Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man Response

I write this from the point of view of having read the first 40 comics of the original Spider-man run
by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the 50s. I also cannot help but compare it to The Avengers however
I don't remember the Spider-man movies of the 00s well enough to compare.

One sentence summary:
The Amazing Spider-Man was a solid 21st century adaptation of Spider-Man's origin that employed
Peter Parker's broody teenage persona, Spidey's extremely acrobatic combat technique, and
a vibrant color palette.

Elaborating on the summary:

They definitely modernized Peter Parker's world. He's no longer a 1960s clean-cut dweeb in high school
but just a hip, quiet, and intelligent New York teen. "The Daily Bugle" got perhaps a several
seconds worth of screen time and the belligerent editor in chief, J. Jonah Jameson
did not appear. Makes sense as in this point in time, newspapers are not affecting how the
citizens of New York think. Spider-man answering his cell phone on the top of sky scrapers
was a shockingly real moment of connection I had. Every teenager this day in age gets
stuck talking to their parents at in-opportune times.

Some may be sick of the oversaturation of broody, angsty, secretive teenage protagonists in
our narratives these days. I can't lie, Peter Parker takes on those characteristics. He
wears his hoody, hides from his aunt when he can. Never looks confrontation in
the eye. Reading the 60s comics, that is who Peter Parker is. He has horrendous
girl trouble, and friend trouble in general.

The fight scenes where my favorite. In discussion with a friend, we had decided how
mixed the Avengers heroes were in power and fighting prowess. Again, going back
to the comics, the movie relied on Spidey-senses, acrobatic agility, and improvised
web-work. It makes him a red-leotarded sky ballerina, and I enjoyed it. Unlike Thor,
the Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America, Spider-man does not smash, stomp, or
pound- he jabs, flips, and webs.

I move my lens onto The Lizard. I like The Lizard, I pity him
because he's originally a scientist who lost his arm and simply wants to regrow
it using SCIENCE. He gets delusional once he splices his DNA but so does
every villain in the history of splicing. After some thought, the reality is none
of the Spider-man villains approach being as interesting as Batman's villains
(which is the movie everyone is actually going to define this summer by whether
they like it or not). They are all either scientists gone made with some sort of
radiation/gene mutation, or they are test subjects.
So The Lizard is acceptable. If anything, at least his
dastardly plan of releasing a biotoxin in New York City is more reasonable and more
realistically terrifying than opening a multi-dimensional door (*shakes
fist at Loki*).

Finally, the color palette. Spider-man's costume is beautiful. Probably the best
super-hero movie costume of all times. It's part under-armor, part mesh,
part spandex with real rich tones of red and blue. If I can say anything about
the old, first Spider-man movie, it did not age well visually. This movie on the
other hand is has great blue-black night scenes with neons of the city.
The science labs are sparkly and sterile with florescent lights everywhere.
I find it aesthetically pleasing. (Again, much more than Avengers)

***
Well did i make you want to see this movie? I don't know what I've done.
It feels good to write it down though. If anything, compared to the other
super hero movies of the summer, this one is probably the simplest
narrative, it does not try to do too much. It could have taken more
creative liberties with the origin story, but they were obviously hesitant
about fan backfire. I can't lie, it is a silly  movie. But in all honesty,
SPIDER-MAN COMICS ARE SILLY. I say that as an honest fan
of the medium. It's about a kid who could barely figure out his
regular life and suddenly has to protect the well-being of the
entire city of New York from ridiculous plots involving absurd
pseudo science.