Wednesday, June 20, 2012

UK "Spider-Man" Reviews Are In

With shockingly little fanfare (as in, did anyone outside the UK actively know that "Amazing Spider-Man" was having it's premiere there early?) "The Amazing Spider-Man" had it's World Premiere in the UK last night, and the reviews have started to come in.

The good news? Mostly positive. Not the explosive enthusiam that hit after "Avengers" started showing, by any means; but also nowhere near the disasterous reactions that greeted "Green Lantern."

The bad news? One of the MOST positive reviews (from The Telegraph) calls it "The superhero film for the 'Twilight' generation." Which feels strange to read, given that I was told it was ridiculous of me to nickname the film "Spiderlight" during it's production, even though turning the franchise into a "Twilight"-competitor was widely-reported to be Sony's original pitch for the reboot. Oh, well...

io9 has a nice rundown of the other major UK Press reviews - one of which might have revealed something that probably shouldn't considered a spoiler but which I'm going to put after the "jump" anyway...


The Standard's review (negative) is the first I've seen anywhere that seems to mentions Norman Osborn appearing in the film as a character. I think pretty-much everyone expected him to show up anyway, since his company plays such a big part in the new storyline, but this is the first time anyone has SAID it.

Interestingly, he's refered to as "dying plutocrat" Norman Osborn, which gives me a really icky feeling. The original films monkeyed around with The Green Goblin's origin, too, but at least preserved the original basic idea of a seemingly-decent corporate guy who unwittingly manifests his own Id "Jekyll & Hyde"-style. I don't know that there's a way to read "dying plutocrat" and not think that this won't be "Osborn is funding the research that makes Spider-Man and Lizard in order to cure himself;" which would be SPECTACULARLY trite - especially if it means he'll wind-up shooting-up with Spidey/Lizard-making-stuff and turning into some version of the shitty Ultimate-Universe Goblin in the all-but-innevitable "Batman Begins" Joker-tease stinger.


Anonymous said...

I got the sense that the "twilight of superhero films" comparison was meant to indicate the film focuses on the romance in a high school setting with a happy couple as opposed to comparing it to the quality of the Twilight films themselves.

I love Raimi's films (I even think Spider-Man 3 gets little too much hate than it deserves). However the first two dealt with the "love from-afar" kind of story , and through the third film all Peter and MJ did was fight.

Call it taking a leap of faith, but I think the Twilight thing just meant we actually get to see a happy teenage couple for more than a couple of minutes. I tend to think that if it actually were the Twilight of superhero films in terms of quality, rather than content, the reviews would be far more scathing.

Jacob Beck said...

So at least it could be a good date night.

Daniel said...

Is there any reason to believe this reboot isn't purposefully trying to be Ultimate Spider-Man? Some minor tweaks had to be done since they can't have Norman Osborn working on Cap's super-soldier serum, so they changed that to Osborn working on a cure for himself. Also, instead of having Dr. Connors work for Stark he had to work for Osborn. I haven't read Ultimate Spider-Man personally, but from Wikipedia it seems like (in addition to the Green Goblin thing) the bit where Dr. Connors worked with Richard Parker also came from the Ultimate Universe.

Anonymous said...

I am not really looking forward to this film, I am really mostly looking forward towards TDKR. BUT having said that CAN WE PLEASE stop with the whole "now everything has to be compared to The Avengers just because thats the way Super-Hero films should be now" shtick, its getting old. The Avengers was fun and it was good but it was no where near being an excellent film. I personally am glad that this film is doing okay, I think its always good when these films do well and go beyond the typical comic-book nerd circle. I plan on seeing it but not right away.

Fallen Angel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fallen Angel said...

This still doesn't convince me that this reboot is not gonna suck. But hey, that Telegrpah article made me laugh my socks off.

By the way, has anyone checked out the comment sections for the Amazing Spider-Man trailers on youtube? Jeez, the stuff you read on there...

Steven said...

Aww poor Bob is bitter :)

The telegraph gave the avengers 4 stars just like they did spiderman and called it "contemporary popcorn cinema".

Phil said...

The only real solid connection to Ultimate Spider-Man I have seen at this point is this movie's depiction of George Stacy. This Stacy is clearly based on the Ultimate Marvel Universe one. The grand majority of things like Parker meeting Gwen Stacy before MJ, web shooters, Parker's age when the story starts, the origin and details of Dr. Conners/Lizard, etc... are all unlike Ultimate Spider-Man.

Omegalittlebob said...


Anything but the Ultimate Green Goblin!

AmazinglyDisappointed said...

Movie Bob, I generally hold you to a higher standard than the typical internet review. So when I see posts like this it really disappoints me. Your hate for this film is so illogical it borders on parody. You have gone so above and beyond out of your way to hate this film that you try to find absolutely anything you can muster to justify hating this. So 1 review mentioned "Twilight" in his review? And this is proof of....? Not only was it a positive review but it's quite clear that the only reason that reviewer mentioned "Twilight" was because it was on his mind from all the irrational fanboy outrage over this reboot by throwing around "Twilight" again and again. Yet that doesn't even matter because it was a POSITIVE review.

I don't have twitter but I was curious to look at your twitter feed to see if you had anything to say and sure enough you typed in a bunch of prejudiced B.S.:

Movie Bob Twitter comments:

1) Oh, but don't worry kids - he'll still tell bad jokes when he fights, and apparently that's ALL SPIDER-MAN HAS EVER BEEN ABOUT!, right?

(First of all, they aren't "bad jokes". The "small knives" line was hilarious. Spider-Man is funny, not corny like the Sam Raimi movies. Second, this is a horrible question by you. Is Spider-Man's wit all that he has ever been about? I don't know Bob. Would Mohammad Ali have been the same without his taunts and disses at his opponents?)

2) Here's my rubric for this: If a Spidey review includes a poor assessment of the first 2 Raimi movies, its not worth a damn.

(How about if I only have a poor assessment of the 1st Raimi movie? I never liked the 1st movie only Raimi's second movie. Am I worth only a half a damn?)

3) It feels wrong to root against Spider-Man. But I'm not - I'm rooting against Sony. Sony and pointless cash-grab "reboots." Fuck em both.

(If you are rooting against the company who made this movie then you are rooting against this movie. Trying to rationalize childish reactions is pure desperation.)

4) Come to me; shitty-looking, unecessaery remake of "Spider-Man"... I want to BASK in your pain.

(Look at that. Yeah, the chances for a fair and balanced review from you of this movie are about as likely as a fair and balanced interview from Bill O'Reilly. Real mature of you, Bob)

Seriously man, you constantly instruct other people to behave like rational human beings and adults in your videos but you behave in regards to this movie like a spoiled 10 year old brat. Why don't you just publish your review for this movie already since you clearly made up your mind long ago? If not, then act like a damn professional!

Dave from canada said...

So no comment on how for literally the past 2 years you've been saying this movie was obviously going to be terrible and everyone who thought different was obviously morally and mentally deficient?

You were wrong. Not just once, but often and publicly. You spun pretty much everything in this film as negative even when it was an example of the comic accuracy that you so fetishize.

You even argued that a snarky superhero wouldn't work (it's not like the marvel cinematic universe doesn't run on RDJ's snark or anything)

You crowed about how it was only a few months left until you were proven right.

Have some fucking integrity for once in your life and own up to it.

Blue Highwind said...

Out of the three big superhero movies this year, I assumed Spiderman would be the worst. But I'm rooting for this one, still am, mostly because my four-year-old brother loves Spiderman, he could use a good movie.

Lord Slithor said...

Hey Bob, I've got some crow in the freezer I've been saving for just this occasion. Think I'll go thaw it out, now! ;)

Seriously, though, you've had it out for this movie from day one, when there was absolutely nothing in the trailers to suggest it was going to be bad. I don't know why you've felt that way, but I'm guessing it was because 1) The movie was made simply so Sony could keep the rights from going back to Marvel, which I'll agree was a douchey thing to do. And 2) You're butthurt that it's not Sam Raimi directing.

I've said before, I never really liked Raimi's films. I felt they were all wrong with regards to the Spider-Man I knew. And Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker was just awful. I think Andrew Garfield is a much better fit in the role, and everything I've seen is in keeping with everything I know about Spider-Man. So I see no reason to complain from my perspective.

A lot of people - including you, I believe - also felt the same way about X-Men: First Class, as many also saw it as nothing more than a shallow cash-grab from Fox to simply keep the franchise going. And when people were surprised that turned out to actually be a very good film, everyone changed their tune. I predict the same thing will happen with Amazing Spider-Man.

MerelyAFan said...

Honestly I think the expectations that this will be a Green Lantern esque bomb or an absurdly successful blockbuster are both a little off. It'll most likely be a moderate hit that earns enough money for Sony that it was worth it beyond just holding the rights. Critically it'll please an amount who weren't into the Raimi films, but likely turn some off.

Kind of like Ultimate Spider-Man itself, thinking about it.

Brendan said...

I hate to say it, but I have to agree with some of the sentiments expressed in these other reactions. I've liked seeing your insights on a number of films both here and at the Escapist, and I'm not overly pumped for this new Spider-Man movie, but I feel you're committing a cardinal sin amongst critics.

Namely, you are judging a movie A) based on its marketing and B) on whether it lives up what you think it should be. Neither of those factors should matter; you should judge a film based on its own merits and whether it does what it set out to do well. You seem to have already made up your mind, and despite the early press being mostly positive you're still going on about how terrible it will be.

I'm not saying you have to profess to love the film, or even be looking forward to it, but a slightly more nuanced approach would be nice.

MerelyAFan said...

Interestingly enough, given that you just did a Big Picture related to the subject, the Twilight-esque nature referred to in the aforementioned review seems to be in part to the film's gaze on Parker himself which seems more in line with the female directed fanservice of the Twilight films than a male power fantasy typically seen in superhero fare.

Given the sudden awareness of a female audience by studio execs in the wake of Twilight's success I can't say its a big surprise.

Anonymous said...

Bob's not the only one who hates this idea of a reboot. I've had it out with this film since day one. Not for what it sets out to do (though re-telling the story of Spider-Man as "the untold story" is pretty pointless), but for what it represents: a cynical, CGI-overloaded, completely unnecessary cash-grab that's coming to a cinema near you in FUCKING 3D.

Weren't the same people who are now shitting on the original trilogy for no good reason (except Spider-Man 3. That IS a valid reason) the same people who complained about the first teaser for the reboot was ripped-off from Mirror's Edge and lamenting the passing of Raimi's Spidey films?

Thing is, I don't fucking care. So what if it's edgier, darker, flashier? Not every superhero needs to be dark. For that matter, why do all reboots need to be dark?

Oh, and Spidey's wisecrackin' that everyone is claiming "that's all Spider-Man has ever been about, COZ IT'S CLOSA TO DA COMIX?". Yeah, sorry that "small knives" joke is kinda ruined when Spidey proceeds to act like a douchebag and literally torment the guy in a prolonged moment of humiliation that just isn't funny.

Right. Rant over. Sorry, just ain't seeing it.

Dominic said...

Spider-Man as a jerk? Yes, please. Finally, a sensible reason for the police to be regarding him as an unstable vigilante, and hunting him down. We as an audience know Peter Parker and know that he means well underneath the bluster - to punish criminals without seriously hurting them, in the way they did to him - but now we can also sympathise with the Jameson-esque "public menace" outcry. I hope they explore this well enough in the actual film.

I don't think it'll have a patch on the Raimi series, mind, but it should have its own pleasures.

VenomCarnage said...

CGI overload? You sure you're not looking at footage from Raimi's movies without realizing it? Those Raimi movies had tons of CGI and much of the time it was not needed. Half the time in the action scenes it looked like a cartoon. Really disappointed me that this came from Raimi who was one of the practical effects kings of the 80s. Doesn't age well. The majority of this one, for the most of the swinging for example, was done a la practical which is not only far better but will never age.

Do you have any proof that the same people that are shitting on Raimi's movies for "no good reason" are the same ones that said the teaser was ripped-off from Mirror's Edge? If not, that is quite a stupid comment.

This movie doesn't seem "dark" (unless you mean most of Spidy's scenes will take place at nighttime) it appears to be taking itself seriously which is a good thing. Camp, like what Raimi did with his movies, is easy to pull off and can annoy and ruin easily.

And you're calling Spider-Man a douchebag in that car jacker scene? I can't tell if you are so blinded with fanboy hate over wanting to see this movie fail that you can't think straight or you have had little contact with the outside world so your priorities are all outta wack. Fella, the car jacker was about to STEAL SOMEONE'S CAR. You're telling me that the guy that stopped him and properly humiliated him for wanting to STEAL SOMEONE'S CAR is instead the douchebag?? And try to pay a little attention when watching a movie. Watch the scene again. After Spidy has the car jacker webbed to the wall he checks his wrist and tells him it could've been worse. Think about that. There's context there that you are missing.

I don't think the NYPD is putting out APB's on Spidy because he's hurting criminals' feelings as he's stopping them. You see, vigilantism is illegal.

And last time I checked, car jacker's are jerks not people who stop them and give them a little taste of their own medicine.

Anonymous said...


(same Anonymous here)

While I agree with you that the special effects in the first Spider-Man haven't aged well, I found Raimi perfected it in the second, blending CGI and practical effects together. Spider-Man's movement had more weight, more impact. Watching it today, it still looks as good as when it came out. And let me point you to that scene in Spider-Man 1 on the bride, when Spidey was hanging onto both Mary Jane and a tram full of schoolkids. Wasn't very convincing, was it? The trailers and previews for the reboot contain a scene that appears to be replicating that, with Spidey hanging onto a car. Except it STILL doesn't look convincing.

I have do have proof that the same people who bashed the first teaser on youtube are now bashing the original trilogy. If you're expecting some usernames, I didn't wirte any down because that would come off as just plain obssessive.

Yes, the Raimi movies were "camp" to a certain extent, but then the 60s Spidey comics were also camp. The Raimi movies were emulating the cool, corny style of the early comics. And yes, this reboot might take itself more seriously, but there's a fine line between serious and "dark n'gritty". There's no sense of fun (unless you think the lame Spidey jokes are funny, I suppose). It just comes across as trying to be like the Batman movies, which not every superhero movie NEEDS to be.

As for the carjacking scene, I'm gonna refer you to the following link:

Yeah, sorry, didn't laugh. Hope I addressed all your points. Sorry for the length ;)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I get the feeling you just decide to hate some movies no matter what eventually comes out about them, and only a complete 180 of everything you thought would change that, ala Real Steel.

Like how you'd already made your mind up about the Star Trek movie in 2008.

VenomCarnage said...


Ah, the Roger Ebert argument. Never made any sense to me that compliant of his and just like him you don't explain any reason as to what "weight" was lacking out of those scenes in the 1st Raimi movie. You see, all of the Spider-Man movies have the same kind of CGI effects. All of the action sequences in those Raimi moves half the time look like a cartoon. Look at Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man battling in that train sequence. The CG stuntmen are not only obvious (which takes me out of the scene) but also don't move realistically. Like the shot of Spider-Man jumping into the train, grabbing on a pole, jumping to the next pole and then jumping out of the train. That whole thing just looked inauthentic as if the CG model was being bent just so it can fit the space provided in the shot. It looks like a cartoon drawn unto a shot with real people and it doesn't age well.

On the other hand, the trailers for this look far better. Almost all of the swinging scenes look as if they were either done practically or at least digitally added an actual stuntman for the swinging scenes. It just looks more believable than the Raimi movies. And that car rescue scene looked good so I don't know what you are talking about there.

Perhaps you should take your issue with those people from youtube on youtube. It's still a bad argument because not everyone is like that. I loved the teaser and I was never satisfied by Raimi's Spider-Man movies. In fact, after the 3rd movie I actually told those around me that they should reboot the series. It's almost as if Sony heard my call.

I don't consider any of the camp in Raimi's Spider-Man movies to be "cool". It made my eyes roll. Raimi loves camp movies and it works for certain movies but I feel it really holds him back as a director because otherwise he has a real visual eye. No one takes him seriously though because he's always filling his movies with stupid camp.

Your idea of "fun" seems to be limited. You seem to be connecting "fun" with "camp". "Camp" is not the definition of "fun". Spider-Man has fun but that doesn't mean that his movies need to not take themselves seriously. Taking a story serious does not equal "Batman". Making a world that is believable (that does not mean "realistic" like Nolan's movies) and actually wanting to make a good story that features a free spirit like Spider-Man is what this movie is aiming to do and that is a good thing. What is not a good thing is having stupid camp and a weak storyline that pluck plot points out of soap operas like Raimi's movies (e.g. Harry hits his head and loses his memory and becomes a good guy... really?).

Oh and I already saw the full car jacking scene. That's where I sourced my comments to you in regards to it. That's why I told you:

"After Spidy has the car jacker webbed to the wall he checks his wrist and tells him it could've been worse. Think about that. There's context there that you are missing."

That's cause I saw the scene already and was pointing something out to you that you seemed to have missed.

Popcorn Dave said...

The bad news? One of the MOST positive reviews (from The Telegraph) calls it "The superhero film for the 'Twilight' generation." Which feels strange to read, given that I was told it was ridiculous of me to nickname the film "Spiderlight" during it's production, even though turning the franchise into a "Twilight"-competitor was widely-reported to be Sony's original pitch for the reboot. Oh, well...

That's all you've got? One guy mentioned Twilight so nyah nyah I was right all along? Daaaaaamn. It's really not looking good for you at this point, Bob.

I generally like your film reviews but the way you try and push your little agendas is seriously pathetic at times. I hope you don't embarrass yourself this much when Man of Steel turns out to be a load of crap (Disclaimer: Yes, Man of Steel might turn out to be good. But come on.)

Crafty Andy said...

Ultimate green goblin seems like a good idea to me. Just wish the Lizard looked more like the Lizard.
Lizard, what is wrong with your face!?

Dave from canada said...

@ Popcorn

There have been even more reviews since them. 4/5 stars almost across the board. At least 2 peopel say it is better than avengers and one says its the best superhero film since dark knight.

People really should read the 'twilight review' in its entirety.

He just says that it is the first superhero movie to court women. Specifically in that gwen stacy is as much a main character as peter and not just there to walk around in a wet pink dress.

Funny how bob makes all this pretense of being a feminist but isn't above using sexism to tar movies he doens't like. "girls might watch the new spiderman ! They have cooties!"

Popcorn Dave said...

Well, it's got to the point now that Bob's going to look like a fool no matter what. I mean, what are his options now? Is he going to stick to his guns and give a negative review? No matter how well he argues his case, no-one will believe for a moment that he gave the film a fair shot. A positive review? That might play a little better, but he'd have to admit he's been wasting his energy over meaningless fanboy bullsh!t for over a year.

I almost feel bad for the guy being in such a Catch-22, but he made his own bed. I'm still kinda stunned that someone who aspires to be an intellectual and professional can act like such a baby.

MerelyAFan said...

@ Popcorn Dave

I wonder if Bob was so convinced of ASM's failure that the concept of him dealing with the fallout if turned out okay never really occurred to him?

(Of course, keeping in mind that its still early and the film's critical and box office success is still up in the air.)

I do know on Twitter he's already expressed he'll be pissed if he doesn't like ASM and people use ASM's score on Rotten Tomatoes to prove he's biased. Yeah, cause that would be the most blatant evidence that has an issue with the film.

Dave from canada said...

@ merely

Indeed. His bias against the movie has been apparent since before it was even made.

"I do know on Twitter he's already expressed he'll be pissed if he doesn't like ASM and people use ASM's score on Rotten Tomatoes to prove he's biased"

Gotta love the double standard. If the reviews are bad: AHA! Told you so! but if the reviews are good, clearly the media doesn't 'get it'

The really funny thing is, given how the movie is apparently more female friendly and bob's not so subtle attempts at using the latent homophobia and sexism in the nerd community against it, it may very well be that "michael bay's america" is what comes to bob's rescue in making the film not sell well.

Anonymous said...

So, this is going to be Bob's 2012 Sucker Punch huh? Well worse I guess, because you've been this bed on this one for over a year mate, now it's no use to make those passive-aggressive statements.

I hate hind sighting all that crap, but maybe, just maybe if you would've just said "I dunno guys, this doesn't look my cup of tea", nobody would hold you on. The whole imminent backlash you are clearly fearing now comes from your attitude you gave people when they said the movies looks good.

I know your whole grievance on this movie is the corporative side of the business and how you see it a sly scam from Sony to grab the rights to the franchise. And while that might be true, maybe the people involved in the actual making of the movie honestly did their best to deliver a good Spiderman movie. And I believe they did, if it's better than the previous one, I don't know, but from what I've seem or heard, the movie is pretty good, so why bitching about minutia?

Other thing I really liked about the reviews is that a lot of them seem to comment on the great chemistry the leads have, and good lord that's a great thing, because I don't think I could handle another hair dyed Kirsten Dunst missing the point of being Mary Jane again...

Browncoat Eric said...

So you took one line of one review and blew it way out of context. Way to go.

Have you ever actually READ Spider-man comics. It seems less and less likely the more you post. Norman Osborn was NOT a jekell and hyde. He was made that in subsequent cartoons and the Rami films. But he was never that in the comics. He was crazy. And most everything seems ot indicate he was a bad guy who then was pushed over the edge when he became the Goblin.

Please don't review this film. I respected your oppinion on lots of things. But honestly your coverage of this and The Avengers has really made me lose all faith in you being able to give any kind of real review. You didn't need to review the avengers. You made it very clear months in advance no matter how bad or good it was you were going to love it. And you've made it just as clear that no matter how bad or good this new Spider-man film is you're going to hate it. Why bother reviewing something everyone already knows your thoughts on? You hate it you refuse to give it anything and will make up as many excuses as you can for it being bad. Going so far as to complain that Spider-man is for the first time in live action acting like Spider-man and dealing with Spider-man problems. You're just embarrassing yourself. Please don't review this movie.

Popcorn Dave said...

I've got to admire Bob's determination to go down in a blaze of glory over this. I mean, I thought he'd start to be a bit more balanced now that we're getting closer to release, made an effort to cover his ass in case he turns out to be wrong, but no, he's decided to charge ahead, screaming "I was right all aloooooooooong!" as he tumbles over the cliff edge. I have to admit I wouldn't have the guts to gamble my reputation like that (not that I have a reputation, obviously).

Fallen Angel said...

I'm not trying to solidify any theory into fact here, but is it possible that one of the reasons the Amazing Spider-Man is getting such baffingly large positive feedback could be a result of "diminished expectations" on the audience's part?

I seem to remember the lengthy discussions about Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End upon its release, where a lot of people claimed to have "enjoyed" it, depsite the fact that (in my humble opinion) it was a bloated, overlong, overplotted, confusing, vacuously empty and cynical movie that fits quite nicely into the "bad blockbuster" category, and whose only real merit was Johnny Depp stealing the show and and the admittedly impressive special effects spectacle. To this day, I stand by the fact that one of the reasons that people went to see POTC3 in their millions, and then claimed to have enjoyed it in spite of the bad directing, bad scripting, and miniscule artisitc merit - was a result of "diminished expectations". It's also (again, in my opinion) one of the reasons everyone went to see Transformers 2 AND Transformers 3 despite the fact that the first one was godwaful. They just accepted that the films were crap, and didn't demand more or expect better.

This might seem a little crazy, and keep in mind this is not a rant on Michael Bay's America etc. I hope I'm being clear enough, but could this be one of the reasons that ASM is so popular? Because of diminished expectations?

Just wanted to throw my two cents in. Thoughts?

MerelyAFan said...

@Fallen Angel

Its certainly a possibility, but for that to work we have to assume that the majority of critics/audiences had the same level of reticence about this film that people in comic/geek circles did.

While I don't think there was overwhelming excitement about the film from the broader audience (given its status as a reboot) I'm not sure I can say there was the same kind of outright resentment and lowered expectations that likely do permeate through the nerd community.

The things the reviews of have chosen to note as positives (the chemistry between the leads, Garfield's performance, the humor) seem to strike me as strengths of Marc Webb's, and not aspects the critics decided to be generous about.

But like I said, we're still very early in the process, so who knows what further reviews will yield.

Anonymous said...

That's right, and honestly, it's getting harder and harder to trust if a movie is good or bad by just reading reviews. You can get the gist of it, and obviously avoid anything you were pretty much inclined that you wouldn't like anyway, but when you are on the fence, you see for yourself. But that's just me, and critics don't have any obligation to deliver the set in stone truth.

So who knows right? Maybe Bob was right all along and the movie is a soulless, money grabbing junk. But I don't think so and I suspect Bob also sees it that way. These last statements from him just reek of desperation. Someone is afraid to get caught with their pants down.