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Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review

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Tim Wilson
Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 3, 2012 at 7:06:50 pm

C'mon man. It's opening day. We're counting on you, bro.

A couple of observations while we're waiting.

The director, Marc Webb, has ONE FEATURE to his credit before this.

You're not going to guess, so I'm going to tell you.


(But he also directed one whole episode of The Office.)


So, they get the director of a teen rom-com, add script doctoring by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids). Scott will tell us any minute if it falls flat on its face, but I give Sony all the credit in the world for trying to do something different, and hopefully bring Spiderman the lightness that the story always SHOULD have had.

Unlike f*cking Batman. I love Christopher Nolan, and have watched Inception more than I've watched every one of his Batman pictures put together...which is once each. They're not dark. They're GLOOMY. Just GLOOMY. Kind of mopey actually, and way way way too long.

So please, for the love of Brooklyn teens, please let Spidey lighten up! Please let it be worthy of THIS!




One of the Top 10 videos of all time, and 2:06. Doesn't need to be a second longer. Why do they keep making superhero movies longer than TWO HOURS AND SIX MINUTES? Cut it out, idiots.

Anyway, Scott: standing by, buddy.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 3, 2012 at 7:19:54 pm

[Tim Wilson] "C'mon man. It's opening day. We're counting on you, bro."

Sorry! I've been really busy at work the last two days trying to get everything done so I can have the rest of the week off! Then I have pre-4th of July party tonight after work, then an all-day 4th party tomorrow (ironically crossing fingers for no fireworks related finger loss). I'm not hitting up Spider-Man until Thursday for some web slinging cool down. After the initial reviews came in, I'm pretty excited that it's most likely not awful after all.

I haven't even had time to write up a Ted review... Quick take: pretty funny.



[Tim Wilson] "So, they get the director of a teen rom-com"

More of a post-college hipter rom-com. And I don't mean that in a bad way, I really like 500 Days of Summer. But there are enough skinny ties in it to fill a M83 concert.



[Tim Wilson] "Why do they keep making superhero movies longer than TWO HOURS AND SIX MINUTES? Cut it out, idiots."

Hahaha, nice.

AHHHHHH! BACK TO WORK!!!


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Tim Wilson
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 3, 2012 at 7:52:42 pm

[Scott Roberts] "[Tim Wilson] "So, they get the director of a teen rom-com"

More of a post-college hipter rom-com. "


At my age, all you punks look like teenagers.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 3, 2012 at 8:39:36 pm

[Tim Wilson] "
At my age, all you punks look like teenagers."


Even 28 year old Andrew Garfield...?


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Tim Wilson
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 4, 2012 at 2:23:20 am

[Scott Roberts] "Even 28 year old Andrew Garfield...?"

Ha! Touche.

No, Andrew Garfield does not look like a teenager. He looks almost as old as me. Certainly older than you. LOL


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Jeff Breuer
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 5, 2012 at 7:03:52 pm

23.4 Million start, which is "Transformers" numbers. Should that be a clue....?

I didn't realize this was the guy who did 500 Days of Summer. I liked that flick. I always remember hearing that he gave his actors songs to listen to that represented the mood or feeling of each an every scene of the movie. Now if THAT isn't hipster, I don't know what is.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 5, 2012 at 8:17:14 pm

Well, The Amazing Spider-Man ended up being as much of a departure from the Sam Raimi Spidey trilogy as I expected. Tobey Maguire’s series was crazy and fun, almost on a cartoonish level. The Andrew Garfield entry was remarkably less comic, but full of unsuspecting levels of heart and emotion. I think both Spider-Man films have their values and work in their own ways. Frankly, I’m just happy that the new Spider-Man movie didn’t completely suck.

I wasn’t expecting The Amazing Spider-Man to take the Jaws approach to the action. Spider-Man doesn’t show up in his Spidey suit until like an hour into the movie. That’s not entirely a bad thing, as we get a hefty dose of character development and back story. Only, we already knew who Peter Parker was; from the first set of movies. And he’s not really different in this movie. He’s still awkward. He’s still a nerd. He still has a creepy, far away crush on a girl. He still looks too old to be in high school. If anything is different about Peter this time around, it’s that he’s played by an actor that’s more capable of acting like a real teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I liked what Tobey did, but Garfield had a more natural performance. Of course, the tone of the first series didn’t exactly lend itself to a real performance, to Tobey’s credit. All that said, I still think the best portrayal of a teenage superhero was in Kick-Ass. Just sayin’.

If rebooting this series lays its validation in the fact that they told the “untold story” of Peter’s parents, then it wasn’t worth rebooting. That was the worst part of the entire film. Or at least the most boring, and the least redeeming. Actually, the story of Peter’s parents didn’t do *anything* for me. It only moves the story along a little bit, by giving Peter a direct connection to the film’s villain. Ultimately the parent’s back story is best used to make Peter a broken man. But that could have been the case without actually showing his parents on screen. And that would have cut down on some of the film’s slightly too long running time, while at the same time getting the film’s main action occurring quicker in the process. Actually, now that I think about it, there really was no resolution whatsoever with the story of the elder Parkers. Probably saving it for a sequel… typical…

But obviously the parents aren’t the only validation to reboot the series. There’s also the tone of the film, which I loved. Definitely a more serious approach, but not so serious that it kills it. A lot of remakes/reboots that take the “dark” approach often implode on their own grim material, but Amazing Spider-Man was a brilliant blend of extremely dark material and lighthearted humor, none of which seemed forced. One of the best examples of this is the scene where Peter is discovering the potential of his new powers. On paper, if you told me that there would be a scene of Spider-Man doing skateboard tricks, I would cringe. But the way the scene plays out in the film was beautiful. I think a lesser director would have been tempted to blast Korn or Nickelback or something over this scene, but Marc Webb had the restraint to use a Coldplay song, which worked brilliantly, and I don’t even like Coldplay. It captured the correct levels of adolescent discovery and superhero whimsy, and this scene just plain worked for me. It surpassed the superpower discovery scenes in the Tobey version tenfold.

The cast was pretty decent this time around. As I already said, Garfield did a good job being natural and actually being a teenager, despite being 28 in real life. Emma Stone doesn’t really do much, and didn’t have much of a comedic/romantic presence in the film, for me. She wasn’t all that special, but she did what she was asked. Uncle Ben got a serious upgrade, now being played by Martin Sheen. And who knew Sally Field was still acting? (just kidding, I know she is [was?] on some recent TV show, I just never watched it) Rhys Ifans wasn’t anything special as Dr. Connors, who becomes The Lizard. Just sort of there. Could have been played by anyone. Dennis Leary was decent as the chief of police, even if he made one too many jokes about being mayor of Tokyo in that one scene.

The special effects were really good (There's a nice article about them by Debra Kaufman on the COW). However, I’m being a little more cautious with my 3D viewings, and I ended up seeing this one in 2D. I could tell some of the shots were probably pretty awesome in 3D, but I’ve also heard that overall the 3D wasn’t that good. So I’m fine with only seeing it in two dimensions. Plus, a few moments (particularly the final shot of the film), looked like cheesy Home Improvement 3D episode levels of forcefully jabbing things toward the camera and saying “WHOOOOAAAAA”.

(go to 3:45)








Oh yeah, and The Lizard wasn’t a great villain, in my opinion. And his head looked like a Goomba from the Super Mario Bros Movie. But he’s still better than Sandman from Spider-Man 3.

I think the ultimate compliment I can give this movie is that (aside from a few wisecracks here and there), the film was never really hokey. It did what it wanted to do, and it did it fairly well. It does have a handful of shortcomings, and there are some things I would have liked to have changed, but I’m surprised to say that I’m actually happy that they rebooted the series. I left the theater feeling like I’d just seen a decent movie. It’s no Spider-Man 2, but I might go as far as to say it’s as good (or slightly better?) than Tobey’s first Spider-Man.

7.5 out of 10


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Mark Suszko
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 14, 2012 at 5:44:55 am

Just saw Spiderman tonight. Overall, a good job. I question the need to change a certain part of what happens to which character that was canon.

I think Cliff Robertson did a better Uncle Ben than Martin Sheen, though Sheen made his version seem effortless and real. Sally Field was wasted here as Aunt May, given nothing to do but wring her hands and look pensive. That was a lost opportunity I hope is corrected. Field could really rock this character if you gave her something to DO.

I loved the crane gag; it felt true to the comics as well as an echo of the runaway train bit in the Raimi version with Doc Ock.

My biggest beef was, they elliptically referred to it, but they never said the one phrase any American can recall if they know just *one thing* about Spiderman. And Ben never says it.

Didn't much care for the score. The 3-d is dim where I saw it, and very very busy, like Transformers-level busy, and the tempo is certainly fast. There's just so much stuff flying around to keep track of. I think it was a tad over-done.

All that said, I have to agree that Garfield certainly captures the essence of a low-teens, somewhat "emo" kid, trying to deal with two lives, one super-outrageous. The other, super-angsty.

We didn't need a reboot, but this one came out very fine overall, minor quibbles aside.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 14, 2012 at 9:48:03 pm

[Mark Suszko] "We didn't need a reboot...."

After relentlessly mocking, I'm now of the inclination that we DESPERATELY needed a reboot, even if this one might not be entirely the one we needed.

I'm thinking about a longer piece to air this out, but I'll start with the fact is that superheroes are relentlessly rebooted in comics, for a variety of reasons. One is that new artists and writers come onboard. Another is that the myths need to be retold to fit the times.

For example, the 1962 Peter was bitten by a radioactive spider. In 2000, in Ultimate Spider-man, Peter was bitten by a genetically modified spider - different technologies answering the question, "But what could possibly go wrong?"

Another is to add characters at points in the story that the original movie timeline didn't allow. For the Raimi movies, for example, there was no way to get Gwen Stacy in there. I'm hopeful that THIS Spidey's relationship with MJ carries the weight of his relationship with Gwen...in which case we have a whole new Mary Jane, who may or may not bear much resemblance to the one in Raimi's movies.

In the comics, don't forget that characters DIE. In one timeline, Peter Parker dies and was replaced by Miles Morales. There's also a version that has a second spider-man, known simply as The Spider. Gregory Stark relentlessly mocked him, then ordered him to lead a superhero uprising in Australia, where he was killed by Hawkeye.

Oh yeah, and he was Korean.

Now then, do you think that the Hawkeye in this summer's Avengers is the one that killed a Korean Spider man because Tony Stark's father ordered him to start a superhero revolt? Didn't think so.

Then there was the time that Nick Fury took pills to beef up like the Hulk, and so did the rest of The Avengers. And Captain America went rogue.

See what I'm saying? Even if you stick strictly to the pages of Marvel Comics, you can go into entirely different universes, underscoring the point that THERE IS NO CANON. Just some common elements expressed in different ways -- but a lot of these stories have virtually nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

Back to the Raimi-Webb versions of Spidey....

I don't think that either of these movies still goes far enough to capture the giddiness of a teen with superpowers. Think about that in the context of the original comic. Spidey appeared in 1962, when the idea of a giddy teenager was still new. Gidget 1959; Beach Party 1963. Most teens until then were either Wally Cleaver (1957) or angry (both Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without a Cause in 1955).

I swear that BOTH of these guys are too old. The comics Spidey didn't graduate until the third year. I know that movies are necessarily compressed, but the teen-ness is a big part of Spiderman to me...if perhaps because of how awed I was by SEEING a carefree teen in the 60s myself. (For most of America, the sixties happened in the seventies.) But there's no way that Garfield gets away with another movie of Spidey in high school.

In movies, an additional reason for a reboot is that the technology changes enough that the KIND of story you can tell changes. For example, this one dramatically improved the swinging, and a lot of it was through advanced motion capture of acrobats and athletes.

Another reason - if you don't make a movie with this character in a given timeframe, the rights revert back to Marvel...which was a factor here. Check this fantastic overview of which studios own the rights to which char...

The reboot I'm waiting for is based on The Dark Knight Returns. Batman retired after the death of the second Robin. He comes back at age 55, bitter, with personal demons he can no longer contain, to fight crime in a world that no longer "wants his kind." (In the sequel, superheroes are outlawed.) Check it out if you haven't - brutal, scary stuff. My ideal casting would be Mickey Rourke. It's that kind of nasty.

Anyway, I'm now hoping for more reboots. I just hope that we finally get one that's energetic and less self important than ALL of these, Avengers included. None of them need to top 2 hours and $200 million.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 15, 2012 at 4:36:23 am

Comics reboot their origins with regularity because the kids reading them age out and a new audience that doesn't know the story comes of reading age. The fact that older people also enjoy comics and keep reading them - all those 30-something-plus fanboys - they are still not the biggest market - it's still the kids.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 14, 2012 at 10:12:23 pm

I just invested $5 of my hard earned money on a mariner of Spiderman IV: The Quest for Peace. So as to not repeat what has already been said:

Garfield played a good nerdy teenager perhaps better than Tobey who always seemed to overdo it. Even though Garfield is like 43 years old he could be like Michael J Fox and play below his age for decades to come.

MartinSheen and Sally Field have graduated into the category of older actors who do cameo roles. Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent will be similar I'm sure.

The mouse outside the cage...puh..lease.

How is it that evil people manage to setup secret underground labs without assistance?

Gwen was nice to look at and for once a damsel in distress did not need to be rescued every 5 minutes. Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson sure knew how to get themselves in trouble

Music sounded like the 1989 Batman theme was always just about to start.

The scene where Spidey takes Gwen for a ride seemed like an homage to Superman I but then it just ended. Could have been a nice moment.

Numerous scenes felt a lot like Part I when Tobey was first discovering himself.

The Midtown Science Academy looks like a 1950's suburban elementary school quite out place in Manhattan.

Is Flash "The Flash"? I don't know that origin story.

I liked the wristband concept over the biological wrist shooting in Part 1-3. Which is true to the comics?

Was the spider radioactive? It did not appear to be.

The holographic displays seemed to be simply a gimmick for the 3d version. I saw it in 2d. And I only paid 5 bucks. In 2d. It was very enjoyable...in...2...d. get it?

How does a NY Police Captain live in a swanky apartment? Family money perhaps. I thought maybe if he were the Commissioner.

The POV web slinging shots were cool in the teaser but overdone in the movie.

How is it that even wearing sneakers Peter's feet still stick to the wall? I guess his arms are so strong they support the rest of his body.

I like that they showed where the suit came from. In Part I Tobey seemed to knit it himself overnight.

Obviously they will be making Part V: Spidermoney.

Until then I'll be doing one fingered pushups on the roof.

M.Cohen


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Mark Suszko
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 15, 2012 at 4:56:00 am

Mike, the wrist-mounted web shooters were original to the comic. Parker is a chemistry whiz and invents the shooters and fluid for the web shooter, the webs made from the fluid are designed to disintegrate after a few hours, because A, Peter is a good kid and does'nt want to leave messes behind in public, and B, it is handy that evidence disintegrates and can't be used against him later... The enhanced spider-strength of Parker is what creates enough pressure when he "thwips", to shoot the fluid various distances, and it hardens on contact with the air into the stretchy cable material. Classic comic book Parker also sometimes tinkers with the mixture for his web shooter fluid, to make it conductive, for example when fighting, "Electro". A continuing theme in the comics would be times when Peter runs out of web fluid and has to improvise.

In the new film, Peter designs the shooters, but they "shoot" a product that's already made by Oscorp. Which implies he will need to get more of it at some point. Maybe Gwen obtains it for him using her inside access, or he just buys it somehow, we don't know.

During the time in the comics when Peter obtains the alien-tech "black suit", that suit produced it's own webbing, what went unsaid was that it obtained the raw material for that by tapping Peter's own body, since it was a parasite. That would make Peter ravenously hungry as well as tired, after web swinging, because it was kind of like donating blood too often. The Tobey Maguire Spidey grew organic web shooters in his wrists, which the fanboys hated, but it worked similarly to the black suit.

The Black Suit, BTW, eventually becomes it's own bad guy, called "Venom:, when it bonds with a rival of Parker after Parker finally gets rid of it.



Flash Thompson in this new movie is not "The Flash", of which, like Green Lantern, there were several men taking turns in the role. Flash Thompson is just the local school jock, as well as a sometimes romantic rival for the girl Peter is interested in. I was unhappy with the uncharacteristic personality change Flash undergoes in this new movie; it comes too fast and too complete.


Ah yes, the shoes on the wall thing. I think in the comics, he doesn't wear shoes per se but sort of socks and gloves, and the tiny grippy hairs that grow out of his feet go thru the cloth material and can still contact the wall. Parker in the comics is versatile and resourceful because he was a bookworm, so in the comics he really did sew his own costume.

Watch for spiderman sneakers by Nike coming soon to a store near you.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Scott Roberts' Spiderman Review
on Jul 17, 2012 at 2:59:43 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Watch for spiderman sneakers by Nike coming soon to a store near you."

I think they're already out!



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