Amazing Spider-Man, the Weeping Wuss

Spider-Man is still a teenager. Five movies and two actors in, we have yet to see a powerful badass who could hope to hang with The Avengers or the X-Men. This sucks. Spider-Man could be our greatest on-screen action hero. Instead we get a weepy teenage bitch.

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Filmmakers can fix Spider-Man movies with big action and rough-and-tumble gangster bad guys

The best comic-book movies embrace their hero’s abilities. X-Men 2 remains the gold standard, because it was a series of creative action scenes embracing characters’ powers. Nightrcrawler teleports into the White House, vanishing and reappearing as secret service agents try to shoot him. Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike use their claws to stab each other hundreds of times within a few minutes. Magneto’s escape from his plastic prison, with little balls of metal pulled from a security guard’s blood, is kind of brilliant.

The Avengers was the same way. The director had fun with the characters’ powers and their personalities. The fights are great and the banter’s sharp.

(The Dark Knight doesn’t count. No super powers. It’s different.)

The filmmakers behind Amazing Spider-Man are so proud of themselves for telling the Gwen Stacy storyline, which was written decades ago and absolutely feels dated. They are old men who don’t read comic books for fun. Instead of embracing Spider-Man’s singular abilities—web shooting, danger detection, super strength, contortionist’s agility—they emphasize Peter Parker’s angst.

The wrong guy directs these movies. The actions scenes are spaced apart, abbreviated, and terrible. The fight with Electro in Times Square is not a fight. It’s like a negotiation with a baby. (Jamie Foxx’s performance as Electro reminded me of the Kilmer and Clooney Batman movies.) The fight with Electro in the power plant is a fight—in which Electro’s electricity doesn’t damage Spider-Man.

Mark Webb directed the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer before taking on Spider-Man. “There is an incredibly innocent and tender quality to Peter Parker,” he said. Yeah, that’s not why he’s cool.

It kills me to think Iron Man has become cooler than Spider-Man. The Spider-Man character is beloved and possibly Marvel’s greatest. In the comic books he often teams up with the X-Men and Fantastic Four. He actually joined The Avengers. He’s incredibly powerful, with a singular skill set—super strength, danger detection, web shooting, contortionist’s agility. He’s smart and tough, a savvy crime fighter and vanquisher of super villains. The movies always want to linger in his formative years, eschewing what makes him—Hello?—amazing.

Peter Parker cries nine times in ASM2. Wolverine would never team up with this wimp

Where the fuck is Venom?

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