Critic Review - McClatchy-Tribune News Service

It rarely stumbles into "terrible," but this "Spider-Man" never rises to anything, either. Where's the charm, the heart, the humor?

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Comments

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie

You know I could just bust out a wicked arsenal of epic fails you made single-handedly in your review on just the film alone WITHOUT having to compare it to the first Spider-Man film OR the source material. If I did, you would probably be buried in your own shit and be subject to a firing at that hidey-hole you call a workplace for incredulous incompetence and failure at your job, aka. JOURNALISM. See, a JOURNALIST, would go out and at least investigate the source material, fuck you can find it on WIKIPEDIA of all places. If you cannot use the tools that are right there in front of your face, then you do not have a right to be paid for such criticism.


All of that and nary a comic book reference in sight. Now I turn my gaze to the tom-foolery on the RT commenters: Comic Book fans are even harsher critics than you could ever hope to be because the SECOND it is announced, they start hating it. First images of the suit? Hated it. Casting? Hate it. They will hate the piss out of this movie and lower their expectations to borderline piss-on-the-concrete level. To say that fans are "just being fanboys" is not only offensive, but innaccurate: They're the hardest audience to please! So to say that a film DID please them shows that the film got enough points right to win them over.

Now onto the film itself. First, I will start with direct comparison to 2002's Spider-Man.

One:

Peter Parker is a nerdy kid who gets picked on. Why? Cause he likes science and wears glasses? It's never explained, EVER. Also, in 2012, nerds rule the world, so to have it updated that he is a skater and dresses like an alternative rocker immediately pegs him as someone generally not accepted by society; especially after he calls out the "Jersey Shore" crowd in Eugene "Flash" Thompson, for picking on somebody. In both renditions it is shown he is a photographer, and a science geek. In the original film, they ham up the photography aspect more than the science aspect. In this film, they decide to go the opposite route. There's nothing wrong with that and both are still present regardless of the version you watch. So why complain? Because there's no Jonah Jameson? Awww, muffin. Want a cookie? A backrub? Oh, I know! You're missing your binky.

In the entire first trilogy, Spider-Man gets off a total of 10 jokes, and at least 6 of them I barely consider a joke. In ONE rebooted film, he gets 9. All of them funny. Considering in the source material he fires off a joke in the suit practically every third line, I'd say that's accurate, wouldn't you? So to say there's no charm or humor in this Peter Parker is null and void and you just determined to hold onto the cock and balls of the last Spider-Man franchise.

Two:

The love interest. Sure in this film we get Gwen Stacy, whilst in the previous films we got Mary Jane Watson. Two different animals altogether, so there's no comparison. Gwen is a sweet, innocent, but highly intelligent young woman who is an intellectual match for Peter Parker and she is incredbily beautiful; Mary Jane on the other hand, as she is almost always written (save for the Ultimate Marvel Comics line where their personalities are switched) as a party girl. The kind who wouldn't look at a nerd twice, and the reason she is like this is because of her broken home life as opposed to Gwen's wholesome existence. On THOSE merits alone, your point is null and void.

Now onto performances: Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane was fairly accurate to the character's early appearences. I say this because Mary Jane comes off as a dumbass party girl for the first little bit, not getting interesting until about 20 issues (which is about 2 years of stories by the way) on. It's funny because Dunst can't act out of a wet paper bag. So I guess you can say the portrayal for the first film is accurate.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy on the other hand, save for giving her some witty dialogue to work with (which is more derived again from the Ultimate line), is fairly wholesome and doesn't like bullying anymore than Peter does. She always tries to do the right thing because that is how she was raised. In the comics, that is also true. Sure, in this rendition she isn't as meek or mild as she is in the comics, but from a realistic standpoint and in this day and age, a pretty girl would at least be aware she is and have a built-in defense mechanism against advancing boys. Note also that Gwen is Peter's first LOVE in the comics (not love INTEREST mind you, that being Betty Brant), and they met before they went out, unlike the whole "long awaited love bit" out of Mary Jane in the first film, which isn't even accurate to ANY of the comic books.

Three:

The villain. Willem Dafoe as The Green Goblin vs. Rhys Ifans as The Lizard. Dafoe is a fantastic actor and really does come off as out of his mind when he shifts into Goblin persona, as well as playing a smooth, confident businessman in Norman Osborn. But aside from that, there wasn't much t

Jul 5 - 03:20 PM

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie

there wasn't much to him. Why DID the Goblin want to kill Spider-Man? Because he stopped him from killing a pretty girl AFTER he already accomplished what he set out do? Ie. KILL A BUNCH OF PEOPLE SO HE CAN STAY RICH. Yeah... No motive. And while we see duality between the two halves, it's easy to see who is in control and there is barely any conflict shown between what is right and what is wrong. Even at the very end before Dafoe is impaled on his own sword, so to speak, you can tell who is in control, and they make little secret in pointing it out. Not that he isn't enjoyable to watch, but fairly two-dimensional.

Ifans as Dr. Conners on the other hand, you can really see the conflict in himself. Between wanting to fix his problems, but help other people without hurting them. Regrowing his arm in effect becomes a metaphorical and literal drug to him that he begins to think is morally acceptable to do, even when it isn't, and he wishes to share what he sees to other people. Like any other misguided person, he needs an intervention, and gets one, by way of the film's climax, but you genuinely see they tried to show you the conflict going on within him, especially concerning his relationship to the Parkers, first with Richard (we do not see it, but it is heavily implied), then with Peter. While he lacked the charm and wit of Norman Osborn, he made up for with the key thing a villain needs to do what he does: MOTIVATION!

Four:

Aunt May and Uncle Ben.

If you want to be a comic purist, then yes, the Sam Raimi film is a better choice for an accurate interpretation of the classic Aunt May and Uncle Ben: An elderly couple who raised Peter since childhood, one teaches him responsibility and then dies, the other almost always winding up in the hospital but providing Peter with an anchor. However, that doesn't really hold up very well from a LOGIC standpoint! How old must they be to raise a 17 year old kid before they start looking like grandparents and not aunt and uncle? Now in terms of performance, Cliff Robertson comes off as the Grandfather you always wanted: Wholesome, patient, and wise. Martin Sheen on the other hand comes off as the DAD you always wanted, which in effect is what Uncle Ben is to Peter: Compassionate, kind, but extremely firm when he wants to be. The chemistry between Sheen and Garfield is much more believeable than what we see between Robertson and Maguire, all 5 minutes of it... The new film establishes the chemistry between Uncle Ben and Peter so that when the inevitable gunshots ring out, we actually CARE about Uncle Ben going down. I can vividly remember crying at that scene, even though I knew it was coming for miles, it still was a great scene. Sally Field also is a much more relatable Aunt May and feels like the Mom you want, and not the one you get; she actually CARES and is SHOWN to care (and not just given a throwaway line) that Peter gets the living hell beaten out of him, or that his love life is in shambles. Rose Harris as Aunt May in the original feels like that senile Grandma you really wish would just croak already and are saddened when the Goblin DIDN'T finish her off.

We replace Jonah Jameson with Captain Stacy in this film as the resident Spider-Man hater, but whilst Jonah Jameson, portrayed by JK Simmons is a PERFECT casting, and that his character NEVER changes throughout the 50 years we've known him, and single-handedly saves the humor of the first trilogy, Dennis "Motherfucking" Leary as Captain George Stacy shows that he does have another side to him than just zipping out wisecracks: He shows that he wants to be a good cop, but lives in a real world and has to go on a journey to realize that by-the-book may not always be what is best for the city. We also see him as a good father to Gwen: Protective but understanding and questioning how far is too far. But even in the face of death, he goes out like a man, and the man you want to look up to. Both are great in their roles, so to say that one is better than the other would be an insult to both actors portraying their respective characters.

Final Sum up: Do I think the origin was necessary? Not really, even when kids in the front row still think this one is in canon with the first film, but on its own, it is a superior telling of the Origin of Spider-Man. The difference? The director and the audience. You know that this feels like? It feels like the class douchebag stole a project and made a film and everyone loved it, from the guy that nobody liked because of one reason or another, though usually entirely unjustified, who makes a really great project and story, but nobody wants to hear it because "Justin Bieber" over here did it first. So nothing can top that, can it? See? I just did your job for you. Shut up and get your points right before you decide to review a superhero film.

Jul 5 - 03:21 PM

Joel G.

Joel Goodson

Matt. Agree 100% with your points. Excellent read..you nailed it. Can't wait to see it again in 2d(the 3d for me was too dark). I liked spiderman 1 and 2 alot,but Tobey's constant whining over a one dimensional materialistic MJ was annoying.

Jul 5 - 03:41 PM

Michael Keppy

Michael Keppy

Everything I wanted to say and more, bravo!

Jul 5 - 05:50 PM

Maria Pizzo

Maria Pizzo

Gorgeous explanations-- I appreciate your insight into the characters and using that as a rebuttal for this harsh critique on a very promising start to a new series well worth watching.

Jul 13 - 01:46 AM

Carson Daves

Carson Daves

the charm, the heart, the humor. those are precisely what made the original so much superior to this one. nicely put.

Jul 5 - 03:21 PM

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie

read my comment above. I just laid the smack down from the other side of the fence on the whole "lack of charm, heart, and humor" bs.

Jul 5 - 03:24 PM

Carson Daves

Carson Daves

too bad charm, heart, and humor are all subjective concepts and not tangible facts. so you pretty much typed a book for nothing.

Jul 5 - 03:26 PM

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie

you mad bro that you can't make any valid points to say otherwise?

Jul 5 - 03:28 PM

Carson Daves

Carson Daves

Mad? I'm not the one who typed up a book in a fit of nerd rage, bro.

Jul 5 - 03:32 PM

Kyle Stone

Kyle Stone

I'm gonna have to go with Matt on this one. The first Spidey movie was filmed 10 years ago. I'm glad they rebooted it. If I had to compare who would look better in a comic book between Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, I'd have to go with Andrew Garfield. I'm sorry, Carly-er-Carson. I've seen the new movie and it really is better than the other films, charm, heart, humor and all.

Jul 5 - 04:41 PM

Ronald Harrison

Ronald Harrison

Matt, I hate to break it to you, but it doesn't take extensive exposition to challenge your view that the new movie had more "heart, soul, & charm" than the previous films. Carson is correct; such aspects are wholly subjective, and thus a matter of opinion and nothing more. While I agree that this review is terribly written as I said above, the author is still entitled to his opinion, and no amount of ranting can change that. You could write a college thesis about the same subject, doesn't change the fact that you can't convince people to respond to things like humor and charisma. Think about it, is that how you would approach getting a date, or winning friends, by convincing them that you're funny and charming? I'd love to see that. Let's turn this on its side; has anyone ever convinced YOU that something was humorous and charming when you naturally didn't respond to it? If you can truthfully answer yes to that, then I feel very, very sorry for you. Not "getting" the punch line of a joke is a completely different story too, so don't even go there. Different strokes for different folks, and unlike your rant, that is indeed a fact that you'll have to come to terms with.

Jul 5 - 05:05 PM

Dave Penner

Dave Penner

Why does everyone have to continually say, "Leave them alone, they're entitled to their opinion"? Yes. And the person commenting is entitled to theirs too, so why even say that at all?

Jul 5 - 09:37 PM

Darrin Bell

Darrin Bell

I think Matt's dead on. He wrote exactly what I was about to write, better than I would've written it. There were a couple corny aspects to this film (the music in the Spidey/Lizard school fight just before he tosses Gwen out the window, and the convenient reappearance of the construction worker), but other than that this movie kicked the original trilogy's ass, IMO. And I loved the first two parts of the original trilogy. THIS was the Spider-Man I always saw in my imagination, growing up - not Raimi's version.

Jul 6 - 07:22 AM

Mark SaintLo

Mark SaintLo

Dude, don't call "nerd rage" to objetive and well-done criticism.
¿What would you call Siskel & Ebert after a rant?
¿Or the Nostaliga Critic (If you have ever watched his videos)?
He broke piece by piece why this is a superior film.
And while you talk about subjetive, I can assure you that somewhere in this weird world, someone faps to pictures of the Green Goblin, there are some standard points the film community agrees on. And relying on those standars any decent critic can assure you that this one has more heart, charm and humor.

Jul 18 - 11:18 AM

Jermain Jackson

Jermain Jackson

@Ronald

I agree its his opinion but no one here is trying to change his views. I understand that just because I found this movie to have charm and a lot of humor doesn't mean he has to you. But to say this movie doesn't have heart is wrong, how can you sit there and write that no one is emoting? There was a lot of emoting, especially from Garfield. This was a very emotional movie. That's not an opinion, that's fact, the expressions on the actors' faces are proof of that. The tone in the voices are proof. To say that Director Marc Webb has no feel for the material at all, when he is a fan who actually knows the Spider-man lore is ridiculous. Especially when the reviewer knows nothing of it.

This guy was obviously against the reboot, I don't see why he even chose to watch and review it. Someone impartial to the idea of a reboot should have done it.

Jul 6 - 07:46 AM

Carson Daves

Carson Daves

LOL what are you talking about "heart" is also highly subjective. People have different emotional responses to things. One person can find Titanic emotional and cry their eyes out while another can find it soulessly hilarious and laugh their asses off. And neither one would be right or wrong.

You're just like the guy up there who counted all the jokes to prove his point that this movie had humor. Who cares? What if the other person didn't find them humorous? Then to them, the movie would lack humor. Same with heart, you can't point at actors acting emotional and say that that's proof the movie had heart LOL

Jul 6 - 09:01 AM

Jermain Jackson

Jermain Jackson

@Carson Yeah everyone's reaction to someone emoting is subjective as well. That doesn't mean the person you were watching wasn't emoting, it just means it wasn't enough to move you. He said no one was emoting, that means no one was showing any emotion of any kind, that they were just reading their lines with the same look and tone of voice. That is a downright lie. I have seen movies where I wasn't moved by characters on screen despite the fact that they were emoting. The scene just wasn't resonating with me, the characters weren't people I really cared so there situation had to effect on me. But I can still admit that they were emoting.

If he had said the emotional scenes didn't resonate with me as I didn't find myself really caring for the characters, then that would have been okay. But he just straight up lied and said these actors did not emote.

I should have worded myself more carefully the first time.

Jul 7 - 08:26 AM

Justin Sanchez

Justin Sanchez

I thought the rotten reviews for surprisingly excellent flicks like John Carter were stupid. But this... "Where's the charm, heart, and humor?" are you effing kidding me?? This spiderman has ten times more of all three things than the original. Not to mention it stays way truer to peters character than the depressing almost emo like portrayal in the first trilogy. The ONLY real bias critics should and do have against this film, no matter how flowery they make their reviews sound, is that this is a reboot of a series that ended just a couple of years ago. But you know what I say to that? It's about dang time.

Jul 5 - 06:54 PM

Mchl Schllnbrg

Mchl Schllnbrg

This movie was complete shit. I prefer the sappy originals.

Jul 6 - 12:04 AM

George Hanna-Wilson

George Hanna-Wilson

I agree! I found the originals too be far more entertaining than the this unimaginative waste of a movie.

Jul 6 - 02:30 AM

Daniel S.

Daniel Santiago

Agreed.

Jul 10 - 09:02 PM

Mark SaintLo

Mark SaintLo

Then you don't have any perspective.
Anyone can like whatever they want. Hell, I love stupid movies like Space Jam, but I KNOW how stupid they are.
I get bored with Scarface, but I KNOW A MASTERPIECE (Well, almost) WHEN I SEE ONE.
Say what you want about your preferences, but be honest about the superior quality of this film over the Trilogy.

Jul 18 - 11:25 AM

Jack S.

Jack Sanderson

I have never, ever disagreed more with a review. This guy saw a different movie than I did.

Jul 6 - 02:32 AM

Claude Parish

Claude Parish

I have to agree with the critic this time. There was little Amazing about Spider-Man. If not for Martin Sheen's performance, there was not much to see here. It SHOULD have been so much better.

Jul 6 - 07:47 AM

Zach Russo

Zach Russo

this guy lives to give bad reviews to good movies, why is he still a critic can we vote him out of his job or something, hes just a troll critic

Jul 6 - 10:46 AM

Joel G.

Joel Goodson

He agrees with the Tomatometer 74% of the time.

Jul 6 - 12:43 PM

Jonatan Tzun

Jonatan Tzun

i've seen a critic who gave a fresh review to spiderman 3 and also gave a fresh to the amazing spiderman, would you bitch about that?

Jul 7 - 12:28 PM

Josiah Henry

Josiah Henry

The only thing the film lacked was the classic saying "With great power comes great responsibility". A great burst of sadness struck me as a left the theatre not hearing it....BUT!!!! I also want to say that this is a spider man film....if you want your indie crap super hero stuff....Go somewhere else you shmucks!

Jul 6 - 04:08 PM

Joshua Young

Joshua Young

Everywhere, you dumb fuck.

Jul 6 - 06:45 PM

Andy Duncan

Andy Duncan

This Spidey sucked

Jul 7 - 11:07 AM

Bill J.

Bill Jackson

NOPE.nope.nope. it certainly did not suck

Jul 7 - 01:00 PM

Bill J.

Bill Jackson

Obviously you don't see the subtle humor and the passion that plays out throughout the film. You get paid to do this?

Jul 7 - 12:59 PM

Alex Sharrard

Alex Sharrard

God forbid someone has their own opinion.

Jul 7 - 11:32 PM

Alex Sharrard

Alex Sharrard

Also, most of you complain about the first three not sticking to the comics. Nothing any of you fanboys have said makes me think this film has charm, heart OR humor. I just see a bunch of "Well, the first three he was emo, and he wasn't like that in the comics! So this one is better than the Raimi films!" Shut up.

Jul 7 - 11:35 PM

Christopher Tucker

Christopher Tucker

Opinions are only opinions if they have substance otherwise your just a TROLL

Jul 8 - 07:58 AM

Mark SaintLo

Mark SaintLo

You wanna hear about charm, heart and humor?
Brace yourself.

1) Peter and Uncle Ben act like a real family. The original trilogy felt like going to your grandpa's house. They love you and never yell at you. This is Uncle Ben scolding him for getting in trouble, ashaming Peter in front of THE HOTNESS IN FLESH that is Emma Stone, and finally, asking Peter for forgiveness about not talking about his father. ¿Do I need to add the post-mortem voicemail? My god, if my father left me a voicemail just before his death, I would hear it everyday. That is really emotional stuff right there.

2) Aunt May is loving yes, but the first we see about her is she scolding her husband for putting "trash" on her table. Then the meatloaf scene. That was a REAL marriage and a funny scene. And then when Peter comes home beat up as shit, she is concerned like hell! She is angry and worried, but loves him overall and tries to confort him although she is oblivious about his fights.

3) Peter and Gwen act like any teens in love. Peter tries to ask her out with all the akwardness you should remember if you ever asked a girl out; and she is into him, being clumsy and akward when she invites him to his house. They do this in a CHARMING WAY. When Capt. Stacy catches them in Gwen's room you know they both wish earth swallowed them. And when Peter finally wants to tell her his secret, you see one really hilarious inner fight while she is also eager to tell him how she feels; and the way they finish it is GOLD. Then we have Gwen's concern about Peter and his father's safety. ¿When did you saw Mary Jane give a rat's ass about Peter's well being in the first two movies?
And FINALLY, when Peter tries to avoid her, she knows him and her late-father so well, she knows what is going on. And Peter even decides to break the promise because he loves her.

4)Peter doesn't wake up all buffed up and with
powers. He acts like he was high the first day and the next day like he was on meth. He can't control his powers and freaks the fuck out. Tobey just wakes up, and goes "Cool" (Except the web in the lunch part, but that lasts 30 seconds). He cracks jokes while pursuing thieves and, even though he is initially driven by revenge, Capt. Stacy drops the bomb on him and he decides to help others.

¿Enough? Because this is just of the top of my head.

Jul 18 - 11:49 AM

Saif Rehman

Saif Rehman

It had humor and heart. You probably weren't keeping up.

Jul 8 - 12:14 PM

Keh-Tai Y.

Keh-Tai Yu

I don't know where you studied film, but you need to return to your clown college and study harder. You lose all credibility by claiming Spider-man 3 is better, ALL credibility. Terrible review.

Jul 8 - 02:28 PM

Angel Santana

Angel Santana

simply unbelievable your comment. The movie was the total opposite of what you say. Anyway...

Jul 8 - 08:15 PM

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