“The Amazing Spider-Man” – Review by Christian Becker

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

by Christian Becker

The world didn’t think we needed a re-boot of the story of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and the world was also wrong. Many critics will tell you that this is just a re-hash of the same old stuff that made up the 2002 version, starring Toby Maguire, but I am here to tell you that is a completely different Spider-Man story. Different actors, some different characters, different vision, different movie. I knew from the first trailer release that I would at least like the movie. I’m just a sucker for superhero movies like that. But I never thought I would love The Amazing Spider-Man as much as I did.

I liked the first Spider-Man movie, I loved the second, and the third…let’s just not go there. So there was really no where to go but up in making this movie. But, wow, it didn’t just surpass the third one in quality, but the first and maybe even the second. I haven’t seen that one in a good while so I’d have to watch it again to make my official decision but you get the idea.  The Amazing Spider-Man is a really awesome movie that makes many improvements over the original series. Many think it is the same-old, same-old story of Peter Parker, but only some of that is true. This is a brand new telling of Parker’s high school experience and superhero origins. Many who are familiar with the Amazing Spider-Man comic series will understand where the film is going fairly quickly. Others may have to get used to the fact that Peter Parker is back in high school, which means we get to see him get bitten by that freak of a spider all over again. Never fear, because this is not a re-hash. New scenarios and characters are brought in to take this series down a new and darker path – a path that leads Peter to find secrets kept from his about his father and one that crosses with a new enemy with a idealistic motive.

Having Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker was the best decision that could have possibly been made while in pre-production. The whole movie rises on him and he nails it. Just from the trailers alone I thought he might be even better suited for the role than Toby Maguire was, but now after seeing it, I know for sure that he was better. Garfield is such an inspired choice for the role. Forget the fact that he admitted with breaking into tears after being in the Spidy suite for the first time because of how much the character meant to his childhood, but his physical mannerisms and nerdy personality is made brought out as well. Emma Stone is the perfect lady to play opposite her also, off screen, boyfriend. Over the years, I’ve developed a bit of a “celebrity crush” on Stone. I see her as beautiful and talented, and both are made loud and clear. I found Stone as Gwen Stacy was a much better choice than Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane just because I found the relationship in this movie was more emotional and interesting. It might just have to do with the fact that it was Emma Stone, but that’s really how I felt.

Not only was the relationship between the two leads a more interesting one, I just felt more engaged as a whole about everything – more so than the previous films anyway. The Uncle Ben death scene I felt was done much more emotionally and better played out than the first movie. Sorry if that’s a spoiler for some, but I feel like that’s common knowledge by now. If not, then I apologize for throwing that out there. Peter’s high school experience was better in this film. Well, not really better for him, because he still got bullied, but more interesting and entertaining for the audience to watch in this take on it. It shows many of his confrontations with Flash Thompson, a big name in the Spider-Man universe, and his awkward but quirky exchanges between him and Gwen. Where the film kind of lost me though, but only for a moment, was during the scenes in which he uses sporting equipment with his Spider powers at school and breaks everything from goal posts to backboards. You have to wonder, no other human being on Earth could do the stuff he did at school with the powers, and everyone brushed it off like it was all a common occurrence. Just a little odd, but all easy to get over.

A superhero movie always needs to have a strong and personal villain. You should care about and understand them on some level, and I think that’s where I had my issue with the Lizard. Rhys Ifans was good as Dr. Curt Connors, who after an experiment involving animal mutation, falls victim to a lethal side effect that turns him into The Lizard. If you think that’s code for something, it’s not, he literally is just a giant-ass lizard. As strong and powerful as he was, I found it hard to care to much for Connors. Sure, he had wonderful intentions for humanity, but I can’t see someone as smart as him thinking that his plan could actually follow through and end on a good note. Maybe if they had shown him with a family or a love for anything other than science I could have sympathized with him, but he only had his mind set on one level a level that makes for a cool villain but not a good character.

Audiences will attend this movie to see the, dare I say it, “amazing” action and web slinging effects done to bring Spider-Man to life, and the action here doesn’t disappoint one bit.  Everything just looks tighter and more competently put on screen than the original ones and even some other recent superhero movies. All that is thanks to Director, Marc Webb. Which by the way, is awesome that his last name is Webb and he’s directing a Spider-Man movie! Webb doesn’t just throw things on screen and cover it up with special effects. He works everything in the awesome action sequences to make one better than the next and to give the audience the best possible experience. The web slinging through the New York City nights made my eyeballs dance with excitement.

All of these elements, plus a fantastic score by James Horner, make The Amazing Spider-Man a much better movie than I ever thought it would be or even could be. I’m so glad they chose to go this route with the story and characters. This way, even without the 3D, everything to pops off the screen and provides great summer fun for fans and soon-to-be fans everywhere.

Grade: A-

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