I may be going out on a particularly treacherous limb which has no chance of supporting my obvious weight problem, but 90% of all films based on comic books are utterly shit.
And after the exhausting enormity of The Avengers release, it seemed there was plainly no need for another super-hero film this year.
No need at all.
The Avengers was a big fat, whorish compendium of miscellaneous comic book characters squeezed into half a dozen super-hero filmlets with the subtlety of a drift net stripping the seas of tuna, dolphins and human corpses alike.
It should have lasted us a few months at least!
But no, our unsympathetic overlord Marvel Studios has different plans for us minions and has deigned that the meek minded cinema goer be punished further. Not content with loosing a decades worth of hatefully tedious, barely tolerable averageness on the world, they’re now intent on violently force-feeding us another Spider-Man film.
Another Spider-Man film.
This time though, it’s a redundant reboot rather than a flavourless, watered down sequel. This doesn’t immediately seem like a terrible idea. Spider-Man 3 was feeble and poorly delivered and perhaps it was best that Spider-Man be put down and resurrected anew.
However, when you remake Spider Man as The Amazing Spider-Man and use the same script, characters and plot development used in the previous films it could be argued that you’ve wasted two hundred million dollars.
Tobey Maguire, debatably the best portrayal of any super hero to date, has been ejected from the spandex suit and replaced by Andrew Garfield who you may just remember being “the other Facebook guy” from The Social Network.
The plot follows much the same pattern of the first, middle and last Spider-Man films of the Sam Raimi era (2002-2007). Peter Parker is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his parents, he develops arachnid powers, inevitably accepts he must put his powers to good use, designs a jazzy costume and leaves just enough time for an unconvincing 20 minutes CG battle against the villain.
But instead of being a tortured, socially awkward adult, Peter Parker is now an inept high school student who is unpopular amongst his classmates and struggling to keep his Spidey powers in check and is probably into Twitter and Glee and faxing Tab Clear over the Information Super Highway.
The development of Parker is so familiar as to be invisible and could have been, and likely was, lifted from any high-school/super-hero film from the last ten years. It is so formulaic and predictable you will simply be incapable of paying attention to what is The Amazing Spider-Man for Kids.
Or more accurately, The Amazing Spider-Man More for Kids This Time.
Spidey is bullied and humiliated as any child should be, desperately chasing Gwen Stacy until he faces off against a demented scientist played here by the inappropriately miscast Rhys Ifans.
I guess if you want to stay close to the source material you should really use the comic book enemies however by the time The Amazing Spider-Man is released, the franchise has already squandered the best villains.
Spider-Man has already faced off against Green Goblin, Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Venom and…erm…Green Goblin, and so this re-introduction to Spider-Man is left to deal with Dr. Curt Connors, who becomes the horribly mutated Lizard, a sort of giant lizard. It’s a bit underwhelming.
But when you’ve already planned what will inevitably become a trilogy, the series can’t just make a good film straight away can it? It has to be saved for the second or third film.
The Amazing Spider-Man is more of a lazy re-labelling of the planned Spider-Man 4 rather than a true re-boot. It’s not even much of a re-boot. The characters look the same, the back-story is pretty similar and even the poster font is identical.
There are some exceptionally negligible tweaks. Mary Jane is out! Gwen Stacy is in! Organic webs are out! Artificial webs are in!
But the changes are so minor and the knitting pattern approach so recognisable that you don’t really need to watch it to know what happens, you can just sort of imagine it and save the money.
I think the real problem is just that it has been a whole less than ten years since the last Spider-Man reboot which lends The Amazing Spider-Man a feeling of irrelevant déjà-vu.
It displays an utter lack of shame by an industry which is readily willing to plagiarise itself. The suffocating lack of originality and an absence of respect for the audience marks this release as particularly heinous.
Even worse than Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. And Daredevil. And Hulk. And The Punisher. And Elektra. And Fantastic Four.
It may warm your heart to know that regardless of how entirely unnecessary this film may be, how much you don’t go and see it and how alarmingly poorly cast and scripted it is, a sequel is already planned.
Also it is in 3D.