MOVIE REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
Just like 20th Century Fox refuses to sell X-Men and Fantastic Four, Sony refuses to sell Disney the rights to Stan Lee’s Spider-Man a, but still decided to steal their idea and reboot the franchises that they own. Low and behold, The Amazing Spider-Man. It kind of makes you wonder if Sony will do a Spider-Man Team-up series to have Spider-Man starring alongside several other Marvel superheroes.
While I wonder if a reboot of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man’s movie franchise was completely necessary, I will say that, as a comic book fan, I did enjoy this new film.
I followed Spider-Man for many years as a teenager, and even own some very rare Spider-Man issues from the original Amazing Spider-Man comic book series, but I stopped following when they killed off Ben Reilly, who many know was a major supporting character who was first the Scarlet Spider and then the new Spider-Man. However, in the wake of the One More Day storyline, in which they changed many things about Peter Parker, they brought Ben Reilly back in a reboot of the Clone Saga that has been called The Real Clone Saga. That has put faith in me that Ben Reilly, and the real Scarlet Spider will return.
That being said, this movie is much better in plot, acting, casting, directing, special effects, connection to the comic books, than the first three Spider-Man movies.
The story goes that Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The Social Network) is going to Midtown Manhattan High School. He lives with his Uncle Ben (played by veteran actor Martin Sheen, Wall Street, The Departed) and his Aunt May (played by veteran actress Sally Field, Smokey and the Bandit, Forrest Gump), he crushes on fellow student Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love), and tries to stand up to school bully Eugene ‘Flash’ Thompson (Chris Zylka, Shark Night 3D, Teen Spirit). Every thing seems pretty normal, until he discovers a suitcase that once belonged to his father. His father was geneticist working on a way to merge human and animal DNA. He sneaks into OsCorp, where he meets Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans, Notting Hill, Neverland) an old associate of his dad’s. After following a clue left by his dad, Peter enters a secret genetics project that uses spiders as its catalyst. He is bitten and soon gains the powers of Spider-Man. While he gains many fans catching people who resemble his Uncle Ben’s murderer, he makes an enemy of his high school sweetheart’s, Gwen’s father Captain George Stacy (Denis Leary, of Rescue Me fame) of the NYPD. Meanwhile, using an algorithm that Peter gave him from his father’s notes, Dr. Connors uses it to grow back his arm, but as a side effect, it turns him into the human/reptilian hybrid villain creatively called The Lizard, who has plans to turn the city of New York into his kingdom.
Director Marc Webb brings us a bold new look at the Spider-Man mythology and brings it subtly back to its roots. It has Gwen Stacy as Peter’s first girlfriend. In all honesty, I hope it stays that way. I know I’m shocking fans by saying I always liked her character better than Mary Jane Watson. He uses his web shooters and he’s still in high school. Spider-Man is also more in character as wise-cracking, smart aleck superhero. That was the thing I missed about the first three. It was good to see Spider-Man in character and bringing lots of laughs to the criminals he captured.
While this movie was better, it did leave out one crucial thing: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” While responsibility was discussed, this was a key thing that was missing from the film, and it gave up on three (yes, I counted) opportunities to use the famous line. It should have been there, just saying.
That being said, this is the best movie to date. Again, I’m not a complete reboot was necessary to bring Spider-Man back to his roots, I do think this movie was a great thrill ride through his origins and his first battle with a super villain.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: There was some minor language, and the violence was a lot more intense than in the Sam Raimi films.