Review - Stop Me if You've Seen This One...or This One... or This One... ("Spider-Man," etc.)
It would have been better had the general public never seen the Tobey Maguire / Sam Raimi "Spider-Man" movie trilogy, because it's impossible to not compare these two films to each other; you just can't help yourself. Neither can I.
Marc Webb directed this newest version (and I say "newest" because they'll probably be another reboot of "Spider-Man" sometime in 2025,) but geared it towards the comic book, not Sam Raimi's prior blender mash-up. We get a backstory here of youngster Peter Parker, his mom and dad (Campbell Scott & Embeth Davidtz,) who are mysteriously killed and why Peter has live with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen.)
Fast-forward to high school and Peter, now a grown Andrew Garfield (with a perfect American accent) acting and speaking geek-talk like any shy gifted science nerd, falls for classmate hottie Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone--yummy!) whose daddy (Denis Leary) happens to be a NYC police captain!
Owing to Raimi's prior films, we all know what happens next: Peter gets bitten by a genetically-enhanced spider, his uncle gets shot and killed by a gunman he let go, Peter turns vigilante, BUT... this Peter is SO smart that he makes his own web shooters, just like in the original comic-books! Side note: he's so techno-savvy and mathematically skilled that what does he use to shoot his pictures with? A 1980's Pentax 35mm film camera! Odd.
Oh, and don't look for J. Jonah Jameson, The Bugle newspaper, the Green Goblin, Mary Jane Watson, or Harry Osborn... they're not here! But, I digress...
Anyway, Peter plays the vigilante and goes rogue so much that the police issue a warrant for his arrest, but Peter turns his wayward hatred to good (thanks to Gwen,) soon becomes a servant of the people, and stops crime (much to the chagrin of Captain Stacey.)
Meanwhile, Peter’s insatiable appetite for knowledge about his dad's secret genetic research leads him to Dr. Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans—excellent,) a geneticist at Oscorp who gives him dad's secret formula to restore missing limbs using reptilian DNA. Bad move! The good doctor uses it to repair his own severed arm and boom! The "Lizard" is born! An eight-foot tall creature that Spider-Man has to stop before the crazed reptile-doctor can turn the whole city into lizards like him!
And Stan Lee makes his requisite cameo in the movie! Of course!
Garfield, as Parker/Spidey, looks more at home than Maguire did and resonates more emotion on screen, especially with Emma Stone who, as it was reported, were dating at the time.
Director Marc Webb has delivered a leaner, meaner, gritter version of our beloved Spider-Man that keeps faithful to the comic books, but in the process, loses the playfulness and comic book tone that made the Raimi "Spider-Man"'s so enjoyable to watch. Whereas the Raimi's had color, brightness, and kitsch, Webb's movie is more muted, dark, and serious and therein lies the missing key factor: Raimi's famous direction. The man is a genius at it and it shows in every movie he makes. Webb has directed only one other film, "(500) days of Summer".
Still, it's a damn fine reboot, or remake, or reimagining or whatever the hell you call 'em these days (see below) and should be seen, if nothing else than for the "new" Spidey look.
REBOOTS, REMAKES, & REIMAGININGS
Seriously, has Hollywood lost the ability to come up with any ORIGINAL ideas? Has this concept become foreign to screenwriters? Hey, guys! I've got at least a dozen fresh ideas that DON'T involves zombies, werewolves, or vampires! Anyway, given that the new(est) "Spider-Man" is out, I thought I'd give you a run down of some of the old/new/upcoming reboots, or remakes, or whatchamacallit's that are out there:
Looks like director Tim Burton of late has made some truly bad choices in remakes: his "Planet of the Apes", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", and his recent "Dark Shadows" have all been real stinkeroos.
"Godzilla" (1998) by Roland Emmerich was a chance for the U.S. to play "catch-up" with Japan and tout our own Godzilla monster in NYC with Matthew Broderick. A massive budget, a creature that was shape-shifting iguana, and a goofy plot sunk this movie pronto!
"Psycho" (1998) A truly WTF movie. Universal Studios actually greenlit director Gus Van Zant for a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece with Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn!! Sir Alfred not only rolled over in his grave...he SPUN!
And the list goes on and on with such titles as: "Conan the Barbarian", "Arthur" with Russell Brand, Peter Jackson's "King Kong" (plus other remakes), "Shaft" with Samuel L. Jackson, "Rollerball", "The Manchurian Candidate" with Denzel Washington, "The Pink Panther" (Steve Martin is NO Peter Sellers!), and what list would be complete without an Adam Sandler movie debacle in it? That's right, his 2005 "The Longest Yard" is legendary.
Now don't get me wrong, SOME remakes/reboots are GOOD! Case in point:
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" rolled out all CGI apes and an emotionally moving motion-capture Andy Serkis as Caesar that was as good as the powerful script. James Franco added depth as Caesar's "father" and a sequel is already in the works.
"True Grit" with Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, and Matt Damon. The magnificent Coen Brothers kept it by the book and spouted such delicious dialog that I was impressed that they didn't dumb it down for the audience! Plus it starred Steinfeld, a Thousand Oaks resident and how cool is that!?
"Oceans 11" had such a fun (large) cast, script, dialog, direction by Steven Soderbergh that LOOKED like fun for Clooney, Damon, Cheadle, Pitt, et al, to be in it. Okay, sure "Oceans 12" stunk, but "Oceans 13" more than made up for it.
"3:10 to Yuma" with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe is about as good as it gets in Western tales. A simple tale of a simple man joining a posse that will take a dangerous outlaw to a train to his ultimate prison cell far away is gripping.
John Carpenter's "The Thing" starring Kurt freaking Russell. Watch this movie again and remember this: ALL the special creature-effects were done pre-CGI. That right, kiddies, NO computers! Besides a tight script, claustrophobic direction, eerie music, and a damn fine cast (no women!), this movie was made with REAL props!!
And other great remake or reboots include "The Italian Job" with Mark Wahlberg & Charlize Theron, "Little Shop of Horrors" which got turned into a stage musical, THEN a movie musical!, "Father of the Bride" with Steve Martin, Warren Beatty in "Heaven Can Wait", "The Magnificent Seven" which traded samurai's for guns. Say what you will, but Streisand's "A Star is Born" was a great remake. Jeff ("Be afraid! Be very afraid!") Goldblum in "The Fly" was damn good as was Al ("Say 'allo' to my leetle friend") Pacino in "Scarface".
What's coming up?
"Total Recall" with Colin Farrell. Remaking the classic 80's Ahhnold sci-fi mega-hit
"Red Dawn" with Thor...sorry! I mean, Chris Hemsworth... and THIS time it's China that invades the US, not Russia. Huh?
"Akira": a live-action movie based on the insanely outrageous 1988 Japanese anime film and written by "Iron Man" writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby.
"Annie": Yes, the precocious little orphan who runs away from nasty Miss Hannigan
gets a color change with Will Smith's daughter, Willow, in the title role.
PLUS these films:(any sound familiar??) "All Quiet On The Western Front" , "Carrie", "Child's Play", "Pet Sematary", "My Fair Lady", "Robocop", "Short Circuit", "Dirty Dancing", "Point Break", "The Birds", "The Crow", "Barbarella", "WarGames, "The Neverending Story", "The Seven Samurai", "The Magnificent Seven", and more!
Want the whole list? Go to: www.nextmovie.com/blog/upcoming-movie-remakes