The Amazing Spiderman Review
- August 2, 2012
- Posted by: Ryan Keyworth
- Category: Uncategorized
Superhero movies are all the rage in Hollywood right now. The next most popular thing would probably be reboots. Well, the Amazing Spiderman happens to be both. Now, I am getting tired of both reboots and superhero movies, but Amazing Spiderman happens to be rebooting a superhero movie that was originally released far too recently to allow this new version to bring anything fresh and exciting to the table. Not to mention that Raimi’s take on Spiderman was pretty solid. I really wasn’t expecting much from this so called “Amazing” Spiderman flick.
Normally I go on about what the story was about, but come on, it’s Spiderman. We all know it’s about a high school kid who is raised by his aunt and uncle thanks to the untimely deaths of his parents. We know he gets bitten by a radioactive spider and turns into a super hero. We know this. We’ve seen this. We’ve done this. In fact, The Amazing Spiderman almost follows the lore too closely. It is so close that when the ironically named director Marc Webb decides to change things up, it only serves to remind viewers of the original version, and highlight the fact that The Amazing Spiderman is just a reboot. Generally you want your movie to create its own identity, and I feel that this new take on Spiderman struggled greatly trying to do so.
One of the big differences here is the way The Amazing Spiderman portrays its titular hero. My big issue with Raimi’s take was that Spiderman was not quite the same sarcastic wise ass he should have been. Thankfully, in Marc Webb’s take, Spiderman is just the right amount of sarcastic humor that we desired all along. Andrew Garfield does a fantastic job in the role, bringing to light the humanity of Spiderman, not just the super qualities. For me, casting Garfield was the smartest choice the director made. A superhero story rides a lot on the quality of the hero himself. Thankfully, The Amazing Spiderman did it right. The only real gripe I have is the suit is just not nearly as good as Raimi’s. But then again, Raimi’s suit was literally perfect. It’s hard to make perfect better.
But what is a great hero without his villain? In this take, The Lizard, my personal favorite Spidey antagonist, steps up to the plate. To be perfectly honest, I was extremely disappointed with Webb’s portrayal of Dr. Curt Connors. While I think Rhys Ifans, the actor who I will always remember as the lanky kicker from the football comedy The Replacements, does a great job, he does not have much to work with. Rarely is Lizard ever portrayed as anything but a giant scary monster. When they break the mold and highlight his true intelligence and scientific mind, the moments are few and far between. For the most part, Lizard runs around terrorizing New York like a tiny Godzilla. Couple that with his visual design, which abandons Lizard’s trademark lab coat (save for like, a minute) and ditches his gator-like snout face for the Goomba in Super Mario Bros: The Movie, and I could not be more saddened at the unfortunate treatment of my favorite Spiderman adversary. The wound seems to cut that much deeper when compared to how well Spiderman is portrayed.
Another key difference is Spidey’s love interest being Gwen Stacy instead of Mary Jane. I really liked Gwen and I think that Emma Stone had some amazing chemistry with Garfield. These two are just irresistible on the screen. The cuteness is almost unbearable. In fact, it is in these scenes where The Amazing Spiderman is at its best. Marc Webb is most known for his romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer, and he makes that pretty obvious when watching Peter and Gwen on screen. Other notable appearances include the scene stealing Dennis Leary as Captain Stacy, who really was a great breath of fresh air in a movie that for the most part, is quite familiar. Martin Sheen brings a much more realistic and far less idealized Uncle Ben, which brings more freshness to what could have easily been far too familiar for comfort.
For the most, The Amazing Spiderman is a great movie. It has wonderful performances, some fantastic action sequences, and a story that is very faithful to its source, while still throwing in some interesting concepts. However, I think Webb’s eyes were bigger than his stomach. There is so much going on with The Amazing Spiderman, that it screws the pace and flow of the movie to a ridiculous degree. Spiderman’s origin, Lizard’s origin, Peter’s parents, Uncle Ben, the love story, the high school hardships, the dynamic between Spiderman and Captain Stacy, Spidey’s quest to find a certain robber, etc. There is so much going on in this movie that it gets occasionally overwhelming. The pace is rapid fire. It leaps from scene to scene to scene at such a quick draw pace, that it occasionally becomes confusing. One second, you’ll be crying from the emotional resonance of a scene, and rather than let you sit and breathe the moment in, it jumps to a fist fight in the streets of New York. It was like reading a 300 page novel with no punctuation. It’s almost like the filmmakers loaded the screenplay into a machine gun and shot the movie out. Seriously, the pace of this movie came dangerously close to killing my whole experience.
Despite that, The Amazing Spiderman has one thing that many superhero movies don’t have: potential. I can see that Webb has a great vision of the Spidey filmverse and I have no doubt that he can deliver on its potential. Was it better than the previous take on Spiderman? Well it was certainly better than Spiderman 3, but that’s relatively easy. I don’t think The Amazing Spiderman was better than Raimi’s first two Spidey films, but I’m sure this series can be. I look forward to see what Webb cooks up next, even if The Amazing Spiderman was not quite as amazing as it could have been. I give the Amazing Spiderman an 7.5 out of 10.