Peter Parker finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young. His path puts him on a collision course with Dr. Curt Connors, his father’s former partner. (IMDB)
Writers: James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Alvin Sargent
Director: Marc Webb
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans
Runtime/Raiting: 136 Minutes/ PG-13
Popcorn Score: Medium Popcorn
After watching the newest Spider-Man installment in the “Franchise” – as movie studios these days so corporately call their money making machines – I have to admit, it is probably the best ever, certainly the best since the first Toby Maguire edition in 2002 titled simply Spider-Man. The Story once again focuses on high school outcast Peter Parker being bit by a spider and becoming the masked vigilante known as Spider-man. So there are no surprises there. It also focuses on Peter Parker’s family life and how his parents died when he was just a boy forcing him to move in with his Aunt and Uncle. Not a lot of new material there either.
What The Amazing Spider-Man does differently is put its own twist on each of those story lines along with adding some new ones to make it just fresh enough to be able to watch, only a mere ten years after the original came out. The best example being Spider-Man himself played with a fierce attitude and a stronger more superhero build by Andrew Garfield. He takes the weak and nerdy photographer Peter Parker and gives the character a defiant approach even before he is bitten.
This leads me to my favorite upgrade of the movie.
Even in the world of superhero movies where men in spandex are flying around New York City-esque streets and Masked Villains exist for the sole purpose of destroying mankind, I still feel I have the right to withhold to some degree my suspension of belief. When a normal teenager gets bitten by a spider and therefore becomes a spider, this unfortunately exceeds my limitations. Fortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man does not force me to give up on the story, instead of being bitten and suddenly having spidey powers, this story explains the use of a synthetic web like material that was created by Peter’s father in his science lab that allows Peter to shoot out the spidery substance and swing from building to building. Still not believable, but that is not what I’m asking for, just fathomable. I like the way that the screen writers, James Vanderbilt (not Van Der-Beek ) and Alvin Sargent ( Spider-Man 2 and 3) incorporate science to make the “superpower” possible rather than just straight comic book logic. I would say that they took a page out of the Christopher Nolan Batman series on that note. Which is a good book to turn to.
Along with those upgrades director Marc Webb continued to prove that he is a legitimate director controlling the reins on a much bigger film than his previous cult hit 500 Days of Summer. The supporting cast was good enough. I thought the villan charecter was a little weak, to no fault of Rhys Ifans. It has much more endearing performances than before from Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). Thankfully they don’t make us suffer through any dreadful shaky – voiced “I believe there’s a hero in all of us” Aunt May lecture scenes! I found Emma Stone to be a bit annoying with the way she portrayed the heroine Gwen Stacy. She acted to arrogant and ahead of the game. To me she resembled a younger version of the snobby wife on The King of Queens played by Leah Remini. I was disappointed in that because I typically think she is pretty good.
In the end I felt that The Amazing Spider-Man is just another overproduced CGI action movie with some nice touch ups to an old story. That being said, my ultimate disappointment with it doesn’t lie within the movie itself as much as it does with the principals behind the making of the movie. As I said before, this is a reboot of a franchise whose release dates are only 10 years and 2 months apart to the day. And there were 2 additional made in-between making a total of 4 movies in 10 years. With Hollywood remake after remake of the same recently made movies you could compare what the mainstream film industry is doing to popular musicians if they just remade the same songs over and over again adding their own subtle changes. The song that topped the Bilboard Top 40 to open 2002 is “How you Remind Me” by Nickelback, what if we had a mainstream band in 2012 remake and market that song… Well, unfortunately I suppose that is exactly what shows like Glee are doing every week. I just find it equally unfortunate that the movie industry is doing the same and trying to pass it off as new.
Medium Popcorn – For the Movie (Small Popcorn – For the fact that it was made.)