THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – A boy genius gains super-powers after an accidental experimental spider bite. He has trouble adjusting, especially after his uncle is killed due to his inaction. But his sense of responsibility takes over when a mad scientist turns himself into a Lizard creature and threatens the entire city.
This is Sony Picture’s reboot of the Spider-Man franchise that they acquired from Marvel several years ago. As most of you geeks and geekettes know, Sony released 3 previous Spider-Man films with Toby McGuire as Spide-rman.
It’s going to be impossible to not compare this reboot with the 2002 film. And I wouldn’t blame you; that’s what Sony gets for not continuing the from the last film. But my suggestion is to walk into the theater with fresh fanboy / fangirl eyes so you can enjoy the movie for what it is.
SPOILERS BABY, BUT NOT TOO MUCH!
Let me say that this is the ‘closer to original’ story that Spider Fans have been looking for all these years. One major aspect of Peter Parker that the previous films neglected was his intellect. And an even more important point of difference was Peter making his web-shooters, instead of webbing coming from his wrists. If you want to ask if this was better than the first McGuire film, those points alone give this film merit.
Also, Parker’s parents weren’t just some victims that left Peter orphaned, but they were part of some mysterious scientific research. This added
What I did like as a Spider-Man fan was all the little elements that they drew from the comics, but didn’t have to copy them word for word. Peter got the idea of the mask from a wrestling ring, but he didn’t wrestle. Him being a photographer, but not working for the Bugle yet. They didn’t even have Uncle Ben say the “Great Power, Great Responsibility” word for word. The meaning was in there, but they didn’t cliché it up. They even references the recent New Spider-man of spanish decent sort of.
Marc Webb did an excellent directing job. He put forth a full narrative in a super-hero suit. Now the film did take its time setting up the plot. This wasn’t just an all action super fight after super fight. Webb and writer James Vanderbilt wanted to tell a complete story, with character development and emotion, and they achieved that goal. But it could be taken as moving slow in parts if you’re not patient. I’m a big observer of the tone of a film. The combination of mood, setting and emotional content makes a film feel ‘light’ or ‘heavy’ or everything in between. This version of Spider-Man had its light moments, but it was closer to the feeling of the first Dark Knight film than that of the first Spider-Man. That said, I appreciated Webb’s directing style. He fused the action with the personal scenes so that they didn’t feel mashed together or out of place.
Just like everyone will ask how this film compares to the first Spider-Man, people will want to know if Andrew Garfield was a good (or bad) as Tobey Maguire? Well yes, I would say he was better, but again, it’s hard to compare, because Garfield had previous films to work off of. And like I said before, the tone and writing were different. But either way Garfield did a nice job playing the role of Spider-man and better at playing Peter Parker. The anger and frustration of not knowing what happened to his parents added much to Peter’s angst, and Garfield brought that out very well.
Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy was even more likable (much much more than Dunst). She changed personality a little in the second half of the film, but she had that positive, almost bubbly attitude from the comic, balanced with a stern temper when it came to Peter.
Rhys Ifans gave an excellent performance as Dr. Curt Conners, reminiscent of Alfred Molina as Dr. Otto Octavius in Spider-Man 2 (whom I also liked). Did he play a great Lizard? He was okay, being that the Lizard didn’t get too many lines to say. Denis Leary as Gwen’s Dad wasn’t over the top, and Martin Sheen and Sally Field portrayed a solid Uncle Ben and Aunt May. But truthfully, I loved Rosemary Harris as Aunt May, that was great casting.
And there’s one actor that we always look forward to seeing in these Marvel films, if we can even call him an actor. Stan Lee’s cameo was hilarious and one of his best ever.
The effects of Spider-man jumping and swinging were outstanding and seamless. The action of some scenes were almost too fast to follow. I had no problem with that. There were a couple first person perspective shots that looked a little wonky and game like, but maybe that was for the gamer crowd. They had all the classic Spider-man visuals – the dodging bullets, the webbing in the tunnel, the ‘lowering himself upside down’. The first scene of him gaining his powers was hot, almost unexpected. Choreography was amazing. It was a mix of ‘Free Running’, acrobatics and CG. The fight scenes were better than ever; I almost wish they had more of them.
I didn’t have a problem with this film at all, other than it maybe could have moved faster at times. But good story takes time. The only thing I think they brushed over was why the Spider Bite gave him super powers. Conner’s mentions some experimentation, but they didn’t really show why the spiders were special visually. Just because a spider is in a lab, doesn’t mean it’s special. But that wasn’t a big concern of mine.
The hardest aspect to get through with this reboot is that it’s a reboot. It’s hard not to go into the theater with the feeling that ‘we’ve seen all this before’. But really there is enough to say that we haven’t seen this version before.
Lastly, the easter egg scene at the end credits is almost not worth seeing. They only did it because I don’t think they’ve decided who the villain will be next film. Just some dark shadow talking to Conner obscurely. I don’t know why, but it actually looked like a silhouette of Heath Ledger as the Joker talking to him. I know, I know, but that’s what it ‘looked like’. I don’t think I spoiled too much for you there.
So after not being excited about seeing this film at first, then slowly getting turned on by the trailers, Geek Soul Brother gives THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3.75 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS. Really, It may even be closer to a 4, but I will leave that to you die-hard fans. Let me know what you thought.