The Not So Amazing ‘Spider-Man’

It ended up somewhere between “Spider-Man 3” and “Green Lantern.” It wasn’t quite as bad as “Electra,” but it was close.

“The Amazing Spiderman” was one of the most disappointing movies of the year. While I didn’t expect much from the “Spider-Man” franchise after a pseudo-musical number in the last movie and a beyond failing musical, I was really hoping that some of “The Avengers’” glory would have somehow seeped into the film reels of this latest movie by magical superhero osmosis. It didn’t.

Marc Webb’s latest movie fell flat on its stupid, spidery face. While at times it felt like I was watching something resembling a superhero movie, most of the time it seemed more like a failed RomCom pretending to be a superhero movie. Perhaps Webb has yet to outgrow his “(500) Days of Summer” roots. Unfortunately, instead of a charming as heck Gordon-Levitt as a leading man, and a stunning Deschanel, we are stuck with the Edward Cullen look-a-like, Andrew Garfield , who was just as awkward as his fictional doppelganger, and Emma Stone, who, while usually less than impressive in her previous performances, managed to dance acting circles around Garfield.

While the story seemed to match the original comics fairly well, which was a slight joy to us comic book fans, the overall presentation left much to be desired.

Besides the terribly inconsistent effects, which would alternate from the 1950s “Godzilla” to the mediocre “Incredible Hulk,” Webb decided it would be a good idea to experiment with his fancy new Red cameras. Unfortunately for the audience, this meant dizzying first-person shots while Spiderman swung around the city.

While this movie wasn’t a total wreck, Garfield left much to be desired. For one, it would have been nice to see more than just two facial expressions: tired and beaten up, or a ridiculous coy smile usually somewhat masked by his floppy hair. He was both the Bella and the Edward of the movie.

What “Spiderman” did right was its casting, minus Garfield as the leading man. That seems to be one of the consistently good things that Marvel does well (ignoring “Daredevil”). Rhys Ifans did an excellent job playing both the torn scientist and the power-crazed villain. Stone did what she does best: the cute, quirky girl who you don’t realize is surprisingly attractive until twenty-three minutes into the movie. Martin Sheen and Sally Field played a darling aunt and uncle. Dennis Leary took the cake, though, for his role as the police chief and Stone’s father. While he wasn’t outside his comfort zone of being an asshole, he did it well, and didn’t take over the scenes he was in.

As much as I complained about the movie, I’m going to be honest: it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen. One of the main reasons why I am so hard on it was because of my high expectations for the director, cast and “Spider-Man” franchise. I don’t know what I was thinking, though. It was pretty much exactly what one should expect after watching the last “Spider-Man” movie, which isn’t saying a lot.

All in all though, there was a lot of potential in the movie. There were a few scenes that were really impressive. The last fight scene between The Lizard and Spider-Man was great. Actually, almost every fight scene was excellently done. The usual Spidey-flavored comic relief and witty jabs were well-timed and didn’t feel forced. Probably the best thing about the movie was the storyline; it found the sweet spot in storytelling. Just enough questions were answered to make people happy, but not enough to rule out a sequel. Besides some cheeseasaurus dialogue, it was a well-written, compelling story.

Overall, it was a very decent movie. Too hyped up? Yeah. A bit disappointing? Definitely. A good bargain at the dollar theater? For sure. Unfortunately, unlike some superheroes (I’m looking at you, Thor), people actually like Spider-Man, and expect a certain quality from the movies, so the bar is set much higher. I think if Garfield spent as much time preparing for this role as he did inventing Facebook, it would have been a lot better.

Rating: 3/5