Last night I went to see “The Amazing Spider-Man.”  It was a good movie.  It was well-shot, the story worked, it hit all the beats it needed to, and the actors did a good job.  It had the kind of sequence towards the end that the little kid in me melts for, every single time.  The Stan Lee cameo was the best yet.  But honestly, well, I wasn’t amazed by it.

I really like the character of Spider-Man.  He has cool powers, he has an engaging origin story, his foes are (usually) just colorful enough without wandering to far into camp.  He’s had a good run of stories.  He had a trilogy of movies in the last decade.  And this movie is… a retelling of his origin.

And it isn’t a bad retelling.  The scenes where Peter is unused to his powers and accidentally beats up a train car of people Jackie Chan-style is fun, but I can guarantee you that every single person in the theater had seen this story before ten years ago.  “Amazing” files off the serial numbers, throws up a different filter, and calls it a day.  It is the essence of the summer blockbuster:  Two pleasant hours in air conditioning.  It doesn’t show you anything new.

“The Avengers” succeeded because it was a gamble.  Having such a large cast was a risk.  Using the film as a capstone for four separate movie franchises was a risk.  Giving the project to Joss Whedon, who has a loyal fan base but a terrible record in film, was a HUGE RISK.  “The Amazing Spider-Man” is the very essence of a hedge.  It is a contractual obligation to keep Marvel from using the character in “Avengers 2.”

I liked “The Amazing Spider-Man”  It was a funny, mad science action romp fitting the character, but there weren’t any surprises or ‘wow’ moments.  It is worth a rental, or a trip to the second-run theater, but don’t swing out to see it in 3-D.

Advertisements