The Amazing Spider-Man (Flack’s Review)

Posted on | July 5, 2012 | Add Comments

The Amazing Spider-Man

4 1/2 Stars

The Amazing Spider-Man is about how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. His parents mysteriously left him when he was just 4 years old but he now lives with his aunt and uncle and goes to a science high school in New York City. He is bullied by other kids and then falls in love with a girl named Gwen Stacy. To stop evil criminals because of a personal tragedy he decides to put on a suit and call himself Spider-Man. Peter also helps Dr. Curt Conors who works at Oscorp (the science company Gwen is working at). But then an evil monster called The Lizard tries to wreak havoc in the city. Gwen’s dad is a police captain and he thinks Spider-Man is bad so he tries to arrest him. Will Peter stop being bullied? Will Captain Stacy help Spidey? Will Peter find out the truth about his parents? Will The Lizard be stopped? Find out in The Amazing Spider-Man!!!!!!!

From the second it was announced that there was to be a new Spider-Man film about the origin story of the character people kept saying that it was too soon. After all it was May 2007 when Spider-Man 3 was released? So there were 2 options: ignore all the backlash from fans and critics and continue onto Spider-Man 4 or redo the origin story with a new cast and crew. They picked the second choice.  But is the new movie a moneymaking excuse or a lesson in great reboots? Worse than the 2002 original or way better? The new movie is both a lesson in great reboots and way better than the 2002 original.

The Amazing Spider-ManAll of the performances are strong and actually stronger. Andrew Garfield is great as both Spider-Man and Peter Parker. As Spidey he switches from sarcastic avenger to justice hero  and as Peter he brings depth, humanity, and a  good sense of the character. While Tobey Maguire was good he was a bit silly in the suit and a little ridiculous at times when out of it. However in this version Garfield owns the role. He makes Peter Parker more lonely yet tougher at the same time. The rest of the cast is also terrific. Emma Stone is better than Kirsten Dunst and her character (Gwen rather than MJ) is more developed. Dennis Leary plays Gwen’s father who is a police and his conflicts with Spider-Man make for one of the most interesting strands of the story. Rhys Ifans (like Emma Stone) takes a character from the original and adds more emotion and a new spin to it, resulting in a strong performance as the Norman Osbourney Dr. Curt Conors. As Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Martin Sheen and Sally Field are terrific choices and a bit more serious than Cliff Robertson and Rosemarie Harris were in their parts, respectively. In super small roles Irrfan Khan, Campbell Scott, Chris Zylka, and others are solid.

Marc Webb, who’s only films were music videos and indie romantic comedy (500) Days Of Summer, directs with a superbly smart knack for mixing spectacle with script and action with story. When he’s done with the Spider-Man franchise it will be interesting to see what he decides to do next. The script by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves is great and sometimes witty. Steve Kloves wrote all the Harry Potter movies (except the 5th which was the least faithful) and does a comparably great job here. The movie is perfectly lengthed. At 136 minutes it not too long nor too short. Peter Parker doesn’t put on his mask, let alone call himself Spider-Man for a long time which is perfect because we get to know the character a lot better. And when it does get to the big action scenes where the city is being destroyed the personal scenes never lose their footing. In fact the more humane scenes aren’t so much as messily thrown in with the battles more nicely  put in with them.

The Amazing Spider-ManI saw the film in 3-D and it uses the technique better than the two other 3-D films I saw this year, John Carter, The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists!, and The Avengers. The movie was shot in 3-D rather than being hastily later converted to 3-D. Along with Hugo this uses 3-D better than any other film I’ve seen (I didn’t see Avatar in 3-D) though if you saw The Amazing Spider-Man in 2-D you could still enjoy it, even if  the action scenes weren’t as mind boggilingly awesome as they are with the added dimension. That said I still have not seen a movie where there is perfectly flawless 3-D and you couldn’t enjoy the movie without it. Nonetheless this is likely to be the 3-D movie of the year. Meanwhile an obvious advantage this film has over the 2002 Spider-Man is that 10 years later special effects have vastly improved. Out is silly computer effects, in are terrific ones. It’s awesome that with 3-D Spider-Man swings at you but the seamless blend of a CG Spidey, a stuntman one, and probably best of all the Andrew Garfield one certainly helps make that happen. Overall the special effects, 3-D, and stunts are amazing.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry as do all the actors and it helps that they have a great script to work with. The music by James Horner, known for working with James Cameron on Titanic, Avatar, and Aliens, does a nice job here although either the original Spider-Man theme or a new one might have added some extra, fun excitement. The music is on par with Danny Elfman’s work for the previous trilogy. The color palette consisting mainly of blues and blacks creates a nice tone for a movie that is a bit darker than Sam Raimi’s more candy colored films.

The story is almost the same as the original though some characters have been replaced by similar, more developed ones. Though some iconic parts have been left out such as the line “With great power comes great responsibility” or the rainy upside down kiss but except for just maybe the former immortal line nothing feels missed. In fact overall this was a story completely worth re-telling.

And now for the ultimate answer. Is it better than the other Spider-Man movies? Well,  the producers said that it matters about the content of the film not how soon it comes. That’s mostly true but if this movie came out one year after Raimi’s first Spidey picture it would feel too soon. A decade later however, The Amazing Spider-Man is being released and it is better than Spider-Man (2002) because for one it tells the same story in a better different way. It’s also way greater than Spider-Man 3 (2007) because it’s not as confused or ridiculous. But does it beat Spider-Man 2 (2004) the film I recently called the best based on a comic book movie of all time. I think it’s as good which is certainly saying a lot. However there is one flaw that bugged me in this new version. When Peter gets his powers after being bitten by a spider he starts getting much stronger.  He breaks lots of things and then we see those objects later on perfectly fixed. Sure this won’t make you dislike the film too much but it is something that could have been cleaned up with just a couple of explanatory lines of dialogue. And the ending gets me excited for the sequel with lots of questions unanswered.

My favorite character is Peter Parker aka Spider-Man because while he is sometimes forgetful and does make mistakes he also saves the day, has awesome superpowers, is a good person, and is played nicely by Andrew Garfield (and CGI and stuntmen).

My favorite scene is the climax because the special effects, 3-D, script, story, actors, direction, music, and everything else come together perfectly. It’s also very exciting and suspenseful plus there’s a massive surprise that will make you sad.

The Amazing Spier-Man is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of action and violence. I agree but I would add that there are sad deaths, mild language, frightening images, and teenage romance.

The Amazing Spider-Man is better than Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 3 (2007), and maybe even the great Spider-Man 2 (2004). It cost an estimated $215 million to make and it was worth it. Whether you’re a comic book lover, or a movie buff, or someone just looking for a good time at the cinema you’ll love this movie. Andrew Garfield and the rest of the cast are great as is the direction by Marc Webb and everything else. It’s at times exciting, creepy, funny, and suspenseful but in one word it’s…….. amazing.


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