In my recent discussion of Prometheus I talked about how the film was going to be a struggle for Morgue because of his investment in the franchise; and I guess that a similar concept is in play with me and Spiderman. I am not actually the world’s biggest Spiderman fan, but I suspect I have more love for him than the average person. Here’s a sampler of I love – he’s one of the few heroes that seems to enjoy being a hero, he’s one of the few heroes who doesn’t let himself get drawn into the murky “might makes right” arguments, he respects and admires other heroes instead of being a prima donna, and he is literally always cracking a joke.
But, at this point, I am pretty disillusioned with the first films in superhero sequences. Going into this film, I thought “man, do I really need to see Uncle Ben get killed again and hear the Great Power=Great Responsibility speech?” and the basic answer is: not at all. Nobody does. If there is a single person who forked out money to see this who didn’t know exactly how that would play out, I will be shocked. It must be the best known origin story of any super hero by a country mile, and so, like doing Romeo and Juliet, you need to really bring something seriously original to that to justify the exercise.
A Spiderman film done with verve and zest and being true to the character is never going to be bad. The question is, how good is it going to be, how radically will it redefine its characters while keeping their essence?
Well… this movie didn’t even try to do that. It played out the basic contents of The Amazing Spiderman Comic adequately, but there was just nothing new or surprising about it. It was the most boring movie that it possibly could have been with the basic story ingredients it had to play with. Every single creative decision was the safe by-the-book option, with absolutely no attempt to grow or stretch or innovate whatsoever.
But, goddamnit, I still enjoyed every freaking second of it. And that makes me part of the problem. Or, at least, not part of the solution. So look, do me a favour that I can’t do for myself – if you want good quality innovative and interesting movies, don’t go see Spiderman. You’ll enjoy yourself in the moment, but the cost in the long run of allowing this level of creative laziness will be that this is the best you could ever hope for after this. Save yourself, and more importantly, save me from myself.
[Edit 1] Just read Film Crit Hulk‘s demolition of this film; one of his main problems is the character/personality of Spiderman, and I can totally see how he’s right about that. I really wasn’t thinking here about anything more than the shiny surface, which is, I think, done well.