The Amazing Spider-man – Review

Hello interweb, Nate here!  I’m gonna be honest, guys, I’m getting a little bit of Spider-man fatigue here lol.  I mean, this is the 4th Spider-man movie I’ve rewatched over the last couple of days.  But we’re almost done so I’m not gonna stop here!  SPOILER WARNING and leggo!

Movie Info

Movie Title: The Amazing Spider-man

Produced by: Marvel Comics

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Writer: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves

Director: Marc Webb (wonder why he was hired)

Producer: Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and Laura Ziskin

Running Time: 2 hrs 16 min

 

Review

The odd thing about this movie is just how far it strays from the source material and yet doesn’t offend the inner Spider-man fan in me.  I’ve seen some die-hard Spider-man fans rip the Amazing Spider-man movies to shreds online and I’m not sure if that comes from a “Grr!  This is nothing like the comics!” side of things or a “Grr!  This is crap compared to Raimi’s brilliant films!”.  Maybe I just don’t get as defensive around changes to Spider-man as I do to franchises like the X-men.  Now this film is nowhere near as good as Spider-man 2, and as an origin story Spider-man blows this flick out of the water.  But on its own merits, I kind of like it!  Granted it has it’s problems and quite a few changes from the comics really did bother me, but at the same time this movie does certain thing better than the Raimi films ever did. The Spidey-sass is done better (was that too cringey or should I stick to calling it that?), Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is a much better character with much more personality than Mary Jane ever did,  and the action here is surprisingly better than the Raimi films.  I mean on average, of course.  Nothing in this movie beats the train scene from Spider-man 2 but considering how fast paced action and this film’s more interesting use of Spider-man’s webs kinda beats most of what the Raimi films has to offer.

Okay, let’s take a step back.  What’s the story?  Well it’s an origin story like Spider-man so you probably know the gist of it by now.  Peter Parker gets bit by a genetically enhanced spider and gains spider powers!  But soon after, Pete’s Uncle Ben gets shot after someone robs a knock-off 7-Eleven and this causes Peter to go after the perpetrator in revenge.  While this is happening, Dr. Kurt Connors, who’s a fellow scientist and friend to Peter’s now deceased father, is experimenting with lizard DNA in hopes of regaining a lost limb.  The lizard DNA drives him to insanity and he seeks to turn all of New York into lizard people.  Now Peter needs to stop the lizard as the amazing Spider-man with a little help from his girlfriend: Gwen Stacy!

The story itself is alright and interesting enough to hold its own.  While the character’s motives can be a little fuzzy at times (like why does turning into a lizard cause Dr. Connors to make everybody into lizard people?) it’s pretty easy to follow with no glaring plot holes that really ruins anything.  While I do think Raimi’s Spider-man had a better story and was more faithful to the source material, this movie took the more dark and gritty reboot approach so they ditched the wrestling competition for a convenience store robbery.  I can see how this could upset some fans but it really didn’t bother me.  It served a similar purpose and since Raimi’s film did it first it would be kinda hard to do that same scene again and not have it be copying the original.

The action in this movie is slightly superior to the original as it’s more fast paced and has a more visually interesting aesthetic to it.  The webbing was also very nicely utilized and seeing Spidey quickly wrap the Lizard up in a web was fun to watch.  I would say the action might’ve been improved from the original because of advancements in CGI technology, but if that’s the case then why was the CGI on the Lizard so atrocious?  The web slinging scenes through the city is a lot funner to watch than in the original and I think that’s because the original usually had a lot of close up shots of Spider-man swinging through the city while this one zooms out and lets us see him quickly spit out web line after web line.

But above all else, the one thing I think this movie had that the Raimi films severely lacked that I so wish was in that trilogy because that could’ve easily brought Spider-man 2 to a 10/10: the Spidey-sass!  Seriously!  I’ve been saying this for a long time, but Toby Maguire made for a perfect Peter Parker cause he was believable, dorky looking, socially awkward, and an overall nerd.  But Andrew Garfield had the freakin sass and humor that Maguire just lacked.  I went over the humor a little in a previous review and how it’s meant to distract enemies as well as help Peter focus, but it’s a little more then that.  Peter Parker is a socially awkward nerd and when he wears the mask it lets him cut lose and be free to mock and make as many wise-cracks as he wants.

Overall, I say the two biggest marks on this movie is that it does stray pretty far from the comics and it is overshadowed by the Raimi films.  I mean as a movie, it’s pretty good! But as a Spider-man movie?  It just doesn’t quite feel right.  Maybe it’s the attempt at a dark and gritty reboot, maybe it’s because the altered tone, or maybe the side characters from the comics aren’t present or altered weirdly.  Either way, this just doesn’t exactly feel like a Spider-man movie.  Which really makes me scratch my head at how to judge it.  Do I judge it as a film or as an adaptation of a comic book property?  Because personally I’ve always believed that when you adapt a story from another form of media then you should actually adapt the story with only necessary alterations here and there.  But even though this film doesn’t feel like a Spider-man film, I still consider it a good movie with interesting characters, fun action, and a cute romance.

And now the characters.  The Lizard feels as if it’s trying to be a compelling villain like Green Goblin or Dock Ock but it just fails.  As a scientist, Dock Ock was a better written character as it was established early in the movie that Peter idolized Dr. Otto Octavius’s work before he turned evil.  As a character with a split personality, Green Goblin worked because Norman Osbourne was the father to Peter’s best friend.  Because of these relationships, it was interesting to see how Peter dealt with both characters.  The Lizard might’ve been a coworker and friend to Peter’s father, but Peter’s father is dead and Peter himself has very little connection to Dr. Connors before they meet.  If Peter’s father was still alive then it would be more tragic as Peter’s father would have suffered from losing his friend and coworker.  But of course Peter’s father is dead (because this is Spider-man remember) so that just didn’t really work.  As a villain to fight he was decent due to his strength and regenerative abilities, but as a character he was just okay.

Like I mentioned earlier, Andrew Garfield nailed it as the wise-cracking Spider-man that we all know and love.  However, his weak area is as Peter Parker.  Which is unfortunate because Peter Parker is kind of the protagonist and the face we see most of the time.  The problem is that on one hand Garfield plays Peter as some kind of smartass and a cool kid, but at the same time he’s socially awkward and gets bullied.  How do these two things work together?  I mean, Peter Parker isn’t suppose to be a smartass so I would want them to stick to a socially awkward kid, but he’s also too much of a pretty boy to really pull that nerdy Peter Parker off.  Maybe the idea was that Peter is socially awkward around girls he likes, cause most of his stuttering does occur around Gwen Stacy, which a bit more believable but that wasn’t really made clear.

Gwen Stacy herself was WAY better than Mary Jane, hands down.  I’m sorry, as amazing as the Raimi films are, Mary Jane lacks so much personality and is only there as a woman for Peter to chase after and have conflict with characters like Harry.  Gwen Stacy actually did sh*t!  She was an intern for a scientist, she actually found out that Peter was Spider-man half way through the first movie (granted, that was kind of a risky move on his part), and she helped develop an antidote for Spider-man to use to defeat the Lizard!  What did MJ ever do?  You know, OTHER than constantly getting abducted by villains!  While the romance between MJ and Peter was more complex, Gwen’s a more interesting character and she has a much more adorable relationship with Peter.

Captain Stacy I actually thought seemed a lot like if J Jonah Jameson was a cop.  I mean, both hate Spider-man and wants him behind bars and both uses similar rhetoric when ranting about him.  I guess if no other JJJ can beat J. K. Simmons than they felt like they couldn’t recast the character?  Just a thought.

Overall, if we’re trying our best to judge this film on its own merits and not compare it to the Sam Raimi films (which is actually kinda hard) then it is a good movie.  The only problem I really do have is how it just doesn’t feel like a Spider-man movie.  It is a good movie with fun action, cute romance, and a decently written story.  It’s nowhere near as good as Spider-man or Spider-man 2, but I still recommend it to fans of superhero movies and maybe Spider-man fans open to a new interpretation?  Maybe?  7/10 and next is The Amazing Spider-man 2!  Last Spidey film before Homecoming!

 

My Rating System

10 – Perfect: nothing is wrong about this movie

9 – Almost perfect: has one or two minor nitpicks that holds it from perfection

8 – Amazing: not a perfect film but still absolutely loved it

7 – Good: has a few problems but overall a great film

6 – Ok: has several major problems but I still like it

5 – Mediocre: neither good nor bad just forgettable

4 – Bad: a few major problems that ruins the movie

3 – Awful: lots of problems that ruins the movie

2 – Terrible: there may be one or two good things about the film but everything else is garbage

1 – The worst: literally nothing went right

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