The Amazing Spider-Man Movie Review
- Written by Kevin
With The Amazing Spider-Man already breaking a few records since opening last Tuesday it seems as though the reboot to everyone’s Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is a success. How big of a success the film reboot will be is still left to be determined. What can be determined is how good or bad The Amazing Spider-Man was. Having watched the movie it is time to determine what this verdict is.
Now I have to start by saying that I loved the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, with Spider-Man 2 ranking as one of my favorite movies. What Raimi was able to do with Toby Maguire, Kristin Dunst and James Franco as the main cast was special, the third film notwithstanding.
But now after watching The Amazing Spider-Man I can honestly say that director Marc Webb has created a new Spider-Man world that is even more fascinating than his predecessor. The biggest contributing factor to this is the fantastic cast that bring this Spider-Man world to life. From Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker to Chris Zylka’s Flash Thompson there was not a weak link in the main and supporting cast with each one given a scene or two to shine. Where the movie does falter a bit is in the script, which I will get to more later.
The big star of the show was of Garfield’s Peter Parker who is much more of a loner genius than the geek genius Maguire’s version was. What is enjoyable about this version of the character is the focus on Peter and his life behind the mask. Throughout the first half of the movie we get a lot of insight into who Peter is from his dark loner personality to the genius level intellect he has. There are a lot of great character moments early on that help overlook the fact this is another origin story. Not only that but because we spend so much time with Peter seeing how he develops as a character and testing his powers it is easy to envision him as Spider-Man from the moment he finally dons the full costume.
A contributing factor to accepting Garfield as Peter is the characters relationship with Gwen Stacy. Emma Stone is able to bring much more life to Gwen than Dunst did to MJ in the prior movies. From the look to how Gwen was characterized as Peter’s intellectual equal, she was one of the most fully realized love interests we have had for a superhero movie. Just the fact that Gwen is shown to be able to hold her own does a lot for the character so that she does not become relegated to just the damsel-in-distress.
The relationship between Peter and Gwen is the two characters that are the backbone of the movie. The relationship starts of subtle and grows into one that is much more believable than the somewhat forced relationship of Peter and MJ in the previous trilogy. With Peter and Gwen it is much easier to see why these two are attracted to one another as they have common interests and are more genuine with their feelings. Though I will admit that the script does fail when it comes to how quickly the relationship goes from awkwardness to full blown love. Thankfully, Garfield and Stone help get over this weakness with their strong performances.
The conflict between Peter and Gwen’s father Captain George Stacy adds to the relationship and provides the movie with a secondary antagonist and hero. Throughout the movie Captain Stacy acts as the strict father and cop who is very much by the books as he looks at Spider-Man as nothing more than a vigilante. Much like J. Jonah Jameson, Stacy treats Spider-Man as a menace that is getting in the way of the NYPD from doing their job. At the same time, Dennis Leary is able to elevate the role by making the character a sympathetic figure as he is a man that has a code of honor and honestly believes in the system he works for.
At the same time, it was fun to see how Webb was able to breathe life into Peter’s school life as we do get to spend time with Peter at his high school. The conflict between Peter and Flash is specifically given importance as that grows in a very cool way that I did not see coming but was a good payoff with how things end between the two.
Martin Sheen and Sally Fields as Uncle Ben and Aunt May round out the strong supporting cast as they each turning in performances superior from their predecessors. With Uncle Ben he is better treated as the authority father figure, reminiscent to his Ultimate Universe counterpart. The relationship between him and Peter is well executed so when we do get to the inevitable moment where he dies it becomes much more impactful. The way Webb and the writers keep Uncle Ben a presence even after his death makes Peter’s decision to stop be selfish and become Spider-Man feel even more important to the mythos.
Field’s Aunt May is equally well handled as she is not just the frail grandmother she once was. Instead, Field’s version of the character is much more subtle as a lot of her early scenes with Ben and Peter are carried by her reaction shots. Once Ben dies her constant worry of what Peter is up to since Peter arrives home late with cuts and bruises her helps emotionally carry everything Peter does as Spider-Man.
Now as strong as the cast in their roles the one flaw The Amazing Spider-Man has is with the villain. Even though Rhys Ifans tries his hardest to make for a convincing Doctor Connors there is never a time that you emotionally connect with the character. Even when the director and writers want the viewer to sympathize with him it is hard to because he acts so distant and cruel. The omission of the Connors family is a big contributing factor to this because without a family Curt does not have an emotional center to give weight and drive to his research.
But even with this weakness in the villain’s characterization all of the action sequence really help make the Lizard a strong villain for Spider-Man to face. From all the CGI to the choreography the action sequences really shined. The final battle with the Lizard is my favorite not because of how well done the action is but the choices that lead up to the final fight. I will not spoil what happens but there are two key moments leading up to the fight that I fanboyed out.
Is The Amazing Spider-Man a perfect film? No. With flaws in the script holding it back I cannot say it is the best superhero movie. What I can say is thanks to a strong cast lead by Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone The Amazing Spider-Man is able to make the viewer forget about its predecessor and become immersed in this new world. Not only that but by the time the credits roll all I wanted to know is what happens next in the life of Spider-Man and his supporting cast. With the note the movie leaves us with I am excited to see what is in store for this new version of our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
Movie Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Kevin started reading comics as a kid when he watched the first episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After that his parents bought him a few random Spider-Man and Batman comics and he has been hooked ever since. When he is not reading and writing about comics you can find Kevin as the destroyer of worlds, champion of fighting tournaments and ace Madden player on the PS3. You can catch up with Kevin and all his thoughts at the following links:
Twitter: KevinL007Formspring: KevinL007