The latest offering from Hollywood in the seemingly endless stream of comic book films is The Amazing Spiderman directed by Marc Webb (Yes, Webb is actually his last name). You may ask yourself, “Didn’t they just do this?”
The sad answer to that is “Yes.”
Therein lies the problem of Hollywood. Regardless of a few change-ups, this film has already been made. It was only 10 years ago when Sam Raimi’s Spiderman debuted, and only five since Spiderman 3 was released. This could have been an interesting opportunity to take the classic characters in a new direction through an alternate reality type of film, but after viewing it, it becomes painfully apparent that the sole motivation was profit.
The film is exactly what one would expect. The acting between Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker) and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) was fantastic while Martin Sheen more realistic portrayal of Uncle Ben took out the preachiness and moral superiority of 2002′s Spiderman. The action scenes are coherent with a fortunate void of camera-shaking that the director uses to feign creativity. As a standalone movie, The Amazing Spiderman was solid–I would say even better than the original. My disappointment lies in the glaring similarities to the film starring Tobey Macguire.
The similarities of the two films plots are endless:
- Peter Parker is pushed around at school but once he becomes Spiderman he pushes back.
- Uncle Ben dies. (The same way in both films, I might add.)
- Peter has a chance to stop the criminal and chooses not to, resulting in the death of Uncle Ben.
- The villain–Green Goblin in 2002 and The Lizard in 2012–suffers schizophrenic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-esque episodes.
- Artificial relationship problems between Peter and Mary Jane (2002)/Gwen Stacy (2012) are included just to prolong the will they/won’t they tension.
The Amazing Spiderman’s lack of originality conveys perfectly the creative low Hollywood has reached in that they cannot even muster up a few new ideas for a classic comic book hero. Perhaps the trend is now to do as little as necessary to draw an audience.
Franchises can be effectively re-launched by taking a different approach with the core material. Batman Begins, Casino Royale and 2009’s Star Trek are all perfect examples of this. Creatively and financially successful.
Unfortunately, The Amazing Spiderman is a lazy film, with cookie cutter plot points and only a few small, sparse enhancements.
The Amazing Spider-Man hit theaters July 3rd and broke Tuesday Opening Records at US $35 million.