Archives For Amazing Spider-Man

We’ve entered a new age. It’s an age where stars and story no longer run Hollywood. Instead, everything is at the beck and call of the almighty franchise. Can this world be extended through multiple films? Are the characters likeable enough for audiences to follow? Can we plant information in the first film that will come back in later films? Is it a property a set of fans already care about and will want to see made into a series? The Hollywood machine is ever focused on properties. Building on top of identifiable ones, and creating new ones. But in this new landscape and even more devious kind of film has emerged: the pointless movie.

2012 has had its share of pointless movies. Wrath of the Titans, Battleship, The Amazing Spider-Man, Total Recall, The Bourne Legacy. Previous years have brought other pointless movies. But what is a pointless movie? What do I mean when I say that The Bourne Legacy was pointless? It’s a tough line. It’s almost a gut feeling, and depending on your reaction to the actual movies, you’re likely to disagree on a film-by-film basis. I guess the easiest way to explain it is that the pointless movie is that which fails to justify its own existence beyond a corporate decision. Click to read more.

This blog has entered a brand new world! I am now podcasting. The podcast is called, appropriately enough, the justAtadcast. It will be me, along with one or two other guests, discussing a topic du jour and then doing an in-depth, spoilerific review of a new release film. The format may change or grow or evolve or mature or explode over time, but for now I figured it’d be best to keep things simple.

For this inaugural episode I brought on Sean Burns, film critic for Philadelphia Weekly, and Josh Spiegel, host of the Mousterpiece Cinema podcast, to discuss the concept of franchise reboots and review the latest superhero reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s a solid 70 minutes of film kvetching and all-around geekery.

You can listen here:

[audio http://traffic.libsyn.com/justatadcast/Episode_1_-_The_Amazing_Spider-Man.mp3]

Or download by right-clicking and pressing “save as”.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to the podcast via iTune:

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Note: The episode is my first stint at hosting a podcast in a while, so forgive my umms and uhhs, I’m still getting back into the swing of things. Also, there were a couple hiccups, including a dropped mic during the review that was basically impossible to edit around. Forgive the technical faults, and be sure to leave some feedback and how to improve the show or topics you’d like to hear discussed.

After a week of watching a lot of movies, this week was much more subdued. I’d say it was due to watching lots of TV or reading, but the truth is I watched less TV than usual and didn’t read a single page from any book. I listened to a lot of podcasts, though, and even recorded two podcasts, one of which will be the start of something new for this site.

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As for the movies I watched, well, I didn’t expose myself to much, but the majority were masterpieces. I hope I’ll get to see more movies in the next week. Already on the docket is the Blu-ray of A Streetcar Named Desire and Lifeboat. Hopefully I’ll squeeze in at least a fee more than that. Either way, read on the check out what I saw this week.

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In discussing remakes I usually try to avoid discussing the film in relation to its original. I am generally not interested in what the film does the same or differently, so long as it does those things well. Remakes are hardly ever necessary, but that doesn’t devalue them in my eyes. I’ve loved plenty of remakes, from The Thing to The Fly to Let Me In. Is it nice to see when one of these films ventures on its own path away from its inspiration? Sure, but I don’t see that as a strict necessity, and so I don’t like to even bring up the original. It’s always about the film at hand.

Well, almost always. Though The Amazing Spider-Man is not a remake, and though I prefer to look only at the film I’m reviewing, in this case I can’t help but compare the film to its brother from 2002. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man is not a film beloved in my neck of the woods. I think it handles the origin story of a super-powered hero better than any other film in the modern era of comic book films, but I also find the film visually unappealing, poorly acted, overly silly and paced pretty unevenly. I also think these problems got worse with the sequel. But at its core, Spider-Man did the origin right. In terms of story beats I’d almost be willing to say it did Spidey’s origin perfectly. I’m not opposed to the idea of The Amazing Spider-Man being another origin story, but by being one so half-heartedly, and by sticking too closely to the one in the 2002 film, it forces the audience to recall a much better telling of the same basic story. Click to read more.

The modern movie age has become a cycle of hype more than an appreciation for film itself. I chalk it up to the mainstreaming of the nerd class and the ubiquity of the Internet. Film culture online is rarely about the films themselves, but the industry and hype surrounding them. I fall prey to it, as well. It disturbs me, though. For about half the year, all anybody cares about is how the films of the Summer will stack up. Once that’s over it’s just a big race to see which films get the most acclaim and awards. If any of these two seasons is better, it’s the awards one, mostly because the good films tend to stick around in the consciousness more, giving them more time to find an audience. The Summer season is altogether a different story. Almost the opposite, really. Months—sometimes years—of hype lead up to one short weekend, the discussion explodes for roughly a week, petering off through the next week, and nearly disappearing after that.

Take a look at this summer, for example, which arguably began early in the Spring with the release of The Hunger Games. In fact, we can start even earlier, with John Carter. Pretty much since that film’s release, the two or three-week cycle has played out like clockwork. It’s partly a sign of a year with many big releases, but it’s also an illustration of how Internet culture works. There are several stages, but essentially they come down to: The Hype, The Pre-Release Buzz, Release, Taking Sides. Click to read more.

I don’t get it. Every image I see. Every trailer released. Every piece of information I get. I look at this new Spider-Man movie and think, “I should be so excited for this movie,” but I’m just not. It doesn’t make any sense. All signs point to it being a cool movie, and likely the best Spider-Man movie so far, and still I’m not excited. What’s happening?

I was never a fan of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films. I liked the first film, thought the second one was boring, and the third film is a hot mess. When Sam Raimi left development on what was then Spider-Man 4 I couldn’t have been more pleases. A script by Zodiac‘s James Vanderbilt, directed by (500) Days of Summer‘s Marc Webb, starring Never Let Me Go‘s Andrew Garfield and my Superbad crush, Emma Stone? The Amazing Spider-Man was sure to be a step in the right direction. The weird part is, judging by the trailers, I think the movie is going to deliver.

So why am I not excited? Click to read more.