Jeff Smith 6 p.m., Feb. 27
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 -
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