Mark Julian Reviews THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Our fourth Spider-Man film in a little over ten years. Should Marc Webb's film be compared to Raimi's trilogy or should it be reviewed on its own strengths and shortcomings? Click for my spoiler-free review.

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By Mark Julian - 7/5/2012


There are two ways you can approach reviewing The Amazing Spider-Man. You can compare it to the Sam Raimi trilogy that came before or you can pointedly ignore those films and judge it solely on its own strengths and weaknesses. There are two sides to every coin and now there are two sides to how to tell a Spider-Man origin story. As I sit down to write, I realize that people will complain if I mention Raimi’s films and people will complain if I don’t. It’s an interesting dilemma that's almost akin to deciding whether to pick heads or tails on a coin flip. However, let me preface this review with the notion that If you think that we’ll be done with the whole Raimi, Maguire, Dunst comparison by the time we get to an Amazing Spider-Man sequel, think again. We’ll have plenty of other opportunities for the next decade or so to make these comparisons and for that very reason, I choose tails, and I’ll look at Marc Webb’s origin piece based solely on its own strengths and weaknesses.


Point blank, this film was mediocre but was raised a few notches on the ratings meter thanks to stellar performances from Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. The screenplay and editing combine at inopportune moments to create some truly jarring storytelling. If you've followed all the numerous clips, trailers, b-roll footage and featurettes then you’re probably aware that a lot of those scenes were left on the cutting room floor. And the dialogue in the film is very uneven and is clearly the product of having a multitude of voices working on the script. This is most observable between moments where it's obvious that Webb wrote the dialogue and then someone else wrote the next scene. The film takes a decidedly step back from its whimsical interpretation of teenage maturation (which is really the heart of the movie and what Spider-Man is all about) whenever someone else’s hand is scripting. For the sequel, I wholeheartedly suggest to Sony that it would be in their best interest to let Webb write and direct, if Webb is returning.


Aside from the editing and screenplay, the film is otherwise, very enjoyable. Garfield brings some much needed humanity to comic book character, Peter Parker and Stone gives Gwen Stacy a saucy, girl next door vibe that refreshing to see as opposed to trite ‘damsel in distress’ motif. Their chemistry on screen together is palpable and is the greatest strength of the film. The awkwardness in the scene where Peter and Gwen kinda,sort-of make plans for a date is the best scene in the entire film. Martin Sheen and Sally Field are also great as Uncle Ben and Aunt May while Dennis Leary has a few scene-stealing moments as Captain George Stacy. Rhys Ifans also turned in a fine performance as Dr. Curt Connors although his character probably needed more screentime to flesh out his motives and personal pains. Overall, this was a stellar cast assembly and it’s hard to imagine a better actor in any of the respective roles.



As far as origin stories go, the plot works fairly well and moves from ‘puny Parker’ to Spider-Man at an even and believable-as-possible pace. The cinematography and SFX are some of the best I’ve seen all year as the shots of the New York skyline and a web-slinging Spidey are truly astonishing. I strongly advocate seeing the film in 3D.


Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man was a solid film that should've been spectacular but is hampered by a tepid script and inconsistent editing. I give the film---




7.8/10


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Masterpace - 7/5/2012, 8:12 AM
Watched it yesterday...great movie...8/10 from me...better than anything Raimi did.
MoonDoggyX - 7/5/2012, 8:19 AM
I'll be the first douche bag to ask. lol. From what I've heard so far, this movie was good, but not great. Spiderman 2 was great to me, so no point in comparing it to that, but how was the Amazing Spiderman compared to Raimi's Spiderman 1 which was also good but not great...?
Jolt17 - 7/5/2012, 8:20 AM
Agreed on your point that Lizard/Connors needs more screen time to be fleshed out. I still think his motive to turn people into an army of Lizards is pretty unclear. Yeah, he wants to make them stronger, smarter, et cetera...but why can't he think of perfecting it, like, removing the side effect/transformation? And how his Lizard persona just suddenly takes over him after one transformation still bothers me, too. Peter's transformation into Spider-Man also needs to be delved into a little bit more, IMO.

I really don't mind if the movie becomes 3 hour long for the sake of those things, as I find it...charming. I really like it. I'd stay to see it even if it's 3 hour long, or even more.
Jolt17 - 7/5/2012, 8:21 AM
The Amazing Spider-Man > Raimi's Spider-Man, to me. The story is pretty damn similar at points, but I prefer this more than Raimi's. Not that Raimi's was bad. It's good, but this one's better.
MrMayhem - 7/5/2012, 8:26 AM
It was a ok movie, and you have to compare it to Spiderman 1 since the first hour and 10 minutes is basically the same movie...

Also the original spiderman is much more quotable. I can;t remember a single line from Amazing Spiderman but still remember a ton from the original

Bonesaw is ready!!
googleplex - 7/5/2012, 8:26 AM
i know people will disagree with me but i think that they should have changed the origin to it having to do with something his father put in him and the spider bite. it would have been a change of pace and kept focus on peter's parents which is the main difference between this and raimi's film.
MrMayhem - 7/5/2012, 8:29 AM
Story wise the original was a better story but Amazing Spiderman flowed a bit better pacing wise and I like like Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield better then Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.

VFX wise this one looked too cartoony and cheap for a summer blockbuster action movie, especially one in a major franchise.
Eraytos - 7/5/2012, 8:31 AM
I saw this last night and absolutely loved it. The casting was perfect and the sfx were among the best ive seen this year, esp the lizard which was on par with the hulk for me. I can't believe the negative feedback that quite alot of reviewers are giving it, it deserves much better.
I would now look at the spidey franchise like I do at the batman franchise. Raimi spiderman is the tim burton version and webbs spidey is the nolan version. Both great in their own way.
supercajun - 7/5/2012, 8:33 AM
I rather the spiderman and peter Parker in this because we was a lot smarted then Toby was in raimi's film and the spiderman was always talking just like he does in the comics, I loved when he put up the web in the sewer to find the lizard just like a spider to catch his food, also I love that game he was playing lol
Christuffer - 7/5/2012, 8:33 AM
Guys. If he writes a spoiler-free review, don't put spoilers in the comments. [frick]...c'mon.
WingmanFalco - 7/5/2012, 8:40 AM
Couldn't disagree more! Have a read of my review.

http://robtaylor-hastings.weebly.com/all-things-nerd.html

Also, first post for me. Huzzah! Hello CBM.
hellfire - 7/5/2012, 8:40 AM
The thing that always got me about Raimi's SM was that it had the same kind of feel as Burton's BM except a brighter visual. You may disagree but from the opening credits to the Parade, meh... The only thing that put me off Raimi's version to be honest was every time Maguire tried to cry, i just wanted to punch him. Highlight for me was a wet Dunst



That being said I have yet to see the reboot, I'm waiting for all the kids and tw*ts with mobile phones to have seen it.
CoolantTech - 7/5/2012, 8:41 AM
Might see it tomorrow and based on my gripes with the Raimi trilogy, I think I might like Marc Webb version of Spidey better with its more realistic approach...
always felt like the Raimi trilogy was geared more for kids.
GreenHalJordan - 7/5/2012, 8:41 AM
I gave it an 8.2/10. It felt a little slow for the first half, and the writing/editing was a little choppy, but the last hour or so really made a difference and showed off its strongest aspects. In the end, I would say that it ended on a high note, but was overall a (somewhat) larger-than-mediocre film. Definitely cant wait for the sequel though!
ISeeStupidPeople - 7/5/2012, 8:50 AM
Solid film but not great is what I'm hearing. Glad to hear it's not utter garbage -- but I have a hard time believing anyone when they say this is better than Spider-Man 2 if it's not getting perfect scores.
thewolfx - 7/5/2012, 9:14 AM
good review

and anybody who thinks this movie is better then spiderman 2

needs to seek mental help

(masterace)
UncleJimmy - 7/5/2012, 9:24 AM
spiderman 2 is over rated filth. the train scene does not make the movie.

he lost his powers for no [frick]ing reason and it slowed the movie to a halt for half an hour folks.
MoonDoggyX - 7/5/2012, 9:31 AM
@BrazillinBatman - "how can the spiderman's action look so great and thor's action look so bad? thor fights like a robot, he moves slowly and doesnt fly enough."

Agreed! The action in Thor was by far the weakest of any film I've ever seen with a Marvel logo in front of it. That's probably because Kenneth Branagh's(spelling?) specialty id Shakespearian drama, which the movie did great, and not action...
rebellion - 7/5/2012, 9:32 AM
@brazilianbatman so enjoying raimi's films is somehow connected to not having sex or never getting drunk? wow. you must be one clever kid. or a very insecure one.
Supes17 - 7/5/2012, 10:01 AM
1.Spider-Man 2
2.TASM
3.Spider-Man






4. Spider-Man 3
40oz - 7/5/2012, 10:05 AM
You give it an exact score of 7.8 huh? That's funny, because that's the same score as IMDb.
SpiderTurtle12 - 7/5/2012, 10:23 AM
I give This movie a 9/10
TrueRedBlue - 7/5/2012, 10:29 AM
Perfect film. Remember when Peter was hearing Ben's voicemail in his room crying? Good God, I was a wreck. So fantastic.
GodzillaKart - 7/5/2012, 10:30 AM
Fantastic film. The pacing, dramatic buildup, character development and finally the action were PERFECT. Not only did Webb succeed at creating a great Spider-Man movie that was very true to the comics, he made the best CBM drama to date.

Spider-Man 2 was the best of the Raimi trilogy, but even that one pales in comparison to what has been accomplished here. I can't wait for the sequel and hope Webb stays on.

GodzillaKart - 7/5/2012, 10:32 AM
Also fantastic was how they left some elements unresolved. (Uncle Ben's killer not caught, the mystery of Peter's parents not solved, the mysterious figure at the end) leaves you looking forward to the sequels and the discoveries.

Webb knows great story telling.
niceguyeddie - 7/5/2012, 10:35 AM
I thought it was good not great. The only drawback for me was having to sit through his origin story again. Had there not been the previous franchise I wouldn't have minded. I agree that Connors'/Lizard's character could have been more fleshed out but overall I'm satisfied. I think it sets up for a truly incredible sequel. The school fight scene alone is worth the price of admission. Also I think it gave us easily the best Stan Lee cameo yet.


Raimi's trilogy was too cornball for me (even in SM2 the best of the trilogy).I always had a hard time believeing Mcguire as Parker and Dunst was the worst casting as Plain Jane Watson. They played up Parker's misfortune(in effort of comic relief) too much. Every time I see peter do something like trip or spill a drink on himself I can't help but hear the sound "womp womp".

This spiderman can be so much more. This is my Spiderman.
TayDee - 7/5/2012, 10:39 AM
seriously who comes up with a 0.8 in a review, just give it an 8?
niceguyeddie - 7/5/2012, 10:42 AM
I think the loose ends were purposely left to create suspense and mystery for the sequel though I admit that not sticking to a stand alone story in service of the next movie is some dicey business (see Iron Man 2)
spidey9 - 7/5/2012, 10:43 AM
best one so far, 8.5/10
CrowPirate1 - 7/5/2012, 10:43 AM
The Stan Lee cameo was totally one of the best he ever did and people BURST out laughing very very loud!!!
Jsaucey - 7/5/2012, 10:47 AM
@hellfire I'm so glad someone else was annoyed with Tobey...everyone kept saying that "oh well that's Parker's character all wussy and stuff". I haven't see the reboot yet, just like some other people I'm waiting for the crowds to die out
musashi - 7/5/2012, 10:53 AM
I agree with this review and all the points that Yoss mentioned.
niceguyeddie - 7/5/2012, 10:57 AM
@TrekFan uncle Ben basically imparted that advice before Peter stormed out but w/ different wording. They probably thought it would be too predictable. Avengers didn't say "Avengers Assemble" either but I didn't care.
MoonDoggyX - 7/5/2012, 11:13 AM
I haven't seen it yet, though i feel like I almost have (thanks, yossarian... lol), but I have just one more trivial question.

Did the mechanical web shooter make a difference, better or worse, over the organic webbing...?
SHHH - 7/5/2012, 11:15 AM
Rental.... Alright Movie..
golden123 - 7/5/2012, 11:52 AM
@MoonDoggyX: It was a little unconvincing that he was smart enough to design the web-shooters, and it seemed odd that he always had them on (Gwen's apartment and school). In the end, it didn't really make much difference. The film had much larger flaws, in my opinion (Yossarian's comment is right on the nose). There isn't too much time spent on the web-shooters which I think is for the better. The web-shooters, as a device, was never utilised, as a plot point. Basically, you won't walk out of the theater thinking about the web-shooters. The web-shooters were just there to make this Spider-Man series different which I believe is a well played move.
beane2099 - 7/5/2012, 12:10 PM
@ yossarian

I have to agree with you. There were a lot of head scratching moments for me. I can forgo logic but some things, I dunnow. If you establish that it's possible a person can receive the powers/abilities of a Spider or Lizard, fine. I can go from there. But regardless there are things people would and wouldn't do regardless of the superhuman or lack thereof.

Where DID that Indian guy go? He was supposed to be a major player and then .... nope. Did he die? If so, why weren't we shown that?

Why did Uncle Ben leave this heart felt message on Peter's voice mail only to give him the business that same night?

How was letting that thingamagig spraying blue gas any better than spraying green gas? Just cause it's an antidote to the green stuff that doesn't mean it's safe. It seems to me that substance that "undoes mutation" might have some side effects on the "unmutated".

How and why did Peter go into this room that CLEARLY looked like you needed some sort of protection to enter? Why did no alarms go off when he started messing with the Spiders?

There's a lot more, but I'm gonna leave it there. Like I said before, for those of you that loved this movie, I'm happy for you. I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea.
mrexcellent - 7/5/2012, 12:25 PM
@ Yossarian:
I can see where you're coming from. Typically, good performances don't do it for me if they're the only thing that's good in the film. My love of the character, and seeing it done so well by Andrew Garfield has given me an overall positive feeling about this film though. I disagree about the script though, I thought it was pretty good. It was the story that was weak. The movie tried to be an origin, and a story with Lizard in it. The Lizard component got the shaft unfortunately, which is sad because Rhys Iffans did a good job with what he had. He plays a good Conners. Overall I think they set up a good foundation for the future of the franchise, if we're going straight off of characterization, but there were a lot of things that should've been addressed now. Screw addressing it later, you know?

@ Mark Julian:
Good review. I think I've read all of the reviews posted by users of this site so far. They're all pretty different. One thing is for sure, this movie wasn't good enough to stop debate on whether or not it should've been made. That's disappointing to me. I still want Marc Webb to come back though.

Also, I don't think Webb wrote the script for any parts of the movie. Webb seems to be good at capturing the honest moments between people, the authentic human relationship stuff. He's good for casting for that too. He's not a writer though. There were moments in the movie that were solid, and those parts were written by either Steve Kloves, Alvin Sargent, the third script writer, or James Vanderbilt himself. Or, they could have been improvised. I heard that some parts of the script were dropped and the actors just improvised. Perhaps Webb is responsible for saying "let's keep the take where Andrew and Emma did their own thing".
Kazaam - 7/5/2012, 12:26 PM
[frick] Spoilers, mygod
JustDame - 7/5/2012, 12:36 PM
6/10 for me. liked raimi's first two way more.
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