Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Premium Rush" (2012) - Movie Review

There are two great things that goes in favour of “Premium Rush” which in any other circumstances would have been a badly scripted and lazily written film. Those two things are the breathtaking speed the bike stunts are shot and Michael Shannon. While the first involved great dedication and death defying stunt artists along with lead man Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon anchors the craziness in this corrupt and bizarre cop Bobby Monday. Together with director David Koepp not wasting a single moment to let the audience lose their attention span takes this film to something arresting and fun filled.

Levitt’s Wilee is a kid addicted to adrenaline running around New York City delivering envelopes that would mean nothing in a common scenario but becomes a game and thrill seeking in his hand. He has an old run down bike that is fixed gear and has no breaks. One speed, no stops. His braking mechanism twists my legs and ankles yet a pleasure to watch for. He is maniacal on the street being the genesis of hundred of different road accidents and rages. Himself and his clan of bikers are unanimously despised and yelled upon by taxi drivers, regular drivers, angry drivers, lazy drivers, pretty much any sort of drivers on the road. Add cops and mainly pedestrians to that list as well.

This is not about those people. This is about Wilee carrying something he will be in trouble for. One such is a ticket provided by Wilee’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa’s (Dania Ramirez) room mate Nima (Jamie Chung). What that ticket means are explained quite conveniently and without any brakes to the story in snippets of rewind in time. That is where the otherwise bad writing turns into a good story telling in the hands of David Koepp and his editors Derek Ambrosi and Jill Savitt. They never wait for a dull moment and keep the story moving at a pace that is good enough to keep track but never pauses to analyze the logic or reality of the story.

The resultant is an old fashioned thrilling entertainer with modern utilization of CGI and technology aiding good hands into the streets of New York City. The chases in the film are again not mundane either. There is a purpose for the chasers and the people they are chasing or running away from. While Michael Shannon’s Bobby Monday is out there to save himself for the gambling debt towards Wilee, there is Wilee’s competitor in the same courier company he works for, the chiseled muscular and maniacally athletic Manny (Wole Parks). There is a stellar competition in racing in between them which is a treat to watch. For once there is a part in the chase where the mechanical strength combined with the physical limitation towards gravity makes us gasp for breath.

Being a recent biker myself, while I could see the adrenaline rush and the thrill seeking Wilee goes for, I could not see myself going through the hoops to get that in the rush hour crazy traffic of New York City. That brings to the city itself which in every film it happens becomes an element and character of itself. Here I was reminded of the day walks I took through the city roaming through it amongst, towards and against the waves of people. Wilee cruises through them in his bike that is nothing short of shocking.

I talked Michael Shannon becoming a quintessential factor in salvaging this film that would have fallen abysmally into the clutches of bad cinema. The reason being is that he does not make Bobby Monday a simple minded single motto villain. He is a gambling addict and I very much doubt a drug addict as well. When we learn the predicament he is in and the origins we get a kick out of this whacky man. There are two scenes where he simply steals the entire film from Joseph Gordon-Levitt. One is when he torturously interrogates Levitt’s Wilee for the ticket he is after and the second is his final scene. In a film that is driven purely by kinetic energy and mindless entertainment, Shannon shines through it bringing a trademark characteristic to it.

There are several things that are so bad in “Premium Rush” and one thing being the monotonic background score by David Sardy. What an unique opportunity to immerse one into the electronic techno energy these scenes beg for and got utilized in The Bourne Series and “Hanna” only to be wasted with no pulse pounding usage of tunes by Sardy out here. Yet in all these drawbacks you forgot those flaws and are thrilled through the hellish ride “Premium Rush” puts its audience in.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Rampart" (2011) - Movie Review

“Rampart” is where you are surprised completely yet not shaken by it. Woody Harrelson gives one of those performances where an actor almost gives himself completely to the requests of a director as the belief in the script has driven them to extend themselves beyond the normal reach for performance. Like Robert De Niro in “Taxi Driver”, Harvey Keitel in “Bad Lieutenant” and of course Nicolas Cage in “Leaving Las Vegas”, Harrelson provides himself completely to Oren Moverman’s “Rampart”. The result though is a film that provides a unique look and presentation is drawn down by its creativity. Hence as much as Moverman’s picture is versatile, skillful and raw, it fails to connect with its audience. Even in the wackiness of Nic Cage’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans”, there was an element of comedy, bizarre and a surreal world in real life scenario evoking a strange sense of experience. “Rampart” is too serious to be taken lightly and too empty to have a connection to its central character.

Officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is in the midst of the Rampart Scandal. He has earned the nick name of Date Rape Dave because he allegedly killed a serial date rapist. He lives with his two ex-wives who are sisters (Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche) with one daughter each. His dinner conversations involve asking each of them to sleep with him. When both rejects, he heads up to the high end bar to pick up woman, successfully of course. He is clean shaven, precisely dressed and is the man every woman wants to sleep with. Then he goes on the street and conducts himself in a chaotic self proclaimed justice. One such lands him beating a man almost to death that gets caught in a camera. His immersion into deep end begins there.

Moverman and his cinematographer Bobby Bukowski goes for the raw look that brings the face of Harrelson with biting his cigarette constantly and gnawing through it. The screen drips with golden tint that is more for an ugliness and brightness than glamour. Harrelson’s Brown has been in the department for 24 years and has conducted his business with connections and blue code of brotherhood. Now when the times are rough and the politics are playing its sweeping work, Brown is on the list and even then he pulls his strings from outside. One such is his dad’s friend, a retired police officer Hartshorn played by Ned Beaty. Their first meeting sets up the first unique shot for the film. We see Brown’s back of his head blocking Hartshorn’s face and then Hartshorn’s blocking Brown’s face. They go long back but when it comes to helping, it can only go so much without scratching each other’s back.

This is a slow demise of this police officer where the end is imminent and redemption is by far hiding and afraid to even sneak its face for this corrupt man. He has no consideration to anyone but he has no trouble attracting people. There is Robin Wright as the lawyer Linda he hooks up with in the bar he frequents. Both seem to know their kind but Brown has gone far too deep and it is a shock to see Linda hang on to this man as long as she does. 

Despite the impeccable acting of Harrelson, “Rampart” lacks the connection. Its humour only distances its character. There is no redeeming quality in this man that as the film progresses, it is a train wreck we want to look away but Harrelson is too mercurial to look away from. He is skinny, strong and the vein on his forehead is always popping up. He is scary, inconsiderate and loose cannon would be putting it very mildly. He appear to love his daughters though one of them has departed away from him mainly due to the domestic hanging bridge of a situation he has created. The sisters are done with him as the pressure of media, finance and of course the man himself causes them to kick him out. Alone, desperate and on the edge, he spends in the hotel drinking, popping pills he  threatened the pharmacist to give him wondering on the end he seem to not give in. He is ready to rob a big stake card game and ready to kill and threaten the witnesses. Ben Foster comes as this homeless person in couple of scenes and makes a mark in an unusual manner. Here is an actor who gave a dedicated role in Moverman’s “The Messenger” grows a beard, sits on a wheel chair on ragged clothes begging for drinks and cigarettes. And we see a homeless man doing that with a strange appreciation of pride in his own terms and gives an insanity of different kind.

“Rampart” is a presentation of pure corruption in action and the man’s chaos makes us to not have a firm ground on what is his motivation. He seem to enjoy the power but he does not come out and say it nor his actions provide that feeling. Is he a vigilante? Definitely not as he flexes the morality and justice as it benefits him more than anything. He appears not be a sociopath as he loves his children and wants to be liked at least. He has though all the sickening qualities in the most despicable manner. I think as much as Harrelson provides one of his best performances, the screenplay by James Ellroy and Oren Moverman stumble upon to create a base for the audience to either empathize, entertain or define to appreciate this unique presentation. “Rampart” is a good film and is an impressive one but it seem to have been succumbed by the purity of the presentation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Into the Abyss" (Documentary) (2011) - Movie Review

Metamorphosis is the word I would like to ponder after seeing Werner Herzog’s “Into the Abyss”. The transformation is continuous in the life of ours. We see the immaturity in every phase of our life and we transform with the hopes of bettering ourselves only to be stuck in a different form of immaturity. This never ending process for good or worse happens till death. During this process, people do good, bad, evil and despicable things. The process is simply there and there is so much out of control in this controlled universe and Herzog brings helplessness in a form a peace meal. There is nothing to fight if you accept the eventuality.

Michael Perry and Jason Burkett were convicted of a triple homicide that happened in the October of 2001. Michael Perry got the death row and is eight days away from his execution. Jason Burkett got life sentence. This film is about their guilt, innocence and everything in between. That is Herzog who lets the medium of documentary be what it is. In the purest form of documentary, Herzog is not trying project his understanding or make a statement of his. Whatever one derives from the film is his or her own. The statements and conclusions are their own as it for this reviewer. The man is there to document the victims, the perpetrators, the people that provides a perspective of this. He sees something important that has to be documented in this event of utter tragedy and hopelessness. There are things you might learn, things you would be disgusted, things and people you would hate, things you would cry and wonder the meaning of life. “Into the Abyss” might be the saddest film you will ever see and be enthralled in an experience of the appreciation you begin to have for the life you hold.

Herzog begins the film in the cemetery talking to a Reverend who is going to try his own way of providing peace to the man that will be executed in an hour. The cemetery he stands in front of are the burial grounds of the inmates who were executed and whose bodies were not collected by anyone. Names do not exist and all there is numbers on the tombstone. The Reverend is there to provide the best possible comfort he could to the life that is getting snatched away. We can see the appreciation he has for the life in front of him as the deaths he has seen and sees. We see similar reaction from a former death house team leader Fred Allen.

Michael Perry and Jason Burkett were convicted of murdering a fifty year old Sandra Stotler to steal a Camaro she had in her home. We are told or more so implied why the other two killing happened after that. Perry and Burkett were teenagers when this happened. Both have had a childhood that I cannot imagine or relate to. Nor will I try to imagine it as it is a futile attempt. Similar helplessness occurs when you see the sole survivor of the Stotler family who has lost everything. How can one have so much tragedy in their life and consistently be haunted by it? What kind of universal force we could blame for the misfortune as it might possibly shift some remote sense of pain or burden from her mind? Is not this the ripe time wherein one possibly question the existence of god and everything that arises out of it? All you see is the events of life unfurling itself with no reasons whatsoever.

“Into the Abyss” is a meditation in the chaos that opens up in front of our lives. Tragedy can hit anyone, anytime, anywhere without a warning and all we are left is bewildered human mind’s unwavering quest to find reasons and possibilities. The simplest disappointment brings so much question and investigation to what would have happened or could have been done to avoid that disappointment. Things simply happen and you bloody well deal with it and allow the time to deal with it. Despite all these statements nothing can prepare you or will assist you in going through something like that.

What we see in the brutality of an event is an odd curiosity for Werner Herzog. Do not get him wrong as he is the first person to gravitate on the obviousness and asks questions and states his opinion behind the camera with a shearing clarity and honesty. And for some reason the people he interviews seem to understand this man’s intent as they answer it without hesitation without shred of being offended. He truly has made his intentions so vividly and positively clear that this is more than trust. This film as much tells about this odd mood and philosophical meandering deepens into this man who is able to capture these people’s naked emotions with greatest honesty.

“Into the Abyss” is emotionally charged for obvious reasons but deeply involved for utterly different reasons. This is the kind of film that leaves you to be happy with your life and yet acknowledge the existence of such tragedy and survival of it. It is despair in dissection but provides hope in unusual places. The film gets aided with the eerie mystical score of Mark Degli Antoni which seem to speak the language of Herzog. Here is the man who is on the lookout for seeing the darkness in life for what it is and shed light to expose a different outlook to the audience that are unaffected at that moment. This is a form of film that goes beyond the bounds of criticism or to say whether it is good or bad or emotionally affecting. It is definitely the last one but still, this is beyond being a film. This is a poetry of chaos and order but more than it is a statement of life and death.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Margin Call" (2011) - Movie Review

There is death in the air throughout “Margin Call”. Nobody dies but there is death in the air. Nobody sheds a blood but there is absolute death in the air. This is the film that squeezes the desperation of the well dressed and the highly mannered individuals to a night that is equivalent to the despair what Martin Scorsese brought in “Taxi Driver” and “Bringing out the dead”. Writer/Director J. C. Chandor cuts a slice of the chunk that brought down the economy to its knees, beat it down the head till it bled through the skulls and seep through the canals of drained out future of several lives.

After seeing “Margin Call”, I went ahead to know more about the MBS (Mortage Backed Security) and tried to read more into the crash that caused the end of 2008 to be the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression. My idea of the fiasco is that the bank and other big firms provided mortgage to people who cannot afford their homes and as the obvious happened, the ripple effect caused the market to crash and burn. That is the simplistic explanation I could give and when you begin reading any article in the Wiki, there is “complicated” on the first line it begins to explain. I honestly cannot quantify the details of that crash but there is a smart kid Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) who finds this debacle late at night in this unnamed firm in “Margin Call”. He tries explaining that to several executive heads that have long forgotten the numerics and science that has got them where they are. All we know is that the end has already happened and the burial needs to be performed.

The film begins with the firing of Peter Sullivan’s boss Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), the head of the risk management for that floor. Before he leaves he drops an assignment to Peter and tells him to watch out. The kid completes the work and the bells ring loud to assemble everyone who has missed this. From there on, there are performances that is nothing short of perfection. Every single character in this film is needed, essential and provides something I have not seen in a film for a while. A quintessential purpose of existence in a film. “Margin Call” is bold in dealing this material with a reality that evokes a strange kind of response in its audience. Here are the people who have earned millions in a year and are faced with the worst situation they were earning those money for. Their reaction is quick, merciless and follows the crude sense of Darwin’s survival. 

Kevin Spacey plays Sam Rogers, who has the most sense of righteousness in this ugliness. Yet you will learn how he has been defeated long before this to be the person his boss and friend John Tudd (Jeremy Irons) has become. There is Paul Bettany as Will Emerson, the golden boy for Sam Rogers who gives a quick spending summary of his 2 million dollars he earned in the past year. Jared Cohen (Simon Baker) is the division head that has risen to that level of authority and sneaky charm that absorbs this situation like he should and acts like he should. The junior most risk analyst in this whole game is Seth Bergman (Penn Badgley), a kid who acts realistic and pragmatic only to face the reality in closed corners. And finally there is Demi Moore as Sarah Robertson that played a primary role in firing Eric Dale, only to fight her survival with Jared and lick her wounds while doing it. These are performances they can be proud of. I have not seen such a precise and thorough performances in every scene of the film since Tony Gilroy’s “Michael Clayton”.

“Margin Call” chronicles one firm’s spectacular realization of the screw up they ignored and act with extreme force overnight to save the billions the head people have already earned. The cinematography of Frank DeMarco captures New York with a sickening glamour. It is depressing even when its glowing as the night dims through this tragedy that is being brought upon the nation. But the main mood that gets painted is by the background score of Nathan Larson. He meditates the sombre of this film that has the strength to appreciate the saddening plays that gets executed.

This is brilliant film making. It is tragically seem to be very accurate. It is bluntly truthful in its depiction of these people that have nothing but saving themselves and looking good while doing it. There are no moralities nor does wisdom. All is being said is the mistakes and blunders that has led them to this. Every one knows that they deserve all this and they seem to acknowledge what has happened yet no one is apologetic. That is the scary situation of this global economical operation is that it is all numbers on thin air that gets dispersed, evaporated and created at will. There are no violent battle in this tragedy other than the very basis of the survival crumble under the people who depend on it, the rest of the people that try to live a moderate income and below that. That mood is what makes “Margin Call” deeply disturbing and terrifyingly honest.

Making a film about an event that happened couple of years ago is a huge risk as it is fresh in one’s memory. Yet J. C. Chandor goes for it because he saw the doom and gloom for a drama and thriller unlike no other. It ensembles a cast that somehow understood the element of the fiasco on a different level. No one overplays or underplays their character. Every body is smug but carefully play it with a care. Here are people who deserve no sympathy but we begin to have some especially towards Sam Rogers. Every one is so damn good with numbers. There is a breathtaking scene with Stanley Tucci’s Eric Dale summarizing the great work he once did. There is another scene where Jared Cohen and Sarah Robertson discuss their survival in an elevator with a janitor lady in between that is so merciless and effective. And then there is Sam Rogers and Peter Sullivan discussing the morning of the worst day in the firm’s history that carries an unique kind of an unimaginable axis of emotion. All these scenes are few that are superior than the over all superiority of the film itself. It is always a thrill and exuberance to see a film that achieves a level of perfection I have not seen in recent times. “Margin Call” is one of the best films of 2011.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"The Hunter" (2011) - Movie Review

“The Hunter” which could have easily been an unnecessary annoying slow turmoil of a mercenary in the hunt for a last existing Tasmanian Tiger, ends being a calm emotional journal of a lonely man. Martin David (Willem Dafoe) is that man who gets hired to hunt and bring blood, flesh and other samples of a one Tasmanian Tiger. He agrees without a question as it is not of his business. In the video archives taken in the early thirties, the animal looks like a cross between a wold and a hyena. No wonder they called it as Tasmanian Wolf from what Wiki says. This is not a film about someone consistently in the woods trying to outsmart this rare being into submission that methodically would kill. Instead it is the backdrop and the backbone, it is a repeating expression in a poem and finally becomes a unexplainable emotional response.

This Australian film directed by Daniel Nettheim lays out this tale without any kind of punctuation. It begins in a modern city and then moves instantaneously to the gorgeous Tasmania. With woods spread like ocean, Martin finds his temporary new home where he is greeted by a vocal and energetic kid Sass (Morgana Davies) and her brother Bike (Finn Woodlock). The house is a wreck with no power, dirty tub and nothing of an existence of a happy living. Their mother Lucy (Frances O’Connor) is grieving for the husband’s disappearance in the woods. To Martin this is not his concern. He tries to find a new place only to be met with resistance and hatred from the locals as they seem to believe he is with the environmentalists stopping the deforestation thereby making them jobless. Lucy’s husband Jarrah seem to have been the wrong books with the locals too.

One has to talk about the appearance of Willem Dafoe and the attire he goes along. Lean, seasoned and thoroughly chiseled is his body. He takes good care of his rugged beard and suits up with the hunting attire like a perfectly fitted glove. He has the most focussed look and when he gets into the woods setting up traps and waiting for the tiger to be trapped, he shows patience without even having to add intense scenes. The suspense though is there in seeing this mystical species, is underplayed purposefully. Except for one moment, there is no hurried motion or intense chases scenes. When it does happen, those are the spontaneous and effective 10 seconds of chase one would encounter.

“The Hunter” which begins as this dark tale of this lone mercenary trying to find an animal turns into him forming a connection with the family robbed of happiness. He slowly begins to take the role and responsibility of Jarrah. Bike especially seem to know what he is upto and provides clues silently through his drawings. Soon we realize that Jarrah was there for the same purpose. The company that has hired Martin are more driven to get this species. But those are plot points that does not become bigger than it has to. It causes bigger tragedies but are again played with a melancholy that never goes for melodrama.

Cinematography by Roberts Humphreys has some stellar shots of this magical place that gets sunbathed, snow showered and basked in mist to provide the kind of peaceful, sad yet beautiful poetry this film emulates. Daniel Nettheim wrote this screenplay based on the novel by the same name by Julia Leigh and I am more intrigued to read the book. Another story about a hunt comes to mind “The Ghost and the Darkness” which has nothing in common with this film apart from the hunt yet there is a mesmerizing scene of Val Kilmer’s character freezing by seeing this animal in front of him. There comes a moment in “The Hunter” and we see all the sides to Martin’s action. It does not comes contrived and we understand everything that follows it without a drop of unnecessary melodrama.

“The Hunter” is a movie that would take its time because the process needs to be real. It would appear that the actual hunt does not happen and I am sure any true hunter would agree the wait and patience that gets to that one single moment. The film does not bore us with that and shows the work of Willem Dafoe’s Martin precisely of what is required. And Dafoe brings forth this man with an authority that is neither arrogant nor cheesy. This man reacts for a true feeling and has stayed away I think more by choice. Here he tries to be like that but he gets in connecting with this family without his awareness. Before he or we know it, he has integrated himself into this nest. “The Hunter” does it all without a haste and in the meanwhile provides a peacefully collected with right thrills that ends melancholically.

"The Bourne Legacy" (2012) - Movie Review

The predominant success of the Bourne trilogy was the simplicity in the screenplay and the kinetic force in the stunts. Th simplicity in the screenplay is due to the motivation of Bourne who took every instant with a splurge of tiny plans. Those plans when went wrong sprung more of those kind keeping the predictability of his mind to us in unpredictable ways. We began to like for this amnesiac super hero who is initially looking for answers settles for love and then for vengeance and justice. We cared just enough for Jason Bourne played with conviction by Matt Damon. That was the real legacy of the Bourne series. Here comes “The Bourne Legacy” with a director who penned that trilogy and wrote/directed one of my all time movies in recent times “Michael Clayton”. 

There is no more Jason Bourne or his story happens parallel when this one unfurls. It must have been one busy hell of a week at CIA that they had to tackle this shit storm. Jeremy Renner is the central man in this film as he goes through a training exercise in Alaska when Bourne’s unraveling of Operation Blackbriar and Operation Treadstone hits the fan. That initiates cover up response which leads to Eric Byer (Edward Norton). Look how easily Norton convinces us that he is the man for the job and how easily he can place himself without any hesitation on eviscerating this program to its death. He is made to look old that falls poorly but he makes it up through his presence and delivery. A man who saw through this new program called Outcome need to be this authoritative, merciless and methodical.

Writer/Director Tony Gilroy is on the right track of making this film purely his own. He goes through the talking heads and exposes this world of people who knew the repercussions there were in and the moralities they decimated. These are the people like the one “Michael Clayton” knew the game and consequences but when the situation becomes real, they have to balance what they expected and what they have to deal with. In this film, there needed something more thorough performances and characters beyond Edward Norton to aid in those. Then again Gilroy is not going for the drama out here as he was in “Michael Clayton”. He wanted just enough drama to set the audience up for the much awaited stunt sequences this franchise is known for.

Many of the reviews complained that there is no reason for such a long and unclear first one hour. I was fine with the introduction and the circle of events surrounding those. I had no problem in following those and the people rolling out the dices with the known numbers to turn and fall, except one. The let down for me were the action sequences which were delivered with great effectivity in the series. The way the single man moves through his opponents be it bare knuckle combat or vehicular manipulation towards a busy streets of a totally unknown location, he would make it look with a rugged elegance and things become suddenly organic in the chaos he pulls through. That magic misses by a great margin in this installment.

Rachel Weisz is the tag along woman for Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross we come to know. She is the doctor who has detached herself from the subjects she has done analysis on this new scientific experimentation to enhance their physical ability and mental astuteness. Aaron needs his meds and the doctor is picked for the ride. That was another problem was that the chemistry between them falls through because of not much of a foundation in their attraction other than saving each other time to time. Jeremy Renner despite the fact takes up the job seriously and dutifully does not get screen time for proper emotional moment nor does the action sequences provide clear face of his length in which he goes through those.

Yet, the final nail in the coffin for me is the absence of a worthy opponents Bourne had. Here they pull up the next version of Aaron who comes to kill and he does not even get a decent opportunity on anything. He is good at jumping and climbing but the action was not executed properly. There were this small exchanges between Bourne and his opponents in previous films where they talk tersely and precisely just before the stunts. They formulated a shift in mood and a sense of rawness that when they pummeled Bourne or were being pummeled by him gave a new perspective. They become real people sculpted by this program into something else and are fighting for their existence as Bourne himself. That element is hugely missing.

There cannot be an escape from being not compared to the previous three films. I was drawn into the closed room drama Gilroy was taking me along and the correct amount of exposure to Aaron’s outdoor skills. I was looking for an encounter in the home territory with a stunt sequence that I could follow, see and enjoy. Instead the film immersed into the shaky camera that lacked all the energy it tries to impart into moving images of shoddy presentation which robs the experience I have thoroughly enjoyed in its predecessors. There is a sufficient hint for sequels, parallel-quels (yes, I coined that word) or prequels but I hope Gilroy writes and directs it and leaves the action to Paul Greengrass and team.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

"The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012) - Movie Review

While many wondered why reboot the Spiderman franchise in a decade, I was optimistic , one being director Marc Webb who provided “(500) Days of Summer” and second that Christopher Nolan rewrote the definition of reboot . Granted that Webb’s previous venture was a different genre, style and presentation but it marked something intelligent, creative and passion. While all of them are present in “The Amazing Spider-Man”, none of it come into complete fruition.

Sam Raimi’s film is still afresh in my memory and the movie does not re-invent itself. It needs a birth within, may be a clean sheet of genesis of this high school kid trying to enter this unfair world filled with crime and secrets. It is Andrew Garfield as the lean, flexible and troubled Peter Parker. He gets bullied, beaten and discarded. It is sometimes hard to believe Garfield gets pushed away but there is blonde beauty Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) who notices him just enough and lets him make the move.
Gwen works as an intern at Oscorp under Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). Peter’s parents Richard Parker (Campbell Scott) and Mary Parker (Embeth Davidtz) leave him with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field) as they appear to flee from danger. Decade and half later, Pete is on the hunt for his curiosity on his parent’s disappearance through an old suit case. That leads to Dr. Connors to the eventual spider biting and skills development we have seen.

Yes, the graphics and stunts are immensely impressive. Yes, it is nail biting to see him hold the vehicles over the bridge and tackle The Lizard at the same time. Yet, none of those complete Webb’s presentation. There are several things I did like about the film which is how they treat Peter Parker as the confused teenage kid. His joy in learning the skills and putting his mind to use and his anger and guilt haunting him to swing through the sky scrapers.

Emma Stone is a perfect choice for Gwen Stacy who is the perfect equal necessary for Parker. She is strong willed and has some stinging lines that puts her someone as a necessary character than a pure love interest. Garfield makes a good Spiderman but not a convincing high schooler through Peter Parker. In Raimi’s version, Parker tries to balance school and night activity while here it comes and goes as it pleases.

“The Amazing Spider-Man” is a summer blockbuster and remains that way. It is a level above the mindless entertainment but level below for something far greater than the regular churns of super hero films. It has a sense of humour that needs further amplification but stays within as the studio might have brought its iron claw in rewriting the script. What ends up is an half hearted attempt that does not sweep us our feet and look forward for a sequel.

Rhys Ifans’ Connors is motivated due to a drug addiction rather than a philosophical or profound change in the perspective of giving something to the world. His Lizard while is powerful and beastly becomes just another thing to beat than to ponder on the motivation. Another supporting role that would have used some more time on the screen would be Denis Leary’s Captain Stacy who is hell bound in catching Spider-Man than the Lizard. The cops never likes someone who is outdoing their duties. Not everyone is Commissioner Gordon!

Of course there will be a sequel and I am not sure whether the same team returns but the hope would be to bring in a dimension that Raimi did not take. Why cannot be a darker turn and make a real birth of the boy into a man? Why cannot one be truly faithful to the comic and yet paint a much more deeper picture of these masked people whom in my child hood have seen as a symbol of pure good? That there are things in the real world that creeps into their superhero laws to sustain. I Nolan has set up a much higher scale for these kind of films.