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July 02, 2012


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Even if it were not for general super hero fatigue, I'd probably still have a hard time getting excited about this simply because I know that from now until probably the rest of my life, Sony is going to put out a Spider Man movie ever 3-5 years just so that the rights won't lapse back to Disney. This franchise is going to get rebooted so much that I imagine Spider man will get "reimagined" in all sorts of ways.

Kudos to you, Glenn, for being more able than I to review the movie just as a movie.

Brian Z

I'm not outraged about it, I just didn't care for it much. Felt too generically a superhero movie, with not enough of the qualities that make Peter Parker unique. Nice review Glenn.

Owain Wilson

JRE's comment at the top goes some way to explaining why this film has little to no buzz whatsoever.

Noam Sane

It's up to you not to heed the call-up.

James Keepnews

Geez, I'd welcome a review wherein you assert something to the effect of "whether or not one _should_ be sick of superheroes is totally my business, and here's the business end of my assertion". But maybe Michael Atkinson's cornered that market already. There you are, I'd welcome any number of unlikely things, like a cage match between Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and we all know Sturdy Steve never leaves his apartment, except to mail Robin Snyder his latest, curmudgeonly engaging screed.


Anyone experiencing "superhero fatigue" at this point needs to bear in mind just how many characters Marvel owns. Don't talk to me about "superhero fatigue" until they get round to casting Dwayne Johnson as Buford 'Razorback' Hollis. ;-)

David Ehrenstein

The only comic book superhero of interest to me in any way


David Ehrenstein

Alain resnais has said comic strips taught him verythign he needed to know about film editing. His favorite was "The Heart of Juliet Jones" It's influence on his greates tfilm is obvious



And of course Resnais's very, very strange "I WANT TO GO HOME" is written by Jules Feiffer and has a cartoonist main character; his maybe even stranger LIFE IS A BED OF ROSES has set design from HEAVY METAL star and occasional director Enki Bilal...

David Ehrenstein

Both Resnias and Fellini were interested (separately) in making a film out of cartoonish Lee Falk's "The Phantom."

James Keepnews

And, of course, M. Renais famously almost collaborated on not one, but two films with Stan L'Homme. Deets: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2011/02/11/comic-book-legends-revealed-300-part-1/

Johan Andreasson

Fellini was a pretty decent cartoonist himself, but more in the style of Cliff Sterrett (Polly And Her Pals) than superheroes:



Welles almost made a Batman flick. If only Orson could deal with not playing Bruce Wayne himself.


Actually, the Welles/Batman is apocryphal, but somebody put together a fun "what if?" trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu5tJGfZsgc



The Good:

-Garfield and Stone give solid performances, and have a nice, easy chemistry with one another. Their first, awkward kiss is nicely handled.

-Peter Parker is made to seem (physically) vulnerable, with black eyes and scars piling up at the film progresses. This is a nice change of pace from the Raimi Spider-Man, who could suffer falls from ridiculous heights with nary a scratch (maybe a temporarily sore back). It's easier to root for a being when there's a greater deal of risk involved in his endeavours.

-Spidey's powers and weaponry have their limitations, as when he can't get certain items unstuck from his hands, has difficulty dealing with his increased strength, and has a limited range on his web shooters. That the director actually made an effort to highlight the buildings or objects he's swinging off of forced the character to be a bit more tactical...a nice touch.

-The pathos of the film feels genuine and earned, and the actors manage to navigate clunky patches of dialogue rather well.

-A much lower degree of corniness and sentimentality than in Raimi's films. As in, Garfield's Parker, for the most part, isn't a doe-eyed wuss.

-A nice variation on parkour in the fight scenes, particularly those that take place in back alleys.

-Clearly more emphasis on actual stunt work, as opposed to CGI, during some of the web-swinging sequences.

-Best...Stan Lee....cameo....ever?

The Not-So-Good:

-As Glenn stated, with these origin stories, you're always feeling that the filmmakers are building to something more imaginative and ambitious, but have to get these basic, familiar plot beats out of the way first. Thus, as with the Raimi trilogy, expect a more impressive achievement on the second try.

-While Ifans is just fine as Connors, as The Lizard he feels pretty run-of-the-mill, and the CGI used to create him is merely adequate. The idea of him exposing various policemen to the chemicals he used doesn't really amount to anything.

-We don't get the usual montage of random heroics in the second act, as Peter's too busy trying to track down his uncle's killer.

-No J. Jonah Jameson (perhaps in the sequel?)

-The aforementioned clunky patches of dialogue, the worst (indeed!) being that Midnight Cowboy reference.

There are probably some other things that I'm missing on the negative side of things, but overall, I thought this was a decent, but certainly not amazing, popcorn flick. The franchise is certainly in good hands with this director, and particularly these actors, but the trick will be trying to show us something slightly surprising and/or different in the follow-up. We'll see.

Alan Jones

A lot of people have been talking about that Stan Lee cameo as if it's just really funny, but it's also a pretty impressive shot to be drawn out for so long.

Actually, I was rather impressed with most of the action in the film With the exception of the final setpiece, it was all rather legible and well-choreographed, certainly moreso than The Avengers or X-Men: First Class. The high school fight in particular was quite good. I'm too lazy to look it up, but did Webb bring in a crack second unit team or something?

The story itself was meh, but Garfield and Stone are both VERY winning. My favourite superhero movie in a while.

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