The Amazing Spider-man (2012)
Directed by: Marc Webb
Running time: 136 minutes
So here it is, the reboot of Spider-man that has had so many people either criticized or heralded. I, funnily enough, was on both sides of that debate. I initially criticized it for being unnecessary and money grabbing, but then the more I saw of it the more interested I became and was suddenly keen to check it out. And now having seen it, I can safely say that I am still on both sides of the argument.
Now Showing this week is The Amazing Spider-man, directed by Marc Webb (how many on-set jokes do you think he got?!). Peter Parker, a loner teenager living with his Aunt and Uncle following his parents disappearance/death, gets inadvertently bitten by a genetically enhanced species of spider one day when he sneaks into a laboratory run by a man (Dr. Curt Connors) who Peter knows once worked with his father. The result of this bite gives him enhanced abilities reminiscent of a spider (amazing hearing/senses, ability to climb any surface etc.) and he goes on to becoming a superhero. The journey to that end however is a long one, filled with inspiring speeches of right and wrong and whatnot. Meanwhile, Peter also inadvertently aides Dr. Connors by giving him an algorithm to help him in his research and Dr. Connors misuses it to turn himself into a giant lizard and runs amok. Cue Spider-man needing to right the wrong he has made.
To those of you who don’t know, the reason this film was given the green light (or the suspected reason I should say) is because that company that holds the film rights to Spider-man is the Sony Corporation, and they are aware of the fact that the character of Spider-man was indeed involved in the “Avengers” comic books at one point. But The Avengers was made by Disney/Marvel Studios, so they can’t use the Spider-man character in later Avengers sequels since they don’t have the rights. However, the thing about movie rights, be it for a novel, comic character or anything, is that you have a limited amount of time to use them. And if those rights aren’t used in that amount of time they revert back to the original creator, in Spider-man’s case this is Marvel Studios. So that means that if Sony did not use their rights to Spider-man soon, then the web-slinger would go back to Marvel and could feature in Avengers films, effectively handing Marvel/Disney a ba-billion-gillion dollars on a silver platter. So they had to get cracking on Spider-man movies; and since Spider-man 3 was renowned as a huge steaming pile of emo dancing crap, they had to go back to square one and make Spidey cool again.
So here we are, back with the origin story of Spider-man. And I must say that the film’s biggest fault is the fact that it is retelling a story we have already seen before. The whole tagline of it being the “untold story” is a load of crap, some of the earlier scenes are almost identical to the events of the 2002 Spider-man. Even though you’ve already seen that film I’ll say: SPOILERS! Peter selfishly goes out at night and Uncle Ben goes after him, Peter doesn’t stop a robber and that robber goes on to kill Uncle Ben in the crossfire. This scene was almost exactly the same, including Peter saying something like “I missed the part where that was my problem”. It even had a “with great power, comes great responsibility” speech! Though I must say, I enjoyed the delivery of it much more in this film. END SPOILERS!
The story of the film itself is actually OK, not brilliant but alright. But the fact that it is predictable because we’ve pretty much seen it before works to its detriment. The film’s story focuses heavily on the two lead characters, Peter Parker and love interest Gwen Stacy, and they have some really interesting moments and character development; but the supporting cast I feel suffers from this lack of screen time. The villain, The Lizard, doesn’t really have much going on for him and just seems to be there so as Spider-man has something to fight, with his motivations simply coming from being turned mad from his mad-scientist stuff. It’s not bad, it’s just cliched and simple. But majority of the film is quite entertaining, with Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker being a fun, yet dark character and his sarcastic wit translating well into the mocking Spider-man he is to become. The finale of the film is a bit naff for reasons I shan’t spoil, but I will say it just feels too convenient. Certain characters had changes that just felt way too easy and rushed etc. It just kind of failed.
I loved Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man/Peter Parker. For one, I liked how he didn’t have two separate personalities when it came to his two identities. Toby Maguire’s Peter/Spidey seemed to have a soft spoken science geek personality and a tough guy wise cracker personality in his separate character that I suppose I found hard to believe coming from the same person. It works if you’re a weakling geeky teenager who likes the fantasy of suddenly being able to be bad-ass like I did when that film came out; but the Peter side of Maguire’s role always bugged me a little. Garfield’s Peter is not so much a massive geeky weakling, he is more just a socially awkward guy due to his brash sarcasm due to his abandonment issues from his parents, and his voyeurism in photography. He still has the guts to stand up to the bigger man and even though he gets the life beaten out of him, that translates well into becoming a superhero. Garfield’s Spider-man feels very much the same as his Peter, but with much more confidence due to his new abilities. And that’s my kind of Spider-man. Plus his sarcasm was much more entertaining and clever than simple puns from Maguire.
The Amazing Spider-man may have been made for the money (and these days what movie isn’t?), but I still enjoyed it. It was in no way perfect, and thanks to it being a retelling it was predictable, but it was the smaller changes such as Spidey’s new form of sarcasm that I really enjoyed. Sure it feels like they’re trying to pull a Batman Begins on Spider-man, but it was still fun to watch. A decent film, not a great one but decent. The 3D effects are spectacular, I often didn’t feel like I was watching 3D moreover I was looking through a window; so that is a definite plus. It may have wavered occasionally in the several first person sequences but they were quick and not a huge bother. I’d recommend seeing it, for nothing more than to make up your own mind on whether this reboot was a good thing or not. I will say this, it was a lot better than Spider-man 3!
See you next time!