I remember when I heard that Christopher Nolan would be directing Batman Begins. One of his previous movies, Memento, was dark and brilliant, so one can understand that my hopes were high for the reboot of the Batman series.
I was quite satisfied with the first movie in the trilogy, but then Nolan went out and directed a sequel, The Dark Knight, which remains my favorite superhero movie to this day. I am eagerly awaiting The Dark Knight Rises later in the month.
But I think that Nolan’s brilliant reboot is an exception to the rule. The previous Batman films were corny, much like the original film, and really lost my attention after Batman (1989) starring Michael Keaton. What Nolan had to offer was a completely different take on the series, portraying the darker side of Batman as seen in recent comics.
So that brings me to The Amazing Spider-Man. This film was directed by Marc Webb, whose feature-length directorial debut was (500) Days of Summer. Like Memento, this film found its success by traveling the film festival circuit. But unlike Memento, (500) Days of Summer is a quirky comedy-drama.
As I sat down last night to watch The Amazing Spider-Man, I had somewhat low expectations. I knew that I wasn’t being introduced to a Spider-Man equivalent of the Dark Knight and I was just hoping that the film would have something new to offer. To start out, I was pleased with the casting. Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker) and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) achieve much better chemistry on screen than Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson) ever did. Plus, the Peter Parker in the reboot is still an awkward and impulsive teenager without having the goofiness that Maguire brought to the role.
Really, there is not much to complain about with the new film. If it weren’t for the fact that a trilogy was just released, I would probably be raving about it right now. But there is really nothing new brought to the table. Spider-Man’s villain, the Lizard, is not worthy of special recognition. The origin story also takes a long time to unfold and is basically another retelling of a boy getting bit by a radioactive spider.
So what are we to think of all of these reboots? I just saw the preview for the new Total Recall movie, which is a remake of the Swarzenegger movie (not Philip K Dick’s short story). Christopher Nolan’s next project is Man of Steel, a Superman reboot. Now that most of the popular comic book characters have been made into films, Hollywood may be forced to develop their own scripts.
Which leads us to Prometheus, a film I finally managed to see earlier in the week. It wasn’t as bad as critics pan it to be, but the characters were quite shallow and there really was no good plot resolution. Until this week, I had been lamenting the fact that as a father of twin toddlers, I was not able to make it to the movies anymore. The Amazing Spider-Man was definitely worth the trip and I am even more eager to see the new Batman and Borne movies coming out in the next month. Otherwise, generally speaking, I’m not missing much.