Monday, February 3, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

I've read very few Spider-Man comics so most of my knowledge of the character comes from the three movies directed by Sam Raimi. I loved the first two movies in that series but did not like Spider-Man 3.
The Amazing Spider-Man is the second film from director Marc Webb, whose directorial debut was (500) Days of Summer. Webb has also directed music videos for bands such as Green Day and 3 Doors Down. I kinda wonder if Webb was chosen for this project based on his last name!
While I was expecting a mindless cash-in made only to keep the rights to Spider-Man with Sony, it's clear that those involved with making the film did put effort into it. The Amazing Spider-Man is competently made with one of the technical highlights being a cool match cut from The Lizard to the scales on the fish Peter Parker is eating for dinner. That said, the movie was not as fun as I was expecting nor as memorable as the Raimi ones, which was the biggest problem I had with it.
The acting is solid across the board. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben and Rhys Ifans (best known to me as Xenophilius Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) as Dr. Connors/The Lizard stand out in particular. Emma Stone does a fine job as Gwen Stacy and makes her character stand out from Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane Watson. I am more familiar with Denis Leary from his comedy work, but he did a nice job as Captain Stacy, Gwen's father. Stan Lee's cameo was awesome as usual!

It was difficult for me not to compare this movie to the Raimi Spider-Man flicks. The Amazing Spider-Man is another origin story but there are a decent amount of  differences to Spider-Man (2002). For instance, this time Gwen Stacy is Peter Parker's first girlfriend and the Lizard is finally used as the villain instead of only being Dr. Connors. These changes worked for me, but other than those changes the movie follows most of the usual Spider-Man origin story beats.
I found Dr. Connors interesting. He worked with Parker's father at Oscorp and therefore has a special connection to Peter. Connors has been working on experiments in limb regeneration since he only has one arm. Although Doc Connors was well crafted character, his alter ego The Lizard, is not. Apparently turning into a giant lizard also makes you go insane and want to turn humans into reptiles. Maybe this is how The Lizard is portrayed in the comics, but regardless it's still possible to do a Jekyll and Hyde theme in a better way. I didn't care for the design of The Lizard either as I think he would've looked better with a long snout and a less humanoid appearance.

The Amazing Spider-Man
tries to make the disappearance/death of Parker's parents a mystery. I guess this was only done to try something new but it doesn't add anything to the story and isn't interesting. To my knowledge this was never in the comics. The "mystery" was further teased in the post-credits scene so I assume it will be featured more in the sequels.
While The Amazing Spider-Man didn't seem rushed into production, I think the final product would've been better had they focused on making the best possible movie instead of just deciding to make another Spider-Man movie before the rights go back to Marvel Studios. The movie was also about 10-20 minutes longer than it needed to be, which falls into the trend of recent long blockbusters. A film should only be as long as it needs to be, no more and no less.
The Amazing Spider-Man is not bad movie at all, I just didn't enjoy it as much as first two Raimi Spider-Man flicks. It ended up being a little better than I expected but didn't stick with me much. I'll still take The Amazing Spider-Man over Spider-Man 3 any day though! The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes out later in 2014. I can't say I'm excited for it though and will probably skip it.

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