The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Review
So everyone is wondering how Marc Webb’s new THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN measures up against the beloved Sam Raimi version that begun just ten years ago and if the reboot was even necessary. Of course it was unnecessary but in a lot of ways I do think the new version is better.
To be completely upfront, I might be the only person who didn’t really care for the SPIDER-MAN movies (although I did think the second one was well done). Maybe it’s due to the fact that I never read the comic books. Or that I was out of high school when the films came out, unable to identify with the teenage kid who has new found powers. Or because whenever I can’t see someone’s mouth move when they speak, it reminds of the low budget children’s television show, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Whatever the case may be, I find the SPIDER-MAN movies to be the lesser of the superhero films.
Watching and reviewing a movie that has already been so engrained in the psyche is very difficult. How can I review a movie on its own merit when it nearly copies its predecessor verbatim? (Read my angry Footloose movie review). Well, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a different telling of the same story, which I can fully appreciate. However, when that same story with two sequels has been told within the last decade, it’s tough to get excited. My enjoyment level suffered primarily due to the case of “why bother” syndrome. So if you want me to judge THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as its own entity, tough. The filmmakers shouldn’t have covered the same superhero film so close together. With that said, I’ll quickly recap the story for the few people out there who don’t already know.
Peter Parker is not so much the wide-eyed nerd that Tobey Maguire portrayed, but an outcast loner playing by his own rules. He may still get bullied but Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is dealing with a lot more internal issues. With a much deeper backstory, Peter is sorting through the loss of his parents and the confusion for why his father (Campbell Scott) abandoned him to his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). Through a little persistent research, Peter discovers his father’s fellow scientist partner, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) is still working on the cross species genetics that Peter’s father was so keen on keeping secret. The idea is that humans could possibly regrow missing limbs like a lizard that loses its tail. Dr. Connors has a special interest in the study as he only has one arm but has unsuccessfully found a way to properly combine two species. While snooping around Dr. Connor’s lab in Oscorp, Peter happens to get bit by a genetically engineered spider that ultimately turns him into THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
Comparatively, the acting is far superior in this film. Using experienced actors for these supporting roles helps ground the film in a more believable foundation. The big difference is Peter’s love interest Gwen Stacey played by the always adorable Emma Stone. I cannot express how much better she is than Kirsten Dunst’s stiff portrayal as Mary Jane. Stone gives Stacey strength and self awareness that creates a likeable love interest for the audience to root for. At times, the tone feels a little uneven playing up big cheesy moments with cornball dialogue and overt camera zoom ins overlaid with crescendoing music that didn’t work for me. Opposed to the darker emotional moments of Peter’s struggle to take responsibility and do the right thing that Andrew Garfield delivered surprisingly strong. The film builds more around the spidey senses, which I found to be a far more interesting aspect from how Peter must adjust.
As the film progresses, we see the familiar structure of SPIDER-MAN with similar necessary events transpiring just with different scenarios and better acting. At the end of the day, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is probably an appropriately fun, summer, superhero movie, perhaps moreso than the originals. If only it had come out first, I might have been able to be more excited. As it stands, compared with all the other recent superhero films, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN fails to offer anything memorable.