I’m old. 28 is approaching 30 I realize, but that’s not why I feel this way. They rebooted…..Spider Man. Now, remember Batman? Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Tim Burton, the one that came out in 1989. I saw it back then in theaters, because my Dad did NOT listen to my mom and keep me out of such violent films even though I was six. But I’ll be honest, I don’t REMEMBER it really. Just bits and pieces. So as I found myself sitting in the theater for The Amazing Spider-Man, I came the realization that I REMEMBERED the Sam Raimi 2002 film. Not in a “I saw that when I was a kid” kind of way, but in an “It feels like I saw that film about a year ago”. Even though it was ten years, the Raimi film came out in 2002. Can we really do this again so soon? I liked that 2002 movie! It turns out that we can. Hollywood can basically make the same film and have it be an enormous hit.
The film again visits the webslingers origin story. We meet Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Oscorp is a major player. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) has a few awkward situations with his new powers (his hands stick to things so ruins a keyboard by pulling the keys out, guffaw!). And he falls in love. No Mary Jane this time, we have Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. The plot is very similar to the 2002 film, just switch out Norman Osborne’s Green Goblin with Rhys Ifans The Lizard. From the first scene I couldn’t help but feel like I had watched this movie before. But you know what? It was better this time. Garfield has a bit more sense of humor about Spidey’s actions than Toby Mcguire did, and while I liked Kirsten Dunst, I would murder Tophat for one date with Emma Stone (I’d murder Enosh to go out with Kirsten Dunst….but honestly I’d probably murder Enosh for like, a Klondike, so let’s not dwell on that). I didn’t know this while watching the movie, but apparently Garfield and Stone are dating now! You can tell, the chemistry between the two is really good.
I think some of that credit also goes to director Marc Webb, he of 500 Days of Summer fame. He knows how to make an on-screen spark for romance. As it turns out, he’s also pretty good at the action stuff. One thing I give The Amazing Spider-Man a lot of credit for is being able to FOLLOW the action. Fights are done in far away shots so we can actually see who is hitting who and be suitably marveled at Spider-Man’s agility. The CGI gets a bit too CG for me at a few points, but most of the time the visuals are good, particularly for Spider-Man himself.
I wish this film hadn’t followed almost the exact same plot beats as Raimi’s, and that is its biggest flaw. The brilliant guy Peter is friends with becomes the villain and goes way crazier than we ever expected. The love interest that looks past his nerdy exterior. There’s no J. Jonah Jameson, but he’s pretty much replaced by Denis Leary as Captain Stacy as the guy who yells at Peter and doesn’t like Spider Man. Uncle Ben even has a big speech about responsibility that leaves a lasting impression on young Peter Parker. The thing that bugged me the MOST about this film? The yet another Spider-Man movie in which a bunch of ordinary New York citizens do something to help Spider Man. Now, I don’t read the comics. Maybe this is a thing there and all four of these damn movies have just honored the tradition. But it needs to stop. It’s dumb and it’s forced. This one, which I won’t spoil, isn’t AS bad as people on a bridge hurling trash at the green goblin, but it’s not too far off. Stop it, people making Spider Man movies.
One of the few things that was different was a plotline involving Peter’s parents. They died when he was very young yes, but there’s a very conspiracy element to why they left Peter with Uncle Ben and Aunt may and went off somewhere. It’s the opening of the film and gives a pretty good mystery and….wait for it…..would definitely be something that could be explored in a SEQUEL! Considering this Spider-Man is crushing the box office, I’m sure there’s going to be one. Andrew Garfield is going to be a big star now (and deserves it, damn he was good in Social network). Emma Stone already is.
I liked this film better than the first and third Raimi Spiderman movies. It’s well cast, well acted, is laugh out loud funny at points, has cool action, and has a plot that you can actually follow. I advise anybody with any interest in super hero movies to go see it. The only thing holding me back from calling the film great is I feel it just relies too much on the established stories of Peter Parker character that have ALREADY BEEN DONE ON FILM. I have high hopes for the sequel in that Webb and cast can go in whatever direction they want too. If that direction is something new that we haven’t seen from a Spiderman movie before, I’m all for it. I just hope they don’t fall in to the trap of playing it safe and doing everything the first three films did over again. Well….nothing could be as bad as Spider Man 3.
Filed under: Movies | Tagged: 500 days of summer, Andrew Garfield, emma stone, gwen stacy, Marc Webb, Marvel, Oscorp, peter parker, Spider Man, spiderman, Stan Lee, the amazing spider-man, the lizard, The Social Network |