If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Spider-Man, Spider-Man, this is my review of the amazing reboot of Spider-Man.
Hey there folks, let Uncle Beetle tell you a little story. A long time ago (ten years ago to be exact) a film was released that would revolutionize the super-hero genre. That film was Spider-Man. It was great, it had great actors, a simple plot, and tons of fun. The sequel was even more well-received than the first film and was even considered by some (NOT ME) to be the ultimate super-hero film. Unfortunately, all things gold can not stay and the third installment tripped BIG TIME. A whiny Peter-Parker, dance scenes, musical numbers, a de-fanged Venom, The list goes on and on. Audiences were outraged, and in a panic Sony, The studio that makes the Spidey films, pulled the reboot lever. This brings us to today. There were some who looked forward to the reboot and there were others who shunned it. Myself? At first I recoiled from the idea but when I saw the trailers I changed my mind. This film looked like it could blow the other 3 Spidey films out of the water. I guess the real question here is: does it? I just returned from the film, and let me preach the truth to you children.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a lot better than the previous Spider-Man films. This reboot does what most reboots tend to do: it re-tells us the origin story of Spider-Man. It's surprising how many of the samebeats this film hits that the original hit as well. However, what makes this film better than the first Spider-Man is that it takes the source material from the first and expands on it, enhancing it in the process. This whole film (all 2 hours 16 minutes of it) is about the origin of Spider-Man, about how he learns what he believes in, what he will stand up for, what he will fight for, and how to take responsibility for his actions and appropriately use his powers for good.
The Amazing Spider-Man is just about the polar opposite of Spider-Man. It's got a darker tone (for the love of God, please stop comparing this film to Batman Begins), about 90% of this film focuses on Parker (not Spidey), and it also focuses more on the relationship between Parker and Gwen Stacy. This film is NOT your typical super-hero film, it's very serious, quiet, and introspective. If you don't like the sound of that then stay away (myself, I LOVED the new direction this film decided to take. I'm all for different films).
Quite possibly THE reason to see this film is for Andrew Garfield's amazing (pun intended) portrayal of Peter Parker. He's not necessarily believable as a high schooler, but he fits into the role of Peter Parker like a glove. He is the ultimate Spider-Man. He makes Parker and Spider-Man relateable and in his hands Spider-Man is the whip-smart and quip throwing character we all grew up with in the comics. In Fact, This version of Parker is very much the same one from the comics as well. He's very shy but very smart, and in this film he makes his own web fluid and web shooters just like he did in the comics (a welcome addition). This film is the closest we've come to nailing the Parker/Spider-Man from the comics (Sorry Raimi and Maguire, Webb and Garfield have you beat. Actually, that's a pretty funny joke....Marc Webb directed Spider-Man....get it....it's funny because his last name is Webb and Spider-Man shoots webs!!!)
As I said earlier, this film places more focus on the relationship between Parker and Gwen Stacy. The romance is actually one of the stronger aspects of this film (big surprise there, Webb also directed 500 Days of Summer). Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone make for one of the cuter screen couples, and their chemistry is super believable. I also like where the film chooses to go with this sub-plot in the end, very nice and very fitting.
Emma Stone makes for a cute (there's that word again) and believable Gwen Stacy. You do believe that she has fallen for Parker, and not just because he admits to her that he is indeed Spider-Man. There's something deeper going on here. She brings some depth and maturity to her role (the same goes for Garfield). She also may not be believable as a High Schooler, but she does make for a pretty and convincing Gwen.
The "villain" of the film is Dr. Curt Connors AKA The Lizard. He is a brilliant scientist whose work on cross-genetics is one of the best in the field. He also used to be one of Parker's father's friends and colleague s. This is what brings Peter to OsCorp, the company that Connors and Parker's father used to work for. Together, Parker and Connors create an advanced syrum that could lead to humans being able to heal themselves. Pretty advanced stuff. When Connors has the rug pulled out from under him by Osborne's lackey, Connors is forced to test the syrum on himself and in the process turns into The Lizard (No, Norman Osborne does not appear in this film, although much talk in the film is about him. Apparently, Osborne is very sick and he needs the syrum if he is going to survive). The Lizard is not the strongest aspect of the film, but he is still an interesting character. He genuinely believes he is doing good here, and so kind of falls into the grey area as to if he is really evil or not. Rys Ifans does a fine job here as Connors, and is certainly memorable.
Martin Sheen makes for a fantastic and sympthetic Uncle Ben, and Sally Fields makes for a fantastic Aunt May. Both don't appear much in the film, but make their roles count. The same can be said for the rest of the supporting cast. Chris Zylka makes for a great Flash Thompson, the bully of the film, and Denis Leary puts in a fine performance as Captain Stacy, Gwen's father and head of the police. He makes for a believable and sympathetic character .
I saw the film in 3D....was it worth the extra price of admission? I guess so. As I said before 90 % of the film focuses on Parker and thus most of the film doesn't lend itself all that well to 3D, however, all the action scenes look beautiful in 3D and the POV shots make you feel like you really are Spidey and that you are swinging along with him. There's also a screen penetrating shot of a building and Spidey does make a visit into the theater on occasion.
The Amazing Spider-Man makes for a different, more mature and adult super-hero film that's got sort-of an indie vibe to it. I think it's a lot better than the the first 3 Spider-Man films (especially the first one) because it brings us the first true interpretation of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and the film enjoys digging down into his depths and exploring what makes him him, it also brings us a good villian if not an extremely memorable one and it creates another great version of Aunt May and Uncle Ben. In short, everything the first Spider-Man did, The Amazing Spider-Man elaborates on and enhances....it does it all better and in my opinion, that makes The Amazing Spider-man a surprising success.
I do not suggest bringing your little ones to see this film. A large portion of the film is character development and exploration, and this would probably equal much boredom for kids.