The Amazing Spider-Man Review
A closer look at the second of the three major comic book movies to arrive this summer- The Amazing Spider-Man
The Amazing Spider-Man seems to be polarizing audiences everywhere and I thought I'd add my voice to the debate surrounding the movie.
First off, the movie was fun. I don't think anyone who was in the same theatre I was that night would disagree. The whole crowd seemed to be having a blast [keep in mind, this wasn't the midnight showing, so the expectations of the audience may not have been as stringent as the midnight showing crowd]. The dialogue was witty, fresh, and kept me engaged. The first half of the movie was especially well done. I had no qualms with the retelling of the origin story. It was familiar, to some extent, yet new enough where I actually maintained interest throughout the telling of it. Now that I've expressed my vague impression of the movie, let me get into specifics.
I thought the casting was brilliant. All the performances either met or exceeded my expectations, with the exception of Sally Field [who I don't think performed badly, but just failed to live up to the ridiculously high expectations I had for the character after Rosemary Harris' performance]. I especially enjoyed the recharacterization of Peter Parker. Now, I'm a fan of the original trilogy and Tobey Maguire's Spider-man, but I preferred the sarcastic, 'chip-on-the-shoulder' Spider-man by Andrew Garfield in this movie to the original one. And even though many may disagree with that last statement, I think most people would agree that Garfield succeeded in going the direction he was aiming for with the character. Which Spider-man you prefer is up for debate, but Garfield gives a very fresh and animated performance.
Emma Stone is great as Gwen Stacy, and this wasn't just a given because of how attractive she is. I didn't really appreciate her as an actor before this movie, but the dynamics between her character and Peter Parker were great. They took the awkwardness of high-school love and made it into fun, cinematic moments. The witty banter between the two characters made for some of the best parts of the movie. She also gave a strong performance as a standalone character in scenes without Spider-man [which were admittedly few]. She was believable as both a love interest and a heroine in her own right.
Rhys Ifans gave a good performance, but I don't think I've seen him in any other movies, and I didn't really know what to expect. His character was believable, which is a credit to both his acting abilities and the screenplay. But he never really was a scene stealer and his character didn't project the 'evilness' and intense bloodlust as the Lizard that I came to expect. I understand that the character is conflicted, but I viewed the conflict as more of a dichotomy. When the Lizard is the Lizard, he should be free to act without the limitations of the personality of Curt Connors. Writing this review, however, I can see how that might have been an unfair expectation to have of the character and one that is probably completely predicated on my familiarity with the Green Goblin. So I'm still unsure about his performance. We'll see how it holds up with repeat viewings.
These were the main actors, but I think Martin Sheen deserves credit because, even though I've heard people accuse him of overacting, I thought he did a marvelous job as Uncle Ben. He gave the character the emotional resonance that I felt he deserved.
I thought the story was very good, but not great. The things I liked about the story included the dialogue and allusions to other characters in the Spider-man universe. The dialogue, as I mentioned before, was extremely fresh and engaging and I found that I gave myself up to the movie and allowed myself to just have a good time. I usually give a slight chuckle or two at puns, but the dialogue in this movie was so good, and the comedic timing so precise, that even the smallest jokes had me [and the rest of the audience, I may add] rolling with laughter. The allusions to other characters in the Spider-man universe also gave the movie a larger sense of scale and caused me to pay more attention. For example, any mention of Norman Osborne had me on alert and I paid extra attention trying to figure out how he would factor into this movie or subsequent ones. The story was weighted kind of oddly with all the action seemingly occurring in the last half of the , but I didn't have too much of a problem with it, since the story flowed well throughout the entire movie.
There are a few gripes I have with the screenplay though, and these occur at specific moments. This is a good place for a SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!
The first occurs when Peter goes to the gas station and has to deal with the jerk clerk. The whole subsequent scene occurs way too quickly and I don't think it did justice to the performance of Martin Sheen to have Uncle Ben meet his end that quickly. The emotional weight of the character was not reflected in that moment-the moment which should have been one of the emotional climaxes of the movie.
My second gripe was with the scene after Spider-man is shot and the father of the kid Spider-man saved on the bridge decides to help Spider-man out by lining up cranes to help him reach Oscorp more quickly. And then Spider-man starts running across the roof preparing to take off. That scene was awesome. I felt like a little kid again watching that scene- I was transfixed. But then after Spider-man makes his lunge, he had to fall! I don't care that he got picked up by the crane halfway through, it still ruined the moment for me! [This is more of a directorial criticism, but since I'm not going to do a section just on the director- who I believe plays a large part in all these sections- I thought this was as good a place as any to project my anger]
Visual Effects/Action Scenes:
This is what I believed to be the weakest part of the movie. The CGI felt like CGI and even though it was still relatively cool, I still knew it was fake and that prevented me from 'getting into' the movie as much as I might have. The Lizard looked a lot better than I thought it would based on the trailers, but it still looked somewhat fake to me. The 'point-of-view" shots of Spider-man's field of vision were some of my least favorite. The environment just looked completely wrong and digitally rendered. I didn't watch it in 3D however, and I found myself wondering if perhaps those moments would have been better in 3D. Regardless, the CGI could have been a lot better but I trust that they'll do better in the sequel. But the action scenes were also not up to par. They were too confusing and I found that I often couldn't orient myself spatially. There were redeeming parts of the action scenes [the librarian scene in particular] and the shots of Peter Parker messing around with his powers after he realizes he has them are cool, but overall, I felt like it didn't live up to the action in the previous Spider-man trilogy.
In conclusion, I really liked this movie. This is my favorite Spider-man movie that I've seen and it's definitely worth seeing in theatres- if just for the laughs and fun. The action scenes could be a bit more refined and the story could deliver better on its emotional climaxes, but the great acting, very good screenplay, and overall tone, have me very excited to see where Marc Webb takes this new amazing Spider-man.
: This article was submitted by a volunteer contributor who has agreed to our code of conduct
. ComicBookMovie.com is protected from liability under "safe harbor" provisions and will disable users who knowingly commit plagiarism, piracy, trademark or copyright infringement. For expeditious removal, contact us HERE