30 July 2012

The Amazing Garfield

How amazing would it be if we, as humans, could actually take on certain animal abilities? The Nazis experimented with it, God bless them they tried, but perhaps they went about it the wrong way. As much as I'd love to be able to fly like a bird or jizz like a pig, anything associated with the holocaust tends to be a bit of a mood killer. Peter Parker was bitten by a genetically modified spider and suddenly took on the best of its characteristics. Although that did happen without the need for any genocide, by not following safety regulations the specky twonk was still bloody lucky. For all he knew, he could have ended up with eight eyes and the ability to hang upside down from his arse-hole. If that's how simple the science behind all this is then I can only assume that Lindsay Lohan was bitten by a radioactive whore. If I could be crossed with any animal I think it would be a cat. Nine lives and the flexibility to lick my own balls sounds like a dream life for me.

Of course though everybody knows about how Spiderman got his powers. Not only has it been explained countless times in comic books and cartoons, but now also in two films released only a decade apart. The Amazing Spiderman therefore had two challenges that it would need to overcome: on the one hand it needed to be a good film and on the other it needed to justify itself in telling the same story as Sam Raimi did back in 2002. Not only that but this current version wouldn't have Toby Maguire's angry running/cum face to look forward to.
Toby Maguire angrily blowing his load for some reason.
The Amazing Spiderman begins with a childhood mystery. The young Peter Parker's house is broken into which results in him being forced to live with his Aunt and Uncle. His parents do what every teenager dreams they would and simply fuck off. Under the guidance of Uncle Ben, Peter grows up into an intelligent but shy teenager who gets bullied at school and has the hots for class-mate Gwen Stacey. I'm not saying Emma Stone looks old but there's no fucking way she's 17. It really creeps me out when older people play school kids. It's as though Hollywood is trying to wean paedophiles onto real adults but at the same time may accidentally be running the risk of weaning normal people onto school children. 

In a way it's almost pointless continuing with the plot because the odds are you already know it. Peter gets bitten by a spider, he meets an older mentor who becomes a sympathetic villain whilst Parker’s current love interest is a little too conveniently tied into every. single. plot. strand. It might seem too easy to slag this film off for being too similar to the previous one but fuck it, that doesn't make it any less valid. Casino Royale, Star Trek and Rise of the Planet of the Apes are perfectly good examples of how to restart a franchise without going over the same old ground. For me at least, The Amazing Spiderman stuck too closely to the formula of the original to justify starting again. If this film was an animal it would definitely be that second cat to walk past the door in The Matrix.

Another problem with this film is that it has apparently fallen under the spell of Nolan's Dark Knight saga. It seems that since Batman Begins, every superhero film to be released has to be darker and grittier. If that's the case then fuck it, why stop at comic book adaptations? I'd love to see the Christopher Nolan version of Mr Bean as a mentally retarded man who is one dark thought away from dry fucking his teddy bear and then going on a shooting spree. My point is that it's a shame The Amazing Spiderman had to jump on the bandwagon of grim, and wasn't simply allowed its own identity.

However, that's not to say that there's nothing to like about this film. In fact, contrary to all of the above I did actually quite enjoy it. For a start I think that Andrew Garfield may in fact be my new favourite Peter Parker. That's even despite a post film conversation with a friend who insisted Spiderman had in fact just been played by tennis loser Tim Henman. Garfield may not look 17 but he certainly doesn't seem as ancient as the 28 year old actually is. With this and The Social Network on his CV Garfield is starting to get typecast as an underdog who gets bitch slapped by the super geek. I know that Zuckerberg technically isn't as evil as a giant rampaging lizard but that doesn't make him any less dangerous or creepy.

In fact I would say that overall the cast is slightly better than in Raimi's versions. Particularly when it comes to Aunt May who, when played by Rosemary Harris, was more irritating than having crabs on your gooch. It's not that I didn't like her but if I was Peter there'd be no way I could live in that house without smothering her in her bed and then blaming it on old lady cot death. In comparison, Sally Field does a good job by appearing more like a parental auntie and less like the previously manipulative grandma death.

Martin Sheen also does a good job of playing the doomed rice maker Uncle Ben. Although his character is at a little strict at times, he kind of gets away with it for simply being Martin Sheen. If he has the strength to chop up a fat slab of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now then he's clearly a man to be listened to. To be fair as well who can blame him for being a harsh parent? Two of his children are Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen. If he didn't lay down the law with Peter then he too might end up as either a dullard or a junkie. Having said that I would quite enjoy watching a Spiderman film in which Parker is stood on top of a roof stoned off his tits, waving a machete in the air and drinking tiger blood.

As villains go Rhys Ifans is okay as Curt Conners even though he is basically playing the same type of person as Alfred Molina did in Spiderman 2. If somebody has to play a character that looks like two fingers being flicked up at the patiently ditched Dylan Baker then I guess Ifans does a good job. In honesty, I haven't seen him in too many films and so I am always slightly surprised by how good an actor he actually is. I'm not sure how Conners lost his arm but knowing Ifans real life shambolic appearance I would assume it was in a similar way to how Leto lost his in Requiem for a Dream.

In terms of the film’s style I think it's fairly obvious that Marc Webb is no Sam Raimi. I really love 500 days of Summer but unfortunately there is none of that quirkiness here. Webb lacks the kinetic insanity that’s made Raimi what he is and so this film’s action is a little less exhilarating. By losing Raimi we also unfortunately lose the talking chin of irony that is Bruce Campbell. Although this may be slightly made up for with Stan Lee's best cameo so far. At this point Lee is 89 years old which in my opinion is more than enough of an excuse to stop investing in Save the Whale and start funding the immortality pill.

Luckily what Webb does have to save him with this film is in his correcting of Raimi's biggest mistake. This bit is going to be slightly spoilerific so if you haven't seen The Amazing Spiderman it might be time to stop reading and get back to watching porn. For those who can save the wank for another few minutes, the film’s initiative is in simply not having the Lizard die. To avoid rebooting these things every other week then murdering all the characters might be something to avoid. As Curt Conners only ends up in jail then perhaps we might avoid having to go through this story again and simply continue the franchise by recasting every few years.

If I have one more criticism of this film then it's during a scene in which Conners drinks a fresh cup of tea by holding the mug with his bare hand. Now unless his palms are made out of volcanic rock I have no idea how he fucking did that without burning himself. It might seem an odd thing to notice, but balls to it, I'm English. We notice mistakes with tea in the same way that the yanks notice mistakes with guns. I guess it's just part of who we are. If however you can cope with these blasphemously offensive beverage errors then I think the film is worth a watch.

There might be a fair bit wrong with it but then there's also a fair bit wrong with Lindsay Lohan. Overall though and given an opportunity they are both definitely worth a ride.

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