With great power comes great responsibility. And with access to the internet comes lots of film criticism. Today we complete the end of CraveOnline's month-long series of commentary tracks with The Sofa Dogs Podcast, wherein I, William Bibbiani (everyone calls me "Bibbs") and John Pavlich narrated every Spider-Man movie ever made, revealing the histories of each production, picking apart the inconsistencies, defending the good stuff and occasionally just laughing at the silliness of it all. We started with 2002's Spider-Man, which we decided was too earnest and culturally significant to be ignored, continued with 2004's Spider-Man 2, which we decided wasn't quite as good as we all remembered, and continued onto 2007's Spider-Man 3, with special guest critic Fred Topel, which we ultimately decided was a failed but underrated experiment.
This week brings us to the 2012 reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, now available on DVD and Blu-ray. My initial review of the Marc Webb's reboot was less than positive. It's not the worst film of 2012 by any measure, and it does not belong on any list of the worst superhero movies ever made. But it is also not the best of anything, and certainly not of the four Spider-Man movies. There are many who disagree. They have their opinions, I have my own. John Pavlich turns out to be more or less on the same page. The Amazing Spider-Man gets a lot of things right – god knows the cast is great – but the film makes so many strange changes to the character that I wonder if the people who love it are really fans of Spider-Man, or just of the incidental iconography that has clung to the character over the decades.
Over the course of this commentary track, John and I dissect The Amazing Spider-Man from one end to the other, determining what effect the changes to Spider-Man's origin have on his character. We look at the way that Marc Webb's emphasis on Spider-Man's parents dilute the significance of Uncle Ben to the point where his death becomes entirely unnecessary to tell the story. We pick apart how the story changes to make everything revolve around OsCorp change the very core of what made the character unique in the first place. We analyze the romance at the heart of the film, and explain why it is simultaneously enjoyable and completely lacking in dramatic significance. We discover on the deleted scenes how the heart and soul of the film was actually filmed and then ripped out for no discernible reason. We reveal the film's multitude of plot holes, ranging from disappearing villains to teleporting street thugs to the inexplicable stupidity of Gwen Stacy, a character who's supposed to be the smartest character in the cast. And yes, we take a good look at the film's ending, in which the "hero" does the most selfish and dishonorable thing we've ever seen any superhero do on screen, and at which many audiences inexplicably cheered.
I had a longer introduction written for this, in which I described in detail my own position on Amazing Spider-Man beyond an itemized list of complaints. But I want you to listen to the commentary track. It should be fairly self-explanatory even if you're not watching the film, so you could listen to it as one long podcast, but if you have the occasion, pop in your copy and cue us up, because we'd like you to join us on our journey. If you disliked The Amazing Spider-Man, we will probably clarify why that is. If you loved the film, hear us out and get back to us on Twitter – @WilliamBibbiani and @JohnPavlich – with your responses to our arguments. We'd love to hear from you.
You can also download my other commentary tracks with John Pavlich: