For the next submission in this month’s Genre Grandeur – Comic book / superhero movies, I present you with a review by Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews. His site is filled with great movie reviews and reviewed of recent movie trailers. If you don’t already follow his site, I strongly recommend that you do so.
It still isn’t too late to join in on this months Genre Grandeur. The official deadline is this coming Wednesday, but if you plan on submitting a review, shoot me an email just to let me be on the lookout for it so it gets posted on time. In order to submit a post, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your review and I’ll post it for you.
Let’s see what Drew has to say about The Amazing Spider Man (2012)
Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is just a normal high school kid until he gets bitten by a genetically engineered spider, giving him amazing powers. When Peter helps Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) complete a serum to regenerate lost limbs, Connors tests the serum on himself, turning him into the Lizard. Feeling responsible for Connors transformation, Peter sets out to stop him before he can turn New York into a city of lizard men.
I am a huge fan of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (well the first two, I don’t know what third movie you’re talking about), so I was surprised when Sony rebooted the series only a few years later. I was half-expecting the reboot to start with an already powered Spider-Man, similar to The Incredible Hulk, but instead his origin was retold. In the long run, that was probably a better decision. It’s not perfect, but The Amazing Spider-Man is an excellent start to the next Spider-Man franchise.
First, I want to say how great the casting of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker was. As much as I enjoyed Toby Maguire’s Peter Parker, I don’t think he quite accurately captured Peter’s humor or mannerisms. Garfield, on the other hand, brought the character to life in a way Maguire couldn’t manage. The scene where he confronts a knife-wielding car burglar is a perfect example. Needless to say, I was impressed.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the lovely and always wonderful Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. The Spider-Man fanboy in me was happy see Gwen be the love interest for Peter, since she was Peter’s first love in the comics. Stone has great chemistry with Garfield. They were both able to portray that teenage awkwardness and played off each other well.
The special effects were pretty good, although I wouldn’t say they were spectacular. A few times, the camera switched to a first-person view as Spidey swung through the New York skyline, adding a unique feeling to the movie. I think my only special effects complaint would be the Lizard. He looked awkward and was an odd mix of a lizard’s body with a human’s face with lizard’s characteristics. I think they should have just gone full lizard.
Speaking of the Lizard, it was great to finally see the character get the big screen treatment, but as a villain, he was pretty weak. He had many villain cliches and tropes. Hidden underground layer? Check. Made a video explaining his plan that conveniently auto-plays when the hero walks in? Check. Wants to “help” everyone by turning them into monsters just like him? Check. Some sort of personal relation to the hero? Check. So basically nothing ground breaking and a character that has been done many times and much better.
The next two paragraphs are going to be the comic fan in me listing things I did and didn’t like. Ready? Here I go. I already mentioned that it I liked that Gwen was the love interest rather than the more well known Mary Jane Watson, but a few characters that were missing that are huge in Spider-Man’s history are his best friend, Harry Osborn, and boss at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson. I also wish Peter had created his webbing himself, rather than use OsCorp technology. Creating his web shooters in the comics portrayed how smart Peter is, especially as a scientist.
My biggest fanboy outrage moment came when Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) didn’t say his famous line (“With great power comes great responsibility” for the uninformed). He paraphrased it but it’s not the same. I’m not sure if Webb wanted to distance himself from Raimi’s movies or what, but that to me is one thing that no matter how many times it is done can never change. There was a nice nod to Spider-Man early wrestling career and the suit wasn’t too bad either. OK, I’m done.
Despite the mainly negative ramblings of the last couple paragraphs, there is a lot to like in The Amazing Spider-Man. There are a few plot issues (Connors made no progress with the genetically engineered spiders in the 10+ years after Peter’s dad left? Peter just gave up searching for his Uncle’s killer?) and a weak villain, but the positives outweigh the negatives. Andrew Garfield makes an excellent Peter, successfully capturing his humor and mannerisms. Plus he has great chemistry with Emma Stone, which the two of them alone make the movie worth while. The special effects, particularly the first-person swinging scenes, were good. The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t without it’s flaws, but it’s one of the most faithful, and fun, Spider-Man adaptations to date.
Also check out my review for the sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Cast & Crew
Marc Webb – Director
James Vanderbilt – Story / Screenplay
Alvin Sargent – Screenplay
Steve Kloves – Screenplay
James Horner – Composer
Andrew Garfield – Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Emma Stone – Gwen Stacy
Denis Leary – Captain Stacy
Rhys Ifans – Dr. Curt Connors / The Lizard
Marin Sheen – Uncle Ben
Sally Field – Aunt May
Campbell Scott – Richard Parker
Embeth Davidtz – Mary Parker
Chris Zylka – Flash Thompson
Irrfan Khan – Rajit Ratha
Max Charles – Peter Parker (age 4)
Kari Coleman – Helen Parker
Thanks again to Drew for his *amazing* review! 🙂