“Movie Melee?” This space is reserved for us to geek out (and occasionally go to war) over Hollywood’s latest. It’s like a podcast, but you don’t have to listen to our annoying voices! These unscripted chats are different from our reviews in that they’re less about film criticism and more about fandom. Also, the format is much more casual. Enjoy!

In this edition, J. Olson is joined by guest writer (and fellow film fanatic) Tyler Scruggs. They gave the film a ★★★ 1/2 and a ★★★★ 1/2 out of ★★★★★, respectively.

J. Olson: Describe The Amazing Spider-Man in one word. And try not to sound too much like a fanboy.

T. Scruggs: Stylized. That’s my word. Sticking with it.

J: Stylized? Did you just grab that from the MPAA ratings description?

T: Hmm. My other word would be ‘Spectacle.’

J: It’s not nearly as stylized as Raimi’s films. It’s certainly redundant.

T: I haven’t given them the rewatch they rightly deserve. But, there were moments in ASM where I thought ‘This is basically a comic book coming to life.’ Which can go both ways in terms of good/bad. Namely the High School fight scene.

J: It’s so bizarre how they rush through Peter discovering his powers. It’s obvious a lot hit the cutting room floor. Pacing was not the strong point.

T: I saw that too.

J: And the climax was in the trailer. Every trailer.

T: Yeah, there is far more that this movie was trying to show us. But something was holding it back.

J: Regarding the fight scene, I loved that Flash got some depth throughout the film. Not a cartoon.

T: I LOVED Flash. But, again, he was also slightly underdeveloped because he was all huggy on Peter at the end but we didn’t really see that transformation. But he was more cooked than I thought he would be.

J: The underwater fight scene, however brief, was stunning.

T: Oh my, what a sight.

J: I had no problems with The Lizard, other than the fact they did nothing with his “army.”

T: Yeah, we were never really let on to believe that he was any sort of threat.

J: I want a longer cut.

T: I never though his master plan was thought out, or how. They never established firmly that he has a Green Goblin-esqe voice in his head that led him to evil.

J: His plan made sense on a basic level, but it wasn’t developed. I did love the theme of regeneration though. It paralleled some of the concerns that fans had with the movie itself.

T: Yeah, I wanted more. But, I guess people would complain that it was too by-the-numbers. Can’t win.

J: Yes. It took very few chances.

T: I was talking to a buddy today, and we’ve concluded that Sony picked Marc Webb because he was a clearly talented director, but was inexperienced enough to be on a tight leash.

J: That makes sense. Maybe he’ll have more creative freedom next time around. The score was surprisingly old-fashioned.

T: I dug it enough, I wanted more Marc Webb song choices.

J: Definitely. What was there was good, though. Horner’s stuff was a little overbearing, however.

T: Yeah, one score bit that bugged was the funny basketball scene. Very out of place. But I guess that wasn’t the focus.

J: The storyline about Peter’s parents was nonsense, and that stinger was a joke. No need to tease the audience like that.

T: Apparently a ton of #ParkerParent stuff was cut last minute. So that whole ‘untold story’ bit that pulled us in was gone.

J: To the film’s detriment. Whoever plays Jameson will have big shoes to fill.

T: Oh man, I was thinking about that. I don’t know how they’re going to do it. Anyone big will be a joke. Anyone new will be pale.

J: J.K. Simmons was amazing, and he’ll have to fill the hole left by the absence of Denis Leary. Who was terrific.

T: I agree. I wish his dialogue was less on the point.

J: Someone like… Guy Pearce, perhaps. Someone with real acting ability.

T: Bruce Willis came to mind out of nowhere. The wig would be too much though, hahaha.

J: Bruce is a little too much of a punchline at this point in his career, I think.

T: We’ll keep thinking on that. So um. Emma Stone. Love or LOVE?

J: Not the high point of the movie for me. She seemed a bit out of her element. Again, she was confident, but played it safe. Garfield was on another level.

T: Garfield is one of my favs now, pretty much. Never Let Me Go, The Social Network fantastic films.

J: There was an unpredictability that I hadn’t seen from him before.

T: My poor sister is only capable of seeing things in the form of Tumblr gifs now.

J: He was totally into it, too.

T: The morning after scene she leaned over and was like ‘So many gifs’. Especially the alarm clock smash. He was brilliant.

J: In that regard, it will be hard to watch Tobey in that role now. But… stylized? I was thinking… grounded.

T: It had two extremes. I saw it in IMAX 3D so scenes like him jumping off the roof for the first time and the third act were glorious. So rich and satisfying. I feel like I’m describing a Snickers bar.

J: “Candy” might be a good word to describe it. Enjoyable but not really filling or satisfying in any meaningful way.

T: Wellllllll. I’d disagree with that. There were many choke-up-able scenes.

J: I liked that Peter wasn’t a cliched nerd, but more of a misfit. The only scene that really got to me was when Captain Stacy said, “This city needs you, Peter.” Which isn’t even that good of a line. But the delivery and circumstances made it work.

T: Eh, President Bartlett can talk for hours and I’d take it to heart.

J: I could have done without them killing off Uncle Ben again. And did he give up on finding the killer?

T: More unestablished baloney.

J: And how many criminals did that city have that looked like they stepped out of a Puddle Of Mudd video?

T: No clue, but we were on a hunt for this guy and Cap’n Stacy was like ‘Naw, Spidey’ and Spidey was like ‘Ok I guess’

J: Like I said, good movie, but nothing transcendent. Too many flaws.

T: Which can be fixed with an extended cut.

J: I can’t review a movie based on what a different cut might be like.

T: But, did the film accomplish what it set out to do? The answer, for me I guess, is absolutely.

J: They took the path of least resistance, for sure. It set up a potentially viable franchise, critically and financially. And I hope everyone is signed on for more than 3 movies. That’s where Nolan is missing the boat, I think.

T: Welll….. Call me a weirdo but if Gwen isn’t dead within 3 movies, I’ll be pissed.

J: He doesn’t have to make a Batman movie every 3 or 4 years. He shouldn’t close the door to it because he’s tired of it now. I think it’s the responsibility of Webb to take the series to places that people aren’t expecting. And I hope Sony lets him do that.

T: Me too.

J: I don’t think it needed to be better than “good,” so on that level, it’s a success.

T: Exactly.

J: It proved the naysayers wrong by not sucking. If part 2 isn’t better, then we’ll have a problem.

T: I may have had a bit more fun with it due to my bias w/ the talent involved and the spectacle that is The IMAX experience. And 3D is not something you can skip.

J: I saw it on a screen that’s bigger than digital IMAX screens. Picture and sound and 3D was impeccable.

T: It really lets things slip by like plot holes.

J: 1st person scenes worked surprisingly well. Would like more.

T: It did the same thing for me in Prometheus. I was mindblown and then I was like ‘oh yeah… I guess there were some things wrong with it.’

J: IMAX is the only format I can count on. To not screw up picture and/or sound. Even otherwise terrible theaters have a set of criteria they have to meet on their IMAX screens.

T: That’s grand. I didn’t know that.

J: I love loud sound in a theater. Really loud. IMAX is great for that.

T: There’s a true IMAX theater where I am currently, but it shows second run-ish IMAX movies and only once a night.

J: I don’t even have a problem with “LIEMAX.” It’s not 70mm, but it’s better than 99% of other theaters. This chat is turning into an IMAX ad.


J: I wonder if IMAX monitors sound and picture quality in each theater. Like if they’re plugged in to each theater. It’s amazing how good it is on a consistent basis.

T: Do you know the rumor on how Spidey’s parents will further play a part in the new trilogy?

J: No.

T: Well, rumor has it that Peter was genetically altered at birth. And the spider only turned on these abilities. But, I’m not totally buying that yet.

J: That would be relatively congruous.

T: I’ll entertain the idea. But it has to be handled with a lot more care than the production team is apparently capable of.

J: The best thing about TASM was that I didn’t feel sick to my stomach like I did that last time I saw a Spidey film in theaters. I was in Boston in May of 2007 and so excited for that movie. And when my friend and I left the theater and I was… upset.

T: I was young enough to see it at midnight and not notice it.I was entertained.

J: I’ve only seen it once since then. Not as bad as I remembered, but not good.

T: But life taught me otherwise. I’m always curious to know how the internet has affected my movie taste.

J: I saw Spidey 2 at midnight. Loved it, but didn’t like Molina’s performance (or maybe dialogue) that much.

T: Who do you think was at the sloppy post-credit scene. Not that we were led to care or anything.

J: You mean who was in the cell with Connors? I don’t know. I just hated it.

T: Yeah

J: Absolutely unnecessary. No need to acknowledge a botched subplot when the movie is over. I hope they don’t bring back Green Goblin for part 2.

T: Marc Webb confirmed it’s not Norman Osborne.

J: I wouldn’t touch Venom until part 4. It’s too soon to use him in part 2, and part 3 with Venom would have everyone worried all over again.

T: Part 4….. that’s theoretically in 2018.

J: At the earliest, unless they shot 2 back to back.

T: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (I hope it’s not called that) comes out May 2nd, 2014.

J: What would they call it?

T: Something cool like The Dark Knight. Green Goblin is the culprit behind Gwen’s death so he’s bound to pop up.

J: Spidey doesn’t have the great nicknames Batman does.

T: Perhaps a new adjective every film? The Spectacular Spider-Man.

J: Eh.

T: LOL, what if it’s just called The Friendly Neighbor?

J: The Wallcrawler sounds OK. The Webslinger?

T: The Wallcrawler sounds cool.

J: I always wanted to see Larry David play Vulture, lol.

T: That would be rad. Really rad. The Really Rad Spider-Man

J: Another idea for Jameson… Jon Hamm.

T: That’s funny on several levels. And could work.

J: I don’t like those “Jon Hamm for every role ever” people, but it could work very well.

T: There are people like that?

J: Oh God, yes. Not as bad as the Nathan Fillion fans, but close.