Saturday, July 7, 2012
F This Movie! - The Amazing Spider-Man
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Also discussed this episode: Red White & Blue, Punching the Clown, Harold and Maude, Ted
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Not seen the movie yet, but I was wondering, since Spidey is, well, a nerd icon, does the movie, at any point, comment on the entire nerd culture and it's current place in society and pop culture, or is it just still "glasses = nerd"?ReplyDelete
He's less of a conventional "nerd" this time, and more of an "outcast," I guess? He has a hoodie. And earphones. And he skateboards. And he's kind of a dick.Delete
Oh, wait. He's EVERY TEENAGER this time.
There is that scene of the two nerd students in Parker's school walking and discussing the science/physics of the way 'the masked vigilante' climbs buildings and uses webbing to propel himself. That's the only scene in the movie that struck me as "nerdy" besides Peter's remote-controlled door lock and the webbing experiments that literally blow in Parker's face (which were more asides than comments on nerd culture). :-)Delete
I was not a big fan of this one mainly because it wasn't fun. BTW...why didn't Peter and Gwen have friends in this movie? Couldn't the motivation for the Uncle Ben tragedy been for something with more weight than a milk chug?ReplyDelete
There were brief flashes of fun. Very brief. The movie needed more of them. Again, filmmakers: do more of the stuff that works and less of everything else.Delete
All of your questions will be answered in the sequel, Spider-Man and the Chocolate Milk of Death.
At least we know now that those "take a penny" trays can CREATE SUPER HEROES!
Thinking back there are only two scenes where Peter and Gwen interact with other students from their school (besides the one's of Flash taunting/bullying Parker and vice-versa): Gwen saying she was supposed to study with Flash (implying they knew and/or had an existing relationship) and when Peter exchanged glances/looks with the Asian girl that had the paint knocked over by Flash's basketball (whom I thought would feature more prominently give the director cuts to her often during the high school scenes; maybe part of the mythical cut of this movie Erich talked about?).Delete
The further I get from having seen this movie, the less crazy I am about it, but I left the theater satisfied with the experience. I don't know that I'm going to think about Amazing Spider-Man until the sequel comes out, but at least now I know how all the John Carter apologists feel. It's not a very good movie, but I liked it anyway.ReplyDelete
The more I think about it... screw it. It may not be a great movie, but it's a good one. Especially for a comic book flick.Delete
FYI, Im not seeing this show coming up on iTunes.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the catch, Brad. Should be fixed now.Delete
Yep, just saw it pop up. Now I dont have an excuse to sit on my butt for the next hour and now I have to do the housework while listening.ReplyDelete
Thank a lot, mate!
i.e. was listening on the laptop but will now listen on ipod....probably should have clarified that. sigh.Delete
Great show guys.ReplyDelete
The way ive been summing up this movie to myself is that its priorities are focused on the Peter Parker character development, his relationships and his arc. A lesser priority is the superhero/villain aspect of the movie.
So I see the flaws when it tries to turn this fairly quiet and focused character piece into a blockbusting superhero movie, but within this genre I find it hard to hate something whose priorities are in such the right order.
Agreed. The Lizard is dumb. Keen for the sequel.
*And you can hear more of my thoughts on The Amazing Spider-Man on this weeks episode of the Modern Myth Media Podcast*
(hides in shame)
You know, I didn't hate the Lizard. I didn't like his endgame, and some of the CGI was iffy, but I was excited to see the character and I thought he added a cool monster movie element.Delete
In the days after we recorded this show, I began to second guess my enjoyment of the movie, but I stand by my original opinion. It's a cool, fun comic movie. Does it fall into the same ruts as comic books and other comic movies? Sure. But that's the genre. Considering how much it was apparently re-cut before release, The Amazing Spider-Man is a wonderful surprise.
I’m more in the Erich camp in that I thought more worked that what didn’t worked in the TAS. I still wished that they went The Incredible Hulk/Batman Forever route with changing the cast & no origin story needed. Garfield, Stone, Field, Sheen, & Leary were all excellent. (Why no mention of Leary’s performance? I can’t tell if Patrick & Erich hated it, liked it, or were indifferent?) Garfield & Stone have a 100x more chemistry in those few scenes than Maguire & Dunst did in the whole trilogy. Garfield’s wisecracking, smartass scientist Spiderman is the character I liked so much from the 90’s Spiderman: The Animated Series. I’m able to say it overcame all the rehashed origin scenes, convenient cranes, & The Lizard crap. A good but not great superhero movie.ReplyDelete
BTW, I don’t get the comparison of The Dark Knight ferry boats scene to any of the regular citizens helping out Spiderman scenes in the Spiderman movies. I didn’t hear anybody on the boats say “Thank you Mr. Batman”, “Help us Batman”, or “You mess with one of us in Gotham, you mess with all of us”. The criminals & the innocent citizens had to make the decision themselves. You’re making a connection that isn’t there.
Kudos to Erich & Patrick for mentioning the Lizard’s half assed plan about turning the Swat Team members into other man-lizards. At least give us a few seconds of them trashing stuff & causing some property damage. Even in the horrible 1st Transformers movie, they show the All Spark Cube turning other machines into crazy sentient robots. Even though it was a stupid idea & a disgusting use of product placement (X-Box anybody?), at least Michael Bay followed through and showed the results of it.
I liked Denis Leary in the movie. He just didn't have much to do.Delete
The Dark Knight's ferry sequence isn't about the citizens of Gotham standing up for Batman, but it is a scene designed to show us why the people of (insert city here) are good and worth saving. The idea feels cheesy to varying degrees in every comic book movie that includes it.
What Erich said. All three scenes are examples of the "heroism of regular people." That's the connection. The other connection is that all three are bad. To ME.Delete
I actually think that the ferry scene in TDK shows that the people of Gotham aren't good. On the ferry with the citizens three quarters of them vote to blow up the other ferry, they just lack someone with conviction to follow through with it. On the prisoner ferry they clearly want to pull the trigger (needing to fire a warning shot to get them back) and the warden passes the trigger over with the belief that Tiny will pull the trigger.Delete
While Joker and Batman only see the outcome and draw their conclusions based on that we see the process and know different: when the chips are done these good people will eat each other.....if they had the guts.
IMO, it all adds to the tragedy. Everything the Joker said came true and ultimately the Joker wins.
Very Uncheesy IMO
Point taken, but that's only acknowledging half the equation. You're right about the citizens of Gotham and the Joker's plan, but the point of the scene is that the Joker loses. The ferry doesn't explode, because there is good in even the "worst" among us and blah blah dichotomy Harvey Dent blah blah.Delete
I'm definitely with Brad, and not just because I love Modern Myth Media. I am not someone who turned on Raimi like many have, I never felt completely satisfied by the previous series. So many of my issues with those films were fixed here, and I think the majority of this film's problems were related to a spoken/unspoken rule to make it as different as possible from the shared elements of Raimi's movies, even those that weren't necessarily bad. I appreciate that the actors weren't acting stiffly. I appreciate that everyone wants to be there. I didn't want Peter's gf to die for once. I didn't cringe at the campiness of it all.ReplyDelete
I know the movie isn't perfect, but I would rather have this movie than five more Raimi films, and Spider-Man is my favorite Marvel character, second only to Batman overall.
Agreed. I'm more interested in Spider-Man as a character than anyone in the core group of Marvel films.Delete
Just came back from seeing it (in IMAX 3D) and I'm closer to Erich's position than Patrick. I liked this a lot more than I was expecting to the point that I'm looking forward to the just-announced trilogy. It's not perfect but to me the good outweighs the bad. Random notes about what's cool and not with Spidey's new adventure, IMHO:ReplyDelete
--Garfield's take on Peter Parker isn't revolutionary but he's a hell of an actor whose mannerisms alone make me believe he's a teenager instead of the 29 year-old man I'm looking at. Even better, when Andrew (and/or the stuntman) puts on the suit Spidey's wisecracks and body language (from swinging in cool poses to talking trash Peter wouldn't say without the mask) are everything I loved and remembered from the character in the comics/animated TV shows that Maguire's Spidey flicks did away with (mostly because the couple of times they tried the wisecracks they were awful because of Tobey's voice).
--Gwen Stacy was my 2nd favorite character in Spider-Man lore growing up (her death was the first time a fictional character's demise brought me to tears) and I approve of the way the screenwriters (including veteran writer Alvin Sargent, who's the man most responsible for "Spider-Man 2's" screenplay) have played around with the mythology to set her up as a hybrid of Gwen's and Mary Jane's personalities/looks. Patrick is right: the best scene in the movie by far is the moment Gwen realizes who Peter is after he pulls her with her web; 2nd best superhero movie 'cute meet' after "Superman: The Movie's" helicopter scene.
--Emma Stone's and Garfield's chemistry (her figuring why Parker wasn't talking to her was perfect) reminds me that, like Patrick said on another podcast about the ending of "Spider-Man 2," we love these movies when they click because they're about "real" people that love each other and for whom the audience cares (which is why the 'Parker plays a game on his cellphone' scene is so pitch-perfect).
--It used to bug me that the Raimi trilogy has Dr. Connors (Dylan Baker) set-up for three movies and we never got around to see him become The Lizard. Now, with the horrible CGI version of Lizard on parade and his backstory's crammed-and-too-obvious motives, I realize what a blessing in disguise it was that we got Sandman and even Venom instead of an even shittier early-CGI Lizard effect (shudder).
--That said, the CGI for Spidey swinging and the more intense action scenes shows how far we've come from 2002-2007 (except for the time Parker lands on his skateboard in slow-motion, that was awful). And, for the record, I love the 'crane' sequence (and had no problem with the train scene in "Spider-Man 2"). :-)
--Vic Armstrong (i.e. the Nazi that throws and then gets thrown by Indy from the truck in "Raiders") is this movie's 2nd unit director, which goes a long way to explain why the practical and staged action sequences kicked so much ass (though, as mentioned by P&E, it's all a retread of Raimi's first flick)
--I love the subtle, understated incidental background music that plays through most of the movie's quiet scenes more than the 'action' music, which is just generic (James Horner has done better).
--We upraded to a new, better Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen steals his handful of scenes) but sadly downgraded to a shittier Aunt May (Sally Field was horrible in her few scenes) and we're stuck with her for the sequels; hopefully she dies or gets "accidentally" dropped off a building in the opening minutes of the first sequel. ;-)
--I really hope we don't get a 'Peter's parents messed with his DNA' subplot going for the series, but that's where I think we're headed; have we learned nothing from Ang Lee's "Hulk"? :-(
--BEST, STAN LEE CAMEO IN A MARVEL MOVIE, EVER! :-)
That's being repeated a lot. I still like the one in Thor better, which is one of most positive things I can say about Thor.Delete
I saw this opening night and immediately came home and typed up an e-mail to the F this Movie g-mail account because I was so pleased with it. That was the first time I'd ever been compelled to do that, and it probably came from the conversation a couple of months ago here about how I didn't care much for the Raimi films.ReplyDelete
I feel like I'm starting to be the most tepid F This Movie listener ever, because I consistently have very little to add, but I gotta say that I really enjoyed the movie. I had very, very low expectations going in (much like how I saw Avengers) and I was floored by how much I cared about the characters. I found Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone to be super charismatic and to have almost as much chemistry together as the Bromleys. I leaned over to my wife a good 45 minutes in and told her that I didn't even need to see Spider-Man in this movie, I'd be fine watching these actors just play out a romantic story. I'm seeing words like "heart" and "sweetness" being used to describe this, and as cheesy as it feels to agree with it, I can't help myself. They had a montage to Coldplay. That should have given me Patrick's trademarked douche chills, but it didn't, I liked it. It felt authentic. It felt way more authentic than a blaring Danny Elfman score or a Nickelback song.
I certainly had some problems with the story (Peter's parents were shrouded in mystery? Who cares) and the Lizard is not the most compelling villain, but I felt like those got treated as B plots and the A story was Peter Parker's. The movie did a ton of things that gave me tremendous goodwill for it. A lesser movie would have played with Gwen almost finding out who Spider-Man was for at least the whole movie, maybe two. By the end of this one, pretty much EVERYONE knew who Spider-Man was. I like that they didn't kill the bad guy at the end. I like that the movie didn't end when the bad guy was defeated, but that the end of the movie was spent on the love story. I like that Gwen figured out that her dad made Peter promise, because it made her smarter than 99 percent of other comic book movie women. In the end, I thought it gave the viewer and the characters a lot more credit than a lot of superhero movies have in the past, and I'm just glad this movie worked for me because I didn't expect it to at all.
Sorry, Heath. I only didn't respond to that email sooner because I didn't want to tip my feelings about the movie. I also didn't want to rain on your parade by being all "Wah wah I wasn't crazy about it."Delete
I'm just going to have to accept that I might have seen a different movie than everyone else, and that's ok. I'm glad so many people are digging it, because I love Spider-Man and want more movies to be made. It's weird that the reactions are so polarized, though. Used to be a movie like this usually went down the middle, but it seems more and more like the middle is disappearing from our pop culture discourse.
The Internet seems do have done away with nuanced opinions (except for our show and our fine listeners of course!). I'm fascinated by the polar opposites that have dominated discussion of recent movies. Having been on both sides, with John Carter and now Spider-Man, the phenomenon seems tied to movies that are flawed but not outright terrible. If Spider-Man hadn't grabbed me early on, I'd probably see its problems as major, but sInce I had a good time they just feel like nitpicks. It's hard to have an argument over nitpicks, and the Internet loves a good argument. So reasonable middle ground discussion gets drowned out by stubborn idiots.Delete
I side with Heath more than Patrick because that's how I felt in the theater. Now that I've talked the movie to death over the past week, I'm not quite as high on it as I was. But I still count it as a success that did (mostly) right by one of my favorite superheroes.
If I'd been talking about this movie nonstop for a week, I think I'd hate the thing. I also think my reaction came from the low expectations I went in with. I thought this movie looked actively bad going in, and it really did look (like Patrick has joked) that it needed to be made because the Raimi versions didn't have enough scenes at night. I've become a pretty grumpy, cynical dude in the last few years, but I try to keep that from showing on this site because you guys are all so intelligent and polar opposite of typical internet culture, which is why I'm here in the first place. I SO don't want to be one of those people who falls into extremes, though. I do not want to be Comic Book Guy. I want to be capable of having a discussion of the flaws or merits of a movie. If I came across as one of those fanatics who can't see logic, will someone please shoot me now?Delete
Also, Patrick, maybe you DID see a different movie. The Occasionally Amazing Spyder-Man is in limited release across the nation, starring not Andrew Garfield, but Garfield the cat. It's a whole different thing. Kind of lame, but the "great power, great responsibility" speech from a dying Odie is supposed to be powerful.Delete
You definitely did NOT come off that way, Heath, and it was certainly not my intention to suggest that you did. We're very fortunate, because while our community is small, it's also smart and articulate and reasonable. We get to have actual conversation about movies. I was responding more to the comments I've read on other sites (I do not actually read other sites) or Twitter feeds.Delete
I pity the person who has a single unkind thing to say about The Dark Knight Rises. Unless he or she is just being "that guy" to be a douche, in which case he/she deserves whatever he/she gets.
I know what you mean about The Dark Knight Rises. Though it's not even out, I believe that it is already some people's favorite movie. I see absolutely no way that the movie can live up to the pressure that the fans have put upon it, but I guess we'll see. I predict that as soon as it opens it will either be hailed as the hottest thing ever or it will be torn down and ripped to shreds by the very people who put it on such an unattainable pedestal. In other words, The Dark Knight Rises is Lindsay Lohan. I don't want to be anywhere near the internet for a week or so after July 20th. Although I will be super curious to see tastefully done nude pictorals that The Dark Knight Rises poses for in a couple of years.Delete
The more I think about this movie, the more I think it wasnt as good as I first thought.ReplyDelete
Solution: Stop thinking!
Okay, so I'm a little late to this party - you should consider posting some kind of link to podcasts made during theatre runs when the movie comes out on Home Video (is that still a thing?) - I avoid those podcasts like the plague until I see the movie, because for some reason I like to go in with as little knowledge as possible so don't even want to hear the spoiler-free parts of the podcast. Fortunately my Spidey Sense told me you had done one for The Amazing Spider-Man.ReplyDelete
So I just finished listening to the podcast and boy am I torn - is it possible to agree with everything you both said? My immediate thought on finishing the movie last night, was, "Shit, shouldn't have bought this blu-ray, I don't think I have any interest in rewatching this again." My wife bailed about half way through out of boredom so that wasn't a good sign. I was nowhere near bailing myself, but I saw her point - so much set up to get to the meat of the story (or so I thought - more on that later). I found the awkward-Peter moments a bit too painful, I found Garfield's hair distracting, even the score seemed bored to be there, I didn't think I liked the new origin story, some of the effects were sketchy, I didn't care much for the Lizard's story and disliked all of the weird plot points you guys brought up. I think you touched on all my "likes" - I did mostly like Garfield's performance, Emma Stone was great, Martin Sheen was great, the new suit was cool, and what should have been the ending was good. Overall though, last night I would have been siding more with Patrick - like yeah, that was fine I guess but mostly "meh".
But when I woke up this morning I found myself thinking about it and actually feeling like I did kind of want to watch it again. And next time, instead of looking at my watch and asking when the hell Spider-Man was going to show up I should try to enjoy the First Act because it really is the part of the movie that is most unique (not actually unique, but most unique). The real "meat" of the story is Peter trying to find out about his past and his parents and all that stuff - unfortunately, because of Sequelitis, that part of the story is essentially canned for the rest of the movie, presumably to be resumed in the sequel. I imagine the same thing will happen again - first part of the sequel will be about the mystery, the rest will be dealing with whatever villain(s) comes along as he attempts to solve it. So basically, in the end, it'll have taken 3 OK movies to tell a story that could have been one really good one movie. Sound about right?
Anyway, after thinking about it some more myself, and then listening to the podcast, I think I've shifted a bit closer to Erich's POV (which I'm not sure is THAT different from Patrick's anyway) - I mostly liked it, I will watch it again, and I am looking forward to the sequels which I'm hoping will serve to make the first one seem even better. NOT that that's okay - a movie should stand on its own two feet (8 legs?), but as with Prometheus I'm going to direct my resentment at Hollywood and try to enjoy the movies themselves as much as I can.
I'd be interested to know if either of you have watched it since and if any of your opinions changed?