York's finest, versus one guy in a unitard.”
Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans
Writers: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves
When I first heard about this reboot I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I wasn’t too sure why we needed another origin story, but that’s a comic fan boy gripe. Spider-Man 1 and 2 are pretty good super hero movie in my opinion and I didn’t have a problem with Kirsten Dunst and Toby McGuire. Even the third Spider-Man is a movie that I can enjoy, sure it has problems but I at least enjoy the villains in it.
It would seem that this movie had a big battle ahead of it, but when the end credits rolled I knew that despite having a few nitpicks this was my favourite out of the four Spider-Man movies. Most of the credit has to go to the cast who just seem perfect for the respective roles. But lets crack this movie open and see what really makes it tick.
Story wise we have the origin story and at least they’ve tried a few different things. Starting with the parents and concentrating on Gwen Stacy as the love interest instead of Mary Jane. There is enough here to be its own movie, and yet still similar as to not alienate fans. Interestingly I like the take on Parker in this movie as an outsider rather than a nerdish loser, its closer to the comics in my opinion and make his journey to being Spider-Man less about living out a fantasy and more emphasis on the tragedy of his origins. Where things tend to fall apart is that this movie is obviously setting up a trilogy, so things are brought up but there isn’t a lot of pay off.
Looking back on a finished trilogy things might shine in a more positive light, but as of the moment there were too many things I wanted answered that just didn’t satisfy me. Also being an origin story there is a big focus on Parker and Gwen Stacy which is good, but Curt Conners/Lizard gets pushed into the background which does hurt our understanding of his motivations. One thing that is great is while there are still comedic beats, this movie takes things a little more seriously and I never realised how cheesy the Raimi movies were until I watched this. So yes there are problems with the story, but people will still find things to enjoy.
Acting wise this movie is just right. Andrew Garfield just gets Parker perfectly, he’s a shy loner when out of the suit, but when Spider-Man he’s the smart ass hero we all love. Emma Stone is hands down everything you could have hoped for in Gwen Stacy. Both Stone and Garfield have a real chemistry, and in retrospect what they accomplish really shows how bad McGuire and Dunst were. I’ve defended Dunst a lot in conversations with people, but Emma Stone just has an energy that Dunst couldn’t hope to have. Rhys Ifans reminds me of the incredible work Molina did in the second movie. A sympathetic villain that the audience wishes would see the error of his ways, however in this case Ifans as the Lizard never really reaches the same heights as Molina’s Dr Octopus. This would have more to do with the script as he could have been given so much more to do. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben also does an incredible job and even though I now where this was all heading I was still upset at his timely demise. Not once in this movie did I think an actor was doing a horrible job.
Visually the movie was excellent, and I swear they used a lot more practical stunt scenes than the previous movies. If this isn’t the case then that’s just a tick for the CGI as sometimes I couldn’t tell the difference. While the stylistic choices of Raimi were missed, Webb did a competent enough job. I wish he got a little more creative with his visuals but playing it safe for this reboot was probably on everyone’s mind. The two biggest problems I had with the visuals was the design for the Lizard. It just didn’t work for me but that’s more of personal taste. The other was the 3D, it was pretty good but there just didn’t seem to be a point. When I originally saw the trailer I was blown away by the first person wall crawling scene in 3D. I was looking forward to this type of thing in the movie. Not only didn’t we get hardly any of this type of thing, but the scene from the trailer was cut so it was half as long. For shame. Don’t tease me with an awesome idea and then don’t deliver it.
This is a big year for comic book movies and so far we’ve been given two excellent movies. I still think The Avengers is the better movie but there is a lot to enjoy with Amazing Spider-Man. If you’re after a good comic book movie then this as to be on your must watch list, however you could probably skip the 3D and save yourself some money.