The Amazing Spider-Man
- Starring: Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Emma Stone (Easy A), and Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill).
- Directed by: Mark Webb
- Synopsis: “One of the world’s most popular characters is back on the big screen as a new chapter in the Spider-Man legacy is revealed in The Amazing Spider-Man. Focusing on an untold story that tells a different side of the Peter Parker story.” (Collider)
- Rated: Rated PG-13 for sequence of action and violence
IT’S HERE! THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
As you may remember, I am a huge Spider-Man fan and have been waiting for this film for some time. Upon hearing the news of the “reboot”, I composed an article defending the need for it and what I hoped to see in contrast to the “Raimi-ology” that began with good intentions.
While this version is another retelling of the origin story we already know, the familiarity of the sequence of events allows for more concentration on the development of reasons and results, which makes THIS superhero origin story one definitely worth watching! Here is my take on Marc Webb’s presentation of Marvel’s most popular superhero: The Amazing Spider-man.
With a beginning that starts off with more questions than answers, this film begins in almost the same tone as which it ends. Which is good in this case of the “same ol’ story retold.” The tagline of “the untold story” carries the tone throughout the film as we follow Peter Parker (orphan, nephew, nerd, highschooler, geek) who stumbles upon an old briefcase of his father’s which holds more secrets and possibilities than he ever imagined. Along the way in his search for answers, Peter discovers more about his father, his uncle, a friend, a teacher, and himself that, when all put together, is nothing short of amazing.
What a great cast that Webb assembled for this film. Having to fight an uphill battle to be accepted as some of these iconic characters in the shadow of those who did some amazing jobs in Raimi’s trilogy was not an easy feat. Take a look at who did what.
- Andrew Garfield (Yes, he’s British playing an American hero! I know. Get used to it. So’s the new Superman.). What a great performance as the nerdy Peter Parker and sarcastic Spider-Man. Perfect casting for sure!
- Emma Stone gave us our first real view at Gwen Stacy with a performance that continues to show her versatility and ability as an actress. Both she and Andrew Garfield embodied the lives of the characters and their chemistry together onscreen: REAL.
- Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Uncle Ben and Aunt May were only “so-so”, but they weren’t bad. (Time has not been good to Sally Field).
- Rhys Ifans as the tortured soul who ended up the unintentional villain, The Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors, was ideal in his role.
- Denis Leary as Captain Stacy. Cold, protective, rough. Yep, Great casting there!
Casting was definitely a strong suit in this film! It all remained highly believable which made accepting a “reboot” even better!
Some other great elements of The Amazing Spider-Man:
- The technology: 3D and CGI. Super impressive usage of 3D. Webslinging through NYC has never looked so amazing! and The Lizard looked fantastic.
- The story: We get to see not just HOW he becomes Spider-Man, but also WHY! The events that transpired leading up to him growing into the superhero we all love! (It wasn’t just Uncle Ben, folks!). A slower foundational 1st act that paces itself instead of jumping right in to the action allows for greater in-depth view of the characters and their struggles
- The separation from the “Raimi-ology”: Though there is some funny dialogue, it’s not as corny as lines like: “It’s you who’s out Gobby…out of your mind!” from Spider-Man.
Though, I would say there wasn’t enough of the witty banter. (And no Bruce Campbell…sorry).
- The mention and use of other important characters/buildings/publications/technologies that are necessary in establishing the Marvel world of Spider-Man.
- The classic shots: Several iconic poses for the webcrawler that will be recognized by Spider-man fans.
Some Spider-Man fans who follow the character will find some elements of disappoint. Some of the complaints of Raimi’s trilogy will be mirrored here as a few liberties are taken in the storyline in relation to the lore of our hero in the comics. Being a film that marketed itself as being closer to the actual Spider-man story than the Raimi-ology, it stays true to that claim…only not as much as anticipated. But, hey! At least we finally got real webshooters!
With a surprisingly forgettable musical score by James Horner (Avatar, Titanic), I was also disappointed to feel little sense of excitement inspired by the music and no newly invented theme for Spider-man. (???) It really is a rather boring musical score for such an exciting and worthy hero as SPIDER-MAN. In all fairness, allow me to rephrase that: In a lot of the scenes, the music didn’t really garner the emotion I felt that the images wished to portray. But that’s me.
It is true, that this film seems to chase several different subplots and ideas without complete resolution of them all, but the main focus of this film is the character and his development which is appreciated and very well shown. The best presentation of Peter Parker and his growth into Spider-man to date! All in all, a great superhero movie (for those of you who aren’t tired of seeing so many of them by now). Ending with more questions that beg to be carried through the sequels, it is interesting to see what Webb places in this movie that leave more for films to come and I am excited to see what’s next.
The Amazing Spider-Man: A fantastic re-introduction and a rather engaging way to present an all-too-well-known story in a way that entertains, pleases, and intrigues. The character connections, the quiet and small interactions that speak ever so loudly, the inner strength and resolve within the hero…it is all told and shown in style and respect to the character Stan Lee co-created so long ago. (BTW, be on the lookout for his fun cameo).
Should you see The Amazing Spider-Man? And should you see it in 3D? The answer to both questions is YES. It is pretty…Amazing!
Score: 4 out of 5 stars for The Amazing Spider-Man
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer