The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) film review
Review: Jeffrey Williams
Editor: Jeremias de Leon & Francisco K. Rodriguez
(Author's Note: During this review, while it may sound like I despise the original trilogy from 2002-2007, I don't. I just had problems with that interpretation of the wall-crawler.)
With the lukewarm response to 2007's Spider-Man 3, both Sony (the current owners of the Spider-Man film rights) and Sam Raimi respectively decided to part ways during the pre-production of Spider-Man 4 in January 2010. Following that announcement, the studio decided instead of continuing the already established continuity of the previous trilogy to reboot the franchise with a new movie that would not only be an amalgamation of both the mainstream universe and the ultimate universe, but also directing it would be a director that was commonly know for doing music videos and indie romcoms (Romantic-Comedies).
Directed by Marc Webb (500 day of Summer) written by James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) with additional re-writes done by Alvin Sargent (Spider-Man 2 and 3) and Steve Kloves (Harry Potter film series), this is The Amazing Spider-Man.
While this movie is a reboot to the character and that respective universe, I can understand and respect why people would demonize this movie as simply as remake. I say this due to the fact of the story's plot feeling like a "beat-by-beat" retelling of the 2002 original film done by Sam Raimi. However, even though this plot's framework is similar to that of the original, this film does try to differ itself from the original.
For example, unlike the organic webshooters we get mechanical ones. Unlike the original showcasing Peter's high school for around 5-10mins., this movie is focused entirely at Midtown High and unlike the original love interest being MaryJane Watson, in this film we get what many people would consider Peter's True love Gwen Stacy. In other words, you can already tell I prefer this film over the 2002 original,,, and that my review.
Wait, why's everyone leaving. Come back, I'm not finished yet. (Note to self: No one can take a joke on the internet.. EVER)
The film starts off as a flashback to Peter playing hide-and-seek with his father, until he goes into his dad's office to see it was broken into. After hearing his son calling for him, he sees the office was trashed and he quickly picks up he son, his briefcase (i.e the "deus ex machine" to the film) and tells his wife to get in the car. They drive to the home of Peter's aunt May and uncle Ben (respectively played by Sally Fields and Martin Sheen) and leave Peter there until they would return.... Were then transported to a 16/17-year old Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) in present day Manhattan.
Andrew Garfield is better as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in this interpretation then Toby was as the titular character in the original. Though he's as charismatic like Peter was in Spider-Man, he was MORE fleshed out character-wise then the all-around whiny, boy-scout that Toby portrayed as Parker in Raimi's take. The same goes for his alter-ego "Spider-Man", this time around he comes with quips…. QUIPS! We finally have a Spidey that not only bodies people like a spider would, but mocks them at the same time.
Emma Stone plays Pete's first love, Gwen Stacy. Unlike Kristen Dunst's portrayal as his better known love interest MJ Watson, Stone's portrayal as Gwen comes off as a believable, strong and independent girlfriend unlike the annoying and weak one we got with Dunst's portrayal.
Denis Leary as Cpt. Stacy was comparable to the recent portrayal of Commissioner Gordon in Chris Nolan's Batman trilogy, however in a snide way.
Both Sally Fields and Martin Sheen pull of a great job as aunt May and uncle Ben. They come off as a loving couple that, while they're not Peter's biological parents they care about Peter's well-being like if he was there own son.
Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors is a better choice for the character's portrayal that Dylan Baker did in Spider-Man 2 and 3. While I did like Dylan Baker's take on the character, I honestly could never see him becoming the Lizard and being a threatening villain. This isn't the case with Ifans's take on Conners; even before he takes the serum and transform into the creature for the first time, he shows a dark/troubled side to him while talking with the "other villain" Dr. Rajit Ratha played by Irrfan Khan.
Chris Zylka as Flash Thompson was a good portrayal of the character. The thing that not only surprised me but made me happy was, a day or two after uncle Ben's murder, at school Flash goes to confront Peter not as the stereotypical bully we've known in the Raimi original, but as a friend….. like in the comics!
Director Marc Webb mostly known for directing the 2010 romcom, 500 Days of Summer and music videos from such artists as Green Day, Brand New, AFI (a fire inside) and Weezer. Just to name a few. His direction for this re-telling of the beloved character and it's universe was 50-50. While he does a phenomenal job with directing emotional scenes, which range from simple talks that Peter has with uncle Ben, aunt May or both to his interaction with Gwen including him telling her that he's Spider-Man, were done great which is obviously his strong point. It's rather a hit-or-miss when it comes to directing a fight sequence. Honestly, I would even compare Webb's fight direction to that of Nolan's take from 2004's Batman Begins. While Nolan's fight scenes in Begins were an eyesore due to the fights feeling "zoomed-in", that's not the problem with Webb. The problem with Webb's fight scene were with the introduction to the Lizard on the Bridge and the climatic battle between the two in the third act. They felt rushed and were the ones that I personally fell were product of the many re-shoots with this film. The ones that I did like, were the smaller and personal brawls with criminals at the 1 act of the film and the EPIC fight between Spidey and the Lizard inside Midtown High. Speaking of that fight….. look out for "Smiling" Stan Lee for one of his best (and funniest) cameos to date.
James Horner, the composer of Aliens, Star Trek II,The Rocketeer, and many other well-known films was announced as the composer of Amazing Spider-Man back in late November 2011. Since then I've wondered what Mr. Horner would bring to this re-telling of the character and would this score exceed the 2002 original that was composed Danny Elfman (Batman, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Wanted). The score that Mr. Horner created has not only exceeded my expectations, but one that I HIGHLY think fits the character of Spider-Man. The main theme and the overall score that Mr. Elfman created for the 2002 original felt out of place and would've been more appropriate for a Superman movie, rather then Spidey. Mr. Horner on the other hand has composed a score that not only emotes the characters and their feelings but one that recognizes the modern scores yet it having an old-school feel to it.
Before I give my final say on the film, if there is one negative I have to acknowledge it's the editing. The editing in this film is so disjointed, that it the flow of the story. this is evident due to the recent article that Bad Ass Digest posted as of this week. http://badassdigest.com/2012/07/05/was-the-untold-story-cut-from-the-amazing-spider-man/
While the main problem is only the awful editing, The film is not only one of the best Marvel films not made by Marvel Studios but one of the premiere superhero movies of this year. It may not be Amazing, it may not be Spectacular, but unlike the 2002 original this is a true-to-form telling of the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler's origin. 4/5
Liked the soundtrack? Wanna buy it: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/amazing-spider-man-music-from/id534265228
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