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Home / Articles / Entertainment / Screen /  Squash the spider, man!
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Thursday, May 8,2014

Squash the spider, man!

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ is icky

By Ryan Syrek

Spider-man’s new costume looks swell, and Emma Stone is charming. Those are the only two things about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 I didn’t hate with the fiery anger of a thousand exploding suns. Every other performance, every last bit of dialogue and plot, every character beat, every joke, every garishly cartoonish action sequence can die a painful, prolonged death before languishing in the bowels of whatever hell is reserved for mindless, exploitive cash grabs masquerading as movies.

Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are franchise serial killers, having parasitically attached themselves to Transformers and Star Trek, among others. That two living, breathing human beings can routinely produce content this noxious and vapid without remorse is almost impressive. Orci is a known conspiracist who believes 9/11 was “an inside job,” so he obsessively inserts sinister secrecy into everything he writes. Here, that means starting a Spider-Man movie with a prolonged action sequence where Peter Parker’s father (Campbell Scott) fights to ensure the truth about governmental bioweapons gets out.

We then skip to Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) fighting The Rhino, played by Paul Giamatti, whose Russian accent makes Boris and Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle seem nuanced. The fight makes Peter miss his gal Gwen (Emma Stone) giving a graduation speech about death, a completely appropriate thing to talk about at commencement. Gwen and Peter are onagain-off-again because Pete feels guilty after her dying father (Dennis Leary) told him to stay away from her in the last film. In case you forgot, the chubby ghost of Dennis Leary frequently pops up, telling Petey to “quit touchin’ mah daughter!” with his dead eyes.

Enter Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), who is somehow Pete’s “best bud” despite the pair not having talked since they were 12. Harry and his daddy have an unnamed familial disease that turns them into goblins. He needs Spider-Man’s blood for a cure; to get it, he enlists the help of Electro ( Jamie Foxx), a newly superpowered bad guy. Then there’s a violent CGI orgy that fumbles its way to a climax so unearned it’s offensive.

It’s hard to pick one worst moment, but here are some to consider: Gwen insists she join Spidey at the power plant because she “knows the schematics” and can turn the electricity back on, only to arrive and flip one giant, clearly labeled switch. Garfield’s spazzy, twitching delivery turns Peter from “troubled youth” to “mentally unwell.” Foxx’s character makes Urkel from Family Matters look like a babe magnet; it’s easily the most embarrassing thing he’s ever done, and he once played a character named Bunz in the film Booty Call. DeHaan’s hair, both before and after his goblin transformation, is a follicle hate crime. I have more...

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a dire warning of where our current superhero movie binge could lead. Offensively dumb, clumsily performed, lazily conceived, it is a descendent of the 1990s Batman sequels. To borrow from Aliens, this franchise (and Orci and Kurtzman) should be nuked from orbit, just to be safe. But hey, at least the costume looked neat.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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I haven't seen the movie yet, but I love your writing! "...only to arrive and flip one giant, clearly labeled switch" LOL!

 

If you do see it, and Oh momma am I NOT recommending you do, count the number of times she directly mentions her in-depth knowledge and then read the note on the switch...

 

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You, assuming you have more than a functioning brain stem in your skull, are not the intended audience for this product (and I do mean PRODUCT). The comic-con dorks, er people who turn out for everything and anything Spiderman or Batman, no matter how "vapid," is the only audience the Hollywood money guys can count on to hand over the dough. Like the way commercials have been replaced by "branding," this is cinema by market research, made by people who have spent millions to figure out how to move product to 12 year olds (chronical 12-year-olds, or otherwise). This is modern film. In the studio days film was backed by money guys in New York just like now, but the studios were run by movie people who still wanted to make good films, even if they failed. Today? It's ALL about branding and product.

 

It took me a minute to decide whether you were suggesting I didn't have a brain or not...which is probably not the best sign I have one... Anyway, I do agree that much of the mainstream stuff is very calculated these days. But, that being said, we live in an age when more filmmakers than ever before can get their movies in front of us, through unconventional distribution and cheaper technology that allows them to make their movies without a huge financial investment. And, if that's not encouraging enough, there are some smart, fun, big movies coming our way this summer, including next week's Godzilla!

 

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YOU SIR ARE A HATER! THIS WAS AN EXCELLENT EFFORT FOR THE SPIDER-MAN FRANCHISE. THIS HERE WAS A ONESIDED HATER RANT. WATCH THE MOVIE IN 3-D, IT'S A GREAT MOVIE.

 

First off, thanks for reading! Even if you hated the review, it means a lot that you took the time to at least entertain my opinion! Second, I feel like you've significantly upped my street cred, as I have never been called a "hater" before. I didn't choose the thug life... Finally, I'm actually glad you liked the film. I had a friend once who said that "every movie is somebody's favorite." I like that thought. Hope you keep reading, I'm bound to like something you do soon!

 

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If you liked the amazing spider-man cartoons then this movie is for you. It has that feel brought to you in a cinematic form and the IMAX version was something definitely worth the watch.

 

Man, I LOVED the spidey cartoons. In fact, I love spidey so much, I'm getting a tattoo that involves him this summer. For real! I don't disagree that the film looked pretty good, when it didn't slide into full video game madness. But to me, this wasn't the spiderman that any of us deserved.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT

I haven't seen the movie as of yet but your descriptive writing is awesome, "fiery anger of a thousand exploding suns" 

 

D'aw shucks... I should really be thanking the editorial folks who strongly discourage long strings of obscenities for forcing me to find new ways of expressing my anger...

 

 
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