YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION
Déjà vu is an unsettling feeling. You can’t quite place the why and whens of it but you know you’ve experienced whatever this is before. Not so with the reboot of Spider-Man which has been optimistically retitled “THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” for 2012. The new webslinging film arrives only five years after Spider-Man 3, that final sour note in Sam Raimi’s otherwise sweet trilogy. This déjà vu iseasy to place with the “whens” and thus less unsettling if still perplexing on account of the “whys”. We’re back to summer 2002 when Peter Parker first pined for a high school sweetheart, first indirectly contributed to his uncle’s murder, first learned that with great power comes great responsibility, and first swung around a big screen Manhattan in his iconic red and blue spandex.
Franchises are the comfort food of the movies and though there’s nothing wrong with comfort food beyond its lack of nutritional value, so much depends on the delivery when it comes to the familiar pleasure. The Amazing Spider-Man spins its title card with webbing very swiftly which leaves you hoping for a zippy entertainment with key twists on the mythos to keep you engaged. But after a new corporate thriller prologue featuring Peter Parker’s heretofore unseen parents the movie settles into excessively familiar story beats. We’re forced to wait out the entire numbing origin story again and relive many story beats from the 2002 origin story, with the only major exclusions being the absence of Parker's employment at The Daily Bugle (weird) and no James Franco shaped obstacle to his girl’s affections. Other than that only the names of the major characters have changed: Blonde Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) stands in for Redhead Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) as the love interest Peter likes to photograph; Dr Curt Connors/The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) stands in for Norman Osborne/The Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) as the scientist Peter looks up to whose illegal human experimentation (on himself!) wreaks havoc on his mental stability and turns him into an ugly green baddie.
Director Marc Webb, who made a whimsical splash with his debut film (500) Days of Summer seemed like an inspired choice for reviving the pop romantic sensibility of Spider-Man but nothing between Gwen & Peter ever lands with the force of that upside down kiss. What the new-but-also-old Spider-Man has going for it is a stronger sense of the hero's extremely flexible physicality and fighting style (Andrew Garfield has been doing his yoga).
Webb comes through with a few instances of visual invention like a scene where Spider-Man creates an entire web in the sewers to function as a motion detector and a POV shot from the superhero’s swinging point of view which featured in an early teaser. Otherwise it’s mostly more of the same which might not be such an enormous problem in a less superhero satured movie culture.
Peter Parker is still Peter Parker. Sort of.
Tobey Maguire has stepped aside for Andrew Garfield and at first Peter Parker 2.0 seems like an improvement since his lanky frame looks so very right in the skin tight Spider suit and the screenplay hands him the kind of wisecracks that comic book readers missed in Raimi's trilogy. But eventually Garfield’s long limbed swagger and emotive confidence as a screen actor starts to chafe against the character... at least when he's out of spandex. It’s all just too easy for him. Though he tears up frequently there’s none of the awkward growing pains that marked Tobey Maguire dazed portrayal. This Peter's “awkward” flirtations with Gwen Stacy are so crush-worthy that they feel less like an everyman nerd’s discomfort and more like a pick-up gimmick, like Peter 2.0 can’t imagine not nabbing the girl. Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield have fine onscreen chemistry (and offscreen chemistry too as it turned out) but their romance never once feels like the happy miracle of the Maguire / Dunst pairing, just a given from the first Meet Awkward frame. Maguire vs. Garfield is Corny Sincerity vs Cocky Heroics... so I suppose it's a matter of taste.
This Spider-Man also loses the pop pleasure of Raimi's brightly colored palette (I blame Batman that most superhero movies, The Avengers aside, prefer to be dark and gritty now) and the sly joking about sexual adolescence (no sticky fluids escape Parker’s body this time that he didn’t plan on). Worst of all it has none of the joyful sense of discovery (admittedly harder to capture the fourth time around). In short it's less magical. Not “Amazing” at all.
Dr, Curt Connor’s one-armed tragedy is that in seeking to do good with cross species genetics (he hopes to restore lost limbs to combat veterans via reptilian DNA), he does evil instead. The Amazing Spider-Man’s best new image comes via Connors first transformation when he wakes to find a malformed log-like appendage where his new arm should be. He begins tearing at it with his good hand, and it turns out to be only a shell, a scaly arm cocoon. A fresh slimy new human hand emerges from its ruins. The new arm soon fails him in multiple ways. It’s a stunning icky image and even a handy metaphor for the movie. Sony would like to regrow their billion dollar franchise but this new attempt only looks promising. Dr. Curt Connors has never quite solved the problem of macular degeneration and the movie studio hasn’t really answered the question of “why does this exist?” beyond, of course, new piles of easy cash.
Nathaniel Rogers would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.
Google, one of the nation's most LGBT-friendly companies in the United States, is exporting its inclusive philosophy abroad through a "Legalize Love" set to launch tomorrow in first Poland and Singapore and then, they hope, the rest of the world.
Instinct offers more details:
Gay Star News says the campaign "will tackle places where it is illegal to be gay, or where there are other anti-gay laws or where the culture is homophobic."
Google, long known for their pro-LGBT business practices, has a clear goal.
The company's Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe says: "We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work."
Google will join forces with other non-government organizations (NGO's) to lobby the governments.
Singapore is specifically mentioned, says Palmer-Edgecumbe, because it "wants to be a global financial center and world leader [and being] a world leader means you have to treat all people the same, irrespective of their sexual orientation."
DRAG DOG: Canine dons pink wig. 'Nuff said.
'SURVIVAL:' Muse's track is the official Olympic theme song.
OFFSHORE: Team Obama hits Mitt Romney on far-flung accounts.
DUEL: Political debate in Jordan falls apart after gun pulled.
For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.
Cat hopes to be a journalist one day, gets practice by climbing reporter.
"It was absolutely unreal," said transgender Ontario high school student Connor Ferguson of being crowned Prom Queen.
Singer Katy Perry goes mega-blonde for Vogue Italia.
What's happening with Adrian Brody's nether regions in these vaguely indecent pictures?
So long, and thanks for all the gossip! Ted Casablanca says good-bye to E! after 16 years! His last words: "Always do what you're not supposed to do."
LA Times' Geoff Boucher on politics in Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises: "...Rises will be parsed for political messages and controversy fodder. So much will be made of images of financial market abuse, politicians behaving badly, a terrorist attack at a professional football game and looting riots. To Nolan, the goal doesn’t seem to be commentary, he’s just looking for the believable swirl of circumstances needed to get Bruce Wayne back in the cowl."
Governor and potential GOP running mate Chris Christie got testy with a critic while walking the Jersey Shore last night.
Stocks tumbled after reports showed only 80,000 jobs were created in June.
Days after the States' FDA approved an at-home HIV test, activists in Britain are fighting for one of their own.
I definitely loved the "Fashion Plates" toy as a kid and forgot they even existed until reading this post.
Finally, the Tina Fey and Childish Gambino collaboration you've been dreaming of!
The owner of an Ohio restaurant President Obama visited during his bus tour died about 90 minutes after he left.
Meanwhile, Colin Farrell is looking pretty upstanding on a walk with his sister.
Lady Gaga's "little monsters" go after Michael Musto.
A simple guide to the Higgs boson and what the heck it means.
A New York Court struck down a right wing petition trying to repeal marriage equality in the Empire State.
Sgt. Matthew Mahl is the first full-time supervisor for the Washington DC Police Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.
Posted Jul. 6,2012 at 5:28 PM EST by Andrew Belonsky in 2012 Election, Barack Obama, Canada, Film and TV, Gay Marriage, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Michael Musto, Music, News, The Economy, Tina Fey | Permalink | Comments (10)
The comination of Independence Day, fanfare about the forthcoming Olympics in London and the fact that it is Friday is making me extra patriotic, so AFTER THE JUMP you'll more shots of the entire U.S. men's gymnastics and alternates in all their enviable glory.
Check them out and cheer for red, white and blue, AFTER THE JUMP.
MAIN TEAM (in alphabetical order):
Saying the 2012 election "presents a choice between starkly opposing futures," the editorial team at long-running LGBT magazine The Advocate today endorsed President Obama's reelection campaign. This is the magazine's first presidential endorsement in "decades," but they felt compelled to back Obama because this year's race "presents a choice between starkly opposing futures."
Mitt Romney, they say, "betrays equality on numerous issues and aligns himself with a faction of the Republican Party that does not include equality among its declared ideals." And while some fear Obama's "radical" policies, The Advocate describes him as a moderate whose policies "only appear particularly progressive in contrast with the policies of his predecessor."
More from the endorsement:
By saying aloud, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” in a televised interview on ABC, [President Obama] has sparked conversation domestically and internationally. While he is our president at home, globally he’s an icon, a symbol of the promise of America, of the promise of equality.
Obama may be the most prominent man on the planet ever, given the pervasiveness of modern media and his anomalous and historic nature as the first black American president; he is surely the single most recognizable head of state on the globe.
By virtue of his unique position, his endorsement of marriage equality is not merely rhetoric. His words constitute action. On the very face of it, his statement is enormous, and has the power to move millions in a way that a statement from no other person could have.
Read more AFTER THE JUMP.
Obama's influence doesn't exist in a vacuum, they say, and his declaration inspired other Democratic leaders and constituencies to fall in line with equality, no small feat. But their endorsement isn't simply about same-sex nuptials:
Also significant are the Obama administration’s actions in support of LGBT equality. In 2009, Obama signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act, and announced the lifting of the ban on HIV-positive green card applicants and visitors to the U.S. He signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first pro-LGBT federal law in U.S. history. After just two years into office, he had appointed more LGBTs to head commissions and agencies, to ambassadorships, and to senior staff positions than any president, surpassing the entire two-term record of Bill Clinton. He has quadrupled the number of openly gay judges on the federal bench.
You can read the rest of The Advocate's Obama endorsement HERE.