Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cinema Babble: Why reboot, you may ask...

The Flick: The Amazing Spiderman

The Peeps: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Marin Sheen,  Sally Field, Campbell Scott, etc.

The Dealio: The back story: Teenager Peter Parker, (Garfield), is the  son of a pair of remarkably gifted parents who...just disappear one day, leaving him in the care of Aunt May (Field) and Uncle Ben (Sheen, aging with the help of a wardrobe of rugs that would turn Shatner green with envy). After the obligatory spider bite, he discovers a lot about both himself and his parents, before embarking on a one man crusade to right wrongs. Into this tsunami of change and revelation wanders Gwen Stacy (Stone), a fellow student at their high school, who has been on Parker's radar as a  sort of impossible crush for quite a while. Against the backdrop of the standard superhero exposition comes a wisp of fresh air in the form of life as a teenager coping, not only with high school life as one of the disenfranchised: the brainy nerd who snaps photos for the school paper, but is still the butt of scorn and ridicule from the king-jocks. Like being a teenager isn't enough of a challenge, right? And, then, he begins to exhibit some very impressive physical capabilities. As we fly (sorry, had to be done) towards the climactic cross-town web-swing-a-thon, we are left with several strands of plot we want to see resolved: will he thwart the grandiose and malignant machinations of the evil Lizard? Will he find out what happened to his dad and mom? Will he ever figure out what branzino is? And, most importantly of all: will he get the girl?

The Grading Session: 4.91 pengies out of 5. I know, I know: why all the pengies? Well, I deliberately put off seeing this flick for a week or so, because I wasn't sure I wanted- or needed- a new Spiderman. Well, I did. Just didn't know it yet. I was especially impressed with the terrific chem between all the leads. I loved that there was a grounding in the science- as well as the violence- that led to Parker being sans parents. I appreciated the way he not only fully embraced his nerd-dom, but also used it as a springboard to place himself into the path of people who may have some 411 on his parents and their work. And, I vastly  admired the effort to make this a story told with emotion, ebullience (yep, I said it) and spirit, in a world that was not always, unremittingly, sepia-toned and dark, drear and dank. Even our villain was buffeted by  the wind-sheers of conscience, self-interest and megalomania.  This was a really well-balanced and engaging entry into the super-hero genre. Welcome, Amazing Spidey! Glad to meetcha.

Lessons Learned: First: Do not mess with Ma Nature. You will not like the results, even if, at first, the powers are pretty bitchin'. Next this: you can not have a super hero rise without a launching tragedy. It is only the superior stories which do not get bogged down here, but rather, use this as a springboard rather than an anvil around the neck of the story. Lastly this: if you see a guy's eyes turn lizard-like, and you have a few moments to decide between sticking around to see what happens next (out of, say, intellectual curiosity) or running like Hell...pick the latter. You can always catch up on the former in the paper.

Noteable Quotables: 'Thirty-eight of New York's finest versus...a guy in a unitard?!'
'We're having branzino.' 'Oh. Yeah. Branzino. Um...' 'It's a fish.' 'Riiight.'

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