The Stickman Reviews : The Amazing Spider-Man.
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I don't know about you guys but I think Tobey Maguire is the lamest, dorkiest person in the world, and whilst his stint as the webhead was overall acceptable, once you've seen new guy Andrew Garfield in the role, you won't ever want to go back. Garfield (Not the cat) does an incredible job of mastering both the awkward nerdy side of Peter Parker and the wise-cracking arrogance of Spider-Man. Not only that but being a far superior actor in general to Maguire means that the emotion in the character feels far more real than the sniffling blubbering wreck of Raimi's Parker. Peter Parker is still a dork, but he's a dork we'd all want to be now. I will go so far as to say he's perfect in the role and you're going to love him. Tobey who? I want a sequel to this film merely for the chance to see this new improved Spidey develop and blossom.
On a whole The Amazing Spider-Man offers a far more realistic, believeable interpretation of Spider-Man's world and the way he moves and talks and, barring the magical science factory that is the Oscorp tower, the setting is a far more believable, visually appealing surrounding. Where the film truly shines in the visual department, however, is at night. Hot damn does the last half an hour (Roughly) of this film look stunning, this was already clear from all the trailers but once you see it on the big screen and in 3D(Maybe) it's going to blow your mind. The whole film is a well directed package, and ditches the goofy comic book style of the previous trilogy but it's the night that really steals the show, I wish I could visit a place that actually looked like this...and swing around in a tight spandex outfit, yes...who wouldn't?
The main complaint I've seen with this film from critics is that they feel it's all a bit "Been there, done that" in terms of story. What they mean of course is that they think this film is too similar to the original 2002 film, and whilst key scenes and certain...unwelcome returning moments (We'll get to that later) are very much similar to the original, everything else is all change...in my opinion. For starters, Peter is still at High School as opposed to graduating like in the original, he's got an entirely different love interest that's treated completely differently, key characters from previous films are either completely absent or only briefly mentioned, his parents are mentioned, he makes his own Web-Shooters, he...well, honestly I thought it was a very different film to the original, both in tone and content. Like I said before, there's obvious similarities and key scenes that are in both this and the original, but I personally felt that there was more new than old and with the shift in style and better characters the reboot is completely justified in my eyes.
Once again I suggest you take my words with a grain of salt. I seem to be one of the few, gifted people in the world capable of seeing 3D movies in all their glory, in fact the last 3 films I've watched at the cinema happened to be in 3D (The Avengers, Prometheus and Spider-Man) and I thought they all benefited greatly from being that way. Now, in the case of Spidey, the movie was filmed entirely in 3D so it's not a quicko cash grab conversion like some blockbuster movies get, that said it takes a long time for the 3D to earn its extra ticket price, but when it does...ooooh boy is it glorious. Particular highlights for the 3D are the POV swinging shots, night-time swinging and the fight scenes. Whilst we're sadly not yet at the point in 3D where watching someone jump off a skyscraper can give you a true sense of Vertigo...we're getting there, I think. 3D is a hard sell for people like us these days, and since a lot of the film is people talking rather than non-stop action it's not going to feel like it's worth it until the closing 45 minutes or so. Again, make your own judgement on this, just take my words under advisement, I liked the 3D, a lot.
Before I get stuck into this portion of the review, I'm going to say right away that I don't think the Aunt May in this film is anywhere near as good as the May in the original trilogy, she's not a bad actor by any means but she just doesn't have the same impact or presense as Rosemary May. Other than that, the cast is a far superior one to past films. I've already discussed Peter, he's great, so is Gwen Stacey, played by Emma Stone, ditto to Gwen's father, Captain George Stacey who plays a far more pivotal role than he did in Spider-Man 3. Rhys Ifans is great as Curt Connors (I'll get to the Lizard in a bit though...) and really, barring a few hammy actors, the entire cast is great. The story in this one is perhaps a little less epic than the Raimi trilogy offerings but it's a far more intimate, engrossing affair than before as well. Characters and Story are the two of the most crucial aspects of a film, so it's great to see that Amazing Spider-Man has improved on the past and made its own mark.
Okay, tell a lie, there's still goofy comedy moments abound (YO, I'M SWINGING HERE), with the standard Stan Lee cameo perhaps winning the award for the goofiest, whilst still fun for anyone who recognises the clearly photogenic comic book genius. That said, the humour in this film is, for the most part a lot more subtle and based around the awkwardness of Peter, particularly during the development of his powers which has truly hillarious results, particularly in one scene set on a subway train. Have no fear, there's no Emo Peter prancing about and having jazz numbers this time but the film will still make you laugh. Wise-Cracking Spidey is back in full force as well and, whilst it would of been nicer to have the quips being a little more witty, I welcome any one-liner from Spidey that isn't "IT'S YOU WHO'S OUT GOBBY, OUT OF YOUR MIND!"...oh Tobey...oh Tobey Maguire, you dork.
FOR. FUCKS. SAKE. When making a reboot so soon after the original film series, you should try your best to take things in a completely different direction, do new, daring things, have a new visual style and all that jazz. What you DO NOT do is take what is perhaps the most loathed aspect of Raimi's films and cram it in completely out of the blue in the finale. Yes, that's right, New Yorkers once again show their unity and courage by helping and/or cheering on Spider-Man and yes, there is an American flag emblazoned tragically in the background of part of this sequence. Okay, it's a far more subtle flag than say the one pictured above but it's still not needed! Okay! We get it! Spider-Man is American! Woop-de-fucking-doo. I'm British but you don't see me standing proud with a billowing Union Jack behind me whilst the common folk of the land grovel at my feet...although they should be. This was by far the lowest moment of the film and could have been easily done away with, possibly even saving us 10 minutes of our lives to, oh I don't know...use the bathroom! Which I totally needed to do for the last hour of the film.
God damnit. When it comes to Spidey villains, the Lizard is possibly my favourite, not just because he's a Lizard man, before you say that, but also because he's more than just a bad guy, he's a victim of his own desperation which drives him to do something stupid and life-altering. Problem is that, once again the Spider-Man films have failed to succesfully bring a much loved villain to life. Beyond the obvious and terrible looking face of his (Which I still do not get, why couldn't they just give him a fucking snout?) he's also an incredibly hammy, over the top GRR I'M COMIN TO GET YOU SPIDEY villain. From the back he looks okay, but he's missing his trademark lab coat for the most part, and his face...oh god his face... It's hard to voice my complete disappointment without possibly spoiling parts of the film, but overall it's a passable, but disappointing take on the Lizard, better than Venom in Spider-Man 3 but still not good by any means.
When a film clocks in at roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes you'd be forgiven for believing that any story elements brought up in the film would have a conclusion, or at least some kind of continuation. Not in the Amazing Spider-Man! Whilst sadly, I again, can't spoil the specific details, I can say that there are numerous threads to the story, mainly from the start and the finale which get introduced but then never go anywhere. You'll see what I mean if you watch the film. What unfolds is great stuff, but certain parts just don't seem needed if you aren't going to do anything with them. Another thing that annoyed me is Peter Parker's eye-sight. In the original film it's shown that when bitten, he no longer needs his glasses. In this film they just sort of...disappear without any explanation for why. Did it fix his vision? Is he wearing contacts? Are they just assuming that people will have watched the original? I don't know. Also, there's a hell of a lot of important sounding lines and scenes in the numerous trailers and clips that make no appearance in the film at all. C'mon guys, 2 hours 15 minutes! Where did it all go?
If you're a Spidey fan who wasn't keen on Raimi's take of the franchise, you should certainly give Amazing Spider-Man go. Whilst obviously containing similar themes and key scenes (It is, afterall, Spider-Man) it's an entirely differnet breed of Webhead with the perfect casting of Peter Parker really being the icing on the cake. If you were a fan of the Raimi films, I'd still give this one a go, who knows, maybe you'll like it? New to the franchise? Watch this, off you go! Not a fan of Spider-Man at all, what are you reading this review for, idiot?
It's not a perfect film by any means, and certainly not the best Comic Book film we've seen this year (Avengers) or will see this year (Dark Knight Rises...please?), that said The Amazing Spider-Man is the best Spidey film ever made in all departments except perhaps Villain design. Despite the Lizard's shortcomings, the film's got great acting, breathtaking visuals, and plenty of action and web-slinging to boot. With the tone set and the origin explained, I'm truly looking forward to the inevitable followup which...will surely be SPECTACULAR! HO HO! ...Sorry...