickly about his secret was a very good idea (keeps him honest, and keeps her from looking like the clueless bimbo and Goblin bait she was in the original comics). I got a kick out of the way she was shown wearing the same go-go boots and mini-skirt as in her 60s/70s comic book incarnation as drawn most elegantly by John Romita. As outdated as her look is circa 2012, some iconography deserves eternal devotion.
Not much else I can think of worth commenting on - other than disliking the rubber suit. Blechhh. I bet they tinted the whole dang thing so dark just so we wouldn't notice that Spidey version 2.0 looks like a scuba diver who rolled around in wet paint.
Still, it's not the worst of the many suits Spidey has donned thru the years.
I glanced at the online speculation about the mystery man seen after the credits in Doc Conners' cell, with people guessing as to who it might be, and speculating whether he's to be the villain in a sequel.
What's amazing is that I couldn't find anybody who recognized the man's voice - having just watched the run of Criminal Minds episodes featuring C. Thomas Howell as the evil Reaper, I'm 99 percent sure that's Howell in the end scene. He turns up at least twice in the movie - when Spidey saves his kid on the bridge, and then - most inexplicably - running an outdoor crane in the middle of the night and thus helping Spidey get to the lab.
So his character just happens to be in a vehicle right behind the Oscorp baddie on the bridge, his son has seen Peter's face, and he "just happened" to be running a crane outside Oscorp right when Conners is trying to complete his plan.
Dunno which villain he's supposed to be, but his apparent connection(s) to Oscorp make a good case for the two Goblins, Green and Hobgob, aka Harry or Norman Osbourne.
But I'm dumbstruck that nobody (at least judging from a quick Google) seems to have recognized Howell's voice, nor pondered his strange cameos in earlier scenes -
RELATED STORIES ON THE READER WEBSITE:
ROCK 'N' ROLL COMICS: THE INSIDE STORY - In 1989, local Revolutionary Comics ("Unauthorized And Proud Of It") launched Rock 'N' Roll Comics, featuring unlicensed biographies of rock stars, most of which I wrote. Some performers, like Frank Zappa and Kiss, were supportive, while others like New Kids On The Block considered our comics akin to bootlegs and sued. In June 1992, publisher Todd Loren was found dead in his San Diego condo, brutally murdered... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
OVER A MILLION CARNAL COMICS ARE IN PRINT - Here's how and why we made some of the top-selling erotic comics of all time, right here in San Diego, including what Gene Simmons has to do with it all, backstage tales of porn stars, and more confessions of a comic pornographer... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/08/carnal-comics-the-inside-story-jay-allen-sanfor
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK VS REVOLUTIONARY COMICS - The inside story of how a hugely successful boy band tried to sue local-based Rock 'N' Roll Comics over an unauthorized biography of the group, sparking a court case that established, for the very first time, first amendment rights for comic books. Illustrated by comic superstar Stuart Immonen (Superman, etc.)... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/13/new-kids-on-the-block-versus-revolutionary-comics
TWILIGHT ZONE AND STAR TREK WRITER GEORGE CLAYTON JOHNSON PRESENTS - The inside story of a local horror comic book series featuring Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, plus sci-fi king Larry Niven, Zap Comix co-founder Spain Rodriguez, Matthew Alice artist Rick Geary, Vampire Lestat painter Daerick Gross, yours truly JAS, and many more... http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/bands/2007/sep/05/deepest-dimension-terror-anthology-twilight-zone
COMICS AND CENSORSHIP - DON'T BE AFRAID, IT'S ONLY A COMIC BOOK - A local-centric history of comic book censorship, and the fight for the rights of comic creators...
THE BIRTH OF IMAGE COMICS: INSIDE STORY OF A LOCAL PUBLISHING POWERHOUSE - Illustrated tale revealing how Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and local comic artist Jim Lee (the Punisher, etc.) conspired to create the ultimate creator-owned comic books...
COMIC-FEST ON HOTEL CIRCLE OCTOBER 19-21, 2012 - PHOTO REPORT
Iron Man vs Watchmen - http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
Pan's Labyrinth vs. The Devil's Backbone - http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
What Do YOU Think? Does the Walking Dead Stink, Or ? - http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
"Field Of Screens" -- Cover story 7-6-06: Complete theater-by-theater history of San Diego drive-ins thru the years, including interviews with operators and attendees, dozens of rare and unpublished photos, vintage local theater ads, and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
"Before It Was The Gaslamp: Balboa’s Last Stand" -- Cover story 6-21-07: In the late ‘70s/early ‘80s, I worked at downtown San Diego's grindhouse all-night movie theaters. This detailed feature recalls those dayz, the death of the Balboa Theatre, etc., including interviews with operators, vintage local movie ads, and more. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
"Pussycat Theaters: When 'Cathouses Ruled California" -- for the first time, the inside story of the west coast Pussycat Theater chain of adult moviehouses, which peaked in the '70s but later died out. Company head Vince Miranda owned and lived part time at the Hotel San Diego, operating several other local theaters downtown and in Oceanside, Escondido, etc. Told by those who actually ran the theaters, with a complete theater-by-theater encyclopedia covering every Pussycat that ever screened in CA -- http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...
Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen Part 1: Private collection of movie poster designs published exclusively on the Reader website for the first time ever: Batman, Witches of Eastwick, Supergirl
Part 2: The Fly, Vamp, Fright Night, Howard the Duck, Stallone: Over the Top, Ladyhawk
Part 3: Horror film Near Dark, horsey drama Phar Lap, the Robert DeNiro/Albert Brooks sleeper Midnight Run (still under its working title Running Scared when these two posters were mocked up), 3D cartoon Starchaser: The Legend of Orin, Airplane-style comedy Bad Medicine (with Steve Gutenberg and Julie Hagerty), and war story Hamburger Hill.
Part 4: Collegiate comedy Campus Man, horror hits Wes Craven's Deadly Friend and Blood Diner, and rock and roll horror flop Trick or Treat, as well as Texas Godfather, Vanishing Act, China Girl, 8 Million Ways to Die, sci-fi biker flick City Limits, and war romance Purple Hearts.
Part 5: Voyage of the Rock Aliens with Pia Zadora, the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon/Pee Wee Herman surf comedy Back to the Beach, psycho-ex thriller Fatal Attraction, alleged comedy Planes Trains & Automobiles, James Woods in Cop, the Tom Cruise hit All the Right Moves, drive-in horror hit Deadly Blessing, the re-release of Roger Corman's original Little Shop of Horrors, import sex comedy Perfect Timing, historical drama Hanoi Hilton, Stallone sequel Rocky V (under its original title Final Bell), and Nothing But Trouble, back when it was still known as Welcome to Valkenvania.
Part 6: Horror comedy Return of the Living Dead, Force III, Meatballs III, plainclothes cop thriller Off Limits (Willem Dafoe, Gregory Hines), sci-fi McDonald’s commercial Mac & Me, the Diane Lane potboiler Lady Beware, UK comedy Mr. Love, Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, Walter Bannert’s German-language Austrian film the Inheritors, the Dudley Moore/Eddie Murphy flop Best Defense, Richard Donner’s Inside Moves, William Peter Blatty’s Ninth Configuration, adventure flick Tai-Pan, German musical the Frog Prince with Helen Hunt, and the Rosary Murders.
More like this:
- The day Pee Wee Herman landed me in the hospital — May 22, 2013
- Lost gems of the ‘60s: Gates to Paradise (1968) with Jenny Agutter, Pauline Challoner — Nov. 27, 2012
- Part 6: Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen (Exclusive) — Dec. 8, 2011
- Part 4: Famous Movie Poster Rejects You've Never Seen (Exclusive) — Nov. 30, 2011
- Comic-Con Days 1 - 4 Photo Funnies — July 25, 2011