So, I saw the new reboot of the Spider-Man movies known as “The Amazing Spider-Man” today, and it was pretty good. Although, to a web-head like me (you know what I mean, true believers!), some of it just didn’t ring true. So to cover both, today my review comes to you in two parts: Part 1 – review without spoilers, Part 2 – nit-picking with spoilers.
As with The Avengers, I originally had pretty low expectation of this movie. I wanted it to be not just good but really great because I’m such a big Spider-Man fan, however I wasn’t really sure if it would be. Nonetheless, as the trailers came out and I heard reviews from others, it seemed like it was going to be brilliant. And for the most part, in most ways it is. Sure, the movie starts a bit slow, but it’s done with a purpose. The first section before Peter even gets his powers seems to go on for quite a while, but none of that time feels wasted. It’s preparing the mood and setting the scene so you can better understand the mindset of the troubled, naive and brooding Peter Parker. This leads us to see the emerging Spider-Man, unsure of what he’s doing, but sure in his mind of why. Finally we are shown the fully-fledged Spider-Man, trying his hardest for the greater good, wrestling with responsibilities he feels he has.
And all of this is compelled perfectly by the well chosen actors who play the parts. I don’t usually like to talk about the actors in a movie really, but I thought they were that good. Andrew Garfield plays Spider-Man very well, but I’m not so convinced by his Peter Parker (more on that in the spoiler section below). One admirable thing about his performance is the way he was able to keep the pimple he seemed to have under his lip for the entire movie, adding a level of continuity you don’t usually see. Jokes aside, he does deliver a handsome performance, in many places enriched by that given by Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Without her playful and intelligent Gwen to play off of, his Peter would’ve been a big festering pile of teenage angst. Honourable mentions also have to go to Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben, Sally Field as Aunt May and Denis Leary as Captain Stacy.
I saw the film in 3D, as I had been told that it was the only way to see it and while it definitely did make it better, giving it more of a feeling of depth and excitement, I’m not sure by how much. Unlike other 3D movies I’ve seen, particularly in recent time, some of those 3D effects really did make me jump and suck me into the action of the scene. I was kept excited by the objects flying everywhere and the acrobatics of Spider-Man, but overall it felt underutilised. One of the most exciting things about this movie was that it was suppose to contain lots of that free-flying movement through the buildings and rooftops that comes naturally with Spider-Man. Yet it contained precious little, and when it did come up, particularly the point of view stuff, it had me on the edge of my seat but for the wrong reason. It felt clumsy and awkward, not just because Spider-Man’s new at this, but because he showed no control or elegance. He seemed to be making stupid miscalculations and swinging all over the place. He appeared to have a real lack of spidey-sense and he even seemed to forget that he could cling onto walls at one point.
Just be warned, there is quite a bit of product placement in this movie that I noticed. It’s not too bad, but some of it does stick out like a sore thumb. Luckily, products aren’t the only things they sneak into the movie, making references to (I think) the other Spider-Man movies and the original origin story. Oh, and Stan Lee turns up, of course. That scene’s pretty funny actually, and makes a good break from the action.
Another thing I feel the film was missing was a bit more humour. There are some funny bits, some witty remarks and quirky occurrences, but for the most part, it’s an almost depressingly serious action movie.
Overall, I did enjoy The Amazing Spiderman. Maybe it was just because I love Spider-Man that much that I didn’t minds some of the failings of this movie. I think if you believe the hype too much, you might be disappointed, especially if you liked how Spider-Man was. But in the end, it was still a pretty spectacular action flick that brings something a bit new to the world of Spider-Man.
Have you seen The Amazing Spider-Man? What did you think? Did it live up to your expectations? Have I said anything you disagree with? Tell me & everyone else who passes through here what you think in the comment below, or on the Facebook page.
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<!–Spoilers Beyond This Point–>
- My Opinion on the Amazing Spider-Man (thebambooshoots.com)
- The Amazing Spider-man – Caught up in a Webb! (devlifeintechnicolor.com)
- Was The Untold Story Cut From THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN? (badassdigest.com)
- ‘The Amazing Spider-Man:’ What Was Missing From The Film, Who Was In The End Credits And More (slashfilm.com)
- Tangled Webb: The Amazing Spider-Man and Doing Twilight Right… (them0vieblog.com)
So, other than the things I mentioned above, there were a few other things I didn’t feel were right about this movie. These things aren’t so much about the movie as a movie, but the storyline and the execution of it.
The first thing that hit me was that Peter’s not nerdy enough. Sure, he has a working understanding of things, and he’s into photography, but he’s not really a nerd. He’s not particularly outcast, he’s not a weakling and he ride a skateboard. That said, he’s not shown to have any real friends, and he’s not as strong as Flash, and he does at least wear contacts. The Peter Parker I know is a brainbox who’s made fun of at school for being smart and liking science. I guess what it comes down to is if I stood alongside him, he would clearly be the more alpha male, and that’s just not right for Peter Parker. Peter Parker is suppose to be the epitome of the downtrodden, misunderstood science geek. And that’s not how he appears in this movie. Maybe it comes down to casting, maybe it’s the writing, but either way, it didn’t feel right.
Another thing that doesn’t feel right is the way that Peter’s lack of responsibility and care leads to Uncle Ben’s death so quickly. Traditionally, it’s like a week or so later that it comes back to bite him that he wouldn’t stop the thief, but here it happens in a matter of seconds. In a way, that’s ok. It works out the same, maybe even putting more fault on Peter’s shoulders. And it was sweet ironic justice that no one seemed to react when he’s screaming “Someone call an ambulance!” Uncle Ben has to die, it’s meant to happen, but why also Captain Stacey? And why does he suddenly go soft as a soggy sandwich towards the end? It neither fits him, nor makes any sense.
The thing I have the biggest problem with about this movie, as far as continuity goes, is the approach Peter takes to protecting his identity. Namely, he doesn’t. He seems to basically tell anyone whose interested that he’s Spider-Man. There’s a scene where Gwen’s basically asking for a proposal, but instead gets a confession about Peter being Spider-Man. So instead of giving her what she wants, he strings her along for a bit, and unloads his problems on her. As someone who has read the Civil War arc, and the mess caused by Spider-Man’s identity being revealed, I was in pain to see him flounce about, taking no care to try and hide himself. He happily swings through crowded streets in the middle of the day wearing normal clothes. There are even bits where he does this without a mask! Like, what are you thinking? Are you trying to get caught? Are you aiming to put your family and loved ones (Gwen) in danger? Now that softy Stacey is dead, the police will be all over you, as will any crim that you try and stop. Don’t you think one of the students or teachers in the school would think it’s a bit suss that Peter’s the only one running towards the Lizardman while everyone flees? Where even are the teachers in that scene? They seem to have taken the day off, apart from librarian Stan Lee. And while it’s debatable at what point Aunt May works out that Peter’s Spider-Man in the comics, in this movie she’s given Peter’s secret identity on a silver platter. He’s constantly doing things that hint at the fact he’s Spider-Man, yet he refuses to just properly tell her.
Another thing I didn’t really like is the way that OSCORP seems to be everywhere. It where Dr Connors works, where Gwen is an intern, where Peter’s dad worked…they even manufacture the webbing that Peter uses. Well, he does make a few modifications, but basically he’s bought it off the shelf, which means that it would be traceable. If any cop bothered to run a few tests on the stuff these goons are being tied up in by Mr Masked Vigilante, they’d see it’s OSCORP tech. And the city centres around OSCORP Tower, a bit like a corporate rip-off of STARK Tower. It makes sense is a way, and you can see they’ve done it so that they can make everything fit together a bit more easily, leading into the predestine sequels.
Something else that really bugged me was the way particular, cliché lines were avoided like the plague in this movie. I know that you’ve want to avoid the cliché, that’s why it’s cliché, but there are some times when you should bow to pressure and just say “With great power comes great responsibility,” or at least something similar. Instead, every conversation is left hanging in a way, missing that rounding out statement of intent. A far more stupid example of this same thing is the way they won’t even let him say “Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man!” Someone asked Spidey who he was, and he just runs away because he doesn’t have a good answer.
Now, I can’t say it’s all bad. Gwen Stacy is a real highlight of the movie. Her sudden infatuation with Peter isn’t particularly becoming of her, but at least Emma Stone plays in such a way that it’s enjoyable…
This may not be amazing to you but one thing I noticed was that apparently Spider-Man’s suit has capacitive fingertips because he can use his touchscreen phone while wearing it. Interesting…
As I think back over the movie in my mind, I remember a bunch of good moments with potential. And that’s what happens to the whole of this movie. It reeks of potential. You can see a glimmer of something good in everything, but it doesn’t quite work or deliver on its promises. So, while I stilled enjoyed it, and am happy I got to see it, I’m disappointed that it wasn’t better.
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