For reasons I cannot seem to pinpoint I am not looking forward to The Amazing Spiderman in the slightest. It is now only a couple of months away from hitting cinemas and I am trying very hard to get excited about it, but it is just not happening. I have watched the trailers, looked at the images and everything about it suggests to me that a pretty solid comic book adaptation has been made. But still I find myself rolling my eyes and finding everything about it extremely boring. This is coming from a guy who likes comic books and their movie counterparts so much I own Spawn on DVD.
I think the main reason I am not looking forward to it could be the fact that all the footage reeks of seen-it-all-before. This is of course partly down to Sam Raimi’s series of Spiderman movies which began a decade ago in 2002. Passing over the fact that that makes me feel very old, I remember very clearly my anticipation and excitement after seeing the first trailer and as a young fourteen year old I could not contain my excitement for the first Spiderman movie. I had for many years watched and re-watched the CBS Spider-Man TV series starring Nicholas Hammond, but for the first time I was seeing what Spiderman’s web slinging really looked like. Millions of dollars worth of CGI technology took what was once lame and made it majestic and thrilling.
I saw Spiderman four times at the cinema before I decided it was becoming borderline obsession and stopped but I did rush out and buy the DVD as soon as it was released. The funny thing is that nowadays I never watch it and looking back I have a lot of problems with the first two movies and consider the third to be an abomination.
Nonetheless, despite my spectacles of cynicism ever-growing as I get older I will never forget the pure child-like excitement I felt for Tobey Maguire’s first outing as Spidey. Sadly, The Amazing Spiderman has not even come close to matching this.
The first Spiderman was released at a time when comic book movies were still relatively new. They certainly had not reached the heights they have now. It is no doubt for this reason that I, and many others, were so awe-struck when we saw Spiderman swinging through the sky scrapers of New York, or exchanging punches with the Green Goblin. Nowadays we have Nolan’s Batman films adding something new to comic book adaptations with each installment, not to mention seeing The Avengers team up and take down Loki’s alien army. There is now such an abundance of comic book adaptations that perhaps even an incredibly popular character like Spiderman now fails to entice and excite. This is a real shame as there a lot of elements of The Amazing Spiderman that suggest we will be seeing a pretty solid movie.
First of all we have the cast which includes one of the most promising actors around at the moment, Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spiderman, as well as the ever-watchable Emma Stone as the love interest Gwen Stacy. We have a strange but interesting choice of Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard, a character who has always interested me and who has always been a staple in the Spiderman mythos. To top it off we have Sally Field as Aunt May and in a genius move we have the great Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben. The majority of these actors seem born to play these parts and yet still I remain uninterested.
The Amazing Spiderman even seems to have corrected some of the things I disliked about the original movies. My biggest problem of all was that Spidey wasn’t engaging in humourous banter with the criminals as he always has done in the comics and I think this was a problem with a lot of Spiderman fans. Clips and trailers from the The Amazing Spiderman show him shooting as many one liners as webbing. I’m also liking the fact that we have a much skinnier, sinewy Spiderman as I felt Maguire was a bit too bulky and didn’t really look like, well, a spider. We even have some hints at Norman Osborn lurking in the shadows which could well be setting up a sequel with him as the Green Goblin and perhaps hints at the fate of Gwen Stacy. The web-slinging looks inventive and thrilling, the action looks well executed and I really respect the fact that they are trying something different with the Spiderman story by focussing on Peter’s quest for his parents. Yet still I watch the trailers and just don’t care.
I even like a lot of the things that the majority seem to hate. I like the look of the Spidey suit, I like the look of The Lizard and I can even tolerate the red light flashing web shooters, even if it is a shameful attempt to sell the inevitable web shooter toys that are sure to come.
However, one thing I fundamentally do not like is the ‘moodiness’ that seems to have been given to the film. Teenage angst has always been a very important element in Spiderman’s character but this angst seems almost Twilight-esque. I have read that footage shown at events like WonderCon don’t carry this moody feeling so perhaps it’s just something that’s been crafted for the trailers. Let’s hope so.
The film also has the misfortune of being an origin story which have just been done to death. We as an audience are also so familiar with Spiderman’s origin that watching it play out again is just going to feel like a massive waste of time. Even though it is by no means the best comic book film ever made, 2008s The Incredible Hulk did something very clever by showing the origin over the opening credits. This allowed the film to explore Bruce Banner many years after he has become The Hulk which made for a much more interesting movie.
With it showing Parker being bitten by a spider again and so on and so forth we get more repetition and my interest begins to fade. It does seem like they are making an effort to make it different but try as they might it will still be inherently the same.
Unfortunately it is this element of sameness that will stop me handing over my money when the film does get released. I hope for the sake of the actors and the effort that’s been put into the movie that people will go and see it, and perhaps for some it will even induce the giddiness and excitement that the first Spiderman induced in me.