" While I want to give it a perfect score I just can't. Why? Because barely 10% of this 'action movie' actually delivers any real action to speak of. "
Title: Spider-Man by Columbia Pictures
Format: Major Motion Picture
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: One of the longest running comics in history is finally making its major motion picture debut. Join Peter Parker, the once geeky recluse, as he is bitten by a genetically engineered spider and develops powers galore, tries to woo the girl, and fights his best friend's dad in vicious duels to the death.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Acting: Spider-Man has
always been my favorite comic book character, and his origins (which is really
what this movie is about) are at least half the reason why. The quintessential
"any-man" story, Spider-Man's hero (the afore mentioned Peter Parker) is neither
rich nor famous- he's just some average schmoe who eventually is thrust into
a pretty outrageous situation. Indeed, for that matter, he is born a geek, lives
a geek, and- despite eventually being granted super-natural powers, and remains
a geek even into his superherodom.
Living a typical high school science geek lifestyle, Peter is on a field trip when a spider bite infects his DNA and eventually gives him the proportionate strength, wall crawling ability, and reflexes of an arachnid. Not all honey and roses, however, his over all life doesn't improve- but actually deteriorates, because not only does his new ad hoc lifestyle of "super powered geek" fail to get him the girl, it also eventually leads to the inadvertent murder of his uncle (it's the classic 'kid becomes uber tough, kid becomes pro wrestler, kid lets villain escape because kid is pissed at wrestling promoter villain just robbed, villain kills kid's uncle while waiting to give kid ride' story). Then, in a desperate call to vindicate himself Peter becomes a blue and red spandex wearing super hero who becomes completely dedicated to taking out criminals any chance he gets.
Unfortunately, in the great coincidence of comic-heroism, Spider-Man's rise to prominence is directly mirrored by the creation of his super-villain nemesis, the Green Goblin. Epic battles ensue as these two-wage war to determine who has the most hackneyed hero name.
Okay, so it's a bit trite. That doesn't mean it's not a lot of fun. And though you'll see the plot turns and twists from 8 miles away, the cast manages to carry it off with sufficient sincerity that, for the most part, you'll happily be taken with this very classic tale of trials and tribulations. Really, the only glaring flaw in the story's portrayal is the occasionally paper-thin two-dimensional scripting. Which often requires characters to drastically change emotions for no particular reason and entirely without warning and occasionally delivers lines reminiscent of the old 1970's Batman TV show. 3.5 out of 5
Action: You know, given the choice, I'd want to give action a perfect score! I want to give it a solid 5 because the action is dynamic, creative, and everything we Spider-Man fans have always hoped to see on the big screen. Spidey twists, flips, and leaps with all of the coordination and fluidity of his comic book counter part…Which, when you really stop and think about it, is damned impressive. The fight scenes are entertaining and sufficiently light hearted to convey the dry wit of our friendly neighborhood wall crawler and the use of his powers is down right epic. But, as I said, while I want to give it a perfect score I just can't. Why? Because in a 130 minute movie there's less than 15 minutes of action. Yup, you heard me right…Barely 10% of this "action movie" actually delivers any real action to speak of. And I don't know about you, but action is half the reason I go to these movies…and to see almost no delivery is down right criminal. I can't believe Sam Raimi, comic book geek that he is, could so blatantly ignore the single thing fans wanted to see most on the big screen. I mean, don't get me wrong- the love story's important and all, but how in good conscience could you rob the story of its most visual element is beyond me. First X-Men and now this…I really hope this isn't a continuing trend with all the other comic movies that are coming out. 4 out of 5
Visuals and Directing: Spidey's directing
is actually quite solid. Good shot choices, pleasantly dramatic arcs, and of
course a ton of "Ms. Watson" cheesecake highlighting the phenomenally attractive
Kirsten Dunst. That's the good news.
The bad news is that, hands down, the CGI is sub par. While in the theater I heard someone comment that it "looks like Shrek" and that's probably the most accurate assessment I've heard. No, that doesn't mean it has the same dynamic style as Shrek- it means that when they switch to CGI for Spidey and Goblin it becomes painfully obvious and actually looks like you're watching Shrek! Overly pastel, cartoony, and very artificial- I know I'm not alone when I say I expected way, way more from the visuals in this flick. 3 out of 5
Sound Track: Let me break this section down into two simple statements: The score was great, the soundtrack was contrived. What that means, in short, is that the actual score used during the movie was outstanding. Dramatic, fitting, and moving- Danny Elfman again works his magic. And that's all good. What's annoying, and boy howdy is it painfully so, is the blatantly commercial placement of "sound track" songs throughout the movie. Desperate for the radio tie-in's, Columbia and Sony Pictures (their distributor) jam Spidey chalk full of inappropriate background songs by name artists for no particular reason and often at completely inappropriate times. It's a marketing demon gone totally awry. 4 out of 5
Value vs. Admission: It's bright, fun, colorful, exciting, and true to the comic's heart and soul. All of which is great. Add the fact that you're getting 2 hours and 10 minutes for your hard earned bucks and you've got a great investment however you cut it. 5 out of 5
|Not just a good comic book movie but a good movie in general, Spider-Man deserves the blockbuster status it's been given. Sure, it has some pretty blatant failings but when you compare that against what it delivers you'll end up feeling pretty damned good about joining Spidey on a swing through town.|
The Good: They've captured Spider-Man in all his glory.
The Bad: Hollywood take note: ACTION MOVIES SHOULD HAVE ACTION IN THEM!
The Overall Ugly: See it twice; it's more than worth it.
What it's Worth: Braining the guy in front of you if he buys the last ticket.