The Amazing Spider-Man Review
I tried to go into this movie with no preconceptions and that is how I will do the review for The Amazing Spider-Man. Having said that, given that this is a reboot of a recent franchise, I think it does deserve comparison.
Overall, I thought that it was a perfectly serviceable superhero film and a fine introduction to the Spider-Man franchise. I can also say, without a doubt, that it was more enjoyable than Spider-Man 3.
For those who were not keen on Sam Raimi’s take on Spider-Man, there are plenty to enjoy. For one thing, we get a lot more quips from Spider-Man as he is apprehending bad guys. Also, Spidey’s webslingers are built by Peter Parker using OsCorop technology which makes some sense.
Overall, I thought the cast did a fine job. Emma Stone was fantastic as Gwen Stacy, and can I just say that it’s always nice to have a heroine who actually is smart and can handle herself. I also enjoyed Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man although I did have a couple of complaints. One, I thought that Garfield was perhaps a little too good looking to play awkward Peter Parker. Also, his portrayal of Parker was too cocky and self-assured, rolling through the halls of his high school on a skateboard, etc. Rhys Ifans also did a great job, although to be honest, there wasn’t a lot for him to do in his role.
And that is perhaps my biggest complaint. The film is great if you don’t know Spider-Man. It tells a somewhat satisfying origin story and offers up a serviceable villain, the Lizard, for Spider-Man’s first real superhero outing. However, it never achieves greatness. Blame it on the current Marvel studio franchise, and Nolan’s Batman movies, but I’ve come to expect more from superhero films lately, and this one doesn’t quite deliver.
A great example is the whole angle about Parker’s parents. True, we see that Parker has been affected by his parents abdonment, but we never learn anything about it save for the fact that his father was involved in the genetic experiments that result in his superpowers. Of course, it could be argued that they’re waiting for the sequel. Fine.
Then there’s the sloppy script. Things happen far too conveniently while other things are completely skipped over. The Lizard discovers Parker is Spidey purely because he finds a camera conveniently labelled “property of Peter Parker” stuck to a web. When you compare it to Raimi’s original and the way Norman Osborn deduces Parker’s secret identity, it pales in comparison. Am I being unfair by comparing it? Perhaps, but much of the story is told in this way. For instance, Parker is conveniently able to sneak into the highly secure OsCorp Industries building, where, conveniently, Gwen Stacy works.
As for plot jumps, there’s a huge jump from Parker unable to touch anything without it sticking to him, to learning how to handle his powers. There is still another huge jump when Parker dons his Spidey gear and quips at cops and criminals alike, suddenly all cocky and sure of himself. We never see him grow comfortable with his new persona. There’s no emotional journey.
That’s a big problem throughout the movie. Yes, we have the essential Uncle Ben dies scene, but aside from that, there’s very little emotional resonance. Raimi’s Spider-Man told a much more interesting and intricate story. You had Norman Osborn who takes an interest in Peter, more so, than his own son. There’s Harry Osborn’s vow to kill Spider-Man, who, unbeknownst to him, is his best friend. Then there’s MJ’s growing maturity as she bounces through relationships and realises that Peter Parker is the boy she loves. And, darn it, rather than zip through the origin part, like this movie, Raimi made it fun.
The original was a Spider-Man movie from the guy that made Evil Dead. It had his mark, a certain zany, playfulness which this movie didn’t have. It was too constrained. For me, it comes down to this, The Amazing Spider-Man was made by a studio, Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man movie was made by an auteur.