No-Nonsense Reviews: The Amazing Spider-man
Exploring the new Spidey film and how it will play into the planned trilogy. SPOILERS
Marc Webb's take on one of the most iconic characters in comic book culture is finally out, and everyone seems to have an opinion. While I will talk about what I thought of the movie, I also want to explore what is in the background of this movie, including the marketing, and how TASM will fit into the planned trilogy by Sony Pictures.
The acting by the primaries was outstanding and heartfelt. Garfield's interpretation of the ol' web-head has been lauded by critics before me as the definitive take on Peter Parker. The chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone was very natural and touching to watch. Sally Fields and Martin Sheen are unorthodox choices for Peter's Aunt and Uncle, but they both deliver solid performances. Denis Leary is surprisingly good as Captain Stacy and this viewer actually wishes he had more screen-time. A sub-plot between Captain Stacy and Peter Parker was needed to fill in major plot-holes after the police put out a warrant for Spiderman's arrest.
The fights are good, the acrobatics look real and are exciting to watch. I wish there was more of them. The parkour , the streetfighting and real-life webslinging ground the film in a way that the Raimi films didn't have. Once again, I just wished there was more of them. The 3-D is good but also not enough. You have to wait until the last hour to get most of the 3-D action. My friend and I both left the theater thinking that it could have used more 3-D, 1st person webslinging in particular.
The Lizard is not as annoying to watch on-screen as expected. He is a great monster with some great fight scenes. Rhys Ifans is also good as Curt Conners, who is difficult to get right. His character is boring to begin with, so the challenge really is to make him his boring self, while also interesting at the same time. Rhys Ifans does a good job of balancing it out here.
The plot is passable but goes down easy, too easy. This is partly because we have seen it before, of course. So much of the plot gets swallowed up in dancing with the origin story once agan, and while the steps may be different, the song remains the same. These were the slowest parts of the movie, and TASM could have been vastly improved on by showing them in the opening credits and going straight into the meat of the movie---the webslinging, the action and romance! These all suffered because the screenwriters felt the need to retread old territory and re-tell the origin story. The Lizard seemed a throw-back to the Raimi film in parts as well. Mid-way through his story, he begins to talk to himself in a way that is weirdly similar to Defoe's Green Goblin. It also doesn't help that he is a scientist working as Oscorp who turns "evil." However, these quibbles don't take away from the general fun and excitement that I felt watching this movie!! It was the Spiderman that I wanted to see on-screen ten years ago. The tone of the movie is more true to the comics, and the plot is intelligent, if not intelligently thought out. It leaves the franchise primed for a kickass sequel, when we were really hoping for a great blockbuster event from the get-go.
As we all know, The Amazing Spiderman was lauded as "the untold story" of what happened to Peter Parker's family. And as we all now see, that was a promise that wasn't kept (which are NOT always the best ones). There has been a lot of backlash about this point from some corners, and with good cause. Trailers and promotional material often show us the best scenes in the movie (out of order, of course) just to try and separate us from our money. At the same time, they risk ruining the movie experience for some people who will know what already happens before they even see the movie. This was true to some extent with TASM, which was very heavily promoted. I felt like I had seen almost half of the movie going in. People seem to have become used to this state of affairs though, and don't comment about it as much. What THIS movie did more than reveal too much was to use trailers to "tease" the fans into seeing the movie. "The untold story" angle was a tease that never paid off in terms of storytelling. Presumably, we'll have to wait for the trilogy to conclude to find out what REALLY happened to Peter's parents. Also teased was the mid-credits scene of Curt Conners talking to a shadowy figure, who is presumably another villain. If you watched the movie, you know that the trailers showed just as much as the movie did about this plot element. It felt too by-the-numbers, like a bookmark that had been thrown in as an afterthought at the last moment. Hollywood must seriously rethink the way it communicates with audiences to avoid these pitfalls in future marketing campaigns, in order to create a win-win for everyone.
All in all, I believe TASM is a superior film that is being dragged down by bad marketing and bad blood between it and the Raimi trilogy. The filmakers could have had a real phenomenon on their hand, if they had gone the route that the Incredible Hulk did, and just put the origin in the opening credits. I am looking VERY forward to a sequel that takes the best elements of TASM and builds upon them to reach higher ground not seen in CBM's ever before!
Thanks for reading. Tell me what you think about the film, the marketing and the trilogy below:
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