Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quick Blurb Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

I'll admit, I liked the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man films, and while I did have my share of problems with the third one, I wasn't entirely convinced that Spider-Man 3 was so bad that it warranted an entire reboot of the series.

With all due respect to Doc Brown.

So when The Amazing Spider-Man was announced, I kinda scratched and shook my head as it seemed like Spidey was just another superhero that had fallen victim to a lack of originality and that crazy reboot trend running rampant nowadays. The first few images of Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy didn't immediately make me wanna pre-order my tickets, nor did the first trailer. The second trailer, however, officially made me say, "Okay, I think I need to see this movie." Well, I finally got around to watching it today and let's talk about it.

This is like a "Chicken Or The Egg" scenario: did Andrew & Emma start dating because they played so well off of each other, or did they play so well off of each other because they started dating?

So the story starts with Richard and Mary Parker (Campbell Scott & Embeth Davidtz) leaving their apartment after Richard's office has been broken into. They take young Peter (Max Charles) to Uncle Ben & Aunt May (Martin Sheen & Sally Field) and ask them to look after him while they "take care of something." Peter's parents are then killed in a plane crash and he is adopted by Ben & May. Fast forward to his high school years, where Peter (Garfield) finds his father's tote bag with a science folder regarding cross species gene splicing, a project Richard was working on with Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans). Peter sneaks into a tour of Oscorp to ask Dr. Connors about his father to see that his crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), is Connors' head intern. Peter sneaks about and finds a room full of a species of spiders that his dad engineered. One of them bites him and grants him strange abilities. As he adjusts to himself, he screws up with his family, Uncle Ben gets killed and Peter then dons the costume and identity of Spider-Man. Oh, and Dr. Connors gets pushed to the edge by company suits and mutates into The Lizard.

Spoilers: This scene was NOT in the film. The subplot with this Oscorp Executive went nowhere.

I suppose comparisons of this film to the Raimi films are inevitable, but I'll try to keep them to a minimum because, well, The Amazing Spider-Man makes the Raimi films look like the Joel Schumacher Batman films (3 being the Batman & Robin of the series) and made me realize, "Yeah, we really DID need a reboot of the series after Spider-Man 3." Basically, anything the Raimi films did, Amazing did better (okay, except Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborne/Green Goblin. That's still fucking awesome). Andrew Garfield outdid Tobey MacGuire as the titular character (mostly due to the fact that Andrew can actually, well, act), Emma Stone does better as Gwen Stacy than Kirsten Dunst did as Mary Jane in all fronts (not only is Emma prettier, she is a much better performer and actually looks the bloody part), Peter realizing how his powers work gets to him instead of him just going with it, Sheen & Field were amazing as Ben & May, the musical score by James Horner really amps up the ante in each scene its in, Denis frickin' Leary, one of the best Stan Lee cameos EVER, I could go on with this, but I don't want to stall out this review.

I wasn't crazy about The Lizard's design at first, but it kinda grew on me.

Naturally, this movie isn't perfect (again, what film is?). Like I mentioned earlier, there's a subplot involving Curt Connors and an Oscorp executive that I felt didn't really go anywhere (although that screenshot above hints that there's a deleted scene that could wrap that up), the movie's runtime of 2 hours and 10 minutes feels a tad too long and closer to the end I found myself glancing at the clock a few times and the post credits scene didn't really amp me up for a sequel the way that the post credits scenes in Marvel's Phase One lineup did (for those who don't know: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers). In fact, the post credits scene felt rather...blah. Maybe it involves a character from the Spider-Man universe that I'm not familiar with or something, but it just felt amiss. I'm sure there's a couple others, but those are the ones that really stood out to me.

I'd hate to be the poor bastard in the stall next to him.

Do those negative bits break this film? Considering how many positive things I've said, I'm pretty sure you can tell whether or not I'd recommend this movie or how highly, for that matter. I think the bigger question to me is how does this film compare to Marvel's other blockbuster of 2012, The Avengers. I say this because when The Amazing Spider-Man came out, my brother saw it and said it was on par with The Avengers, which is a pretty fuckin' bold statement, if I may say so myself (Avengers was phenomenal, 'nuff said). Personally, I think that these two films are on two different levels. Amazing Spider-Man was the new beginning that the character really needed (though some of us took a while to realize that), whereas Avengers was built up to over the course of five movies so, to me, Amazing Spider-Man was more of a "Okay, let's give the characters the respect that they deserve because of the last movie" and less of a "Oh God, we've been waiting for this for four years! PLEASE, GOD, PLEEEEEASE, have it NOT suck!" Thankfully, both movies have far more pros than they do cons and I say that if you haven't seen either of them yet, get on that. Pronto.

-The Cynic

P.S. Unlike the last movie I reviewed, I enjoyed this one enough that I'd be disappointed if they didn't make a sequel.

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