193. The Amazing Spider-Man (C+)
The Amazing Spider-Man
: At my parents' home for the holidays, and this is the only movie on their shelf that I hadn't seen yet. It was...perfectly adequate, I guess. I have no idea why they chose to set it during high school, though. The age issues of the leads aside (Garfield was 28 when he made this, Stone was 23), the movie asks us to swallow the premise that Gwen is the chief intern of a major research scientist, and then barely exploits the high school setting at all. I was surprised that Martin Sheen didn't get the famous "with great power..." line before his Uncle Ben was killed. The best part of the movie, I think, was The Lizard, essentially a take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but a good one. James Horner's score was at times familiar and at times forgettable -- not unlike most of the movie, really.
Obviously, this was made so that Sony could retain the Spider-Man movie rights for a little longer, and that commercial motive is fairly evident on screen. I never saw the poorly-reviewed third movie, but I thought the first two were decent if not exceptional comic book movies, and I have no idea why Sony didn't just make a fourth film with the original cast. The best idea here (the Lizard) would have been a perfect fit for a fourth movie; the rest consists of material that Raimi's films already covered. The only other truly new idea is the mysterious backstory of Peter's parents -- which this film is so disinterested in, it abandons half-way through, leaving it for the sequel.
One other point of interest: the visual effects. I don't think I've ever seen a blockbuster that so definitely alternated between interesting sequences of live-action and tedious, sometimes silly (i.e. the crane scene), and often unbelievable visual effects. Bluescreen backgrounds were often flat and over-lit, and the computer animation never once even approached photorealism. The worst offender might be the Oscorp Tower, which never once blends into the New York city skyline.
This wasn't the fiasco I had been expecting, but it was hardly memorable -- just another comic book movie to fill the afternoon hours on cable.
Home Video: 118+1