PaulRom Reviews: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Sony Pictures' controversial Spider-Man reboot swings onto DVD and Blu-Ray today, and the film has received mixed responses since its release in theaters this summer. What did this long time Spidey fan think of the Webhead's latest big screen outing? Hit the jump for my review.

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By Paul Romano - 11/9/2012


Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Dennis Leary, Sally Field
Director: Marc Webb
Running Time: 2 hr. 16 min.
MMPAA: PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Release Date: (Theatrical) July 3rd, 2012; (DVD/Blu-Ray) November 9th, 2012
Rating:

The Amazing Spider-Man is the story of Peter Parker (Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors (Ifans), his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.





Ever since Sony Pictures announced a reboot of the highly successful Spider-Man film series nearly three years ago, many fans were very skeptical about this new take on Marvel's most popular character. This film was released a mere ten years after Sam Raimi's first movie and five after his third, which led some to believe that this reboot was rushed (probably just to have Sony keep the film rights). As a huge fan of Raimi's first two outings, I wasn't originally keen on the idea of a reboot so soon. The much maligned third movie had plenty of issues, but I think a fourth film could have redeemed the series. However, The Amazing Spider-Man slowly won me over with its impressive cast, excellent trailers, and the fact that this Spider-Man would be much closer to the comic book version than Tobey Maguire's. But when it was released this summer, many comic book fans gave it mixed responses due to some pretty drastic changes to Spidey's origin story, among other things. As a life long fan of Spider-Man, what did I think of the Web Slinger's latest big screen outing?

Right off the bat, it's clear that this take on Spider-Man is darker, more contemporary and more realistic than Sam Raimi's version. The Batman Begins influence is obvious, all the way down to the extensive focus on the origin. While I originally wasn't big on the idea of retelling the origin story step by step again, Amazing Spider-Man does an OK job making this version somewhat different from the 2002 film's. That being said, I really like some of the specific differences in retelling the classic story (such as his building web shooters and learning how to swing).

Marc Webb (who has only previously helmed the excellent (500) Days Of Summer) takes over the reins of directing Spider-Man, and he does a fantastic job doing so. While Raimi's directorial style was on a large and epic scale, Webb's is much more down to earth. The cinematography is beautiful, and while I was hesitant to see a director with only one film shooting big action sequences, Webb does a marvelous job shooting every scene. The CGI is also excellent. James Horner (best known for composing the scores for Titanic and Braveheart) tackles score duties for this film. While not a bad score by any means, it occasionally doesn't fit in with certain scenes, and overall, has absolutely nothing on Danny Elfman's excellent work on the first two movies.

One of the things that has received plenty of hate was the change to Spider-Man's costume. Personally, I think the suit looks great in The Amazing Spider-Man. While Tobey Maguire's Spidey suit was flashier and bulkier, Andrew Garfield's costume is more realistic and thinner. Also, many fan have been hating on the villainous Lizard's appearance in the movie, which is closer to the Steve Ditko Lizard than his more popular look that has the longer snout, lab coat, etc. I would've preferred to see Lizard with the signature look, but I can see why they made the changes that they did to make Lizard a little more believable.


The acting in this film is some of the best I've seen in a comic book movie. Andrew Garfield is phenomenal as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I still think Tobey Maguire was a terrific Peter Parker, although I can't say the same about his Spider-Man. Here, Garfield turns in a stunning performance in both roles. In fact, many scenes of his Spidey are exactly what I'd imagine a live action Spider-Man to be like (the "someone's been a bad lizard" line was priceless). It's clear that Garfield is a fan of the character; I can't say enough about his performance. While I would've loved to see her as Mary Jane Watson, Emma Stone is excellent as Gwen Stacy. Stone is one of my favorite actresses, and it's great to see her in a big CBM like this. Rhys Ifans turns in a fantastic performance as Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard. While his motives as a villain are rather cliche and predictable, I've always wanted to see Lizard on the big screen, and seeing him battle Spider-Man was rather epic. Dennis Leary and Martin Sheen are both great as Captain George Stacy and Uncle Ben, respectively. And Stan "The Man" Lee delivers what is possibly his greatest Marvel cameo yet in one of the film's most memorable scenes. I hope he gets his wish and has a bigger role in the sequel.



However, if there was one performance/character depiction I didn't like, it was Sally Field's Aunt May. May is one of my favorite characters in the Spider-Man mythology, mostly due to Rosemary Harris' wonderful performance in the Sam Raimi trilogy making her such a lovable character. In The Amazing Spider-Man, however, May is a very unlikable character. I think Field was a total miscast for the character. Her relationship with Peter isn't near as developed as I would like it to be, and she often comes across as a nuisance.

While we're discussing flaws, I'd like to mention a few in this movie. The script definitely wasn't perfect, as it randomly dropped a crucial subplot in the form of Peter searching for his uncle's killer. It would be interesting if they revisit this in a sequel, as long as they don't make the killer a super villain (a la Spider-Man 3). Also, why did Spider-Man leave the bridge after saving that little boy, but not anyone else who could be in those cars hanging? And let's not forget the "Untold Story" plot. While I'm confident that the sequels will provide answers to the questions asked here, it's a bit frustrating to see a theme so strongly depicted but isn't fully answered yet. Fingers crossed the sequel's script will be more focused, and will give us some answers.

Now for the big question: Is The Amazing Spider-Man better than the original Spider-Man? Yes and no. Those who have wanted to see a wise-cracking, more comic book oriented Spidey on the big screen will more than likely rejoice. However, the changes to the origin story will understandably alienate many comic book fans. I still prefer the way Spider-Man told the origin story over Amazing, which goes over a lot of the themes and plot points of the first film, and that's one of the bigger flaws here. It didn't do a terrible job retelling the story, not at all; despite the changes, it's still the same basic story.

When all is said and done, The Amazing Spider-Man doesn't quite meet my high expectations. While boasting some amazing (pun intended) action/visuals and a mostly terrific cast, the story could've been better. Despite its not reaching the heights of other reboots such as Batman Begins and Star Trek, Amazing Spider-Man is still a good film that could've been great. Now that the origin story is out of the way, the sequel (which is currently dated for a May 2nd, 2014 release) has potential to be truly spectacular. I'm looking forward to continuing Peter Parker's "Untold Story".

Click HERE to pre-order your copy of The Amazing Spider-Man.











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ImnotDaredevil - 11/9/2012, 1:12 PM
Is this out in th U.K. Today?
Deschain12 - 11/9/2012, 1:12 PM
"The acting in this film is some of the best I've seen in a comicbook movie."

Lol come on, Paul. Other than that, good review, even though I disagree with your rating. Cheers!
ImnotDaredevil - 11/9/2012, 1:13 PM
Oh & yeah, first;)
JDUKE25 - 11/9/2012, 1:16 PM
3.5/5 for me
Nick56 - 11/9/2012, 1:18 PM
I despised this movie. I can only hope the sequel will be better. I am a huge Spider-Man fan, not just of the Raimi films but of the character and comics in general. But this film had hit and miss acting, awful villain - both in design and character development, relationship scenes grinded the film to a halt, the pacing and structure were a mess, there was no so called "Untold Story" as the trailers and posters promised (the five minute parents scene barely counts), Peter is a selfish d-bag who never learns about responsibility, I felt nothing for Uncle Ben, and this dark and gritty aspect they tried to push made the film more laughable than serious
JustDame - 11/9/2012, 1:19 PM
3/5 for me. It was okay I guess.
GodzillaKart - 11/9/2012, 1:19 PM
Thoughful, intelligent review. Nicely done.
spencemoney - 11/9/2012, 1:29 PM
This movie was incredibly boring. Garfield sucks, Ifan sucks( even though I actually like him) and stone was one dimensional. I agree wth your opinion on fields, major miscast. All in all, this was a sorry excuse of not only a reboot, but a cbm and a film overall. Just because you have good CGI (sometimes) doesn't make up for Shorty acting and a horrible script. Wait another 5 years, and reboot it again when this "dark and gritty realism" bullshit fad is dead. If it worked for Batman, there's no way it could work for spidey. But that's just me.

Official rating: rape/5
CaptainObvious - 11/9/2012, 1:32 PM
Pros:
-Great performances from all the cast.
-Striking visuals
-Beautiful cinematography

Cons:
-Subplots come and go with no resolution
-Peter Parker is an unlikable character
-CGI isn't good-looking (Webb's inexperience with blockbusters shows most during action scenes)
-Repeating almost every plot beat from Raimi's film
-James Horner' score is mediocre (In fact, alot of motifs in this movie were in other movies he has scored)
-Worst post-credits scene since Green Lantern
-Bland villain

2.5/5
spencemoney - 11/9/2012, 1:33 PM
*shotty
Damn auto correct
TheRock234 - 11/9/2012, 1:34 PM
This movie was just a poor re imagining of the character. With nothing really new to add to the superhero genre. We all have seen this before and it's a poor interpretation of the character of spider-man. Peter Parker acts like a jerk to most of the people around him and stutters like a [frick]ing drug addict. He's cocky to the point of rudeness and dosen't seem like the spidey we all know and love. A very lame origin story for the villain feels rehashed from the first spider-man movie. It also adds a weird dark knight vibe to the movie that just doesn't fit the character at all. I say it's about 1.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
JayRich001 - 11/9/2012, 1:35 PM
This flick was way better than the Raimi flicks. The only one of the Raimi flicks that even ammounted to something decent was the first one. I dont understand why anyone liked 2 and 3. Peter Parker portrayal was a ok in this movie but I personnaly cant decide if it was better than the portryal in the first movie (except for the wise cracks). I cant understand why so many people liked Spider-Man 2. Doc Ock was portrayed all wrong as some one who ended up regretting his actions and then his self sacrafice at the end of the movie was way out of line with the actual character. At least the Doc Connors/Lizard was portrayed better. Take liberties when needed but dont ruin what makes villians and heroes the characters they are. I appreciated the Peter and Uncle Ben Versions in Amazing much more.
FOOM - 11/9/2012, 1:41 PM
What spencemoney and UltimateSupermanBatman said. And the cons of Captain Obvious too. Well said men. You beat me to the punchline.
GoILL - 11/9/2012, 1:43 PM
@spencemoney

LMAO at the rating you gave this movie.
ATrueHero1987 - 11/9/2012, 1:44 PM
Just got my 3D copy of this earlier. I still think it's a good movie but had mistakes that shouldn't have been made. For now, Spider-Man 2 is still the best Spidey movie.
ATrueHero1987 - 11/9/2012, 1:54 PM
Also, they've should've included Connor's family(even though his son was in the deleted scene)
marvel72 - 11/9/2012, 1:55 PM
the amazing spider-man was average/good at best,it had its moments but that is all.

the raimi trilogy is better.
PaulRom - 11/9/2012, 1:57 PM
Forgot to mention this in my review, but another thing I didn't like was the way they depicted Ben and May's relationship. They argued quite a bit in the movie, and when Ben dies, she's as upset as she would be if they had the perfect relationship. What's up with that?

@Marvel87: I totally agree about Spider-Man 2. IMO, it's the best Marvel film next to The Avengers.
@ImnotDaredevil: Apparently it comes out in the UK on the 26th.
HarveyDent88 - 11/9/2012, 2:11 PM
0 out of 5 . One of the worse Cbm's ever made.
FOOM - 11/9/2012, 2:17 PM
PaulRom,

Good point. None of the characters in TASM behaved in a recognizable way to what we're use to in the comics. Webb doesn't have a clue and I suspect he doesn't give a rat's ass about keeping faithful to the source material. Get rid of him.
baszs - 11/9/2012, 2:20 PM
The movie lacks a great soundtrack!
It has the worst score i ever heard...
Kingdork - 11/9/2012, 2:23 PM
Yeah I thought the movie was really bland and lackluster. 1.5 out of 5 for me. I'm not gonna repeat what has already been said regarding the criticism, but I think the people who disliked the film pretty much agree on the same things.
superotherside - 11/9/2012, 2:26 PM
Great review bro, I agree with a lot of your points. One of the biggest gripe I had was seriously EVERYONE knew his secret ID by the end of the film. And if they didn't they must have been retarded because he sure didn't hide it that much. But besides that I think you hit every gripe I had as well. Sally Field was ok IMO, but not as good as the original Aunt May IMO.

Great write up again bro!
saymekian - 11/9/2012, 2:30 PM
My main problem with the movie was the pacing. It was terrible.

I didn't like Aunt May OR Uncle Ben. You just can't top the previous portrayals.

And I feel REALLY bad for the casting director that has to replace J.K. Simmons.
HonestFan - 11/9/2012, 2:53 PM
That was a GREAT review. Regardless of whether or not you liked this movie... that was a really fair review, from a real, honest fan.

I really liked the movie, even with it's few flaws, it was awesome to have more live-action Spidey. He's always been my favorite. I believe the future stories to be told are way more exciting knowing that the writers and directors are willing to mix things up a bit from the comics. I say that being a HUGE fan of the comics... but I'm also a huge fan of being surprised with a good story. This movie... and, I believe, future movies will be awesome at providing that.

All the haters can suck it. Go and watch your pathetic PUNISHER: WAR ZONE and see what you get when you whine too much!
FOOM - 11/9/2012, 3:02 PM
Yeah lovers!!! Open your eyes!!!
And your brain.
SpideyMan123 - 11/9/2012, 3:05 PM
What HonestFan said
SpideyMan123 - 11/9/2012, 3:05 PM
Oh ya we forgot FOOM has no brain
subzero1077 - 11/9/2012, 3:06 PM
Here are my biggest issues concerning TASM that I felt ruined this potentially good movie:

1) Marketing

First off, lets not kid ourselves here, TASM was marketed around the "untold story" of Peter Parker's parents, just to separate it from Raimi's movies. This was completely boring and unnecessary, Peter's parents have never been a major part of the comics and IMO have never really been all that interesting.

2) Uncle Ben's Death

If you think that Uncle Ben getting shot because Peter couldn't afford Milk Chug (or w/e it was) was a better idea then the kick-ass wrestling scene we got in the first movie, you've never read an ASM comic!

In Raimi's, the incident with the wrestling promoter and the robber is not only handled so much better (and is nearly straight out of the comics), but has a much greater impact when Peter is kneeling over Uncle Ben and overhears the officer behind him report the location of the robber, prompting Peter to go after him.

Milk Chug aside, what's worse in TASM is that Spider-Man never even catches Uncle Ben's killer. Which takes away from the whole finding out that the same guy he let get away killed his Uncle. Some argue that its not important because the scene where he saves the kid changes him or that we'll see it in the next movie, but I don't buy that. This is one of the most important moments that shapes Spider-Man and it's completely wasted.

3) Spider-Man's Introduction

In both movies we get this big build up to finally seeing Spider-Man in costume for the first time. In Raimi's movie, we see him immediately taking out and webbing up thugs, swinging around, and we even get to to see the reactions of some of NYC's residents to the new hero.

In TASM, we get a wide view of Spider-Man standing on top of a skyscraper wearing a backpack. This scene is immediately DESTROYED when Spider-Man's phone rings with Aunt May asking him to pick up eggs. REALLY!?

4) Villain choice

I thought having the Lizard in TASM wasn't a bad idea, getting a b-villain out of the way in the first movie is a pretty good idea (it worked for Batman Begins) and I felt that Rhys Ifans portrayal of Curt Conners was pretty good as well. When he becomes the Lizard is where the problems begin. The CG is absolutely atrocious! You can argue this with me if you want, but I went to school for 3D modeling and animation and I can honestly say that the Lizard looked awful. This is 2012, the Lizard should not look like a rejected PlayStation 3 character model!
CaptainObvious - 11/9/2012, 3:14 PM
Maybe if Uncle Ben actually said "With great power comes great responsibility", Peter wouldn't have been such an arrogant jackass in this movie.
Dickel - 11/9/2012, 3:21 PM
I can't quite put my finger on what it was about this movie, cause I did enjoy it somewhat, but it also seemed a little dull now that I think back to it.
Andrew was good as Peter Parker, that I'm sure of.. but the storyline just seemed a little cliche for a CBM and doesn't make me want to see it again.
Not like the Avengers that's for sure.. I've seen that 5 times! -more than I've seen any other movie in my life.
writernick - 11/9/2012, 3:25 PM
Sorry to all the haters, but to me this was so much better than the Raimi version...
DEATHbyEXILE - 11/9/2012, 3:45 PM
Visualiza - 11/9/2012, 3:50 PM
Haters, haters, haters! That's all you ever hear anymore from these hypersensitive fanboys when someone doesn't like the same thing that they do. It's gotten to the point where nobody is allowed to genuinely dislike something anymore without being called a hater. A hater isn't even what most of you seem to think it is; the term denotes ENVY.

Whatever the case, I thought this movie was grade A trash, for all of the reasons that many people have stated and then some. The critics were VERY generous towards this movie, and many of the fans who seem to have enjoyed it have a nasty little tendency to overlook some of its ugliest flaws. Hopefully the next one will be better, but as of right now, I'm very disappointed.
beane2099 - 11/9/2012, 3:57 PM
The most cringe worthy scene I've seen in a long time was when Andrew Garfield shakes his head about like he's got Parkinson's disease and says "gyeeeeaaa let's get out of here yaaaaaa". My God. It was then that I knew I couldn't like this movie.
sonofvenom5 - 11/9/2012, 4:08 PM
That's the broplem with most fanboy's out there you's finnaly
Get a movie that is close to the surce matirel and cry like lil bitch's
Tasm was a good movie it wasn't great it was good bou niter was batman bigins was good movie not a great as tdk the thing about tasm is it's setin up a sequle just like nolan did andrew garfild is peter parker
And spiderman he is beter then toby miqire's as screech powers as spiderman and as good as the sam rami's movies are you can't watch them any more I mean they wer good for there time but rami made himove not for the fan's tasm is a movie for the fan's
Visualiza - 11/9/2012, 4:32 PM
Sonofvenom, In what way was this film close to the source material? Count the inconsistencies yourself, from Peter not being a skater, to the costume itself, to Gwen's entire persona & knowing that he was Spider-Man in the first place, to her not HATING Spider-Man, Uncle Ben's entire death scene and the events surrounding it, to Peter NOT making his own webbing(OsCorp? REALLY?). Oh, but because he made some wisecracks towards a hapless thief and built webshooters that were never put to any sort of creative or suspenseful use(no malfunctions, special cartridges, going empty, etc.), that makes the whole movie more faithful to the comics, right? Please. This flick took as many liberties as any other adapted work does, so let's allow that myth to die already. This movie wasn't bad because of how much it adapted from the books, it was just bad film making, period.
sonofvenom5 - 11/9/2012, 4:55 PM
Visualiza the thin about the movie is that it was a beter movie then ramis
Let's look at good point's the 1 suit on screen it looked great
It was more realistic then ramis 2 the actor andrew garfild is a way beter spiderman then toby becuse toby never went forwerd with the carector like I said he was screech from save by the bell in all 3 movies peter parker was a nerd in the comics but he grew into a man toby never did that he cried alot too 3 qwen insted of mj is great if they go with killing her off it make's peter a beter spiderman 4 you are right he never skate borded but in the 60s when spiderman came kid's didn't skate bord so it being in the film was not big of deal I loved the rami first 2film's but he raped the the last one he was too selfish and loved sand man too much
That was the proplem and then waited for year's to tell us he wanted the valture and valtures and that he is not directing the next one
sonofvenom5 - 11/9/2012, 5:00 PM
Visualiza the thin about the movie is that it was a beter movie then ramis
Let's look at good point's the 1 suit on screen it looked great
It was more realistic then ramis 2 the actor andrew garfild is a way beter spiderman then toby becuse toby never went forwerd with the carector like I said he was screech from save by the bell in all 3 movies peter parker was a nerd in the comics but he grew into a man toby never did that he cried alot too 3 qwen insted of mj is great if they go with killing her off it make's peter a beter spiderman 4 you are right he never skate borded but in the 60s when spiderman came kid's didn't skate bord so it being in the film was not big of deal I loved the rami first 2film's but he
FOOM - 11/9/2012, 5:39 PM
All inflammatory comments aside(yes, that means you especially SpideyMan123) I dislike Webb's TASM because Spider-Man is THE iconic Marvel character and frankly the latest film just isn't good enough. It may seem prettty stupid that we're b*tchin at each other when we're probably all big Spidey fans but I'm not going to change my tune just becuase it upsets some. Most people here who've voiced their dislike of TASM have made a variety of clear, knowledgable and valid points to support their opinions which is more than can be said of most of the often inarticulate defenders of TASM. The brief banter between Visualiza and and sonofvenom5 highlights this.
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