Review – The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-man Theatrical Poster

Title: The Amazing Spider-man
Genre(s): Action, Drama, Fantasy
Director(s): Marc Webb 
Release Year: 2012
IMDB: 7.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 74% 

It was ten years ago that Sam Raimi brought the web-slinging superhero Spider-man to the big screen and only five years ago when he ended his trilogy with one of the worst superhero films out there. The announcement of a reboot for the Spider-man series was a mixed bag of news, especially because of how soon the last ones were released. Just like those films, The Amazing Spider-man is already intended to be turned into a trilogy so it is very important that Sony delivers a quality first film to get the momentum going for the new series. The Amazing Spider-man delivers what it sets out to do, but to call the film ‘amazing’ would be a stretch.

To begin with, it’s important to note that I never cared too much for the original Spider-man films, so I was excited for this reboot. It wasn’t until more and more trailers were released that my interest began to wane. It wasn’t anything in particular, but I just felt the film wouldn’t be anything special. It’s not, but that doesn’t change it from being a decent film. Andrew Garfield takes over as Peter Parker in this iteration, with the female lead no longer being red-headed Kirsten Dunst, but a blonde Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy. Both Garfield and Stone have great chemistry together on the screen, and they both act appropriately for their respective roles. Most of the acting is in fact very well done, with most of the issues residing with the dialogue and script as a whole. Spider-man is a very witty superhero who loves delivering one-liners, and this shows in the film, but it’s very lame humor that will probably only appeal to children. There are moments of humor in the film, but they are very few and far between, wondering if the movie is trying to take a darker spin on things.

The problems arise when you look at the tone of the movie though and see that there is no general tone. It’s light-hearted at times, but also goes towards darker material that it can’t quite overcome. These tonal shifts aren’t too sudden, but there should be a gradual decline or ascent, rather than mixed moments of happiness and depression scattered amid each other. Not only this but character motivations are convoluted or simply absent (Dr. Connors being the best example: why does he become evil?), and some actions by characters are pretty mindless. Where there’s a fault though, there’s a benefit to it. Sure, Connors becomes evil for no reason, but without that we probably wouldn’t have the great action sequences that are throughout the film. This is where the film really shines, making use of some good set pieces and showing that Marc Webb, who previously directed (500) Days of Summer, can direct more than just romance.

Oh yeah, and Rhys Ifans gets sucked down a toilet.

One of the main things that people have pointed out with the movie is it’s CG, which I was also hesitant on from the beginning. There are those who consider it poorly done and pulls away from the film, but I would disagree and say it adds to the film. However, it also contributes to the point of there being inconsistent tones. The CG doesn’t look realistic, but it makes the film feel more like a comic book. With this comes the question though of why a movie that attempts to be more grounded with reality would have a visually comic-book feeling style? Peter Parker doesn’t just shoot webs because he was bit by a spider, he shoots them because he built a device that can. With scientific developments like this, you expect the film to take itself far more seriously. But if the intention visually was not to strike the look of a comic book, than the film fails in the visual department. Not as much as Green Lantern did, but enough to make the film a little less enjoyable.

But with every complaint I have, The Amazing Spider-man was a fun summer flick with some good action sequences and great chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield. The origin story was very lengthy, there are some script issues and weak character motivations, and the film did tread familiar ground, but it makes up for it in the overall product. The problems that plague many superhero films still exist within this film, and while it may not have been a necessary reboot of the Spider-man franchise, it was not a wasted venture.

Overall: Recommended 


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