Movie Review: The Amazing Spiderman

 

In this movie review, resident writer Joseph Braxton takes a look at The Amazing Spiderman. Was it truly amazing, or all hype? Only one way to find out…

The 2012 movie “The Amazing Spiderman” features a re-tread of the widely known tale derived from Stan Lee’s comic book creation. The story of a young brainiac, Peter Parker, abandoned by his parents at a young age (okay, so it wasn’t entirely their fault – they died), and raised by his aunt May and uncle Ben in a rather humble home. Living a quiet lifestyle, relatively unpopular and unknown amongst his piers, curiosity about his father’s past eventually leads Parker into a discovery of some top secret files in an old briefcase belonging to his father. These files inevitably bring him to the infamous Oscorp Labs and in contact with Dr. Curt Connors, his fathers former partner. Add a little “spider bite” into the mix, some teen angst, and Peter’s life is forever changed from that of a mundane teen, to one of incredible abilities and heroism.

The Amazing Spiderman Trailer

In my opinion – as well as many others – this film had big shoes to fill. Let’s face it – the comparison between it and its predecessor is unavoidable. Given the close proximity of the two films, it hard not to critique it alongside the original.  That being said, I myself am a huge fan of the originals, especially Sam Raimi’s 2002 blockbuster. Overall, this movie didn’t do for me what the others did. That being said, I believe they did a good job with it: it was enjoyable, well made, and kept enough of the essentials while at the same time separating itself from the original with various plot tweeks.

Andrew Garfield takes on the role of the newly imagined Peter Parker.  He still plays the young Einstein role, but in a significantly different light than Tobey Maguire’s version we all know so well. He creates a darker feel, dripping with teen angst and sarcasm. He comes across more as a punk skater-boy, than your classic nerd photographer – another way the film departs from the precursor. A lot was expected of Garfield from fans and critics alike, and he more than delivered. Relying on his fresh-faced innocence, wry humor, and overall indifference, he creates a distinct connection with the audience not achieved in the original flick.

Meanwhile, Dr. Curt Connors, played by Rhys Ifans, stumbles into the role of what I think is the greatest villian from a Spiderman movie to date. If there is one thing I put hands down from this new rendition above its predecessors, its this massive Lizard beast. His raw power and ferocity oozes out of the screen, leaving you to wonder many times what Spidey can really do to handle him.

The CG department really did a wonderful job in bringing this monster to life. I don’t want any of you hardcore fans out there to think I’m taking away from the great Willem Dafoe’s role as the green goblin – his acting skills surpass that of any actor/actress that’s taken part in a Spiderman movie to date. As far as creativeness, animation, and raw power goes though, I have to give it to Dr. Connor’s Lizardman.

This wouldn’t be a proper review without mention of Emma Stone’s moving role as the sensual “Gwen”. She’s a great actress and has a hugely bright career ahead of her. The interaction between Gwen and Peter feels real and they have great on-screen chemistry. Other roles worth noting include Martin Sheen as “Uncle Ben” and Dennis Leary as the police captain and father of Gwen.

The unique and nostalgic attraction of Spiderman is kept alive in this movie; the story of a hero who unknowingly stumbles upon his abilities rather than inheriting them and who has to learn his purpose and apply it in the world is timeless. The driving force drawing in the spectator is the fact that Peter Parker is (despite his remarkable powers) normal, with real flaws – making him all the more human and relate-able.

This is a widely known – and often told tale – and on the whole this new version did a swell job of holding to its foundation while setting itself apart just enough from the former franchise to not acquire too much criticism. Though the subtle tweaks and differences made for some inevitably awkward moments in the script, I was left with an overall feeling of satisfaction. They did what they could to keep it unique and familiar, something new and old fans alike should appreciate.

Insanely good visual effects, a true sign and product of today’s superb computer generated effects. Very good use of 3D, showing further innovation in the recently formed phenomenon. Along with the CGI was a nice mixture of motion capture and stunt work, which rather impressed me as well.

I still stand by my opinion of not putting this above the 2002 version. Maybe I’m biased to the original, but one will always find it hard not to be. This was a well acted movie, a well made one, but NOT the original. Do I want to see a sequel? Yes, in hopes that my opinion will change slightly on this view.

I, along with other fans and critics, can’t help but ask a blaring question: was there really a purpose for this film? What was it? Why make it so shortly removed from the original film? This is a well made superhero movie, in a world of many superhero films, and many well made ones – a fact that may have made The Amazing Spiderman suffer from at the box-office. However, if you’re a fan of the comics, the movies, the cartoon, or even a good, solidly entertaining action thriller, this one is well worth watching. On a totally separate note – and purely out of speculation – one wonder if perhaps Garfield will show up in the next installment of the “Avengers”, as he did show up every now and again in the comics!

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